By BERNARDO M. VILLEGAS
Given this concurrence of events in the 1960s and 1970s, i.e., the deteriorating moral environment as regards sexual behavior and the heretical moral teachings that could easily be used to justify a morally repellent act as pedophilia, are we going to be surprised if the question of pedophilia started being acute during the second half of the 1980s? A generation of adolescents reared in an environment of “anything goes in sex” were the pool from which seminarians were being recruited. Once in the seminaries, these young men were often exposed to individual bishops who rejected Catholic tradition as a whole and sought to bring about a kind of new, modern “Catholicity” in their dioceses. It is worth noting here what Benedict XVI commented casually. Since under the pontificate of St. John Paul II, the future Pope Benedict XVI (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) was the guardian of Catholic doctrine, some bishops actually tried to prevent their seminarians from reading the books of Ratzinger. As he himself recounts: “Perhaps it is worth mentioning that in not a few seminaries, students caught reading my books were considered unsuitable for the priesthood. My books were hidden away, like bad literature, and only read under the desk.”
It is difficult to explain the moral crisis among the clergy that resulted from these developments during the second half of the last century without positing the direct action of the Satan and his evil followers who go about the world seeking the ruin of souls. I was even more convinced of the action of the devil when Benedict XVI referred to a most abominable act of a priest. In his report, he recounted some of his conversations with victims of pedophilia. One of them was a young woman who was a former altar server of a chaplain. Only the devil could have instigated that man of God to act in the most reprehensible manner. Every time he would sexually abuse the girl altar server who was under his charge, he would use the words of Jesus Christ while instituting the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist: “This is my body which will be given up for you.” Only under the power of Satan could a man of God utter such sacrilegious words!
If we are to successfully address the current crisis of the faith and of the Church that resulted from the shocking revelations of clerical abuse perpetrated against minors, we must be very aware of the role of the devil who is perpetually active in seeking the ruin of souls. We are fortunate that Pope Francis in his apostolic exhortation Gaudate et Exultate (Rejoice and Be Glad) devoted a whole chapter (Chapter 5) to the constant spiritual combat, vigilance and discernment that we have to exercise in withstanding the temptations of the devil and proclaiming the Gospel. He made it very clear that over and above the world and the flesh, we have to constantly struggle against the wiles of the evil one: “We are not dealing merely with a battle against the world and a worldly mentality that would deceive and leave us dull and mediocre, lacking in enthusiasm and joy. Nor can this battle be reduced to the struggle against our human weaknesses and proclivities (be their laziness, lust, envy, jealousy, or any others). It is also a constant struggle against the devil, the prince of evil. Jesus Himself celebrates our victories. He rejoiced when his disciples made progress in preaching the Gospel and overcoming the opposition of the evil one: ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.’“
(To be continued)