Recently, the news has been sensationalizing.. er, reporting about sexual scandal within the denominational pew of our Latin Rite siblings in Christ. They blame the rules about celibacy and chastity, they blame the traditions and ritualistic trappings, they blame the structure of the hierarchy.
Everyone acts like this ungodly behavior is so new it should shock and appall. And indeed, it should shock and appall.
In reality, this behavior is older than Greece and Rome. In fact, it goes all the way back to the garden when humankind as represented by Adam and Eve first told God that His rules sucked and they’d live their own way.
Even with the advent of Jesus and His all-sufficient death on the Cross followed by His Resurrection, misbehavior (or sin as it really should be called) continued. As the Gospel spread, some changed their wicked ways; others continued to perpetrate wickedness and just got more clever about hiding it.
Enter Boccaccio in the middle of the 14th century. He writes a book that is a collection of 100 stories about all the problems in his era. It’s called the Decameron. Ten travelers tell stories each day for ten days. Each day has a different leader for that day, and the leader picks the topic for the day.
I read it aons ago, and only one story ever stayed with me. It’s told on the third day as the last story. And I still feel great nausea to this day.
A non-Christian girl who is incredibly naïve decides to seek God in the desert as a hermit. She runs into a monk. The monk tricks her into allowing him to rape her by convincing her she will greatly please God if he (the monk) is allowed to help her “put the devil into Hell.”
She truly enjoys the “exorcism,” almost to the point of the monk’s physical destruction. But since she’s an heiress, she is kidnapped and forced to marry her kidnapper. She is devastated at her loss of the ability to please God through “exorcism.”
The village women are very concerned about the girl’s emotional health. So they get her to talk. When they learn of the “exorcism” routine, they reassure the girl that she will soon be able to please God following her marriage.
Well, now, isn’t it special? I believe those of you in the Latin Rite pew aren’t “allowed” to read this book as it’s “morally offensive.”
For those of us in Protestant denominational pews, it is a cautionary tale. We need to live authentic, open lives living up to the standard of God’s Word, which won’t pass away, and the life and choices of Jesus Christ, Who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We need to not carry tales when we hear of Latin Rite issues.
We need to be in prayer for our Latin Rite siblings. Pray for their shepherds to remain true to celibacy and the other high ideals they seek to live as they lead and guide God’s people. Pray for parents and children to be filled with the Holy Spirit and His discernment to be able to avoid the false shepherds with their empty promises and deceitful actions.
For those still Latin Rite, what can I say? The more things change, the more they stay the same. Your devotion to centuries of tradition and ritual, while at times not contrary to the Word, leaves you open to deception and maltreatment.
Be open to the leading of the Spirit to seek and support your good shepherds. Challenge the deacons, priests, and bishops to review the situations that have happened to find newer, more world-conscious ways of doing Confession, altar serving, and any other occasion that the enemy of our souls could use to destroy your future faithful.
If an idea, book, or topic is forbidden, find and explore it! Review it against the standards of God’s Word to find what your response should be (yeah, I guess you could use Tradition too–just don’t expect Protestant siblings to follow suit).
The secret things should be brought to the Light and explored. Further secrecy only leads to tragedy and perpetuation of abuse.