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