Sunday, December 21, 2014

It's Not the Abuse Crisis - It's the Neglect Crisis

The Abuse Crisis in the Catholic Church, horrible as it is, is simply the flip side of the Neglect Crisis in the Catholic Church.

What do I mean?

I mean that Neglect is a form of Abuse, and for the past fifty years, bishops, priests and lay Catholics have been neglecting the Faith, and the Vatican has accommodated this by neglecting the Neglect.  A predominantly homosexual clergy, covering and enabling a large number of child molesters, is simply one symptom of this Neglect.

Things are really as bad as Anonymous at First Things describes it, as he paints a picture of a real suburban parish that he leaves unnamed.  I would call it St. Somewhere, a Portrait of Neglect ...

Fr. Dave knows better than to suggest to his flock how to live as Catholics. He does not speak of sin. Ever. He does not discuss the saints, devotions, the rosary or prayer of any kind, marriage, death, the sacraments, Catholic family life, the Devil, the poor, the sick, the elderly, the young, mercy, forgiveness, or any other aspect of the Catholic faith that might be useful to a layperson. His homilies are the worst sort of lukewarm application of the day’s Gospel reading—shopworn sermons that sound very much like they were copied word for word from a book of Gospel reflections published in 1975. No one in the pews ever discusses his homilies as far as I can tell.

Rod Dreher quotes a reader of his who explains why this is so ...

An opposite case than Father Dave in the article. In Holy Family Parish in St. Albert, Alberta a wonderful Polish priest showed up two years ago. He began preaching solid Catholic homilies. He spoke of sin and how it separates us from God. He spoke of the machinations of the devil. He spoke of (gasp) marriage being between one man and one woman. He spoke against contraception and abortion. He moved the blessed sacrament behind the altar and he replaced a resurecifix with a crucifix. This was too much. Members of the parish council complained to the Archdiocese of Edmonton and had a sympathetic ear from parasitic bureaucrats there with no fondness for the faith. A year ago he was removed from the parish. The message is clear. Priests are not expected to challenge parishioners with the powerful and sometimes uncomfortable teachings of the faith but give lukewarm therapeutic feel good sermons. They are expected to operate just like Father Dave. Live a celibate life and perform weddings and funerals for people who never attend church and provide base sacraments without substance. Not a surprise that there is no surplus of men interested in this deal. 

Except such functionaries are not expected to live a celibate life.  Certainly not by their bishops or fellow priests.  Gay cruising, use of pornography, even affairs with married parishioners are common and either winked at or encouraged by the folks in charge.

Meanwhile, at the First Things article, the comments are typical, which is to say most of them applaud the author for describing the horror of St. Somewhere in detail, but many give the kind of reactions I get here and see elsewhere, such as ...

  • Things may be that bad where you are, but my parish is great!!!!!
  • Oh, so Mr. Holier-than-Thou Catholic talks about how bad things are at his parish when he should be busy praying and keeping his mouth shut!  The fact that he notices how bad things are around him tells you that he's not a good Catholic by any means!!!
  • Just love the Eucharist and pray some devotions, say a novena, and everything will be just fine!!!!  Mejugordje!  Yay!

But, of course, the point is that things are this bad and far worse.  Yes, there are good parishes and good Catholics here and there, but the Church in America is indistinguishable from the shopping mall down the street - except there are fewer gays running the shopping mall and the music is better.  At the very least the salt has lost its savor.  

And I could add an even sadder chapter to the First Things article featuring a few observations about the odd Catholics here and there that I have met who do care and who do try to be devout, but who either end up trapped in a cult like Regnum Christi because Rome is Neglectful about curtailing cults within the Church, or they end up throwing themselves into Catholicism-as-Entertainment (Matt Kelly on a headset / Christopher West on a loud speaker), not being able to distinguish Understanding (which is a gift of the Spirit) from mere emotion or excitement, or they end up heretical themselves, not realizing that the Faith is more than a fashion, and that Christ wants transformation not factionalism, or they become proud of their seriousness about the Faith when all around them are trivializing it, or (most commonly), they pray devotions and go to Mass frequently, but they don't let grace penetrate into their personal lives, nor do they let Christ approach their hidden treasure and cure their clutching Dragon Sickness because, for one thing, no one's shown them how and since the Faith seems so Unreal around them, they have no model for discovering its true Reality, as they (like their suburban brethren) are suffering terribly from decades of Neglect.

Meanwhile, on a dark and still night very long ago, a child was born in bitter cold, neglected by the world.  And so we share with Him a suffering that He somehow redeems.


There's a follow up to this post here - The Motto of Liberal Catholics: "Let's get the Green Beans Off the Buffet!"


jvc said...


I've been thinking along the lines of your last long paragraph, for some time now. The thought has been growing in me that the central problem of the cultists and the charismatics and the like is a total lack of leadership in the Church today. I think they speak to a lack of seriousness and leadership even moreso than the problems that they create in and of themselves. (If that makes sense.)

We wouldn't have to bother with the Christopher Wests if anyone in leadership actually cared about the message of John Paul enough to preach it loudly and consistently enough.

Kevin O'Brien said...

Yes, JVC. Today I read about how damaging the Neocatechumenal Way is when it infiltrates a parish - and how heretical their teachings are. And yet they were officially approved by the Vatican under B16. Meanwhile, Regnum Christi and LC operate as full-blown cults withing the Church, and Opus Dei seems to have tendencies in that direction. Rome does nothing. Occasionally bishops do, but not consistently.

And our buddy Christopher West might be devout enough to benefit from episcopal correction. But he's not only never had that, he's never even had episcopal oversight, from the look of things.

Meanwhile the LCWR become pro-abortion pagan earth goddess zealots and the Vatican concludes a visitation with platitudes and smiles.

At any rate, the point is that the orthodox suffer as much as the heterodox from the rampant Neglect. No one is there to reign in the orthodox reaction against the heterodox, and so we see the reaction breed reactionaries and we see scam artists preying upon hungry and worried and lonely devout Catholics who are vulnerable to distortions of their admirable desire to serve God - which is never canalized, shaped or molded, and which can quickly go astray.

It's no wonder kids get molested. Nobody cares. And if they don't care about protecting kids, they won't care about protecting adults, and they certainly won't care about protecting liturgy and the Faith.

Anonymous said...

I can honestly say that although C. West's and Kelly's approach to Catholicism looks like pure entertainment, they each, at their best have helped me to become a better Catholic. I'd like to believe the best about them: that they are honestly trying to use their God-given gifts to help bring the truth to poorly catechized and lukewarm Catholics who otherwise would never pick up an orthodox book on the subject.

Mark S. said...

You hit a very important yet curiously obscure nail on the head. Persuasive and thus all the more harrowing is your brief survey of our present-day neglectful shepherds that Our Lady and the Popes warned of a century ago. Today most Church leaders blithely toy with evil and exhibit a ghastly want of confidence and vision for the salvation of souls.
Yet in the face of all this, is it not the One True Living God that is permitting (yet again) these shocking instabilities? And therefore all of this cannot be but for the good of our salvation?
The only thing to do is practice piety. The interior oblation of one's prayers/works/joys/sufferings from our secret heart to Our Lady's (where the consolation and refuge is to be found). The promptings for what actions one should take will come on the heels of that- moment to moment, one day at a time without being shown in advance what's around the blind corners Heaven repeatedly takes us to.
This is what the Saints (like Max. Kolbe) have done and what Our Lord did on Golgotha. It works (grows one in holiness) every time it is tried. It's not unlike shooting free-throws; the more you do it, the better you get at it

Kevin Tierney said...

One should never doubt West's sincerity, and how he's been able to come pretty far with the limited tools he has. The problem is those tools are limited. An understanding of TOB outside of Catholic tradition (something John Paul II tried to avoid) and a TOB that was agenda driven (West views JPII's main point of TOB as combatting prudery and jansenism, rather than defending Humanae Vitae by an exegesis on marriage and the family), that can only get you so far. If you keep trying to walk that path past the limits, you start running into real trouble.

Julie said...

Thank you! If they would return to allowing priests to marry, solving the shortage problem - would have greatly decreased abuse crisis!

Anonymous said...

Richard says...

Julie, that's nonsense. There is no correlation between not engaging in romantic relationships and sexual abuse. Have you ever gone a lengthy period of time without sex and thought, "that 14-year old is starting to look good"? Pederasty and celibacy are not linked. I'll tell you what is related to pederasty, and that's the homosexual culture, from NAMBLA to Terry Bean, Ginsburg to the homosexual researchers Jay and Young, who in 1979, revealed that 73 percent of homosexuals surveyed had at some time had sex with boys 16 to 19 years of age or younger.

Let's start talking about that.

Anonymous said...

Richard says...

Why don't liberals answer this?

1. In 1972, the National Coalition of Gay Organizations endorsed a platform that included removing the age of consent. They included in their objectives equal rights for "lesbians and gay men, but also freedom of sexual expression for young people and children."

2. Why are homosexuals targeting children by promoting sex-ed at the youngest ages?

3. Why push gender identity theories in schools which have no grounding in science?

4. Why is bullying legislation facilitating and grooming young children into the homosexual lifestyle while preventing parents from any psychological or spiritual recourse lest they be "homophobes" who are trying to stop this "unreality"?

Anonymous said...

We are in world of hurt. The direction from Rome at this point is all over the place. It seems as though no one is at the rudder. The only answer most bishops and priests have is we need more of the same. It is insanity to keep doing the same thing over and over for half a century and expect the same results. Now it seems as though EWTN is becoming secular. The movie on Mary was terrible. The Nightly News is terrible and more secular. What has happened? taad

Edward said...

Your article has great points. I sense a bit of hopelessness though? I wonder what can be done? Perhaps at least the sacraments and prayer make you more open to the seeds God plant in order to be part of that solution, so I definitely would include that. I am looking at a third order type of group myself of which I may join, yet if even Opus Dei ( as mentioned in an earlier comment) may tend to be a little cultish, then I'm not sure if anything like that is good! I don't think I would characterize them that way, but maybe I'm nieve. In thinking about this article and the comments after it, are all our groups and sub-groups in need of reform. Do we need a wave of saints as the solution? Was say "Therese of Lisuiex" or maybe "John of the Cross" just saints part of groups that were in need of reform as well, and that being a saint was the solution? I guess I'm trying to put a finger on what a good solution would look like and if that just means being holy and active, or if there is a more ideal group that is making good reform and what would that reform even look like!

Ed Hamilton

Anonymous said...

Can you provide references supporting your claim of a "predominantly homosexual clergy"?

Donnchad O'Conghalaigh said...

There have been times in the Church when seminaries were reformed, obviously because they needed reform. What I hear, see and experience indicates we are living in such a period. The horse needs to be placed in front of the cart and not vice versa. Reform the seminaries, then re-evangelize.

Anonymous said...

There is some good news here in southern Alberta (I can't comment on those up north in Edmonton) but here in Calgary, we have a group of vibrant young priests who are not afraid to speak the truth and you can read, hear and even see their homilies here <a href="></a>. I attend St peter's Parish in Calgary where Fr. Jerome Lavigne is pastor, and I can tell you he does not pull many punches. There is no evidence that our local Bishop has any objections.


heidi keene said...

I absolutely agree with you and have to tell you that your blog piece here raised my spirits. For a couple of reasons- 1. You are humorous even in your dismay 2. Anonymous' blog piece seemed to ONLY get the three kinds of responses you pinpointed here (which depressed me)- but your response was an honest breath of fresh air.

It IS as bad as you have portrayed. Perhaps even worse. I converted from atheism about three years ago and was naiive enough to first talk to the pastor about the 'weirdness' surrounding the parish (which included the old lady mafia who run the show and are clearly above the rubrics of the mass). That didn't go as planned. In fact, I was 'blacklisted' by just about everyone at the parish.
Then I had a priest attempt an affair with me- so disillusioned was he by the Church- and he told me in detail how the 'pink' seminaries work and how he was labeled a 'trouble maker' because he refused to engage in homosexual acts with instructors and other clergy. He also told me that 7 of the 10 young men who he had known in the seminary had dropped out of the priesthood and one even has lost his faith.
I have moved to another town, with only one parish, and again have been blacklisted for requesting that the parish be Catholic (not medium Catholic). In fact, my attempts to become a parishioner have been roundly ignored for almost 2 years now.
I asked a priest who runs a Marion shrine why priests almost universally react with absolute incredulity when the suggestion is made that they or the parishioners follow the rubrics, or -God forbid- follow Sacrosanctum Concillium. He answered quite honestly that the bishops are told to keep the dwindling attendance numbers from further loss. Bodies, (it doesn't matter if they are Catholic) in the pews provide the Church with the money she needs to function. And most of those bodies want the church to function as a democracy- and so (at the parish level) she does just that: functions like a democracy infiltrated and strangled by a mafia of lukewarm, mostly elderly bunch of women who have nothing better to do than to order weak willed gay priests around.
And nothing, not God the Holy Spirit- and certainly not a rag tag bunch of persnickety right wingers- is going to come between the bishops and their finances.
My solution is that we boycott financially and write letters to the Vatican and our bishops saying that we are withholding funds until the place is cleaned up and management starts doing their job. If enough 'right wingers' join the fight we might just be able to get someone's attention at long last. I'm tempted to take out a full page ad in the NYT asking for all Catholics to join the boycott. But then I remembered the target audience of the NYT and trashed that idea.
In the meantime, the faithful (and I mean the faithful) have been swept under the rug by the church ecclesiates seeing to it that each bishop is silently providing the Extraordinary form of the mass in their diocese thereby pacifying (or corralling) those squeaky wheels that were once called "Catholics".

Julie said...

Thank you for article - I had meant that solving priest shortage problem by restoring the freedom for priests to marry would have probably averted the abuse crisis caused by moving priests who were abusing to other parishes out of desperation rather than defrocking. Celibacy is a wonderful calling. I don't think all priests are called to celibacy - St. Peter was married. Priests were married for centuries. Priests could make wonderful husbands and fathers, and many have left priesthood to do so. We need good shepherds and man-made rule of requiring celibacy is hurting us all.

Julie said...

I really liked your comment on the need to be called to holiness - saints to solve these problems - The church has had much corruption in the past - it will always survive, but we need to be the change!

Anonymous said...

An excellent request was posed above. What references can you offer to support your claim that there is a "predominantly homosexual clergy" in the Church?

Anonymous said...


Kevin O'Brien said...

For those of you who are asking me to substantiate my casual assertion that the majority of priests are homosexual, there is a good deal of anecdotal evidence, but the following paper details the situation in one diocese at least. There is no reason to suspect that the archdiocese of St. Paul is the exception and not the rule ...

Kevin O'Brien said...

And I go into more detail about priests being "predominantly homosexual" here -

Ages of Salvation History Nut said...

Dear Kevin,

You are so totally right on this. I try to tell people that if they have a "good parish", is the EXCEPTION rather than the rule.

My wife and I are like in a dark night of the soul. Nowhere to go for substance but authentic Christians who have love and mystery in their hearts. We have a small group of friends that get it, but that is about it. :(