Fr. Thomas Reeese recently noted the double standard that Hollywood holds for its own and for others (especially adherents of the Catholic Faith):
"Imagine if the Knight of Columbus decided to give an award to a pedophile priest who had fled the country to avoid prison. The outcry would be universal. Victim groups would demand the award be withdrawn and that the organization apologize. Religion reporters would be on the case with the encouragement of their editors. Editorial writers and columnist would denounce the knights as another example of the insensitivity of the Catholic Church to sexual abuse.My own take on this is that there should be a double standard. No really, there should be!
"And they would all be correct. And I would join them.
"But why is there not similar outrage directed at the film industry for giving an award to Roman Polanski, who not only confessed to statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl but fled the country prior to sentencing? Why have film critics and the rest of the media ignored this case for 31 years? He even received an Academy award in 2003. Are the high priests of the entertainment industry immune to criticism?"
HT: Roman Catholic Blog
Priests should be held to a higher standard than everyone else. We call these men by the most intimate title in the world: "Father." They are present for all the most important events of our lives: birth, adolescence, marriage, sickness, and death. Catholic priests are called to sanctify the faithful through Word and Sacrament and thus we rightly expect for them to live holy lives. Priests are celibate to show their sacrificial commitment to the Church. They have volunteered to live public lives as "stewards of the mysteries" (1 Cor 4:1). Saint Paul did literally everything he could do "that all men might be saved" (1 Cor 10:33).
I'm not arguing for anything touching the Donatist heresy - that the ministry and efficacy of the priestly ministry depends on the moral excellence of priests. No, all priests are sinners and fail to a certain extent. Yet, they are given graces and called to be exemplars, even to speak "in the person of Christ" when they celebrate the Holy Eucharist.
I'm growing tired of people complaining about the "Catholic profiling" at the airport that caught the Canadian bishop with child pornography. Shame on him. A child predator should not be a shepherd. This bishop should have resigned from the ministry at the very first moment he became entagled in this sin. A Catholic bishop (!) became part of the terrible machine that exploits children, robs them their innocence, and uses them up for vile and perverted pleasure...and we have the nerve to respond, "Yeah, but teachers, rock stars, and Hollywood directors do it, so..."
I pray for this bishop, but he exploited children...children! He became part of the problem, and he has undercut the apostolic and ministerial efforts of the entire Church. Let's pray for him. Let's not treat him as destined for Hell. But let's not ask the world to hold our hierarchy to the same moral standard that the world holds for Hollywood directors. They rightly expect bishops, priests, and all Christians to live a life that mirrors the love of Christ.