A war without leaders
The Lantern Volume 13
Just the other day a man approached me and asked “do you think the other priests in our diocese knew what was going on with all of these child molestations”. I told him, to some degree I was sure of this, because it was admitted to me by other priests. Even for the uninformed this is not hard to conclude since priests gather together for so many events, hear each others confessions and this abuse problem is so wide spread.
My wife and I are always discussing the priests that have not been caught up in this scandal.
We have priests who have known of the infidelities and crimes of their brethren and have done little or nothing. Or those who now know the extent of it and think, it is business as usual, they won’t get involved. They behave like they can just go about their daily lives and not engage in combating the evil around us. This sounds harsh, but the priests who were trying to live good lives by their inaction, have allowed this terrible picture of the priesthood to be painted. Where were you then, and where are you now? As the saying goes, If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.
In my personal discussions many priests explain that they must be obedient to their bishop who in some cases are plain evil and in many cases seem compromised or involved in some way. The scripture reminds us “he who receives you received me”. When we obey God’s followers we are obeying God. But we must ask ourselves, what if they are not God’s followers? The Nuremberg trials should have taught our generation that the excuse “I was just following orders” is not an excuse to ignore horrific behavior.
Do you consider God’s faithful followers rapists, sodomizers, and fornicators who have encouraged, hidden and participated in a generation of crimes? I think not. Ask yourself, where and when do you draw the line?!
From the thousands of priests across the country we have very few taking action. Yes, we hear a few sermons every time someone gets arrested or removed or exposed. This will not fix the problem. There are still hundreds of bad priests or men posing as such. How do you stand out, or are you the lukewarm that the scriptures warns us about?
We are starting to see the good faithful Bishops and other hierarchy coming together to fight this evil, this corruption from within. Good priests need to follow their lead, real priests need to step forward. If your bishop is a pervert in either a sexual manner or a theological manner then don’t invite him to your parish. Why would you give bad example? Have you asked your bishop to resign? There is no disobedience in this. As a pastor it is your responsibility to protect your flock.
Although many are just fornicators themselves or support a subverted priesthood, the excuse evil Bishops and Cardinals have told us is that they hid these crimes to avoid scandal. The need to avoid scandal in these mens eyes was so important that they justified endless sexual assaults. Now, they are the scandal, so why have they not resigned? If you follow their “scandal logic” then you should demand they resign and tell then this is based on their direction.
If someone told me they hid or turned away from people being sexually abused by priests I would not want them in my home or around my children. So why are they invited to our parish? My mother taught me you don’t play with people like this, they are a bad influence. Why would anyone go to services they promote or attend? No one should be around them. A perverted Bishops does not lead, he does not give Christian example, he only corrupts.
I see this throughout our diocese. Parishes run by priests who could not control themselves teaching a faith that is foreign to Christ. Orthodox believers and followers are minimized because they won’t help cover up the misdeeds and crimes of their fellow priests. It is a sickness that envelops many diocese like ours and the Bishops are the problem.
The optimistic faithful hope this will go away with and influx of new priests, but it will not.
A household of iniquity will not bring forth holiness in its inhabitants whether in the domestic household or the rectories. These are all too simplistic sentiments for ignoring a war that surrounds us or wishful thinking the evil will just go away with time.
Our Church is Holy, and it is far past the time for all good priests to join the rest of us and fight for it. One cannot sermonize to the people in the pews weekly but never address the stench in their midst.
We are in a war with leaders who seem unwilling to fight. The faithful can’t help but wonder and watch this tragedy unfold. When will those truly called by God to be His ministers gather and set the example?