For the Catholic Church the spiritual effects of the diocese have been devastating.
The attack on the sacramental nature of the church is obvious and comes not just from the child molestation scandal but an overall failure of the Bishops.
There is a threefold attack on the church.
First on the Sacramental Priesthood.
A great document to read is SACERDOTALIS CAELIBATUS, which is a document explaining the beauty and graces bestowed on the celibate priesthood. In light of this document we have to ask ourselves about the loss of graces to this diocese and its priesthood by all of the sexual exploits of its clergy and religious. In the movie spotlight a statistic is quoted that over 50 percent of the priest are or have been sexually active. In our diocese, from my discoveries, I believe this number was much closer to 75 percent. This broke down between child molesters, priests with boyfriends and priest with girl friends or wives.
The priesthood also suffered from a dysfunctional fraternity as you can imagine. These men had very little in common in that they did not even share the same faith. This caused a number of men to fall away and leave the priesthood. Priests who tried to live holy lives were often confronted by those who chose to do evil and had the backing and protection of the diocese. I state this often, but people have to understand, that most of the priests behaving badly were promoted and run the diocese. The humble faithful priests are the outsiders. The priests have told me over the years that their “fraternity” just does not exist as it should.
I do believe that recently, we have stemmed the tide of child molesters and sexually dysfunctional men entering the seminaries. There was a past problem where good men trying to enter the priesthood we either screened out or harassed to the point of quitting. We have one priest who left and returned but the second time was placed with a good priest. His first mentor priest described Adoration of the Eucharist as "cookie worship".
Second, is the attack on the Eucharist itself and the sacrifice of the mass. Priests in a state of mortal sin offering mass commit a sacrilege. Simply put that although the mass is valid the graces derived from them is not the same.
Finally in our diocese we have decimated to sacrament of reconciliation.
This might be the greatest tragedy of all. Simply put many confessionals are unsafe.
We have had reoccuring stories of the misuse of the confessionals.
This ranges from inappropriate confessions, to touching, to sexual molestations. I believe this is what has damaged the church the most. This beautiful sacrament has been and I believe continues to be a place for perverted priests to sexually gratify themselves. To spread their false teachings so as to influence the world. To convince your children to join them in a life of sin.
I heard this wonderful saying years ago....It is much easier to make Christ like us than it is to become like Christ.
It sickened and saddened me to think that the sacrament itself would be so abused. There were the victim stories of how they were molested in the confessional. We had priest placing their hands on the boys thighs asking about their sexual sins. We have priests today asking inappropriate questions of a sexual nature. Asking kids if they are sexually active or passing them notes asking if they masterbate.
I was told of a current active priest who advised the confessor to sleep with him to show him there was nothing wrong with sleeping with a man.
According to articles from other kids (now adults) one priest would message them after confession asking for more details on their sexual sins.
One of the comments I hear from adults is some of this sex is consensual, so they have no problem with this.
I have a real problem with this line of thought and so should any Catholic!
First of all because our priests are to be celibate, but also because of the role of the priest.
People have opened up their hearts to them on a level far surpassing that of a professional counselor or doctor. Some of these priests have degrees in this field.
We do not tolerate for a second a counselor who used the personal knowledge gained in sessions to sleep with their patient.
How would we feel if the physician dates our daughter after he gets to know her better in an exam room?
These breaches of professional ethics are not be tolerated in society. Why then are we ok when our priests sleep with our sons or daughters. When you go for divorce counseling are you hoping to end up in bed with your priests? Do we really think this is ok?
The confessional is also the primary place one would go for spiritual advice. Do we want our sons and daughters getting sexual advice from priests who cannot control themselves? Do we want our kids groomed into immoral lifestyles so our priests have someone to sleep with?
This is what has happened, and this is why your son or daughter may have left the church! Joseph Sciambra gives a telling example of how lost our priests are, and the trouble finding the faith in this culture.
The confessional is also the first place a person who has been abused might go to bring their problem to another priest. I hear unending stories of bad confessions. People have brought these problems and concerns to their priests sometimes to be rebuffed. Rebuffed because the priest is also doing the same thing or were in denial of what was going on in their ranks. If you look at the parishes which had child molesters in many many cases they were replaced by child molesters. The first person you would go to if your priest was a child molester is the new priest.
I have repeated stories of children molested by more than one priest, ie our kids were passed around to their friends.
To this day I hesitate to send people to confession unless I know where they are going and who is in the box.
It is not a safe spiritual exercise in our diocese, because simply put, too many men are not living the faith and our bishop seems fine with that.