Three weeks ago, I preached at all the Masses about the current scandal in the Church. Several times in that homily (which you can read on the website), I called out those bishops and priests who tried to hide the truth, to call a sin a sin. Now, in reaction to the complacency and silence, the truth is coming out, thanks be to God. Though it is difficult to face, it will set us free and the Church will be healed when we stand for the truth.
Precisely because so many have failed to call a sin a sin and have kept silent, the Church has lost credibility and many non Catholics and those who have left the Church feel justified in their lack of faith. Which is why, now more than ever, we, the Church must stand by the truth, and in our brokenness and humility, reveal the truth for the world to see—we too must call sin a sin.
Somewhat lost in this scandal, is the fact that this year is the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, the papal encyclical, in which Pope Paul VI, instead of going along with the modern culture, reemphasized the truth of human sexuality and prophesied consequences if we do not follow the truth of Christ and the Church's teaching. All of those consequences have come true today. If you haven't read that short but powerful document, please do, because you have a responsibility to share the truth. We have several copies in our library, or you can find it easily online.
The TRUTH about this scandal: Over 81% of the abuse was not pedophilic in nature, but homosexual, meaning that these priests abused adolescent boys and young men, many of them seminarians. As sad and tragic as all abuse is, that is the truth. Of course, the non-Catholics are pointing fingers at us, but we need to not hide the facts in silence, but proclaim it humbly to the culture—to the same culture that is pushing the Church to accept homosexual behavior. I can hear the thinking of the culture: "if homosexual actions weren't so shunned and called a sin, then the priests wouldn't have abused those innocent young men and seminarians, because then they would have their 'needs' met." FALSE! The problem isn't just that homosexual actions are a sin, but rather the mentality that sexual activity — whether homosexual or heterosexual—is a so-called right and need. In truth, homosexual actions and lifestyle will destroy the culture just as adultery and pornography are destroying marriages. The greater sin was that the so-called moral leaders could not live up to Christ's teachings on sexuality. Sex is not a right or a need that someone must have satisfied, but is rather a gift that is to be given freely for the unity of a married male and female and for the procreation of children. When we consider sex to be a right or a need, then we are no better than those priests and other men and women who rape or abuse others. In truth, living like sex is a right or need is not freedom, but only keeps a person in the vicious cycle of isolation and shame, just ask anyone addicted to pornography. Indeed, anytime we treat sex as a right or a need, then we are destroying the very fabric of society, the family. And so, yes, it is time that the Church stand up and call a sin a sin, but this time, to also stand up and speak the whole truth—not only of the sin and shame of the scandal, but of the sin and destruction that we bring upon ourselves when we hi-jack God's gifts (like our sexuality)and re-write God's laws to form to our preferences.
Frankly, the future of the Church depends on us proclaiming God's Truth and holding one another accountable to live it out. As Deacon Chris stated so well in his homily two weeks ago (which is also on the website): Our Church is not founded upon these weak and fallen men and socalled leaders of the Church, but on the person of Jesus Christ.
As a teenager, I was a member of St. Timothy's in Mesa and was one of the flock of Dale Fushek, the former priest and pastor who was laicized and left the Catholic Church after many credible accounts of sexual abuse of teenagers. Sadly, there are many people and friends who had their faith wrapped up in the parish or in the priest, and not in Jesus Christ. When that bubble of what they knew the Church to be burst, they left. I pray for Dale, and for all those who are no longer in the Church. Thankfully, I was not aware of that sin by Dale back then, and have been formed well in the true Faith of Jesus Christand His Church.
Presently, the Church is being cleansed and purified. I can honestly and thankfully say, I personally do not know of any priests or seminarians, from when I was in seminary, nor today, who have, or are acting on, any homosexual desires. In fact, in our diocese, potential seminarians have a thorough psychological evaluation, which includes the issue of any same-sex attraction, before they can enter seminary. More importantly though, there are many good bishops, priests, and seminarians who are truly striving for holiness. I know our Bishop Olmsted and Bishop Nevares are among them. I am striving for holiness myself, though not always perfectly, as I am weak and need your prayers. Please know that I go to confession and pray regularly. I also have honest priest fraternity and support. To strengthen my efforts to grow in holiness, I am actively trying to root sin out of my life, as I hope and urge you to do also. I vow to continue to do my best to be a good representative of Jesus Christ and the Church He established and to strive for holiness with all my heart. Will you join me? Each and every one of us was made for true and authentic holiness and it is to that standard that we must hold each other accountable, for our entrance into Heaven depends upon it! I vow to, will you?
The Liturgy of the Hours are daily prayers that every priest vows to pray (the laity are encouraged to do so, also). Recently, in the Morning Prayer, I read and prayed, "Through the leaders of your people, you served as physician of our bodies and our spirits, continue to fulfill your ministry of life and holiness in us (your priests)… May the growth of your people in holiness be the eternal joy of our shepherds." Amen! Please andthank-you!BACK TO LIST