In response to the scandal concerning Cardinal McCarrick and the shocking revelations coming out of Pennsylvania where 300 priest had been credibly accused of sexual abuse, Fr. Steve delivered five hard-hitting but honest homilies calling for justice to be done and for bishops to own up to the part they played in facilitating abusive behaviors among priests.
Click on the titles below to hear audio of those homilies.
In this homily, Fr. Steve gives a response to the recent news about the unmasking of sexual sin among the clergy and in particular the scandal caused by the behavior of Ex-Cardinal McCarrick who was asked to resign from the College of Cardinals by the Holy Father. Fr. Steve referred to the Church's 2005 instruction to seminaries not to allow men with deep-seated homosexual tendencies to study for the priesthood, which Pope Francis reaffirmed in May. He also stressed that clerics who were pursuing immoral lifestyles cultivated a climate of secrecy and emotional blackmail in order to remain under the radar.
Fr. Steve expressed his desire that the clandestine homosexual dysfunction in the Church’s seminaries would come out into the open, no matter how humiliating. However, despite all this, the hope we still retain is that throughout the Church’s history, the uncovering of evil was always a prelude to a mighty work of the Lord. Fr. Steve also reminded us that the Lord hates sin but loves the sinner. There is always mercy and forgiveness for repentant sinners, but that does not remove the need for justice for the victims of abuse by priests, bishops and cardinal.
A recent article by Ralph Martin is good background reading on this scandal. Dr. Martin is on the faculty of Sacred Heart Major Seminary. The article includes Ralph's spiritual reflections on the scandal, and is very much worth reading.
In this homily, Fr. Steve once again addresses the unfolding scandal of abuse among the clergy and encourages us to pray that the truth will come out. He stresses the role of bishops to courageously respond to the scandals and set their house in order. In this way the Church can be cleansed and purified.
Fr. Steve gives his reaction to the grand jury report that has just been released, which states that "internal documents from six Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania show that more than 300 "predator priests" have been credibly accused of sexually abusing more than 1,000 child victims."
The words from the first reading today resound in our hearts, during these times, as Ezekiel describes the harlotry of God's people. Fr. Steve traces the current abuse scandals in the clergy to the bending and breaking of the clergy's moral compass after Vatican II, despite all the good that came out of that Ecumenical Council. He reiterates the Church's edict that men who are same-sex attracted should not be ordained to the priesthood. Again, he calls on the bishops in the Church to clean house, without fear of damaged reputations or legal liability. The Lord wants to restore the Church as the bride of Christ - but pardon must also come with justice for victims of clergy abuse.
Fr. Steve once again expresses sadness and anger at the abuses by the clergy and the refusal of bishops to deal with these cases in a righteous and just way. He mentions the atrocities committed by 300 priests in Pennsylvania. Can the bishops be trusted to protect the victims of predatory priests and ensure justice is done for those who have been abused? We may respect the office of a bishop, but can we trust him?
Today's Gospel makes clear that each person will be judged for his/her own sins, including priests and bishops. The current situation is different than what happened in 2002. Fr. Steve encourages us to challenge prelates on this issue.
After the Church has been ravaged and impoverished by the fallout from these evil deeds, it will need saints: we need to step into that role.