Points on Pedophiliac Priests
Pedophilia by priests is an abomination because it is wrong in itself and because it is betrayal by a person who was called by God to serve him and others.
Scandal from pedophiliac priests is also an abomination. Jesus said, “It would be better to have a millstone placed around your head and be thrown into the sea than to scandalize even one of my little ones.”
Pedophiliac priests are not entitled to any immunity in civil or criminal law from the consequences of their conduct.
Most of the media reports are not of acts of pedophilia but of homosexual acts. “Pedophilia” is sexual contact with a child who has not yet reached puberty, around age thirteen. Of course, this explanation is no justification of priestly homosexual acts with minors, which also involve an abuse of power by their superior age and authority. The media, by and large, have chosen not to delve into this aspect of the story for fear of being labeled homophobic.
The media should be fair and report that pedophilia by Catholic priests is no more prevalent proportionality than pedophilia by Protestant clergies or married persons. This is no justification for pedophilia; it just shows that the media presents this as only a “Catholic priest problem”.
Bishops should report all reasonably grounded accusations of pedophilia to law enforcement authorities if the victim consents.
Many accusations were not reported in the past because the Bishops were focused on rehabilitation and sent the accused to rehabilitation centers. Doctors certified many of them as suitable for pastoral ministry. There is no evidence of any conspiracy to protect them and enable them to continue their pedophilia, as the media suggests. The mistake of some bishops was that they treated pedophilia like a disease that could be cured by counseling. They should have treated it as an abominable sin, removed the pedophile from the occasions of sin (pastoral ministry with children) and sent them to monasteries for their conversion.
This is not an issue of celibacy, because marriage is not a cure for pedophilia. There are proportionately as many married pedophiliacs as priest pedophiliacs. Pedophilia is not a disease; it is a grievous sin. The only cure for pedophilia is total repentance, conversion, forgiveness, restitution to victims and a chaste life by God’s grace.
Jesus is purifying his church by allowing the media to expose this grave sin. In the mystery of God’s providence, he allows evil so that some greater good may come from it. (His crucifixion caused his resurrection). What the pedophiliac priests did in the dark is now brought to the light. Guilty priests will go to jail or be removed from ministry. Hopefully, victims will be healed. There will be zero tolerance for this in the future.
Jesus had eleven good apostles and one betrayer. The number of good priests will always be greater than the betrayers. Jesus said that he’d be with his church to the end of time and the gates of hell will never prevail against it.
Some people are weakening in their faith because of the scandal. It was like this in the 16th century in Europe when many priests lived with mistresses, sold indulgences and caused grave scandal. This is what St. Francis de Sales said about that and it applies equally to us:
He said, “Those who commit these types of scandals are guilty of the spiritual equivalent of murder,” because they destroyed other people’s faith in God by their terrible example. But then he warned his listeners, “But I’m here among you to prevent something far worse for you. While those who give scandal are guilty of the spiritual equivalent of murder, those who take scandal — who allow scandals to destroy their faith — are guilty of spiritual suicide.” They’re guilty, he said, of cutting off their life with Christ, abandoning the source of life in prayer and the sacraments, especially the Eucharist.
So we must strengthen our faith, hope and love through personal holiness. We’re called to be saints and our society needs to see this beautiful face of the Church. We’re all a part of the solution – that is to become a holy church.
Let us pray for the conversions of pedophiliac priests’, for the healings of their victims, for a pure, holy and celibate priesthood and for a holy church.