NJ’s Roman Catholic dioceses continue to fail to address abuse

The Record [Woodland Park NJ]

February 5, 2024

By Gerry Drummond

“Clericalism is a whip. It is a scourge. It is a form of worldliness that defiles and damages the face of the Lord’s bride,” the church, Pope Francis said to the bishops at the global assembly of Synod in Rome on Oct. 25, 2023.

In the U.S. Catholic Church, clericalism still dominates. Vatican II’s laity-elected parish councils have been euthanized, no longer called to action by pastors. The ranks of altar boys and girls and Catholic schools have decreased. Front-page abuse stories are publicly ignored by church authorities and communication with reporters stonewalled, as in staff writer Deena Yellin’s “Justice Delayed” (Jan. 28).

Protecting the truth and facts in public life is not preached as central to social and civic life. Instead of bridging opposing sides and differences, bishops and pastors put lids on them, keeping issues and parishioners separate and divided from dialoguing by choking off parish councils and failing to continue the synod process of regular inclusion.

Today no pragmatic way exists for members of the laity to express themselves or to raise and solve issues together. The four-county Newark Archdiocese church culture appears to frown on addressing sensitive issues like truth in public life and in democratic elections. All the while, radicals cry out that a civil war is coming. Pope Francis’ announcement to informally bless LGBTQ couples does not make the pulpit, either. Behold a church culture that effectively ignores the young and the old — and the in-between — as they struggle to keep the faith in today’s messy world.

To stop the chaos, will the bishops ever come out clear and loud for the saving grace of facts and truth in public and civic life, and not only in the pro-life continuum?