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No, I’m not about to talk about what you think I’m going to talk about.
I’d like to talk about Sexual Scandal and the Clergy.
Recently I saw a picture that had been shared on Facebook by someone I didn't know, but liked by a friend, thus allowing me to see it. Part of the picture was stated to be in commentary on the sexual abuse of minors in the Vatican.
I am not about to make a statement saying that horrible things as such never happen because all Catholic Priests are completely holy men that never wrong. They're human, just like the laity and clergy of other religions as well and as humans, we all fall into sin and are capable of grave wrongdoings.
What I am going to say is that the attack on Catholic clergy due to the sins of the extreme minority are hypocritical, gravely generalized, and ill-focused.
I say these attacks are hypocritical because they are being made by a culture steeped in "sexual licentiousness" as Jeffrey A. Mirus puts it. This culture has constantly pounded and attacked the Church for her stance against great sexual evils and wrongs and now is, "exploiting one of the few remaining sexual taboos for the purpose of discrediting and breaking the Church."
Along side that for why I call this out as hypocrisy, is that the percentage of guilty Catholic priests are never compared to the percentages of guilty non-clergy. There are countless horror stories of men abducting and sexually abusing children, and only a few of Priests, but, since the idea of a Priest committing such horrors definitely shakes up the media more than your average wife-beater-wearing man, they tend to get blown into much bigger stories for the news. I quote Dr. Thomas Plante,
"Catholic clergy aren’t more likely to abuse children than other clergy or men in general. According to the best available data, 4 percent of Catholic priests in the USA sexually victimized minors during the past half century. No evidence has been published at this time that states that this number is higher than clergy from other religious traditions. The 4 percent figure is lower than school teachers during the same time frame and perhaps as much as half of the numbers of the general population of men." (Do the Right Thing, psychologytoday.com, March 24, 2010)
Secondly, these attacks are broad generalizations and are ill-focused. I believe these two points fall closely together. The numbers of priests who fall into this sin are extremely small if you compared them to all ordained Catholic men. Leave it to the secular media to take this and because of the actions of these few Priests, label all Catholic Clergy as pedophiles. Recently, a video recorded at a conference of two Catholic Seminarians (Priests-in-training basically) having a tap/riverdance battle went viral. The news followed up by interviewing the two men, who stated that dance had always been a love and a hobby of theirs. I made the mistake, as I usually do, of scrolling down to see the comments. Almost every single one was along the lines of, "this is what they do when they're not molesting kids."
Comments like this constantly plague Catholics, and even my own high school has been attacked, and not even by the secular media, but by the Westbro Baptist church, who picketed our school, saying it was "full of fags," calling our incredibly kind and holy chaplain a pedophile, and proceeding to call us evil for being in line with "the pervert Pope himself!"
These attacks are no longer even focused on the Priests who have committed the wrong doings! Instead, the label of pedophile has been generalized to all Catholic Clergy, even when there has been no evidence of any wrong doings! The secular media uses the sins of the few to attack the majority of innocent.
It seems so odd to me, that a small number of Catholic Priests having engaged many times or even once in a disgusting action makes all Catholic Priests child molesters, and yet a society in which hundreds of men have abused children, all of society is not labeled as being child molesters.
Once again, I'm not saying that these atrocities never happen, because they do. Humanity is imperfect and we fall, even the Catholic Clergy. But it is wrong and hypocritical to attack all Priests because of this, as it's wrong to attack all of any group for the mistakes of the few. Are all Muslims evil due to the violent attacks on Christians and Jews by ISIS? Are all members of the military evil because some abuse their position by taking advantage of those under their control?
There is always need for reform in the Church, for there is always some issue within caused by Her members. Throughout Church History, the Catholic Church has had to correct sections of Her people, even the Clergy when abuses among them rose. And such reform has been taking place since the "Clergy Sex Scandal." Thousands of pure, moral-filled, educated young men and women have flocked to the religious life of the Catholic Church in response to the justified but unfocused anger of Her attackers in the past several years. Great care has been made to form the incoming young men into good Priests who will take care of the flock given to them. There's a great responsibility given to Priests that is ever evident in Scripture and the Deposit of Faith and with great responsibility comes great consequences if neglected.
I'm sure there will be more Priests to fall short of their calling and into grave sin, and they may or may not repent afterward, but I implore of you not to generalize all Catholic Clergy, for there are so many wonderful holy ordained men who have to pull through false and malicious accusations made against them.