DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - A U.S. exorcist says there needs to be an independent investigation of bishops who cover up sexually abusive priests.
Father Gary Thomas sat down for an interview with National Catholic Register about horror films, but the discussion quickly turned to the ongoing sex abuse scandal. Father Thomas told the Register's Patti Armstrong about the clerical sex abuse scandal, "It's only going to get worse. But as bad as it is, it has to come out. It is unacceptable."
The priest said that the devil intimidates sex abuse victims to stop them from coming forward: "Convincing people that no one will believe them is what Satan says when something is so outside the bounds of what is reasonable as to be unbelievable."
He said that the sexual abuse of children by clergy is clearly demonic.
"By sexually abusing children, Satan desires to destroy the icon of the kingdom of God," he said. "He wants to destroy the most innocent version of humanity, which is the child."
Regarding how to address the crisis, Fr. Thomas told the Register, "It can't just be the removal of a few [bishops]. It has to be a complete reshaping of the paradigm of the way our Church governs; we need a complete cleaning up. We need a lay commission to set up an independent study. The bishops can't do it; they don't know how to do it."
Father Thomas is a leading exorcist in the United States. The book The Rite and the horror film of the same title were both based on experiences he had as an exorcist.
In his recent interview with the Register, he exhorted faithful Catholics to be strong amid the ongoing crisis in the Church.
"We are in for a long storm," Fr. Thomas said. "The clouds are just starting. However, our primary concern must be the victims who have been violated and firmly and without doubt prevent new victimizations from taking place in the future."
"There can be no tolerance for sexual misconduct perpetrated by clergy or lay people within the Church now or ever again," he added.
The priest encouraged prayer and fasting, but also action.
"Prayer, fasting and the sacraments are efficacious, but it cannot be without the intentionality of action that comes out of prayer," he said. "We want prayer to change us and we are praying for a change in the whole Church, all the way up."
He noted, "And we are also praying for the victims who have gone through decades of terrible trauma."