Where is Catholicism’s Tahrir Square?

By Mary Gail Frawley-O’Dea
National Catholic Reporter

Editor’s Note: Part of the column is graphic in nature.

Across the Middle East and in North Africa, courageous citizens are calling to account monarchies and dictators who have invested in power and personal privilege over the wellbeing of their people.

The sheer volume and tenacity of the crowds indeed are bringing change as some leaders fall and others hasten to gesture to their populace in ways meaningful enough to keep the peace.

In Philadelphia, the second grand jury in 6 years issued a second scathing report highlighting the moral corruption and indifference to souls we have come to expect from the Catholic hierarchy in that city and, indeed, around the world as events in Germany, Ireland, Austria, the Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland have amply illustrated.

This time, the grand jury recommended criminal charges against three priests, a teacher, and Msgr. William J. Lynn, former secretary for clergy, who has been arrested.

Once again, a prince of the church — fuschia-lined cape flowing behind him, gold ring shimmering in the camera lights trained on him — stood at a bank of microphones apologizing for harboring 21-37 alleged sexual predators, many still laboring in the ministry he controls.

Really? Is there anyone left who believes this hackneyed and heartbreaking theater of hypocrisy?

So where is Catholicism’s Tahrir Square? Why isn’t the Philadelphia chancery surrounded by thousands of Catholics and their priests shouting for Cardinal Rigali to "Go! Go!" What will it take to mobilize the People of God to insist on, to fight for an end to a privileged patriarchy holding up a feudal monarchy whose members tolerate sexual and spiritual slaughter of the lambs?

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