Church is presented as an essay in 3 parts:
Part One: Protecting the Faith, the
the People and the Leaders
Part Two: Accountability
Part Three: Making the Change
following part has been modified from the original specifically for the
people of the Catholic Church)
When there are leaders of high status in a religious
institution that justify the suppression of the fundamental rights of its members, in the name of protecting the
institution and the faith, these actions then begin to undermine the basic tenets of their religious doctrine. This becomes very serious when we are talking about the doctrines of
religious institutions. It is in such a system where the parishioners are not mandated by word or procedure in the
organizational by-laws to oversee and inquire into the actions of leaders, that such unhealthy circumstances can fester and remain endemic.
Despite the pleas of many sincere parishioners, no such implementation in
the organizational by-laws is in effect today. When viewed from an historical perspective, where people are not fully empowered in religious and secular institutions, the fundamental rights to protest unethical
and abusive behavior, the right to hold leaders personally accountable, freedom from censorship in
religious publications and the freedom of free expression are denied. When these rights are expressed by the people to challenge
corruption in the system, the consequences for them are very severe: ostracism, defamation of character, and fear of punishment. The purpose of
these documents is to call for immediate change in the current antiquated
system of religious institutions. In the current system, where the people are not fully empowered to keep
the clergy in check, the priests can make any false statements and act with impunity because there is no venue for the members to monitor the behavior and direction of the
priests in the hierarchy. Could we accept such a system?
CROSSING THE BRIDGE TO A NEW SYSTEM
In our era there is a shift from traditionally run institutions to organizations based on religious democracies and
Victorious America has taken the lead in this shift. It has long been the tradition that the structure of the religious institutions were governed by the power of faith in the doctrine they embraced. Since the
institution of the church was considered a working model of the teachings, it was generally accepted that the structure itself was equal to the faith or doctrine they embraced. The
institution, literally became absolute itself, because it embodied the teachings.
Unlike secular organizations there was no mandate whereby the people were empowered to censure or put in check the actions of the
clergy. The only recourse was prayer and the mechanics of the prayer operated in only one way: through your sincere faith all would be taken care of, and justice would be restored. Any other actions such as speaking out against unjust actions of the hierarchy were viewed as a threat to the institution. People became very docile by accepting this limited understanding of the faith and its relationship to the
With this kind of thinking it is easy for the clergy to keep the control from the top down. In this way, the doctrine can easily be manipulated to keep the
worshipers in check. For example, it then becomes easy for the clergy to say to the
believers "just have faith and pray" when you are treated unfairly or even
sexually abused, because God has absolute justice. So if one is critical about the
religious institution or its leaders, then he refrains from speaking out because he fears he is
sinning, because the institution embodies the teachings.
They can further assert control and protect themselves by asserting that we must protect the name of the
church, inside and outside, against negative exposure, because of our
goodness and faith. Now the worshippers fear that they may be maligning the
church and remain silent even when encountering sexual predators within. Now the
clergy has asserted full control in silencing the worshipers.
The supremacy of the religious faith does not justify that it can be interpreted to override people's fundamental secular rights to speak out against injustice, for we could never defend the absence of these basic human rights when dealing with
abusive behavior this is covered up. This would belittle the faith. The supremacy of the
faith was never purported to say, "sit down, pray and shut-up!" Rather to say "sit down,
pray and speak out!" and fight continuously until unjust situations are overturned wherever they occur especially inside the
church, so that we can protect it. That is not as to say that religious Law is not superior to the secular law. But it is in fact, superior because it functions to empower the people to stand up for their fundamental secular rights and it provides an avenue of faith, so that if they keep fighting, they will get absolute justice. It then stands to reason that there is a systemic flaw when we think that faith could
be used to overrule such principles of people's fundamental rights.
We assert that religious faith serves to empower the people to be strong enough to champion these rights as an essential ingredient for one's happiness and to protect the
teachings of religious institution and its founder.
In conclusion, any system that would support such actions that impose a threat to people's fundamental rights must be changed immediately. Victorious America is the philosophical foundation for changing the system and finally empowering the
parishioners at the grassroots level. It's a positive solution that can unify all diversity. No organization, no group, no person, nothing stands above
people's fundamental rights.
Such cold hearted
brutality that would have the predators appear virtuous and the victims
appear as the villains is found in such a system of tyranny. Until accountability
in the parishioner's hands is implemented, the hierarchy will continuously
find scapegoats to perpetrate complicity and cover-ups of criminal behavior
within the church.
Of course changes in
the policy, zero tolerance for priests committing sexual abuse must be
determined unambiguously. But the essential change must be made to the
system itself. The origin is endemic and it will appear again.
Whatever the bishops
decide, the final accounting must be in the hands of the people. Even if the
bishops were to decide on an unequivocal 'one strike and your out' policy,
the parishioners should ratify and approve it. A US council of parishioners from each
diocese and each church should be held. The lay believers should
convene a meeting amongst themselves to authorize the bishops proposals.
The bottom line is that
the people must oversee the priests and the hierarchy. The news media, which
exposed the scandals from the outside, represented the people, the victims,
to the hierarchy. Thus the secular free press represents the voice of the
people and their empowerment in the church. The next step in this
process is to incorporate into the by-laws, the empowerment of the
people to hold their religious leaders directly accountable to
them. Thus, the next step in its evolution will involve the lay people
overseeing the affairs of
People in religious
institutions are generally afraid to take action because they think it will compromise
their purity. Nothing can be further from the truth. What I am about to say will hit a nerve just like touching
an infected tooth. It's time for all religious people to stop starring in
the drama of the "Gracious Victim ". Faith here cannot be represented by
those representing the parishioners using polite piety thinking this
won't offend the bishops or God. You should be like
angry lions defending the victims. This attitude honors the faith while
the other way offends it.
At the time of
this writing, no one has of yet suggested that all the
parishioners hold a nation-wide meeting sponsored and conducted by themselves, regardless of what the Bishops do. They were all
silent and kept trying to cover up the great crimes perpetrated against children
by purporting that they must answer to a higher power as the only standard for change. Of
course this interpretation would only be determined by those who violated every
moral and secular law here.
Now they want to set the new rules also. At the very least they should all resign from the hierarchy. The church will not fall apart without them. Give
them the same treatment as criminals who are not priests. Send them to jail for
molesting children as well as those who were complicit with cover-ups and let God worry about their
souls. Since the church as an institution has accepted the grave responsibility
claiming they are the body of Christ, the institution itself as the pathway to the
sacred must be free from obstructions. The church must reflect the holy teachings of the Lord
by honoring the dignity of the parishioners first and foremost to keep its commitment
The idea of representatives of the holy using the sacred to try to escape from criminal
responsibility is the most vile act committed upon the flock of God.
Using this means in order to escape punishment rendered to ordinary people not of the cloth, is vile and
repugnant especially with respect to the crimes that were committed. Enough is enough. This is an
agenda that portrays lay people of faith as indigents, not worthy of Gods favor.
of the same arrogant
view the Pharisees had of Mary Magdalene. They looked down at
these people as not worthy of having their souls saved before Christ's
coming. Thus using their positions of importance in the service of God,
they called forth forgiveness from the parishioners hoping to escape the punishment that was only reserved for people not of the cloth.
remonstration with the SGI, we formed committees of representatives of
the membership within the organization to hold the leaders directly
accountable to the people. Please refer to the
following documents from the essay "Victorious America" for
a detailed outline of the plans and procedures to implement the empowerment of the
people at the grassroots level. We offer you our support and prayers for
your great victory.
People's Representative Committee
You may need to
refer to the Glossary for an
explanation of some unfamiliar terminology used in these essays.