Many times in autism groups on FB when I or someone else break the unwritten rule that the atheists there have specified–never mention Christianity in any way–the atheists there will use different tactics. There are some that I can just shrug off, but one tactic that is so misinformed really bothers me: the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic church. So I’ve decided to talk about it. Originally, I wasn’t because I wasn’t quite sure how to address the issue. But I’ve recently learned some methods that I can use.
First of all, the media misrepresents the issue. The number of priests who are pedophiles is actually not as big as the media would like you to believe. The secular media has been against the Catholic Church for a very long time. I think it stems from the fact that the Catholic Church has always opposed many things that the secular media promotes, such as abortion. The media see Catholicism as an enemy, so they look for anything that happens within the church to use against us, whether it’s taking the pope out of context or the scandals. That’s not to say the scandals don’t exist at all; that just means it’s overblown. Also, there are steps being taken. Why isn’t that reported? Because why talk about a positive, when the negative is far more interesting and appears to be more damning.
The Catholic Church is far from the only institution with a sex abuse scandal. Schools, hospitals, even the film industry also have sexual abuse. Harvey Weinstein is one of the most recent examples of how Hollywood is affected by them. Again, Catholicism is an easy target. Priests are held in a different status than these other institutions.
“But aren’t you angered about this?” “Don’t you want to leave?” Yes, I’m horrified. It’s terrible when we find out the shepherds in our clergy are actually wolves. But as St. Peter said “Lord, to whom shall we go? Yours are the words of eternal life.” That’s why I’m not leaving. I don’t get what I really need for my spirit anywhere else.
Another thing I want to point out is that yes, God will deal with these priests. But He will deal with them in His time, in His way. I am not to dictate how the Master is to conduct His affairs. I am only a servant, and my role is to serve. Those priests chose to be abusive. God respects their free will and is giving them the opportunity to repent. It is their choice to abuse, and it is also their choice to repent.
So yes, this is a tragedy. But it is not a failure of God. It is a human failure. The church is not a museum for saints. It is a hospital for sinners.