In the state of Pennsylvania alone, over 300 Catholic priests molested, raped, photographed, shared and destroyed the innocence of more than 1,000 underage girls and boys for more than 70 years. A 1,400-page grand jury report released last week exposed a systematic cover-up that allowed pedophile clergymen to be shielded and shuttled to different churches so they could continue to victimize countless children.
In order to avoid negative publicity and financial penalties, the Catholic church and its leadership allowed the continuance of these horrific crimes. The church cannot claim ignorance, because it had files on every case. They knew and did nothing, yet again.
Children were told to confess their sins to the same person who forced them to be involved in sexual contact, mouths were washed out with holy water, pornographic material was produced with whips and chains involved, spinal injuries from years rape, photographs taken as children were forced to pretend they were on a cross like Jesus, golden crosses passed out to “good altar boys and girls” as a signal to others pedophiles they had been groomed into the abuse.
Report after report documenting the criminal evidence was ignored. The latest only concerned six of Pennsylvania’s dioceses, not the U.S. as a whole or even Pennsylvania. Similar criminal offenses by Catholic priests have also been recently reported in France, Australia and Chile. Let us not forget Boston in 2002.
What was the response from Rome? A strongly written letter from Pope Francis which admitted the church “showed no care for the little ones, we abandoned them,” which is absolutely accurate.
The problem many Catholics are finding with the Pope’s response was that it stopped short of any concrete steps to deal with those who committed the abuse or those who covered it up. There was no call for the resignation of U.S. bishops or anything actionable that could start to address the issue.
When the sins are this steep, one would think the punishment should be just and swift. So far, the response is neither. In fact, some of the admitted pedophiles were even given letters of recommendation to places that cater to families and children such as Disney.
How could all of this happen? Sadly, the answer is money. The Vatican did not want a public relations nightmare that would have led to a huge financial blow. The Catholic Church in America alone has a $170 billion operating budget, which is why they opted to circle the wagons around sexual predators and left our children out in the cold.
Lust and greed are two of the seven mortal sins and may ironically be the two that put the nails in the coffin of Catholicism’s massive popularity in the U.S.
The Pope and the Vatican are in one of the worst situations in the history of the church and it is only going to get worse as these investigations expand.
It is a systematic and global issue that tears at the foundation and the ideals of Catholicism as a whole. A sternly written letter is not going to get it done. Actionable and concrete steps to fix this issue will happen or in the eyes of many, what is left of the church is dead.
We are going to see what kind of chops the Pope has. He is essentially the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company. The American Board of Directors has failed big time, what will he do to regain the trust of his shareholders? The world is watching. God speed.
[NBC News] [Washington Post] [Wall Street Journal] [CNN] [Photo courtesy India TV]