The Archbishop of Adelaide, Australia, has been convicted of failing to report the sexual abuse of minors by a fellow priest in the 1970s. He may spend a year under “house arrest,” wearing an ankle bracelet. He retains his office as of this writing.
The news may not shock us, for the seemingly endless disclosures of immorality and criminality among Catholic clergy worldwide have left us numb. That this case involves an archbishop, however, rather than a mere priest, has caused some to note approvingly that prosecutors now appear willing to take on the hierarchy of the Church. That priests have gone to jail for their hideous crimes is one thing; for an archbishop to go to jail (even within his own episcopal residence) is something else again. It is as though a general were court-martialed, instead of a private.
But the crucial fact to note in the archbishop’s case is that he has been convicted, not for something he did, but for something he didn’t do. The priest accused of the actual abuse was, some years later, convicted of nine criminal counts of sexual abuse, sentenced to prison and died shortly thereafter. The archbishop’s claim that the abuser always seemed to him to be a fine fellow and that he hadn’t the slightest knowledge or suspicion of his crimes failed to convince the court. His lawyer tried to argue it both ways, claiming the archbishop, then a priest serving in the same parish with the offender, did not know in the 1970s that sexually molesting children was a criminal offense that ought to be reported. Again, the court was not convinced.
It seems highly improbable, to say the least, that the archbishop knew nothing about the inclinations and activities of his fellow priest, especially when such was reported to him by two of his victims. His Excellency says he has no recollection of receiving such information at the time. It would be wonderfully refreshing for once to have a member of the hierarchy admit his crime, beat his breast, beg forgiveness and ask for a stiff sentence. Don’t expect to see it anytime soon.
The main thing, the central thing, the HUGE THING that must be realized now is that not only the Archbishop of Adelaide, but many, perhaps the majority, of priests and bishops in the Catholic Church are GUILTY! Many priests are homosexual, a relatively small number of whom have abused or are abusing children. The real problem is not pedophilia among the clergy, hideous as this may be, but widespread homosexuality and the networks of power spawned by this perversion. It must be recognized that to a large extent homosexuals control the chancery offices and seminaries and their reach extends deep inside the Vatican.
The concentrated attention given to pedophilia among priests is something of a red herring. It draws the public eye away from the principal corruption that is rotting the Church from within. Until this is admitted, no commission or statement or investigation of sexual abuse will be more than a public relations exercise and a distraction from the essential issue.
If a good priest knows of another priest who is a homosexual, if he knows of a priest who may pose a danger to young men or children over whom he exerts power, he must speak up and tell his bishop. In certain cases, he must go to the police directly, especially if he has witnessed his bishop or chancery officials turning a blind eye to sexual abusers or covering up for them or transferring them. The Church is not a criminal tribunal, a law unto itself.
But, some may argue, were a good priest to accuse another priest to his bishop, or report him to the police, that could end his clerical career. He would, at the least, become a pariah in his diocese or religious community. SO WHAT!?!?!
Should our good priest say, along with the Pope, “Who am I to judge?” and shrug off his responsibility to the innocent, to the laity, to the Church, to Christ? Should he reason thus: “If I speak out, I’ll be destroyed. If I remain silent, I may do some good for some people.”? What about the souls his silence will condemn to the predations of perverted priests? Are they to be regarded as collateral damage? Are some souls expendable in the pursuit of a supposedly greater good? Can an evil means ever justify a good end?
The recent disclosure about the homosexual activities of Cardinal McCarrick, former Archbishop of Washington, D.C., has made it plain that his orientation and abusive behavior were widely known. Some of his victims were even paid off to keep things quiet. Many journalists have come forward to say they knew of McCarrick’s reputation for decades, as did many in the hierarchy, including those in Rome.
Yet, he was made a cardinal. And he was able to influence the choice of bishops in the United States. It is only now, in his extreme old age, that the scandal that was his life as priest and bishop has come into the public spotlight. How many more McCarricks and how many of their proteges sit at the tables of power in the Catholic Church? Silence and the desire to avoid scandal have aided and abetted their criminality and corruption.
The time has come, indeed, it is long past due, to clean the Augean stable of the Church. It will be a Herculean undertaking, for so deep is the dung piled over so vast a field that it may be difficult to know where to begin. But we must start somewhere, anywhere.
If each one of us were to ask his parish priest whether he knows of another priest or religious who is homosexual, that would be a start. If he admits to such knowledge, the next step would be to ask him to report it to his bishop or superior. If the priest should balk at the suggestion, he is not a man to be trusted with the care of your soul or that of your children. That’s a simple and incontrovertible fact, but one that may not be easy to accept for all that. But we can no longer, in any way, continue to be complicit in the homosexual takeover of the Catholic clergy without staining our souls with the sins we enable.
The military academies have a four-point honor code: one may not lie, cheat or steal or tolerate anyone who does. The fourth point – not tolerating the prohibited behavior – enjoins on the cadet the responsibility of reporting any abuse of the honor code of which he has knowledge. Should he fail to report such abuse, he is held to be equally guilty of the offense and is punished accordingly, usually with expulsion.
The honor code among the Catholic clergy appears to be: Look the other way. This must end. Now!