In a church without priests, I cannot find redemption: a response to James Carroll

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A novelist and poet born in the late 1940s, whose Irish-American Catholic parents named him James Carroll, summed up his childhood with the refrain, “I was a Catholic boy/ Redeemed through pain/ And not through joy.”

I thought of that classic punk-rock Jim Carroll Band lyric, from the title track of their 1980 album “Catholic Boy,” as I read “Abolish the Priesthood,” the cover story in The Atlantic by James Carroll, an ex-priest born a few years prior to the late musician with whom he shares a name.

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Both Jim Carroll (best known for his 1978 memoir The Basketball Diaries) and James Carroll critique the church that shaped them. But whereas the lyrics of “Catholic Boy” cling to the hope of redemption, James Carroll’s article gives no hint that we are all, in fact, sinners in need of salvation; he argues that the only thing lay Catholics need to be saved from is Catholicism itself.

“Abolish the Priesthood” begins as a cri de coeur against the clericalism that he blames for the church’s sex abuse crisis. As the author recounts a litany of media revelations of criminal actions by priests and religious in the United States and Europe, he highlights the hypocrisy of churchmen who made their victims’ lives a living hell. A quote he cites from a victim who testified before the Pennsylvania grand jury sets the tone: “This is the murder of a soul.”

James Carroll’s article gives no hint that we are all sinners in need of salvation; he argues that the only thing lay Catholics need to be saved from is Catholicism itself.

With the problem thus stated, the article settles into its real agenda, which, as its title suggests, is to throw out the baby with the baptismal water. James Carroll, who was a Paulist father from 1969 to 1974, has in his sights “the priesthood itself and its theological underpinnings.”

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“The very priesthood is toxic, and I see now that my own service was, too,” he writes. In his ministerial work for the church, he came to see himself as part of a system that upheld “the twin pillars of clericalism—the Church’s misogynist exclusion of women from the priesthood and its requirement of celibacy for priests.”

Although James Carroll is of the hippie generation, he is clearly going for a punk-rock aesthetic. He strikes a chord akin to the anarchist slogan “no gods, no masters,” mocking the dogmatic pronouncements of the early church that echo down to the present day: “Councils defined a single set of beliefs as orthodox, and everything else as heresy.”

“Church conservatives” are the problem, James Carroll says. He dreams of “a robust overthrow of power that would unseat them and their ilk.” In this brave new world, “the communal experience of the Mass” would remain, but “it [would] not need to be celebrated by a member of some sacerdotal caste.”

Although James Carroll is of the hippie generation, he is clearly going for a punk-rock aesthetic.

What, I wonder, would Jim Carroll the rocker, a reformed heroin addict who died of a heart attack in 2009, make of all this? On the one hand, Jim, like the protagonist of his final roman à clef The Petting Zoo, “had only the barest modicum of faith remaining by the age of 15 or so—that spectral scrap which all Catholics sustain until death, despite their most vehement protestations.”

Yet Jim Carroll adored the mystery and the ritual aspects of Catholic worship, and he grieved the loss of the Latin liturgy of his childhood. In his middle age (and perhaps later), he often attended daily Mass—though opting not to receive Communion for fear of disappointment. “I always think I’m going to find the ideal priest,” he wrote, “but they all end up with booze on their breath, like when I was a kid.”

But there was still something more about Catholicism that resonated with Jim Carroll, something that spoke to his personal muse. He felt, in his words, that “Catholicism and punk rock were very much alike. What could be more punk rock than the stations of the Cross where this guy’s getting whipped and has to wear a crown of thorns and weeps into a veil and leaves his image behind and then gets crucified and rises up?”

The analogy speaks to me personally.

I am not a cradle Catholic. My parents, who divorced when I was five, are Jewish; I was raised in that faith and, as a small child, was molested by a janitor at the temple we attended. As a young adult, suffering from suicidal thoughts due to undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder, I sought solace in the New York City rock world—that is, until a dramatic conversion to Christianity and, ultimately, Catholicism upended my way of life. (And yes, like both Carrolls, I have penned a book about my faith journey.)

Before my conversion, I identified with the kind of rebellious spirit that prompts James Carroll to fantasize about tearing down authority structures.

Before my conversion, I identified with the kind of rebellious spirit that prompts James Carroll to fantasize about tearing down authority structures. The authorities I knew as a child—such as the rabbi who refused to believe my story of abuse or my father who moved to a far-away state—disappointed me, leaving me with spiritual and psychological wounds.

What sparked my journey to Catholicism was a passage in a novel by G. K. Chesterton that was recommended to me by a rock musician. In The Man Who Was Thursday, I encountered an argument that turned my way of thinking on its head. A character who styles himself a poet of law and order argues against an anarchist poet that “revolt in the abstract is—revolting. It’s mere vomiting.” Rather, he insists, “the most poetical thing in the world is not being sick.”

That passage reached me just at the time when I had had enough of existential nausea. It led me to long to know the poetry of not being sick.

Ultimately, after several years of fighting the prospect of surrendering my life to a God and Master, I found that poetry in Jesus Christ crucified and risen. A few years later, after failing to find a Protestant community that felt like home, I surrendered further. It was then that I finally found Jesus’ crucified and risen body and blood where it had always been waiting for me—in the Catholic Church.

I imagine that James Carroll, although wanting to sympathize with me as a woman and an abuse survivor, may dismiss my encounter with Christ in the Eucharist as pious sentiment. But however much the laicized cleric may claim that “the Church is an in-the-flesh connection” to Jesus, I cannot find in his vision of a desacralized church the nearness of Christ’s own flesh.

Jim Carroll the punk poet, in an interview during the last decade of his life, confessed, “I can’t stand the politics of the Church.” Yet, to the end, he remained “fascinated” with “Christ’s blood as a metaphor for this kind of homeopathic balm of redemption.”

I agree with James Carroll on one thing: The church is wounded. And, with his rocker namesake, I maintain that the only cure is the “homeopathic balm” brought to us at every altar through the hands of a man we rightly want to be “the ideal priest.”

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Michael Gridley
2 months 3 weeks ago

Clericalism is not just a problem for the clergy. As long as Catholics are addicted to the idea of a special order of people endowed with quasi-magical powers, it's going to persist. Carroll was right, and the vigor of the response, primarily from clergy, but also from some lay Catholics, is an indicator to me that he struck a valid chord.

Annette Barfield
2 months 3 weeks ago

Michael, I could not have said it better!

Dale Athlon
2 months 3 weeks ago

Stuck a chord of disgust among decent Catholic people is what happened. Carroll is an EX-PRIEST. That means he quit. He's a QUITTER. He's off the team. Why do haters like him have to continue to rail on something that he is longer a part of?

So, if some guy who was a Cubs fan, quits, then decides to become a White Sox fan, and then proceeds to bash everything Cubs-related...well, good people are just going to be disgusted with that kind of hatred.

Move on, Carroll. You made your choice. Move on and try and like something else, don't hate.

Tondalaya Gillespie
2 months 3 weeks ago

Why is it when someone expresses an o[inion about the church that questions, they are immediately assumed to hate the church? Were we not born to think and ask questions and not be a lemming and march over the cliff because of some edict or outdated doctrine? You can love the church and still ask questions and also dissent, otherwise why even live?

Alan Johnstone
2 months 3 weeks ago

How can you possibly think that a DOCTRINE would have a use-by date?
The Trinity is a mystery. Truth which human minds cannot process.
The Incarnation is a mystery. Utterly incomprehensible and only known about by it being revealed.
The "Church" ie the fellowship of believers, is the Mystical Body of Christ.
Mysteries are revealed and are taken as truth on faith, not on understanding or agreement.

You write as if a fairly uneducated person could have as good an opinion about a mystery of faith as anyone else.
It seems to me as if there is no comprehension about the variety of gifts - some apostles, some prophets, some teachers, some ...
Resembles more the secular doctrines of American Exceptionalism and individual liberty.

Nora Bolcon
2 months 3 weeks ago

Alan, many doctrines, teachings and traditions have changed in our church throughout its history. In fact for the first several hundred years of the church there were no ordained priests which is why this word does not appear in the new testament. Presbyters did what priest do now today - which is lead churches preside over Holy Eucharist, counsel and hear confessions of their clocks. There were both male and female presbyters. So even to start ordaining any priests constituted a change in accepted teaching and actions from what preceded it. The only dogmas that are considered officially infallible are two Mary dogmas declared ex-cathedra. There are orther dogmas that no one really has a problem accepting like the acceptance of the Holy Trinity but priesthood has been dealing with changes and disagreement throughout the centuries. It is appropriate that we scrutinize this doctrine as it has been strongly evidenced to cause harm to women in the form of unjust bias and it has led to pedophilia, teen sexual abuse, and the abuse of nuns in its current state.

William Chamberlain
2 months 3 weeks ago

He struck no chord with me. You are espousing Protestant heresy. The fruits of the Protestant heresy are centuries of war. Atheism, shallow spirituality, tele-evangelists, strife, factionalism, error, indifference to sin, and intellectual disdain. That Satan would strike at the heart of the church that Jesus founded is not a big surprise. That the Holy Spirit keeps her from error (including much Jesuitical nonsense) is a fact.

Nora Bolcon
2 months 3 weeks ago

Another women writer who is afraid to state the obvious, sexual discrimination is sexual abuse, and as a woman called to ordained priesthood in our church, as a teen, I can tell you this kind of rejection of your whole personhood from birth feels like a rape of one's soul. I am still not fully healed from that hate and a large part of that is because the hatred of women is still going strong in our church.

I find it fascinating that both America Mag. and NCR never allow written out the words ordained woman priests in their articles - it's like the Pope told them to only have writers who ask for greater roles, and these two publications just fell over and did whatever they were asked with no concern how badly that result would be for their sisters in Christ. Yet there seems to be no end to these ninny articles from women who act like women are treated just fine in the RCC. Feels like the propaganda style of strategic omission is hard at play.

I believe Carroll is right that we need to first ordain women to all the same ordained ministries as men now but I believe this heals the bulk of the power clericalism holds to support evil and arrogance in priesthood. If every individual who feels called to priesthood can become a priest, if basically qualified, then even if you don't get rid of the celibacy requirement, you have gotten rid of the "we were born better and more ordainable" than those other people issue. Exclusion of half the human race in our church to all sacramental and governmental leadership dehumanizes the excluded half.

However, if this leads to still some form of clericalization existing or if after ordaining all women called we still need priests then we should seek to ordain married people as well but optional celibacy is not a justice issue as even Christ and St. Paul supported celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom of God, for both men and women followers. We don't need to dump the hierarchal structure altogether but we do need to change who is in it and who elects people to its highest positions.

arthur mccaffrey
2 months 3 weeks ago

wondering just how bad things have to get before the scales fall from the eyes of dreamers like Goldstein. And the "nearness of christ's own flesh" is no further away than the person sitting next to you. Why do you need a special mediator called a priest?

Tondalaya Gillespie
2 months 3 weeks ago

We should consider everyone's experience, Goldstein's and Carroll's, this is known as the life experience, but to just go into our respective corners, shake hands and come out fighting seems so silly. We are all here and all are living different lives, don't you think God in his wisdom is cognizant of this?

John Linton
2 months 3 weeks ago

Well at least America isn't so liberal that it's now far abolishing the priesthood yet...

I'd give them another 10 years or so on that.

Dale Athlon
2 months 3 weeks ago

God Jesus Christ instituted the sacrament of Holy Orders.

All these people calling for abolishment of the priesthood, are calling for abolishment of the sacraments, and they think they can second guess what GOD JESUS CHRIST instituted.

It's protestant heresy.

Robert O'Connell
2 months 3 weeks ago

I do not readily understand that people calling for abolishment of the priesthood are calling for abolishment of the sacraments.

Melchizedek was a priest. Judaism had priests; some became disciples of Christ (Acts 6:7). Maybe Jesus Christ does not view the priesthood like we do -- or did. In fact, I read some concern about titles in Matthew's Gospel (Matthew 23: 1-13).

Stephen Pohl
2 months 3 weeks ago

Good article Dawn.

Jonathan Lunine
2 months 3 weeks ago

Thank you, Dawn, for your beautiful rebuttal of Carroll’s article. Like you, I was raised Jewish but converted to Catholicism, in my case in middle age. I must read your biography.

Anthony Ercolano
2 months 3 weeks ago

Carroll was advocating the abolition of a clerical caste priesthood, which is redundant at best since we are all anointed "priest, prophet and king (royalty)" through baptism.

Ross Warnell
2 months 3 weeks ago

By exalting the priesthood conferred by Holy Orders and diminishing the priesthood conferred by Baptism, the ecclesiastical machinery of the Roman Catholic Church has contributed mightily to the fine mess we are experiencing.

William Chamberlain
2 months 3 weeks ago

No one is exalting the priesthood. Look to Holy Thursday where Jesus washed his apostles feet and told them to do likewise. You are espousing Protestant heresy. The fruits of the Protestant heresy are centuries of war. Atheism, shallow spirituality, tele-evangelists, strife, factionalism, error, indifference to sin, and intellectual disdain. That Satan would strike at the heart of the church that Jesus is not a big surprise. That the Holy Spirit keeps her from error (including much Jesuitical nonsense) is a fact.

Ernie Sherretta
2 months 3 weeks ago

The author should listen to Henri Nouwen's sermons on the Beloved Child of God given in 1992 at the Christal Cathedral at Robert Schuller's invitation. YouTube offers various versions. Afterward, perhaps she needs to recall that Jesus NEVER ordained any priests but SENT his disciples into the world to be LIGHT for the world that would show people the Way, the Truth, and the Life of Jesus not the Roman Catholic institution whose history is the antithesis of the Way as described in chapter two of the Acts. The best book I have read to solidify by distance from Catholicism and other denominations is one written in 1929 by Kirby Page, JESUS OR CHRISTIANITY- A Study in Contrasts. Jesus rebuked Power, Fame, and Fortune at the great Temptation. Rome adopted the Way as its own state religion and rebuked the Life and Truth of Jesus.

Dale Athlon
2 months 3 weeks ago

If abolishing the priesthood and the Mass/Sacrifice/Eucharist was a good idea, then St. Francis of Assisi and all the rest of the particular saints Libs like would have called for it, yet they never did.

Dennis Doyle
2 months 3 weeks ago

I will piggy back on Michael Gridley’s on point comments. The “ quasi magical powers “ that Gridley mentions are I presume sacramentally related. Once you establish a theocracy where salvation comes through ritualistic initiatives that only a select ( male , presumably celibate ) can offer , you create clericalism . Beyond that you create people not trained, willing or comfortable to establish an intimate, non mediated relationship with Christ.

Annette Barfield
2 months 3 weeks ago

Amen!

Dale Athlon
2 months 3 weeks ago

You are second-guessing God Jesus Christ and the Apostles and the sacraments. You don't have that right, unless you want to call yourself a Protestant.

You have doubt, we can see that. Please pray an Act of Faith. Jesus loves those who have not seen him in person, but still have faith.

Do you believe that Jesus rose from the dead? Do you believe in Hell?

This stuff is Catholic 101, and to be a Catholic you have to believe in its tenets. Otherwise, you have placed yourself outside the Apostolic Faith started by Jesus.

Tondalaya Gillespie
2 months 3 weeks ago

Let's be frank here, beyond all the dogma, doctrine, gilded mansions, bishops rings, ermine robes, Prada shoes, edicts from Rome, mishmash from the Conference of Bishops, etc.etc. In the final analysis, we will be judged by our loving God, not with all of the above and the silly then some, but by how did we treat and care for our neighbor, the stranger, the widow and the poorest among us.? It ain't going to be about LBGT, divorce, sex before marriage, masturbation (although this is punched into our brains from infancy).

Michael Bindner
2 months 3 weeks ago

In the Book of James, people went to each other to pray for their sins. The Eucharist adds a new layer to Shabbat, the real Presence of Christ, but does not overturn it or the lack of need of a Rabbi or Priest to celebrate it in the same way. Public celebration of the Sacraments still has its place, but that does not mean that the other sacraments may not be valid with out an ordained celibate male priest. Indeed, marriage is contracted by the parties, the priest is only the witness for the community. Healing requires faith, it is not magic. That leaves Confirmation and Orders, but a bishop is usually required for both, although a pastor can Confirm on Holy Saturday. Indeed, the office of Pastor and Bishop were the same when the Church was young. Not a bad idea.

Alex Simonelis
2 months 3 weeks ago

Good pice.

Carroll is throwing out too much baby with the bathwater.

Will Nier
2 months 3 weeks ago

I wonder if the clericalism enigma would end if all clergy were forbidden to wear clerical garb. Then they would look like the ordinary slob in the pew or on the street corner. Who knows. Might be worth a shot.

Maria Alderson
2 months 3 weeks ago

Thank you, Dawn! You get it. The people talking about magical powers, clerical garb, and Jesus not ordaining anybody do not get it. Thanks for sharing your mind and heart.

Ross Warnell
2 months 3 weeks ago

I'm almost 77 years old and I "get it" including experiencing the sex abuse coverup scandal up close and personal and taking on the pious stuffed shirts at the chancery. We need leadership, just not the kind many of us have seen.

Ross Warnell
2 months 3 weeks ago

I'm almost 77 years old and I "get it" including experiencing the sex abuse coverup scandal up close and personal and taking on the pious stuffed shirts at the chancery. We need leadership, just not the kind many of us have seen.

Crystal Watson
2 months 3 weeks ago

If you can't find redemption without a priest, you would have been out of luck when Jesus walked the earth.

Jack Schibik
2 months 3 weeks ago

Central to the clergy abuse is a failed theology of sin-sex-sacrifice that usurped Jesus' original theology of creation-communion-resurrection that awakened, accepted, accessed, and activated the innate incarnate capacity of each person to live divinely by virtuosity rooted in divine fidelity. We are liberated by the fidelity of the creator. We are fulfilled by the life, death, resurrection of Jesus. It is done. Finished. All we need to do is live it in spite of our natural and human limits, and precisely because of our divine strengths. The Bishops failed in governance, but the Church failed in not healing the candidates for priesthood who came to seminary to be transformed into signs, symbols, and sacraments of divine presence. They were damaged by their own developmental disorder in attachment/intimacy/relationality... the very human need that Jesus came to heal in humanity. Seminary & Bishops & People
failed out of ignorance, not malice. We need a complete overhaul of our theology, morality, and spirituality that has been distorted with a thousand years of focus on negative worldview over the original positive worldview of Jesus.. He simple taught that we can learn to be for each other who God is for us... if we awaken to our original innate capacity of divine DNA that will never be removed.. and which will be fulfilled in resurrection. The Institution only follows the perspective that guides it. Bishops need to go back to school with many lay persons who have accrued more theological education that most clerics. Priest need to learn to become the signs, symbols, and sacraments of the creator, liberator, fulfiller of all life that enhances and advance human wellbeing and development rooted in Jesus ' original word, work, and person; message, meaning, and method of ministry; life, passion, and resurrection. In the process the job description of priest needs to shift to discerning, training, and supervising the new breed of lay ministers who will provide for the wellbeing and development of people across their life span. this transformation of laity in service is the ultimate answer to the clericalism that served the church in its time, but needs to change in our time for a new kind of service to the People of God who are always first and foremost the agents of divine incarnation in daily life for all.

John Chuchman
2 months 3 weeks ago

How terribly sad to need some guy as an intermediary to the Divine.

Joan Sheridan
2 months 3 weeks ago

James Carroll use to write a column for the Boston Globe and no matter what the subject he managed to get in a dig at the Catholic Church. At the time I felt he could not live up to his own vows so he was angry at the Church and the men who did. I also think it had something to do with his strong stance against the Vietnam war because his father was in the military. I know many former priests who love the Church and raise their children in the faith.

Dale Athlon
2 months 3 weeks ago

He's an EX-PRIEST, aka a quitter. He's disgruntled and has anger/hate issues. He should reconcile that he hates his ex-employer and move on. But it probably rankles his conscience that he's now against Jesus and Jesus' church.

Lisa M
2 months 3 weeks ago

Beautiful article Dawn- I have always been so impressed with the effort, courage, strength and humility that is required to take such a journey to conversion. You are most certainly a model example of someone who sought meaning rather than fell victim to difficult and painful wounds. Those of us spared those wounds, and fortunate to have been given the faith through family often forget the importance of humility in order to maintain and grow in the faith. Sadly, James Carroll appears to be no different than many Catholics today. We are overly confident in our own judgment and give little to any thought to the concept that at times personal intellectual or spiritual surrender or submission is required..

Crystal Watson
2 months 3 weeks ago

So many converts join for the wrong reasons. I know, I was one of them. The most important thing about the Catholic church isn't the celibate priesthood or the big cathedrals or the confessional or any of the other exotic trappings. The important thing is that thing shared with every other Christian denomination ... Jesus, accessible to everyone, no priest necessary.

Dale Athlon
2 months 3 weeks ago

That is 100% wrong. The important thing about the Catholic religion is that it was started by God Jesus Christ who instituted the Sacraments.

How can you possibly try and second-guess Jesus' instructions to the Apostles?

People who reject the sacramental mission of the Catholic Church are rejecting what God Jesus Christ instituted and openly spoke about in the Gospels/Acts. It's Protestant man-made heresy to do that.

Crystal Watson
2 months 3 weeks ago

Jesus didn't institute any sacraments or instruct the apostles to do so. The closest you can come is him saying "do this in memory of me" but he would probably roll his eyes about the present ritual built up around that one sentence. Certainly he didn't instruct the apostles to institute a celibate priesthood or any kind of priesthood. Do facts actually matter to you?

Maria Alderson
2 months 3 weeks ago

Read John 6, Crystal. The whole chapter.

Crystal Watson
2 months 3 weeks ago

I've read the gospel of John. But Jesus saying that he's the bread of life and that his followers must eat his flesh and drink his blood is not the same thing as instituting a ritual presided over by a celibate priest who supposedly invokes Jesus into a wafer for people standing in a line to eat. More likely were the agape meals shared by early Christians in people's homes - no priests, no rituals, no transubstantiation.

Alan Johnstone
2 months 3 weeks ago

It is very difficult to see that you have ever been a convert Crystal.
Would you please share your story, what you were seeking and what you found.

Crystal Watson
2 months 3 weeks ago

I was lonely and thought I could find a kind of family, and I was attracted to the exotic seeming stuff like celibate priests, old cathedrals, religious orders, etc. It didn't work out and I quit going to church after about 3 years. But ...
A few years later, online, I came upon info about St. Ignatius and the Spiritual Exercises. I made a retreat and had what seemed like a spiritual experience. I learned about the NT and historical Jesus stuff and some theology. Also learned much more about the Catholic church, mostly negative - sex abuse, unfairness to women, homophobia, etc..
So I believe in God but don't have a lot of respect for the Catholic church.

Dale Athlon
2 months 3 weeks ago

Carroll uses the "clericalism" excuse that's promoted by PF1 and the likes of Cupich et al.

These wordsmiths are mendacious. Nobody believes it. Nobody even knows what the word means. If it has to be explained....

Clericalism is a mendacious term used as a cover-up for what is a homosexual pederasty and predator scandal. Look at the Boy Scouts scandal. Let's all be honest: Are we going to blame that man-boy abuse on "clericalism" ? No, it's classic predatory pederasty.

Judith Jordan
2 months 3 weeks ago

Dale Athlon---
Dale, you seem very concerned that when someone questions something, they are rejecting Jesus. Questioning issues is a God given right that also distinguishes us from other animals. Since you are adamant about the “truth,” you should be aware that the majority of child and sexual abuse is committed by straight men. Your rant against gays is misguided and damaging.

William Chamberlain
2 months 3 weeks ago

But the John Jay report, in the body of the report, not the summary (because it's authors had secular colleagues to keep happy) clearly identified that the vast majority (80%) of abuse cases were male on male, post pubescent teens. Pederasty not pedophilia. Grooming. Abuse.

Judith Jordan
2 months 3 weeks ago

William Chamberlain---
The John Jay Report was specific to the Catholic Church, not society as a whole. Priests were often responsible for the care of boys and this proximity affects behavior with some individuals. Most reputable psychologists, psychiatrists, and studies reject any cause and effect link between homosexuality and pedophilia. There are others that interpret the John Jay Report differently than you.

Nor do I think secular colleagues would have a pre-determined result any more than a religious colleague. Secularism does not automatically mean it is not trust worthy. Secularists may be guided by ethical positions.

William Chamberlain
2 months 3 weeks ago

But the John Jay report, in the body of the report, not the summary (because it's authors had secular colleagues to keep happy) clearly identified that the vast majority (80%) of abuse cases were male on male, post pubescent teens. Pederasty not pedophilia. Grooming. Abuse.

Bill Mazzella
2 months 3 weeks ago

Dawn's choice is better than Carroll's. We are a sinful church. Yet in the parishes there still is enormous good and the Body of Christ is there/here. Dorothy Day is right that the Church is a whore. But as she says it is our whore. True through the centuries that most of the bishops are Pharisees. Jesus managed with that system and it is the system we deal with. True that the priest is not that God that some in Rome want to foist on us. Yet it is up to us to keep them focused on Jesus Crucified. It will always be a work in progress. All the Religious Orders and Congregations started in history were attempts to reform a hierarchy that lost focus. Quickly however, these congregations became mediocre either through corrupt followers or the influence of Rome or the bishops. Modern day Charismatic groups get into power plays and egos continue to mess with the message. Yet so many are proclaiming the Lord Jesus and toil daily in the vineyard. Matthew 25:36-41 remains the standard as we struggle to the promised land. In that effort we build up and encourage one another.

Diane Boover
2 months 3 weeks ago

"The Christian of the future will be a mystic or (the Christian) will not exist at all" Karl Rahner

[Explore America’s in-depth coverage of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.]

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