Trying to cope with pedophilia in Catholic Church

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I was a Roman Catholic Priest for twenty-five years, until the church ordered me to leave the priesthood because of my writings critical of the church’s hierarchal, patriarchal structure and because of its inferiorizing of women and of the feminine in all of us, who, as Genesis tells us, were created “male and female”.

Most of those 25 years were spent working, struggling and sharing life’s joys and sorrows with Latino people, first in Honduras and Panama and then in St Boniface in downtown Jersey City, N.J.

In the style of Jesus and Gandhi and Dorothy Day and Rosa Parks and the Berrigan brothers, I engaged in countless non violent demonstrations for peace and justice, and as a result getting arrested and winding up in jail several times.

And now I write to tell you that, having been a priest for so long, I am deeply troubled by the numbers of priest worldwide who have sexually abused children and minors. Especially shocking to me was the revelation of the pedophilia committed by Theodore McCarrick, once Archbishop of the Newark Archdiocese to which I was ordained. Also once Cardinal of Washington, D.C., McCarrick is no longer a Cardinal, but a disgraced and defrocked priest.

I ask myself why there are so many priest abusers. I now believe that much of the pedophilia has to do with the very structure of the church. Even though we are all created male and female, the church in its institutionalized hierarchal, patriarchal structure has inferiorized the feminine in all of us. And to this day stills the voices of women, while disallowing the priesthood for them. Though we are all equally female and male.

I do believe that soul healing, not just for you and me, but of the whole human species, can only happen in the halls of religions and nations when women’s voices can be heard equally with the voices of men. And, I think, in a very profound way, this inequality in our institutions and systems is much the reason for not just pedophilia but also for the ongoing worldwide abuse of women, the birthers of Life in every species. And in Catholicism, the denial of the priesthood to women and the inferioriziing of the feminine in us all must stop in order that our healing into harmony with Life can begin.

Finally, I believe that we all must engage, however we can, in this healing return to our cosmic harmony so that we can sing together L’Chaim, L’Chaim; To Life, to Life! From here to eternity!

John Egan

Highland Lakes

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