Dear Troubled Catholics – a Letter From Ralph Martin About the Current Crisis

 

 

Dear Troubled Catholics,

I have never seen so many “ordinary Catholics”—who usually never follow or hear about Church news—as deeply troubled as I have seen them in response to the recent revelations about the retired archbishop of Washington, DC.

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was asked by the pope to resign from his membership in the College of Cardinals and ordered to live in seclusion until a canonical trial can be held to verify the validity of charges of sexual abuse and harassment made against him. After the first brave person came forward (whose accusations were found credible by the Archdiocese of New York Review Board), more and more followed. The climate of fear among many of our clergy—the fear of being punished or marginalized if they report sexual immorality among their fellow clergy or leaders—is starting to break. Cardinal McCarrick is now known as Archbishop McCarrick.

What has been so disturbing to so many people is the fact that there had been numerous warnings to various church officials that he was a homosexual predator, harassing many seminarians, priests, and young boys, for many years, but nothing had ever been done about it, and he was continually promoted. Even after a delegation of priests and lay people went to Rome to warn the Vatican about the situation, he was promoted. Even after a leading Dominican priest wrote a letter to Cardinal O’Malley, nothing was done. Even after lawsuits accusing him of homosexual sexual harassment in two of his previous dioceses had been settled with financial awards, he was still promoted. And not only that, he became a key advisor to Pope Francis and offered advice on whom to appoint as bishops in the United States!


One young Catholic mother with two boys who was open to the priesthood for them said to me that she now has grave concerns about ever having one of her sons enter the seminary, given the corruption that has been revealed.

Another said she could no longer see anyone joining the Catholic Church, due to such bad leadership. She lamented about the difficulty this presents for evangelization.

Another said that seven people from her very small, rural parish had left the parish, because sexual sin is never spoken of and there is almost an exclusive emphasis on political issues. She now fears that even more will leave.

Another said that the only way this is ever going to change is if we simply stop giving to the bishops’ national collections and to our own dioceses and parishes’ collections, unless they are led by bishops who are willing to call a spade a spade and govern accordingly. To this day, there are quite a number of “gay friendly” parishes in even “good dioceses,” where those afflicted with homosexual temptation are not encouraged to live chaste lives or offered effective correction, but instead are confirmed in their sexual activity. It seems many bishops are afraid to tackle the local “homosexual lobbies” and choose to turn a blind eye.


This past weekend at Mass, the priest giving the sermon was more upset than I’ve ever seen him about the unfolding scandal. The Gospel was about how the weeds and the wheat grow up together and will only finally be separated at the judgment. It was unclear what the priest was actually saying, but we are certainly not called to “enable the weeds.” And shepherds in particular have the obligation to admonish the sinner and remove from ministry those who refuse to preach the truth and who encourage others in wrong doing. Yes, we will always have sin, but as Jesus said,

“whoever causes one of these little ones who believes in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea” (Mt 18:6).

There have been a veritable deluge of articles that have appeared from highly respected lay Catholics and priests saying that “enough is enough,” and we need to stop the cover-ups and get to the bottom of who is implicated in promoting men like this and covering up for them. We do.

In 2002, when the American bishops approved their “charter” that attempted to respond to the many cases of priest pedophilia that had come to light by that time, they conspicuously exempted themselves from their “zero tolerance” policy. Many priests have told me that they felt “thrown under the bus” by the bishops, who conveniently didn’t adopt policies to deal with their own tolerance of immoral behavior, cover-ups that allowed the pedophilia to go on for many years, or in some cases, their own immoral behavior. Another disturbing thing about the 2002 Charter is that—despite pleas to not ignore the fact that this is primarily a homosexual scandal, since most of the victims were adolescent boys rather than true children—the bishops decided not to tackle “the elephant in the room.” Could it be because they knew some of their brother bishops/cardinals were implicated, and they didn’t want to face the mess of cleaning it up? Now this refusal to acknowledge the “homosexual lobby,” as Pope Benedict termed it, is coming home to roost.

But there’s not just a huge homosexual problem in the Church; unfortunately, heterosexual sin and financial malfeasance are common in many places as well. In some countries, a significant percentage of priests are living with concubines or fathering children by vulnerable women and giving scandal to the faithful, who often know about it. This is the case in Uganda, from which I have recently returned, and in many other countries as well. In these situations, the “protection” of the priests and the frequent disregard for their victims—the women and their children—cries out for justice.

And so, once again because of the pressure of lawsuits and the press, the bishops are talking about “developing new policies” that would apply to bishops. As a colleague at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, Michigan, has said: “Isn’t it clear enough from the Gospel that covering up immoral behavior is itself wicked? Why do we need new policies when the teaching of Jesus and the apostles is so clear?” Can the words of the Old Testament prophets and Jesus Himself against false shepherds be any clearer or more devastating? (See Jeremiah 23:1-6; Matthew 23, etc.)

The Archbishop McCarrick case may prove to be the “straw that broke the camel’s back.” It may  make the bureaucratic, carefully worded, evasive statements that have come from our leaders finally address sin and repentance, instead of the mere policies and processes they typically focus on. Could it be—finally—that the revelation of the long-term sexual harassment of seminarians and priests that never stopped Archbishop McCarrick’s rise in the hierarchy will be so totally repugnant that real repentance may actually start to happen? I have never prayed more for the pope and our leaders than I have in the last several years, and we all must continue to do so. More about that later.

Unfortunately, the Archbishop McCarrick case is certainly only the “tip of the iceberg.” The cumulative effect of revelation after revelation of immorality in high places is devastating. First, a number of years ago, a cardinal from Austria was forced to resign over homosexual activity; then, more recently, a cardinal from Scotland resigned over sexual harassment of seminarians and priests; and then the archbishop of Guam underwent a canonical trial in Rome over the sexual abuse of minors; and now cardinals in Chile (one of whom is on the pope’s Council of Cardinals that oversees reform) are under heavy suspicion for covering up homosexual abuse in their country. In fact, the whole bishops’ conference of Chile, acknowledging complicity in not taking seriously reports of a bishop’s cover up of sexual abuse, recently gave their resignations to the pope, and he has so far accepted several of them. The pope himself at first stubbornly backed the appointment of this bishop and dismissed the victims’ pleas as “calumny” and “gossip.” And before we could absorb this news, there was news of an archbishop in Australia getting a prison sentence for covering up abuse on the part of a priest. And just today, as I am writing this, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ordered the release of a grand jury report implicating more than 300 “predator priests” in six of the eight Pennsylvania dioceses involved in the sexual abuse of minors over many years.

Unfortunately, the rot is wide and deep and years of covering up abuse (and the concomitant reluctance to really preach the Gospel and call people to faith and repentance) and its ultimate exposure have injured the faith of millions. How shocking and tragic was it to see tens of thousands of Irish people in the streets of Dublin wildly celebrating that they could now legally kill babies!!!! Just when the Irish bishops needed to speak most strongly on fundamental moral issues, their credibility was destroyed when it was finally exposed that they had covered up abuse for decades. Satan is indeed like that wild boar Scripture talks about that rampages though the vineyard of the Lord because the hedges of protection have been destroyed (Ps 80:12-13). The corruption, ineptitude, and cowardice runs wide and deep, and its effects on the eternal salvation of millions, and the destiny of nations, is devastating.

Most recently, Cardinal Maradiaga of Honduras has seen his auxiliary bishop resign over homosexual and financial impropriety, and forty seminarians in his diocese publish a letter asking him to please root out the homosexual network in his seminary. This cardinal is Pope Francis’ chief advisor, the head of his “Council of Nine” that works closely with the pope in bringing about reform in Rome, and is mentioned as a possible successor to Pope Francis.

But continual reports of ongoing financial and sexual scandals suggest reform doesn’t seem to be happening. Recently, a male prostitute in Italy published the names and photos of sixty priests who frequent his services—with scarcely any comment from the shepherds. And the homosexual orgy in the apartment of a Vatican cardinal, used by his secretary, was met with a “no comment” by the Vatican press office. And then we hear also of a monsignor in the papal nuncio’s office in Washington, D.C., who suddenly leaves the country and is put on trial in the Vatican for trafficking in child pornography and is given a five year prison sentence.

I didn’t plan to discuss this whole situation, but it came up this summer when the thirty priests in my class at the seminary wanted to discuss Pope Francis’ leadership and the McCarrick scandal. We all agreed that Pope Francis has said and done some wonderful things (I teach his Apostolic Exhortation The Joy of the Gospel in one of my classes), but he also has said and done some things that are confusing and seem to have led to a growth of confusion and disunity in the Church. How can German and Polish bishops approach the question of whether divorced and remarried couples can receive Communion without getting an annulment in opposite ways, and the Church still retain an ability to speak to the contemporary culture with one voice? It can’t. And how long can Church officials speak about the “positive values” of “irregular relationships” until the average Catholic comes to believe that we no longer believe the words of Jesus that fornicators, adulterers, and those who actively practice homosexuality will not enter the kingdom of God unless they repent? How many still believe that there is really a hell and that, unless we repent from such serious sins before we die, we will go there? Have we ever heard from leading churchmen, even in Rome, in recent years, that adultery, fornication and homosexual relations are not only “irregular,” but gravely sinful? Has the creeping “universalism” (the belief that virtually everyone will be saved) so undermined the holy fear of God and belief in His clear word, which has been transmitted faithfully all these centuries and is found intact in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, that people have become “understanding” about persisting in grave sin with no fear of God or of hell?

Has false compassion and presumption on God’s mercy replaced true love, which is based on truth, and the only appropriate response to God’s mercy—faith and repentance?

And what are we to make of the fact that so many of those advising the pope have questionable fidelity to the truth? How can we have confidence in Cardinal Maradiaga as the head of his Council of Cardinals when he is accused of financial impropriety (which he denies); he chose an active homosexual as his auxiliary bishop; and he allowed a homosexual network to grow up in his seminary, dismissing attempts to appeal to him to clean up the mess as unsubstantiated gossip? How can we have confidence in the pope’s main theological advisor, a theologian from Argentina who is most known for his book The Art of the Kiss, or the pope’s main Italian theological advisor, who is known for his subtle dissent from the Church’s teaching in the area of sexuality and who tried to insert texts in the synods on the family that pushed the document in a permissive direction? And how can we have confidence in the recently appointed head of the John Paul II Institute on Marriage and the Family—an archbishop who commissioned a mural in his former cathedral in an Italian diocese from a homosexual artist who included homo-erotic themes in the mural, including a portrait of the archbishop in an ambiguous pose?

One godly woman just asked me last night if it was OK for her to be upset with what was happening. I sadly said yes, of course it is.

How can we passively endure such corruption that runs so wide and deep? It is right to make our views known. It is right and necessary. But even more so, it is necessary to pray and offer sacrifices for the Church and her leaders at this time. It is necessary to pray that genuine reform, rooted in real repentance and an embrace of all the truths of the faith, would come out of this awful situation and that the Church, more deeply purified and humbled, may shine forth with the radiance of the face of Christ.

But it is going to be a long way from here to there. Grave damage has been done to the credibility of the Church, and more will leave. Grave damage has been done to many of the flock, and reparation must be made; public repentance is called for. As Pope Benedict XVI wrote when he was a young priest, the Church will have to become smaller and more purified before it can again be a light to the world. The Church is going through a radical purification under the chastising hand of God, but already we can see a remnant of fervent renewal appearing all over the world, which is a sign indeed of hope and the renewal to come.

And so, what can we do as we continue to pray for the pope and our leaders that God may give them the wisdom and courage to deal with the root of the rot and bring about a real renewal of holiness and evangelization in the Church?

»We need to go about our daily lives, trying to live each day in a way pleasing to God, loving Him and loving our neighbor, including the neighbor in our own families. We need to look to ourselves, lest we fall.

»We need to remember that even though we have this treasure in earthen vessels (or as some translations put it, “cracked pots”), the treasure is no less the treasure. Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater! Baby Jesus is the treasure, and He is still as present as ever and still as ready to receive all who come to Him. And the Mass! Every day, He is willing to come to us in such a special way. Let’s attend daily Mass even more frequently, to offer the sacrifice of Jesus’ death and resurrection to God the Father, in the power of the Holy Spirit, for the salvation of souls and the purification of the Church.

»We need to remember that the Catholic Church is indeed founded by Christ and, despite all problems, has within it the fullness of the means of salvation. Where else can we go? Nowhere; this is indeed our Mother and Home, and she needs our love, our prayers, and our persevering in the way of holiness more than ever.

»We need to remember that there are many truly holy and dedicated bishops and priests, and we must pray for them and support them. They need and deserve our support.

»We need to remember that this isn’t the first time such grave problems have beset the Church. In the fourteenth century, St. Catherine of Siena bemoaned the “stench of sin” coming from the papal court and prophesied that even the demons were disgusted by the homosexual activity he had tempted priests into and the cover up by their superiors! (See chapters 124-125 of Catherine of Siena’s The Dialogue.)

That isn’t to say that we don’t need to take seriously and do all we can in response to the grave scandal we are facing in our time. And yet we need to remember that all this is happening under the providence of God, and He has a plan to bring good out of it. It was even prophesied strongly in Mary’s apparitions in Akita, Japan. Jesus is still Lord and will use the current grave problems to bring about good.

And finally, I’m beginning to see why the Lord has impressed on me so strongly in the past year the urgent need to heed the appeals of Our Lady of Fatima. Indeed, as Mary said,

“Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and to pray for them.”

Let’s continue to pray and offer sacrifices for the conversion of sinners and as reparation for sin, and let’s pray the rosary daily as Mary requested, for peace in the world and true renewal in the Church.

Your brother in Christ,

Ralph

P.S. Please feel free to share this letter with family, friends and fellow parishioners if you think it would be helpful. No permission needed.

Ralph Martin

Ralph Martin is president of Renewal Ministries. He also hosts The Choices We Face, a widely viewed weekly Catholic television and radio program distributed throughout the world. Ralph holds a doctorate in theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas (Angelicum) in Rome and is a professor and the director of Graduate Theology Programs in the New Evangelization at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in the Archdiocese of Detroit. He was named by Pope Benedict XVI as a Consultor to the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization and was also appointed as a “peritus” to the Synod on the New Evangelization. Ralph is the author of a number of books, the most recent of which are The Urgency of the New Evangelization, The Fulfillment of All Desire, and Will Many Be Saved? He and his wife Anne have six children and sixteen grandchildren and reside in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

106 thoughts on “Dear Troubled Catholics – a Letter From Ralph Martin About the Current Crisis

  1. Dr. Martin
    You hit the nail on the head, as usual. As a deacon, I’m devastated by what has happened and have thought of leaving the Church. You’ve encouraged me to hang in there. Yes, I can pray. BUT somebody must DO something.

  2. From way back when in the FIRE days up until this day, I have been inspired by your bold proclamation of the truth, inspired by the Holy Spirir. May God continue to bless you and your ministry. Such evil is only eradicated by prayer and fasting. May Our Lady intercede for us!

  3. Dr Martin,

    Thanks for your work and letters. You give us words of hope in our journey of faith.

    I’m member of “La Ciudad de Dios” in Nicaragua.
    Please pray for my country.

    Blessings.

  4. Yes we are in deep trouble these days in the Church. Losing potential converts left, right, and centre; losing existing Catholics to other denominations; and healthy young men not much interested anymore in the priesthood. All because of the rampant homosexual presence in the priesthood.

    And with all that, one small part stuck out for me in Mr. Martin’s letter….

    “the priest giving the sermon was more upset than I’ve ever seen him about the unfolding scandal. The Gospel was about how the weeds and the wheat grow up together and will only finally be separated at the judgment. It was unclear what the priest was actually saying…”

    Well, that last sentence sums up just about every homily I’ve heard in years…. “it was unclear what the priest was actually saying.” With so much immorality in our culture and so much love of money and the things of the flesh, you would think it would be fairly easy for priests to say something *clearly* about these things in order to help us sort through and avoid the troubles and sinful situations we face daily in our culture.

    But no, the great percentage of the time we leave mass and Mr. Martin’s observation is all we are left with concerning the words of our pastors… “it was unclear what the priest was actually saying.”

    If we don’t hear the truth in our parishes, or from our bishops, then where in world are we to find it?!

    I am so sick of leaving mass every Sunday with that vague idea about being good and doing good and following Jesus and wondering why the heck the priest doesn’t talk about any of these things that are so dangerous for us and so predominantly a part of our everyday world. And it seems like they are afraid to. And there is not much of a reason, then, to listen to them.

    And even, perhaps, good reason not to listen to them.

  5. Thank you, Ralph Martin..,I became sick when this last scandal came out a few weeks ago, really sick, my heart was heavy and my eyes were filled with tears. I’m an old lady (82) we didn’t much of this garbage back then, at kess not in our parish, St. Patrick School, Miami Besch, Fls. I’ve been saying all that you said, I see it it’s very obvious I mention to my friends and my priests. My friends agree they see it, too. But the priests they get upset and denie it, they make excuses….that’s wrong and I agree THIS SHOULD BE TOLD AT THE SUNDAY MASSES…..
    also, many of us agree and we do not Contribute in the First Collection, WE ONLY GIVE TO THE SECOND COLLECTION. Another thing very annoying to many if us is the PRAYER FROM THE DIOCESE THAT OUR PRIEST PLACE THE VIDEO AND ASKING THE PARISHIONERS TO PRAY “THAT PARISHIONER” GIVE MORE TO THE DIOCESE’S FUND. Many of us refused to say it…the Roman Catholic Church in America is being betrayed by Her American Bishops, They are living better than us, the Domestic Church.
    Thank you again, we need to pray daily the Holy Rosary as our Blessed Mother rquested on May 13, 1917.

  6. Thank you for your thoughtful and prayerful articles and books. I will continue to be part of the prayerful and active remnant by the grace of God. Your insights are appreciated. Signed Sheila, one of your book table assistants at the Camden Diocese Catholic Charismatic renewal convention in Wildwood NJ, many years ago. Remember my friend Fran and I asked everyone in line, purchasing a book from you and waiting for you to sign it, to pray for you and your ministry. Hope they are all still praying for you, I am.

  7. I’m trying to figure out how to print this or get a copy.
    Fr John Hardin spoke about the homosexual problem in the Chutch in the 1990s. Very few paid attention. I just don’t see how anything is really going to change even with this newest exposure. We stopped giving to the Diocese years ago because nothing was being done about the active homosexuality. A priest in our parish was moved and then continued to abuse in his new parish. Instead we gave to missionaries and others in need. Fr Hardin said only the extraordinarily Catholic family would survive in our present culture. He is being proven correct. Thank you for this article. What you have said needs to be spread far and wide. Maybe the Catholic Laity will demand something be done since the hierarchy in the Church doesn’t seem able to follow through.

  8. For years I have enjoyed your television show and holy insights. I am truly distressed over the sorry state of affairs we are now facing in the church .
    I agree with Pope Benedict’s theory that we’ll be smaller but stronger eventually
    And the EUCHARIST!! How can anyone leave Jesus ‘s beautiful gift !
    God bless you and your wonderful family
    Xo jan

  9. Dear Ralph,
    We are so thankful for your Spirit guided letter. May God continue to guide you in all you say and do. We pray for you everyday. We thank God for your ministry. We will share your letter.
    God bless you.
    Chic and Marie
    Calgary, Canada.

  10. An extraordinary expose of the state of our church.. good men and women .. bishops, priests, Seminarians, lay men and women all but frozen by the might of Satan working through all parts of the Church. Thank God that he (God) is still in charge and his Christ continues to lead us to victory. As the official Exorcist for my diocese, I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the evil at work around us, and the lack of belief in any permanent evil or personified evil that is really so obvious to those who use eyes of faith. The victory is Christ’s, but we must be serious in continuing the mopping up operation which is our duty as his followers. Dirty work, but bearable if we work as one and continually draw power from the gifts of the aspirin and the body and blood of Christ. To Him be the glory,

  11. It came to me that all this must be revealed now, at this hour and at this time, because in one more generation, this news would not even be remarked on. Our public schools are actively teaching that gender is fluid, homosexuality is to be embraced, that this behavior is part of our freedoms. I am deeply saddened – humiliated even – by the scarring of our Church. But I think of the 11 who did not stop proclaiming Jesus because one of them had betrayed him. Their own community had been scandalized, which must have added greatly to their sorrow, but Jesus told them “go” and they went.

  12. Thanks, Martin, for putting into words the state of the Church today. A priest friend who is an expert on the Middle Ages said that the Dark Ages were not as dark as the period of the 20th century up to the present time. During this period, we have seen two world wars, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Holocaust, assassinations of President JFK, Bob Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King, major sex and financial scandals in the Church, a mass exodus of priests and women religious, open rebellion against church leadership, gender confusion, and conflicting messages coming from the Vatican, etc. Sometimes, the Lord allows us to walk in the dark so that we will search for the Light. Thank God for the gift of social media which gives us a means to expose the sin and evil in the world and in the church. The gates of hell shall never prevail against the church. Only the Lord can give us the hope we need. Healing is available through the mercy and compassion of the Lord. We will see the Resurrected Christ rise up out of all this rot and filth in the church and in the world and proclaim victory over sin and evil, once again. Praise God!

  13. The 2002 USCCB agreement was that each diocese had to have annual audits about how the plans for protecting minors were being implemented. I have never seen any such audit reports published. What’s the point of an audit if it is not publicized? THAT seems to be just a part of the cover-up.

  14. The time is now for Deacons to take an aggressive role in monitoring the unwanted behavior of deviant priests and higher ups in the Church. The Deacons can serve as persons for lay people to go to if the need arise. Their strength in numbers, if united in purpose, can put pressure on the Church hierarchy to do the right thing. A second possibility (and if things get worse–a probability) is to allow new priests to marry. The strongest enemy of aggressive homosexual behavior in the Church is sanctioned heterosexual behavior via marriage.

  15. Thank you for having the courage to shine God’s Light on the Homosexual problem in the Church! Our Orthodoxy is solid on this topic, but the Orthopraxy today is not consistent. Thank you for this prophetic call to repentance.

  16. Thank you so much for this. I’ve been teetering on the edge for so many days and had thought to give my practice up. I now realise I’m not alone and have the company of many others, too. Thank you also for writing so clearly and in such a measured manner about something which horrifies so many of us, as well as suggesting how to continue forward. I’m sure many are very grateful for this response.

  17. What utterly astounds me is; in all the articles I have read on this disturbing subject of abuse and pederasty going on in the Church.
    Why does nobody mention the breach of the promise before God that Priests and Nuns consent to celibacy for the rest of their lives. What happened to the promise.

    Married couples consent before God to fidelity in their marriage. We know what happens when they break their promise…..divorce.

    From what I read, it looks like the Church leaders were way ahead of the rest of society in betraying their promise before God regarding their sexuality. The rot started at the top, and no wonder society has plunged so low.
    May God help and direct us to support each other, Priests and people as we go forward trusting Our Good Lord Jesus to cover us with His Precious Blood to purify, cleanse, heal and restore us that we may be more pleasing in the sight of Heavenly Father. Amen.

  18. God bless you Ralph for your letter. I love my catholic faith and will never leave the church. My heart is saddened for all these victims. I was in Fatima for the 100th Anniversary of Our Blessed Mother’s apparation. This weapon called the Rosary of our times, was given to us the because of the diabolical disorientation of the world.
    Until we all pray the rosary for peace, this world will continue to fall. Jesus is our bread of life. We need church and the Eucharist. My prayers continue for our church leaders and especially POPE FRANCIS!!!!!

  19. The HUGE question that still seems unaddressed: The Papal Nuncio’s would have had this information, as each one did the background assessments of candidates for higher episcopal office as they transmit recommendations to the Pope. This holds, not only for the US but also for the whole world, including Honduras and Chile. To what extent (and it seems it must be significant at minimum) is the problem also one deep within the Vatican’s Diplomatic Corps.

  20. Thank you Ralph for making known your concerns. The Church established by God through the power of the Holy Spirit cannot be destroyed by few of our unfaithful leaders. The gates of hell cannot prevail against the Body of Christ. Let us all pray for both the faithful and unfaithful leaders. Let us pray the Holy Rosary for the Pope and the Church and Christ our Lord and Redeemer will deliver the Church from the present crisis.

  21. The battle against Evil has arrived upon our Shores. It has infiltrated our Homeland. Pray, fast, support our good priests, and speak out against this evil where you see it.

    Thank you for this call to arms. We should not falter from engaging in this spiritual battle. Though our dwindling army may be weary and disheartened, we will meet the Enemy and be victorious, for Christ has won this battle already.

  22. Thanks So much servant of God,Ralph Martin for your scrutiny
    It’s really heart-aching and deeply disturbing when are leaders we respect and trust so much,give us reasons to leave the church that seeks that the truth is told. May God have mercy. My dear believers let’s work out our own salvation with fear and trembling than to base on these scandals to lose our faith. Let not your suffering for all the years you have been member of the church be in vain
    God bless us all.

  23. I will continue to attend mass and receive the Eucharist. I am not certain that I will support the church financially, until the filth is removed. There is obviously an established network that has existed in the church, maybe for centuries, that promotes and hides sexual misconduct among ALL levels of clergy, to the very top. Germany, Australia, Chile, USA, proof in Philadelphia from the 1940’s. The people who perpetrate and hide this corruption need to be removed completely, even though it will be very painful. There is no place in Gods church for filth. I pray that all will be exposed. As hurt as we are, Jesus knows the full atrocities of the Catholic Church, I can not imagine His sadness. May God bless and strengthen the many holy clergy.

  24. Aug. 3rd: I just now read this: “Just a couple of months ago, on May 31, the archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis (Minnesota) reached an agreement with 450 victims to pay a $210 million settlement. It is “one of the largest payouts to date in the U.S. over the Catholic church’s priest abuse scandal,” according to USA Today.” Can this be true?? If so, it is appalling and parishioners should sue, as victims of abuse do, to reclaim their money. Not from Parish funds but from the Vatican.

  25. I am disheartened in reading your letter to us. I guess I didn’t know how much of a problem the sexual abuse or homosexual abuse has been and is still in our church worldwide. Please God, guide us through this mess and help our leaders to get back on track. Help us to be able to discern who are the true leaders and who are the fallen ones. Having said that, I guess I have to say also, we are all fallen. Lord, help all of us who are fallen to beg for your mercy and repent of our sins. I am not a homosexual and as far as I know am not committing any sexual sins. I am a happily married woman with grown children and several grandchildren. I try to do my best to encourage my children and grandchildren to embrace the Catholic Faith and the Church as our Mother. It’s difficult when some of our Cardinals and bishops and priests, etc. are committing sexual sin against the people they are suppose to be helping and leading in the faith. But, again, I have to remember that God made us His Church and He told us that the gates of hell shall not prevail against us. We will survive because God has said we will. We are going through dark times, but we’ve been there before and have prevailed. We will this time, too. We just need to keep on praying and believing that God is in control and justice will be done. I pray that God will bring that justice to those leaders who are sinning against their people in sexual ways. Help us Lord, to endure and recover from this horrible of horribles. Please, Lord, speak to the hearts of our ordained ministers who are committing these terrible acts and bring them to repentance and justice. In Jesus Name, Amen

  26. I love the last line of the Te Deum: “In you, Lord, is our hope; and we shall never hope in vain.” May we always remember what good things the Lord has given us and move forward in hope.

  27. So much trouble and sadness in our beloved Church today. However, we have the Eucharist to save us. The Body and Blood of our dear Lord is still there every mass. Do not leave His Body and Blood whatever disaster befalls frail human beings. Remember Jesus said he will make all things new. As a convert of many years I can never leave: To Whom would I go? You have the Word of Eternal Life Lord.
    God Bless us and forgive us our sins.

  28. Hi Mr. Martin,
    I listened to your talks on Ave Marie Radio.
    It’s time for a drastic change and a solid “no” to admitting men with past or confirmed homosexual attraction.
    Yes, they can be forgiven and be shown mercy and they are loved. However, we become the company we keep. There are other places in the church where they could be a good fit….

    Screen seminarian candidates and do not admit those with same sex attraction.
    The good lord gave us an intellect to make good healthy decisions.

  29. You are so right and like you I believe that prayer is the strongest way to defeat satan which is working his way as always so we can fall.
    No question that the church like any institution needs transparency and maybe that is were Catholic institutions have failed badly.
    I will continue to pray and support my Catholic church all the way and help the needed clean up.

  30. What we seem to be getting instead of action against fifty years of silence from the pulpit on sexual sins (contraception and the rest) is an effort to move the Church a step at a time away from its traditional teaching. The emphasis is on the corporal works of mercy almost to the exclusion of the spiritual works of mercy and the tenth commandment is totally ignore when it comes to social issues.

    I wonder if I would still be a practicing Catholic without the writings of Popes like Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI that had such a profound influence on my journey in faith. Our current Pope seems more interested in pastoring than teaching which doesn’t change the truth but sure can muddy the water.

    When Pope Francis was elected I jokingly commented that among his other firsts, he is the first Pope that is younger than me. I am sort of glad.

    There is no question that the state of our culture and our Church is impacting the faith of my grandchildren.

  31. Thank you for this post. It occurs to me that I will write to my Bishop and ask him to let his seminarians know that he will protect them when they go to seminary. That they will have his personal cell phone, and that if there is a scintilla
    of inappropriate behavior, that he will investigate and remove them if necessary. That he will also put the seminary on notice that there will be publicity if they don’t get their institution cleaned up. I think we have a Bishop that will do this. If the Bishop will not, make sure the families of seminarians make noise. If they are not to be in contact with the family for a year, the one exception would be this.

  32. Thank you for your courage to inform us of the current situation in the church. I have heard much of this on EWTN, but it is helpful to hear another opinion. I was discouraged when I heard that our seminarians were sent across the country because our own seminary was “too conservative”. I’m glad I am old and always experienced caring priests. I pray for those that new about the abuses and what our new ones will face.

  33. Betrayal by Church members is not new. It occurred to Jesus amongst his chosen 12 and it is occurring today. We are all chosen by God and we are all sinners. When the sins of our Church leaders become apparent they have lost the ability to lead. The Church goes on under the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit. Individuals go on by turning their will and lives over to God through the complete dependence on the sacraments. In particular, the sacrament of reconciliation. Pope John Paul II went to confession once per week. He is now a saint of the Church. The way is clear. Let us move on and be open to the will of God in our lives.

  34. It appears we are now at the time when the wheat and the weeds are being harvested and the separation is beginning to take place. It will be done according to the Word!

  35. Ralph,
    You pretty much covered it all. Thank you. One thing we, as Catholics must remember, is that leaving is not an option, just as leaving my marriage is not an option. My covenant with my spouse reflects Christ’s covenant with the church.
    We must remember that we, as the Mystical Body….are not greater than the Master, so we, too, are, in a mystical way walking the same walk as Christ himself. We have been living through the tribulation, we are being scourged in our Mystical Body, we are being denied by the High Priest and the Sanhedrin. That hatred from the temple cause Christ such suffering. When we hear so much filth, such corruption, such indifference from prelates, when they seem to simply be like secular bureaucrats, it is an offense to us, just as it was to Christ.
    There can be many responses to this crisis, but the one response we must never give in to is to abandon Christ by walking away from His Bride, the Catholic church. Make that commitment today and never waver…just as we do to our earthly spouses. Jesus’ kindness towards us will astound us, if we remain calm through this crisis and give His warmth and Light to others in the coming days of darkness. Remember, although He is revulsed at their behaviors, if they would repent, He is waiting for them to return. As He said to St. Faustina..the greater the sinner…the more he has recourse to my mercy. So, as Ralph said, keep praying. I have upped my days of Adoration to 3 times a week. Two of them are for priests. If we simply and humbly present ourselves before Him, Our Lord will do the rest.

  36. I thank God for your leadership in exposing the scandal that tears through our Catholic Church. What is hidden in darkness, bring to the light. I never dreamed it was this horrible.
    Will continue to fast and pray and heed the message of Our Lady at Fatima.

  37. Thank you, Ralph, for your letter. It it so hard to find out reliable information about these sexual scandals. The secular media are often not trustworthy, and the Church leaders aren’t talking to the flock.
    I will not leave the Catholic Church. I’ll pray even harder for priests and bishops, seminarians and deacons, especially for the many holy men who have done nothing wrong, yet suffer abuse from many people because of “guilt by association.”
    I would like to know whether faithful priests and bishops think that heterosexual marriage for priests would help cure this problem. Personally, I doubt it. Let’s talk to the men who are trying to live the priestly life, and get their opinions, as the ones in the trenches. We don’t hear enough from rank-and-file priests.

  38. On July 24, as my husband and I were praying the rosary in the car, one of my intentions for the decade for the Holy Father, priests, and the New Evangelization was that the Holy Spirit would reveal all of the wolves in sheep’s clothing. The next day, I read about Cardinal McCarrick, and of course was heartbroken and angry, but yet thankful that God was cleaning house. And I also realized that I was somewhat responsible, because I did not pray enough for the Church and her Shepherds who are on the front lines of the war. It is easier to criticize than it is to pray. But we must not only pray for the conversion of the priests who have gone awry, and the healing of their victims, but also for courage for bishops and priests who know what is going on, and are afraid to say or do anything about it. And of course, we must pray for the Catholics who are tempted to leave the Church, that they will instead turn to the Lord personally and allow Him to strengthen their faith in the midst of this crisis. I believe that in this way God can use us to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

  39. Dear Ralph Martin, I was guided to your article this morning, what a grace from our Dear Lord. I have been somewhat distressed by what is happening in the Church and your article really helped to see not only the big picture, but some of the actual events that have been occurring. Last night, before going to sleep, I mentioned to my wife that we need to be more diligent in our relationship with Christ and our prayer life and in the work God has called us to. We have been very active in living and teaching the faith for the past 40 years. Now in our 70s we have been asking the Lord “What would You have us do in these twilight years of our lives.”
    The article helped us to refocus and make a renewed commitment to the Lord.
    Praying this morning the Liturgy of the Hours, I was greatly comforted celebrating the Feast of the Transfiguration. The grace of this feast enveloped my heart and gave me a renewed strength to continue the mighty work of God, as was proclaimed at Mass this past weekend in the Gospel.
    Thank you and may God continue to bless you and the work you are doing.
    In Christ, Deacon Ray Helgeson

  40. 45 years ago, as revealed by Our Lady to Sister Agnes Sasagawa, in her convent in Akita, Japan:

    “As I told you, if men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one will never seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead. The only arms which will remain for you will be the Rosary and the Sign left by My Son. Each day recite the prayers of the Rosary. With the Rosary, pray for the Pope, the bishops and priests.

    “The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres…churches and altars sacked; the Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord.

    “The demon will be especially implacable against souls consecrated to God. The thought of the loss of so many souls is the cause of my sadness. If sins increase in number and gravity, there will be no longer pardon for them.”

    And…

    “Pray very much for the Pope, Bishops, and Priests. Since your Baptism you have always prayed faithfully for them. Continue to pray very much…very much.

    “Many men in this world afflict the Lord. I desire souls to console Him to soften the anger of the Heavenly Father. I wish, with my Son, for souls who will repair by their suffering and their poverty for the sinners and ingrates.”

    Those souls Our Mother of Grace is looking for are you & me, dear brothers & sisters in the Lord. Life brings suffering to us all, unite yourselves in it to the Cross of Christ Jesus for the good of souls. I encourage – even exhort you – to study and learn with me what “making reparation” really is, and let us use it daily in our prayer life & active life.

    Bless you all, Pray… Pray very much!

  41. When I read:
    “As Pope Benedict XVI wrote when he was a young priest, the Church will have to become smaller and more purified before it can again be a light to the world. The Church is going through a radical purification under the chastising hand of God, but already we can see a remnant of fervent renewal appearing all over the world, which is a sign indeed of hope and the renewal to come.” I realized that the current influx of many of us from the Evangelical Church,( where sinful clergy behavior is no less prevalent) may offer the Church the stamina to continue to fight. The Lord has certainly called many like me to embrace Him in His Body, the Catholic Church,(while holding our noses at the weakness and superficiality of Her clergy’s witness!) and to cry out for clear Gospel teaching and the resulting transformed lives that His Spirit is longing to grant us. I pray that Pope Benedict is correct, that God is cleaning His own house FIRST, then the society we live in?

  42. I am horrified considering how God must feel! It’s a good thing He’s in charge because if I was, I’d hand down judgment and strike many dead not giving time to repent and save their souls, which is God’s desire. But,no matter what I cannot leave Jesus I must receive him in the Blessed Sacrament nothing has any value in this world if I don’t have Christ. Many of the walls are falling down but the Tabernacle is still in tact. And shame on me, I know I don’t pray enough for priests and all religious who are being attacked severely. I can only be thankful that God has given me the graces that I too have not fallen, because on my own I know anything is possible, we all are sinners. We must also be active in eradicating this toxic situation with our eyes open. I too need to search for the light that will get us through these dark days. I appreciated the story and found hope how the 11 still went out when one betrayed Christ and so must we. Evil wins if we stop evangelizing all we meet. Jesus I trust in you, continue to stand in the breach, purify our church.

  43. The cultural pressures we are experiencing in politics, NFL Football machinations, Church problems, AND biased media are the fruits of Saul Alinsky. The errant Jesuit, post Alinsky disciples described in the BRILLIANT & COMPREHENSIVE EWTN VIDEO “A WOLF IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING” (2016) should be revisited by all FAITHFUL CATHOLICS.

  44. I am saddened to read all these things, many of which I was not aware, but buoyed up to see the facts coming out. I will continue to pray. I trust in Jesus’ promise that: “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

  45. I’m originally from the Altoona-Johnstown diocese in Pennsylvania. Some have been aware of and been trying to expose the homosexuality of priests since the breakout of the homosexual sex abuse crisis in 2002. A Pennsylvania Attorney General reported on the many offenders a year or two ago with a report that spelled out the sins of many priests. There is much opposition to the idea that there is much homosexuality in the priesthood. Dr. Ralph Martin’s article helps in a great way the exposure of these terrible sins. Also, read the 2002 book Goodbye, Good Men by Michael S. Rose. It well documents the proliferation of homosexual behavior of seminarians in American seminaries in the seventies and eighties. What we see now is the putrid fruit of that massive immorality from those who became our priests. But as or Lady of Akita has directed us pray for the pope, bishops and priests.

  46. God bless you Ralph Martin, may your cogent and truthful words reach the hearts and minds of our Church’s hierarchy. I am devastated by this scandal but not surprised. Thank you for always being a beacon of light and hope.
    Nancy Apicella

  47. As an Evangelical brother who follows the Evangelicals and Catholics Together dialogue, who loves my Catholic brothers I mourn and pray with you and for you. Such scandals are not, of course, limited to Catholic clerics. We all need true repentance and renewal. To regain its witness and moral authority the Catholic Church and Protestant Churches will indeed have to get smaller to become God’s large witness. I love you all. Be strong. Viva Cristo Rey!

  48. Thank your words and ministry. Renewal Ministries has been such a help and support to me for so many years.

    With God’s help we will get through these dark days. I hope and pray more Catholics will come to know the grace of Baptism in the Holy Spirit. I received this gift my first year in college. I wouldn’t be here right now serving as a priest if it wasn’t for that grace. “Not by power, nor by might, but by my Spirit says the Lord God Almighty” Zechariah 4:6.

    I will continue to pray for Renewal Ministries and thank you for your faithfulness. I also will pray for the victims of sexual abuse and all those who are so saddened and disheartened by this evil that has entered the Body of Christ. Hebrews 12:2!!

  49. Thank you for helping clarify these truths in your letter. It is sad but in Christ alone our hope is found and as the song says “and on the cross as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied, for every sin on him was laid…here in the death of Christ, I live” even as grave as this scandal is we keep on walking with our Church… here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.

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