Sunday, August 12, 2018

A note on the current scandal

I feel that there are important distinctions to be made in light of recent scandalous revelations in American Catholicism.

What we are dealing with here is not something like a sad failure to always keep ordination promises.

It's not a struggle with the baptismal vows or universal call to holiness.

It's not even willful duplicity of life.

What has been going on is deliberate predatory behavior of someone in a position of power, in situations that should be especially governed by God. The rebellion appears to be complete: Find someone whose fidelity to God has brought him to a place of extreme vulnerability to you, who has to trust and obey you as a young son trusts his father--and destroy him.

Seminarians are indeed vulnerable. A man gives up a great deal simply by crossing the seminary door. They should not have to decide whether to choose between following God Who calls them to the priesthood, or following God Who calls them to be holy.

Of course navigating ambiguous situations is part of any religious formation, but this is an exponentially more difficult test than should ever be required. Putting seminarians in such a position is not a "failure." There is an element of impiety that must be addressed.
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