The Catholic Church can root out sexual abuse.
But does it have the will to act?
Father Edward Beck is a Roman Catholic priest and member of the Passionist Community, and serves as a CNN religion commentator.
Father Edward Beck, CNN – Pope Francis sure knows how to make headlines — and not always in a good way.
Last week, aboard his flight returning from the United Arab Emirates, when asked about reports of the sexual abuse of nuns by some priests and bishops, Francis spoke about a case in which Pope Benedict dissolved an order of nuns “because a certain slavery of women had crept in, slavery to the point of sexual slavery on the part of clergy or the founder.”
A Vatican spokesman said the Pope’s comments referred to a small group of sisters from France, the Contemplative Sisters of Saint-Jean.
But the Pope’s use of the term “sexual slavery” was what raised more than a few eyebrows. Pope Admits That Sex-Abusing Priests Are Non-Believers
The Vatican spokesman later clarified that Francis “spoke of ‘sexual slavery‘ to mean ‘manipulation’ or a type of abuse of power that is reflected in a sexual abuse.”
That clarification did little to ameliorate a rapidly spiraling crisis that continues to engulf the worldwide Catholic Church — a crisis that some commentators have deemed the most serious threat to the church since the 16th century Reformation. Rome is burning, and sex is fanning the conflagration.
The church rarely has dealt well with issues of human sexuality. Despite lofty documents, such as John Paul II’s “The Theology of the Body,” practical and useful guidelines in negotiating the nitty-gritty realities and complexities of human sexuality have been lacking.
Pious platitudes have failed Christians (never mind celibates) in coping in a sexualized culture that screams sex in nearly every ad, TV show, movie and dating app.
Priests, like everyone else, want to have sex. We want to be touched. We want to be desired. In order to forgo these natural impulses, we employ coping mechanisms to offset the sexual urges. We do so for the sake of a “higher good,” but let’s not delude ourselves that it is natural or easy — or that sometimes we don’t fail … Read more.