The following is an attempt to trace the rise, growth and spread of the theological schism which is invading Catholicism like a computer virus. The most intriguing factor emerging from an examination of this assault on the unity of Catholicism is that it was largely enabled by a symbiosis of obscure forces (including militant atheism) whose common agenda is not just the destruction of Christianity but the abolishing of moral standards in the nations of the world without which civilisation cannot exist.
The great schism seems to be an amalgam of every historical threat to the unity of the Church, but the most powerful of these to emerge in the two millennia of Christianity are those motivated by an instinct to find security from the State, or the need of political authority to resist any threat to its hegemony, especially any movement claiming particular autonomy of itself. Examples are Arianism which placed Christ’s Church in the control of the Emperor, or Protestantism which replaced the papacy with European monarchs or Emperors. Communism at first tried to annihilate Christianity altogether but ended by creating parallel State forms of Christian churches. China has followed the Russian pattern.
Of course, many rifts in the organism of Faith were driven by personal unrest or disagreement over details of doctrine and discipline, viz. Rev. Martin Luther or the emotionally distressed Calvin. But an immediate result of the Protestant rebellion was that the various European powers seized upon that novel church to patronise, control and then employ it to break free from the ethical constraints imposed upon king or commoner by the then universally acknowledged Catholic morality . Probably the most galling of such constraints to the rich and powerful were limitations imposed upon capitalism through the restriction of unlimited hazarding of personal property. The very word mortgage (death grip) is an echo of the medieval attitude to controlling people by lending or the enslavement of people through borrowing. As Hilaire Belloc commented: Protestantism was the revolt of the rich against the common man. The point is that the most powerful of attacks on Catholic unity involves some intervention from the world outside. And as the world can affect the Church, so damage to the Church almost invariably affects populations at large.
SCANDAL AND THE DEATH OF RELIGION
The barrage of clerical perversion accusations has shaken the confidence of the world’s billion Roman Catholics. But underlying the sex scandals a more sinister drama is playing out in Rome. Vatican observers are warning that the Roman Catholic Church, a once monolithic religious presence and global voice of moral authority is in free fall. They also argue that no human being on earth will escape “unimaginable” repercussions if she fails. Some suspect that the present media spotlight, tirelessly scanning for paedophiles in cassocks, is masking the greater scandal. It not only smears the image of the Church, eroding public confidence in its religious mission, but also provides a smokescreen behind which schismatic factions within the Church itself beaver to consolidate a power base to change unpopular (to them) doctrines and disciplines.
Conservative church leaders are having to contend with near intractable problems on two fronts; the need to respond to the reformers (effectively moving the Catholic Church to accommodate a form of Government friendly Protestantism), and at the same time to steady the faith of millions of believers rocked by an admittedly tiny percentage of sexually predatory clerics whose crimes nevertheless are among the worst imaginable sins against God according to Catholic doctrine. This is the scandalizing of the “little ones”. The paradox is that detestation of this sin is so profound that the perfectly human instinct to address the injustice of the world-wide media feeding frenzy is paralysed.
To set the record straight at once, clerical abuse statistics referring to infants is so small that it would hardly be discerned on, say, a pie chart. Imagine a blue disc with a red hair line representing the crime. The actual scandal is the homosexual abuse of minors, technically termed Hebephilia (strong persistent sexual interest in post pubescent children, ages typically from 10-14), or sexual preference for mid to late adolescents which is termed Ephebophilia. Some evidence suggests that the more prevalent of these perversions is Hebephilia, yet almost all clerical convictions were for interference with youths. Paedophilia is the very rare sexual molestation of pre-pubescent infants.
It is scientifically described as a homosexual activity. The media is perfectly aware of this. They assiduously evade the homosexual line while propagating the lie that the deviant clerics are infant molesters. An immediate duty for all bishops would be to make clear such an obvious fact — that the media accusation of clerical paedophilia is outrageous. Despite the dreadful nature of homosexual abuse on young people it must be remembered that the statistically tiny fraction of the world’s clerics mentioned above was harvested from well over six generations of ministry, from ordination to retirement or death. The present admitted reality is homosexual activity between a few perverted clergy and boys, sometimes willing youths, usually termed “rent boys” or male prostitutes (in less attractive maturity many of these “boys” caught the scent of the bishops’ guilt money which most observers believe was too readily offered. It is a disturbing truth that too many accusations against clergymen were incited by the profit motive, very few of which were thoroughly investigated).
The Church’s defenders point out that since rigorous action was initiated to stamp out the ordaining of homosexuals the incidences of abuse of minors has all but disappeared. But the mud sticks.
Many Catholics are so fixated by endless false-news flashes about clerical turpitude that many have become habituated to the sense that their holy Church is now irredeemably corrupt and has become a thing of shame. And what also concerns Vatican Jeremiahs is that they are failing to alert the world’s bishops to the extent of the wider catastrophe facing the church. The abiding consolation for the faithful is that it is a note of the Church’s Divine guarantee that she will not only be hated by the world but also betrayed from within, ref. Judas Iscariot who betrayed Christ for thirty pieces of silver.
Homosexual scandal aside, the schism (some insist that it is actual heresy) is the most powerful ever to have threatened the Universal Church. But it also happens to be the biggest news story in history. Amazingly the media worldwide, blinkered to anything other than salacious gossip, ignores the potential death throes of the 2,000 year old mother of Christianity, the oldest organisation on earth.
SPOTLIGHT THE BIGOT’S SUB-PLOT IN A DODGY PAEDO-MOVIE
by Bill Donohue, Editor of Catholic League for Civil and Religious Rights.
The movie “Spotlight” is bound to spark more conversation about the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, much of what the American public knows about this issue is derived from the popular culture, something this film will only abet. Therefore, the time is ripe to revisit what the actual data on this subject reveals.
When the Boston Globe sent the nation reeling in 2002 with revelations of priestly sexual abuse, and the attendant cover-up, Catholics were outraged by the level of betrayal. This certainly included the Catholic League. The scandal cannot be denied. What is being denied, however, is the existence of another scandal—the relentless effort to keep the abuse crisis alive, and the deliberate refusal to come to grips with its origins. Both scandals deserve our attention.
Myth: The Scandal Never Ended
When interviewed about the scandal in 2002 by the New York Times, I said, “I am not the church’s water boy. I am not here to defend the indefensible.” In the Catholic League’s 2002 Annual Report, I even defended the media. “The Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, and the New York Times covered the story with professionalism,” I wrote.
Scandal II was external, the result of indefensible cherry-picking of old cases by rapacious lawyers and vindictive victims’ groups. They were aided and abetted by activists, the media, and Hollywood.
A decade later things had changed. In the Catholic League’s 2011 Annual Report, I offered a critical assessment of the media. “In a nutshell,” I said, “what changed was this: in 2011, unlike what happened in 2002, virtually all the stories were about accusations against priests dating back decades, sometimes as long as a half-century ago. Keep in mind that not only were most of the priests old and infirm, many were dead; thus, only one side of the story could be told. Adding to our anger was the fact that no other institution, religious or secular, was being targeted for old allegations.”
It became clear that by 2011 we were dealing with two scandals, not one. Scandal I was internal—the church-driven scandal. This was the result of indefensible decisions by the clergy: predatory priests and their enabling bishops. Scandal II was external, the result of indefensible cherry-picking of old cases by rapacious lawyers and vindictive victims’ groups. They were aided and abetted by activists, the media, and Hollywood.