Dec 13, 2009


Another powerful post at Enlightened Catholicism on the abuse crisis in the church has left me somewhat speechless. Tom Doyle's reflection on the actions needed to be taken to rescue the church from the catastrophe of the crisis was written sixteen months ago, after Benedict's trip for World Youth Day in Australia. Colleen Kochivar-Baker follows the article with her usual trenchant commentary.

Passages which most effected me:

Tom Doyle
People are sick to death of the highly nuanced statements that keep coming out of the public relations departments of the Church because they are not only empty. They are dishonest and an insult to the intelligence and integrity of decent and honest men and women. (This is pretty much how I felt in reaction to the Vatican's recent very indirect statement in regards to Uganda.)

We can also continue to hope that lay Catholics, who persist in looking at the hierarchical system through rose-colored glasses, will start to grow up, get past their denial and see reality for what it is. The recent popes and the hierarchy have enabled the most horrendous spiritual and emotional destruction of vulnerable people in a thousand years. Thus far they are doing precious little to make it right.

Those who continue to bow and scrape at the medieval ecclesiastical court are not faithful Catholics but enablers of evil. The heresy here is that the pope and the bishops seem to have no real clue that the plunder of the bodies and souls of the vulnerable…..boys, girls, men and women is evil that is perpetrated by clerics and religious men and women whose lives are supposed to combat evil rather than cause it.

(Does anything more need to be said? This is the crux of the problem right here?)

Colleen Kochivar-Baker

How long Oh Lord before we Catholics admit that the clerical system is the evil which enables and promotes abuse and teaches laity to be perpetual children in relationship to the clergy? How long before our 'leadership' understands they are not managing and spinning problems, they are the problem? How many more exposures of systemic cover ups will we need before we deal with the truth? 

How Long, Oh Lord, how long?

My own feeling, which may seem pessimistic to some, but not to me, is that the Spirit is simply moving us away from dependence on these large institutional religious structures. We are being forced into the catacombs and onto the desert margins where the wild Spirit blows, and from this marginalization will come the radical restructuring of the tradition, burned free of it's deadened, ossified structures. Spiritual seekers will simply begin looking elsewhere for their spiritual transformation, in smaller, independent religious communities whose primary obligation at this point in history is to offer a light in the wilderness....except it isn't a wilderness at the moment. There is an extraordinary explosion of spiritual consciousness taking place at the moment, much of it chaotic, much of it highly creative, and quite a bit of it deeply inspiring. But it is not taking place, for the most part, within the major religious institutions of conservative Christianity, which have more or less lost their way. So be it.


coolmom said...

Funny that you talk about the wilderness at a time that I am reflecting on the homily we heard which said "cultivate your garden", "remove the rocks", "build a fence to protect it", "do not go out into the wilderness outside the garden because it is dangerous out there!"
The wilderness populated by those who seek and feel surrounded by the divine are all that is feeding me these days.
Thank you

Terence Weldon said...

Jayden, I think you are correct in seeing this time of wilderness as time of growth - by reducing our dependence on institutions.

Reduced dependence equals greater maturity, which is a truism in secular life. It has taken a long time to get there, but that is what I think is happening in the Church too: we are finally recognising that the same principle applies here.

Jayden Cameron said...

Wonderful comment and a great image/contrast between those who feel the need to build up walls/fences to keep the chaos out and those who find freedom in the wild. Love your user name, coolmom!

Jayden Cameron said...

Wise words, Terence, and fortunately many more Catholics than we realize are taking up the call to maturity and simply ignoring the foolish statements from the top. May take a while for this effect to 'trickle up,' gut eventually the message will get through.