How The Ancient Catholic Church Dealt With Priest Sex Offenders

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Within the past quarter-century, sexual abuse by clergy has been a high profile scandal within the Catholic Church. Most recently, the detestable accusations against Cardinal Theodore “Uncle Ted” McCarrick have rocked the Church and re-opened the discussion on how to handle cases of clerical abuse.

Cardinal McCarrick posing with one of the young men who has accused him of sexual abuse

While it may be tempting to encapsulate clerical abuse as a modern phenomenon, fallen human nature and sin have existed since the Garden of Eden, along with it those who would use their position within the Church to sexually prey on victims.

In our modern world, the Church has responded to the sex abuse crisis with guidelines on how to deal with those accused of transgressions. From Pope Francis’ “zero tolerance” policy to guidelines issued by the USCCB, the Church has tried (and often failed) to properly handle cases of sexual abuse within the Church. These methods often include psychological assessments, 3rd party investigations, canonical punishments, removal from public ministry, laicization, and handing over the case to secular authorities.

But in the ancient Catholic Church, the punishments for clergy who sexually preyed on victims were not as relatively urbane as these modern approaches.

Saint Basil the Great, a Doctor of the Church, writing in the 4th-century, described how the early Catholic Church dealt with those guilty of sexual abuse among the clergy.

“Any cleric or monk who seduces young men or boys, or who is apprehended in kissing or in any shameful situation, shall be publicly flogged and shall lose his clerical tonsure. Thus shorn, he shall be disgraced by spitting in his face, bound in iron chains, wasted by six months of close confinement, and for three days each week put on barley bread given him toward evening. Following this period, he shall spend a further six months living in a small segregated courtyard in custody of a spiritual elder, kept busy with manual labor and prayer, subjected to vigils and prayers, forced to walk at all times in the company of two spiritual brothers, never again allowed to associate with young men.”

This harsh punishment may seem barbaric to the modern sensibility, but given the gravity of crimes of sexual nature, especially perpetrated by clergy, perhaps the time has come to listen to the wisdom of the Church Fathers and apply this type of justice.

In the 11th-century, another Doctor of the Church, Saint Peter Damian, stormed against the widespread clerical sexual abuse and sexual misconduct of the time. He decried the impunity with which bishops and abbots conducted themselves, as clerics were above, and not subject to the secular authorities.

In a letter to Pope Leo IX, Saint Peter Damian demanded reform, ecclesial accountability, that priests be handed over to secular authorities for punishment, and other actions to weed out the cancer of sexual abuse in the Church.

Aiming directly at the hierarchy who enabled such an environment, he wrote:

“Listen, you do-nothing superiors of clerics and priests. Listen, and even though you feel sure of yourselves, tremble at the thought that you are partners in the guilt of others; those, I mean, who wink at the sins of their subjects that need correction and who by ill-considered silence allow them license to sin. Listen, I say, and be shrewd enough to understand that all of you alike are deserving of death, that is, not only those who do such things, but also they who approve those who practice them.”

Do you think it is time to listen to the Doctors of the Church and use harsher penalties to address sexual abuse in the clergy? Share your comments below!

h/t to Father Edwin Dwyer for finding these examples from the Doctors of the Church.

Comments

109 COMMENTS

  1. Yes, I completely agree. As a convert, this is devastating to me, to have these people whom I revere (priests) hurt the Church I love so much. Have they no love of God? Have they no fear of God? I understand a person having a fall, going to Confession, and then never doing it again… but to keep it up for YEARS????? How can this be?????

    • I feel those who mistreat young men and women should have counseling combined with years of prayer and meditation. Completely removed from the opportunity to do this again.

    • The true problem is not being addressed, these child abusers are mainly homosexuals who have infiltrated the Church to damage it from within. Priests don’t turn into homosexuals, so these people are technically not Priests as they are automatically excommunicated before ordination. The main sex abuse scandal within the Church began after Vatican II, which was hijacked by Freemasons in high positions, who have promoted homosexuality within the Church ever since.

      • The communists put in a thousand men into the Catholic seminaries in the USA in the 1930s. This is told in the documentary on EWTN “A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” aired in Fall of 2016. It’s time to root out the evil. The Church seems to attack the gates of hell everywhere but except within itself. Satan lurks in the things we fail to touch, take care of and end up avoiding. It must be rooted out. It is time to attack the gates of hell with this particular evil once and for all.

        • In adddition, punishment must be just. That is for someone very prudent to decide. Just because punishment is severe doesn’t mean it is unjust. A founder of a religious order told one of his brothers that he should have struck a man after he had made a type of “advance” toward the brother. The founder said that the strike would have been compassionate. It shows the other person immediately that what they’re doing is wrong.

  2. This is more merciful than the current solution to nearly every criminal justice problem: throw them in prison for the better part of their adult life. This provides a real opportunity for redemption and rehabilitation.

  3. Their is only one answer here, and that is to call 911, it is not to take matters into our own hand and therefore creating another sin through hatred and personal admonishment.

    • I agree that the authorities should be notified at once. By not doing so you give the hierarchy the opportunity not to act and sweep it under the rug. Transferring the preparator is just moving him and his sin(s) in another direction.

  4. How serious was the problem in centuries past? It seems a very 20th-Century problem. I imagine it wasn’t as widespread in Saint Ambrose’s time, for example.

    • I don’t know where you get that idea from, Timothee. Human natrue didn’t become sick with the Kinsey Report or Playboy. And certainly the Church has had the most extraordinarily villainous prelates and popes in its long history.

      The more is given, the more is expected. In the middle-ages, the Vatican was actualy called, a ‘pornocracy’. And it wouldn’t of course have been because these popes and prelates – warlords into the bargain – had just been looking at paintings on papyruses.

      Simony and careerism, also, surely infuriate God beyond measure ; particularly in the very highest reaches of the Church, because, leading to every other kind of vice, they are so obscenely seminal in compromising the Church’s witness.

      • On the contrary, Timothee, sexual aberrations became celebrated by Kinsey and other followers of the “son of sa*an” Sigmund Freud, who took Alfred Breuer’s brilliant discovery and used it to attack the very Foundations of Christianity. Why do the followers of Freud, Kinsey, et al, call child sexual abuse, a “philia” when in fact it is a HATE CRIME.?

        “Child Sexual Abuse – Never Call It Love” by Dr Deirdre McNamara is available from amazon.com Provides insight into the fundaments of the condition.

  5. The higher one assends in the church, the greater the fall !
    With great honor comes great responsibility.
    Being HELD responsible for ones actions is not cruel it is JUST.
    The very first step to forgiveness is for the offender to stop sinning & acknowledge their sin.
    Only then can they TRUELY repent & ask for forgiveness.

  6. So, to be clear, your claim is that we ought to bring Mack late-Roman era forms of torture and corporal punishment? Sexual abuse is bad and should be handled by law enforcement officials, modern judicial systems, and psychological professionals, not by extra-judicial torture. Your argument is both an unfounded appeal to tradition and a half-hearted wink to the worst moments in Catholic history. These awful moments of the past are something we should repent, not nostalgically celebrate. My $.02.

    • Seriously?? Let the law handle them?? You’re joking, right? I have witnessed how the law handles such situations and believe me that alternative DOES NOT fit the crime. These sexual perpetrators do not get what they deserve. Speak with some of their victims!

      • As a victim of priest abuse, I am pleased with what the Church has instituted for reforms including zero tolerance. A larger problem is how do we deal with the still present homosexual network in the Church that encouraged these men to enter the priesthood and has protected them. According to the John Jay report, the vast majority of the abuse was done by homosexual priests. In response to this problem, Pope Benedict implemented a new standard for who is admitted to the seminary and this has seemed to make sense. Pope Francis recently seems to be even more strict. And this has been done in the face of increasing embracing of homosexuality by society. People have criticized the Church for being slow to address this problem but what reforms the Church has instituted almost seems like a leading indicator for what reform is needed throughout society regarding how out of control our lower nature has become.

      • Exactly. Their lives ruined in the most painful ways.

        But then judges and eminent barristers would generally be among the most worldly, unspiritual people in the country. The World of course has always been upside down in a sense, in the thrall of the most worldly-wise and decadent, and the power and wealth they accumulate. But God evidently intended the tares to (mis)rule until the last days, ‘flourishing like the green bay-tree’.

    • We should not repent of those actions of the past. Firstly because we did not do them and secondly because it is absolutely idiotic to judge actions of the past with modern parameters. Back then, those actions were legal and commonplace. They were barbaric, of course, but they have helped humankind to evolve. I’m sure in the future, many things we consider legal today will be thought of as barbaric and shameful, but that will only mean that people will be more evolved and humane. That said, I also agree that we cannot bring back ancient forms of torture and corporal punishment.

      • Largely agree, but I am not so sure that we have evolved, at least not in the way in which you suggest. Abortion, empty Churches, the free society of “me”, etc. Look around the world today and we may collectively be more educated, but I’m not convinced that we have evolved closer to God and His plan for us as much as we should have. It’s obvious that corrections that have actually been implimented regarding these types of deplorable acts as opposed to what has been preached hasn’t been nearly effective in combating the abuse. Or, for that matter, holding offenders accountable by applying Church and civil penalties hasn’t been the norm. It seems that in many cases today the humane evolution has left out accountability, not that I am for torture as I guess that is what Hell is for.

    • Disregarding the picture, the letter actually states thw priest will lose his tonsure, priestly responsibilities, locked up for 1 year and supervised thereafter . Hardly torture

      • well..it also mentions a public flogging and spitting in his face…which is more than losing his tonsure and responsibilities and being “supervised”.

          • It wasn’t “exactly a vacation” for the victims of this horrific crime. Serious punishment acts as a very serious deterrent to very serious crime. These monsters would think twice before ruining lives.

    • The whole point of the punishment spelled out by St Basil the Great (which, coming from a saint, should be considered with utmost seriousness), is geared toward two ends: reform the sinner, and protect the public from him.

      Jail time and psychiatric “help” will do little; those given to such depravity need a sternly-disciplined spiritual regimen combined with hard manual labor to break them of their obsession with such concupiscence and turn them back to some semblance of emotional and spiritual health.

      This is merely “prayer and penance”, which any sinner needs; just heavier-duty.

      • I believe it was a mistake to consider that paedophilia was a psychological problem that could be remedied, such a demonic offence is it against the sense of spiritual beauty, which is pivotal to the Christian faith (alluded to in the proscription in the Mosaic law against ‘seething a kid in its mother’s milk’).

        Laicisation and cutting loose is surely the only answer . Obvioulsy God will be the final arbiter at the Last Judgment. But as for us in this Vale of Tears, we have Christ’s words concerning a millstone and its being better not to have been born. If we try to get too nuanced and relativistic, whether about mercy or any other feature of our faith, we shall end up liike flakier off-shoots or US Protestantism.

  7. While none of this should be tolerated within the Church, it should be handled with mercy and justice, not vindictiveness or the spiteful anger which the non-believing world demands. We also need to remember that per capita abuse in many other areas of society outside the Church is as much as 9 times higher, but little is done, and even less is reported. One way to set a higher standard is to stand firm against gay men being admitted to seminaries to begin with. In the US at least, over 85% of priests involved in abuse were gay. Clearly the problem isn’t simply an issue within the Church, but with the influence of a decaying society on the Church.

    • I completely agree there… There should be a much higher standard for the acceptance of seminarians. Also, there should be justice+mercy. Justice alone is Cruel & mercy alone is disillusionment. So, the best balance is justice+mercy. They go together like peanut butter and jelly.

  8. I think the ancient wisdom, especially the removal from contact with the young and supervision (physical as well as spiritual) is the right way to do it. There was real discernment of the road to spiritual reform offered.
    And I agree. The cover picture doesn’t go with the article.

  9. This is a very old problem. The Christian Roman state had a brutal (but apparently a very effective) way of putting a stop to it, as recorded by the 6th century historian, John of Malala:

    “In that year some of the bishops from various provinces were accused of living immorally in matters of the flesh and of homosexual practices. Among them was Isaiah, bishop of Rhodes, an ex praefectus vigilium at Constantinople, and likewise the bishop from Diospolis in Thrace named Alexander. In accordance with a sacred ordinance they were brought to Constantinople and were examined and condemned by Victor the city prefect, who punished them: he tortured Isaiah severely and exiled him and he amputated Alexander’s genitals and paraded him around on a litter. The emperor [that is, Justinian I] immediately decreed that those detected in pederasty should have their genitals amputated. At that time many homosexuals were arrested and died after having their genitals amputated. From then on there was fear among those afflicted with homosexual lust. [As taken from https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/pwh/malalas.asp%5D

  10. I agree the picture shows a time, that as Catholic, it’s best not to go back to. We ought to let the law of the state apply the method used for this offense like it’s done for anyone else.
    As for admission into the Religious life, a much more strict law should be implemented in not allowing homosexuals admittance. If this law happens to fail, and one is admitted, on the first offense, he should be turned over to the law of the state.
    Torture is unacceptable, inhuman.

    • Let’s remember that torture is routine in US prisons, including the psychological torture of solitary confinements. Sexual offenders are KOS in rough prisons, that is, “Kill on Sight.”

      • That’s how the serial Boston pedophile Fr. Geoghan was killed. In prison by a fellow inmate. I knew a priest who had to counsel him, couldn’t tell me details of course but said his crimes against pre-pubescent children were horrific.

      • Pardon me, but you are awfully vindictive in your denouncements of “American” so-called cruelty. Perhaps you are NOT American, yourself? Yet, you must have heard of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”? That is still being practiced openly and publicly in many other nations, particularly Muslim nations under Sharia law. Why do your vituperative rantings exclude all nations except America? By the way, I am indeed a Catholic American, and I do not ascribe to cruel punishments or torture. Your over-generalizations about Americans are baseless and offensive. What you say is just as cruel and uncharitable about Americans as the practices you so condemn as cruelty against criminals.

  11. Law enforcement should not handle such matters, neither should the church. When one is charged and proven guilty of such things, laws protecting his right to life and saftey should be revoked, left to the wrath of the collective he assaulted. Then come what may.

    • Liam Parlan, your disgraceful comment shows the lynch mob mentality, in search of fresh victims. What is the matter with America? (I presume you are American.)

  12. Christ said, “If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.” Mark 9:47 and Matthew 5:29. Come on, do you really think He was talking about a person’s eye? This very well may be a suggestion of what should happen to a sexual predator’s genitalia. Of course, Christ’s comments were about what a person to do to himself, not what someone (the authorities) should do to another.

    Perhaps, this statement by Christ was the basis for the punishment described by Florentius above.

  13. Perhaps if the teaching of the Church on matters of sexuality were taught from the pulpits and in the Catholic schools, if those with same sex attractions were taught about chastity as all singles should be taught, all married couples…the answers are there and for whatever reason we aren’t using them. If we Catholics had not been so silent while the world was going to hell in a hand basket perhaps we might not be dealing with so much of these behaviors. Stricter disciplines definitely need to be enforced once these priests have been discovered. Not sure that forbidding men with homosexual tendencies is the answer…if the vow of chastity means nothing to them what makes us think they would be honest about their sexual preferences?

    • I am 100% behind this. Our priests do not preach condemnation from the pulpits anymore, and while each of us knows that our God is a God of love, surely we ought to be reminded too, that He is also a GOD OF CONSEQUENCE! PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, our priests need very badly to remind us all of the consequence of our actions. When I was a child in a loving home, I had no doubt that I was loved, but I also had NO DOUBT that Mom would hall out the slipper and tan my behind if I misbehaved, and that really helped keep me on the straight and narrow and to develop the discipline to say NO when necessary. Before all rights of reminding our congregations are removed by our various governments, please try and remind our Catholics of the consequences of sexual sin amongst others.

      • Good on you Wendy. Keep the Faith. Some of our Catholic prophecies indicate a “complete restoration” especially when it seems all is lost. It looks bad right now. Let us hold fast to the Sacred Traditions and Holy Scripture we received from the saints of old. What was true then is true now, even if only a few of us believe it and live by it. Be faithful unto death, however discouraging things look here, and you shall surely be saved. Just as the early Church did, we must very much “walk by faith and not by sight” at this difficult time.

        • Do those who call for the torture and mutilation of pedophiles apply the Law to themselves with equal rigor? Permit me to doubt it.

  14. I really think you should change the picture. It kinda sets the mood for the article and the suggested punishments aren’t nearly as bad as the straight-up torture in the pic.

    That being said, those punishments should indeed be in place. I know that we must be merciful to those who commit even horrible crimes. But even the Lord brought out the whips if he needed to, and a severe crime should have a severe penance.

  15. I’m puzzled by the objections to corporal punishment.
    The Church has always maintained that properly constituted authority has the right to impose the death penalty for serious offences where appropriate. Surely it follows that it also has the right to impose lesser penalties such as flogging and castration.

    • I am persuaded of the merit of the ‘death-bed’ testimony of the Good Thief on the cross, to the effect that he and Barabbas were at least dying for their sins (but that Jesus was innocent).
      For truly heinous offences, such as raping a child, premeditated murder, etc., therefore, the death-penalty would fit the crime.

      • Not Barabbas but a nameless thief in Luke’s story (the good thief has a traditional name, but I forget what it is). Your “therefore” is highly illogical. Those who call for sex offenders to be hanged sometimes end up being hanged under the very laws they help create.

  16. “from some fissure, the smoke of satan has entered the Temple of God”. ~ Pope Paul VI
    Homosexuality is the white elephant in the room! The punishment from man will be nothing like the punishment from God himself! ~ ‘But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea’. ~ Matthew 18:6. So be the word of the Lord.

    • Yes, this is exaxtly what I was going to write. Imagine standing before Jesus and Him saying, ‘what you did to the least of these my brethern, you did to Me!” Just the thought makes me cringe. The real problem is obviously that too many of the clergy do not really love God. If they did how could they sink so low?

  17. The Church must lead by example. The examples set in the article are severe but the offense is deserving of severity. The destruction of innocence is a capital offense against all that is holy. Some may make light of this disease in the Church but over and over again in warnings the Blessed Mother has given in her apparitions she has shown that Hell is overflowing with Cardinals, Bishops and Priests. I do not think they are in Hell because of sins laziness, drunkenness and such but because of sins against nature. OH GOD when will you rid your Church of these evil persons and cleanse ALL of us and make us holy? LORD we now in shame before YOU and ask YOU to have Mercy.

  18. I agree that the artwork of the torture is distracting and inappropriate. The photo of “Uncle Ted” with his hand on the waist of that poor young man makes my stomach churn. McCarrick’s perversions have been known about and written about for YEARS. If they were known about by layfolk who weren’t even interested in researching him, how much more were they known about by other priests and bishops? The “winking” at his perversions (and that of countless others??) is heartbreaking. It’s beyond “looking the other way”. In the DC archdiocese where Uncle Ted lived, he was brought to our parish as a keynoter – in his old age, practically unintelligible. How can we trust the priests who invited him — to provide us leadership and inspiration????!!

  19. Finally, a solution! “This kind goeth out only by prayer and fasting” and the three days a week of bread and water would certainly help. As a survivor of sexual abuse by a priest when I was a teen, I applaud this article’s approach! I might add to it mandatory enrollment in the Angelic Warfare Confraternity. Thank you for this, as the news about all of the abuse is really awful for all of us who are survivors. This gives me hope.

  20. I do not under estimate the gravity of these violations of the moral law, particularly done by clerics However, those who are advocating a return to torture and brutality as a punishment for these clerics are living in their own world of fantasy. The United States Constitution clearly forbids brutal and unusual punishment for those who have committed crimes. A person’s constitutional rights and protections cannot be forfeited because of vindictiveness.

    • What you say is sweet reason. But nobody believes that the US upholds that part of its Constitution, written in more enlightened times. Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, rendition flights to secret locations, murder, torture, and solitary in American jails, ROP (Repeat Offenders Program) to trick prisoners back into jail as soon as they are released, in order to keep the prison industry supplied with fodder — and much else — has convinced the world that America loves torture and cruelty in a way that the Spanish Inquisition never approached. Pope Francis told Congress that the purpose of prison was Rehabilitation — you can imagine how they jeered him for that!

  21. What I don’t understand is WHY AREN’T THESE MEN ENTERING THE SEMINARY THOROUGHLY EXAMINED
    FOR THEIR SEXUALITY. INASMUCH AS ONLY MEN ARE IN THE SEMINARY WHY AREN’T THEY SCREENED AND
    THOSE WHO ARE HOMOSEXUALS EXCLUDED, HMMMMM? REJECT THE GAYS AND THAT SOLVES THE PROBLEM.
    WHERE ARE THE BISHOPS CONCERNING THIS MATTER? IT’S THEIR RESPOSIBILITY.

    • Henry, what you want has already happened and has been happening since the 1980s as indicated by the John Jay report finished in 2004. As an abuse victim, I am very gratified by the reforms undertaken by the bishops as described in the Dallas Charter in 2002. The number of incidents of abuse committed since 2002 has been very low although there are still people coming forward with accusations regarding what happened in the 1960’s, ’70s, and ’80s. However, there is much more that needs to keep happening such as the retiring of all those bishops and other persons of clerical authority who ordained and encouraged the promotion of all those homosexual priests who are not celibate and who quietly push forward the homosexual agenda..

  22. Timely article. Perhaps you could afford the victim some dignity and privacy by blurring his face. The poor young man looks uncomfortable and helpless in that picture (he is being touched publicly by his predator and having his personal space invaded and he cannot do anything about it.) In blurring his face maybe we can afford him the dignity that his abuser did not. He does not deserve the scrutiny, his abuser does.

  23. Sex education in Catholic school classrooms sets up students for molestation by pedophile priests. By the age of 10, and no later than 12, the Catholic school child is 90 per cent ready for rape by priests. Every parochial school student knows how sodomy is done, giving or receiving, from start to finish, thanks to explicit, graphic Catholic sex-ed classes. Pedophile priests are the most vehement supporters of hard-core sex-ed in Catholic classrooms. The priest-pedophile scandal would not have reached such a terrible extent of child violation, without the imposition of
    mandatory, obscene sex-ed in Catholic schools. As ”Father Confessor and Counselor”, the pedophile pastor has extreme access to Catholic students. The sex-ed instructor is his ”wingman” providing the predatory priest with a profile on every student’s psychological and emotional reaction to the pornography which is the main content of Catholic sex-ed. The pedophile priest utilizes that personal information as part of his ongoing plan to sexually abuse children he deems most vulnerable to his various schemes of seduction/coercion.

    What would the saints and holy priests quoted in this blog say about the loss of chastity, modesty, purity and innocence which our children suffer from that soul-rape known as Catholic school sex-education? Was there ever a ”Patron Saint of Sex Education” in the first 1960 years of Christianity? Of course not! Those saints, blesseds and venerables would have taken just one look at the open nudity and depictions of the sins of the flesh, that comprise sex education inflicted on Catholic students, and summarily denounced it as the ”scandalization of children” for which Jesus demanded the mill-stone-around-the-neck penalty against its perpetrators.

    • It is not ‘catholic’ sex-ed being taught to vulnerable children. It is explicit sex education being forced on children by a liberal government seeking to secure votes by condoning this pornographic material, where parents and Christian schools have no say or they are taken to court or funding denied. This week, Quebec Government is considering indoctrinating children in DAYCARE AND KINDERGARDEN ON A TRIAL RUN this coming school year. One homosexual activist leader stated that ‘we will own your children’. Your vote counts. Protest loudly and safeguard your children. It worked in Ontario and the explicit ‘indoctrination’ was reversed. Abusive clergy (whatever denomination or religion) should be publicly dealt with and then permanently removed from Holy Orders.

      • I’ve seen the materials, it is true. It’s not in every Catholic school, but in the most liberal dioceses it happens. It’s shocking and disgusting.

  24. IF only this Bishops and priest would see what they do to this poor souls and the suffering they have cause them in their life, prehapes they would stop and think twice before they touch this poor young souls, as i see the suffering at no matter what age they may be they carry it all through their life.
    My heart cries out to them as they come to me seeking help, they will not and I don’t blame them go see a priest for help, as they will not believe or help them, but will make matter worst…I can tell you that this men need DELIVERENCE from the demons they are carrying and passing them to those they molest, and I can tell you it is the spirit of lust that goes from generation to generation…May God have mercy on them, as they are given them self to the evil one, to burn for ever and ever , for just 10 minutes of fun….very sad, repent

  25. Homosexual inclination is a spiritual sickness. The Catechism calls it a “cross.” Its socially engineered politically correct acceptance has successfully led to its acceptance throughout the Church and society, even inculcated in schools as the norm, and legislated as such. Cultures in decay accept it as a legitimate form of self-expression, but it is confusion of the spirit, and breeds further confusion in the body of Christ and society in general – not a fruit or sign of the Spirit. Church bodies and societies which accept homosexuality as a legitimate inclination do a grave disservice to the soul, not to mention the priesthood, the body of Christ, society and sadly, our impressionable children.

  26. Any “punishment” need address the deadly sins of pride and lust that gripe the very souls of the perpetrators plus the hard work to acquire their countermanding virtues of humility and meekness.
    Unless the perpetrator can effectively demonstrate the acquisition of these virtues to provide the self control needed to overcome the roaring lion of sin’s cunning control over behavior, radical control over exposures must be instituted to provide reparations and resistance to the occasion of sin.

  27. I have read that Pope St. Pius V advocated handing over pederasts and child rapists to the secular authorities of the time who would put them to death. Raping a child? Yes, it deserves the death penalty especially if it was a priest. That is justice not savagery.

    How many abuse victims were healed when they saw justice being done on their behalf? How many tempted to abuse had a healthy fear instilled in them by seeing these executions? I don’t think any predator would sign up for the priesthood if they knew a bullet, noose or pile of burning wood awaited them.

    Raping a child. Raping. A. Child. And by someone who represents God in their life? “It would be better if they had a millstone tied around the neck and thrown into the depths of the sea then block one of these little ones from coming to Me” says Our Lord in Scripture. Enough with the emo, spineless, super psychological, man centered junk. It’s called “free will” and they have committed heinous acts.

    Make sure those accused have a very fair trial. And if they are found guilty, make sure they have recourse to the sacraments before executing them. That would be my policy and thankfully Pope St. Pius V agrees. It would send a very loud message of how we value our young, how we value true justice, and it would scare the lights out of anyone attempting to mess with innocent children. “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom” says Scripture. We need a big dose of that more than anything:+)

  28. These sinful clerics of the Church, claiming to be Holy Men of God, must be harshly punished for God by the Church. Return to the demands of Saint Basil & Saint Peter Damian.

  29. I believe that any priest or religious who is guilty of sexual abuse of a child should immediately be turned over to the police. This is not something the Church authorities should handle. History has shown that they have done a poor job of dealing with the problem. By covering up the abuse and trying to handle it internally the Church has lost the trust of Catholics and those of other faiths as well. How much more respect and trust for the Church could have been retained had the cardinals and bishops acknowledged the problem and let the police take care of the offenders?

  30. For decades (maybe centuries) the Church hierarchy “solved” the problem of sexual abuse by priests using one of two tried and true methods: “A wink and a nod” with payment to the victim to ensure silence or by sending the priest to a new assignment, sometimes with a promotion and sometimes even to set policy in the Vatican. Always under the watchful eye of the Bishop and Cardinal. In the meantime, the Church has shunned the idea of a married priesthood, even though most of the apostles and disciples spreading the good news, were, in fact, married. Strange how marriage is considered a “stabilizing force” for the laity, but a witch’s brew for clergy, isn’t it?

  31. It breaks my heart to read that Our Church hierarchy has allowed these homosexual clerics to not only stay in the priesthood but to promote them ever higher through the ranks, like this Cardinal and others. The photo shown is from many years past when he was a young man preying on other young men, yet he was allowed to function in his own perverted lifestyle with the support of his superiors.
    I knew that my prayers to the Holy Spirit to uncover the filth on our Church and to sweep out those who are professing to be Catholic yet not living their Catholic faith was going to be painful, but it is time to face this ugly truth and love with the consequences.
    The Church needs cleaning from the top down and needs to be re-committed to Jesus’ teachings. We need to stop attempting to “build” the Church, clean it out, maintain it better, rebuild a solid foundation from all that has undermined it since man took it over from Christ, and reaffirm our commitment to Christ. Prayer is one way to obtain the Holy Spirit’s help in accomplishing these…

  32. As the mother of an abused child, I am dismayed by bishops covering up the crimes of these sinful priests. Isn’t their primary job shepherding his people??? My son never received an apology except for our parish priest. An apology and understanding was all he wanted. Instead he was paid a sum of money. How is that supposed to lead him to Heaven????

  33. I agree with all of this. But I would go farther. No more Cardinals. Why couldn’t the church in a country elect a person as an elector of the pope? No more Italian popes. Enough is enough. Really cleanup the church. Also open up new suggestions from the people in the pews. Those clerics that break the rules should not be protected by their own kind. etc.

    • Surely you know that apart from the very short papacy of John Paul I there have been no Italian popes since 40 years ago?

  34. Can we ask anymore than the love of God??? The punishment needs to fit the crime and tuning the other cheek, by no means, repays for the damage done. I for one want these ordained ministers remove from their position, shamed in the public arena and then turn over to the secular body for a just
    and fair punishment. Also, we need to get this situation cleaned up and yes being sorry helps the soul but the true victims need to be our concern.

  35. I am a 70 yr old practicing cradle Catholic. Have been a in home caregiver most of my working life. Some years ago, I had an elderly client who told me a shocking story. Mind you, I do not share my religious affiliation on the job, so he was unaware that I was a Catholic. He liked to talk about his past working history. He told me a story that shook me to my core to this day. The company that he worked for at one time did foundation restoration work. They were called to a convent I believe he said was in the State of Washington. They had to do extensive digging under the convent due to water damage. He said they found infant corpses there, but reburied them. This would have been many years ago when he was a young man. I have since been haunted by this information he shared with me, but I cannot prove or disprove what he said. But I pray much harder for our Catholic Church that I love with all my heart for protection from Satan’s evil infiltration. St Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. And do thou O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust into hel Satan and all of his evil spirits who prowl about the earth seeking the ruin of souls. Amen

    • It was not uncommon for convents of the 19th and 20th centuries to take in unwed mothers and their children as a last resort (society and the government certainly weren’t doing it). The nuns did the best they could, but infant mortality rates of the time, sadly, were extremely high. Children and mothers died of things that are easily treated today. This does not necessarily mean that anything intentionally evil was propagated at the convent you mention. Just poor women (nuns) taking care of even poorer women (outcast, unwed mothers) and their babies, with little modern medical care in an era that’s difficult to judge through today’s lenses. When left with the chore of burying the dead, they certainly didn’t have money to buy burial plots.

  36. In a letter to Pope Leo IX, Saint Peter Damian demanded reform, ecclesial accountability,…..but of the forgiveness stands b’n the two to take-up decisions rude b’se the one who commit this level of sins are not an ordinary people but they’re very teachers’ , who teaches others the diff. b’n good-evil and when they applied to fail themselves its their weakness and they loose their self-control (a gift of Holy spirit) leads them into disaster…I bel. they need of medical treatment/mental exercises which related with… rather than punishment. Also, the church should not treat this as granted in the name of FORGIVENESS!!! It is hugely affecting in the country like India, they approaching court to stop `confession’ which is against to Word Of God gave privilege to His church (people)…I request u all in the name of Jesus, all U priests ordained by the Grace of God, if u cant u pl. settle with….continue serving God without defiling His plans for u n his kingdom….God bless

  37. I like the old way. And apply it to clergy who sleep with women, too, they are killing their souls with mortal sin. Fully 50% of clergy do not keep their vow of celibacy, many of them with women.

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