As a body, we Catholics are appalled by the breadth and depth of the sexual abuse scandal that has rocked and disgraced the most established institution of the Western world.
The incidents themselves are beyond horrific, but the failure of the church leadership to address the issue and expel the perpetrators is inexcusable.
I have two insights as to how all of this happened and what must be done to prevent it from happening again.
First, if the church had well positioned female leadership, the rascals would have been tossed out years ago.
The old boys’ wink, nod, cover up and recirculate routine would have been nipped in the bud by female leadership.
Second, it is clear that the pedophilia so prevalent within the priesthood reflects the pent up frustration of the priests. When you ask a man to suppress a God-given instinct that we all have, that suppression will often lead to antisocial behavior.
We all recall the kindly priests who drank too much as they lived their celibate, unaccompanied and lonely lives. For these same reasons ordained men with normal and healthy sexual proclivities manifest their frustrations by victimizing those who could not or would not defend themselves.
If these priests could have enjoyed normal and healthy sex lives, I suggest that the majority of the miscreants would not have gone in that direction.
The church must strike from its rules that a priest must not marry or engage in sexual relations, and while the book of rules is open for review and modification, let us make another significant change by ordaining the wonderful women who we all know are running the day-to-day church operations anyway.
I am aware that many long-time practicing Catholics have stepped away from the church. To them I say, the church is the people, not the leadership. As we said in the 1960s, “keep the faith.”
Nicholas P. Amigone III