(Picture: St. Andrew's Roman Catholic Church, Roanoke , VA)
Why would newspapers carry on a vendetta on one of the most important institutions that we have today in the United States, namely the Catholic Church?
Do you know - the Catholic Church educates 2.6 million students everyday at the cost to your Church of 10 billion dollars, and a savings on the other hand to the American taxpayer of 18 billion dollars. Your graduates go on to graduate studies at the rate of 92%, all at a cost to you. To the rest of the Americans it’s free.
The Church has 230 colleges and universities in the U.S. with an enrollment of 700,000 students. The Catholic Church has a non-profit hospital system of 637 hospitals, which account for hospital treatment of 1 out of every 5 people - not just Catholics - in the United States today.
But the press is vindictive and trying to totally denigrate in every way the Catholic Church in this country. They have blamed the disease of pedophilia on the Catholic Church, which is as irresponsible as blaming adultery on the institution of marriage. Let me give you some figures that you as Catholics should know and remember. For example, 12% of the 300 Protestant clergy surveyed admitted to sexual intercourse with a parishioner; 38% acknowledged other inappropriate sexual contact in a study by the United Methodist Church, 41.8 % of clergywomen reported unwanted sexual behavior; 17% of laywomen have been sexually harassed. Meanwhile, 1.7% of the Catholic clergy has been found guilty of pedophilia. 10% of the Protestant ministers have been found guilty of pedophilia. This is not a Catholic Problem. [See CORRECTION from Rob Pollack and my comment following his in the Comments Box below. This 10% number may not be substantiated and is evidently not a quote from Mr. Miller. But the point is substantiated with other information. The number I'd like to track down is what percent of parents are guilty of child abuse of any type. - s.w.]
A study of American priests showed that most are happy in the priesthood and find it even better than they had expected, and that most, if given the choice, would choose to be priests again in face of all this obnoxious PR the church has been receiving.
The Catholic Church is bleeding from self-inflicted wounds. The agony that Catholics have felt and suffered is not necessarily the fault of the Church. You have been hurt by a small number of wayward priests that have probably been totally weeded out by now.
Walk with your shoulders high and you head higher. Be a proud member of the most important non-governmental agency in the United States. Then remember what Jeremiah said: “Stand by the roads, and look and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is and walk in it, and find rest for your souls”. Be proud to speak up for your faith with pride and reverence and learn what your Church does for all other religions. Be proud that you’re a Catholic.