For Catholics, let’s hope anniversary brings change

This letter is in response to the Feb. 24 Mirror article, “Reformation split narrows,” about Catholics celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation with speaker and preacher retired Lutheran Bishop Donald McCoid at First Lutheran Church in Altoona.

To truly celebrate the Reformation is to continue questioning why the Catholic Church upholds the supremacy of the pope and institutional hierarchy despite crimes of sexual abuse of children by priests with cover-up all the way to the Vatican.

According to historical documents, in 1519 Martin Luther denied the supremacy of the pope and declared that church councils could make mistakes. Notably, Luther was excommunicated in 1521.

While some religious institutions and governments have made major advances in the meaning of moral responsibilities consistent with kindness and caring, the exclusive male hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church refuses to do so.

Continuation of this indoctrination as matters of religion and faith, accompanied with vows of allegiance to a male hierarchy, has confused and compromised the moral judgment of many.

Nothing speaks more poignantly to this damning flaw than knowledge of court records of child sex abuse charges against Msgr. Francis McCaa being sealed by public officials out of fear of exposure.

A recent newspaper report on the release of records mentions Judge Patrick Kiniry’s Catholic background and quotes him as saying such things, “You have to understand, this is an extremely Catholic county (Cambria).”

In essence, the integrity of the court system was tragically submitted to and compromised by captivating religious indoctrination related to oppressive sexism, sexual discrimination and secrecy. This could be looked upon as a harmful psychological phenomena under the guise of religious freedom.

Sexual discrimination is against the law in the United States of America. Because the Vatican declares itself a sovereign independent city/state, Vatican City is in conflict and immune to U.S. law and has become a haven for those enabling sex-related crimes and cover-up.

As long as the hierarchical power of the Roman Catholic Church is dependent on sexism, sexual discrimination and vows of obedience to other men rather than understanding of non discriminatory moral virtue, the church will be a magnet for abuses and abusers.

Children and others unprepared or unable to distinguish or detach themselves from such false and contradictory indoctrination remain at risk to become victims. Reporting crime does not prevent crime.

Recognizing and eliminating factors contributing to crime has merit in preventing crime.

Let this 500th anniversary celebration of the Protestant Reformation in Altoona bring renewed courage to embrace needed changes from sexism, sexual discrimination and male supremacy in the Roman Catholic Church.

Etta Albright