What About the Spiritual Abuse Scandal?

There is alot of talk about the sex abuse scandals caused by some of the clergy. In no way am I making light of the evil inflicted upon victims by wicked priests, but there seems to be little, if any, attention given to a much more pervasive abuse that may be labeled “spiritual abuse”.

What is spiritual abuse? Spiritual abuse is when one misleads the soul of another into error, thereby leading one into sin. For example, a penitent might go to confession and confess the sin of contraception, only to be told by the priest that the Church allows for the use of contraception in certain cases, thereby alleviating the conscience of the penitent and leading them into further sin. What about this kind of abuse? Isn’t this much more rampant than the wicked clergy who abuse people sexually? Again, not to make light of the sex abuse scandal, it is truly a scandal and must be stopped, but what about all of the souls who are going to hell because their consciences are alleviated by wicked priests who tell them that homosexuality, contraception, abortion, etc. is permissible?

One need not look hard for this kind of abuse, it is pervasive in every diocese by a Church laden with heretical priests who abandoned the faith in their hearts many years ago, if they ever believed it at all. This is not to say that there are not any good priests out there, surely there are as I can personally attest, but these seem to be few and far between. Much more common is the priest who spews heresy in the pulpit and gives immoral advice in the confessional, only to be sanctioned by the local Bishop. Is it not true that very few homilies these days concern the danger of sin, hell and Satan and how faith and repentance in Christ is our only hope? One is much more likely to hear an on the spot, flimsy homily condusive to a self absored secular humanist culture. Much more common is the priest who wishes to tickle the ears of his hearers than the priest who cares about their souls.

As greatful as I am for the efforts of those in the Church that decry sex abusers, at the end of the day I am left asking myself: when are we as Catholics going to decry the much more pervasive problem in the Church, that is, clergymen who have abandoned the faith and by spiritual abuse drag the rest of their parishoners down to hell with them?

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One response to “What About the Spiritual Abuse Scandal?

  1. I agree with the sentiment, but I think the real goal, and challenge, is to maintain a bright outlook athwart the doom and gloom most parishes present to us today. Cling to Scripture and the Fathers, tune out the homilist when he deviates (or even before then). The Church shares Christ’s joy and suffering concurrently, a divine paradox!

    It is quite a challenge though.

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