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How should Catholics respond to latest crisis in our midst?

The Baltimore Sun has provided good coverage of the crisis in the Catholic Church in articles, Dan Rodricks’ column, as well as an editorial (“Baltimore’s archbishop says revelations of church sex abuse demand action. Here’s what that should mean,” Aug. 23). I have found this issue very hard to process as I don't wish to be a passive player in this fight for the survival of the church. I realize that this cannot be business as usual and that a top down reform is required.

I agree with Dan Rodricks that the celibacy requirement for ordination must be lifted and that women be given equal status at all levels. I find both of these issues very problematic as they demonstrate remarkable hypocrisy and ignorance, We have seen how the celibacy requirement has impacted the local church. Two successive pastors of St Mary's Parish in Govans left the priesthood in order to marry. Other Baltimore priests left the priesthood for the same reason. Seminarians have left as they could not commit to lifelong celibacy. The loss to the Archdiocese of Baltimore is significant.

What makes me so angry is that there are married Catholic priests. Some priests of the Eastern Rite have not had the tradition of celibacy. Also, the church has ordained married converts to Catholicism who were ministers in Anglican and Lutheran churches. Does that make any sense?. I believe that The Sun editorial was way too easy on Archbishop William Lori who could be the poster boy for clerical careerists. We are beyond the point of prayers and reparation. Some demented and misogynistic theologian many centuries ago developed a bogus theory as to why women cannot be ordained. Do we really have to deal with such overt stupidity in the 21st century? The idea that women should be relegated to secondary roles has had its day. We need the gifts that women will bring to the table.

Also, I simply don't trust the hierarchy and clergy with finances as they have demonstrated that they are not good stewards. So, how can we respond to this crisis? Some are responding by leaving the Catholic Church. Some of us will deal with these issues by using different strategies. The preferred strategy of some is withholding financial support, and this is the one I favor. When the church dispenses with the celibacy requirement and ordains women, we can renew our financial support. Obviously, there are some very specific Catholic causes which need our support, but these would be exceptions.

We simply cannot allow the hierarchy and the clergy to run the church into the ground. As of this date, I have heard absolutely nothing from church which would cause me to change my mind.

Edward McCarey McDonnell, Baltimore

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