Discover more from Magik
Six Steps to Break the Catholic Church’s Monster of Abuse
Outraged at the bursting pustules of evil that are the Catholic abuse scandals? Pennsylvania, Boston, Dallas, Chile, Australia, nuns abused…
We can take concrete steps to break the monster’s back. But first it helps to know the monster we’re dealing with.
The Crowd-Control Monster
Faith is an encounter with the heart of reality. For the hierarchical church, encounters with the Real are anathema … because those encounters make crowd control impossible. The institutional church encrusts the catholic imagination with power, intrigue, and prestidigitation and so draws abusers of dominion, sex, money, and manipulation like flies to a cow patty.
Sound like the Cardinal Sins? Theological accusation is the hierarchy’s only form of confession.
The crowd-control Church wields a 1,600-year-old narrative (dating from Constantine) that has shaped the identity of entire civilizations. Like millions of faithful over those centuries, I believed that g-d put people (including myself) into a position to do hopeful, loving, good things.
I left the Catholic Church in 1994 when the Diocese of Dallas was mired in scandal. Even so, I just thought it was the incompetence of Bishops Thomas Tschoepe and Charles Grahmann. Returning to the Church in 2005, thinking its scandal had been fully unearthed, I trusted the damage-control story that a few predators had infiltrated the church. The so-called “Dallas Charter” authored in 2002 by the Conference of Catholic Bishops to address the clergy abuse scandal was not about justice but an attempt to tourniquet the billions of dollars the bishops have nonetheless since had to pay out.
What the plan couldn’t account for is that the abuse is inextricably woven into the church’s narrative and the weavers are the bishops themselves.
Sadly, though we, too, in the pews, are netted.
How We’ve Been Controlled
Crowd control is not “peer pressure” — it’s systemic evil. We do evil not because we think it evil but because we’ve pegged the deed as necessary to the survival of the institutions we mistakenly believe maintain our lives. We therein deny our hearts — and the hearts of others — in the name of righteousness. We think our leaders act for the blessing of humanity, all the while crucifying the truth standing in front of us. That’s how I failed to see that the organizational church was dysfunctional to the point of blatant evil.
None of this excuses me or you. The best way I can describe the process of being freed from these crowd-control clutches is to recommend Faulkner’s masterful short story, “Barn Burning.” Then you will see the terror and beauty of letting go.
The loss is real; the gain is yourself. That’s the way adventures go! Institutions don’t make our identities; we make the institutions and vest them with power over us.
Six Steps to Break the Monster’s Back
If you, like me, are angry, here are six concrete steps to break the monster’s back:
(1) If you feel able and so called, stop gracing the door of your local house of crowd-control. Cease to aid and abet evil by participation or passivity.
(2) If you believe you can effect change by staying, withhold your donations to your local house of crowd control. By all means, continue to fund charities that ensure funds go to the causes they serve. But every dollar given to a parish or diocese in some way funds the bishops and lawyers who are sugar-coating the organizational church’s evil.
(4) Per the wise words of Kevin Smith, face down anyone who treats God like a burden instead of a blessing. Celebrate your faith in the face of the crowd controllers who would have you mourn it.
(5) Mercifully, despite the worst efforts of the organizational church, I was rescued by the 5,000-year-old+ practice of contemplative prayer, which empowered me to balance both the good and the evil of the church. I saw that the institutional church is about identity building — beautiful and true identities, as well as hideous ones. Contemplation keeps you from throwing out the beautiful with the abused bathwater.
(6) To paraphrase Mark Shea, we laity run the police departments, staff the courts, and run the jails. It’s time for the bishops to know public humiliation, removal from office, and prison terms. Demand the extension of statutes of limitations. We do not have to take this shit.
Blessedly, much of the laity know better than to sip the false piety of this den of thieves. We — especially women — will see this through to a church that looks a lot more like St. Francis’ Christ smiling at us from the dimples of creation. Look there for the heart of faith and identity. ❤️
Originally published at medium.com on August 19, 2018.