By Andrew Beers
In early 16th-century Europe, priests and others in Catholic hierarchical clergy began selling indulgences as a way to collect money to build new churches. Lay people could purchase these indulgences in return for forgiveness of their sins. This was questioned by others in the Catholic Church and inspired Martin Luther to write his famous literary work, The 95 Theses, an essay on what was wrong with the institution. Luther broke from the Church and formed his own religion based around Christianity. People began to break off from the Catholic faith due to indulgences being so frowned upon by the Catholic community.
Jump five hundred years to present day America and the Catholic Church continues to create controversy in the public eye. On Aug. 14, 2018 the reports for over 300 Catholic priests accused of child sex abuse were released. Over 1,000 reported victims have spoken up about the claims that have been circulating for decades and have accused the Catholic Church of covering them up. The sex abuse scandal covers six major diocese in Pennsylvania, and has already came to the attention of the Vatican where Pope Francis has been accused of covering up the sex abuse scandal.
The Catholic Church has not been taking this issue seriously, though. This scandal could have ended years ago when rumors and reports about priests sexually abusing children first surfaced, but bishops and priests were told to keep quiet amongst the claims. The Church can be a very powerful, yet corrupt system in the hands of evil. The attorneys that filed these reports unleashed the dark side of the institution to the public.
This scandal is the classic volatile mixture of politics and religion. When the political system raised awareness of the scandal, the public showed outrage towards the Church for allowing this to happen. During a news conference explaining the actions of the accused priests, women wept as the dignity of the Catholic Church was stripped away in America. This scandal has and will continue to affect millions. There is no excuse for the behavior of the reported assailants. Many cardinals, bishops and priests have already begun to step down which is only a minor punishment in light of the accusations.
During his mass in Ireland, the pope apologized to the people for all the recent accounts of sexual abuse that has surfaced all over the globe and said, “May the Lord keep this state of shame and compunction and give us strength, so this never happens again, and that there is justice.” The pope is not tolerating this behavior and is asking for prayers until the scandal is cleared up. Priests all over the country continue to preach the good news and are speaking out about the recent claims, agreeing that the actions of the accused priests were unrighteous in the eyes of God and that the Catholic Church will need to rebuild from this downfall.
This is a set-back in the Church and it will take a major rebound to regain its trust as a dominant religion. Although the Catholic Church’s hierarchy will weaken due to this cause, the faith in the community will continue to grow strong. The Catholic Church cannot watch as this terror unfolds before it’s eyes. The community must bind together and unify to end these unjust speculations. The unspeakable actions done by the accused priests will live in the history of the Church, but our faith will not be shaken by the evils of others. Please keep the victims in your prayers.