“Catholics must take back their church”



More shocking news though not totally unexpected. As a former editor of a national Catholic  paper I was privy to much of this sordid stuff and I must say it never impacted my faith though I knew it drove others away from the institutional church. I always saw the church as a very fallible institution in deep need of structural change, semper reformanda (always in need of reforming as  Vatican ll proclaimed). The most honest evaluation of this was an ultimate insider, Milan’s Cardinal Maria Martini . The day after he died in September 2012 several papers printed the much loved Cardinal’s scathing portrayal of a pompous and bureaucratic church failing to move with the times.


His remarks stated 2 weeks before he died  were brutally candid and as far as I could see, dead on.

The Church” he said was “pompous and 200 years out of date. Our culture has aged, our churches are big and empty and the church bureaucracy rises up, our rituals and our cassocks are pompous,The Church must admit its mistakes and begin a radical change, starting from the pope and the bishops. The pedophilia scandals oblige us to take a journey of transformation.”

Well, we are still waiting. the bishops appointed by JP ll/Ratzinger  were too reactionary ti begin the needed renovation. Meanwhile 30 million Catholics  in North America bailed, frustrated at the slowness of change in the instant computer age.

Then we get more bombshells like the Pennsylvania report released this week The  Grand Jury report has revealed that more than 300 Catholic priests sexually abused 1,000 children, and possibly thousands more, over seven decades, and that church leadership covered up the abuse. Ouch. the report was graphic and sickening

Attorney General Josh Shapiro stated


All of the victims were brushed aside, in every part of the state, by church leaders who preferred to protect the abusers and their institutions above all. Priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing, they hid it all, for decades. Monsignors, auxiliary bishops, bishops, archbishops, cardinals have mostly been protected. Many, including some named in this report, have been promoted. Father Schlert, identified in the report, is now Bishop Schlert. Bishop Wuerl is now Cardinal Wuerl. Father Zubik is now Bishop Zubik. As a direct consequence of the systematic cover-up by senior church officials, almost every instance of child sexual abuse we found is too old to be prosecuted.

Bob Hoatson, a guest on Democracy Now, a former Catholic priest,  described himself as “40 years an insider in this church.” In 2003, Hoatson still a priest testified before the New York state Legislature, Working in inner city newark he  called for the resignation of any bishop in the United States who fired by his bishop for speaking out.

In 1994 he was considering leaving the Irish Christian brothers  to be a priest, he asked the vocation director in the Newark archdiocese, “Has Cardinal—has Archbishop McCarrick stopped sleeping with the seminarians?” It was known by everyone. And he assured me that he had and that the papal nuncio and that another bishop had intervened and stopped it.(McCarrick was earlier this month canned by Pope Francis.)

Hoatson ended with his blunt prescription for saving the  church.

Right, yeah, this is systemic. When Governor Frank Keating resigned as the chair of the first National Review Board, that was set up after the Dallas Charter was passed in 2002, he resigned and said, “This is exactly what the Mafia is like. It’s dealing with the Mafia.” And that’s what we’re dealing with.

Catholics must  take back their church and insist that these people are eliminated, fired. And that’s what the pope has to do. He has to have mass firings of bishops, and the leadership has to change. And that, of course, leads then to the structural changes that need to be made, things like mandatory celibacy, which is absurd.Women have to have full participation in the church. If women were in leadership positions, this never would have happened.