Summary of Some Responses to the Clerical Abuse Crisis

Here are some quick summaries of some responses to the recent clerical abuse crisis.

“Looking back to the past, no effort to beg pardon and to seek to repair the harm done will ever be sufficient.  Looking ahead to the future, no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated.” – Pope Francis


“If one member suffers, all suffer together with it” (1 Cor 12:26). Becoming aware that we are the People of God – the Body of Christ – we must all grieve with the victims and “condemn, with sorrow and shame, the atrocities perpetrated by consecrated persons, clerics, and all those entrusted with the mission of watching over and caring for those most vulnerable.” We must all pray, do penance and fast to arouse our solidarity and commitment to a culture of care that says “never again” to every form of abuse so that the Church may once again show clearly our calling to be “a sign and instrument of communion with God and of the unity of the entire human race” (Lumen Gentium, 1).

“I humbly offer my sincere apology to each victim who has been violated by anyone affiliated with the Catholic Church. I hope that you can accept it. I know that apologizing is only one step in a very long and complex process of healing.” – Bishop Lawrence Persico


Singled out by the Grand Jury as an example of “hope” for the Catholic Church: Bishop Lawrence Persico of the Diocese of Erie, he shows us how to apologize on behalf of the Church for these heinous crimes. As members of Christ’s Body, we should all apologize to victims who have been violated by anyone affiliated with the Chruch and acknowledge that this is only 1 step in a very long and complex process of healing.

“We can only move forward when we name the evil of clericalism” – Fr. Thomas Rosica

The evil of clericalism is at the root of the crisis. As Pope Francis said: “Clericalism, whether fostered by priests themselves or by lay persons, leads to an excision in the ecclesial body that supports and helps to perpetuate many of the evils that we are condemning today. To say ‘no’ to abuse is to say an emphatic ‘no’ to all forms of clericalism.”


“We have a God-given right to be angry over the current situation but no right to despair. We must be in total solidarity with victims, repent, fast, pray, and work together for a true cleansing of the temple – of the Church.  We must pray that our anger and frustration not lead us to hopelessness but to a deeper witness of faith, especially in such difficult times. It is not enough for us simply to feel terrible about the situation and say that we are sorry.  We must dismantle forever the structures and systems that allowed such a moral catastrophe to engulf the Church. And these structures include the process of appointments of bishops and the naming of cardinals. Until the Church at her highest levels names this great evil of clericalism and rids the Church of it, we will not move forward.” – Fr. Thomas Rosica

“Clericalism infects the clergy when they become too self-referential rather than missionary.  But it afflicts laypeople worse, when they begin to believe that the fundamental service God is asking of them is to become major donors, recipients of Papal honours, “ministers of hospitality,” lectors, or extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist at Church rather than to live and spread the faith in their families, workplaces, schools, neighborhoods, and in places where we priests cannot enter.” – Fr. Thomas Rosica

“Now is the time to cooperate — and cooperate fully — with God’s cleansing fire for his Church.” – Fr. Landry

Landry (1000x788).jpg

This is the 2nd phase of the necessary purification of the clergy (1st phase in 2002, 4,000 out of 110,000 priests in USA accused of sexual abuse with minors). Although nauseating and infuriating, it’s a necessary part of the healing process in setting the Church free of these sacrileges.

The accusations against Archbishop McCarrick expose three lacunae in the USCCB “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” in 2002. First, bishops were exempted from the policy. Second, the charter did not address the main problem: ephebophilia, the same-sex molestation of post-pubescent boys, encompassing more than four out of five accusations. Third,  they did not focus adequately on the corrupt culture that permitted such wide-scale abuse and the lack of determination to eradicate it: the practical toleration in many dioceses of priests living double lives, cheating on their vocations with men and women.

How should we respond to this? First, by reparation, because God is the most offended of all. Second, by demanding to get to the bottom of it, which is part of a firm purpose of amendment and will help to prevent its recurrence. Third, by focusing on living the faith… Every crisis in the Church is a crisis of saints, and God will respond to infidelity with many graces of fidelity to help bring the Church back to the holiness in earthen vessels that he wants to characterize it… Fidelity is the only adequate response to infidelity, and holiness to sin and corruption.

To eradicate sexual abuse among the clergy, a known, trustworthy, effective, accountable reporting system is a must, and at present, it doesn’t exist.

“Three reasons for sexual scandals: 1) Denial of Christian faith by clerics; 2) Homosexuality (80% of abuse victims are male); 3) Evolution of the Mega-Diocese” – Taylor Marshall


Although the Mega-Diocese is not the root cause of the sexual scandal, it is certainly infertile soil for these changes and needs to be changed.

The Mega-Diocese is based on the presumption that one man can shepherd a million people and oversee hundreds of priests (both are impossible). Auxiliary bishops were an attempt to “fix” this problem.

The Mega-Diocese is an offense against the Catholic doctrine of subsidiarity – the doctrine that matters ought to be handled by the smallest and most proximate competent authority – not by a Cardinal Archbishop living 90 miles away who also has the direct canonical care of souls for 1 million people.

“Don’t leave the Church when things get tough, lead the Church when things get tough… and the best way we can lead the Church is by becoming saints!… To root out and eradicate all infidelity in our lives… The Church needs people who are willing to be uncompromising with themselves, to become holy, to lead the Church!” – Fr. Mike Schmitz


It’s easy to speak out against evil when evil is obvious. To speak against it now is virtue-signaling (putting on the appearance that we are against the evil) – but this is not virtue because virtue-signaling has no cost to myself – no need of virtue. The real virtue are the people who went through the grand jury over the last 2 years – it cost them something and especially those people who spoke up after the statute of limitations expired – that’s virtue!

“Whatever new policies some wish to suggest, let’s be clear that we already have a policy. It’s called the Sixth Commandment… No one is ever permitted under any circumstances to engage in sexual acts with anyone to whom they are not validly married.


And this of course leads to the most-avoided topic related to this scandal — the problem of active homosexuality in the priesthood… 81% of all victims were male and 78% were post-pubescent. Thus, though legally still minors, they were sexually mature in the physical sense…. This is not pedophelia. This is homosexual attraction.

* All this demonstrates that seminaries and the priesthood are not good places for those with deep-seated same-sex attraction.  It does not take an anthropology or psychology degree to figure this out. Putting a man with same-sex attraction in a seminary is no more advisable than putting a heterosexual man in a woman’s dormitory where he shares shower facilities and close quarters with women. A man with same-sex attraction is going to face temptations in all-male settings that would test the strongest. *

Add to this the possibility that other men of same-sex attraction are there and soon enough a subculture sets up where temptations are fierce, and compromises and liaisons soon emerge. And this is what we have seen in the “gay” subculture that is demonstrably existent among a significant number of clergy in the Church.

Nevertheless, any conversation that seeks to find real traction or solutions is going to have to include the connection to homosexuality — not as a single cause, but as an essential and highly important one. And honest discussion must also include analyses of institutional problems such as secrecy, unaccountability, abuse of power, and so on.

“The Church has always been an institution of sinners.” – Dan Burke


Even one of Jesus’ disciples betrayed Him. Christ established the Church as the means of salvation and we need to cling to His Church in these difficult times. If you are losing your peace over this, you need to stop watching the news and start immersing your mind with Scripture.

“We are not baptized into the hierarchy; do not receive the cardinals sacramentally; will not spend an eternity in the beatific vision of the pope. Christ is the point.” —Frank Sheed
“At the heart of the recent Catholic scandals is infidelity – literally the lack of faith.” Robert P. George
Clearly, the priests, bishops, and cardinals involved in this crisis have a lack of faith – either in God completely or at least in the Church’s moral teachings. These heinous, sacrilegious, and scandalous sins committed by priests are a poison in the bloodstream of the Church and therefore are absolutely intolerable. The Church must demand fidelity with a zero-tolerance policy toward grave sexual sins.
“What is the answer? Well, fundamentally the answer to infidelity is fidelity. That is what is needed” (Robert P. George).
Janet Smith to Bishops: ‘Save the Church — Tell Everything’


Janet Smith, noted professor of moral theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, told the Register that bishops must not delay, at the diocesan and national levels, to empower independent panels of laity to full investigate the issue and take steps to insure this doesn’t happen again.

There needs to be a “place” where priests, seminarians, and lay people can report instances of abuse without fear of reprisal. Every bishop needs to tell the priests, the seminarians in his diocese (diocesan and religious), and the lay people, “Tell everything. Everything.” – Janet Smith

We, the laity, need to write letters to our bishops 1) commending the good work they have done, 2) demanding a clean-up of whatever homosexual networks exist in the diocese, 3) tell the bishop we will stand by him when priest shortages mean closing parishes, 4) demand a lay board where priests can report cases about bishops or other priests, 5) send bishop copies of best articles expressing lay outrage, 6) ask for a reply, 7) promise to pray and fast.

“What unites all of these scandals is homosexuality in our seminaries and the priesthood: the result of the Church ignoring its own clear directives. If it is serious about ending the sex scandals, the Church needs to admit it has a homosexual priest problem and stop ordaining men with deep-seated homosexual tendencies.” – Daniel Mattson


Although most homosexual priests are good and holy men, the Church must confront the truth that homosexuality has played an overwhelming role in so many of our past and present scandals. The Church must stop ordaining men with deep-seated homosexual tendencies because of 1) their difficulty in living out the demands of chastity, 2) a high number of homosexual priests will undermine the Church’s teaching on sexual morality both in the pulpit and in the confessional.

“Grave damage has been done to the credibility of the Church, and more will leave. Grave damage has been done to many of the flock, and reparation must be made; public repentance is called for. As Pope Benedict XVI wrote when he was a young priest, the Church will have to become smaller and more purified before it can again be a light to the world. The Church is going through a radical purification under the chastising hand of God, but already we can see a remnant of fervent renewal appearing all over the world, which is a sign indeed of hope and the renewal to come.” – Ralph Martin


How can we – being fully aware of this grave crisis – help bring about a real renewal of holiness and evangelization in the Church?

Strive for holiness daily. Receive the sacraments more frequently – “Jesus is still as present as ever and still as ready to receive all who come to Him.”

We need to remember that the Catholic Church is indeed founded by Christ and, despite all problems, has within it the fullness of the means of salvation. Where else can we go? Nowhere; this is indeed our Mother and Home, and she needs our love, our prayers, and our persevering in the way of holiness more than ever.

We need to remember that there are many truly holy and dedicated bishops and priests, and we must pray for them and support them. They need and deserve our support.

We need to remember that this isn’t the first time such grave problems have beset the Church. In the fourteenth century, St. Catherine of Siena bemoaned the “stench of sin” coming from the papal court and prophesied that even the demons were disgusted by the homosexual activity he had tempted priests into and the cover up by their superiors! (See chapters 124-125 of Catherine of Siena’s The Dialogue.)

As Our Lady of Fatima said: “Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and to pray for them.”

“The Church is a harlot in the stews because I helped put her there” – that is what every Christian ought to say, because it is no more than the truth. – Anthony Esolen


Enough already with every single prelate, priest, or Catholic author who knew about the spiritual incest and the creepy perversions of the now disgraced former bishop of the nation’s capital and who did nothing should, for just this once, own up to the failure and leave.

Please, leave. Retire, pray, read, think, do anything at all that the Lord may smile upon, but do not any longer for one moment burden the Church with your dead weight. You are an embarrassment to both believer and infidel. Leave.

Let us give a chance, meanwhile, to the true young men, priests of God who are young enough to be under no illusions about what has happened in the generations before theirs. How could they possibly fare worse than have their never-maturing elders?

“Dear readers… this is all out war.   It is war on every level, human and supernatural.   The Enemy of the soul is a really good general, a relentless and malevolent tactician of destruction of souls and long view strategist   The Enemy preys on human weakness.  War is horrible, vicious and seriously ugly.  Spiritual war is worse than material.” – Fr. John Z


This is a primarily a supernatural battle that is being fought right now.  The bloody trenches and killing alleys are directly through the ranks of the Church’s priests, and they directly involve matters intimately tied into the very center of the Church’s core, priesthood and sacraments like Penance.

A diabolical masterpiece is present in this sex abuse crisis. And a terrible abuse of power and authority in clericalism. We cannot be simply passive as a result of this. We have to seize the moment and come to grips with this disaster. “Three causes to this crisis: infidelity, infidelity, infidelity” (Richard John Neuhaus). We must return to the great spiritual sources (Gospel, Mass, saints, vehicles of prayer, etc) and not run from them!

The right move forward: ” Hence, I would suggest (as a lowly back-bencher auxiliary) that the bishops of the United States—all of us—petition the Holy Father to form a team, made up mostly of faithful lay Catholics skilled in forensic investigation, and to empower them to have access to all of the relevant documentation and financial records. Their task should be to determine how Archbishop McCarrick managed, despite his widespread reputation for iniquity, to rise through the ranks of the hierarchy and to continue, in his retirement years, to function as a roving ambassador for the Church and to have a disproportionate influence on the appointment of bishops. They should ask the ecclesial version of Sen. Howard Baker’s famous questions: “What did the responsible parties know and when did they know it?” Only after these matters are settled will we know what the next steps ought to be.”

We should believe 100% of Vigano’s statement but it is surely worth looking at considering his role as former apostolic nuncio to the USA. He is making some serious claims and deserves an honest, objective look. What truly matters: What is the truth!? Let us not get distracted from this and do all we can to get at that. Only the truth will set us free.

How is Christ cleansing and purifying His Church? He is doing it right now through terrible secondary causes. We must get in Christ’s army and cooperate with Christ the King in His cleansing and purifying work.


Twisted homosexuality problem into a pedophelia problem after 2002 crisis to keep homosexuality agenda going. Problem both homosexuality and clericalism.

How can we spot clericalism in its latent-not-yet-developed form? And cut out this cancer of dissent when it’s still treatable.

Jesus said one of the apostles was a devil. Where and when did Judas begin to betray Jesus? Judas’ small and secret acts of dissent morphed into the most cruel and unjust act in history. Same is true of Judas priests today. Small betrayals and indecent liberties here and there. He who is dishonest in little is also dishonest in much.

We share in the havoc they wreak on innocent souls when we share in their small infidelities.

The purest and most diabolical form of clericalism is deliberate disobedience to the promises the man made at his ordination to be an alter-Christus, not an alternative to Christ.

If we really want to solve the problem of sexual abuse in the Church, if we really want to rid the Church of this demonic plague, if we are really serious about protecting the innocent and vulnerable from more harm by evil clergy, then we are going to have to rise above concerns about what names we might be called for doing the right thing, we are going to have to demand that the unfaithful clergy stop all spiritual abuse of their flock before it becomes sexual abuse. And if they won’t stop or step down voluntarily, we must go to all the lengths possible in justice to stop them.

The willful spirit of dissent is the root cause of this crisis. We must accept the hard consequences of rooting this out or else it will emerge again.


  1. Any priest or, in particular, bishop who knew of or participated in or tacitly approved of predatory sexual behavior by not calling it out and stopping it, and then proclaimed yesterday’s reading from Ezekiel 34:1-11 and didn’t think, “oh crap!” is in denial. Please, all Church clergy, read that reading. Think it over.

  2. Criminality has to be handled by the criminal justice system. My job as a Catholic is to seek eternal life. That means I am compelled to follow Christ. That also means I cannot get involved in judging others. Christ EVEN wants me to forgive. The last thing this Catholic wants to do at this time is to leave the Church because among the laity I am among the people of God — and we are all sinners. Outside the Church, my chances for eternal life are zero.

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