St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Kevin Horrigan, a past seminarian himself, recently wrote that the Church has difficulty facing the sex abuse problems of priests because "the problem is systemic." Do you agree? Are these not isolated problems - a few bad apples spoiling the barrel?
Twenty years ago, one might have viewed this as a problem involving "a few bad apples." Now, no reasonable person can believe this.
A decade ago, Jason Berry wrote in his award-winning book Lead Us Not Into Temptation, "The failure of the Catholic hierarchy to nurture a healthy clergy cannot be rationalized a as the result of sin in the world, or as many conservatives contend, of a church divided by theological dissent. The corruption of ecclesiastical culture is part of a psychological and sexual crisis that has been building for years. The faithful have every right to demand that this situation, made all the more disgraceful by Rome's silence, be changed." His predictions about this crisis exploding have sadly come true.
Horrigan is correct - this is a deeply-rooted systemic flaw in the governance of the church, which will not be remedied by pious statements, carefully crafted apologies, or the removal of a handful of offenders.
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