Pope Francis. | Wiki­media Commons

The Catholic Church is not immune to the secular world and its accom­pa­nying evils, and the recent sexual abuse scandal within the Church’s Penn­syl­vania Diocese proves this. But rather than turn away from the church, faithful Chris­tians should con­sider this trial a blessing.

Over the past few weeks, a grand jury’s inves­ti­gation revealed that more than 300 priests abused innocent children, or helped cover the abuse up. This is an embar­rassment that mirrors the 2002 Boston sexual mis­conduct dis­grace. One scandal, let alone two, is mor­ti­fying, incon­ceivable, and faith-shat­tering for many Catholics. Some seek to rectify the church’s sins through 40-Day fasts while others throw in the towel and leave the Church com­pletely. In fact, one year after the Boston scandal, Catholic Church atten­dance was down 14 percent. And it’s easy to see why — placing your faith in men will only result in heartache, doubt, and anger. Man is flawed, and anyone who says dif­fer­ently should look no further than the Church and its pit­falls.

But, oddly enough, this heart­breaking scandal could be a blessing to society. After the Boston scandal, Catholics expe­ri­enced a strength­ening of con­viction, despite lower Church atten­dance. The gruesome display of sexual deviancy helped de-nor­malize the Sexual Rev­o­lution, reverting its ever present influence at that time. The Sexual Rev­o­lution, which began in the 1970s, threatened the Church in perhaps a much greater way than corrupt, per­verted priests ever could — it ques­tioned the very doc­trines on which the Church stands. If left to itself, this tidal wave of “accep­tance” and “free thinking” could have led to the open approval of every form of sexual ori­en­tation, including pedophilia and ped­erasty.

In 1993, rela­tion­ships between grown men and young boys were on the rise. The North American Man/Boy Love Asso­ci­ation gained such momentum at this time that prominent poet and philosopher Allen Ginsberg did more than just vocally support the group — he joined it. And in 1998, sci­entist Bruce Rind released a study attempting to prove that child sexual abuse did not have lasting, harmful effects on the children.

After Boston, the media, rev­eling in the opportune moment to dis­credit the Catholic Church, came out in full force. But by attacking the church for its grossly unac­ceptable rela­tion­ships between priests and children, the media was forced to condemn ped­erasty and pedophilia. It was a beau­tiful conundrum that helped dis­credit the phi­losophy of “accep­tance.”

Now, 16 years later, the church is once again wrestling with the hor­rendous crimes of our priests: The abuse of power and sex­u­ality. And once again, society is falling into the trap of tol­erance by making way for all forms of sexual ori­en­tation. In fact, the accep­tance of sexual devi­a­tions isn’t just encouraged, it’s cel­e­brated. A Pedantic-roman­ti­cising movie “Call Me By Your Name” is a fron­trunner among Oscar nom­i­na­tions. A recent TedX Talk given by Mirjam Heine claimed pedophilia is an “unchangeable sexual ori­en­tation” and should be accepted as such. And nor­mally reliable sources like the Harvard Mental Health Letter attempted to make the same claim in 2010.

Catholics should hope and pray the media once again sets out to destroy Catholicism’s image, because in doing so, they will denounce the ongoing accep­tance of ped­erasty and pedophilia, just as they did after the Boston scandal.

And as dif­ficult as it might be to see the Catholic faith dragged through the mud, let it be a reminder to faithful Catholics: If we put our faith in the faulty foun­dation of men — be it priests, bishops, or the Pope — we will con­sis­tently be let down. And if Catholics can remember that, then scandals like this will serve as a beau­tiful oxy­moron that can strengthen our faith. We must look past the faults of man to see the hand of God in this, and in every, sit­u­ation.

Tess Ens is a sophomore studying eco­nomics.