The HIV-AIDS of the Catholic Church | Filipino Voices

March 19, 2010 at 4:04 am Leave a comment

US based Catholic journalist and commentator John Allen (who is orthodox and a fan of Opus Dei) was objective enough to say on CNN that the child sex abuse scandals is no longer particular to the US, Irish or German church for that matter, but is of the Global (Universal) Catholic Church. Allen says that it is a matter of time before many of the particular national churches will be embroiled in similar scandals. If Allen is right, then the Philippine Church will soon get its taste of pedophile sex scandals.

The latest scandal involving choir boys in Papa Ratzinger%u2019s former diocese has come so close to the Papal throne and may involve his brother. To be fair to Benedict XVI, the allegations and purported abuse were made after he had moved to Rome and had the governing of the archdiocese to less senior clerics.  But he will have to dispel notions that he did not know that the sex predator priest was not punished but rather moved from one parish to another. But some people are not convinced. They want the Pope to resign. And the uber realistic Allen says that this would happen only %u201Cif another planet%u201D hits the earth tomorrow.

The Roman Church according to Allen has adopted a more serious policy under Pope Ratzinger. A child sex predator priest will immediately be sanctioned, defrocked and turned over to the secular authorities. But Allen sadly says that this was not the practice 30-40 years ago. The Church had a hush up policy.

Allen summarizes the problem as a problem of accountability. Bureaucratic clerics were not that accountable to the bishop and the bishop was not that accountable to the Pope and the whole hierarchy was not accountable to the laity. If Allen read it right, then there must be a radical reformation of the Church bureaucracy and the laity must be involved. The Pope is at the apex of the whole shebang. The Catholic Church in fact invented subsidiarity that now makes secular bureaucracies work. Lower executives have latitude to make decisions based on their competence. It is expected that the decisions should inform the higher ups and in some cases the highest up does make a ministerial decision. In secular bureaucracies, there is a strict code of accountability and thus we hear of bureaucrats being asked to face the ombudsman. The Roman Church has none of that. The Pope could be the ombudsman but he has sacramental duties too and one of these is to hear confessions! (and confessions cannot be made public without the Father confessor going to Hell!)

The child sex predator priests first became an issue in the American church and Cardinal Bernard Law resigned his Boston diocese but instead of being punished was given a Roman sinecure during John Paul II%u2019s papacy. This had Americans rightfully outraged. Benedict to his credit is unlikely to do something similar and has privately apologized to victims in person in most candid terms, something that John Paul never did.

Pope Benedict may be the right man for the massive clean up (not cover up) of the Church hierarchy. But will his bishops follow? The Pope cannot govern without the bishops and will he axe the bishops? The Vatican can easily axe priests, but bishops?

The child sex abuse by priests is the HIV-AIDS of the Catholic Church and if Allen is right, it is systemic. The Pope is the only physician that can prescribe the cure but he cannot do the healing. It is up to the Body of Christ which is composed by an overwhelming majority of laypeople. Too bad we don%u2019t have a condom to prevent this kind of hideous infection. I write this to accuse some Philippine Catholic bishops for their myopia on  condoms while the immunodeficiency is eating the Body of Christ.

I will pray for the Holy Father Benedict  each day as I am a Catholic. May God grant him the grace to overcome this crisis in the Church.

blackshama
About Author: blackshama has written 149 articles. blackshama is an ex-academic OFW, now an academic at home involved in mentoring hardheaded postgraduate students and terrorizing undergrads who think they can have it easy! He blogs at “Blackshama’s Blog”.

Filed Under: Society

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