Renegade Catholic Blog

Guest Editorial

Who Changed the Church?

By Vinnie Nauheimer

Next – I Accuse!

Survivors, parents of survivors, and parents of clerically abused children who committed suicide are the ones who have changed the way the hierarchy does business. Anyone telling you different is lying. The courts are the arbiters of last resort in this county and thank God that the founding fathers had the sense to protect our court system from religion.

The following scenario played out a thousand times with the same results: Fr. Fingers was found molesting children. The parents, who believed their children (not all the victims of clerical abuse were fortunate enough to have parents who believed them) went to the archdiocese. The archdiocese acted properly shocked and dismayed promising to take care of the problem "in house." The dyed-in-the-wool Catholic parents went home thinking that they had done a good thing for both their child and the church.

Only when Fr. Fingers showed up again in the next parish or made the front page did the parents wake up to the fact that they had been bamboozled. It became quite clear to survivors and parent of survivors that the hierarchy could not be trusted. (They still cannot be trusted, which is a fact that is still lost on most Catholics including members of VOTF.) That is when the lawsuits started, the press coverage began. and the shit hit the fan. These things were also the amniotic fluid that nurtured VOTF.

The sense of betrayal is enormous. You tell another priest. He urges you not to do anything. You go to the monsignor, you hear the same. You go to the Vicar of Priest Personnel, the bishop and then the cardinal. Each step of the way, you are sure someone will right this egregious wrong. Oh we'll take care of it, this is the first we've heard about and on and on ad nauseum. They all lie to you and in some instances make concerted efforts from the pulpit, in the media and with legal tactics to discredit and disgrace you.

Grappling with the concept of members of the hierarchy lying to your face is incredibly hard to wrap your mind around; especially if you're a dyed-in-the-wool Catholic. Then it sinks in that there exists a criminal conspiracy to keep Fr. Fingers from being held accountable. In the depths of your heart, you realize that the people you are dealing with don't give a rat's ass about you, the Gospels, or Jesus Christ.

They are really all about themselves. That's the mind blowing experience which makes legal action against the church possible. Enough people came to that conclusion to seek the courts as a means of changing an institution that was incapable of changing itself and it worked!

About five years ago, I spoke to two VOTF groups. They were comprised of Baby Boomers and Senior Citizens. I congratulated them for showing up to hear me, but I also told them their showing up meant nothing unless they took action. They were appalled by the truth, but they were more frightened of writing a forceful letter to their bishop.

When a person gets older and the concept of dying begins to take on reality, the thought of losing heaven weighs heavily either consciously or unconsciously. Getting a cradle to grave Catholic to go against the hierarchy (the church) and thereby risk losing salvation is an awesome task. (Such is the effectiveness of Catholic indoctrination) It takes a life changing, gut wrenching decision after believing for so long to say so long or to demand change. That is why most in-house Catholics will never stand up and be counted in the war to reclaim their church.

The concept of "when a person declares him or herself and ex-Catholic, he or she loses a great deal of influence among Catholics themselves." is synonymous with "Ex-Catholics should not be sponsoring petitions" which is synonymous with "If you don't like the way the church does business, find another church!"

The main idea of these three statements is that the only people capable of rectifying what is wrong with the church are Catholics inside the church.

Balderdash! The only people who have brought significant changes to the way the hierarchy handles things are people who for the most part have left the church!

The ones on the inside don't have the nerve to call a bishop or cardinal anything but "your emminence." You will know the hierarchy by their fruits, but don't take my word for it.

Matt 7: 15-20

"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit. A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits.

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