The ‘Other’ Abuse Crisis in the Catholic Church that No One is Talking About
How is it possible for bishops & priests to respect the bodies of the faithful, when some of them do not even respect the Body of the Lord?
It would not be an overstatement to say that 2018 was quite the rough year for the Catholic Church. Of course, as with any massive global organization, tensions typically run high. Pope Francis, suggested by some reporters that he will “enter history as the one who split the Catholic Church,” has been highly controversial since his ascent to the papacy in 2013. “Progressive” Catholics see Francis as “The Great Reformer”, while those of a more “traditional” bend suggest he is “The Dictator Pope”. While the ‘culture wars’ within the Church are neither new nor unique to the Church under Pope Francis, his papacy has emboldened liberals to take back control in the Church after suffering under two relatively conservative pontiffs — John Paul II (1978–2005) and Benedict XVI (2005–2013). Conservatives think that Francis is downplaying important doctrinal/moral issues, while liberals view Francis as a breath of fresh air. For these progressives, Francis is the “people’s pope”, who would rather serve the homeless than teach precise theological formulas. Regardless of one’s opinion of the Holy Father (and trust me, there are many of them out there!), it is clear that future papal biographers will see 2018 as a crucial year of his pontificate. The tensions in the Mystical Body of Christ have turned into full-blown ligament tears.
In July 2018, it was revealed that the former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick — a prominent figure in the ecclesiastical hierarchy — sexually assaulted minors & seminarians. This revelation sent shock-waves through the global Church. Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the former apostolic nuncio to the United States, claimed that Pope Francis and other high-ranking prelates knew about McCarrick’s perverse crimes, but did nothing. In August, Pennsylvania released its grand jury report, listing over 300 priests who were accused of sexual abuse. That same month, I myself came forward with my own #MeToo testimony, revealing the abuse I experienced while as a Catholic seminarian studying for the priesthood. My story, which was confirmed and…