This week’s message and podcast is very difficult. It’s a sensitive topic that people don’t like to talk about, much less hear about on TV or plastered as the cover story of every news outlet. But, we have to talk about the sex abuse scandal related to former- Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
I’ve held off on commenting on this because I wanted to digest as much of the facts as possible. Then I wanted to pray about what I’m feeling and what I need to say, and in what way will I share my own thoughts and opinions on this topic. I also wanted to talk with other brother priests about this and eventually to record it for my show, “Shoot the Shiitake.”
So, instead of trying to squeeze my thoughts in a limited “tweet” about this topic, I thought I would just share my thoughts from my heart and prayers. The best way to do this for me was in a podcast. Originally, as I mentioned above, I wanted to record a conversation with some of my bother priests about this topic. Unfortunately, they didn’t feel comfortable to do so. It’s also been my experience that as soon as we put a microphone in someone’s face, they either clam up or they don’t speak truthfully.
Instead of a regular podcast/ audiocast show where I interview someone who may be different from me, I decided to have a show where I just share my thoughts – not in a destructively critical way, but in a way that hopefully can bring about some constructive critique on how the current conversation is happening.
To be clear: I want to share my absolute strong support and agreement in how Pope Francis dealt with the scandal. At this point, Pope Francis removed the title of Cardinal (His Eminence), removing McCarrick’s ability to publicly show himself as a priest (cannot say mass, or other public sacraments), and subjecting the de-vowed priest to a life of prayer and penance. At the same time, Pope Francis is allowing both secular and canonical (religious) law to continue its investigation and will agree with the findings. At the same time, I don’t want to generalize this problem nor do I want to come across as throwing the former Cardinal under the bus – casting stones at the sinner – as if somehow I’m not impervious to manifesting my brokenness. In other words, I just didn’t want to criticize the sinner, but to redirect my (our) anger and frustrations to the source of the problem. And the problem isn’t only or exclusively celibacy, homosexuality, or the Catholic teaching on the sacred nature of sexuality. It’s a combination of many things, often times the things that give struggle to our own hearts.
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