The twin scandals of the summer of 2018 have taken a toll on Catholics. First we learned of the alleged acts of sexual abuse by (former cardinal) Theodore McCarrick, and then we learned of old cases of alleged clergy abuse found in the Pennsylvania grand jury report (most of which were never substantiated). Catholics are understandably livid, but the white-heat reaction that is evident in some quarters has only added to the problem.
Conservative Catholics have been especially strident in their comments. Unfortunately, they are being played. To be specific, their call for grand jury investigations in every state, and the wholesale release of priest personnel files, is playing into the hands of the enemies of the Catholic Church. So are their appeals to parishioners asking them to withhold contributions. Even worse are their demands for a mass purge of bishops.
Those who despise the Church are loving it: these Catholics are unwittingly carrying their water for them. Church-suing lawyers and Church-hating activists—there are many of them—are on a search and destroy mission to upend the Catholic Church. Angry Catholics are taking their bait by not insisting that every institution in society, public as well as private, be subjected to the same level of scrutiny.
All Catholics, beginning with the bishops, should resist calls for full disclosure that are not being demanded of every other institution, religious and secular. To do otherwise is to subvert the Church in the name of justice. Unless we insist on a level playing field—after all, we do not own this problem and have made great progress—there will be no justice for anyone, especially Catholics.