An Illinois Catholic bishop said he thinks the Catholic Church has handled its multiple sexual abuse scandals better than any other institution in the world would have, and that a hostility against Catholics is rising in the U.S.
In a recent interview, Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield, Ill., warned that the media is at fault for the anti-Christian sentiment in America, according to the Washington Times Communities.
He said he thinks the Catholic Church has been responsible and that people are still attacking it unfairly, according to Wonkette.com.
“I would venture to say that of any institution in the country – perhaps in the world – I don’t think anyone is dealing with (sexual abuse scandals) as responsibly as the Catholic Church has,” Paprocki said. “So public figures like that continue to point their finger at the Catholic Church and say you have a problem with sexual abuse and people are ignoring where most sexual abuse is taking place. It’s occurring in families. It’s occurring in schools.”
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He added that he thinks people are trying to label sexual abuse as “a Catholic problem.”
“There is a lot of sexual abuse that is taking place and needs to be addressed,” he said. “This lets people too easily off the hook to say that, oh, that’s a Catholic problem…. If people are really serious about sexual abuse, I think they need to be looking at some other places as well.”
The bishop compared the persecution he thinks Catholics face today to the issues they faced in ancient times.
“We (Christians) find ourselves now – just in this short period of time - where the early Christians found themselves in the Roman Empire. So the church in 2,000 years, we started out as being a persecuted faith, with Constantine being an accepted established faith, then for centuries, kind of moving in that direction that had this close relationship between the secular world’s values and Judeo-Christian values,” Paprocki said.
He said he thinks current society is moving far away from Christian culture.
“And now I think we are moving in a direction that – not only is it more than secular – it’s a rejection. It’s an outright rejection [of Judeo-Christian values]. It’s a pagan kind of a culture,” he said.
To respond to his perceived shift in society’s view of Catholicism, he said Christians will have to adjust to the situation.
“We (Christians) have to mentally adjust. I know it is an adjustment for me because – and I assume for many other people as well - because I grew up in this country at a time when the values in our secular world mirrored the values of the religious world,” Paprocki said. “And I think what’s happening now is that relationship – that symbiosis between our culture and the church - has been ruptured.