TO CATHOLICS HAVING NO REASON TO REJOICE
O Catholics, when will you have had enough? When will you stand by hundreds and thousands, day and night, in the heat and in the cold, outside your bishop’s door, refusing to leave, refusing to be silent, until the criminals and their accomplices are heaved into prison, where they belong, as common criminals? Why do you not disavow their vices and call them to virtue?
No, you won’t. You sit by silently, as the old men, sleek and finely dressed, make a mockery of their vows to you—to guide you into goodness and to protect you—their flocks—from evil.
By disdaining to fulfill their promises, made in the 2002 national meeting of Catholic bishops, where they gave their word (all but two or three dissenters) to cooperate with civil prosecutors in regard to the priest sex scandal, they have made hypocrites of themselves, and they have made fools of you.
And you allow them to do this. Why do you allow them to bring this suffering and confusion on you and this continuing harm to your children and grandchildren? Look into your hearts. Do you cherish these evil-doers with the reverence due to the apostles of Jesus and the representatives of God on earth? Can you not see through their deception since they have shown you again and again that their only dedication is to protecting the institutional Church from the infamy and the condemnation which their own behavior brings upon it?
Their dedication is not to you! Their dedication is not to the well-being of your children! And their actions show that their dedication is surely NOT to the righteousness of Jesus and the community which they themselves teach that he founded! They have squandered the privilege of their call to be clergy, for they have clearly and in a calculated way—a conspiratorial way—broken the vows of their priesthood to lead you, the people given to them, more deeply into holiness. They are willing to discard their call from God, their priestly vows, their duty of caring for each of you and of raising up your children in the self-respect, in the compassion for others who are suffering, and in personal forgiveness and the willingness to help which are the elements of the genuine teachings of Jesus. They have betrayed God and their flocks. Will also sell out your children for an illusory reverence for these liars, these manipulators of the innocent, these deceitful schemers?
Look into you hearts. Do you believe that this era is a “blip on the screen” of the long history of the Catholic clergy? Do you believe that their pedophilia and their mistreatment of adults under their control, from male seminarians to female nuns and housekeepers is just a defect of one or two generations of priests and bishops? Do you believe that after all the reports have been written and the microphones are turned off, the following generations of priests and bishops and popes will “go back to normal” and all our current turmoil will come to an end?
If you do, you are fools. Pedophilia and the mistreatment of women are the normal state of the Church clergy. The only difference between the turpitude of the clergy in former centuries and the Catholic clergy’s corruption during our time is this: American democracy, with its well-protected freedom of the press, has recently penetrated the age-old defenses of the autocratic local bishops and of the headquarters of the institutional church in the Vatican State, and has torn away the sheep’s clothing, to expose the dreadful and heinous clerical wolves beneath , gnawing on the corpses of their flocks.
Study Catholic Church history, even in books written by loyal priests, and learn that by the time the Emperor Constantine legitimized the Christian religion in the fourth century, the bishops of the local churches had already firmly established their authority in those churches (though when the bishops made their power-grab two hundred years earlier, they had to face forceful and at times violent opposition from those Christians who relished their “freedom in Christ,” as Paul calls it in Romans, and who refused to accept the bishops’ self-empowerment. Get a taste of this conflict by reading Clement of Rome’s Letter to the Corinthians.)
Constantine, though not a Christian himself, began to appoint Christian bishops also to be civil authorities, such as mayors and judges. Suddenly the bishops had political power, which they immediately began to abuse, at first simply by amassing wealth for themselves, dressing in heroic finery, and building elaborate churches as their political, as well as their religious, command centers.
In the centuries that followed, these bishops descended from venality fully into the depths of personal depravity and political crimes against humanity, in the form of slaughters and crusades. The bishops as a group, and the popes in particular, made a particularly cruel habit of slaughtering all those who disagreed with their teachings and did not share their beliefs—in exactly the same way and for the same reasons that ISIS and the other Muslim terrorist groups are waging holy war on non-Muslins—on us!
And so it was that the bishops in the fourth and fifth centuries often settled theological issues by simply murdering the “infidels” on the other side of the question. When you read such accounts, you will be able to understand the rabid and stupid conflict of beliefs that incites Muslim extremists to kill us. For, fifteen hundred years ago it was our Christian ancestors, led by their bloodthirsty bishops, who were killing innocent thousands and tens of thousands of Jews and Arabs and Albigensians and Arians in one holy war after another. Those bishops were no less vicious and filled with hatred than the Muslim jihadists of our time.
Throughout Europe, as the bishops and cardinals and popes grew wealthier and more politically powerful, they did not hesitate at all to use their privileges to exercise their personal vices—the vices of the rich who are protected by their wealth and their powerful allies, as are the rich and famous today. The bishops of these earlier centuries had their secret (and sometimes public) banquets and parties and orgies, which were so widespread among the clergy, including the monks, that the popes were forced to call for periodic cleansing and reforms within the Christian Church on the pretext of ridding the Church of such vice, though in truth, the popes used these cleansings to control the monks and their leaders, the abbots, in order to prevent the monasteries from accumulating too much independent wealth, in which the popes did not share.
Would you—if you had lived in those times—would you have dissented from such self-serving and corrupt behavior by your bishops and popes? Would you have spoken up against the power-grabbing of Pope Leo “the Great,” or the decadence of the Medici and Borgia popes, or the line of later popes who endorsed the enslavement of Muslims and of African natives in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, or the many popes who not only endorsed, but also participated in the humiliation and expulsion of Jews from European cities, before turning a blind eye to the atrocities of the Nazi Reich in the 1940s?
The pope during the Nazi era—called Pius Xll---stood as stupidly silent before the Nazi’s barbaric treatment of their captives as you stand now, stupidly silent, as your clergy force your children into psyche-crushing acts which horrify them, and as your bishops spend their energy trying to protect these predator priests from being accused publicly and trying to strengthen the veneer of respectability and spiritual prominence which the leaders of the Catholic Church believe they still enjoy.
And now, recently, at the annual American Catholic bishops’ meeting, this year in Baltimore, the solution which the bishops offered to the problem of the bishops’ protecting predatory priests from civil prosecution is even less credible and more hypocritical than the Dallas Accords of 2002. For the solution which these liars and deceivers are suggesting is that they eliminate the problem by policing themselves!!!
Are you that gullible? They think you are. And they are correct in thinking that. For you have been trained to be sheep. The sheep and flock and shepherd metaphor, which has been used to characterize the Catholic clergy and the loyal faithful for centuries, has had its numbing effect on you. The bishops taught you to be silent, dutiful, even helpful, and always thoughtless in your blind devotion to them and to the institution which they manage and in which they prosper.
They have no fear of losing you because they have spent years indoctrinating you into believing in their righteousness and respectability. And if that should fail, they are always ready to hold the judging God of Revelation, and hell and damnation over your heads like the sword of Damocles.
And if you cannot produce any other reason, you are nonetheless willing to forget and to “move on” because you cannot imagine your life without being told what to do and what not to do, without the routines and the celebrations and the holy services which only they can conduct (because as early as the fourth century, the clergy had taken to themselves so much power that there was nothing left for the people in the pews to do but sit in the church, listening to the mass spoken in Latin, a language the people no longer spoke. And so, the ancient experience of sitting at table with the Risen Jesus, which the first century Church held precious, was completely absent from the large-church masses of later centuries, which the clergy owned entirely and had stripped from its rightful ownership by the people.) You cannot imagine not enjoying the feeling of inclusion and the sense of “being home” and of having found your comfortable place, when you go to church.
I can attest to you that there is life beyond the grip of the Catholic Church. There is deep and abundant spiritual life all around each of us, available to us to the extent that we are open to it. There are communities of people who live in harmony with other people of all backgrounds and of the range of economic circumstances and of the variety of experiences which they are willing to share. Such people, who are to be found the world over, find peace and joy in the midst of a world where God’s beauty surrounds you and the spirit of the One Who Is is with you and in you—not the avenging God of the final judgment, but the God which brings all things to be.
Perhaps you have not discovered these things yet. But I will tell you what I have seen and learned. Your bishops have not taught you how to pray—how to pray deeply and richly—not praying in trust and hope for future things, but praying wordlessly in the Now of creation, in acceptance and welcoming.
Your bishops have not taught you to have compassion, because they have no compassion. Rather, they have reduced you to robots who have only one thought: Kill Abortion. And for that political issue they have made you warriors. You may be proud of that. But from their viewpoint, your single-minded doggedness about abortion means that they have assembled a large army of voters, who will cast their ballots for any beast who endorses the prohibition of abortion (whether or not he or she actually cares about the issue.) You are the bishops’ fixers, and they use you to establish themselves as political power brokers.
Oh, is that so? You say you are willing to be “warriors for Christ.” Good. Then are you willing to confront the uncaring politicians who make anti-abortion laws which contain no dedicated funds for post-natal care of the mothers and children you have “saved,” no funding or increase in funding for job training or for welfare for the mothers of the children you may have saved and also condemned to a life of impoverishment and meaninglessness.
These laws are written by conscienceless, opportunistic politicians and championed by ideologues such as yourselves who see only the good of saving the child’s life without once thinking about the needs which the living child will have to have satisfied in order to lead a life (once saved but then forgotten) in which he or she will find meaning and purpose and, as you hope for all, salvation.
By voting for the anti-abortion candidate, you are pleasing only your prideful ego, unless you are equally insistent that the government provide or make available the housing, jobs, medical care, food, water, and education required by the upsurge in population—and unless you take part yourself in bringing this support about. Otherwise, your Christianity is hypocritical. It is “cheap grace” that you have won for yourself, in Bonhoeffer’s terms. You pay little but air for your beliefs. You are still comfortable while the homeless and helpless and desperate continue to live out the burden of their lives in the streets or in hovels.
If you had cared with genuine Christian compassion for one of the least of the little ones, and spoken to him, and listened, he would not have become an addict and then a robber and then a murderer and then a shell of a half-human in prison.
In addition, your compassion would have made you fearless of what in your comfortable life you fear most: that the poor and disdained and un-listened-to will one day rise up in desperation and kill you and take what you have accumulated.
Do you think Jesus would have endorsed this ethic of yours?—that you demand that the children be born and then you turn a blind eye to the destitution of their lives?
Look into your hearts, and think again, dear sheep.
Copyright © 2019 by Matthew Skulicz.