Monday, February 8, 2010

Saving the Independent Catholic Movement from Sexual Predators and Substandard Clergy

There is a form of "acid rain" that is beginning to fall from the sky in the form of a drizzle on the Independent Catholic Movement. The cloud from, which this drizzle emanates, has congealed from a posse of individuals completely illiterate in matters of basic Catholicism and individuals convicted in secular courts of law for sexual abuse.

These individuals - whose primary purpose is to find any valid avenue to claim Orders within historic apostolic succession in order to wear copes, cassocks and mitres - are polluting the Independent Catholic Movement with their corruption and will undermine this sacred movement from effectively serving the People of God.

When Bishop Carlos Duarte Costa continued his vocation to the priesthood after his excommunication from the Church of Rome, he wished to continue the sacramental and liturgical traditions of Catholicism with an infusion of what we today call the Liberation Theology and Social Justice and Peace. Bishop Costa wanted to see the continuation of Catholic grow and thrive within a new independent avenue. He did not wish to see this new hope devalued to the same state as Jesus found the Temple.

When I entered the Independent Catholic Movement in 1996, I did so with the belief that the potentials for service to the People of God were unlimited and that the spirit of the Second Vatican Council was alive and vibrant. While I still feel and believe in the sacred opportunities before us, my hopes have been tempered by witnessing our movement being converted into a toilet by self serving frauds who are trolling our Movement to attain some sort of social standing and to fulfill their sexual needs.

I unconditionally believe that individuals who are documented sexual predators and abusers have no rights to function as a cleric or religious. Vocations to the priesthood and religious life are sacred gifts from God and not personal entitlements. I also believe that candidates for the priesthood and religious life who have been documented as being behaviorally and/or psychologically unfit should not be permitted to enter into Order or Solemn Profession.

One of the most tragic trends I have witnessed in the past decade has been the exodus of sexual predators and abusers, along with the behaviorally and psychologically unfit and academically illiterate invading the Independent Catholic Movement in great numbers. The presence of these individuals degrades our movement.

Every once in awhile, I tend to surf the web to learn about other jurisdictions claiming to be part of the Independent Catholic Movement. While being very encouraged by a few other jurisdiction taking their vocations seriously, I was shocked by what I still find on so many jurisdictional web sites.

1. Priests, Religious and Bishops who have been convicted of sexual abuse.
2. Jurisdictions having no requirements for academic formation/training.
3. Priests, Religious and Bishops "church jumping" from one jurisdiction to another.

These are just a few examples common to so many claiming to be Independent Catholic Jurisdictions.

There are many Catholics in this country and world-wide who find themselves pastorally and sacramental orphaned for many, many reasons. And for those men, women and families - the Independent Catholic Movement may hold for them that which they seek and need. Many of these men, women and families have been hurt by previous pastoral experiences. They do not need to be exposed to the corruption rampant in so many of these jurisdictions.

They have been abused enough.

IF the Independent Catholic Movement wishes to be taken serious by the People of God, it must become serious about itself. Our movement must purge itself of those who demean and defile it. Nobody else can do it but ourselves and we must begin now before the drizzle of acid rain become a toxic tidal wide that washes us all away.

And if that should happen, we will have nobody to blame but ourselves.

Sincerely Yours in Chirst,

+James Alan Wilkowski
Evangelical Catholic Bishop for the Diocese of the Northwest
Chicago, Illinois