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What Went Wrong in Priestly Formation?

For centuries, the Church has been referred to as the “Barque of St. Peter” passing over the waters toward her heavenly destiny. It was in Peter’s boat that Jesus sat as He taught the crowds (Cf. Lk 5). The barque, or boat, was a place of danger in several instances when Jesus and His Apostles sailed on the Sea of Galilee. Sailors always need to be aware of storms at sea, especially of what would be called a perfect storm.

In my last column, I began to address the current scandals the Church has suffered due to the egregious behavior of certain priests over the past decades. For us as disciples of Jesus, it is important to face it squarely while remaining faithful to the Lord. Jesus knew full well that the Church would suffer the sins of her members throughout history, beginning with those of Judas and the other Apostles. When He established His Church, He promised that it would withstand the gates of hell. History has shown that the Church has endured other grave scandals over the centuries. In union with her Lord, we are most protected from storms of this world.

Today, let us consider some factors that contributed to the “perfect storm” in the culture and the Church over the past decades and that allowed for a setting where such evils could take place and not be dealt with in a swift and effective manner.

The Sexual Revolution

The Sexual Revolution led to changing attitudes toward human sexuality beginning in the middle of the last century and continuing to this day. This revolution promised “free love,” happiness and liberation from purported encumbrances of religion and tradition, particularly the Commandments. Church leaders, amidst these changes of thought and practice, though having the fullness of truth about the human person, failed to detect and address, with sufficient boldness, clarity and quickness, the lies that had crept into the culture. Sadly, the over-focus on sexual pleasure, the reducing and labeling of persons to their attractions (LGBTQ, etc.) and the viewing of persons as objects for pleasure have led to unprecedented numbers of infidelity, divorce, loneliness and abuse in the greater culture. The bitter fruit of such attitudes and acts surrounds us. Defense of sexual license, seen in recent laws like those passed in New York State, go so far as to permit the killing of a child up to the moment of birth.

Read more at The Catholic Sun. 

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