Accusations of child sexual abuse against Catholic priests are so unsurprising, they barely blip on the media radar, as when seven Tarrant County women recently filed a lawsuit alleging that a priest who served locally molested them. (Allegations against the man, who still wears the collar, first arose in the mid-1970s).

Fort Worth Bishop Kevin Vann’s “Star-T” response to the lawsuit is a curious one for the 51 percent of Catholics nationwide who back legal abortion. In the quote, Vann cited “an individual’s God-given right to exercise control over their own bodies.” You said it, Bishop Vann… but do you realize what you said?

The reason I link the pedophile priest scandal to the Church’s questionable teachings on reproduction and sexuality is this: In the minds of Catholics and non-‘s alike, the scandal has tarnished the Church’s authority on certain moral issues. How can Catholic leaders denounce, say, same-sex marriage when they’ve spent so much time and energy shielding child rapists? Ironically, the classic Catholic definition of sin – “the failure to love” – explains both Church positions.


The light of a powerful teaching – the ”informed moral conscience” of the individual – becomes brighter and more necessary for thinking Catholics to separate the beauty of the creeds from the bullshit of the bishops. Perhaps that’s why most polls indicate that roughly half of U.S. Catholics support gay marriage, which is higher than the general population and still growing.

Across the country, right wing activist bishops selectively wield the laws while the social justice crowd aspires to love. Whatever else the Catholic Church is, it’s not boring.


  1. Very introspective thanks…

    Remember folks:

    “In 300 years the RCC will refer to these times as one in which the church was falsely and malignantly attacked by atheists, non-believers, government and Satanic enemies of Christianity. Against a massive effort to discredit the piety and chasteness of the clergy with accusations of heinous crimes, the church and her followers fought a protracted battle against this evil… eventually triumphing in the name of Jesus and to the greater glory of the church.”

    The Roman Catholic Church cannot survive without the LIE

  2. Slightly off point, Jimmy, but still important to remember that not everyone ignores the creeds–as I know you know. I was an alterboy for maybe 6 years a very long time ago. And I also went to a catholic elementary and high school.
    Our work as alterboys, beyond helping to serve mass, was to spend time reading to old folks, bringing food and buying groceries for the infirm in the neighborhood, and once we were a little older, to help refurbish houses that the church bought for, or had donated for, poor families.
    In all those years, and all the years since, there has never been a hint of scandal at the two parishes I was involved with. Yes, in grammer school the nuns were fairly scary and got out of hand with physical punishment; in high school it wasn’t all that unusual for a student to a right cross to the jaw by brothers or priests occasionally, myself included. But we’d just punch back then go serve our detention. I’m sure people would call that brutal behavior now, but back in the late 1960s, in a working class Irish/Italian/German neighborhood in Queens, New York, it wasn’t out of order.
    So while the rulers and fists occasionally flew, and while our high school even had eight or 10 pretty openly gay teachers, nobody, I don’t think, ever came on to a student, much less molested one. That includes lay teachers, brothers, nuns, priests. Someone would have come forward by now if they had.
    I left the church shortly after high school because I wasn’t keen on its political stances (I never believed that we had to pray to stop the spread of Communism, or that abortion was a bad thing or that dreaming about naked girls would send me to hell), but my experience on the whole was one where helping the neighborhood’s old, poor and infirm was a civic duty discharged with love and grace. And that stood closer to the creed than the “bullshit of the bishops.”

  3. As a relatively new Catholic, Peter, it’s important for me to hear the perspective of someone who was actually raised in the faith. All your points are good ones. They pretty much affirm why I joined the Church.

    With this post, I wanted to address the p.r. disasters that the Church has dragged herself into this year — in D.C., with the bishops trying to bully city councilpeople into voting down gay marriage, and in Rhode Island, with the bishop trying to bully Patrick Kennedy over abortion/health care legislation. Both were sickening episodes. And although pedophile priests are not a universal problem, their “protection” has been systemic — as everyone knows ad nauseam. Many of the U.S. bishops have still not displayed the humility they need to to let the public know that they truly “get” this ongoing tragedy and how it has changed the Church..

  4. It is about time that the fruits of the Catholic Church are finally being exposed! Making such an investigation public knowledge is a welcome step! And as far as a governmental apology is concerned, better late than never! However, an apology only has as much force as the action that follows it. May we look forward to a new wind blowing in the area of public service? Too bad past wrongs have not been compensated. Wouldn’t that show seriousness of intent? A true and lasting change in society requires self-analysis. So, before everything is relegated to yesterday’s news, wouldn’t it bring healing to ask the question “why”? Why was such a perversion covered up for so long by an organization that claims to be the guardian of Christian ethics and morals? And why was this allowed by the authorities for so long? Were church and state in each others pockets? The harm to society is immeasurable! Who can gauge the crumbling ethics and morals in society and the increasing cynicism because of such conduct? And what about the victims and their families who were deeply and emotionally traumatized?! And let us not forget the alienation from God in society caused by such “bastions” of religious faith! Where does the responsibility lie for all this? Enforced celibacy has no biblical foundation at all! Why was it instituted in the first place?!

    What would Jesus of Nazareth say if He came to the Earth and saw what the church – which claims to speak for Him – has made of His life’s work?

    A move has been made by a small group of people against such shameful sham Christianity. They’ve put out a website and call themselves “The Free Christians for the Christ of the Sermon on the Mount in All Cultures Worldwide.” At this website they announce a lawsuit against the Catholic Church – of all places, in Germany, a bastion of the Catholic institution! And the sexual abuse of young people is one of the reasons they give for having taken such a step. As they put it, they do not want to remain silent anymore on the “brazen labelling fraud,” with which Christ is mocked and His name abused to such an extent. They demand that the Archbishopric in Freiburg, headed by Zollitsch, and representing the Catholic Church in its totality, be enjoined from calling itself “Christian.”

    As a Christian, I fully support this and consider it high time that someone calls a spade a spade. Nothing against the sincere folk and priests who work hard and honestly, upholding the ideals of a Christian life. But as an institution, it has taken on a life of its own, and one could indeed ask if there is anything Christian about it! I commend the courage of these people to call the Church to task. Perhaps your readers would like to check them out:
    There seems to be a grassroots movement to bring this up for discussion on the internet. Surely this could be very healthy for our society!