By Rev. Roman Manchester
I don't think that some people truly understand the problem facing the Church. If this were simply the problem of a few sexual predators who need to be rounded up and dealt with, then there would be no crisis — but it is not. This is a problem that goes much deeper. It goes to the heart of the corrupt culture of secrecy and cover-up, a culture of sexual perversion and toleration of sexual predatory behavior.
The bishops have tried to pass this off as "just a few bad eggs," but they are lying. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was the face of the Catholic response to the scandal that broke in 2002, and it turned out he was a sexual predator himself, one that everyone in the clergy knew about. This, in itself, was a grave betrayal of the Church.
The bishops have a serious trust issue on their hands, and nobody should trust them until they show us a few scalps under their belts. They need to show us that they are serious about cleaning house. If they want to know why there is a shortage of priests, then they need to consider that God is withholding them from us until we can prove ourselves worthy of them. The Church in Africa and Asia has no shortage of priests, and perhaps that is because they don't have this problem of institutional homosexuality.
If the Church in America is dying — and it is — it is due to the lack of holiness among its priests and bishops. Holiness comes from Christ, through the priests, and to the people. This is what the Church teaches. There is no doubt about the holiness of Christ. Therefore, the blockage must lie in the priesthood.
We are in need of reform and repentance. We need to dress in sackcloth and ashes, and cry to God for mercy. Blessed Fulton Sheen once said that it will be the laity that save the Church. It seems that the clergy are too scared, timid or corrupt to deal with the problem. It will be the laity, by virtue of their priesthood of the baptized, who will have to rise up and demand holiness from their priests and bishops. I know that the many faithful and holy priests who read these words will agree with me.
Those who do not agree with me — those who think I should be silent — I tell you that I would love to be silent. Do something to shut me up. Start leading and I will shut up. Until you start leading, I will continue to speak from exile.
Read the next installment: "War on the Priesthood: The Loophole"