The Catholic Church is badly adrift
The news that US Catholic Bishops are considering denying
President Biden holy communion, over his public stand on abortion, really hit a nerve with me. It takes a lot of gall, given the many missteps committed by the Church, for them to pursue such a frivolous campaign.
The Catholic Church is sadly and badly adrift. They’ve lost their moral rudder.
And just in case people think I want to cheaply heap scorn on the church, I am a Catholic. During my youth, I served as an alter boy and usher. I was quite involved with my local parish. I was a believer. But now, like so many in the dwindling flock, I have become disillusioned and ashamed of my Church.
The Church leadership can no longer ignore the profound internal decay. They must clean their own House, if they are to lead the global congregation by example. A litany of compelling issues awaits, including the few below.
First, Biden is only the second Catholic President in US history. He is a man of faith, has experienced multiple personal tragedies, continues to be a empathetic public servant, and actually took the time to attend Mass on the very day of his inauguration. The Church should count it’s blessings and celebrate his leadership, rather than questioning whether he is fit for communion. You don’t need a report from Bishops. Just like years ago, when the Canadian Church considered going after Prime Minister Chretien for the same ‘offence’. How petty. Talk about fiddling while your House is burning.
Second, the Church should finally ordain women priests. There is an acute shortage of priests across the globe. More importantly, welcoming women into the fold would allow the Church to catch up with other societal institutions, who are becoming gender inclusive, and benefiting immeasurably from providing women a meaningful place in their organizations. As we are all supposedly created equal, how can the Church, in 2021, continue to exclude women from the priesthood?
Third, allow priests to marry. Celibacy makes no sense. Worse, it has led to an extensive sexual abuse epidemic that has profoundly shaken people’s trust. Abusing youngsters, while professing that we should all love and serve the Lord, is the height of a sickening hypocrisy. Priests would be capable of serving their God and their immediate family. In fact, I would argue that this would make them better servants of the people, as they would be more understanding of the everyday challenges that families face.
Fourth, stop the double standard over homosexuality. Church leaders continue to deny the rights that belong to all of God’s children. In the explosive book, ‘In the Closet of the Vatican’, by the French writer, Frédéric Martel, he reveals with exhaustive research, the double lives of priests, the widespread use of gay dating apps, Cardinals living with their young ‘assistants’, orgies in the Vatican, and the massive cover up of sexual abuse cases. The central and disturbing question of the book is, if the Vatican and the global Church can turn a blind eye on homosexuality within their ranks, why callously wage war on homosexuals outside the church?
Finally, rather than generating more excuses, Pope Francis should issue an immediate and formal apology to Canada’s Indigenous community for the abuse that their children suffered under the former Residential School system, which was predominantly run by the Catholic Church.
The recent discovery of hundreds of graves at former residential schools in British Columbia and Saskatchewan was particularly disturbing and heart wrenching. It constitutes a huge stain on the integrity of the Church. Unfortunately, more unmarked graves will likely be discovered across the country. In the face of such heinous crimes, it is simply inconceivable that the Church cannot bring itself to say sorry.
The Church has many sins to answer for. It is overdue for a lengthy confession. Granted, it’s clergy are mere mortals, and therefore prone to committing mistakes. But it is their refusal to recognize and account for their trespasses that is most unconscionable. As such, these travesties undermine its soul, blinds its vision, and offends millions of followers. Where have all the good shepherds gone?
The Pope and his Church must radically change course if they are to have a sustainable future. Attack the decay. End the hypocrisy. Renew people’s faith. And abandon the strategy of deflection and the pursuit of senseless ‘rabbit tracks’. If not, the Church will eventually and deservedly wither into irrelevancy.