NEW YORK (NY)
Religion News Service
June 25, 2019
By John Gehring
If Catholic bishops hope to reclaim their moral credibility after revelations about covering up clergy sexual abuse, the hierarchy might start by sending a simple but potent message: Church leaders should take a year of abstinence from preaching about sex and gender.
It might seem obvious that a church facing a crisis of legitimacy caused by clergy raping children would show more humility when claiming to hold ultimate truths about human sexuality.
Instead, in the past month alone, a Rhode Island bishop tweeted that Catholics shouldn’t attend gay pride events because they are “especially harmful for children”; a Vatican office issued a document that described transgender people as “provocative” in trying to “annihilate the concept of nature”; and a Catholic high school in Indianapolis that refused to fire a teacher married to a same-sex partner was told by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis that it can no longer call itself Catholic.
There is an unmistakable hubris displayed when some in the church are determined to make sexuality the lynchpin of Catholic identity at a time when bishops have failed to convince their flock that they are prepared to police predators in their own parishes.
Even before abuse scandals exploded into public consciousness more than a decade ago, many Catholics were tuning out the all-male hierarchy’s teachings on sexuality. Surveys show the vast majority of Catholics use birth control and nearly 70 percent now support same-sex marriage.
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