Exposing Hidden Things

“Judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.” —I Corinthians 4:5

DURING THE LAST FEW years, the media has been publishing an occasional story of Roman Catholic priests being accused of scandalous behavior. Suddenly the news media is filled with more and more accounts of these incidents, shocking many people. A well-known periodical, the “U.S. News and World Report,” in its April 1, 2002 issue, had a front cover title, “Can The Church Save Its Soul?” and a subtitle, “As the scandal widens, shocked Catholics search for solutions.” In this issue there was a feature article entitled “Catholics In Crisis,” with the subheading, “With continued revelations of sex abuse scandals and coverups, the faithful look to the church for change.” What follows is a detailed account of the latest findings on the scandal. We publish here a summation in the pages of this story called “The Geography of Perversion.”


“The issue of sex abuse by priests first came to the nation’s attention in 1985, and there has been a steady stream of charges against the church ever since. Some of the major cases around the country:

“LOUISIANA—In one of the first nationally publicized priest sex scandals, Lafayette, La., parish priest Gilbert Gauthe was convicted in 1985 of abusing 37 boys two years after parents confronted the diocese. Local church officals had known about problems with Gauthe since the mid-1970s; their solution was to move him to another parish. Gauthe was eventually sentenced to 20 years in prison. Many of the victims received settlements from the church running into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, opening the way for victim lawsuits across the country.

“FLORIDA—Anthony J. O’Connell, the bishop of Palm Beach, resigned on March 8 after admitting he had sexually abused a teenage seminary student in Missouri in the 1970s. The seminary student said O’Connell took advantage of him sexually when he sought help after being molested by two other priests. The Missouri diocese settled a lawsuit for $125,000 in 1996, two years before O’Connell had been selected to serve in Palm Beach. He had been assigned to that diocese to help it heal after the resignation of Bishop Joseph Keith Symons, who admitted he had sexually molested five boys earlier in his career.

“MASSACHUSETTS—In January the Boston Globe revealed that Cardinal Bernard Law had moved the Rev. John Geoghan to another parish in 1984, even though he had been accused of molesting children. Geoghan, now 66, was eventually accused of molesting more than 130 children over 30 years. In February he was sentenced to 9 to 10 years in prison, and the church has agreed to pay up to $30 million to settle lawsuits.

“NEW MEXICO—Sexual-abuse settlements nearly drove the diocese of Santa Fe into bankruptcy in the early 1990s when a wave of cases resulted in payments of at least $50 million. Twenty priests were removed from the ministry, and 165 cases were settled. Not until late last year did the diocese finally clear its debts.

“TEXAS—After Dallas priest Rudolph Kos was convicted on seven counts of child abuse in 1984, a massive civil lawsuit against the diocese of Dallas resulted in a $31 million award to 11 plaintiffs, one of the largest in church history for an abuse case. The diocese had to sell and mortgage property to pay for the settlement.

“CONNECTICUT—The Hartford Courant published a report saying Cardinal Edward Egan reassigned priests accused of sexual abuse and did not report them to police when he was bishop of the diocese of Bridgeport, Conn. Today, Egan is archbishop of New York, one the most visible Catholic pulpits in America. The Bridgeport diocese settled a lawsuit against six priests and Cardinal Egan last year with a multimillion-dollar payout.

“CALIFORNIA—Former Santa Rosa youth minister Donald Kimball is currently on trial for allegedly raping a 14-year-old girl and molesting a 14-year-old girl more than two decades ago. In 2000, the diocese paid $1.6 million to four of Kimball’s victims.

“WASHINGTON, D.C.—The archbishop of Washington suspended 54-year-old priest Russell Dillard last week over sexual-misconduct allegations involving two teenage girls about 18 years ago.”


Another section in this feature article was entitled “The Pope breaks his virtual silence. But will he act?” It said:

“Cardinal Daro Castrilln Hoyos of Colombia was not pleased with the Vatican press corps. The stern, white-haired prelate had just read aloud the pope’s annual pre-Easter letter, which referred obliquely to a widening scandal that had cast ‘a dark shadow of suspicion’ over the priesthood. But when he opened the floor to questions at the Vatican news conference last week, reporters had but one line of inquiry: What concrete action was the Vatican taking in the growing sex-abuse crisis in the American church?

“The cardinal listened silently, his lips in a tight smile. Then, ignoring the individual queries, he read a sharply worded statement reminding the reporters of the Vatican’s policies and the pope’s pronouncements over the years designed to condemn and root out clergy sex abuse of children. ‘The church has never neglected the problem of sexual abuse, especially not those against minors,’ Castrilln Hoyos declared.

“For some, these were signs that the Vatican is, indeed, confronting the widening crisis. But for others, it was yet another indication that the Vatican still has not taken the matter seriously enough, considers it largely an American problem, and would prefer to do as little as possible about it. ‘The Vatican still has a false idea that silence is dignified,’ observed one American priest in Rome.


“Yet while the problem may once have been viewed by some as an American affliction, there’s little doubt now that it has become international. In Canada, the church now faces thousands of sex-abuse-related lawsuits stemming from years of government-funded, Catholic and Anglican-run residential schools that could cost several billion Canadian dollars to settle. In Mexico, nine men went public in 1997 with accusations that a prominent priest had sexually abused them when they were boys. In that case, the Vatican last year halted an official investigation into the charges against the Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado, head of the Legion of Christ order, without explanation. The powerful priest had insisted that the men had conspired to defame him.

“In Europe, nearly 30 French priests have been convicted of youth sexual abuse in the past decade. In Ireland, the church agreed last month to contribute $110 million to a settlement of about $400 million for people abused as children enrolled in church-run, state-funded schools from the 1940s to the 1970s. The roughly 3,000 victims accepting the package would have to agree to take no more legal action. And in the pope’s own homeland, Juliusz Paetz, the archbishop of Poznan, Poland, stands accused of sexually abusing seminarians and priests in his archdiocese. Meanwhile, in Africa, an international campaign to end violence against women called on the Vatican last year to address widespread abuse of nuns by priests. The Call to Accountability Campaign cited reports from 23 countries.

“In his statement last week, Castrilln Hoyos cited a ‘climate of pansexualism and sexual libertinism’ pervasive in the world that, he said, has contributed to ‘some’ priests’ having ‘committed the extremely grave crime of sexual abuse.’ Yet the laws of the church, he said, are ‘serious and strict’ and were conceived ‘within the apostolic tradition of handling internal matters internally.’ He pointed to new rules introduced last year whereby the Vatican’s powerful Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith now oversees all youth-sex-abuse investigations. That new policy, which was quietly disseminated among the bishops last spring but revealed publicly only in January, requires bishops to inform Rome and launch a local investigation at the first hint of such allegations involving a priest. But to protect the rights of the accused and the identities of victims, the rules provide for a secret ecclesiastical tribunal in Rome to handle these cases. Critics have charged that this is just another attempt to keep potential scandals under wraps. They note that American bishops asked the Vatican several years ago for greater authority to remove priests who refuse to step aside, without having to go through the church’s cumbersome canonical court system. So far, they have not received an answer.”

A summit meeting of two days during the week of April 22 was held by the Pope with the Cardinals. Nothing was decided. A summation of the meeting published by the Associated Press in Chicago on April 27, 2002, said:

“Cardinal Francis George returned home Saturday from an extraordinary meeting with the pope still unconvinced that a ‘zero-tolerance’ policy is the best way to deal with priests who have abused children.

“American cardinals returned from meetings at the Vatican with differing views of Pope John Paul II’s get-tough policy to deal with the church’s sex abuse scandal.

“‘If people want one strike and you’re out, we’ll have to do that,’ George, head of the Chicago archdiocese, said at O’Hare International Airport after stepping off a plane. ‘Personally, I don’t think we should do that without asking a few more questions.’

“George and other cardinals had stopped in Philadelphia to attend a university fund-raiser on their way back from Rome.

“They plan to meet again in Dallas in June to map out a national policy to handle sex abuse cases.

“Before then, George said he will meet with various groups about this issue.

“At least two cardinals, Theodore McCarrick of Washington and Roger Mahony of Los Angeles, have said they believe the pope advocated a zero-tolerance policy—that any priest guilty of even one act of sexual abuse of a minor would be removed.

“But George and Cardinal Edward Egan of New York say they aren’t sure that’s what the pope intended.

“The Vatican meeting was called to address the scandal. At least 174 priests suspected of molesting minors have either resigned or been taken off duty in 28 states and the District of Columbia since January.”


Bible Students have known that a respected religious church which would have much influence in world affairs, and would be involved with the heads (kings) of nations during the Gospel Age, would be mentioned in prophecy. In Jeremiah there is prophesied the destruction of Babylon. This is not the literal city, or country, of Babylon but a title given to a church system. It says, “Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the Lord’s vengeance; he will render unto her a recompence. Babylon hath been a golden cup in the Lord’s hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad. Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed. We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country: for her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies.” (Jer. 51:6-9) We note that Babylon is ‘suddenly fallen,’ that she once was ‘a golden cup’ in the hand of the Lord, that she might be healed, that she made all nations drunken, and that she is not to be healed, but judged instead. Babylon is being used as a symbol of a system highly respected (a golden cup in the hand of the Lord), and what she offers to the nations may appear for that reason to come from the Lord. Instead, her wine (doctrines) makes the nations drunken.

When we see that same symbolism used in the Book of Revelation, and she is described in Revelation 17:1-5 as one who is involved with the kings of earth and makes the nations drunk with her wine, while holding a golden cup in her hand, we are not surprised to see her clearly labeled as Babylon. (vs. 5) In Revelation 18 her judgment is revealed, and as predicted by Jeremiah, the angel (messenger) of the Lord, says she “is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” (vs. 2) It is clear that honest, God-fearing believers in Christ are in her congregations because the prophecy plainly says “Come out of her, my people.” (vs. 4) The revelation of unclean and hateful birds being there at the same time is now coming to light. The healing of the wrongs could be made by being decisive about the wrongs and immediate removal of perpetrators. The lack of decisiveness, however, is evident, and Babylon is not to be healed.


Many in the church have made the observation that forced celibacy is a basic problem of the present crisis and should be eliminated. The clergy in the early church were not celibate. The Apostle Paul was given revelations of many future events and wrote “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.” (I Tim. 4:1-3, New International Version). How accurately this foreknowledge given to Paul was fulfilled can be seen in a short summary of how celibacy came to be a part of the church’s rules as published in the news media —Idaho Statesman on April 28, 2002, from the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

“Catholic priests weren’t always single men - not even in biblical times.

“Celibacy was enforced only around the twelfth century, which means it has been in effect for about half the history of the Roman Catholic Church.

“Before then, there were celibate priests, monks and monastic popes—but not as a rule across the church worldwide. Celibacy comes from a potent mix of spiritual, social and political forces.

“‘It’s the idea of being separate from the secular world,’ said theologian Ed Sunshine of Miami Shores, an associate professor of theology at Barry University. ‘A celibate clergy became the paradigm of separation from the sinful world.’

“The New Testament clearly indicates that Peter—known to Catholics as the first pope—was a married man. Other disciples are believed to have been married.

“In the Bible, celibacy sounds optional. Jesus said some men ‘have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.’

“Celibacy became an issue in a theological battle between early Christians and the Manicheans, whose metaphysical sect saw spiritual things as superior to the physical. That meant rejecting marriage, because bearing children amounted to ‘bringing material into the world,’ Sunshine said.

“The Christian response was that marriage was good, but celibacy was better. Spanish clerics called for ban on clerical marriage in 300, but it was rejected in the landmark Council of Nicea in 325, according to the “HarperCollins Encyclopedia of Catholicism.”

“By the Middle Ages, several situations converged to make celibacy more attractive.

“Families politicked for control of the papacy. Priests started to bequeath church property to their children. Kings and nobles bankrolled parishes and rectories, trying to wield influence over clergy. Celibacy was one answer to these stresses, according to A.W. Richard Sipe, a psychotherapist and author of the 1995 book “Sex, Priests and Power: The Anatomy of Crisis.”

“‘The question at the time was who is the final power—the king or the church,’ said Sipe, a former priest. ‘If (the church) could control a person’s sex life, it could control their money, their employment, their benefice.’

“So in the eleventh century Pope Gregory VII banned clerical marriage, a reform that was set in stone a century later. The matter came up again during the Reformation, but the Council of Trent upheld celibacy.

“In today’s Catholic Church, celibacy is classified not as a dogma, but simply a ‘discipline’ or regulation. That means the pope could change it overnight if he wished. However, no one expects John Paul II to make celibacy optional, since he has more than once spoken out in favor of it.”

Again we note that the removal of celibacy as mandatory for the clergy could assist in healing Babylon but is not likely to come and Babylon cannot be healed. If it should come, it would be too late to be effective.

What is important to the Lord’s people is that another sign of our Lord’s presence is being revealed. The Apostle Paul plainly said in our text, ‘Judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and will make manifest the counsels of the heart.’ (I Cor. 4:5) The widespread exposure of matters which the church’s hierarchy tried to cover up is a clear indication that our Lord has come. More important to us is that he has come to claim his bride and to rule in his kingdom for which we have been earnestly praying. Soon the prophetic words will be fulfilled, “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.”—Rev. 19:7

Dawn Bible Students Association
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