Matthew J. Belisario 2011
There is much talk today about the zero tolerance policy regarding accusations of child abuse towards Catholic clergy. Yes, we must have no tolerance for those who are in spiritual authority over their flock, who prey on young children. Many lives have been destroyed by these men. Rightly so, this kind of action should have zero tolerance within the Church. The most effective way to exercise this policy is certainly a matter of debate. There is a question however that we should be asking ourselves, which also pertains to this issue. What can possibly be some of the reasons for such a widespread problem like this among the clergy? I am not talking percentages here, for we could argue that the percentage of abuse cases compared to the clergy numbers are less that the Protestant sects. But it really does no good to boast of such a thing, for if we cannot best the largely secular Protestant groups, then we are in big trouble. Although we now have a zero tolerance policy for those who commit such acts, what about eradicating this problem at the root? In other words, it is all well and good to stop these men once they have been found out, and uncovered, but what of stopping them before they commit these acts? Are there ways to strike at the heart of the matter to effectively limit the types of individuals who would commit such crimes? I believe there is an indicator that can eliminate some of these men. A litmus test for orthodoxy is a most sure way to eliminate a large portion of these criminals. Unfortunately, there seems to be a laxity within the Church for eradicating heresy.
Certainly I cannot claim that most heretics are abusers, but I would venture to claim that many abusers are certainly heretics. Many of the priests who committed such heinous crimes towards our youth are mostly acting homosexuals, and most do not recognize the Church’s teaching regarding sexual morality, and they even have taught against it. Many of these men openly challenge the exclusivity of marriage between men and women, or that sex outside of this marriage is entirely forbidden. They are the same men who challenge the male priesthood of Christ, the theology of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, etc. This was ushered in because the Church allowed heresy to go unchecked for so long that it took over the seminaries. The great Thomstic scholar Ralph Mcinerny once wrote concerning the scandals, “… the behavior in many seminaries has turned them into Augean stables. It is not enough to turn hitherto sheltered offenders over to the public prosecutor. The bishops have to get to the root of the problem. And the root of the problem is that many of our seminaries have been producing clueless clerics.” As we should all know by now, when heresy goes unchecked among the clergy, the laity will soon follow in large. As the laity became blinded by heresy, they tended to look past some of the abhorrent acts of clergy (liturgical abuse, bad catechesis, immodesty, etc), some even condoned their heretical theology, and embraced it with open arms. Yet, when the consequences of that heresy is felt, they only reacted to the symptom, not the disease.
What we see in the modern media is also certainly worthy of condemnation. The modern Luciferian media loves to promote Catholic clergy who openly support heresy, yet when that heresy takes it logical course, which in part leads to the problems such as sexual abuse, they then cry foul, as if no one had any idea something like this was coming. This is like someone championing drinking themselves into serious excess, enjoying the high they get from the drink and the apparent fun that comes with it, and then complaining of the terrible hangover they have the next morning. This is how the world thinks, and people act this way everyday. This is to be expected for the average secularist, but unfortunately for us, many in the Church follow this same line of muddled, confused, and I might add, foolish thinking. They champion the sweet taste of heresy, the apparent freedom it brings with it, and yet loath the hangover of the abuse crisis that came the morning after. Of course, homosexuality and sexual abuse are not the only byproducts of heretical minds, but they are surely a byproduct. People act according to how they believe. We could write an entire thesis pertaining to the damage that heresy causes to those who are duped by it, but that is not within the scope of this brief article.
If there is anything that deserves zero tolerance in the Church today, it is heresy. When a person in authority within the Church chooses to ignore or teach against certain doctrines of the Church, by their own will, such as is the state of many clergy today, what will keep them from choosing to act rightly towards their fellow man? If they choose to ignore God, what of men? Many today would probably be scandalized by the words of the great Saint Thomas Aquinas in the Summa Theologia, Secunda Secundae, Question 11, which concerns heresy. I cannot improve on his thought, so why try? In article three St. Thomas warns of the severity of heresy, and why it should never be tolerated. In fact, he compares the heretic to counterfeiters. “On their own side there is the sin, whereby they deserve not only to be separated from the Church by excommunication, but also to be severed from the world by death. For it is a much graver matter to corrupt the faith which quickens the soul, than to forge money, which supports temporal life. Wherefore if forgers of money and other evil-doers are forthwith condemned to death by the secular authority, much more reason is there for heretics, as soon as they are convicted of heresy, to be not only excommunicated but even put to death. On the part of the Church, however, there is mercy which looks to the conversion of the wanderer, wherefore she condemns not at once, but "after the first and second admonition," as the Apostle directs: after that, if he is yet stubborn, the Church no longer hoping for his conversion, looks to the salvation of others, by excommunicating him and separating him from the Church, and furthermore delivers him to the secular tribunal to be exterminated thereby from the world by death.”
These words of the great Saint may seem to be a bit outdated by many in the Church today. Many may claim that we have all advanced beyond the simple way of Aquinas and his medieval mentality. Has not modernity brought us beyond simple truths, and beyond the simple yes and no that Jesus himself spoke to his apostles? “But let your speech be yea, yea: no, no: and that which is over and above these, is of evil.” (Matthew 5:37) Or, could it possibly be that the modern mind has regressed compared to that of the medieval mind? I think that we must conclude that the later is the case concerning heresy. Modernity has brought to us all of the errors of the past in a highly compact and potent form. We could call it “heresy concentrate”, and when consumed, even in small quantities, it kills the souls of those whom consume it. Why then do many of those who are in the care of souls in the Church tolerate heresy? We see some of the horrific ramifications in the abuse crisis, which is loathed world wide, by both Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Many souls have left the Church or refuse to convert to Catholicism because of the crisis. What is more important than the salvation of souls? Is heresy not the natural enemy of salvation? Is it not also a breeder of scandal, and moral decay? Is the heretic not a carrier of a killer disease to the soul, which is passed on from person to person like so many physical diseases? Yet, so few are bold enough to speak out against these enemies of the faith, and it seems that fewer are wise enough to recognize what havoc such tolerance for it has brought upon us. Let us pray that our bishops and priests will oppose heresy in every form with zeal. Not only for the well being of our fellow man in the physical sense, but for that of his eternal salvation.