"Everybody loved Father Brian. He was a real entertainer, described in a newspaper story as a "charismatic priest and extemporaneous preacher who used unconvential methods to involve his congregation in the Gospel." He celebrated sunrise Mass on Easter with balloons tied to each pew. He walked newly baptized babies around the Church to be applauded. And on more than one occasion he ended Mass by dancing down the aisle or by playing a kazoo. Even one of his victims admitted :He was a naturally attractive personality,
very outgoing. Everybody loved Father Brian."
When he was accused in 1995 and sent away for treatment, many of his parishioners turned on the victim. One letter writer to the local paper said, "More Father Brians are needed in this sad, hateful and so much jealous world....giving up his whole life for God is enough proof of his unselfishness. Come back Father, nothing can compare with a bright tommorrow."
Marcie Wogan, the deputy state's attourney assigned to the case, saw nothing but sympathy for the priest and anger towards his victim. "When my office was investigating this matter in 1995, there was a great deal of anger directed toward whomever the public percieved as the victim of Brian Cox. (The archdiocese of Baltimore protected him from law, she added. When investigators from the state's attorney's office attempted to reach he went on sabbatical and the church would not disclose his whereabouts.)
Staunch conservative parish members still defend Father Brian. He was so interested in helping the poor. Why are people bringing up what happened twenty years ago? Why upset such a man's life just because he had sex with a young man? After all, what did he do that was so bad? Some parishioners were reported as saying that Father Brian's sexual actions were the result of sheer exuberance.
One of his victims recalls going to the pool with the priest. After swimming, Father Brian would take the boy into showers, which were generally empty during the week. There he masturbated the youth on at least four occasions, the boy says.
This ought to be enough. But when priests like Father Brian are exposed, the laity rally to their support. In doing so they reveal their own complicity in the abuse - not so much in justifying it after the fact as in encouraging the sort of religion from which abuse grows and finding priests to give this kind of religion to them.
Catholic laity often have been enablers of these criminals and share in their guilt. They have wanted to be entertained; they find Christianity boring, all this stuff about sin and atonement and penance and grace, all these restrictive rules, all this structure in worship. They want lively masses, clown masses, high entertainment. They want the freedom to do as they feel, not help in becoming saints.
They do not want priests who are what priests are supposed to be: men who have dedicated years of their lives to serious theological study and ascetic practices, men who are entrusted with handing on the very Word of God, preaching a Gospel of repentence, administering the dread mysteries of the New Covenant in the Blood of God, mysteries at which the Thrones and the
No, this laity wants Father Brian, whom no one can take seriously. So what if these juvenile priests get their sexual pleasure by ruining the lives of minors? What are a few ruined lives in exchange for a fun religion for everyone else, one emptied of the dreadful and saving message of the gospel?"
(End of quote.I haven't figure out how to make the italics command work with this style sheet, so apologies.)
There you go. That says it all for me. Wake up, people. Wake up.