Mar 312002
 
Authors:

The Catholic Church is in trouble, but is it their fault?

Recent discoveries of sexual molestation and cover-ups have spurred thousands of Catholic criticisms and news stories with titles such as “Crisis in the Church” and “Can the Catholic Church save itself?”

Pedophilia is a crime as well as a sin. It cannot be ignored and it cannot be covered up. Criticism for cover-ups by the priests’ superiors is considered worse than just the act; I believe it should be.

If you knowingly allow troubled priests to continue a trend, then you are just as responsible, hands down.

However, I firmly believe that the root of these problems lies at the feet of the individuals responsible, not the Catholic Church.

While the Church should definitely monitor those who enter the priesthood and take a good look at issues of sexuality, the Church does not “breed” pedophiles, as many have assumed.

While the media may seem to be saying otherwise lately, pedophilia is not a practice that exists in Catholicism alone. There are thousands upon thousands of non-priest pedophiles and thousands upon thousands of priests who are not pedophiles. I’m willing to wager that there are clergy members of all denominations who have been guilty of this crime, yet the focus has been almost solely on Catholics.

Maybe it’s because of the Church’s controversial view on celibacy. Maybe the Church’s seemingly black and white stance on most social issues give the Church a “we’re holier than the rest of you guys” impression.

Whatever the case, the Catholic Church is, above all, other under scrutiny on this issue, and I don’t think it’s all warranted.

Is this a problem in the Church? Yes of course it is. Is this a problem of the Church. No. It is problem created in the outside world that has found its way into Catholicism as well as many other professions. It is a problem of the individual.

I think society expects more of priests, as it should. Priests choose a profession they know to be a type of moral hierarchy over their congregation.

They enter the job knowing full well that they are expected not just to be a moral hierarchy for their congregation, but a type of embodiment of Jesus Christ himself. If they are guilty of sexual assault, they, of all people, should know better and be held accountable /_” unlike the way the problem has been dealt with. But pedophilia is a problem they create for themselves, not a problem the Church creates for them.

I would never argue that the Catholic Church is perfect, (Hello? Crusades, people!), but I have to say that the Church has guts. It’s not afraid to take strong unpopular stances, even under intense scrutiny. It’s one of the largest and longest-living institutions in our world, and to hold that position, it must be doing something right.

I do hope that this will make the Church look at existing policies and work to alleviate the situation, build better communication, and handle issues out-right.

But I certainly hope that the Church won’t take total responsibility for the actions of individuals. The Church did not create them.

Yes, it’s probably time for a change in the Church, this situation has made that clear. But do not assume that the Church’s time-honored practices are totally responsible.

Maria Sanchez Traynor is a senior majoring in English and journalism.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm

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