F“Brothers and sisters, today we find ourselves before a manifestation of brazen, aggressive and destructive evil.”
These were the words of Pope Francis as he delivered remarks at the end of Mass before 190 Catholic bishops and religious superiors summoned to Rome recently for the first-ever global Catholic summit of its kind.
He vowed to confront abusers with the “wrath of God,” end the cover-ups by their superiors and prioritize the victims.”
The Pope’s strong verbal message was in reaction to sexual scandals and abuses rocking the Catholic church that sparked a credibility check in the hierarchy and crisis affecting the papal leadership.
Filipino Cardinal Luis Perez de Tagle himself admitted to the effect that for so long, bishops have covered up the sins of their priests and the parishes under their jurisdiction.
The Pontiff however did not offer a concrete action plan to hold bishops accountable which disappointed families of victims.
It is well and good that the Vatican is now squarely tackling this sensitive issue that has been stalking it for many decades (or is it even for centuries?).
Pedophilia, adultery, gay practices and sexual abuse of nuns were among the accusations hurled against Catholic priests in many parts of the world.
In our country, Pres. Duterte himself has lashed at the Catholic leaders, specifically directed at the CBCP, for sweeping the matter under the rug by either re-assigning the priests involved to remote assignments (and even abroad) or privately suspend them.
Tagle spoke with pain and emotionally decried the failure of bishops in promptly addressing the sexual offenses that has scarred the integrity of the Catholic church. (Is the CBCP listening?)
The question, however, lingers: Why is it that these priestly violations were only publicly brought to the fore only now when these offenses have been exposed and even documented since as far back as we can remember?
I have been told of priests committing excesses – going to girlie bars in civvies and drinking alcohol (I have actually seen some), courting women parishioners and maintaining liaison, spending relaxation time by playing mahjong and even going to and betting in cockfights.
Of course, did we not read of a priest in active service caught by the police in a motel with a young girl whom he reportedly befriended via text messaging and subsequently won her “friendship?”
These excesses we need to condemn only because Catholic priests are shepherds of the spiritual realm, morals and integrity. This is the role they have sworn to play.
The CBCP has been outrightly denouncing the government in many aspects of our political life in violation of the so-called “separation of Church and State” principle. Bu it couldn’t touch their peers and subordinates with a ten-foot pole.
Catholic priests – the Vatican itself – imposed on themselves the oath of celibacy. But in truth – as is now being witnessed by the Vatican leadership – priests are also humans not exempt from expressing their sexual needs.
So, why not allow them to marry and have families?
Pres. Duterte even had to so far as make an admission that he favors same sex marriage because he knows that there are gay priests in the Catholic fold.
But I raise the question: Will marriage solve the evils now confronting the Vatican without violating the teachings of the Bible wherein the Christian faith is based?
The Vatican is in a perplexing bind, is it not?
German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche wrote in his 1882 The Gay Science (Parable of the Madman): “Whither is God?’ he cried; ‘I will tell you. We have killed him – you and I. All of us are his murderers.”
What an apt philosophical description of our spiritual circumstances today.
Nietzsche never ceases to amaze me.
Has God been “killed” and “dead” that even men in priestly robes today commit offenses that defy and disregard His omnipotence?
Woe to those who see evil as good and good as evil. (Email your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.) Prov. 15:13: “A happy heart makes the face cheerful. But heartache crushes the spirit.” GOD BLESS THE PHILIPPINES!