By Fr. James Manjackal M.S.F.S.- Munich, 06th. April, 2010
On these days the emotional and sensational news throughout the world’s communication media, is the scandal in the Catholic Church concerning the child abuses by her clergy. The attack by the media and journalists aim to portray Pope Benedict and the Catholic Church, which he leads as “the epicentre of sexual abuse of the young”. In this small article I want to explain to the readers what is happening in the world today, how the Pope and the Church are blamed and ridiculed and what they are doing in the present world. Those who are ignorant of what is happening in the world today – especially ever since the sex revolution ushered into our human society in the later years of the second Millennium, might think that the Pope, the head of the Catholic Church, and the celibate Bishops and priests closest to him are culprits of all sex scandals in the world specially those of paedophilia.
“The sexual and physical abuse of children and young people is a global plague; its manifestations run the gamut from fondling by teachers to rape by uncles!” (George Weigel, First Things Magazine, March 29th 2010). The sexual revolution that has pervaded into all areas of human society has perverted and degraded human dignity by destroying all forms of ethical and moral values of life. All that people considered morally good until recently is no more good! Until recently it was morally good for a young boy or a girl to be chaste or a virgin, now it is considered as abnormal and unhealthy. Until recently it was a moral mandate for married couples to remain faithful to each other in their marriage bond, now it is considered as infringement of one’s personal freedom. Until recently abortion was considered child- murder, now it is approved and legalized everywhere, as normality. Until recently homosexuality and lesbianism were considered to be perversions but today they are the normal people in our society! Until very recently old and sick people were given respect, sympathy, love and care, but now the society wants to get rid of them through euthanasia. It was normal that children would be born after the wedding of the couples, but now the majority of the children, especially in Western countries are born out of wedlock! The number of men and women living together in a sexual relationship without any form of marriage, either civil or ecclesiastical, is increasing; also the number of lesbian and homosexual unions. Masturbation, premarital sex, fornication, adultery, free sex, concubinage, prostitution, divorce, abortion, homosexuality, euthanasia, pornography, sex and erotic shops, hotels and brothels for child abuse, etc. have become normal and acceptable in today’s “modern and permissive” society.
According to the World Health Organization forty two million abortions are officially reported every year! Abortions are mainly the results of licentious and immoral lives. The divorce rate in Western countries is almost 70%. For the last 5 years more than half of the children born in Western countries are of unmarried mothers. The pornographic industry earns 2.500 Euro per second in Europe. At every second, 28.000 regular users visit pornographic websites. Every year the pornographic industry earns more than 75 billion Euro. The sexual abuse of children, “paedophilia” is the “normal” consequence of a morally sick and permissive society, such as the one we live in today, in which “sex” itself –as a mere instrument of lust and pleasure – is highly prioritized by governmental and private institutions. According to the first UN general’s study on violence against children (2006), 150 million girls and 75 million boys under 18 years are being forced to sexual intercourse and sexual abuse every year and, most of them by their parents, relatives and educators. Approximately 10-15% of all European children are victims of child abuse. 1.8 million children are forced to prostitution and pornography, and 1.2 million children are sold as slaves for child labour including victims of sex tourism, which is specially popular in Europe. The rate of paedophilia by homosexuals is more than that of anyone else in the society.
The Catholic Church is the only institution, the Holy Father the Pope as her head and the Bishops and priests as her messengers, that fights constantly tooth and nail without any compromise against the moral ignominy, depravation and degradation in the human society. It is certain that the demon of immorality that perverts the human society tries to pour filth on the Pope and the Church to malign and to defame them; and thus to eliminate the voice of the Pope and the Church, which is in reality the Master’s voice. The spirit of the antichrist, the spirit that destroys the works of Christ in the world is at work. The present Pope, Benedict XVI, again and again along with his predecessors has warned about the dangers of the spirit of modernism, secularism and relativism. An antichristian vision of the world is growing day by day! This vision believes that human life is not sacred, hence there is no need to defend life in the mother’s womb; marriage is not simply and intrinsically between man and woman, so same sex union must be accepted as normal; sex and sexuality are the needs of every man and there should be freedom to use them as one likes; religion should not dictate rules and regulations to the consciences of men and women, etc. In order to achieve these and other goals, the strong voice of Jesus that is uttered by the church through the Pope and the clergy must be stopped! Everyone knows that Europe is removing all Christian roots and culture! Hence the present attack on the Church and the Pope is the cunningly planned and frenzied campaign of Satan to smear the name of the Pope and the Church in the world today. There are even telephone calls to the Vatican from Austria, Germany, England and Ireland asking for the Pope to resign. Some even dared to call for his arrest! Let not Satan and all those who are polluted by his tactics think that they can intimidate and silence the Pope and the Church. Till the end of the times, the Pope and the Church will fight against the spirit of antichrist and the spirit of immorality, and the final victory will be that of the Church.
Being authentic to her master’s voice, the Church, through her Popes, Bishops and priests advocates, propagates and promotes holiness of life, especially with regard to sexual purity basing the teachings on sound moral and ethical values coming from natural and divine laws. Always and everywhere the Church boldly and loudly speaks: “God’s will for mankind is holiness of life, therefore all must refrain from all forms of immorality” (I Thess 4: 3). The spirit that the Church breathes on those who believe in Christ Jesus is a spirit of holiness and purity, and therefore the Christians are called more specifically to holiness of life (I Thess 4: 7-8). In this context it is very understandable why the spirit of impurity and unholiness is waging a war like a roaring lion against the Church and the Vicar of Christ. It is time for the Church to discern and to know the spirits of impurity and antichrist that plague humanity and to be equipped to fight against them with courage and boldness.
It is true that the spirit of impurity infiltrated into the lives of a few clerics in the Catholic Church and now they are the prey of the journalists and media. The recent Popes were well aware of it, and without hiding anything tried their best to correct them, and even to the extent of rebuking and punishing them. The present Pope Benedict XVI is always in front to proclaim the need of a culture free from sexual abuses. Even before his ascend to Papacy, he was determined to cleanse the Church of “filth” (Ratzinger’s speech at Subiaco on 1st. April 2005). Pope Benedict has sought more energetically and efficiently to cleanse the Church of various corrupt tendencies and practices that crept into the Church. In the last 50 years priests were accused of 3000 cases of reported child abuse, although not all were found guilty of conviction. According Charles J. Scicluna – someone like the attorney general of the Vatican responsible for crimes – says that out of these 3.000 cases, 60% are ephebophilia, 30% are heterosexual relations and only 10% are truly paedophilic cases; it means only 300 cases of the total of 500.000 priests in the world which makes only 0.06%. According to Prof. Philippe Jenkins (Paedophilia and priests, anatomy of a contemporary crisis – Oxford University Press) the paedophilia problem in the Catholic clergy is lower than in other denominations of Christianity and other religions in the world. For example according to a report published by Luigi Accatoli, from the 210.000 registered cases of sexual abuses in Germany since 1995, only 94 correspond to people or institutions of the Catholic Church. In Austria, out of 510 cases only 17 refer to catholic clergy. By exaggeration and lies an artificial “moral panic” is created specially in the West on paedophilia of the Catholic clergy. The politicians and the press are trying to take the Church back to medieval Europe, to the times of the French revolution, in order to swift and to destroy her. According to Jenkins – the power of the continuing paedophile propaganda issue is one of the means of propaganda and harassment used by politicians in their attempt to break the power of the German Catholic Church especially in the fields of education and social services.
Most of the cases of paedophilia of the clergy are of the 60’s! It was the time some Catholic Universities in USA and Europe developed a misconceived teaching about human sexuality and moral theology. Perhaps some of the seminarians of that time were impressed by this and acted in an undignified way. Pope John Paul II strongly confronted such corruption, cancelling the permission to some teachers in the Seminaries and universities. We must know that today’s priests and ministers of the Church are recruited from some of the broken families, sometimes even from families that have immoral backgrounds. It is not necessary that the long and tedious period of training completely deleted all their spiritual and moral defects from their personalities, although it is what is meant by the superiors who trained them in the Holy Scriptures and teachings of the Church, saturated with prayers, meditations and sacramental life. Paedophilia is the psychological defect of a personality; it is a sexual interest in children below the age of puberty. Psycho analysis recognizes the child abuser as typically immature man who wants to ‘give love’ to a boy which he did not receive in childhood. He makes a narcissistic identification with the child seeing him as an idealised version of himself, and perceives himself as giving the same love which he wished he had received from his own father. The paedophile can not understand that he is inflicting emotional damage to the person concerned but from his subconscious mind he thinks that he is doing something good. (Problem of paedophilia Nov 5. 1998 in Narth).
Hence there is no wonder if a small minority of the Catholic clergy are having bad tendencies towards homosexuality, paedophilia or other immoral behaviours, although they are to be deplored, renounced and removed. Pope Benedict acted without any tolerance or compromise against all that tarnished the honour and dignity of the priesthood and the integrity of the victims of the child abuse. He took rapid action when the issue of paedophilia errupted in some dioceses of USA and Ireland. In one of his letters to the Church in Ireland, the Pope called, “traitors” those guilty of abuse and announced a rigorous inspections in dioceses, seminaries and religious organizations. When he was the Prefect of the Congregation for the doctrine of Faith, he included such abuses in the list of grave sins and he exhorted the Bishops to refer such cases to Vatican.
Here we should know the meaning of the Church. The Church is both human and divine. The Church is founded by Jesus Christ, the holy and only begotten Son of God, on the foundation of the apostles who walked along with Him. Through the reception of various sacraments, the Holy Spirit keeps the members of the Church as the fellow citizens with the holy ones (Eph 2: 19-22). But at the same time the members of the Church are living here on earth, they are out of flesh and blood with all their human frailties and weaknesses; and they are trying to be holy with the grace received in the sacraments and liturgical prayers. The members of the Church are destined to be holy but are now struggling on earth fighting against Satan, the flesh and the world and becoming holy. So, the church on earth is not the fellowship of saints but it is the fellowship of those called to be saints and are becoming saints! We must know that priests and ministers of the Church are also part and parcel of this Church – the household of God.
What about the 99.94% of the Catholic priests who are not accused of any sexual scandal? They stand witness to the holiness of the Catholic Church through their practice of celibacy, and the journalists or the world media have nothing to say about them. The holiness of catholic priests centred around the practice of celibacy is the axle and epicentre for all mankind to receive power and grace to live a morally good life; and it is the power of the Catholic Church. There is a story that once a small statue fell down from the dome of a big cathedral and the journalists made photos and reports about it and made sensational news in all newspapers, magazines, TVs, etc. When they read about it with deep sorrow, they failed to know about the 999 good and big statues that were still standing on the same dome! The Catholic priests who live a holy life by the practice of celibacy know the power of it and radiate it on those among whom they work bringing them to holiness of life. I am a Catholic priest for the last 37 years, and have preached the Gospel in 97 countries in all 5 continents; and I have a retreat or a convention of 4 to 5 days every week. In all my works for the Lord and His Church I feel and experience the power of celibacy in my life. All my energies of sex and sexuality are surrendered to the action and unction of the Holy Spirit who sublimes them to supernatural energies to live and work for Jesus and His kingdom. In my last 34 years of preaching ministry, I have never come across with the accusation of anyone being misused or molested by a Catholic priest; but several times I have wept over those cases of children who were sexually misused by their parents or relatives.
It is a pity that the other denominations of Christianity who removed the truth of the Church, which is the foundation and pillar of truth and separated themselves from the Mother Church for their own selfish motives, are now decrying the faults of the Catholic Church with a very unchristian attitude. Already we saw that there are more paedophiles and sex abusers in those churches than in the Catholic Church. And they say that all this is because of the celibacy of the priests in the Catholic Church. The millions and millions of children abused in the world are not abused by catholic priests but by married people and even by their own parents. We must know that many pastors of those churches have divorced their wives, officially they have legalized abortion, divorce and homosexual unions. What is to say! They don’t only have women priests but they have lesbian priests and bishops. It is they who are trying to remove the splinter from the eyes of the Catholic Church unmindful of the beams which are on their own eyes. Today Christ should ask the conscience of those who accuse the Catholic Church, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (Jn 8: 7).
During this time of purification, the Church must be aware of what the Bible speaks, “Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your fellow believers throughout the world undergo the same sufferings” (I Pet 5: 8-9). “For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens” (Eph 6: 12). But she did not fear the assaults of the enemy because Jesus the Lord and Head of the Church is there to fight with her. The promise that Jesus had made to the first Pope Peter remains true even to the Pope today, “And I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosened in heaven” (Mt 16: 18-19). It is the Catholic Church, with the Pope as its head, which Jesus founded and He has given her the keys of the kingdom of God, and the gates of the netherworld will not prevail against it. When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they thought that His story ended, but it was only the beginning of the story.
The timely humiliation to which the Catholic Church has been dragged by the lies and calumniation of the journalists and the world media will end soon, the true Church of Christ, the Catholic Church, will triumph again as the light of the world to shed light and grace to all those who live in the shadow of sin and darkness specially of the sins of immorality, so that human beings created in God’s image and likeness which is holiness and goodness will again shine out in holiness of lives by the teachings of the Bible and the Church.
Be proud that you're a Catholic.
Written by Sam Miller, prominent Cleveland businessman – Jewish, not Catholic – is
fighting mad about & concentrated effort by the media to denigrate the Catholic Church in the USA.
I’m going to say things here today that many Catholics should have said 18 months ago. Maybe it’s easier for me to say because I am not Catholic, but I have had enough, more than enough, disgustingly enough.
During my entire life I’ve never seen a greater vindictive, more scurrilous, biased campaign against the Catholic Church as I have seen in the last 18 months, and the strangest thing is that it is in a country like the United States where there is supposed to be mutual respect and freedom for all religions.
This has bothered me because I too am a minority in this country. You see, unfortunately and I say this very advisedly the Catholics have forgotten that in the early 1850’s when the Italians, the Poles, the Latvians, the Lithuanians, all of Catholic persuasion, came to this country looking for opportunity because of famine, (particularly the Irish) they were already looked upon with derision, suspicion and hatred. Consequently the jobs they were forced to take were the jobs that nobody else wanted bricklayers, ditch diggers, Jewish junkmen, street cleaners, etc.
This prejudice against your religion and mine has never left this country and don’t ever forget it, and (sic) never will. Your people were called Papists, Waps, Guineas, frogs, fish eaters, ad infinitum.
And then after the
Civil War, around 1864, the fundamentalists, conservatives, Protestants
and a few WASP’s began planting burning crosses throughout the country,
particularly in the South.
And today; as far as I’m concerned, very little has changed. These gentlemen now have a new style of clothing they’ve gone from bed sheets to gentlemen’s suits.
There is a concentrated effort by the media today to totally denigrate in every way the Catholic Church in this country. You don’t find it this bad overseas at all. They have now blamed the disease of pedophilia on the Catholic Church, which is as irresponsible as blaming adultery on the institution of marriage. You and me have been living in a false paradise. Wake up and recognize that many people don’t like Catholics. What are these people trying to accomplish?
From the Sojourner’s Magazine dated August, 2002, listen carefully to a quote, “While much of the recent media hype has focused on the Catholic Church’s pedophilia scandal, relatively littleattention has been given to the high rate of sexual misconduct in the rest of American Christendom. This is truly a crisis that crosses the borders of all religions.”
Now let me give you some figures that you as Catholics should know and remember. For example, research by Richard Blackman at Fuller Theological Seminary shows that 12% of the 300 Protestant clergy surveyed admitted to sexual intercourse with a parishioner; 38% acknowledged other inappropriate sexual contact. In a 1990 study by the United Methodist Church, 41.8% of clergywomen reported unwanted sexual behavior by a colleague; 17% to laywomen said that their own pastors had sexually harassed them. Phillip Jenkins concludes in his book “Pedophiles and Priests” that while 1.7% of the Catholic clergy has been found guilty of pedophilia, 10% of Protestant ministers have been found guilty of pedophilia.
This is not a Catholic problem. This is a problem of pure prejudice. Why the papers, day after day, week after week, month after month, see fit to do nothing but come out with these scurrilous stories? When I spoke recently to one of the higher ups in the newspaper I said, “This is wrong”.He said, “Why, do you want us to shoot the messenger?” I said, “No, just change the message”. He said, “How?” I said, “I’ll tell you how”.
Obviously, this is not just a Catholic problem. And solutions must be broader and deeper than those carried out by Catholic cardinals. The whole church has a responsibility to offer decisive leadership in the area of sexual misconduct whether it is child abuse, sexual exploitation, or sexual harassment.
Recently, churches have shown unprecedented unity on issues of poverty and welfare reform. Now it is necessary to call for a broad based ecumenical council addressing the issue of sexual misconduct in the church not only the Catholic Church, all churches, including synagogues. Its goal would be transparency and openness in developing stringent, forward?looking guidelines, consistent with denominational distinctions, for preventing and addressing sexual misconduct within Christian churches and church?related institutions.
Such a council could include not only denominational representatives but also a majority presence from external organizations such as child protection agencies, law enforcement, psychiatric services, victims’ agencies, and legal and legislative representatives.
Crisis. “Crisis” in Chinese is one word. “Crisis” in Chinese means, on the one side, a real crisis problems etc., but the other side means great opportunity.
We have a great opportunity facing us. Crisis is often accompanied by an opportunity for extraordinary growth and leadership. We have that today. Even though you are the lowest ?? by far the lowest of any organized religion today when it comes to sexual harassment ?? American churches have a unique opening to develop and adopt a single set of policies, principles, practices, and common language on sexual misconduct in Christian institutions that is binding across denominations.
A system of cross denomination review boards could be established to help compliance and accountability. A centralized resource bank could be formed that provides church wide updates on new legal, financial, psychological and spiritual developments in the field. Guidelines, both moral and legal, could be established on how clergy, churches, and victims should best use civil and criminal actions in pursuit of justice and financial restitution for injury. A national database could be established with information on all applicants for ordination in any member Christian religion. Every diocese, conference, presbytery, and district could have a designated child protection representative whose job is to ensure that the policies and procedures are understood and implemented and that training is provided.
Any religious institution,
or system, that leaves power unexamined or smothers sexuality with silence
rather than promoting open conversation that can lead to moral and spiritual
maturity becomes implicated in creating an unhealthy and potentially abusive
environment. An ecumenical Christian council authentically dedicated to
strong moral leadership in the area of clergy sexual misconduct might move
the church beyond the extremes of policing our own or
abandoning our own.
For Christians, the true scandal is not about priests. It’s about a manipulation of power to abuse the weak. When Jesus said, “Whoever receives the child, receives me”, he was rebuking his followers for putting stumbling blocks in front of the defenseless. Church is supposed to be a place where one can lay one’s defenses down; where one is welcomed, embraced, and blessed. This can only be authentically expressed in a culture that requires absolute respect for each individual’s freedom and self hood. Until all churches bow humbly under the requirement, the indictments by wounded women and children will stand.
Just what are these Kangaroo journalists trying to accomplish? Think about it. If you get the New York Times day’ ,after day; the Los Angeles Times day after day, our own paper day after day………………….. looking at the record, some of these writers are apostates, Catholics or ex- Catholics who have been denied something they wanted from the Church and are on a mission of vengeance.
Why would newspapers carry on this vendetta on one of the most important institutions that we have today in the United States, namely the Catholic Church?
Do you know and maybe some of you don’t the Catholic Church educates 2.6 million students everyday, at cost to your Church of 10 billion dollars, and a savings on the other hand to the American taxpayer of 18 billion dollars. Needless to say, that Catholic education at this time stands head and shoulders above every other form of education that we have in this country. And the cost is approximately 30% less.
If you look at our own Cleveland school system, they can boast of an average graduation rate of 36%. Do you know what it costs you and me as far as the other 64% who didn’t make it?
Look at your own records. You (Catholic schools) graduate 89% of your students Your graduates in turn go on to graduate studies at the rate of 92%, and all at a cost to you. To the rest of the Americans it’s free, but it costs you Catholics at least 30% less to educate students compared to the costs that the public education system pays out for education that cannot compare.
Why? Why would these enemies of the Church try to destroy an institution that has 230 colleges and universities in the United States with an enrollment of 700,000 students?
Why would anyone want to destroy an institution like the Catholic Church which has a non profit hospital system of 637 hospitals which account for hospital treatment of 1 out of every 5 people not just Catholics in the . United States today?
Why would anyone want to destroy an institution like that? Why would anyone want to destroy an institution that clothes and feeds and houses the indigent 1 of 5 indigents in the United States, I’ve been to many of your shelters and no one asks them if you are a Catholic, a Protestant or a Jew; just “come, be fed, here’s a sweater for you and a place to sleep at night” at a cost to the Church of 2.3 billion dollars a year?
The Catholic Church today has 64 million members in the United States and is the largest nongovernmental agency in the country. It has 20,000 churches in this country alone. Every year they raise approximately $10 billion to help support these agencies.
Why, after the “respected” publication, the New York Times, running their daily expose’ on the Church, finally came to the conclusion of their particular investigation, which was ongoing for a long time. And guess what: buried in the last paragraph, they came up with a mouse. In their article “Decades of Damage” the Times reported that 1.8% of American priests were found guilty of this crime whereas your own Cardinal Ratzinger in Rome reported 1.7% the figure I gave you earlier.
Then again they launched an attack on the Church and its celibate priests. However, the New York Times did not mention in their study of American priests that most are happy in the priesthood and find it even better than they had expected, and that most, if given the choice, would choose to be priests again in the face of all this obnoxious PR the church has been receiving.
Why wouldn’t the New York Times, the paper of record they call themselves, mention this? You had to read it in the Los Angeles Times. The New York Times refused to print it. If you read only the New York Times, you would begin to believe that priests are cowards; craven; sexually frustrated; unhealthy criminals; that prey on the innocent. What a shame.
Sometimes freedom of the press should have some type of responsibility, too. So I say this to you: instead of walking around with a hangdog look ?? I talk to a lot of Catholics all the time, “how’s everything going?” ………… “Well, in the face of things I guess okay”. That’s the wrong answer! The wrong answer!
Also, I ran into a fellow who said they started a discussion at some social function on pedophilia and he said, “I excused myself and left the room.” I said, “why did you do that?” “Well, you know how it is”.
I believe that if Catholics had the figures that I enumerated here, you don’t have to be ashamed of anything. Not only are you as good as the rest, but you’re better, in every respect.
The Catholic Church helps millions of people every day of the week, every week of the month, and every month of the year. People who are not Catholics, and I sit on your Catholic Foundation and I can tell you, and what I am telling you is so. Priests have their problems, they have their failings just as you and I in this room do, but they do not deserve to be calumniated as they have been. In small measure let’s give the media its due. If it had not come out with this story of abusive priests, (but they just as well could have mentioned reverends, pastors and rabbis and whatever), probably little or nothing would have been. done. But what bothers me the most is this has given an excuse to every Catholic hater and Catholic basher to come out loudly for the denigration of your Church.
If some CEO’s are crooks it does not follow that every CEO is crooked; and if some priests are sexually ill it does not follow that all are sick. And your Church teaches that you’ve got to take in the sick and a priest who is this way has to be taken in and cannot be thrown out the 21st story of a building. He’s got to be looked upon and given the same type of health that you would give anybody who has a broken leg or cancer or whatever.
The Church today, and when I say the Church keep in mind I am talking about the Catholic Church, is bleeding from self-inflicted wounds. The agony that Catholics have felt and suffered is not necessarily the fault of the Church. You have been hurt by an infinitesimally small number of wayward priests that, I feel, have probably been totally weeded out by now.
You see, the Catholic Church is much too viable to be put down by the New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Cleveland Plain Dealer take your choice, they can’t do it, they’re not going to do it and sooner or later they are going to give up. But you’ve got to make sure that you don’t give up first.
In 1799 a notice was placed in a French newspaper that a citizen Brachi had died in prison. Little did the people realize that this was Pope Pius VI who had occupied the Chair of Saint Peter for 25 years. He had been taken prisoner by Napoleon’s forces and died in prison as an indigent. At that time the thought was that this was the end of the Catholic Church, this was 200 and some odd years ago. And the reason was that there was no Pope to succeed him at that time.
But you fooled them then, and we’re going to fool them again.
I’ve been talking more or less about the United States of America as far as the importance of the Church. Let’s bring it home to Cuyahoga County and the seven surrounding counties.
In education, you save the county 420 million dollars per year. Wherever there’s a Church and most other churches have fled the inner city there’s a Catholic Church; and wherever there’s a Catholic Church there’s an absence of drug dealers. You talk to any bank that has real estate mortgages in the inner city, and they will tell you that the one thing that keeps up the value in that particular area is your Church. I’ve seen, for example, on Lorain near the Metro Catholic Schools there at the Church the nuns used to go out in the morning with brooms and sweep away the drug dealers from around the particular area.
On Health and Human Services, the homeless, adoption, drugs, adult care and so on, you saved the county 170 million dollars a year.
At the end of the day the difference that your local Catholic institutions make in the eight counties that comprise this diocese are several billion dollars per year.
Why don’t we hear about this? Why, because it’s good news. If some priest was caught with his hand in the collection plate it would be front page news. But the fact that you have thousands of students being education (sic) free, as far as the rest of the country is concerned, doesn’t make news. Why? Because it is not newsworthy, it’s not dirty.
I’m not here to deny freedom of the press, but I believe that with freedom comes responsibility, and with rights you have an obligation. You cannot have rights that are irresponsible.
Unfortunately, our society today is protected by all rights and ruled by some of their wickedness. Anybody who expects to reap the benefits of freedom must understand the total fatigue of supporting it. The most important element of political speech, as Aristotle taught, is the character of the speaker. In this respect, no matter what message a man brings in, it shouldn’t collide with his character.
The other day was shocked when I opened up America, a Catholic magazine, and my good friend Cardinal Keeler, who is a very dear friend of mine, was being fingerprinted by the Baltimore police not for a crime, but as part of the new law put in place that all members of the Church hierarchy must be fingerprinted.
Amos, of the Old Testament, accused the people of Samaria in words that seared and phrases that smote. They “cram their palaces,” he said, “with violence and extortion.” They had “sold the upright for silver and the poor for a pair of sandals” from Gucci, no doubt. But he also said that all this could be reversed, if only the people of Samaria would turn away from their own self absorption and toward those who, however silently, cry out for help. “Then,” promised Amos, “shall your justice flow like water and your compassion like a never failing stream” (Amos 5:24)
The worst feature of contemporary society is its tendency to leave each of us Locked up in himself or herself, connection less. To lessen this isolation we have developed all kinds of therapies spiritual, psychological, and physical front groups that meet and talk endlessly all day long in spas week spas, month spas, life spas. But none of these things, from primal screams to herbal wrap, seem to be doing the trick, any more than the huge houses and wine parties the.: the Samaritan did.
What we need to do is open our heart to the plight of others, even some of your priests who have been condemned. They’re human beings and they should be shown the same type of compassion we have shown anybody who is critically ill. We need to open our hearts to the plights of others, like our hearts were a dam, so that indeed our justice and compassion may flow to all.
What is essential is that each of us steps forward to hold out our hand to someone. There is no other way to walk with God.
One of the biggest Catholic bashers in the United States wrote “Only a minority, a tiny minority of priests, have abused the bodies of children.” He continues, “I am not advocating this course of action, but as much as I would like to see the Roman Catholic Church ruined. I hate opportunistically retrospective litigation even more.”
Now he’s talking about our tort monsters. “Lawyers who grow fat by digging up dirt on long?forgotten wrongs and hounding their aged perpetrators are no friends of mine.”
I’m still quoting this man, “All I’m doing” he said, “is calling attention to an anomaly. By all means, let’s kick a nasty institution when it is down, but there are better ways than litigation.” These words are from a Catholic hater.
I never thought in my life I would ever see these things.
Walk with your shoulders
high and your head higher. Be a proud member of the most important non
governmental agency today in the United States. Then remember what Jeremiah
said: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where
the good way is and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.” And be proud,
speak up for your faith with pride and reverence and learn what your Church
does for all other religions. Be proud that you’re a Catholic.
NOTE: Even though of the Jewish faith, Miller has been a staunch supporter of the Cleveland Diocese and Bishop Anthony Pilla. It was published in the May-June issue of the Buckeye Bulletin.
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