17 April 2010

Thoughts About the Letter of Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos

First let me say I am not intending to defend the recent letter of Cardinal Hoyos. However from a historical point of view Cardinal Hoyos has a point in his defense. In fact it was St. Thomas Beckett who resisted attempts by King Henry II to have priests accused of serious crimes tried and punished in civil courts as he viewed it a violation of Church and State perogatives. This disagreement was one of the ultimate causes of St. Thomas's murder. Knowing the murderous bloodletting of priests and religious occasioned by the French revolution and the continuing animosity between Church and State there, is it not remotely possible to understand his reluctance in having a priest turned over to them?  BTW whatever did happen with the priest? Again let me be clear that in no way does this sanction the moving of guilty and accused priests from place to place.

While everyone is condemning everyone else for this grave scandal I suggest we look at our own lives first. There is a direct correlation between the lack of holiness in our lives and that of the priests and vice versa and if we want holy priests we better start leading more holy lives ourselves. But to this point are we?

We know that less than half of Catholics in this country don't go to Mass on Sunday. We know that approximately 80% of Catholics believe in or use artificial contraception. At least 50% of Catholic marriages end in divorce and a significant number of those persons remarry or live in sin with another. How many Catholics engage in sex outside or before marriage? Again not an insignificant number. How many Catholics see nothing wrong with homosexual marriage or "loving relationships" involving the sin of sodomy? How many men look at pornography? Yet when was the last time the New York Times wrote anything critical of pornography? In fact they have criticized those opposed to pornography because it might violate "First Amendment rights" We know for a fact of the huge impact on sexual abuse that pornography contributes. A Massachusetts priest who shared his Playboy mags with the altar boys and then abused him is the lowest scum but the NYT won't condemn pornography because the 1st Amendment is of greater importance? So who is the greater hypocrite and has the victim's interest at heart? How many Catholics prioritize their Sunday Mass around sports events for their children? How many send their children to the "right schools" at the cost of their Faith so they can get the "right career."  I work with a number of Catholics but noticed how none of them observed the fasts and abstinences prescribed for Lent.

I could go on but the simple fact remains that if these priest abusers remain(ed) unrepentant for their crimes they will go to Hell. And if a reading of the lives of most Catholics today (and the short lines for Confession) are any indication, they might have a lot of company.

One further comment. It is said that Pope John Paul II dismissed many of the abuse criticisms because of the methods of discrediting the Church he experienced by the Communists in Poland. Whatever fault he have had in ignoring what was obviously not mere propoganda especially when it concerned priests like Fr. Maciel their is plenty of evidence that there was an effort to infiltrate men into the priesthood for the sole reason of discrediting it, and the Church. I do not doubt the warnings of Pope Leo XIII when he saw in a vision the great battle between Satan unleashed for the last time and the Church is what we are experiencing today.

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