Why, I wonder, have there been no acts of violence against the pedophile priests who have molested children? Why have the fathers of these children not gone looking for their abusers, and when they found them, proceeded to beat them to within an inch of their lives?
I read a story once of a family in rural Louisiana whose son came home bloody from a sexual encounter with a pedophile priest. The parents went to the Bishop. “Children heal,” he told them. “He’s young, he’ll get over it.” Why did the mother of that boy not stand up, pick up her chair, and smash it over the Bishop’s holy head? All these years later, I would like that boy and his parents to receive some measure of justice for the wrong that was done to them.
If there is an unforgivable sin, this is it. For a priest to abuse, rape, and torture innocent children, and then hide behind the willing skirts of the bishops and even the pope, how can it be forgiven? All the way up the chain of command, these worst of the worst are protected. They go on living the good life, their salaries, housing, food, even their insurance paid for by the victims of their abuse. It must end. The system must change.
Time is on their side. The Catholic Church has survived numerous scandals in the past. When pushed against the wall, they might change the window dressing, as they have here in America, but nothing really changes. The winds of democracy will never blow through the Vatican. When in the history of the world have dictators, tyrants, and the like, ever voluntarily given up their positions of power and control? I can think of no examples.
The priesthood attracts far too few normal men and way too many sexual deviants. Seminaries are full of men with unnatural appetites and perverted sexual urges. The system is set up to provide a safe haven for these sickos to do the worst kind of harm to children and far too often, go unpunished. Instead, they are moved to new parishes where there are new quarries, new children to abuse. When they are caught, they ask for forgiveness. The bishops apologize and they pray for the victims, and then they go back to same old policies, same old system, same old sicknesses.
No, I say.
There’s a family in the city where I live who lost a son to AIDS. The day before he died, he told his brother he would never have lived the life he lived, had he not been raped by a priest when he was an adolescent. The priest lives in Florida now. His name is Ron Dickman. He was once the principal of Father Ryan High School. A number of students who attended that school say they were molested by this priest. Nothing was done about it. Other priests in the diocese lied to save his skin. I hope, at the very least, the Florida sun is burning his skin to a crisp.
This problem of pedophile priests in the Catholic Church is systemic. The rule of celibacy, based on the teachings of St. Paul (1 Corinthians, Chap. 7, “It is good for a man not to touch a woman.”) has produced a system that is rotten to the core. For far too long we have seen the fruits of that system: evil, depravity, and acts of moral turpitude that should cause a giant exodus from the pews of Catholic Churches all over the world.
The father of that boy who died of AIDS is a big man, powerful, the kind of man you might imagine driving heavy equipment on a road project. He could have crushed that priest who sexually molested his son. He didn’t. Like a good father, he did what he thought was best for his son.
I wonder: if, when he first learned what happened to his son, if he’d taken a good, stout, walking stick to Ron Dickman, and beaten him bloody, and the son knew what his father had done, might that boy still be alive today? I wonder.
There is no way to undo the harm done to this family, no way to make up for it. The system that allows, fosters, covers up, does not change. Will not change. No matter how many stories come out, nothing changes in the Catholic Church. The men in power hold onto it. They will never allow it to be diluted. It is, after all, a boys club over there in the Vatican. No women allowed, except to serve their meals and clean their rooms and wash their clothes. No dissent will be tolerated. They hold the keys to the gates of hell. But I think those gates might swing wide for some of them, and Satan will be there, waiting to receive them.