Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Catholic priests are known in this generation for being young boy child molesters. What is even worse, if that is possible, is the fact that these sick men are and were protected by pastors, bishops, cardinals and archbishops. Even the current Pope has a history of simply transferring the pedophiles to other parishes in other regions instead of making sure they go to jail for sexually abusing our young innocent children.
The past decade has been seemingly devastating for the Catholic Church. There have been documented endless cases of sexual abuse by priests and bishops who turned a blind eye to it. Multi-billion payouts have already been paid out to victims. Money that came from families who willingly put their hard earned dollars in the collect plates each week.
No wonder there have been a steady loss of the faithful that now do not donate and do not go to church anymore. There exists one man the Catholic Church hopes who can change the perception and save the religion in this country. He is Timothy Dolan. He has been the Archbishop of New York now for about two years.
He has also been called “The American Pope” after his election to head the Conference of Catholic Bishops. His mission as he sees it, is to change the perception of the Church that now ranges from negative to irrelevant. He wants to see the old church made new. Zero tolerance with wayward priests and restore the sacred experience Catholicism is.
The biggest attributes that he has is his charm, friendliness and desire to be a buddy to everyone. No pompousness here. He is tall, overweight and always laughing barreling through a crowd and hard to miss. He is a tireless promoter of all things Catholic. He is not shy about asking someone to get him a cold beer. You can see him saying Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.
He is a man in love with his job. Born in Saint Lewis, entered the Seminary at age 14, soon became a secretary to the Papal Nuncio, Rector of the American Seminary in Rome, and Archbishop of Milwaukee. He stood out from the traditional holy man by reciting a homily once wearing a Green Bay Packers cheese head.
Dolan is the shepherd to 2.5 Million Catholics. It is now a rapidly changing demographic. The traditional Irish and Italians worshipers are being replaced by Hispanics. The most visited altar in St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the area that shows an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The scope of his area encompasses nearly 400 Parishes from Long Island to the Catskills and New York City.
There are budgets to be balanced. He is well aware that the Churches’ newest fans, the Hispanics fill the churches but are fiscally unable to fill the collection plates with lots of money. He is not in denial about the problems facing the Church. Despite his jolly open demeanor, he is a very much traditionalist.
He is about as conservative as they come. In his Church you will not see in the future women as priests, gay marriages, an acceptance of abortions or even birth control. Yes, even today there are still old fashioned conservatives making decisions in high ranks of the religious hierarchy. He just wants to preserve the laws of the Church. Last fall he was unexpectedly elected over a more liberal candidate to become President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Why does such a conservative keep being elected to high posts in the Catholic Religion? Frankly, he is the most charismatic and high profile figure on the American catholic stage. The Bishops realize that they have a serious bad image problem currently. Dolan is their best front man now. They hope that his infectious personality will move them beyond their very public sex scandals.
The sexual scandals that have hit the Church in the last decade is the most public and serious that has ever hit the Church. Pedophilia probably was always there but never exposed for the ugly dragon it is. The allegations and proofs of what these men did is spreading like a cancer throughout the parishes. After all, Dolan replaced the Archbishop of Milwaukee who resigned amid his own sex scandals.
Dolan had to deal with a large number of child abuse cases. He revealed the names of 40 predatory priests and had to sell church property to pay the tens of Millions of dollars to victims. Ironically, he does not want people to forget this crisis so that if never forgotten it will not ever happen again. Defending the Catholic Church seems to be his life’s work.
He acknowledges that if the Church dropped its ruling of celibacy, perhaps there would not be pedophilia if the men were able to have a sex life of their own. However, one of the most important parts of the priesthood is celibacy. Sadly, he admits that as awful and horrible is the crime, the cover up by higher ranking priests like the bishops is worse than the crime. You would think the members of the Church would be held to a higher standard but sadly became the lowest of the low.
Dolan said all is behind us now but he is wrong. Revelations keep emerging. Recently the Archdiocese of Philadelphia found itself deep in yet another sex abuse scandal. Dolan is a friend of our current Pope and has been elected to more Vatican posts. Could all his connections someday lead to him becoming the first American pope? The only change he is pre-occupied with now is to repair if possible the Church’s good name.
Instead of focusing on what the Church prohibits, he wants us to focus on the good parts.
His world is tarnished and I’m not sure it can ever be restored to its once caring and nurturing status.

No comments:

Post a Comment