Why can’t we talk about the Church in crisis?

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There appears to be a great silence in the Catholic world’s foremost universities concerning the state of the Vatican. The University of Dallas, for example, is generally quiet when it comes to Church abuse and corruption. 

We dedicated a building in 2018 to Cardinal Kevin Farrell, a man who was the housemate of notorious predator Cardinal Theodore McCarrick for six years. While the details of that controversy remain unresolved, the spirit of the situation is clear. Like so many others, our university has opted out of the discussion. 

In all my years at this school, not once have I heard anyone, not even in Western Theological Tradition, address the numerous crises plaguing the Church, whether that be the sex abuse scandals or political lobbying. It seems understandable; no one wants to be that person to speak ill of the hierarchy and effectively ostracize themselves. However, for the sake of our own integrity, these shameful misdeeds must not be ignored.

In 1957, China established a schismatic counterfeit church, known as the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association. The goal of this communist organization was to closely monitor and control Catholics within China, forcing the Catholics loyal to Rome to finally go underground. In 2022, the Vatican renewed the Sino-Vatican agreement with the CCP granting the CCPA authority to select their own pool of bishops. 

These are the same players who wrote their own version of the Bible to better align with communist party principles. Cardinal Zen, loyal to Rome and advocate for religious freedom, has been arrested in what could only be understood as a cynical political move. He and many others have been thrown to the lions like the martyrs of the past. Bishops continue to be arrested, crucifixes removed, and churches shuttered. 

The Vatican refuses to issue any official statement on this persecution. It’s truly disturbing that there is no outrage from the highest office in Catholicism. And let’s not forget about all those sex offending clergymen who’ve been shuffled about and even reinstated, like McCarrick, never facing real consequences for their salacious crimes. 

It’s issues like these that are rarely, if ever, broached at Mass or in classrooms. Is it not incumbent upon a Catholic institution, charged with the formation of the next generation of the faithful, to at least encourage discussion? 

This reflexive reluctance to denounce the Vatican no doubt stems from the fact that Catholics feel themselves bound by unconditional fidelity to the Papacy, making it difficult to address the issues squarely in the face. It is much easier to “take things on faith,” than it is to confront the truth on the ground. 

Unfortunately, it’s this compliant disposition that has greatly contributed to our current crisis. Papal Infallibility is not a greenlight to make excuses for moral deviancy. The Pope is a man at the end of the day, and is susceptible to corruption like the rest of us. Loyalty to the saints and centuries of tradition should take precedence over the musings and vagaries of one pontificate.

Pope Francis may have uttered some niceties that appease the majority of well-meaning Catholics, but turns around and attacks tradition, isolates Catholics in China, and grants amnesty to child predators, all the while refusing to admit the real source of the scandal. The Vatican has all but abandoned its primary role of saving souls and has instead cozied up with globalist hacks in a high-horse campaign to push their pernicious ideology. 

At best, the Church has been lukewarm in its “fight” against cultural decay, preferring instead to pursue a worldly humanitarianism at odds with the Gospel. The Vatican, the most powerful religious institution in the world, is using that position for its own ambitious ends. In a world that insists on walking further into darkness, where is the light of the Church to guide it back to safety?

We are as much a part of the Church as the clergy is, and we have an obligation to defend it. If UD wants to honor Beauty and Truth, then it must commit to that endeavor and not be afraid to address these sensitive issues. Criticizing the Vatican is not a rejection of the Church. It is a defense of the Faith. When shepherds betray the sheep to the wolves, can we really still call them shepherds?

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