THE CHILDREN OF GOD ARE WALKING AWAY FROM THE CHURCH
By Brian Mark Hennessy – A Victim of Clerical Sexual Abuse
I was born a Catholic. Christ was not born a Catholic. It is about time clerics of the Catholic Church realised that Christ died not for the Redemption of Catholics alone – but for all men. Christians do not need the Churches to earn Redemption, for, in accordance with their own teaching, Christ has already earned their Redemption by his suffering and death.
It is the Churches, the human institutions who “claim” to represent Christ’s Gospel on earth that need Christians, not because they offer anything that will contribute to their Redemption, but because they, with a self-perception of high status in society, need their church-going congregations’ money to live a standard of life that, in many cases, is well above that of the average person in our secular communities.
Thus while Churches fail to deliver the messages of the Gospels by their example – rather than by their hollow words – men and women will walk away from them. They will both seek and individually live the spirit of their Redemption elsewhere, in direct good works and help for the poor, destitute, old and sick. They will continue to assist those in need of comfort in the countless corners of this world which suffer from war, strife and natural disasters. In a humbler way they will care for their families and teach them the moral standards consistent with living in our diverse societies.
In this day and age, Christians of all creeds are less and less prepared to have their contributions to the needy of the world “creamed off” to allow clerics to live a life of relative luxury, false esteem and rotten corruption, which are the only words to define child abuse and the protection of paedophiles. So the children of God are already walking away from Church doors and they will continue to walk. They know that men who live in palaces are not pricked by the suffering at their doors and that they live a life that is in denial of the humble life of the Gospels that they preach.
So, when Popes vacate the Vatican (Francis, bless him, got that one right when he moved into Santa Marta) and Bishops vacate their palaces, the people of God will start to listen again. When the profane and excessive material wealth of those Church Palaces is sold or consigned to museums and galleries and all the proceeds are given to the poor and needy, the people of God will start to listen again.
When all clerics of all ranks get out into the communities which they serve and live in modest housing, in the shanty towns and in the slums of this world – and live with the same hardships, toil and worries and eat the same food as the long-suffering, under-privileged and impoverished people of this planet, then the people of God will start to listen again.
Yet, even if the clerics of this world do all those things, the people of God will still keep walking away if the Catholic Church, together with its Bishops and Religious Orders, continue to sordidly harbour and foster the criminal paedophile clerics amongst them and malevolently neglect the crimes committed against Victims by those same paedophiles.
Some Religious Institutions, like the Comboni Missionary Order, against whom 1000 crimes of sexual abuse against UK child seminarians have been alleged, have no conception of the defilement of the innocence that was suffered by those Victims when they were children – who were deserving only of cherishment and care. Nor do they have the vaguest idea of their needs, and nor do they care one jot of their suffering. They have refused dialogue with the Victims for two decades – yet daily they continue to recite the Holy Office of the Hours of the day.
In secular societies a “liquidator” is appointed to wind up the affairs of financially bankrupt institutions. The Vatican must do the same for “morally bankrupt” Church Institutions and they have the very organisation to do it, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, until 1908 still called the “The Papal States Inquisition”. Pope Francis, through the Prefects of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Religious Institutions retains the power and authority to appoint an “Inquisitor”, for want of a better name, to take control of Orders, investigate them and appoint “clerical trustees” to administer them whilst a new enlightened hierarchy is put in place to run them in the future.
Alternatively, he could, ‘in extremis’ dissolve Orders totally and put them in the hands of another Religious Order which has demonstrated faithful attention to the Gospel Word and has exhibited the moral courage and the rectitude that the people of God both expect and demand.
The World still waits for definitive and decisive action in the matter of child abuse and will hold Church leaders to account for any obfuscation, neglect and inaction for generations to come.
When the Gospel spirit is visibly witnessed by clerics amongst us, instead of being preached from high pulpits by morally bankrupt clerics who ignore it, then we, the people of Christ, the Redeemed children of the God of all peoples, will start to listen again.
Until then, we will say our own prayers in high mountains and green, shaded forests, by the running river waters and by the foaming waves and the sea breezes of the deep oceans – and under the starry galaxies of God’s own great and wondrous Cathedral of Creation – and our prayers will be honest and simple:
“Oh Lord, forgive me three sins that are due to my human limitations.
Thou art everywhere, but I worship Thee here.
Thou art without form, but I worship Thee in these forms.
Thou need’st no praise, yet I offer Thee these prayers and salutations.
Lord forgive me three sins that are due to my human limitations”.
(Prayer written by M M Kaye: “The Far Pavilions”)