Pedophile Priests and the Catholic Church

With all of the controversy surrounding the Catholic Church over the last several years, you knew it would only be a matter of time before The G-man jumped into the fray to comment. Now, let me stress that this is not the norm for me. As I have stated in many columns, I’m the type of writer that likes to go in the opposite direction of the daily newspaper writers, but this topic is so serious that I must address it.

I’m going to start with the series of complaint letters that many newspapers, both local and national, received from so-called devout Catholics regarding media coverage of pedophile priests. The overwhelming sentiment was that the media was attacking the church, the priesthood, and the Catholic religion as a whole. Many accused the media of “Catholic bashing” and went as far as to say those reporting on pedophile priests should burn in hell. I have to tell you folks, the people that made such statements really scared me.

I have a very serious problem with people who attacked the media for bringing this powerful story to the forefront, and for some odd reason the same people lodging the attacks have never bothered to voice their anger at the Catholic Church or the priests that have been arrested or linked to cover-ups. Why do they choose to loose sight of the fact that children, God’s most precious gift to us, have been raped, sodomized, and mentally tortured at the hands of men who vowed to act in accordance with God’s laws and principles? I find this very bizarre. I mean, are they so loyal to the Catholic faith and church that they are willing to overlook the horrible truth? What would these people say or do if, heaven forbid, they found out a neighborhood priest they lauded and respected was sodomizing their precious son or daughter? I’ll tell you what would happen. All hell would break loose! They would have no problem speaking out then, would they?

Allow me to take this point to another level. It is my firm belief that the people who ignored or turned a blind eye to the truth bared just as much responsibility for allowing the abuse to continue as the Catholic Church! If they were so quick to believe the media created the story in order to destroy the foundation of the church, and those representing it, they may as well have been in the room holding the child down while the vile acts were being committed. They were ignorant, and ignorance is the reason why the problem has reached the level that it has now. Too many have chosen the path of ignorance, within the nuclear family and the church, and the pedophile priests have been able to infiltrate the church as a result.

I think it’s wonderful that Catholics are willing to defend their religion and institutions, but they also have to be willing to address the fact that many priests have abused children over an extended period, and it probably goes much deeper than any of us will ever know. The man that runs around raping little boys may simply be repeating what happened to him at the hands of a trusted priest. The child that consistently gets “A’s” in school and inexplicably drops to a “D-minus”, while serving as an altar boy, may very well be suffering from the abuse of a priest. The man or woman that experiences flashbacks, to the point where they cannot walk by or go into New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral, may be carrying the emotional scars of abuse by a priest. How many lives have been ruined because of these horrible memories? How many loving relationships have failed because of the “ghosts” that linger from being mentally, physically, and emotionally tortured? How many families have been torn apart, and had their faith shaken, because “Billy”, “Thomas”, or “Roberta” had to keep their mouth shut even if it did happen? It cuts deep folks. It cuts very deep.

The media did, and does, have a role to play, and the story deserved to be told. However, I do agree on one aspect of the complaints. Many newspapers went with the story for so long that a sense of overkill was created. As long as the church was willing to seriously take a firm position in dealing with this issue, there was no need to keep plastering it on the front page. There were too many other events taking place in the world that warranted coverage, and many newspapers were not above printing stories that sought to discredit the Catholic church, if not the Catholic religion, in effort to sell newspapers. That was just plain wrong.

Do you remember when the National Enquirer broke the story of Reverend Jesse Jackson’s affair and the fact that the young woman bore his child? Do you remember how many, including news agencies, claimed the magazine gained credibility because of its reporting of the story? Well, I’m bringing this up because it made me think of something similar, with regard to the credibility issue.

If you think back, we may have been warned initially that this situation with the Catholic Church was going to happen when a noted celebrity stated the following during a television interview. “I think there are some very serious issues within the Catholic Church that need to be addressed. I won’t go into details, but I have problems with the religion, the institution, and certain practices that are taking place.” You know who made that statement? It was none other than the “Material Girl” herself, Madonna, who was raised a Catholic. She was, and continues to be, ripped by the press and the public for saying that, but it looks like her statement turned out to be more than credible.

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