Skip to comments.Benedict and the Scandal (Mark Shea comments on Rod Dreher remarks)
Posted on 04/24/2008 7:25:40 AM PDT by NYer
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Very interesting discussion. What I would have liked to see the Pope do (in a dream world ...) is stand up in front of the press and say, in a talking-to-rather-slow-preschoolers tone, “You do understand that all but a few of these cases involved homosexual men and teenage boys, don’t you? Oh, but you think there’s nothing wrong about adult men’s having sex with teenage boys? Well, you’re compost-eating hypocrites, then, aren’t you?”
Just sayin’ ... reason number #7857 why they’ll never make me Pope ...
I read Johansen’s letter about bishops. Yes, he has a point that you can’t look at the Pope as if he were the top CEO and bishops as if they were middle level executives. This is where the laity needs to step in. If solid evidence comes forth that a priest or priests were involved in sexual misconduct with minors and the bishop is lax in action-—the laity needs to force his hand. There is no better way to say F-U to a bishop than by holding back $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.
It’s an interesting idea that JPII had an “Eastern” view of the Papacy, although if this means being simply a hands-off figurehead, I’m not sure this is a totally accurate assessment of the Eastern view. However, I think BXVI’s view of the papacy is different from that of JPII, although obviously it is tempered by it because it would be very hard for him to do anything abrupt after so many years of JPII’s style.
JPII had one of the longest papacies ever, and I think that’s something we often neglect to consider: many things that Popes will have to deal with for some time to come were shaped by him, particularly since he had this long reign right after VatII, when things were in flux anyway. The rise of the national bishops’ conferences and their power, for example, is something that earlier popes didn’t have to contend with, so there were even structural changes left behind by JPII. (The bishops’ conferences came out of a suggestion made at VatII, but they were fairly new when JPII took over, and he could have restricted their competence, but actually seems to have expanded it.) Also, JPII let so many things drift along that there are many - well, I’ll say it - evil people installed in various cathedra across the country and the world. And they’ve been there for a long time.
That said, I think he probably will do something, but it’s not going to be as dramatic as I’d like! Some bishops may get coadjutors; some bishops may be retired for “health reasons.” This Pope seems to give people plenty of warning, but he does act eventually. So we shall see...
This was how I felt on why nothing outspoken had come from the Vatican on the issue. But the Pope still can use the bully pulpit. Of course the hard part of using the bully pulpit is being charitable at the same time.
Rewarding those Bishops that did do something right would be great as well. I’m still miffed that Arch. Bishop Burke was over looked for the Red Hat. Not that I would want him to receive the hat for political statement purposes, but at least it could be a statement on how a Prince of Church should look like.
Another good reason for lack of thunder is due to small list of replacements. I think it has been pointed out that there are many bishop sees empty and deciding on who to take the chair can take years at times.
The deeper question, for anyone who wants to ponder it, is why God does not send better bishops and priests who defend the faith and the Church. We are not able to see the correspondence that has been sent to Rome from priests and laymen complaining about this for the last 30 years. But weak bishops or popes is nothing to lose your faith over. During the Reformation people were killing each other over doctrinal disagreements. There were perverts pretending to be clergymen long before some of these American celebrity converts converted. It's disgusting but you can't spend the rest of your life stuck on this.
Scene I’d liked to have seen: Mahoney comes up to receive Holy Communion from Benedict at a televised event. Benedict slaps Mahoney’s face, administers a blessing and sends him back to the pew.
Actually, did you notice the one brief mention he made of just this issue? I think it was in one of the DC addresses, but I’m not sure which one. He said something about the pedophile crimes, and then he mentioned homosexuality and said “but this is a separate matter that we will get to later.”
The number of genuine pedophiles among the clergy was probably even lower than that in the rest of the world, because priests rarely have much opportunity to get near small children of either sex. And the crimes that would genuinely constitute pedophilia are a relatively small percentage of those in the lawsuits, etc.
It was in the vast majority, homosexual adult men preying upon teenage boys. These men were active homosexuals and were engaged with other adult men as well. And it went all the way up the line. Recently stuff has come out about Cdl McCarrick (now retired), and of course, we even have a serving bishop here in Florida, Bp Lynch of Tampa St. Pete’s, who had to settle a sexual harrassment suit brought against him by a male employee only a few years ago. And yet he was not removed from his post or even mildly scolded.
Also, I think BXVI made a major mistake in picking Levada, since Levada is notoriously gay-friendly and probably has completely misadvised BXVI about the US bishops. But I think BXVI may be aware of this, and I suspect that he will take up the issue of homosexuality in the clergy and probably even among the bishops and higher. This probably wasn’t the moment for it, but I suspect it will happen.
You have an eye for the perfect moment!
Priests/bishops/cardinals self-communicate when they are vested.
I readily concede that.
If anyone knows what the right moment is, it would have to be Pope Benedict :-).
The Popes and some Bishops have produced excellent statements about homosexual attraction (a psychological disorder) and homosexual behavior (always a sin, No Matter What). Unfortunately, resistance to this message is pervasive in the Church as well as in general society.
It's more likely that a naive understanding of sexuality is to blame. By the time the media were making noise about it, JP2 had Parkinson's. Not exactly in a robust state to offer stern lectures.
But whoever is advising the Vatican about the Church in America needs to replaced. And they ought to have lay heterosexuals who were born Catholic and grew up in the Church in leadership positions on some of the committees. It's astonishing some of the people that manage to rise to positions of promimence on Catholic matters. Someone who converted in the '90s or the '80s is not going to know enough about what was going on with these issues. And, really, as outsiders, they should consult with people who do.
Color me skeptical, but something about that doesn't seem quite right.
There, that looks better :-)
Actually, there's some discussion that he may modify Canon law to extend the statute of limitation for filing claims. There are victims who have submitted claims against priests, dating back to the 50's; most of those priests are now deceased.
Last year or this?
Yes, that's interesting. Perhaps the man was an employee of the church, which would make it a workplace sexual-harassment situation? We also don't know how many of the molestation claims are false. "Oh, I just remembered when I saw the seven-figure dollar amounts on the news that a priest groped me thirty years ago!" One case in Tulsa, involving a former pastor of our parish there, was determined by the DA to be a complete fabrication; I'm sure that wasn't a unique case.
What really bothers me, though, is that our society, our school systems, and often other government entities positively encourage homosexual behavior by teenagers. They want to force the Boy Scouts to put active homosexual men in authority over teenage (and younger) boys. One might imagine that some of these forces are actually thrilled that homosexual priests were (totally predictably) prospecting, seducing, and in some cases forceably raping teenage boys. (LIKE, DUH. That's what they do!) They don't care about "the children." They're just Satan's tools who want to destroy the Church, by any means.
LOL! I just can’t see Pope Benedict saying, “Compost-eating hypocrites”; he’s too refined.
I believe it was this year. Would more hats be handed out later this year?
“Would more hats be handed out later this year?”
I believe that the Vatican tries to keep the number of voting cardinals to 120. There are currently 118 voting cardinals. Thus, until that number falls to perhaps 110 or even much less, it's unlikely that the pope will have another consistory.
There are three cardinals who are 79 years old or older, thus, without a significant number of deaths, it's unlikely that there will be a consistory in the next 12 months. There are, however, another seven cardinals who are at least 78 years old, so a consistory in the next 24 or so months is certainly possible.
Will I know what to add to my prayers then! :P
Rod is like the husband who has got a divorce from a women with certain faults decides to marrry a second woman with the same faults. When one falls out of love, it usually has less to do with the other person than oneself. There is nothing more bitter than a person who expects others to grant him all he desires.
I'm pretty sure it was during the press conference on the airplane coming to America.
Some people, when they notice that a lot of terrible things happen in the world, take it very personally. Maybe it's a genetic trait. Continually searching for the place where no bad people do bad things must be very stressful.
You could be right; it was early in the visit and could well have been on the plane. Did you draw the same inference, which is that he was going to cut this issue (clerical homosexuality) out as a separate one and address it specifically? Or was that just my wishful thinking...
I have read that John Paul was warned to stay clear of the committee that was discussing the issue of contrception. because that was a runaway train. The encyclical only managed to brake its momentum. Benedict was also surprised, and the vilolence of the your rebelliion in 1968 made him turn away from the progressives, so much so that they think of him as a traitor.
The pope has lived through the 43 years since the Council and he knows how deeply the Church is divided. As deeply divided, I think, as the Church was during the Christological contoversies of the 4th and 5th Centuries. In a sense we are engaged in a similar controversy. The pope stands with Athanasius but many of the bishops stand with Arius.
I think he just wanted to sidestep the entire homosexuality issue at that time. I think he agrees with the document written by John XXIII saying that homosexuals should not be admitted to the priesthood, but knows that many in the mainstream media are pro-homosexual or homosexual themselves and has observed the violent rage of the radical homosexuals in Italy, so he simply diffused that aspect of the discussion. IMHO.
That’s what I think, too. But it sounded like he was definitely preparing something on this subject and was getting ready to deal with it.
You’re right, he has been heavily under attack from the Italian gay lobby. And of course St. Pat’s is picketed by them on a regular basis, and has even been desecrated by radical homosexuals at the masses. So I think he probably wanted to avoid such an event on this trip.
How coincidental that you should mention this. Earlier this morning, I watched an EWTN program "Eucharistic Principles". Father Emmerich Vogt O.P who does this series, specifically addressed this topic of perfectionism and the damage it brings to our spiritual life. He was quite amusing as he described two other members of the society - one is messy - the other is a neat nick. The messy one admonishes the perfectionist and vv. He runs missions called 12 Step Review
That is up to the pope. Given the number of aging cardinals, it's possible he may call another consistory this year.
Like you, I also believe Archbishop Burke is a sterling example. FWIW - my grandmother was upset when Archbishop Sheen did not receive the red hat. Look at him now ;-)
That was definitely my understanding too, though I sort of inferred that he would have quite a bit to say when he did and that it's a complex issue. One possible complicating aspect, I would assume, is that there are practicing (and good) priests of homosexual inclination who manage to control themselves, and they would have to be taken into consideration too, though this is speculation on my part.
I don’t think the inclination has ever been a problem, legally speaking. Actually, I’d say the “inclination” may even be a modern phenomenon in our sexualized culture, because I think a lot of people who simply are not really interested in sexual relationships (with anybody) would now be considered homosexual. A lot of men who develop intense intellectual relationships with other men are not even remotely thinking of any sexual involvement with them, but Freud has transformed everything into sex. The worst thing that followed VatII, IMHO, (well, after the destruction of the liturgy) was the acceptance of Freudianism.
Freud was a renegade Jew who hated Judaism and spent most of his life trying to destroy it. He succeeded, to some extent: all my Jewish friends in NY had a therapist, and none of them had a rabbi.
By extension, Freud also hated Christianity, and his effect has been equally corrosive. And after VII, we all ran out and embraced his vision of life as entirely sexual, in a genital sense, and entirely at odds with what the Church was and has always taught. This was actually one of the things that contributed to the clerical sexual abuse of the last few decades - they all thought it was groovy and cool, and their bishops were telling them it was all okay.
You make excellent points, especially about the pre-Freudian/post-Freudian mindsets! And the whole therapy mystique has been implicated in the abuse scandal in a number of articles. (I do recall Cardinal Law: “We are all ‘wounded healers’” — which I guess is almost a term of art in the therapeutic world.)
Dreher is a jerk. Like so many Western converts, he is far, far too “holier than thou”, a legalistic martinet with no more understanding of the Orthodox phronema than my dog. The disgrace is that any Orthodox priest chrismated him. He is, as one of my favorite priests from down in the old country once told a puffed up “holy guy” convert, “nothing more than a Protestant swinging the theemeeatoe (thurifer)!”
The comment about the Pope being constrained by his primus inter pares position is an interesting, and probably delusional, observation. In Latin ecclesiology he has immediate local jurisdiction of the various bishops. Eastern ecclesiology is different. Oh, btw, I sincerely disagree that there was anything even remotely Eastern about +JPII. In fact he was not well thought of in the East though of course his office and person were respected. Its quite a different matter with +BXVI
It’s always very interesting to hear the foreign perspective.
“Its always very interesting to hear the foreign perspective.”
It is, eh?!
What letter makes the “ee” sound?
Very true. The thing that makes this controversy so difficult is that there is no heresiarch. Unless maybe one could say the "Zeitgeist"!
But seriously, I have always thought that one of the problems with this modern heresy is that it is very diffuse, doesn't have an identifiable leader - yet it is a reality and is destroying the Church, and will attempt to destroy anyone (like BXVI) who gets in its way.
I agree, and I also don’t think that JPII put that much thought into the matter in the first place. He simply was hands-off because - well, that’s the way he was. He was a media personality and I think this affected his view of his role very greatly.
Now that BXVI has suddenly gotten popular, I hope the same thing doesn’t happen to him! But I don’t think it will.
Allow me an observation from the outside. From what I can see, the Latin Church for many, many centuries, really since before 1056, has inculcated in the laity and the lower clergy a “pay, pray and obey” mindset. Your lower clergy and laity, for all the talk about “cafeteria Catholics” floating around, really are simply obedient and wouldn't't think of questioning your hierarchs out loud.
Orthodox Christians, however, are quite different. We sniff out heresy; in a way, we lay folk are all Inquisitors. And when we see heresy, we go after it with a vengeance. We don''t hesitate to topple a hierarch for heresy. As you know, we recently did it right here in America. We, not the hierarchs, are the ultimate guardians of Orthodoxy. Its simply not the same in the Latin Church and because of that, heresy persists and becomes, as you say, more “diffuse”. There are so many Latin bishops that its simply too much to think the pope can handle each one of them. Where Orthodox patriarchs can count on the people to deal with heresiarchs including heretical patriarchs, at least initially, the pope can't say the same for you guys because you've not been taught that's your role for well over 1000 years.
When I first read the phrase "the pope with the most Eastern conception of the papacy in a thousand years" I thought the author was referring to Benedict XVI. It wasn't until I reread the sentence that I realized the author was referring to JPII and had no idea what he was talking about. I agree that Benedict XVI much better fits the description given to JPII.
It couldn’t be the same letter twice, could it? That just wouldn’t be Greek! (Or English either, I suppose.)
No, it wouldn't. Frankly, the same letter twice in Greek is uncommon, very uncommon. But to transliterate the syllable "θυ" we need to write "Thee" and "μι" in English becomes "mee"
This will upset Pat. He’s going to learn Indirect Objects (or specialized prepositional phrases) in his next lesson! Vlad’s learning the Greek alphabet and phonics, and James has learned some words and parts of speech. I almost wish they all wanted to go to the Greek charter school!
“I almost wish they all wanted to go to the Greek charter school!”
You have a Greek Charter School???????????????
I have an idea. Take them (James & Pat; Vlad is too little) to the Great and Holy Friday devotion at the Greek Church tomorrow night. That’ll give them enough Greek to last for weeks!