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Catholic Church needs to remember its past and change

Thursday, March 7, 2013
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Catholic Church needs to remember its past and change

Lately many people criticize the Catholic Church, especially now that the pope has retired. Pope Benedict is 85 years old! Some people suspect that he has retired because of other scandals. In my opinion, he retired because he’s old and frail. He deserves it.

But doubts remain for many people. They wonder if this is the real reason (given the amount of scandals and problems facing the church in these times, especially here in the United States). As for me, I realize that the church is run by human beings, and as such are imperfect; in fact no human is perfect, hence we are all sinners.

So, with all due respect, I would like to express my opinions about my church. I’m baptized and a lifelong practicing a member. It is true, in recent times many horrible things have happened in the Catholic Church. But it is also true that these scandals have taken place at all levels of society. I’m referring in particular to pedophile priests, and those leaders of the church who have protected and recycled them by putting them back to work in other parishes, where they continued their crimes. These things are inadmissible, especially in the church.

But we must not forget that many of society’s leaders have also committed horrible things and have gotten away with it. For instance, President Nixon got pardoned for spying on the opposite party during elections. And President Clinton got away with having an extramarital affair in the White House. What if these presidents were police officers, firemen, post office workers, or school teachers? Would they be free or in jail? What about the countless CEOs of U.S. companies who stole millions from their employees/investors? What about U.S. sports superstars who cheated and denied it for years in taking steroids?

I do not say these things to accuse, or degrade people and/or the church, because I have my faults and sins. However, I’ve never committed crimes. Some of you may say: It’s not your business to criticize the church or others, because you’re also a sinner. That’s true, but I’m a good member of the church and of society, and I have rights too.

So I discuss these problems because we cannot continue on this road. I will not be an ostrich sticking my head in the sand and making believe all is hunky-dory! No, that’s not how problems are solved, both personal and public, those of the world and of the church. We must put into practice what Jesus taught us: The truth will set us free! That’s why I believe that we must speak up with concern and respect if we want to see positive change. Especially those who love God, those of us who are baptized and practice our faith every day and who are members of this “family” called the Catholic Church (or any other church), have to talk about these issues, so that we can help/support “our family,” to solve painful issues with courage and humility.

Now it is time that church leaders must admit their mistakes, apologize and seek forgiveness for the damage and pain that (her priests and some of its leaders) have caused many faithful children of the church, innocent and defenseless. It is now time that the Vatican accepts the blame and takes responsibility, both ecclesiastical and civil, rather than hide and recycle those priests, predators (it’s the real adjective; they are in fact sick beasts, not pastors!).

Somebody will say, but how dare you say these things? I can because I have Christian conscience! I am a Catholic, a member of the family of God, and therefore I have the right to express my opinions, because what they have done is against the law of God!

I also realize that the church is not perfect, since it lives in this imperfect and sinful world. But members of the church, at a minimum, should set a good example. And now it is time for her leaders at the very least to make changes, to do justly, and to avoid these problems.

They should kick out, dismiss all pedophile priests, force out unjust/uncaring leaders who protected them. In the near future, give the choice to priests to marry if they desire (many of the early apostles were married). Allow more ecumenism and communication, so we can be more united with all Christian churches. This is something that Jesus desired. These are things that the Catholic Church should seriously consider.

Despite all the sins and errors committed by pedophile priests and some leaders of the Catholic Church, I have not lost my faith. My criticism here is with good intentions. I have love for the church because I’m inviting her to change for the better.

Ottavio Lo Piccolo

Schenectady

 
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