Vatican expert: To fight sex abuse, the Catholic Church must invest in women

Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington, arrives for the Jan. 6 installation Mass of Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, N.J. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington, arrives for the Jan. 6 installation Mass of Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, N.J. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

One of the church’s experts on protecting children from abuse says that while today “there is much more awareness about the issue,” the church has to invest more resources and include more women, especially in places where the church is growing fastest.

“What is still lacking is an understanding that the protection of minors and the justice done to victims is a priority within the church,” Hans Zollner, S.J., who heads the Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, told America on Thursday. He added that some bishops and other church leaders sometimes see combating sexual abuse as “one topic among others” and have not grasped that “this has to be a priority for the church.”

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Women often “bring up the voice of those who are the most vulnerable in our society.”

Father Zollner, a psychologist by training, launched the child protection initiative in 2012 in Germany and he moved to Rome in 2015 when Pope Francis requested that the center’s resources be used in the global church. He was then appointed to the Vatican’s Commission for the Protection of Minors, and he is a consultor for the Vatican office that deals with clergy.

He said that when it comes to policies and protocols, the church has made great progress, especially in the decade and a half since widespread sexual abuse in the church came to light in the United States. Today, he said, cultural challenges and a lack of trained professionals in Africa, Latin America and Asia pose the greatest obstacles to fighting sex abuse.

“We need the voice of women here,” Father Zollner said, because women often “bring up the voice of those who are the most vulnerable in our society.”

He said even in places that have policies in place, sometimes the church has not invested in the kinds of professionals needed to implement the codes, such as canon lawyers and psychologists.

On Thursday, The New York Times published a story detailing additional allegations against Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the retired archbishop of Washington, D.C. In that story, the cardinal is accused of having sexually assaulted a man over a number of years beginning when the victim was a minor. That story followed an article on Monday in which a former seminarian accused the cardinal of preying on him and other priests and seminarians.

[Explore America’s in-depth coverage of the sex abuse crisis]

Father Zollner said the case of Cardinal McCarrick shows that vigilance is still needed, but he pointed out that it was a church-appointed board that eventually made the allegations against the 88-year-old prelate public and which ultimately led to his removal from ministry last month.

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Kristin Wiener
3 months 3 weeks ago

This article is morally on point. Women are statistically less likely to be abusers and more likely to speak up for victims. It breaks my heart to hear the experiences of people at the hands of Cardinal McCarrick, but lamenting the past does nothing toward preventing these things from happening in the future. Putting more women into crucial, lay leadership roles has real potential to ferret out problems related to abusive behavior that now exist and prevent them in the future.

Tim O'Leary
3 months 3 weeks ago

Kristin: I agree with you. I would like to see faithful orthodox Catholic women be the leaders of investigations into the sexual behavior of clergy, all the way up to the Cardinalate. It could be a mix of nuns and married women. The key would be the orthodoxy and orthopraxy since there is much libertinism among liberal Catholics (they are far more "understanding" of sexual needs and sexual liberation - exactly what got the Church into this mess in the first place).

J Brookbank
3 months 3 weeks ago

Tim, I believe you would find that most priests, most nuns and many married women would object to your exclusionary list of women who would serve.

No single women? No widowed women? No women whose sacramental marriages have been annulled? No consecrated virgins?

You cannot envision that any of those women would be viable candidates to
Investigate sexual abuse of children and others by priests? Do their states in life confer dishonesty? Less Godliness in your eyes? Does marriage confer a greater degree of honesty or intellectual capacity to discern what is abuse or not abuse?

Do nuns and married women have special super powers or special super hero abuse-detecting glasses they get at the end of the wedding or bows ceremony? Are these nuns in temporary vows or permanent vows because I hear they get SUPER extra special superhero glasses when they take permanent vows.

Tim, you always exclude someone based on a calculus of your own devising.

That is a hallmark of bigotry.

Tim O'Leary
3 months 3 weeks ago

J - you are now using the "bigotry" word as a tic. I was mentioning who I would like to see included, excluding only those hell-bent on deforming the Church and losing the truth - mainly unorthodox people with an agenda beyond the Gospel. I of course would welcome orthodox single women, widowed women, consecrated virgins and those who have gone through an annulment. I also expect men to be involved, clergy and laity.

J Brookbank
3 months 3 weeks ago

Good for you, Tim. You responded to my feedback that your previous comment expressed a desire for exclusionary criteria which would create a team extremely unrepresentative of the RCC membership.

Your body of comments on anything sexual in the Church is rife with exclusionary statements and unfounded claims against homisexuals and those Catholics with whose sexual lives and decisions you disagree. That is bigotry, Tim.

Dismissing as a "tic" others' recognition of your bigoted statements does nothing to change the reality that you make bigoted statements and others here recognize it and call attention to it.

And, again, good for you for accepting feedback and clarifying your comment.

Crystal Watson
3 months 3 weeks ago

What is obvious is that women priests would make a huge difference in the clergy sex abuse problem. But of course Zollner doesn't dare say that because the pope doesn't want women to be priests or even deacons. This church can't get out of its own way to solve its problems.

Arthur Sullivan
3 months 3 weeks ago

You are completely right. The fatuous reference to "the voice of women" means nothing, really. Until women are ordained -- and priests allowed to marry -- efforts to stop clergy child abuse will be ineffective.

arthur mccaffrey
3 months 3 weeks ago

I don't know who is worse--the fuzzy, wooly headed Zollner, or the America reporter for transcribing this confused thinking. First, “We need the voice of women here…….. because women often “bring up the voice of those who are the most vulnerable in our society.”
Really, we need women around to remind priests, bishops and cardinals that abusing children is a crime? So we will install a few women in the Vatcan like radar detectors to alert the unthinking clerics that “watch out, children ahead, keep your hands in your pockets”!

I agree 100% that the Church should be run by women instead of sexually confused men, but before we turn to women as Plan B, Zollner’s attitude speaks volumes about Vatican priorities.
“[Zollner] said even in places that have policies in place, sometimes the church has not invested in the kinds of professionals needed to implement the codes, such as canon lawyers and psychologists.” Really, we need canon lawyers to tell adult men how to behave? These are educated men who are steeped in moral theology and they have difficulty implementing child-protection policies, so they need specialists to guide them? Otherwise they will easily go off the rails and fail to protect children because it does not come naturally to them to respect the sanctity of children in particular and people in general? What kind of defective, retarded, misfits are running RCC that they need special policies and specialists to keep the employees from going off the rails? This kind of thinking speaks volumes about how dysfunctional this church is and how the concept of normal healthy human relationships is so alien to it. Sure, bring in healthy women who will be “advocates” for children, and can tell the CEOs how vulnerable they are, so watch what you do, and don’t create any more bad publicity like McCarrick, etc., etc.

Please, America, stop insulting my intelligence with these fairy tales and nonsense stories that give the impression that something meaningful is being done inside RCC to punish the past criminals like McCarrick and turn them over to civil authorities; or that really meaningful radical changes are being implemented to protect our children from religious predators. And women, do not go near a church that only wants you to be window dressing for alleged “solutions”, no matter what Zollner says about your natural talents. RCC is a corrupt, criminal institution, and it will need more than a few women to change its bad habits.

Laurence Ringo
3 months 3 weeks ago

Wow...someone who actually spent the truth about the man-centered Roman Catholic Church,..."a corrupt, criminal institution" ...The Gates of Hell" prevailed against this failed religious system a LOOONG time ago....Thanks for speaking truth, Mr.Maccaffrey; God bless you!!! 😎😎😎

Jeffrey More
3 months 3 weeks ago

Excellent comments!

Tim O'Leary
3 months 3 weeks ago

McCaffrey - you ask who is worse. Well, you fit the bill, since you like to pull down the innocent with the guilty. Only 4% of priests have ever been accused of sexual abuse of minors, by the most rigorous data we have. I am supportive of a new rigorous study and would like faithful Catholic women to lead the committee to oversee it. We do not know how many clergy have been engaging is repeated sex with women or men, abusive and consensual, and we need to find out. While this is not always a crime in the secular world, it is definitely one in canon Law. We need such a study ASAP.

J Brookbank
3 months 3 weeks ago

Tim again expresses outrage that a writer here "like[s] to pull down the innocent with the guilty".

Tim, this is what you do everytime you assert that sexually active homosexual priests are responsible for the bulk of of sexual misconduct in the RCC.

Crystal Watson
3 months 3 weeks ago

It's true - Zollner is deep into the conservative "complementarian" theory of men and women having distinctly different qualities. The latest science shows complementarianism to be false. All individuals, men and women, have pretty much the same qualities along a continuum. But having said that, I do think less ex abuse by clergy would be practiced and covered up if we had both men and women priests.

Tim O'Leary
3 months 3 weeks ago

Crystal - you are right. If one doesn't believe in sex-specific strengths and weaknesses, it would not be useful to make such a point about women. I believe in the complementarity of the sexes and so fully support women leading the next investigation, as long as they are truly faithful Catholics.

Crystal Watson
3 months 3 weeks ago

But complementarianism is not a scientifically sound theory, it just makes sexists feel good about discriminating. Does anyone care about facts? This from the American Psychological Association ... "Men and Women: No Big Difference" ... http://www.apa.org/research/action/difference.aspx

Tim O'Leary
3 months 3 weeks ago

This is the most contradictory non-scientific thing you have ever blogged, Crystal, but is on par with the gender confusion rampant today. Its anti-woman in that it essentially means women would bring no particular value to any positions currently dominated by men. By your reckoning, they would be just as violent and just as sexually abusive as men, in the Church, in business and in war. Their standards of hygiene, interest in clthing and use of makeup should be about the same. All gender-specific bathrooms, schools and sports are social constructs and a waster of time. One should expect minimal statistical differences in criminal activity, career choice, work and play habits, dating patterns, etc. etc. - In other words, the opposite of all the scientific literature outside modern gender deforming studies..

From this summary article: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/201711/the-truth-about-sex-…
- Small effect sizes (d value +/- 0.20 translates to 58:42% difference - interpersonal trust, conformity, and general verbal ability.
- Moderate effect (d of +0.50; 69:31%): spatial rotation skills, some math (3D geometry and calculus), task-oriented leadership.
- Large effect (d of -0.80; 79:21%): tender-mindedness, being interested more in people than in things, lack of interest in casual sex.
- V. Large effect (d of +1.00; 84:16%): height, interest in engineering as an occupation, in absence of sexual disgust.
- Extremely large effect (d of +2.00; 98:02%): throwing ability, grip strength, and voice pitch are in this range.

Sex differences have increased in cultures with gender-related egalitarianism. American women are 15% less likely to reach a managerial position in the workplace than are men—but in Sweden women are 48% less likely, in Norway 52%, in Finland 56%, in Denmark 63%. Whether scientists measure Big Five personality traits, such as neuroticism; Dark Triad traits, such as psychopathy; or self-esteem, subjective well-being, or depression, empirical evidence shows that most sex differences are conspicuously larger in cultures with more egalitarian gender roles—as in Scandinavia.
" "The dramatic physical and behavioral differences between men and women, including strength and size, pubertal timing, consistent patterns around the world of hunting versus gathering and childrearing, as well as pervasive differences in risk-taking, mortality, and reproductive requirements, attest to the likelihood that evolution sculpted adaptations into men and women that make us somewhat different creatures. Psychologically, this sculpting by evolution has left men and women with particular approaches to life and love built upon a common core of human nature."

Or this: "2016 SAT test results confirm pattern that’s persisted for 50 years — high school boys are better at math than girls"
http://www.aei.org/publication/2016-sat-test-results-confirm-pattern-th…

"Females have lower arrest rates than males for virtually all crime categories except prostitution. This is true in all countries for which data are available. It is true for all racial and ethnic groups, and for every historical period. In the United States, women constitute less than 20 percent of arrests for most crime categories. Females have even lower representation than males do in serious crime categories. Since the 1960s in the United States, the extent of female arrests has generally been less than 15 percent for homicide and aggravated assault, and less than 10 percent for the serious property crimes of burglary and robbery."
Gender and Crime - Differences Between Male And Female Offending Patterns - Categories, Women, Males, and Females - JRank Articles http://law.jrank.org/pages/1250/Gender-Crime-Differences-between-male-f….

Crystal Watson
3 months 3 weeks ago

Of course there are some difference, but as human beings, men and women have much more in common that in difference. I could cite more articles, but I doubt that would make a difference. The important point is that the church institutionalizes sexism, creating theories of difference, in order to justify keeping women right where it wants them. It's the last western organization in the world that can get away with this and it's partly why the church is dying.

Tim O'Leary
3 months 3 weeks ago

Crystal - glad you corrected yourself. But, the Church is not dying. It cannot die. Only people die. The Church is growing rapidly in Africa and Asia. What is dying is the modern secularist-feminist-gay-sexual revolution - by abortion, euthanasia, and mostly by the contraceptive mentality that has produced a demographic winter across the rich West. It is possible that Christianity can never flourish for long among the rich, since Jesus said: "Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." (Mt 19:24). Perhaps, wealth and pleasure overcome most rich people. "Small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (Mt 7:14).

Crystal Watson
3 months 3 weeks ago

Yes, the church is growing in countries that are homophobic and misogynistic. But it's just temporary. Those countries are rapidly changing and the younger generations will leave the church eventually as is happening in the west. You guys are going to run out of people.

Tim O'Leary
3 months 3 weeks ago

Crystal - Your predictions will go the way of those produced a century ago. All demographic trends predict that the future will be the traditional religious, Christian and Islamic, since it is only they who have sufficient babies to "increase and multiply." They of course will be made up of people who can see the bleedin' obvious complementarity of men and women, who want to have children and who see that homosexual sex is a dead end, metaphorically and medically. Fascinating site from the UN on population projections https://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/Graphs/Probabilistic/POP/TOT.

Nora Bolcon
3 months 3 weeks ago

Thanks for this additional article which also states that men and women are the same psychologically. I will add it to all the others that also use science and facts to determine reality and state also that women and men are the same except for where they must be different in order to procreate physically. These science based articles tell us that men and women are often less different then even groups of men are different from each other as far as behavior, desires, needs, intelligence, temperament, emotionally, etc. - not surprising that God called both man and woman Man. "God created Man, male and female he created them." I guess God was right!

Crystal Watson
3 months 3 weeks ago

The church and Pope Francis are wedded to complementarianism but the science is against them on this subject. There are tons of scientific articles - here's one recent article from the science journal, Nature ... "Sex redefined: The idea of two sexes is simplistic. Biologists now think there is a wider spectrum than that" ... https://www.nature.com/news/sex-redefined-1.16943

People who believe in complementarianism have to really want it to be true, because there is no factual basis on which they can base that belief. They believe it because it allows them to feel ok about putting people in boxes.

Tim O'Leary
3 months 3 weeks ago

Nora - do I detect sarcasm in your comment? If "these science based articles tell us" that men and women are the same psychologically and behaviorally, then the only other reason that men predominate prisons (93%:7%) is because of SEXISM against men! A la Marx: “Men of the World, Unite. You have nothing to lose but your ball and chain!”

Another science based article out today, from UC Davis researchers (Paola Gilsanz & Rachel Whitmer) of 15,000 women ages 40 to 55 in the 1960s and 1970s. Those who had 3 or more children were 12% less likely to develop dementia decades later in life. The effect held even when controlled for weight and history of strokes, both of which affect dementia risk.

Jack Goodwin
3 months 3 weeks ago

Let’s make this simple; did your mother ever catch you with a Playboy? Did a nun ever catch you cheating? Women, and in particular religious women, brook no funny business and no dirty behavior from boys and men. Had women been bishops and cardinals from Vatican II on, there would have been none of this. If MY MOTHER and YOURS had been in charge, all of this disappears. Nature of the beast and the balance of nature. Father God gave us all the tools and in our ignorance we buried half of them.

Will Niermeyer
3 months 3 weeks ago

Why not let Priests marry Nuns. They are not like regular women. Also the chances of a happy marriage would be much greater knowing that the couple had the Church and ministry as a major priority.

Michael Ward
3 months 3 weeks ago

Married men who were fathers and priests would also have had a salutary effect in the development of what this sick disaster turned into. Greater participation by lay men and women in the "personnel" process would have helped immensely as well. Ordaining immature sexually unsettled men to the priesthood at a relatively young age proved diasterous. The notion that homosexuality has "nothing to do with" what transpired when over 90 percent of the cases were mature males preying on vulnerable adolescent males is just lunacy. Its isn't even factual reality. Exactly "what" it has to do with it is a good question. ..but is certainly is more than "nothing". People should just stop saying "nothing". Its silly, frankly, and evasive...to the point of being dishonest. (Stipulating that of course not all homosexual men are pederasts and not all pederasts are homosexual men...so save the ink replying with that one as I firmly agree with the point.).

Vincent Couling
3 months 3 weeks ago

Robert Mickens over at La Croix has just written an article which explores the very issue you raise ... the "what" homosexuality has to do with it. He looks at the psychosexual immaturity of men in the priesthood. The link to his article is https://international.la-croix.com/news/sexual-misconduct-and-the-high-… Here is an excerpt:
"There are a couple of aspects of this entire affair that no one seems to be touching. The first one is homosexuality in the priesthood.

For far too long this has been the elephant in the rectory parlor.

I know.

And a lot of other people also know that Keith O'Brien is not the only cardinal that has been sexually active during his priesthood.

And he is not the only one that has been sexually involved with other men…

Had he been at the 2013 conclave he could have looked several of his red-robed confreres who have also “fallen below the standards” directly in the eyes.

This is not to justify his conduct, but rather to say that the hypocrisy must end.

Incredibly, there are still priests and bishops that would deny or profess not to know that there are any homosexually-oriented men in the ordained ministry — even those that have remained chastely celibate. Are they willfully ignorant or just blatantly dishonest?

Cardinal O'Brien and many other priests and bishops that have engaged in sex with men would probably not even identify themselves as being gay. They are products of a clerical caste and a priestly formation system that discourages and, in some places, even forbids them from being honest about their homosexual orientation.

Sadly, many of these men are or have become self-loathing and homophobic. Some of them emerge as public moralizers and denouncers of homosexuality, especially of the evil perpetrated on society by the so-called “gay lobby.” Unfortunately, Cardinal O'Brien was, at times, one of the more brazen among them.

The Vatican knows all too well that there are large numbers of priests and seminarians with a homosexual orientation. But rather than encourage a healthy discussion about how gays can commit themselves to celibate chastity in a wholesome way, the Church’s official policies and teachings drive such men even deeper into the closet.

And like any other dark place lacking sunlight and air, this prevents normal development and festers mold, dankness, distortion and disease. Nothing kept in the dark can become healthy or flourish.

As recently as 2005, just a few months after the election of Benedict XVI, the Vatican issued a document that reinforced the “stay in the closet” policy by saying men who identified as gay should not be admitted to seminaries.(Note: One of the prime authors of that document – Msgr. Tony Anatrella, a priest-psychotherapist from Paris – was recently stripped of his priestly faculties after being credibly accused of abusing seminarians and other young men in his care.)

And, yet, despite such attempts there are gay priests that have found a way to wholesome self-acceptance of their sexuality. Some of them are sexually active, but many live celibately. Arguably, they are among the best and most compassionate pastors we have in our Church.

Their more conflicted gay confreres — and all gay people, indeed the entire Church — would benefit greatly if these healthy gay priests could openly share their stories. But their bishops or religious superiors have forbidden them from writing or speaking publicly about this part of their lives.

This too, only encourages more dishonesty and perpetuates a deeply flawed system that will continue to produce unhealthy priests."

Michael Ward
3 months 3 weeks ago

I think there is a good amount of wisdom in the piece. Thanks for sharing. There is a rather large challenge in the situation of encouraging gay priests to be open. It's that I don't see how they could stay in priestly ministy under the ambit of catholic teaching and sexual ethics if they were not chaste. Same as the hetero guys. Same disciplne . This is the same state of life that the tradtion call all unmarried disciples to. It's what I was called to and strove to live before before I was married. I think for the sake of honesty and avoidance of hypocrisy that would be the call most likely made. I have met, for example, gay men who have accepted the parameters of the church teaching on their lives and have found acceptance and encouragement from others in the Church for doing so. One was an amazingly insightful Courage member. He brought tears to my eyes listening to hsi story. Seemed to me that they were are better men and disciples than I in many regards. I have no hesitancy at all to say that. I just don't see any conceivable (no pun intended) scenario in which church teaching and discipline is going to draw a line elsewhere.

Robert Lewis
3 months 3 weeks ago

Allow me to congratulate you on one of the most constructive and honest commentaries on any of these threads regarding the priest-scandals of the Catholic Church! Thank you!

Robert Lewis
3 months 3 weeks ago

It's not gay men who are the problem; it's CLOSETED gay men who live a lie who are the problem. I will bet my entire livelihood that priests who are openly and publicly "same-sex-attracted" such as James Alison or Father Judge (of 9/11 fame) have never had a single charge of inappropriate conduct brought against them. Can one imagine that in the past history of the Church, she has never been served by chaste "same-sex attracted" clerics? Do John Henry Newman, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Bernard of Clairvaux, John of the Cross, etc. etc. ad infinitum, look like strongly heterosexual males to ANYBODY?
And as for women priests, it is completely unnecessary to extend the sacerdotal role to women (an impossibility, unless work is first done in the area of theology called "Christology"), because the means of empowering women in the Church already exist: if lay diplomats, boy princes and European noblemen of the past could be made cardinal-electors of the Roman Catholic Church in the past, there's no reason why women cannot be created cardinal-electors, eligible to participate in papal conclaves, so long as such women be willing to recuse themselves from being elected. Let's start with the Sacred College and work downward, to put numerous women at ALL levels of decision-making in the Church that do not include the sacerdotal roles of saying mass, hearing confessions, sanctifying the Eucharist and making Holy Orders.

Crystal Watson
3 months 3 weeks ago

The pope has been asked about women cardinals and said it was a joke. But even if he would let women be cardinals, it wouldn't solve the problem. Men and women need to be treated equally in the church, with the same opportunities, for this mess to be cleaned up.

Robert Lewis
3 months 3 weeks ago

I believe that was John Paul II who said that it was a "joke," not Pope Francis.

Nora Bolcon
3 months 3 weeks ago

Amen. That is the plain and simple truth.

Nora Bolcon
3 months 3 weeks ago

For those interest in facts. Fact I: Appx. Half the sexual predator priests assaulted female victims. Fact II: There is no evidence that celibacy leads to sexual immaturity at any age or that it leads to child abuse. There is also no evidence that homosexuality leads to child abuse. Married heterosexual men have a slightly higher rate of sexual child abuse over single men including celibate men, and there is no evidence homosexual men are more likely to molest children than heterosexual married men. As for your male victim percentage, the larger amount of male victims comes from the far easier access to male victims. You need remember that most of these cases are over 15 -35 years old, or more, and many churches did not have female altar servers in good quantities until the last 15 to 20 years. So access to female victims was more difficult and this kept the amount of female victims to a lower amount.

Lillian Vogl
3 months 3 weeks ago

Really the issue is that we need to tear down the Catholic cultural assumption that a man is owed any deference or presumption of goodness or wisdom just because he wears a collar. Clericalism is the reason why victims are afraid to speak up. And it goes beyond direct abuse to clerics who enable spousal abuse with their prioritization of the institution of marriage over the actual good of the family members. The more the lay faithful are given “permission” to exercise their own conscience and prophetic voice, the less room there is for spiritual abuse, and more room for the voices of women in our families and faith communities.

Robert Lewis
3 months 3 weeks ago

Absolutely!

Paul Mclaughlin
3 months 3 weeks ago

I have thought and prayed long and hard over this. Having married or female priests will not “solve” this problem. The problem is power, and the origin of the problem is the “theology” that ordination bestows on priest the power to change bread and wine into the body of Christ. And, the only way this power is given is when another ordained person, who has been given this power to ordain him.

Therefore, despite all the mumbo jumbo about the role of the laity, the priest is supreme in the relationship, which allows this and other bad things to happen.

Let me be clear, I believe the bread and wine is the Body and Blood, but it becomes so thru our faith and by the action of the Holy Spirit.

I offer this teaching as a partial basis of this notion...By grace alone, in faith in Christ's saving work and not because of any merit on our part, we are accepted by God and receive the Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts ...

The celebration of the Mass changes the role of the priest to worship leader and teacher.

This is not a Protestant notion. In fact, it is very Catholic because transubstatiation occurs. It is real, but it comes to us because we believe, not because of the actions of another sinner.

Going further...if Communion only becomes Communion because of the priest - God is using a person like McCarrick and others who have committed mortal sins - to do the deed. I find this difficult to comprehend.

Going further, if God is not using McCarrick et al because of their mortal sins, the faithful are not receiving GOd. The bread is Just a wafer and worse tasting wine. This makes no sense. Why would God punish the faithful?

It is our faith and the Holy Spirit that that changes the man made substances into God.

Once you remove this “power” the entire relationship changes.

Remember the scene from “Spotlight” where the guy was meeting with them reporters and was talking about how and why the abuse happened? He said (paraphrase) “You don’t understand. IT was God talking.”

As long as we falsely believe the priest has special God given powers, men will exploit it for their own needs.

Robert Lewis
3 months 3 weeks ago

"...This is not a Protestant notion. In fact, it is very Catholic because transubstatiation occurs..."
Of COURSE, this is a "Protestant notion," because it does not depend upon Apostolic Succession, and it reflects the "priesthood of all believers."
I have no problem with women priests, and I have no problem with an ecclesiology that allows the ordination of a certain class of married clergy, but if "priesthood of all believers" becomes the rule, there's no reason not to dissolve the Catholic Church, which is founded upon a certain divinely-inspired Tradition. No reason, then, to have bishops or successors of the Apostles in Holy Orders. It would be like saying that the Holy Spirit NEVER DID guide the Church through centuries of divinely-inspired theological discussions.

Paul Mclaughlin
3 months 3 weeks ago

Aplostolic succession can remain. There is no reason why it should be done away with. What Jesus, Paul and his other followers did was preach and live a holy life. My point is saying the notion that priests have unitary powers that implies when and where the Holy Spirit is present. When in fact, the Holy Spirit goes where it wants and needs to go, when it wants and need to go. Furthermore, having this “power” puts the priest - as we have seen - in position to abuse this power. I

The mess we have seen has nothing to do with being married or female - it’s all about the abuse of power granted to them by other men who think they have the same power, when none of it is real power.

The power that exist is rooted in our faith and the belief Jesus is present in Communion because of our faith.

aravind aru
3 months 3 weeks ago

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Molly Roach
3 months 3 weeks ago

Women need to be listened to, part of the on-going conversation. A new normal is needed. "Invested in" is the wrong turn of phrase; "listened to" is the direction I want.

rose-ellen caminer
3 months 3 weeks ago

Sexuality and religion have a natural affinity with each other. The Pagans knew this.There is power and mystery in both; one of imminence[ sex drive] and one of transcendence [search for ultimate meaning; for God] and they easily co mingle. Always have have and probably always will.

John Love
3 months 3 weeks ago

I think women do have a role in resolving this issue, but I would argue they already do have a prominent role in most major metropolitan areas. In my own diocese, our program is 100% run by women. Women serve as victim advocates, the chancellor, family life director, and the overall program director for the safety of children and education of clergy.

Phillip Stone
3 months 3 weeks ago

Did not most of these young people have mothers? The most motivated and interested female adults you could wish for, and the sexual predation happened despite them.
They TRUSTED and that trust was betrayed.
We are still, nevertheless, required to have trust as part of our spectrum of virtues - as innocent as doves as well as cunning as serpents.

I have dogs on my farm - the alpha male sometimes humps one or other of the neutered males and it is not sexual perversion so much as an act of male dominance. We need to discern lust for power as well as carnal lust in the process of choosing and appointing ministers and leaders.

Robert Lewis
3 months 3 weeks ago

The most depressing thing about all of the commentary on these threads is that almost everybody here--including, sometimes, I regret to say, myself--seems to be pushing some agenda for the Church, rather than concentrating on what to do for the victims--on how to rescue children from the hands of predators and how to help the abused to heal. For some, it's "priestly celibacy"; for others, it's "women priests"; for others--including myself, too often--it's regularizing and accepting gay Catholics. But what about the children? What's to be done for them NOW? What's to be done to help the wounded to heal? Do folks writing here understand that the majority of teenage boys now living in homeless shelters in many of our major cities are gay youths who've been thrown out of their homes by homophobic parents? It's the truth; go check it out for yourselves. What do we do when we realize that those boys are the most prime candidates to be sexually trafficked by homosexual predators--including our most wicked priests? Are we to turn our backs on these children after they've been abandoned and then prostituted?

Nora Bolcon
3 months 3 weeks ago

Since sexism causes child abuse and sexual abuse against women. It is time to ordain and treat women the same as men in our church. Lay women should lead alongside lay men I agree in many areas in parish life too. Time to dump the ministry of Permanent Deaconate which stands in the way of Lay People leading or being trained to lead in parishes.

The continued misogyny in our church, obviously existent in our refusal to ordain women and offer same sacraments to women, will continue to be a large cause for the ongoing sexual abuse towards women, children and even vulnerable men.

The attitude that men are more sacred than women which we prove we believe is true at every mass, every day, in every parish, around the globe not only destroys the sense of worthiness overall in women, it also gives ordained men the sense of arrogance of being more valuable than other people in general.

To be clear all evidence has shown that celibacy does not lead to child abuse. There is no evidence to support that belief.

However, sexism, in any form, especially in religion, does actually cause child abuse and other sexual abuse forms in our church, and out of it.

So therefore, the cure is not married male priests (married men are actually statistically more likely, however slightly, to abuse sexually children than single men) but instead to demand women priests as they are the real start to real healing for our church. Sexual hatred of women leads to the sexual abuse of children. It is time to own the truth and fix the problem so the damage can begin to heal. Demand the right change! Demand Equal Sacraments Be Made Available to All Baptized Members of Our Church (as Christ Intended) Now! Times up! No More Excuses! No More Waiting!

Luis Gutierrez
3 months 2 weeks ago

The ecclesiastical patriarchy (canon 1024) is the TITANIC. Sexual abuse is the ICEBERG. The Church ("one, holy, catholic, and apostolic") will remain. The ecclesiastical patriarchy, not so. Time to start ordaining women!

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