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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

  • The blog header depicts an important and yet mis-understood New Testament scene, Jesus flogging the money-changers out of the temple. I selected it because the faith that gives us consolation can also make us very uncomfortable. Both Divine Mercy and Divine Justice meet in Jesus. Priests are ministers of reconciliation, but never at the cost of truth. In or out of season, we must be courageous in preaching and living out the Gospel of Life. The title of my blog is a play on words, not Flogger Priest but Blogger Priest.

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Disciplining Priests & the Current Scandal


I read that the Holy Father pardoned 2000 pedophilia clerics.  I am angry because I think they should have been defrocked.  I was a victim of pedophilia and know many other victims. Why has the Church been sluggish to bring these men to justice?  I do not feel that I can trust the Church. Should I take my anger and distrust to Confession?


Let me first say that no one ever had the right to hurt you. It was wrong and anyone who would abuse a child should be both punished and psychologically treated. The problem in the past was compounded in the Church because of a fear of scandal. The Church leadership should have been more concerned about preserving the innocence and safety of our young charges. The Church like the world is composed of sinners. We should not hate the Church for what sick or evil or weak men do. We should love her as the mystical body of Christ— the one who is both the Divine Mercy and the Divine Justice. There is no sin in the pain and mistrust you feel. But it sounds to me that you have wounds that still need to be healed. I will keep you prayer.

FOX News reported, “Pope Francis acknowledged that the Vatican has a 2,000-case backlog in processing clerical sex abuse cases and says criticism of the slow pace was justified.”

First, not all of these cases are allegations of pedophilia. There are also charges of pederasty and of misbehavior with adults, both men and women. (Since they promised celibacy, priests who attempt marriage are automatically excommunicated and face the prospect of laicization.)

Second, there are numerous cases where we have discovered innocent men who were wrongly charged and/or disciplined. We cannot safeguard the rights of one class of people by dismissing the rights of others. That is why the process should not be rushed.

Third, the discipline of the Vatican to laicize clergy is distinct from any matter of charges, litigation and judicial proceedings in the countries where the clergy minister. Some critics have criticized the laicization process because the Church then wipes her hands of problematical priests and we lose track of them and forfeit any semblance of control over them.

Be wary toward a number of the so-called watch-dog groups. Their reports are often biased. They are quick to publicize priests who are charged but they rarely acknowledge false allegations or apologize for the wrong of destroying the reputations of good men. There is widespread hatred of the Church, even apart from this terrible issue. These apparent defenders of the innocent are often lobbyists for dissent and have lost the faith, themselves. Indeed, a number of them (particular those with an internet presence) or in collusion with “certain” lawyers have made a great deal of money by exploiting victims and the Church. They have fashioned the scandal into a business. They have turned on the Pope and question the motives of the Church. And even though our current child protection policies are second to none— they remain unhappy. Their ultimate goal is to discredit the faith and to put a cloud of distrust or an allegation over the head of every clergyman.

The many cases with which the Vatican is dealing were wrongly interpreted as absolution or as a dismissal of charges. Some of them include actions that purportedly go back a half century or more. The Holy Father clarified from the beginning that more staff was needed and was being added to the congregation charged with resolving the cases. He speculated that more of the work may be given to the regional bishops to help prepare the cases before they are sent to the Vatican. Remember now that we are talking about the whole planet. Back in 2013, there were approximately 415,348 Catholic priests on planet earth. Most of them are presumably good and faithful men.

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