I don’t think Catholics should abandon their faith because of the sexual abuse scandal that’s been plaguing their church for over two decades anymore than people should stop listening to music because of Michael Jackson and R. Kelly. But, maybe you stop buying and listening to their music. Maybe you stop attending and putting money into a church that’s not only engaged in sexual abuse but covered it up for years.
HBO’s documentary Leaving Neverland on Michael Jackson’s alleged abuse of two young boys has the late singer’s fans debating if he was a pedophile. The documentary has a 43% approval on Google, with many people voting it down without actually watching it, kinda like an Amy Schumer movie.
While the pope reauthorized a Vatican commission on the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal in 2018, Jackson’s family isn’t there yet. They called the documentary a “public lynching” They can’t even admit it’s weird for a grown man to be hosting sleepovers with young boys. While the church hasn’t actually stopped it, at least they’re finally admitting it’s weird.
Catholics still have their defenders who overlook the problems. When the church defrocked Theodore McCarrick, a former cardinal and archbishop from Washington, DC, a lot of Catholics thought the solution is simply banning gay priests. McCarrick is the first cardinal who has been defrocked for sexual abuse. Despite repeated studies showing no connection between homosexuality and pedophilia, some Catholic bishops and conservative church media outlets have laid the blame for the sexual abuse on homosexuality inside the church. The proposal to ban gay priests only shows many in the church don’t want to use facts when addressing the problem. Nobody has proposed that every priest become a eunuch.
The problem goes beyond one predator cardinal. Last year, a Pennsylvania grand jury issued a report identifying more than 300 members of the Catholic Church in that state who allegedly committed acts of sexual abuse that were covered up by church officials. The grand jury says there were more than 1,000 instances of sexual abuse in Pennsylvania. That was just Pennsylvania. How many have been abused worldwide? And, only one cardinal has been defrocked…ever?
In the Indian state of Kerala, Bishop Franco Mulakkal has been accused of repeatedly raping a nun. Dozens of nuns have signed a letter asking the Vatican to remove him but guess what. He’s still a bishop.
The church had secret guidelines for priests who father children, despite their vows of celibacy, and on the caring of the children whose existence is usually denied. These were guidelines, not rules. The church’s system is messed up. It’s canon law within the church that a priest who hears a confession of abuse is unconditionally prohibited from making any disclosure about the existence or content of the confession to anybody, including Church and civil authorities. Protecting the guilty and the image of the church has been and still is more important than caring for and protecting the victims, or even stopping the abuse.
The Catholic Church had to issue official guidelines on how sexual abuse is bad and priests should not do it. It seems if you’re a priest, you should know abuse is wrong and God would frown on it. A priest should not need guidelines not to rape. Birthday clowns have a better understanding of this than Catholic priests.
People should stop supporting institutions that protect rapists. It’s past time to leave Neverland.
Watch the video.