Fr. Richard’s statement on the new revelations of priestly abuse and coverup. 20/8/2018

From Centre for Action and Contemplation

This moral catastrophe first of all demands public and sincere lamentation from every segment of the Body of Christ, and only then can the deep healing begin.  It also demands public ownership, repentance and reform of our very immature teaching in regard to sexuality in general, male power issues in particular, and our “enforced” understanding of celibacy, which will predictably produce this kind of result.

  • Our own Catholic theology says that celibacy is a “charism” which means a free and empowered gift. In my experience, only someone who has an alive and warm inner experience of God is capable of celibacy at all.
  • It is a contradiction in terms for the Catholic Church to think it can mandate a free gift, which of course, has no precedent in Jesus. It is clearly not necessary for ministry, and is often a liability, creating an aura of spiritual superiority when the exact opposite is often the case.
  • I personally believe the actual charism of male celibacy that produces both happy and healthy men by the second half of life, is quite rare.
  • Until the Catholic church disconnects celibacy from ministry, I think we will continue to have ordained men, who are both unhappy, unhealthy, and a scandal to the Body of Christ. (Lest anyone think incorrectly, I am not saying that celibacy causes pedophilia, but I am saying that the idealized culture of celibacy allowed it to hide there for a long time.)

This shadowy material will keep emerging unless we own it and hold it fully accountable. In the meantime, let’s all pray and try to live more authentic sexual and spiritual lives ourselves.