Special Report: Devil in Rome premieres Monday, Aug. 22 at 8 PM ET
BALTIMORE (ChurchMilitant.com) - Last week, Matt Walsh, an esteemed Catholic columnist, addressed participants at the Silence Stops Now rally in Baltimore. But before he took the stage, he spoke to Church Militant's Christine Niles.
The conversation ranged from Pope Francis' response to the widespread clerical sex abuse crisis to the response of the laity.
Walsh revealed he believes Pope Francis should resign, asserting, "The Pope was sold as a reformer. ... I don't see that, I don't see a man who's looking forward and trying to fix the problems of the Church." He continues, "I see a man who's essentially trying to preserve the status quo as it's been for the last 50 years."
He also noted that faithful Catholics must be more "intentional" about their financial support of the Church: "I don't think we should penalize our local churches if they had nothing to do with it."
He continued, "In terms of donating to the archdiocese, I think that is where we, as Catholics, should make some decisions. It should depend largely on how good your diocese has been on these issues."
After speaking to Niles, Walsh went on to ask the crowd of 800–900 as well as thousands watching online, "If you weren't already a Catholic would you become one today? Ask yourself that question. I'm devastated to answer, I don't know. Would I see something holy and timeless?"
He added, however, that leaving the Church because of the betrayal of many priests and bishops is not the proper response of a faithful Catholic, asserting, "If cowardice and treachery could delegitimize the Church, then it was never legitimate in that case because there has been cowardice and treachery all along."
It's the Pope and the bishops, he said, who are in "a position to scandalize because they are in a position to lead and so they will lead their flocks one direction or another: to the promised land or to the wasteland."
Walsh gave voice to the laity's cynicism toward the ineffectual handwringing apologies tendered by many American bishops and hurt by the Vatican's silence, noting, "It's hard enough to strive for holiness, it's hard enough to live by the edicts and commands that God has laid down for us," and asked, "How much harder it becomes, how much more hopeless the pursuit of holiness feels for Catholic lay people with many of their priests and bishops ... seemed to be against them, seemed to mock them, seem to be embarrassed by them?"