Fifty-eight men have been accused of molesting or raping young children in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee since 2003. This particular archdiocese was a hotbed for these allegations and continues to be a center of controversy among Catholics and Catholic opponents.
The Archdiocese recently changed their online site to say, “All reports of sexual abuse are forwarded to civil authorities.” Well, bravo.
It only took you a few millennia to clear that one up, and God knows that wasn’t your policy until a few brave young men and women came out and filed official reports.
While I was in my hairdresser’s salon, I was astonished to hear a few Catholics from this very diocese (where I am from) talking about the incident.
This included one devout Catholic man and a sister of my sixth grade parochial school teacher.
The man and woman’s conversation started out with the news they had heard of the Catholic Church attempting to reunite these child rapists with their victims to make some “amends.” Needless to say, they were inspired—inspired at the idea of reuniting these children with the people who have left them with horrendous memories for the rest of their lives.
I would like to propose that this is not only a horrific idea, but one that I believe many Catholics can stand against. One can only speculate whether or not such an action would be attempted if these convicted criminals did not have the label of “Father” before their name.
I would like to speculate that they would not.
Only an institution which tried to cover up these scandals would attempt such a reprehensible “reuniting.”
The conversation did not stop there. The two then had the discussion that they didn’t think it was right that their church donations were going to the families and victims of these horrific offenses. What was their reasoning? “Well, it wasn’t our priests that did it.”
At what point did it become okay to say that the world’s biggest business (and that’s what the Catholic Church is—a corporation) cannot give to the victims of the outrageous offenses committed by their very ordained?
This is the same church, remind you, that uses the Bible, which says to give everything you own to the poor and live a simple life.
This is the same church that sits its highest officials in a multi-billion dollar palace in Rome, places their pope on a golden throne, and clothes themselves in the most ornate and decadent outfits money can buy.
Let’s put aside past regressions, like the Inquisition, the Crusades, or the execution of the most brilliant scientist known to man. Let’s put aside its condemnation of natural law as church heresy or its constant battle with advocates of marriage equality in every country it can put its wealthy hands on.
I’d like to make a proposition. I am a democrat—a liberal one, at that.
If I found out that over the span of 20 years the Democratic Party has hidden countless sex scandals involving young children (58 from one diocese, remember), I would immediately withdraw my support, without question and without hesitation.
But Catholics, at least in America, preach the “few bad apples” hypothesis and expect us to write it off. It’s not so easy for me, you see. Even if I were able to write off the countless offenses to humanity as a whole over the past millennium, this would be enough to withdraw my support.
I was never a Catholic apologist to begin with, but let me tell you, nothing is more telling than hearing Catholics complain about money being given to the children who their priests raped.
I would like to assert a simple question: when are we going to move past the era where regular Americans can sit back and give institutions a free ride for committing heinous acts of remarkable proportions and continue participating in the very same institutions?
At what point will we stop giving “due” respect to an institution which literally watched while their priests raped children and tried to cover it up?
The Catholic Church would love for this scandal to go away, but I refuse to let it.
I pulled my last straw from the Church many years ago, but the insanity refuses to stop.