By Marcus M. Mottley, Ph.D.
For the last ten years I have been seriously disenchanted with the Catholic Church. Well… to tell the truth, I have always been disenchanted with the Church for its role in slavery and its sordid history on tens of other matters affecting people around the globe.
But these last ten years or so have been painful as case after case after case sexual abuse of children by priests in every corner of the globe have been brought from the pits of hell into the light of day.
And one thing that has turned the screws into my pain has been the Catholic Church’s response: Denials; Moving priests around (giving them access to more children to abuse); Paying off parents to keep quiet; Blaming reporters for reporting these vile acts; In reality… protecting those who violate the vulnerable and unprotected… The list of the Church’s poor responses goes on.
And now… the Pope… even he is now reportedly implicated in improperly handling a case (or cases) of these vile priests when he was bishop or archbishop or whatever…
Today, April 2nd, Good Friday, two days before Easter Sunday, the response of the Vatican is to target and object to reporters who report on these criminal priests and those who protect them.
Internationally, the general public has been outraged… people continue to be aghast at the depths of depravity wrought on the innocent by these so-called ‘holy men’!
For awhile, it seemed as though all of the cases of abuse by priests had been reported… But now… everyday… almost everywhere, more victims are finding the courage to speak up. And the outrage around the world is growing…
And ordinary Catholics have been silent… I guess that they are afraid of being excommunicated. The Catholics I know don’t talk about this subject. They avoid the issue.
The Vatican, the political center of the Catholic world, has wanted to be silent, to be above the fray, too holy to respond… But because of the fact that the pope himself has been touched, they have recently come out with a wimpish attempt at responding…
It is too little – too late. This issue could well balloon to such a degree that it might well place the papacy in a constitutional crisis. And it might well place the pope in a position where his leadership is undermined and put in question!
Constitutional crisis? Leadership threatened? Yep!
And it didn’t have to happen.
The leadership (of the Church) should have addressed the issues (years ago) by forthrightly denouncing these criminal priests. The leadership (of the Church) should have searched for, exposed and rooted out these wolves who preyed on the lambs in its flock. The leadership (of the Church) should have been at the forefront rather than at the backend of this issue.
Leadership is about stepping out in front of issues. Leadership is about responding to the concerns of the people. Leadership is about working for and on behalf of the members or followers.
A good example of this type of leadership is being shown by President Obama. He has stepped out in front of the issue of healthcare. The buck stops with him. He is the primary spokes person. He has taken full responsibility for its success or failure.
And yes… there is a lot of opposition. In the face of such opposition, he didn’t run and hide behind pundits and surrogates. He stepped out in front and took the poll and political hits that were thrown at him.
Leaders cannot choose to speak only when the stuff has hit the fan!
Leaders who choose to be silent amidst the crescendo of popular discourse and disharmony, are leaders who stand the risk of being swept away by the upheavals of discord.
Leaders who choose to be silent, who choose to be non-responsive, who choose to let others talk for them, are leaders who risk being former leaders!
This is the case whether the leader is a pope, a president or … a prime minister!