Readers Speak Out: September 16, 2018

  • September 11, 2018

What is clericalism?

My heart goes out to our priests and bishops  — the good ones, which is most of them. To say that the Catholic priests in my life have been beacons of virtue and guidance would be an understatement. 

This is why I get disturbed by the simple use of “clericalism” as  an explanation for the abuse crisis. Perhaps a “policy of maintaining the power of a religious hierarchy” has something to do with this cancer, but I wonder to which “hierarchy” this term refers? 

Is it the majority of good priests and bishops who want nothing more than to serve their parishioners while remaining true to their holy order? Or does “clericalism” refer to those poorly formed bishops and priests who either practice an utter disregard for true Catholic sexual morality in general and celibacy in particular, or cover up for those that do? 

If this second definition is what is referred to by “clericalism,” then I’d have to agree.

Mario Loreto,

Toronto, Ont.


Reform the culture

Exhorting Catholics to pray for the rooting out of clerical sex abuse without uprooting the rotten tree of clerical culture is like asking God to reform the Church while those in authority go about business as normal. 

For centuries, lay Catholics have accepted, and often suffered under, the rules and restrictions imposed by the clerical structure. Since the Second Vatican Council, however, the laity has gained a new understanding of their baptismal calling as equal partners with the clergy.

Pope John XXIII opened the windows. Pope Francis has thrown open its doors to invite radical change. Let us pray that cardinals and bishops have the courage to reform the scandalous culture which produced and protected clerical abusers.

Roger B. Manning,

Guelph, Ont.    

Sorry situation

I commend Cardinal Thomas Collins for his recent pastoral letter, not only for facing the sadness and challenges of abuse but also outlining the pastoral response of the archdiocese. I would reiterate how sorry we are. I am sorry to all the victims. You are innocent. You did nothing wrong. We were wrong. 

To all victims of any kind of abuse I am sorry. To all good and faith-filled priests to whom these events are like a kick in the stomach — I am sorry. And sorry also to all for whom the Catholic faith is so important.

Let us work and pray for hope, healing, prayer and action. 

Fr. Keith Wallace,    

Ajax, Ont.

Rot of corruption

Charles Lewis’ recent opinion piece (published on on the  Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò testimony insists that Pope Francis has been accused “without evidence.” Lewis ignores the ample circumstantial evidence in support of Viganò’s testimony.

Particularly galling is the characterization of Pope Francis’ silence with the phrase that the Pope “would not dignify the charge with a response.” Viganò is an experienced Vatican diplomat and curial insider. His charges merit an answer. 

Eric Zadro,

Weston, Ont.

Listen to youth

Archbishop Chaput prefers to have the proposed Youth Synod cancelled to focus on the life of bishops. 

Our world and Church has been rocked with scandal, coverup and no sense of responsibility on the part of spiritual leaders who have failed to protect their flock — namely, youth!

Is it not time to enter into dialogue with those bruised and battered victims? 

John Frampton,

Toronto, Ont.

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