I watched Bishop Barron’s call to not leave the Catholic Church but stay and fight (https://youtu.be/-ani_hnN8Fs) in the latest Roman Catholic Church sex abuse scandal.
I admire Barron’s cool and reasoned approach in most of his engagements and I think he’s one of the RCC best evangelists. But I just wished he’d take on the real prophet mantle as displayed in the OT or the NT. Where’s the “I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!” (Gal. 5:12).
He’s appealing to the prophets but the people have no real power of voice. The Catholic faithful can write letters all they want to their Bishops and the Vatican. Catholic laity can post all the videos of disappointment or anger they want but in a system that doesn’t even give Bishops power to police their own, I have little faith in that approach.
There’s a rally cry rising among the ‘stay and fight’ crowd that echoes Peter’s words” “To whom would we go?“(Jn 6:68). As a pastor, I can understand such a call, especially in a culture that so easily divorces one another relationally and jumps to another person, church, job or group without much contemplation, concern or conviction. I too appeal to people to “Lead don’t Leave” in numerous situations I see folks struggling with in their day to day lives. Too many people ‘give up or give in’ because they won’t fight, persevere or persist. Life takes courage and real meaningful change takes a willingness to suffer for the future one knows is good, beautiful and true.
But in this case, the problem with that appeal, in many of cases and there will be much more uncovered in the days ahead, it’s a call for the abused to submit to the abusers.
By saying that you say to the domestic violence experiencing wife that she should stay put. You say to the son of a drunk that he should submit to the familia terror. You say to the daughter whose being molested, that she should believe her father, uncle or sibling’s words. This approach binds the conscience of the abused and locks them into a prison of guilt, shame and fear. They can’t leave because then ‘THEY’ are now the bad or evil people for leaving. This is a very, very, bad ethical or religious power labyrinth with no exit in my opinion and experience.
I hesitate to engage with my sincere Roman Catholic friends too much on all this, because, I don’t want to be viewed as someone who is pulling for an exit, or seeking to turn them against the RCC.
But I don’t support the exclusivity of any Christian religious group that says they are it and anyone outside of their group is 2nd class.
I don’t support any group that won’t purge predatory or practicing homosexuality from its leadership or prosecute sexual predators.
I pray for all my RCC friends, I dialogue and debate because I love you but I do think the RCC is in need of a serious counter-counter reformation and I pray this is the beginning for the sake of all the Church, the witness of the truth and the glory of God.