Featured Comment: by Laura Boquist
While it may not be easy to speak out, I believe we are called to do so, and our priests must lead publicly on this issue. The culture that makes every attempt to resolve things privately allowed the abuse to continue for decades, and has exasperated many of us who see hypocrisy on the part of our spiritual leaders.
The laity wants our priests to speak up publicly… in opposition to the secrecy that allowed the abuse to continue, in opposition to the disgraceful way victims and their families were treated, in opposition to the shunning (or worse) of those who did try to report abuse or those who desire to hold the Church leaders accountable for their action/inaction. We want you to speak up for the victims, for their families, for admitting mistakes and crimes, to speak up for renewed leadership in the archdiocese. We want you to address the crisis of faith this has brought about for so many Catholics.
I have known wonderful priests, as well as some not-so-wonderful priests. It is not fair that all priests get painted with the same brush of distrust that this crisis has caused so many to do. It is certainly not an easy time to be a priest. In my opinion, though, much of this blanket of distrust is the result of the silence on the part of our spiritual leaders. Please, please, speak out.
This passage from Matthew continues to come to my mind as we talk about this crisis…
Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”
The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant.
“Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.
“Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, “‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?”
6 thoughts on “We Want Our Priests to Speak Out”
Laura: WOW!!!!!!! Nicely put. I would only add that the clerical culture must be disassembled/disbanned/rejected forcefully. This is the systemic cause of the problem and the reason it still continues.
The clerical culture will begin to change when Catholics again elect their priests and, bishops. That would make the pope largely irrelevant.
. . . and a return to the lay trustee system: the way the American Catholic Church was organized in the 1800’s.
Until then, if you don’t expect much, you won’t be disappointed.
Let your mind go blank for a moment, forget everything you have read, and forget all the movies you may have seen…and now begin to picture this. You are a passenger onboard the Titantic. It has struck an iceberg and it is sinking. And you are looking into the eyes of the Captain and telling him you want him to do something. Meanwhile here is what is going through his mind: I am going to drown, and these thousands of passengers with me are going to die also. Who the heck built this boat? And who let it out of the dock? Didn’t they know that there were not enough lifeboats? Didn’t they know each and every compartment on a ship must be able to be made watertight? Were they trying to save money? Do they care that I am going to die? And who is this crazy woman telling me to do something? Why doesn’t SHE do something to save me? Does she know how to swim, because I don’t! And I am terrified.
Laura, put your arms in front of you and stroke. Put your legs together and kick. OR pick up your protest sign and walk with me in front of the cathedral. Justin Rigali is the man who built this ship. He is the man who has sacrificed our lives so that he can save money. Make photocopies of the Grand Jury Report (or just the first twelve pages) and carry them with you everywhere you go. Give them to every Catholic that you know who answers”no” when you ask them if they have read the report. Tell them to make copies and give them to more people. And tell them to call their State Representative. Or you can go down with the Captain when his ship sinks.
I bet the priests would like to be able to speak freely, too. I can understand their dilemma. With the vow of obedience they take to the bishop, speaking out easily can lead to a reprimand and further unpleasant consequences. This can have a serious impact on a priest’s life. It’s probably a quick way to get banished to a mission in the rainforest.
At some point, you have to give up on these priests and bishops. They are supposed to lead you and your children in the ways of God, and you can’t even get them to follow the simplest rules of God, no matter how hard you try.
Check out the Presbyterian church. They found one youth ministries director with a sexual abuse claim, and they tell the insurance company and the lawyers that they are going to tell the truth instead of listening to their advice.
Amen , Amen………we want our priests to SPEAK OUT IN LOVE because people’s SOULS and LIVES are AT RISK of being LOST………………..