Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Catholic Church scandal


In Pennsylvania, more than three hundred priests have been accused of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.  Evidence has been uncovered that show not only the priests covering up their sins, but also bishops, archbishops and cardinals.  Even Pope Francis supposedly knew about priests and their inappropriate actions. As a Catholic, its horrifying and saddening to think that the very people chosen to guide and sheppard their flock closer to God have failed.  
Growing up Catholic and attending Catholic schools, I’ve spent countless hours in the company of priests. The priest at my school would come and give the school talks about how to keep the faith as we grow up and they would even teach us Theology of the Body- the Catholic equivalent of a sex ed talk. I would go to confession and have mandatory one on one conferences with the local priest. It makes me sick to think that priests would take what is suppose to be moments of personal growth and turn them into something they’re not for their own selfish, sexual needs.
The victims of these horribly cruel priests have had to live their lives in shame while their attackers are held up to the highest of standards in the Church.  The kind of psychological and physical wounds inflicted on these victims is unimaginable. The Catholic Church’s actions were wrong on every level. Church officials knowingly put pedophiles in positions to hurt more children. These bishops and cardinals  knew there were priests that were pedophiles and still refused to do anything about it.
In no situation is it right or justified to put anyone into potentially dangerous situations such as these. The Catholic Church has completely thrown out all morals and beliefs in order to retain a pristine image and to protect priests. These terrible acts of infidelity to the clergy vows of celibacy, obedience and poverty have destroyed countless lives.
The Pennsylvania scandal is what some are calling the worst crisis in the American Catholic Church history. Bishop Robert Barron said in a Q&A that the Church needs to “clean the house,” that everyone from priests to the pope need to be replaced. Others say the best option is to leave the faith all together.
Having a cleaning of house for the church would be nearly impossible because not all priests have committed such heinous acts. It would be unjust to remove those who haven’t. However, leaving the church entirely, or abandoning the faith is not the solution to this problem either.
These priests and bishops do not represent the Catholic faith as a whole. Instead, Catholics should return to the center of our faith: prayer. Prayer is the essence of Catholic faith, it is the act of asking God for guidance in our lives. In this aspect, pray for guidance on what we, as children of God, can do to help these victims.
While the supposed leaders of the Catholic Church have fallen off their golden pedestals, it is time for the rest of the Catholic community to stand up and correct this wrong. As of right now, being there for these victims and providing them with a loving community is what Catholics should be doing.
We need to come together as people of Christ and right the wrong that our leader figures have committed. The Church made a mistake. The Church should have helped the victims when these crimes were committed, not paid them to stay silent. The Church should have rid themselves of the evildoers as soon as these acts were committed. Instead, the Catholic Church decided to abuse its power, not simply over children, but all their followers.
Graphic by Noah Robey.

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Catholic Church scandal