Skip to main content

The Journal Gazette

Thursday, October 11, 2018 1:00 am

'Enough is enough!'

Catholics must demand better of their shepherds

Joe Woehnker

OK, enough is enough. I cannot bite my tongue any longer.

The article in the Sept. 30 Journal Gazette headlined “Pope seeks prayers to fight devil on sex abuse scandal” is about as asinine as it gets.

Pope Francis is requesting daily prayers from people to help stop the devil from causing pedophile priests from doing what they seem to do so well – abusing children and getting away with it.

Instead, he should ask himself how they have been able to continue this behavior for so long.

Let me give him a hint: The hierarchy of the Catholic Church has looked the other way and done far too little to take proper corrective action.

They just do not seem to get it. Blaming it on the devil rather than the real reason is ludicrous.

The pope seems to think the devil is to blame for all the abuse that has occurred to the innocent children of the church.

He asks Catholics to “pray the rosary each day during October to protect the church from the devil, who is always looking to divide us from God and one another.”

I have to wonder: If the abuse continues, will he think the congregants are partly to blame because they did not pray hard enough or long enough?

Let me clue him in on something.

To stop this abhorrent behavior that most likely has been a part of the Catholic culture for centuries, there needs to be a system in place that gives victims a voice that can be heard and taken seriously, not shamed and silenced.

A legitimate investigation needs to take place by local law enforcement agencies rather than a representative from the church who tells the victim to not tell anyone for the sake of the church's reputation.

The Catholic Church has become complicit in this behavior by just moving priests to another parish, where they can add more victims to their list of appalling behavior.

I cannot begin to imagine how many victims' lives have been ruined, suffering in silence for the sake of protecting the priest and the church.

The Catholic body needs to rise up with one voice and hold the Catholic establishment accountable.

The analogy in the Catholic faith in which the congregants are referred to as sheep and the Catholic hierarchy are shepherds now has an interesting spin to it.

Sheep typically follow one another and are known to walk off a cliff if the one in front of them does. They can be easily herded, which makes it easier to be protected or controlled by their shepherd.

It seems the Catholic shepherds are not looking out for the betterment of the entire flock.

God has created each of us with a certain amount of instinct and the ability to reason.

That is what has enabled mankind to survive all these generations, whereas other animals survive by instinct alone.

It is time for the Catholics to use their ability to reason and try their best to correct the failed course of action that their shepherds have been providing them.

I realize it is uncharacteristic for the sheep to rise up against their shepherd, but when the shepherd is not looking out for the most vulnerable of the flock, it is time to speak up.

There are many dedicated priests, brothers, sisters and nuns in the Catholic faith.

I cannot imagine how they must feel each time they read of yet another accusation of child abuse by one of their own.

I have to wonder whether they are ever allowed to speak up or are they under the iron-clad spell of the sheep/shepherd relationship.

I have to think the time is now for all the good people of the Catholic faith to use their voices and speak up and say, “Enough is enough!”

Joe Woehnker was a Fort Wayne firefighter for more than 33 years. Now retired, he and his wife Shelley enjoy mission work and travel.