Fr. Reesman: Babylon Comes Knocking: What The Church Must Do Now

Father Reesman is a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. He is the Shared Pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish, and also of Saint Frances Cabrini Parish, both in West Bend, Wisconsin. He is also the Courage and EnCourage chaplain for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.
These have been sad weeks for Catholics across the globe and especially in the United States, as more and more headlines have spilled forth a seemingly endless stream of failures in the Church’s handling of sexual abuse, of clerical power, and of topics pertaining to sexuality in general.

Our present mega-storm is composed of several tempests all drawn together. First came the revelations about Archbishop McCarrick’s behavior, then the Pennsylvania report, and then the uproar in my own Archdiocese over a retreat for gay priests. The escalation of the debate about the nature and acceptability of same sex attraction, in and outside of the clergy, was taken to new levels. As if that were not enough, there came the bombshell testimony of Archbishop Vigano describing a web of protection and cover-up surrounding Archbishop McCarrick that ensnared, by name, several prominent prelates, implicating even Pope Francis himself in the sheltering of a known sexual pervert. What we are left with is a mess of epic proportions.

What’s worse has been the explosion of a civil war, out into the open, among some of the bishops, the varying wings of the Catholic and secular press (along conservative and liberal lines predictably enough), over the need for the Pope to give an answer to these claims. Several voices of the laity have added their voices to the same cry for transparency and accountability. Meanwhile, it appears to us on the outside that Rome fiddles while the Church burns. The Holy Father is said to be calm and serene in the midst of the firestorm, rather like Nero playing his fabled fiddle.
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