By Matt Abbott
December 29, 2010 - One thing that’s irked me in recent times is seeing self-identified Catholics bashing, and leaving, the Church using the clergy abuse scandal as an excuse to do so. Let me be clear: I’m not talking about the actual
victims of clergy and religious abuse, with whom I have a great deal of sympathy. I’m talking about those who condone the evils of abortion and/or the homosexualist agenda; or who desire to regularly, willfully and unremorsefully engage in immoral sexual practices that the Church rightly condemns—be it sodomy, contraception, masturbation, adultery or fornication—and who feign outrage at clerical corruption to make themselves feel better about abandoning Christ’s Church.
One example of the latter category can be found in an e-mail recently sent to the editors of PewSitter.com, one of the best websites, in my humble opinion, for Catholic news and views. The e-mail (slightly edited), printed below in italics, was sent by the editor/publisher of a left-wing “news and views” website that PewSitter’s editors link to on various occasions. I’ve decided to redact the name of the editor/publisher and the website so as to not give it further publicity.
I am [name redacted], publisher of [website redacted]. In a recent interview with Fox News Sunday, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of the District of Columbia, told Chris Wallace that the Church had moved decisively in the Catholic child sexual abuse scandal.
I will agree with Wuerl: The Church has indeed acted decisively, not to protect children, but to limit the financial damage to the Church and to get the faithful move on to some other topic before every moral parishioner flees, taking their checkbooks with them.
In the decades-long cover-up of these despicable crimes, and to maintain the secrecy surrounding the Church’s responsibility and complicity in the sexual abuse of thousands of Catholic children… dioceses in Delaware, Portland, Tucson, and Spokane have filed bankruptcy to get the victims to simply go away and the Church’s lawyers have tried every legal trick in their very large books to see that the Church will not be held responsible for these crimes.
Cardinal Wuerl and the Church leadership would now simply use the wedge issue of same-sex marriage to focus the attention of the faithful elsewhere. Indeed, the leadership of the Catholic Church is bankrupt, spiritually and morally. They have caused great harm to both children and families and have surrendered their standing in the conversation of what is moral and what is not. Additionally, anyone who would act as an apologist for such con-artists are equally spiritually and morally deficient and therefore, as well, have no legitimate place in the conversation of what is moral and what is not.
I am a Catholic mother of two children and, as such, it is my moral responsibility, as it is that of all good Catholic parents, to hold the Catholic hierarchy accountable and to not allow others who defend the monstrosities that the Church leadership is perpetuating go unchallenged or grant them any forum to make the claim of any moral standing.
Therefore, as a responsible Catholic mother, I will have no commerce or conversation with those who have acted in an un-Christ-like manner and harmed children and families, or with those who would assist them in that endeavor. And my site will not be used to aid or further the aims of the current leadership of the Church or their enablers and protectors in any manner.
On several recent occasions your site [PewSitter] has linked to stories on [site redacted]. Let me make this crystal clear: We do not support child molesters. Nor do we support those who make excuses for those who enable them. Since your site regularly does exactly that on a daily basis, please desist from any further links from Pewsitter to [site redacted].
Well, let me, Matt C. Abbott, make this crystal clear: I don’t buy this “Catholic” woman’s explanation. I think she hates the Church for another, more personal reason—a reason she isn’t going to give to the editors of PewSitter, no doubt. And whatever that personal reason is, she seethes with anger over it. Sadly, it has turned her into an anti-Catholic bigot.
Anti-Catholic “Catholics” who use the clergy abuse scandal as an excuse to bash and leave the Church—and, in effect, exploit the actual victims of abuse by doing so—would do well to heed the words of Father Roger Landry in his excellent essay “A Crisis of Saints”:
‘If you choose, this [the clergy abuse] scandal can lead you down to the path of spiritual suicide. But it should inspire you to say finally to God, ‘I want to become a saint so that I and the Church can give your name the glory it deserves, so that others might find in you the love and the salvation that I have found.’
Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic columnist with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication, Media and Theatre from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, and an Associate in Applied Science degree in Business Management from Triton College in River Grove, Ill. He has worked in the right-to-life movement and is a published writer focused on Catholic and social issues. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘Jesus is with us, as he promised, until the end of time. He is still in the boat. Just as out of Judas’s betrayal he achieved the greatest victory in the universe—our salvation through his passion, death and resurrection—so out of this new scandal he may bring, wants to bring, a new rebirth of holiness, a new Acts of the Apostles for the twenty-first century, with each of us—and that includes you—playing a starring role. Now is the time for real men and women of the Church to stand up. Now is the time for saints. How will you respond?’