Skip to comments.Pope takes action: Cardinals ordered to Vatican over scandal
Posted on 04/16/2002 8:54:13 AM PDT by history_matters
Eight American cardinals, some of them under siege in the wake of the spiraling sexual abuse scandal, have been ordered to an extraordinary meeting with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican next week to discuss the exploding tempest.
``I can't think of anything exactly like it,'' said Avery Cardinal Dulles, a theologian at Fordham University in New York and one of the foremost authorities on Catholic church history. ``I don't remember any case where he's called the cardinals and bishops together (but) prompt action is needed at the present time to restore public confidence.''
Mitchell Garabedian, a lawyer representing victims of convicted former priest John Geoghan and other alleged clergy offenders, said the session shows how ``widespread'' the problem is in the United States. He said the meeting has also been encouraging for some victims.
``The recognition by the pope of sexual abuse by priests helps relieve some individuals of guilt and at the same time restores some dignity,'' he said.
David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said he and other victims were ``encouraged'' by the meeting but he was pessimistic that anything could come from it.
``We are encouraged that the Vatican is taking greater interest in this horrific problem,'' he said in a statement. ``It is hard to be hopeful about the meeting's outcome, however, since these same men are the ones who largely got us into this terrible situation.''
The meeting, with clerical sexual misconduct as the sole agenda item, will take place next Tuesday and Wednesday between the pope, Vatican officials and the eight U.S. archbishops, including Bernard Cardinal Law.
In addition to Law, the meeting will include Roger Cardinal Mahony of Los Angeles, Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua of Philadelphia, William Cardinal Keeler of Baltimore, Adam Cardinal Maida of Detroit, Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I. of Chicago, Edward Cardinal Egan of New York and Theodore Cardinal McCarrick of Washington, D.C.
The top two officials from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops - Bishop Wilton Gregory, the president, and Bishop William Skylstad, the vice president - also will attend, conference spokeswoman Sister Mary Ann Walsh said.
Maida said in a statement that convening the princes of the church will be beneficial to the reeling hierarchy as the list of allegations and victims grows at a mind-numbing pace.
``Bringing together this level of Church leadership in Rome on this most serious issue is the right move at the right time,'' said Maida. ``So much is happening so fast in various dioceses around the United States and elsewhere, that I welcome this opportunity to be able to reflect and react in this collegial setting.''
The crisis has grown exponentially since the beginning of the year as new revelations pour out. In Boston, Law has gone into seclusion after announcing he was remaining as archbishop despite a thickening body of evidence that he shuffled several admitted pedophile priests around and gave letters commending them for their service to the archdiocese.
Egan is also facing a storm of criticism for his handling of accused clerics while he was archbishop in Connecticut, including an allegation that he covered up for a priest who fathered a child by a 14-year-old girl. Mahony is also coming under fire for similar allegations of covering up accusations against sexually abusive priests while he was in Stockton, Calif.
Sources told the Herald last week that Law, the most senior prelate in the United States, offered his resignation to the pope but was rebuffed because his ouster could lead to a domino effect that would force out others.
Stephen J. Pope, chairman of the theology department at Boston College, said the meeting is historical in its short notice and single agenda. In 1989, American bishops were summoned for a meeting on teachings contrary to church views and bishops from Holland were called to the carpet in 1981 for a similar incident.
Pope speculated the meeting could be about ``personnel issues'' such as Law's resignation and what it means for the Catholic church in the United States. He said normally cardinal conclaves have months of lead time for preparation and reflection.
Dulles is one of five American cardinals who were not invited, but he said the focus of the meeting is for those cardinals who actively oversee archdioceses to hammer out a uniform response to the widening scandal.
``American bishops want a little more ability to deal with the question than canon law gives them at this time,'' Dulles told the Herald in a telephone interview yesterday.
Dulles, who was elevated to cardinal last year and shares many of the pope's conservative philosophies on church teachings, said the scandal is an American media creation that does not rise to the level of historical church crises such as the Gregorian revolution in the 12th century or the Protestant reformation of the 16th century.
``I don't think this is anything of comparable proportions,'' he said. ``I don't think there's any great crisis in the U.S . . . It's really practically no news. To the extent it's a crisis, it's created by the news media. I suppose every individual case is terrible but it is not something peculiar to the Catholic church.''
BC's Pope called Dulles' observation ``stunning'' and said it could reflect John Paul's feelings, given the two share similar views.
``That is profoundly out of touch with what ordinary Catholics are thinking,'' said Pope. ``There's a very deep emotional level of anger and depression. If that's the way the Vatican is thinking, there's a very big problem.''
FYI, and God bless.
The correct for of address for Archbishop Montalvo is: "The Most Rev. Gabriele Montalvo." The correct salutation is "Your Exellency;" and the complimentary close is "Asking the Your Exellency's blessing, I am, Yours respectfully, (Name)."
Uh-oh. This isn't the East/West schism or the Protestant revolution, but it's much more than "practically no news."
BC's Pope called Dulles' observation ``stunning'' and said it could reflect John Paul's feelings, given the two share similar views.
I have to agree. The scandal is the cover-up. And it's an institution-wide cover-up which is what makes the scandal truly stunning.
It took several decades to wreck the American seminaries and universities. I suspect it will take decades of effort to undo the damage, and then only if there is the will to do it. Except for the current Pope, I don't see many bishops with the stomach for purging the ranks of homosexuals and modernist clergy.
True enough...but perhaps there are several who won't be coming home. There has to be accountability...and if it means that every bishop in the country has to resign, so be it. the Bishop's Conference would fight the Holy Father on taht one but I really believe the people would be squarely with him. The American bishops have been in unannounced schism for 20 years now...it's time to get this out in the open.
[Avery Cardinal Dulles, a theologian at Fordham University in New York and one of the foremost authorities on Catholic church history,] who was elevated to cardinal last year and shares many of the pope's conservative philosophies on church teachings, said the scandal is an American media creation that does not rise to the level of historical church crises such as the Gregorian revolution in the 12th century or the Protestant reformation of the 16th century. ``I don't think this is anything of comparable proportions,'' he said. ``I don't think there's any great crisis in the U.S . . . It's really practically no news. To the extent it's a crisis, it's created by the news media. I suppose every individual case is terrible but it is not something peculiar to the Catholic church.''As much as I admire Cardinal Dulles, I concur with Stephen Pope. If Dulles is any indication, the Vatican is really out of touch with the severity of the problem.
[Stephen J. Pope, chairman of the theology department at Boston College,] called Dulles' observation ``stunning'' and said it could reflect John Paul's feelings, given the two share similar views. ``That is profoundly out of touch with what ordinary Catholics are thinking,'' said Pope. ``There's a very deep emotional level of anger and depression. If that's the way the Vatican is thinking, there's a very big problem.''
Of course, in reality, Dulles is a theological "liberal," but to a journalist, the fact that he's also not a heretic makes him a "conservative," and also means he's indifferent to human suffering.
A spokesman for Pope John Paul II was quoted Sunday in The New York Times, reacting to child sex abuse scandals that have rocked the Roman Catholic Church in New England. The pope's spokesman, Dr. Joaquin Navarro-Valls, focused his comments on gays, saying that "people with these inclinations just cannot be ordained."
Navarro-Valls also compared a gay man becoming a priest to a gay man marrying a woman while unaware that he is gay, according to the Times article. Just as such a marriage could be annulled as invalid, the ordination of a gay priest also might be considered invalid, Navarro-Valls was quoted as saying.
Obviously, the repeated refrain from the US hierarchy has been to deny the reality of this situation.
Bishop Wilton Gregory, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has said that "This is not s homosexual problem."
This has been repeated by Cardinal Mahony as well as other bishops and priests across the USA, in lock-step unison with the refusal of the US media to point out the obvious, that the vast majority of these cases are cases of Chickenhawking.
I think this meeting will be to force the US hierarchy to address the root of the problem: The homosexuals in the priesthood and intransigence of the hierarchy in refusing to admit it, let alone deal with it.
Make no mistake. What happened is a crime and justice demands to be served. What was done to these kids and their families was an attack on their humanity and a betrayal of the first order because of the cover of religion.
The men who perpetrated this abuse should burn in hell, but that's not our job. That comes later. Our responsibility is to prosecute. Find the men, prove them guilty and jail them. And by the way, that also applies to the hierarchy which in too many cases aided and abetted this criminal, homosexual abuse of children.
This isn't pedophilia the abuse of young children nor is it "sexual abuse" because very few girls are victims. Most of these cases involve prepubescent boys and teen-agers. No matter how you cut it, we're talking homosexual abuse.
The media are avoiding those words but you can't ignore it. The cascade of accusations and evidence is overwhelming. Religion mustn't protect crimes.
For too long, the "fox" (the hierarchy) has been guarding the "hen houses" (the parishes), protecting the "hawks" (the criminal priests).
Any farmer worth his salt, knows that's a prescription for disaster. And that's exactly what's hit the Church. God help us.
Amen. I think that the Holy See is doing the right thing. I honestly believe that he has been strongly guided by the Holy Spirit during his tenure as Leader of Christ's Church on Earth, and I believe that he will be guided in doing what needs to be done.
I think that us faithful, particularly since we have been loyal to our Pope, need to remember that whatever happens, we don't know everything. The Pope's actions may or may not seem strange to us when he does act next week, and ultimately, we may not even know about all of the decisions and directives. We need to have great faith in our Lord, Jesus Christ, to guide His leader on earth to do what is best for the Church and her people.
Like children, we don't always know what is good for us, but our loving parents do. We need to remember that our Father in Heaven loves us infinitely more than we can comprehend, infinitely more than our parents love us, and infinitely more than we love our own children. Knowing I would die to protect my own children, the knowledge of God's love is even more humbling.
If he really said that (can you source it for me?) this man is either too stupid or too dishonest to continue in his position.
Outside of Rome, some things come clear, And one is growing crisis of leadership
The U.S. church is experiencing a leadership vacuum that, so far, no American prelate has been capable of filling.
Im currently moving across the United States, lecturing with my colleague Robert Blair Kaiser of Newsweek, and speaking to groups of NCR readers in various cities. These sessions are a terrific opportunity to get back in touch with how American Catholics are thinking and feeling about issues in the church.
(The rarified air in Rome can cloud ones perceptions. This became clear at my first appearance in New York, when I caught myself making casual references to the Apostolic Signatura and the Roman Rota as if they were the Yankees and the Mets. The blank faces told me I had been away too long).
The current scandals concerning sexual abuse by priests are, of course, much on peoples minds. As I talk with Catholics in various parts of the country, listening to their concerns and trying to think through the implications of their questions, it is becoming steadily more clear to me that we are facing two interlocking crises at once.
One concerns the sexual misconduct of a small number of priests. Some have tried to link this crisis to debates over clerical celibacy, women priests and homosexuality, though in each case I find the connection tenuous. These are worthy themes to discuss, but none of them explains sexual abuse, nor would proposed reforms in any of these areas solve the problem.
The other crisis is the administrative malfeasance of some bishops when accusations of abuse surface. Bishops have covered up the problem, paid the equivalent of hush money, and shuffled abuser priests from assignment to assignment long after they should have known better. This second crisis is not one of sexuality, but of leadership. It is not about theology, psychology or sexual maturity, but of how the managerial class in the church exercises authority, and to whom they are accountable.
In fairness, it should be noted that the failure to aggressively weed out abuser priests has been, in some cases, a vice born of excessive virtue. Reading through the documentation in Boston concerning Fr. Paul Shanley, one is struck by the lengths to which his supervisors went to give him second, third and fourth chances. They praised him for his positive contributions and struggled to find a place for him despite reservations about both his doctrinal views and his personal conduct. It was a kind of compassion, a desire to prop up a struggling member of the clerical club, that in its own way was commendable. Like all forms of tribal morality, however, its blindness was in failing to extend the same compassion and support to those outside the clerical ranks above all, to those who claimed to have been abused by Shanley, and to those who might be abused by him in the future.
It would also be unfair to suggest that every American bishop has been deaf, dumb and blind in the teeth of the present crisis. Wilton Gregory, president of the U.S. bishops conference, set an example of plain talk, calling the failure of the Jefferson City, Mo., diocese to disclose past sexual abuse by the Rev. Anthony J. OConnell before his promotion to bishop a travesty. Archbishop John Foley, an American who heads the Pontifical Council for Social Communications in Rome, has said bluntly that candor must drive the churchs response.
Yet these gestures, welcome as they are, have not been enough to restore public confidence. A Washington Post survey published April 7 revealed that 52 percent disapprove of the way church leaders have responded to the sex abuse crisis, with 45 percent strongly disapproving. A majority was either dissatisfied (34 percent) or angry (36 percent) over the churchs response.
The U.S. church is experiencing a leadership vacuum that, so far, no American prelate has been capable of filling.
In light of this situation, many Catholics are asking some very basic questions about how bishops are selected and held accountable. They wonder why these nominations are made in secret in Rome, why the local community doesnt play more of a role in identifying its own leaders.
Under the current system, the papal nuncio is supposed to solicit input about potential nominees from the community, but how reliable this consultation is depends upon the nuncio. Sometimes the process works. Under Archbishop Jean Jadot, nuncio in the United States from 1973 to 1980, consultation was generally meaningful. Jadot would ask the interim administrator of a diocese to carry out extensive surveys of priests, deacons and laity, ranking the needs of the diocese and identifying men who could meet them. Based on this input, the quality of Jadot appointments tended to be high.
The fact that papal appointment of bishops can work, however, does not mean it has to work that way. A quick review of church history makes the point.
In the early church, three parties shared in the process: the laity of the local church, the clergy, and the bishops of the region. The third century text Apostolic Tradition by Hippolytus, for example, says that a bishop is to be chosen by all the people and that this selection is to be approved by assembled priests and bishops. Most bishops in the early Christian centuries were selected this way, such as St. Augustine.
In the Eastern church, this quasi-democratic process was gradually monopolized by the bishops of an ecclesiastical province, meeting in a body called a synod. The Orthodox still choose their bishops by the vote of a synod.
In the West, feudalism concentrated power to appoint bishops in the hands of secular lords. The investiture struggle launched by popes such as Gregory VII in the early Middle Ages was designed to secure the independence of local churches in naming bishops. As church historian Capuchin Fr. William Henn has pointed out, direct papal appointment actually runs counter to the Gregorian reform, which promoted the freedom of local churches in picking their own bishops. (A wonderful book for readers interested in the topic is Henns The Honor of My Brothers, from Crossroad).
By the time of the Council of Trent (1545-1563), three methods of selecting bishops were widely used in the West: nomination by the king or other secular authority, election by priests of a diocese, often in a gathering called a cathedral chapter, and papal appointment. Of the three forms, nomination by the secular government was by far the most common. While the pope retained a right to confirm the choice, this was largely pro-forma.
As late as the middle 1800s, direct papal appointment of diocesan bishops outside the papal states territories in the middle of Italy ruled directly by the Vatican were rare. In 1829, when Pope Leo XII died, there were 646 diocesan bishops in the Latin rite church; 555 had been appointed by the state, 67 elected by cathedral chapters, and only 24 appointed by the pope.
The infant U.S. church during this period observed the custom of clerical election of bishops. In 1789, Pius VI recognized John Carroll of Baltimore as the first American bishop, ratifying the vote of local clergy.
Would a return to the tradition of local selection of bishops promote greater accountability on matters such as the supervision of troubled priests? Arguably. In a church whose leadership class is conditioned to take the local community alongside Rome as its point of reference, there might well be more attention to local, not just papal, priorities.
Of course, in the context of the priest shortage, there is a shrinking talent pool from which to find bishops, and no method of selection is likely to produce perfect appointments. It is also true that local election of bishops in the ancient church sometimes led to gridlock, as various factions disagreed violently, and this could happen again. And, finally, it is true that in some places, direct papal appointment is the only guarantee of independence from governments hostile to the church (China is the most obvious case in point).
Despite this complexity, two points seem clear. One is that the debate over how to hold bishops accountable to their people will continue; I hear little else these days from American Catholics. I expect the momentum to restore a stronger local role in the nomination process will be considerable.
The other is that this debate poses no insuperable problems of doctrine or tradition. Church history offers multiple examples of how bishops have been selected, so it is a question of prudential judgment. On this issue, at least, Catholics can challenge the status quo without fear of theological reproach.
* * *
Last week I made reference to the Good Friday homily delivered in St. Peters Basilica by the preacher of the papal household, Capuchin Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa. A Capuchin friend wrote to point out that Cantalamessas homily can be found on-line at http://www.ofmcap.org/inglese/rc290302en.htm. Im happy to recommend it.
If anyone doubts that Christianity must never be run like a democracy, one need look no further than the moral ruin that is mainstream protestantism.
March 29, 2002 8:45 a.m.
The Culture of Dissent
A Good Friday meditation.
fter a daily diet of sexual-abuse scandals, American Catholics came into Good Friday this year with a new way of observing Lent: mortification, shame, and the bitter herbs of public humiliation.
But also with a powerful conviction that "dissent" has failed. Okay, there was a sexual revolution; okay, there is a "new morality." Problem is, had the old morality been followed, there would be no scandals, which so many now suffer from.
Child abuse comes not from celibacy nor vows of chastity. Neither women priests nor married clergy make it go away just examine the record of churches that have gone that route.
And yet, notwithstanding those facts, every day's news brings further mortification, and shame, and reasons to trust in God's mercy, beyond human weaknesses. The knives of pain twisting in the hearts of victims, and the silent rage within their families, makes one pray that God's grace will overflow in them, in recompense.
The sexual revolution of the past generation was a rocky time. I edited the reflections of a dozen Catholic couples during the turbulence of those years in The Experience of Marriage.
I remember also some wonderful priest friends of ours discovering that they were gay in orientation. Intelligent, full of life, compassionate, intense about their work with the poor, excited for their Church, some of them have stayed faithful, chaste, celibate and fruitful in their long labors, and I salute them with gratitude and admiration.
From about 1970 many of us heard rumors of a different "lavender mafia," practicing and active homosexuals among the Catholic clergy, now in their fifties and older even in some seminaries. According to Garry Wills, reviewing a recent book about the Jesuits, a proportion of this nation's Jesuits of that generation, now "gay and graying," may have fit those rumors. Amazingly, this pattern has been so accepted in some quarters that it has put heterosexuals on the defensive.
Over the years, we read notices of more and more priests dying of AIDS. Untimely deaths, of formerly handsome and healthy men wasting, and swiftly gone.
Men have never been angels and from time immemorial one has heard, as well, about a few priests seducing women, or being easily seduced. Yet that phenomenon has, so far, not been lately in the news.
Rather, one of the striking facts, well known among the journalists who have been covering the Catholic sexual scandal for the past three months or more, is that nearly all the victims (on the order of 95+ percent) have been teenage males. Exceedingly few are girls.
In Boston, for instance, of the 80 or so priests of whom during the past 40 years abuse has been alleged, only two or three are charged with pedophilic acts. That is not the impression that the Boston Globe trumpeted in its campaign about a "crisis of priestly pedophilia."
Nonetheless, favorable as the Globe generally is to homosexual behavior, and insistent that the Boy Scouts allow gay leaders to work with boys, it was no doubt salutary (if terribly painful) for the Globe and other media to hold the Catholic Church to a different standard, Catholic teaching. For if the erring priests had followed that teaching, there would have been no scandal.
The reason the American Church today stands accused of hypocrisy is that it has been teaching one thing (semper fidelis for two millennia), while in that deeply conflicted generation ordained during the Sixties and Seventies (hit simultaneously by Vatican II and the sexual revolution) a small but significant body of its priests including some bishops has been flagrantly violating that teaching.
That traditional teaching holds that our bodies are holy, the temples of the Holy Spirit, the physical manifestation of our personalities and of the graces poured out on us through the sacraments. We are embodied souls; every part is body, every part is soul, there is no dualism here. Our persons have been anointed. Our persons are sacramental. These teachings, exemplified in the life of Christ, are the ground of Catholic thinking both about loving sexuality in marriage and about the fire that gives celibacy its beauty, the purposive struggle for purity of heart.
To engage our bodies in sinful acts, which slap the face of God and pierce anew His wounds upon the cross, is a kind of blasphemy. It is a dreadful misuse of sanctified bodies, bodies united in the Eucharist with Christ's own. These acts wound the holiness of a partner, destroy innocence, breed contempt and anger, awaken hatred for God. They are especially horrible to contemplate when they have injured the unspoiled and trusting young.
How can people who studied long and prayed hard before taking vows turn in such a direction, in some cases habitually and nearly hardened in it, with a full-scale ideology to rationalize it? How can that happen?
It could not have happened without a culture of "dissent," especially regarding the theology of the human body. Its partisans call it "dissent," which of itself is a healthy thing within a loyal brotherhood, but in its recent American form has been a sullen, silent rebellion, a separation of the heart from the leadership of those popes that followed the greatly loved and much-misinterpreted John XXIII (d. 1963). Paul VI and John Paul II have been the butt of the progressives' ire. "I think the Church is being governed by thugs," one Jesuit is quoted as dismissing them.
That culture has at its heart a teaching of contempt for "Rome." The church, it broadcast, is an archaic medieval institution out of touch with modernity, especially in its teachings on human sexuality. On contraception, first of all, then on abortion, then its (alleged) fear and hatred of the human body, then its (alleged) misogyny, then its exclusion of women from the priesthood and its (allegedly) oppressive patriarchy. "The whole thing is rotten."
What we need, the "dissenting" ideology continued, is a more "human" church, more "expressive," more "spontaneous," more "free." More sensual. More sexual. "We dissenters are the liberators!" Those others, the foolish benighted ones, are holdovers from the medieval past, relics, doomed to disappear. They have already been discarded, although they are too dumb to know it.
So the rationalization went.
That culture has not been strong in criticizing its own premises. What other organization in history, for instance, has placed vast responsibilities in the hands of women who led far-flung international organizations (religious orders), were the chief executives of major hospitals, and ran major colleges and universities? In which other historical organization had women so many roles open to them? Or were there so many first-rate scholars, musicians, artists, heroines and doctors of the church?
THE IDEOLOGY OF REBELLION
This rebellion has also colored other areas of recent Catholic life.
Mass itself mere "rubrics" began to be treated by those hardened to a new way of life as some medieval ritual, barely to be nodded toward. Forgetting the "mumbo-jumbo," the "Real Presence," the actual corpus Christi held between the priest's fingers, the "dissenters" focused their attention on a more important thing, "fellowship," "the experience of community," the breaking down of "self-centered, ascetic individualism."
Best of all for them were "dance" and "celebration," "joy" and "fun." Pinks and blues, pastels, all around the altar. A celebration of modernity. "You are all good people. Give yourself a hand!" We understand; Rome doesn't get it. When this Polish throwback goes, the new church we have been awaiting all our lives will at last arrive.
Accusing the Church in Rome of misogyny, sins against the equality of women, patriarchy, hardness of heart, and narrowness of mind, "dissenters" felt morally superior to "conservatives."
In moral theology, their rationalization went like this: The crucial point in Christian life is to love God with all your heart, but in a pure, modern way. Individual acts are neither good nor bad. Intention makes them so. Particular acts are just steps you have to take, one by one, sometimes on a rock, sometimes in the mud. The important thing is to keep your eyes straight ahead, your will focused on the one main thing, loving God, the God of love, the Mother of us all, all-forgiving, embracing, oceanic. Rejoice! Have fun. God means us to express ourselves, be human, very human. This is the enlightened, the modern, the healthy way.
When challenged, you also need to explain to those who still dwell in the mind-games of the pre-Vatican II church that "celibacy" means "not getting married." There is no need to break your vow not to marry! Celibacy doesn't mean you should pretend to be an angel. It's all right to love your friends, and be expressive with them. That's what God wants. Love thy neighbor. It's healthy to take off your clothes, lie down with others, touch. Enjoy the bodies God gave us. Accept your own sexuality. Psychology Today replaced The Journal of Ascetical and Mystical Theology.
The ideology of infidelity has been in steady development since Vatican II. It waits there, all spelled out in articles discussing new principles of moral theology, stated of course in careful abstractions, and in relation to orthodox teachings honored for two thousand years, cleverly imitating them, cleverly showing their historical "limitations," carefully getting free of them even while seeming to modify them only slightly.
LONG IN THE MAKING
If the deeds now causing scandal are horribly evil, no one can say they have not had preparation in the literature. On the other side of the ledger, many Catholics of this generation have never heard a sermon in their lives on the meaning of celibacy or the reasons for chastity. Many central themes of the ordinary Catholic life of past generations have gone neglected. We have been living on only a fraction of our inheritance.
Even conservative bishops were bludgeoned into believing that they had to trust psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists. What you were trained to think is sexual evil, they were carefully instructed (as if they were backward pupils), is actually a matter of psychological health. Avoid the language of sin and evil. Medieval. Judgmental. Let the experts handle it.
The lawyers gave parallel advice. Plus this: Settle out of court. Whatever it costs, it will be cheaper than going to trial. Unvindicated settlement is cheaper than vindication through defense. In addition, you can save yourself the publicity. The parents of the abused children will want confidentiality, you can be sure, so that their children's future will be protected. Silence will be the pastoral thing to do.
Bad mistakes were made by bishops; the price we now pay is enormous.
In recent weeks, a new line has begun appearing in the old rationalization: "Observe boundaries." That may mean: Don't mess with underage partners. Keep it among adults.
What will happen to us now? What's next?
God chose the poor and lowly things of this earth to make His home among. We are not from families of kings, barons, dukes and other nobility. Only serfs, most of us, descended from lowly shepherds, fishermen, carpenters, tax collectors, beggars. Yet the Lord of the Cosmos takes up residence within us every day at the Eucharist. It is this wondrous choice on His part, making no worldly sense whatever, that we celebrate on Thursday of Holy Week.
He could have taken up residence among angels and archangels, and not faced such scandals as we involve Him in. Given the real world He decided to dwell in, the shame is, He cannot now choose His priests from angels. He must choose them from among weak, unstable men, such as all of us also are. Sinners all.
Three times on the very night before He died, Peter himself denied that he had ever known the Lord. On the bloody Way of the Cross, women disciples showed their faces, and two strangers (Simon the Cyrenian and Joseph of Arimathea), but not a single apostle except the youngest, John.
In recovery, we must first applaud our loyal, faithful, and hardworking priests, who have suffered great injustice.
The next step is to build a new Catholic culture on all the strengths of our inheritance. Not on liquid mush, but on the rock that Jesus chose. Human weakness is one thing; willful rebellion is another. Contempt for Rome was the starting place of the evil that befell us.
I cannot shake the conviction that some great good is about to happen to the Church during this new century. This present humiliation seems to be a kind of preparation. To show that we depend upon His mercy and His grace. And when all else fails, on that alone.
When humans fail, as regularly we do, Our Lord has never failed his people. It has been ever thus, since Judas, Peter, and the others in the first Holy Week.
Michael Novak, the George F. Jewett scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. Mr. Novak is the author, most recently, of On Two Wings: Humble Faith and Common Sense at the American Founding.
They're ready when you are.
I don't advocate that it be a totally democratic process, but more input from "the faithful" would be a wise move at this point.
Correct. But some balance between pure democracy and the good old boys club that is now the Catholic hierarchy is in order.
I'm sorry, but this comment is positively goofy. The guys who created the problems we're talking about were mostly Jadot appointments. Law, if I'm not mistaken, was originally a Jadot appointment (not to Boston, to the see he was in before Boston).
Well, why didn't you say so, old boy? Votes to be restricted to Catholics who'll vote the right way? That'll fix it.
The third century text Apostolic Tradition by Hippolytus, for example, says that a bishop is to be chosen by all the people and that this selection is to be approved by assembled priests and bishops. Most bishops in the early Christian centuries were selected this way, such as St. Augustine.Putting aside for a moment the fact that Hippolytus was the first known anti-pope (which fact gives me some pause as to his motivation for the "Apostolic Tradition"), the fact that the popular election has to be approved by the "assembled priests and bishops" would seem to be a good check against heretical and liberal excesses.
Well, why didn't you say so, old boy? Votes to be restricted to Catholics who'll vote the right way? That'll fix it.In all fairness to sinkspur, there was an approval process by the "aseembled priests and bishops" mentioned.
This is not true from my experience. I attend Mass every Sunday and there is standing room only. We have a campaign in our diocese to raise a large amount of money for a variety of things, social needs as well as renovating our main Cathedral. My parish goal was $1.2 million of the total amount needed; we have far exceeded that goal (over $1.5 million) and they have only gone through 50% of the families.
You do not leave the church because some of the leaders are doing wrong; you stay, pray and fight for the Church because "the gates of Hell will not prevail".
This is pretty much exactly what Fr. Benedict Groeschel said on Fox News last night.
I love Fr. Groeschel with all my heart, but I near died when he said it -- a priest who loves the Church and his priesthood but is clearly in denial.
This is pretty much exactly what Fr. Benedict Groeschel said on Fox News last night.Oy gevalt!
It strikes me that you are not particularly well informed about mainstream Protestantism. Which churches are you including?
Clearly, the earlier rules regarding bishops point to a republic-style election rather than 50.1% democratic election.
For what it's worth, he is supposed to have the inside track on getting Archbishop Rembert Weakland's job in Milwaukee. How....appropriate.
I also agree. Dulles is either out of touch with what's really going on, or he's in denial.
I suppose every individual case is terrible...
I SUPPOSE???!!!! I KNOW is more like it. Nothing like making lite of the problem.
...but it is not something peculiar to the Catholic church.
So What! It shouldn't be happening in the Church, especially to the degree that it is.
It is time to clean house of the actively homosexual clergy...and there's a bunch of them.
The major problem, IMO, is that bishops are not accountable to anybody but Rome. They also, in many cases, had DAs and prosecutors in their pockets and were able to, in effect, pay hush money to keep these scandals from blowing up much earlier.
If that's fine with some people, then they ought to demand that the Pope severely deal with the guilty. Otherwise, he's complicit in his inaction.
I would also like to know how much of this was known by the Vatican and how far back. Fr. Thomas Doyle, one of the authors of a study on priestly pederasty back in 1985 that was virtually ignored by the bishops, said Rome was kept regularly informed of many of the more egregious cases.
It is time to clean house of the actively homosexual clergy...and there's a bunch of them.And they hang together like ... bananas.
Sorry -- not in this life.
I don't have as much admiration for him. If he was worth his weight, he would bring to light the huge homosexual problems he's got right there at Fordham. He should start by exposing Paul Halsal; who's a resident fruitcake and super-radical gay activist prof. But I don't think Dulles is up to it.
I'm better informed than some. Protestant denominations have "voted" to allow contraception, abortion, homosexual marriage, ordination of homosexuals, etc. These decisions have been "democratic" decisions at synods worldwide. What else can you call it but defining doctrine by democratic vote, when the foundation stone of doctrine is private interpretation of scripture and rejection of any teaching "authority" by the church?
If he was worth his weight, he would bring to light the huge homosexual problems he's got right there at Fordham.Ain't it the truth.
Keep in mind that his friary is in the archdiocese of New York (isn't it?) so he probably has to be careful what he says in public. I tend to think he's in a lot less denial than he's able to let on.