Tuesday, August 28, 2018

On The Systemic Pedophilia Culture of The Roman Catholic Church

I have recently seen statistics of the pedophilia that occurs in many religious denominations. It is true that in some interpretations of the statistics, the Roman Catholic Church is not the most prolific offender, however, the statistics do not take into account the ecclesiastical structure of each denomination listed. In many cases, there is no hierarchy or a less cohesive one. Many of the reported cases are from independent groups with no accountability or hierarchy, an individual pastor or youth pastor is arrested, etc. The statistics are taken from arrest records and public reporting. It seems, however, that others, who are more organized, may be more practiced at not getting caught.

The Roman Catholic Church is the epitome of church hierarchal structures. It is top-down, with bishops and dioceses and international, national, state, regional and local clerical supervisors. It is somewhat revealing that defenders of the hierarchy in the matter of systemic pedophilia,  use the reasoning, "Well, we aren't the worst." This is nothing but deflection. The Roman Catholic Church is the worst because they not only have a systemic culture of pedophilia but a systemic culture of hierarchical cover-up. Their established and written rules in dealing with individuals who commit acts against children are indictable.

"Render unto Ceasar that which is Ceasar's and unto God that which is God's," shows us not only the sin of the individuals who prey on children but the equal sin of a church that allows it. Pedophilia is a crime and failure to report a crime is a crime. That it takes the civil authorities, investigators, and journalists to expose the systemic culture of the crime of the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, shows it has abdicated its heavenly mandate. That the Roman Catholic Church is well practiced at avoiding detection of its crimes shows it has abdicated its righteous standing as the body of Christ and has given in to a carnal syndicate mentality. Reporting a crime, by one of its clergy, to authorities, should be the first act. In America and most other civilized nations, no one is above the law, no politician, and certainly no clergy.

The 300 priests, indicted in Pennsylvania, should be arrested and tried as should all others who have been exposed at various times. The Bishops who supervised them should be investigated and if found to be accessories, be arrested and tried. The Pope, who is now accused of covering up the crime of one of his bishops, should be investigated, and if found to be an accessory to a crime, arrested and tried. He should be, but I am not privy to the agreement between the governments of Italy and the Vatican. It is possible that no pope can be indicted by civil authorities. It is possible that there is some sort of immunity such as the United States Government affords a visiting diplomatic dignitary. "Raped a kid did ya?! Well, we are sending you home for that." In any case, Roman Catholic Clergy in America have no such immunity. If Jerry Sandusky were a Catholic Priest perhaps he would have just been given counseling and assigned to another university.

The Eastern Orthodox Church is not without it perpetrators of such crimes. But it is not a top-down ecclesiastical body. Good and faithful Bishops must act according to the principles of the scripture and abide by the civil laws of the country in which they serve. Pedophilia happens in the Orthodox Church, but a systemic culture in the Orthodox church is harder to achieve and harder to determine. One must have hope in the public reports of Orthodox Bishops dealing quickly and decisively with its clergy who commit such sins/crimes against children. If, in any case, a bishop or priest or another clergy in any Orthodox jurisdiction follows the current and historical practice of the Roman Catholic Church, the same scriptural and civil laws should apply- investigate-arrest-trial.

Anyone, be they layman or clergy, who reports or turns in a perpetrator of a crime in the church, the body of Christ, is performing a righteous act, a holy act in the spirit of Christ even if he disobeys the edict of the hierarchy. One must first and foremost obey Christ. Yes. the hierarchy is the representative of Christ in the Church, but an edict by such is null, void, and powerless if it is an edict to participate in a sin against the body Christ Himself. In this case, one must disobey in order to be in true obedience. One must be willing to suffer the ire or repercussions of man in order to serve Christ and inherit His Kingdom:

"Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
It is a deception for layman or clergy to think that silence, privacy, keeping it in-house, dealing with the perpetrator in equal measure to the victim, is the more righteous endeavor for the reputation of the Church. The position that the Church as a whole must be protected from public scandal because the sins of the clergy do not negate the power of the sacraments, is untenable.

Rod Dreher, the Senior Editor of the American Conservative, in his article, "Priest: Here’s Why Bishops Cover Up Abuse", speaks to this issue: 
"It is true that the validity of the sacraments do not depend on the worth of the priest through whose hands they are consecrated — this is true in the Orthodox Church as well — but this truth can easily be perverted into indifferentism toward the subjective character of the Christian life, and conversion. Many Catholics I know have had to compartmentalize their spiritual lives to deal with this scandal and other related scandals among the clergy, repeating to themselves the dogmatic truth (and I believe it is true, just so you understand me clearly) that however faithless, cowardly, and corrupt the priest may be, the Eucharist really is the Body of Christ. God bless them for that; I did that for a couple of years, but couldn’t keep it up. The thing is, though, when bishops and priests treat the Eucharist and the laity with such contempt, people may cease to believe in the authority of those priests when they teach that this is what the Eucharist is, and what the sacraments are. It begins to look like a sham."

So what is the Church to do with clergy who repeatedly have committed acts of immorality? Well, let the civil authorities do what they must, but we must also follow the scripture.

 "A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump."

"It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate... And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this? 
Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 
I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. 
What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside.
 Expel the wicked person from among you.

What is the result of failing to expel from the Church such perpetrators, especially perpetrators who are clergy?

"Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men."
It seems there is a substantial amount of trodding going on and the Roman Catholic Church is now under the foot of men. Be wary and be careful, Orthodox brethren, lest we too lose our savour. 

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