It’s time for a radical reckoning in the Catholic Church

The Washington Post

August 20, 2018

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, shown in 2015, faces sex abuse allegations dating back decades. (Robert Franklin/AP)
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, shown in 2015, faces sex abuse allegations dating back decades. (Robert Franklin/AP)
August 20, 2018 at 1:10 a.m. GMT+2

As a person raised in the Catholic Church, I’ve come to doubt its ability to conduct a reckoning of the kind called for by Megan McArdle in her Aug. 16 op-ed, “The church has betrayed Christ.”

Scandal after scandal, it’s becoming ever clearer that the abuse of children, and the protection and perpetuation of it by clerical leadership, is the rule for the Catholic Church worldwide, not the exception.

Which brings into stark focus why the church so relentlessly fights these claims: So fully is it permeated by the cancerous evil within that a complete reckoning would bankrupt it.

The only responsible, ethical, Christ-like course of action is for the church to sell its gold and its palaces and exhaust its treasury, if need be, to pay reparations to every last victim.

That the church refuses to do this says loud and clear that it is no longer morally capable of discharging its duties. Catholics should listen. The only path to justice lies in dismantling the bureaucracy and starting anew.

Matt Popovich, Washington

Megan McArdle got it exactly right — this is an institutional evil. “The rape of a child is a far graver sin than financial malfeasance, and we expect more from a church than from an investment fund or even a police force.”

Enough is enough. This old-boy patriarchy must be ruthlessly reformed. The nonsense that Jesus implied that only men should be priests and leaders should be abolished. It has created the opportunity for unchecked abuse of power. The College of Cardinals and the pope have lost their moral authority. Indeed, mass resignations should occur, and radical and ruthless changes to the hierarchy must follow.

The people of God, the laity — especially Catholic women — must speak up and demand that their house be cleaned.

Catherine A. Chiccone, Columbia

The recent news about the Pennsylvania grand jury report about predatory Catholic priests in much of Pennsylvania, as reported in the Aug. 15 front-page article “300 priests in Pa. accused of abusing children,” calls me to declare to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops the words of Jesus “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

It is against the law for anyone to do what those men stand accused of doing to children. Therefore, the Catholic Church should report suspected abusers to civil authorities.

The alleged abuser should be removed from society until a jury of his peers decides on guilt or innocence.

If guilty, he should serve his sentence, be defrocked and be listed on the register of sex offenders. Then, Caesar will have received his due, and God will soothe the victims while waiting for the offender on Judgment Day!

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