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Birds of a Feather: Several themes for wayward cardinals
Seattle Catholic ^ | 4/27/2002 | Peter Miller

Posted on 05/03/2002 5:44:02 PM PDT by nickcarraway

Birds of a Feather

Several themes for wayward cardinals

In the midst of what has become perhaps the single biggest event involving the American Catholic hierarchy in decades, religious and secular presses alike have been flooded with reports, commentaries, excuses, explanations and promises. The U.S. Cardinals, having traveled to and returned from Rome, are now voicing excitement and optimism for the future.

Rather than trying to give a comprehensive report on the matter, I decided to take a page from the Vatican's own official release and dedicate my analysis to some of the "themes" raised over the past several weeks.

THEME 1: Deflecting the Blame

In what was destined to create a confrontation eventually, some Church leaders (e.g. Cardinal Bevilacqua) are now publicly acknowledging the fact that the molestation of teenage boys indicates homosexual rather than pedophilic behavior. Hanging on to the naïve hope of keeping the debate centered around the actions of bishops and evils of Catholicism, some members of the secular press have lashed out against what they consider a "shifting of the blame" to the innocent and victimized homosexual clergy. For a lesson in "liberal logic," see William Saletan's Slate article (http://slate.msn.com/?id=2064708) or Leonard Pitts Jr.'s "work" in the Miami Herald (http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/living/columnists/leonard_pitts/3135996.htm).

While it can generally be agreed that the bishops are to blame, it is primarily because of the fact they defied directives and let homosexually-oriented persons become priests. Just because bishops are to blame, does not mean it's not a homosexual problem. If a shepherd enlisted wolves to watch over his sheep then tried to shuffle around and give therapy to those who attacked the flock, he would be horribly negligent, but he'd still have a wolf problem to deal with. As we know, the root of that problem is not reaction time after the first attack but employing the wolves' assistance in the first place. Sure they'll be animal-rights groups who will claim that not all wolves attack sheep and there's nothing inherently wrong with them, but the statistics don't and won't back them up.

But the blame game works both ways. On days they aren't defending gays, liberals are placing the blame on the Church for not allowing married priests, female priests, children priests, voodoo priests, priests by committee, computer priests, etc.

THEME 2: Trojan Horses of Glass

In another predictable and transparent move, liberal "Catholic" groups have seen this as the biggest opportunity since Vatican II (and until the death of John Paul II) to foist their pet causes upon the Church. Three of these in particular have come to the forefront:

First, feminists point to the surprising statistic that zero percent of the abusive priests were females as a good argument for female ordination — an "issue" still seen as debatable to most Catholics in the country. Short of that, the accompanying argument is made that women should be in leadership positions on the diocesan and parochial levels to help keep priests in line. As if it's a given that priests by their very nature (rather than the candidates selected) are an uncontrollable threat to society.

The abolition of clerical celibacy is the next agenda item to push. A secular world that doesn't understand such concepts as supernatural gifts and sacrifice finds it hard to understand why priests are "forced" to remain celibate — a seemingly "unnatural lifestyle" (unlike sodomy of course). Supported by media-proclaimed "Catholic experts" like Richard McBrien who proclaims celibacy "all but dead," most of those with a short-term memories wonder why the Church is hanging on to such an old-fashioned idea. Something tells me that even if given the option, a homosexual priest would not take a wife. But of course lurking in that same Trojan horse is the ability for a non-celibate priest to be "married" to a same-sex "partner."

The final and perhaps most insidious reform being pushed is the democratization of the Church. At first it may seem like a logical reaction to the crisis — if bishops were more accountable to the laity, the secrecy and cover-ups would not have happened. And if people had more say in Church decisions, they are less likely to make the same mistakes. My response is twofold. First, even if a democratic majority would not make the same mistakes, they would make all sorts of new ones. The idea of power and authority derived from the people, a doctrine ingrained into the psyches of most Americans and United Nationites, reverses the hierarchical model of the Church and the Divine authority of Christ the King. Once democratic control is given over matters of governance, doctrine and morals won't be far behind for these newly-empowered citizens. Secondly, just as secular representation is no safeguard against political scandal, further involvement of the laity offers no guarantee against such events and cover-ups in the Church. Across the country, parishes and diocesan commissions are already under the influence or direct control of a lay committee or a non-ordained administrator. And as for the scandals that have come out, the information was not limited to the bishop and a couple priests but included therapists, lawyers, advisors and doctors. Scandalous behavior could just as easily be carried out by a corrupt lay committee as a corrupt bishop. Replacing the perpetrators doesn't alleviate the need for honest behavior unless you subscribe to the same clerical myth that bishops by their very nature are unqualified to perform their given functions. As hard as our bishops are trying to prove this point, it still must be rejected as false. Finally, in a perhaps not entirely unintentional irony, bishops who have favored an increase in lay roles may be aided in the cause by their very actions. The concealment and scandal perpetuated by bishops and priests will help justify their efforts towards a lay-run Church.

THEME 3: Collegiality and Governance

The initial assault on the hierarchy of the Church instituted by Christ came not from the laity but from the bishops. The idea of distributed governance known in the Church as "collegiality" has been a novel trend growing over the past century which received a significant boost at the Second Vatican Council. Collegiality is based upon the dissenting idea that a true hierarchy "fails to respect the dignity...of individual bishops" and a council of bishops in a given country is more qualified to determine guidelines appropriate to those local Catholics. Some of the chief advocates of this concept, like Cardinal Suenens, extended collegiality to mean that no directive can be imposed in a locale without the consent of its bishops — a practice that American bishops pretty much adopted years ago. Suenens further rejected papal infallibility on Faith and morals, maintaining that an ecumenical council is the only arbiter of such Truth.

The ability to cloak disobedience and dissent as collegiality was learned very quickly in the American hierarchy and has necessitated a number of Vatican directives; most of which were ignored, delayed or rendered useless through revision (Dominicae Cenae, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, Ecclesia Dei and Ex Corde Ecclesia to name a few). Recall that it was the refusal of bishops to enforce the 1961 directive against ordaining homosexuals that has, more than any other factor, contributed to this crisis. Considering this, is the Catholic Church in America better or worse off because of the widespread adoption of "ecclesial collegiality"? Should not bishops in America follow the direction of their superiors rather than their own prideful notions?

Certainly collegiality did not originate in America and even a local episcopacy completely in line with post-Conciliar Rome leaves much to be desired, but the less Catholic and more segregated the Church becomes, the more resistant it's going to be to true reform. In a crisis so widespread as the one the Church now faces, there is little hope beyond a strong Pope willing to exercise his Divinely-instituted authority. A reforming Pope like St. Gregory VII or St. Pius V who is enough removed from the Conciliar era to objectively evaluate its disastrous effects and restore the Church in all its former glory. The necessary reforms are not going to come from a council of bishops worrying about asserting independence and public relations campaigns.

THEME 4: The Art of Public Relations

In case there were still some individuals clinging to the notion of a humble and hesitant bishop desperately longing for the salvation of souls assigned to his care, recent events have unmistakably shown otherwise. Through the testimony of victims and lawyers, the tactics of these bishops have been exposed. Whether it's calculated deception, legal harassment or damage control, these bishops know how to play these game as well as any executive or politician. The testimony given from Cardinal Mahony's own emails show the impressive (yet frightening) level of public relations talent these men possess. But that's all child's play compared to politics in the Vatican.

The announcement that American Cardinals were being "summoned" to Rome roused extreme adulation from the band of cheerleaders holding out the strange hope that Rome is finally solving all of America's problems. Seeing as how this routine seems to play itself out every couple years when Rome gives a directive that ends up being rejected, revised or ignored, it seems strange that the optimistic perception of Rome as a savior is so prevalent in "conservative" circles. One is reminded of those individuals repeatedly predicting dates which mark the end of the world, undeterred by the annoying reality that all previous dates have been wrong and the existence of the world persists.

Others had different ideas about what was going to take place in Rome. Cardinal Mahony even had the gall to consider this an opportunity to make a case for the end of clerical celibacy. He was the most prominent of those hoping to sail their Trojan horses over to the Vatican in hopes the Pope may finally catch on to what fringe dissidents have been saying all along.

What actually took place appears to be something in between an admonition and a listening session, and perhaps more of a grand scale public relations effort spearheaded by the Vatican. There was understandable confusion around some of the results which amounted to not so much of a solid policy as a set of ideas for further discussion. Much was made in the media of the differentiation between policies for "notorious serial" offenders and other, lesser-known predators who were just starting out. This was undoubtedly a silly distinction for the Cardinals to make and the appearance of favoritism overshadowed the substance of the difference which probably involved new defrocking procedures. Even such, a directive is only as good as the one enforcing it, so I wouldn't get too excited about a "no tolerance" policy in and of itself.

Most of the other "guidelines" to come out of the meeting mirrored policies most dioceses already have in place (although some just recently). Notifying local authorities, taking accused priests out of active ministry while investigations are going on, etc. are all obvious moves that gain no additional force when reiterated in Vatican City.

Despite the public relations faux pax in how they released the two-pronged approached, there were a couple other dumb statements to come out of the Vatican excursion:

In a letter to priests, the U.S. cardinals expressed the mother of all euphemisms by saying: "We regret that episcopal oversight has not been able to preserve the church from this scandal." 1 Is the systematic promotion of homosexual ordination, defiance of Church governance and cover-up of sexual abuse by hundreds of priests over decades really adequately described as an "episcopal oversight"? This was not a post-it note that accidentally dropped out of one priests file, nor was it a mild or innocent mistake. Are the ones who orchestrated this mess so naïve as to think double-checking their work next time will make everything better? Come on now.

U

SCCB President Bishop Wilton Gregory said after the conference that there was a "growing consensus, certainly among the faithful, among the bishops, that it's too great a risk to assign a priest who has abused a child to another ministry." 2 It's nice to see that after multiple bishops were publicly embarrassed for their horribly negligent handling of sexual predators, the acceptance of something so obvious is "growing." One day, I hope for all bishops to realize that sex abusers shouldn't be in "ministry" but I'd hate to rush them.

In responding to Chris Ferrara's question about homosexuals in the priesthood, Bishop Gregory said that "it is an ongoing struggle to make sure that the Catholic priesthood is not dominated by homosexual men." 3 Exactly what steps have bishops taken in this "struggle"? Would this be a "struggle" at all if the 1961 Vatican directive against ordaining homosexuals had been followed? Is a homosexual clergy acceptable as long as it doesn't "dominate" and is perhaps kept under 50%?

A fitting conclusion to the public relations campaign would seem to be the removal of Cardinal Bernard Law from office. Most of the public were not persuaded by the impromptu Vatican visit and the effort to restore trust should have a sacrificial lamb. Although an "unnamed Cardinal" leaked to the Los Angeles Times (um, that would be Mahony) his intentions to discuss Law's removal, the topic did not come up. Public relations aside, the moral thing for the Pope to do would be acknowledge that Cardinal Law failed in one of his most basic duties and should not be a bishop. But applying that criteria to remove only one bishop would be a double standard obvious to all. Even such, I predict that financial hardships faced by the Boston Archdiocese will adversely affect their social programs and force Law's resignation.

THEME 5: Strikes, Balls and Fouls

Early on in the Vatican meetings was mentioned the idea of a "one strike, you're out" policy for defrocking clerical sex abusers. Although it morphed into a "lots of strikes and public exposure, you're out; otherwise, we'll see" suggestive guideline, it still misses the point. Even the toughest reactive policy enforced by the toughest bishop in the world is still an imperfect solution. Everyone needs to stop pretending they don't know the common characteristic running through over 90% of these cases! This isn't a wait and see situation. Homosexuals should not be able to come up to the plate and take a swing. They shouldn't even be on the team. The problem lies in the bath houses and beauty salons posing as Spring Training camps.

But enough of that metaphor. One not entirely unacceptable aspect to come out of this meeting was a Vatican acknowledgement of where the roots of the problem lie:

"We will propose an Apostolic Visitation of seminaries and religious houses of formation, giving special attention to their admission requirements and the need for them to teach Catholic moral doctrine in its integrity." 4 Which has been tried before and was hijacked by American bishops and dioceses who told the visitors what they wanted to hear. The state of seminaries in this country has never recovered from their collapse in the late 1960's and, as with the other directives, what is said is infinitely less important than what is done.

THEME 6: Rebuilding with Demolitions Experts

Just as new and improved reactive policies are worthless without stopping the problem at its source, the reason seminaries were allowed to get so bad has another, underlying problem — modernism ... or neo-modernism or progressivism or liberalism, whatever you want to call it. This crisis is not a crisis of homosexuals or the result of an "episcopal oversight." It is a fundamental failure of the leaders of the Church.

The official statement to come out of the conference contained a passage that applies just as well to Church leaders in Rome as to bishops in America:

"...the Pastors of the Church need clearly to promote the correct moral teaching of the Church and publicly to reprimand individuals who spread dissent and groups which advance ambiguous approaches to pastoral care;" 5 This acknowledges that the pastors have failed, and can apply to matters of Faith as well as morals. As obviously evil and horrible as it is, sexual abuse is just one of problems strangling the Church. The only reason it is being addressed is because secular media organizations were willing to shine a spotlight on it. But what about those issues the media will never care about? Those crimes infinitely more grievous as they endanger the souls of millions. If Law should be removed for jeopardizing the safety of children, so should almost the entire American episcopacy for jeopardizing the souls of children. The Church's primary mission is the salvation of souls but the new policies, emergency Vatican meetings and whole focus have revolved around a non-spiritual matter. When will we see public apologies and new policies for heretical sermons, sex education programs, blasphemous liturgies, scandalous ecumenical charades and the toleration of every error, perversion and novelty imaginable?

The bishops who have orchestrated the demolition of the Church, both here and abroad, are not qualified to rebuild it. The problem is not one of failed policy, it is one of leadership. Working to construct the deadliest sword in the world is not going to do any good unless there is a bishop man enough to wield it — a bishop willing to take a moral stand for the Catholic Faith without concern for public acceptance, media relations, angering subordinates, offending non-Catholics or causing a schism. Such a man is diametrically opposed to what a majority of bishops have become and he will not be formed through conferences, discussion groups and workshops. He is a future Pope who will see this devastated vineyard for what it is and by the Grace of God, restore His Church.

Peter Miller

Seattle, WA

4/27/2002

FOOTNOTES:

1 Vatican Information Service, "U.S. Cardinals Letter To Priests" (4/25/2002)

2 Agence France-Presse, "US Cardinals Announce Sex-Abuse Recommendations" (4/25/2002)

3 Associated Press, "Vatican Sex Abuse Summit Leaves Much Unresolved" (4/25/2002)

4 Vatican Information Service, "Sex Abuse: Solidarity with Victims, Severity With Offenders" (4/25/2002)

5 Ibid.


TOPICS: General Discusssion
KEYWORDS: catholic; catholiclist

1 posted on 05/03/2002 5:44:02 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway; Catholic_list
The bishops who have orchestrated the demolition of the Church, both here and abroad, are not qualified to rebuild it. The problem is not one of failed policy, it is one of leadership. Working to construct the deadliest sword in the world is not going to do any good unless there is a bishop man enough to wield it — a bishop willing to take a moral stand for the Catholic Faith without concern for public acceptance, media relations, angering subordinates, offending non-Catholics or causing a schism. Such a man is diametrically opposed to what a majority of bishops have become and he will not be formed through conferences, discussion groups and workshops. He is a future Pope who will see this devastated vineyard for what it is and by the Grace of God, restore His Church.

Bump.

2 posted on 05/04/2002 11:20:35 AM PDT by SMEDLEYBUTLER
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To: SMEDLEYBUTLER
sinky, sinky, where are you, sinky? (this is your cue, sinkspur)
3 posted on 05/04/2002 12:24:44 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler
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To: history_matters
Do you have a minute to ping some people to this?
4 posted on 05/05/2002 9:54:53 AM PDT by maryz
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To: frogandtoad; Domestic Church; BlessedBeGod; saradippity; Jeff Chandler; aquinasfan; Black Elk...
I'll start pinging myself.
5 posted on 05/05/2002 10:36:22 AM PDT by maryz
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To: nickcarraway
This is a great piece -- thanks for posting!

I think this is my favorite paragraph (but it's really hard to choose):

In a letter to priests, the U.S. cardinals expressed the mother of all euphemisms by saying: "We regret that episcopal oversight has not been able to preserve the church from this scandal." 1 Is the systematic promotion of homosexual ordination, defiance of Church governance and cover-up of sexual abuse by hundreds of priests over decades really adequately described as an "episcopal oversight"? This was not a post-it note that accidentally dropped out of one priests file, nor was it a mild or innocent mistake. Are the ones who orchestrated this mess so naïve as to think double-checking their work next time will make everything better? Come on now.

Though a lot of Law's recent comments are at least in the running for the "mother of all euphemisms" award.

6 posted on 05/05/2002 10:39:44 AM PDT by maryz
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To: maryz
Thanks for pinging me. This article practically says it all. If the bishops would remember that their primary duty is to "save souls" and work to accomplish that end they would find the direction they lost when they forgot why they were here.
7 posted on 05/05/2002 12:05:20 PM PDT by saradippity
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To: nickcarraway
In another predictable and transparent move, liberal "Catholic" groups have seen this as the biggest opportunity since Vatican II (and until the death of John Paul II) to foist their pet causes upon the Church.
1. First, feminists point to the surprising statistic that zero percent of the abusive priests were females as a good argument for female ordination — an "issue" still seen as debatable to most Catholics in the country.
2. The abolition of clerical celibacy is the next agenda item to push
3. The final and perhaps most insidious reform being pushed is the democratization of the Church.

In the May 6 issue of NEWSWEEK - What Would Jesus Do?, there is a 1 page article by Kenneth L. Woodward entitled A Revolution? Not So Fast. In it, he addresses these same topics with a frank and honest openness.

1. On allowing priests to marry.
"The practical argument for opening the priesthood to women and to married men is that ther are not enough priests. Clearly, these steps would provide the church with a wider pool of candidates. But I happen to think that a married clergy, while possibly solving one problem would create others in its place.

Pastoring a congregation is stress-ridden work. The pay is low and the hours rough on spouses and children. There is no reason to believe that many married men - or their wives - would be attracted to the priestly ministry. Typically Catholics give less on Sunday than their Protestant brethren. Are they willing to treble their donations to provide a living for families?

2. Ordaining women presents an even greater problem. Would married women with children be included? If not, once the novelty of female priests wore off, would many single women choose the low-status job of parish priest in lieu of high-status careers? Or would they all aim for the job of bishop??

He ends the article with this. "But within that structure (the priesthood), it is the laity who are supposed to lead in making Christ present to the world, with priests and bishops in roles of support. If the next pope were to risk making that idea a reality, there would really be a revolution in the church.

8 posted on 05/05/2002 12:44:06 PM PDT by NYer
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To: NYer
Woodward makes some excellent points -- very practical ones that hadn't occurred to me.

With the last, however:

. . . it is the laity who are supposed to lead in making Christ present to the world, with priests and bishops in roles of support. If the next pope were to risk making that idea a reality, . . .

What exactly could a pope do about this? Aren't the laity already supposed to be making Christ present to the world?

9 posted on 05/05/2002 12:53:01 PM PDT by maryz
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To: nickcarraway
A reforming Pope like St. Gregory VII or St. Pius V who is enough removed from the Conciliar era to objectively evaluate its disastrous effects and restore the Church in all its former glory.

I take it that Miller believes, like Pat Buchanan, that if we could just return to the 1950s, everything in the Church and the world would be sweetness and light.

What he fails to point out is that the worst of the offenders (Shanley, Geoghan and others) were in the pre-conciliar seminaries and were ordained well before Vatican II "ruined" the Church.

There's no turning back the clock. Let's stop worrying about returning the Church to some kind of triumphalist "glory,"and start worrying about serving the people as Jesus did.

10 posted on 05/05/2002 1:17:16 PM PDT by sinkspur
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To: saradippity
Thanks for pinging me. This article practically says it all. If the bishops would remember that their primary duty is to "save souls" and work to accomplish that end they would find the direction they lost when they forgot why they were here.

Agreed. I have about had it with the Amchurch Hirarchy. The past nearly forty years has seen an enormous rise in "secondary christianity" (I think that was coined by theologian Romano Amero)which is a christianity barely distinguishable from The Salvation Army.

When was the last time we heard a sermon about SIN and its malign consequences? At Mass all we hear anymore is how God loves us just as we are, how we are wonderful, generous people and how the "Feeding-the-poor-drunks-passed-out-in-the-park-when-they-are-not-begging-for-money-on-the-streets-and-peeing-in-the-alleys-Ministry" will be having a bake sale right after Mass.

Eschatology? Sure, give a ham sandwich to a drunk. THAT is the "narrow path" to salvation. I'll bet a million dollars there isn't a person on this thread who can honestly say they have heard a sermon about the NECESSITY of one having Sanctifying Grace in their soul at the time of death.

I am beyond tired of this "spirituality." We are a deracinated people. For two generations our Faith has been stolen. Our Bishops have abandoned us. The Pope does not have faith we can stand to hear the truth about our mortal peril.

The wolves are in the Sanctuary and we are counseled to have "patience." IT is FAR WORSE than most are willing to admit. Corporately speaking, we are DEAD...

Now, it IS true that tiny pockets of Christianity remain, but those pockets of Faith are few and far between and the Hierarchy tolerates but does not promote those places (I am thinking of FSSP and Bishop Bruskewtiz etc).

The situation is drastic. We are Laodicea (3rd chapter Apocalypse) and the candlestick has been removed from the Hierarchy. ALL has been corrupted from Biblical Scholarship, to the Universities, to Catechetics, to the Seminaries, to the Liturgy, to our Chanceries and ALL we get is equivocation, tepidity, rationalising, temporising and buck-passing from our timorous NCCB.

Rome even had the AUDACITY to propose the Bishops set aside a day or prayer and penance for EVERYBODY. Speaking just for myself NO WAY, JOSE.

When I came to YOU Bishop, asking YOU to condemn Blasphemy in YOUR Dioscean paper, you called me crazy (after you said you agreed with the blasphemy). When we BEGGED you to STOP that pornography masquerading as "sex ed" in your Catholic Schools you told us you thought it appropriate and that while you understood it ws a burden to take our kids OUT OF STATE to get a decent Catholic education, you would not make changes. When we BEGGED you to STOP your priests from Liturgical anomie, you told us you thought we had a healthy and vibrant community of believers and you promised us another meeting. You never gave us that meeting.

. So NO. I won't do penance for YOU destroying MY Catholic Church. YOU do the Penance PUBLICLY.

When I go to Confession, I don't ask you to do MY Penance. Don't ask me to join you in doing Penance for YOUR SINS. Grow the hell up or LEAVE

11 posted on 05/05/2002 1:24:30 PM PDT by Catholicguy
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To: sinkspur
There's an article on National Review Online I thought you might be interested in if you hadn't run across it already: The Missing Element: Our problem with celibacy.
12 posted on 05/05/2002 1:34:25 PM PDT by maryz
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To: AKA Elena; chatham; Mr. Thorne; ThomasMore; Campion; Clemenza; OxfordMovement; nickcarraway...
The bishops who have orchestrated the demolition of the Church, both here and abroad, are not qualified to rebuild it. The problem is not one of failed policy, it is one of leadership. Working to construct the deadliest sword in the world is not going to do any good unless there is a bishop man enough to wield it — a bishop willing to take a moral stand for the Catholic Faith without concern for public acceptance, media relations, angering subordinates, offending non-Catholics or causing a schism. Such a man is diametrically opposed to what a majority of bishops have become and he will not be formed through conferences, discussion groups and workshops. He is a future Pope who will see this devastated vineyard for what it is and by the Grace of God, restore His Church.

ping with heartfelt thanks to nickcarraway!

13 posted on 05/05/2002 1:39:01 PM PDT by history_matters
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To: nickcarraway
I don't know how you found this but it is by far the best analysis of this whole thing. Great. Who is Peter Miller and what is his background? Does anyone know?
14 posted on 05/05/2002 1:59:27 PM PDT by Renatus
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To: maryz
That's a good article. Thanks for the reference.

One of the prime motivations for celibacy is the witness value it brings in the modern world. I question how much the average Catholic even cares that their priests are unmarried. I think it matters not a whit to the vast majority of them.

God notices, of course, and that's not a bad audience to play to, but I know, in my case, that I wouldn't have lasted two years in the priesthood had I gone on to ordination, God or not.

It took me several years to get over the idea that I had somehow failed in my life by not becoming a priest. Now, with my family, I wonder how I could have ever thought that.

15 posted on 05/05/2002 2:03:30 PM PDT by sinkspur
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To: sinkspur
What he fails to point out is that the worst of the offenders (Shanley, Geoghan and others) were in the pre-conciliar seminaries and were ordained well before Vatican II "ruined" the Church.

If they're about 70 now, they were probably ordained in about 1960. Vatican II was announced in 1958 or 1959. But I think all the things that burst out in Vatican have to have had their seeds in the 50s, as the hippies of the 60s were in some ways the offspring (in some cases perhaps literally) of the beatniks of the 50s. I did read somewhere that many of those in the hierarchy who attended Vatican II pushed through a lot of their agenda while the rest of the bishops were still getting used to the Latin.

Geoghan, in particular, probably owes his ordination to his monsignor uncle who pulled strings to keep him from being thrown out, but I doubt that using influence is particular to any one period.

The problem with the two of them is that their "careers" mostly ran after Vatican II. These things must have occurred before, but I think Shanley, in particular, would have had a much harder time pre-Vatican II -- I don't think priests worked with "street kids" (that wasn't an observed social problem then.

Of course, I was only a kid in the 50s and there were no altar girls. The only bad experience I had with a priest in the 50s was getting thrown out of Sunday school because I wasn't in the parish (I was nine years old, and my parents had separated that summer; my mother wasn't coping, and I got myself to Sunday school with a friend. I still don't like the Redemptorists.)

16 posted on 05/05/2002 2:09:34 PM PDT by maryz
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To: Catholicguy
Now, it IS true that tiny pockets of Christianity remain, but those pockets of Faith are few and far between and the Hierarchy tolerates but does not promote those places (I am thinking of FSSP and Bishop Bruskewtiz etc).

I'm surprised you even post here, seeing as how those of us who love the Church today and are not longing for the "glory days" of the Tridentine Liturgy are such rabble in your eyes.

Somehow, I get the impression that, during a sermon on sin, you would be patting yourself on the back and thanking God that you are not like the rest of men.

17 posted on 05/05/2002 2:11:11 PM PDT by sinkspur
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To: maryz
These things must have occurred before,

Of course they did.

But, as Cardinal Spellman told one of his boytoys who asked him how he tolerated the hypocrisy, he said "Who would believe it"?

(And before the hate mail starts, I'm merely quoting a Howie Carr column running on FR today. Spellman was a notorious gay, but was powerful enough to keep all evidence of it out of the New York Press)

Nobody would believe priests would abuse young boys, and many bishops used that gullibility to berate the victims into silence.

18 posted on 05/05/2002 2:16:42 PM PDT by sinkspur
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To: sinkspur
I know about Spellman; I read Howie Carr and usually hear his show. But even Howie hasn't said he was known to abuse children.

Do you think -- or have any way of knowing -- whether the incidence of molesting children was the same or lower or higher in earlier decades? Was it merely better secrecy that kept priests trusted?

19 posted on 05/05/2002 2:23:33 PM PDT by maryz
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To: sinkspur
I'm surprised you even post here, seeing as how those of us who love the Church today and are not longing for the "glory days" of the Tridentine Liturgy are such rabble in your eyes. Somehow, I get the impression that, during a sermon on sin, you would be patting yourself on the back and thanking God that you are not like the rest of men.

Is it too much to ask you to read a post carefully before you respond? I was addressing THE HIERARCHY.

I am NOT surprised you'd "get that impression," because you often take the exact opposite impression of what a post intends. I was speaking of SIN and I was addressing personal SIN and I addressed my own Confession and Penance. One who goes to Confession - frequently - and does Penance is not a Pharisee who thinks himself less sinful than others.

Sinkspur. I understand you have a problem with me and my thoughts. But at least due me the kindness of reading my posts carefully before responding and try to withold judgement of my internal dispositions and motivations. I really DO know my motivations and intentions better than do you

20 posted on 05/05/2002 2:31:16 PM PDT by Catholicguy
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Comment #21 Removed by Moderator

To: allend
We already have enough heterodox priests.

Point out to me where I'm "heterodox". You troglodytes who think someone who questions mandatory celibacy is deserving of excommunication must have a great time peeking under your neighbors' beds.

22 posted on 05/05/2002 6:41:18 PM PDT by sinkspur
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To: maryz
Do you think -- or have any way of knowing -- whether the incidence of molesting children was the same or lower or higher in earlier decades? Was it merely better secrecy that kept priests trusted?

No one has any way of knowing. Who would believe, in 1940, that a Bing Crosby, Barry Fitzgerald-type priest would molest a minor?

The incidence of abuse has never been high, but covering-up, blaming the victim, and completely ignoring their pain has been a hallmark of the Church.

23 posted on 05/05/2002 6:49:24 PM PDT by sinkspur
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Comment #24 Removed by Moderator

To: allend
Claiming the changeability of Church doctrine, as you have done, is another matter.

Where did I do that?

25 posted on 05/05/2002 7:10:01 PM PDT by sinkspur
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Comment #26 Removed by Moderator

To: nickcarraway;Catholic_list;father Elijah;SMEDLEYBUTLER;history_matters
Help us honor our priests this Father's Day!

Recent news stories have focused national attention on a relatively few Catholic clergy involved in terrible scandals. The vast majority of our priests, however, continue to offer themselves daily in faithful and selfless service to the Church and its people.

Our Sunday Visitor would like to honor those priests who have been models of Christ's love for you, our readers, If you know such a priest, please send us his name, parish or ministry, city and state, along with a brief tribute of 25 to 50 words, describing his work, his spirit, and his impact on you or your local community.

All entries must be received by Friday, May 24, so don't delay! We plan to publish as many of these tributes as possible in our Father's Day issue of June 16, 2002.

Send your entries to:

Father's Day Tribute
c/o Our Sunday Visitor
200 Noll Plaza
Huntington, IN 46750

Or, e-mail them to oursunvis@osv.com and write "Father's Day Tribute" in the subject line.


Click here to
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My Daily Visitor Verse of the Day for Sunday, May 5, 2002:

Sixth Sunday of Easter
Bible Verse: Let all the earth cry out to God with joy. -- Psalm 66

Mass readings: Acts 8: 5-8, 14-17 / 1 Peter 3: 15-18 / John 14:15-21

Prayer: This is a mystery too great for me, Jesus. I yearn for that experience of union. Are You really that close to me?




Send comments regarding this site to webmaster@osv.com
Copyright © 1998-2001, Our Sunday Visitor. All rights reserved.


27 posted on 05/05/2002 8:29:09 PM PDT by Lady In Blue
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To: sinkspur
The incidence of abuse has never been high, but covering-up, blaming the victim, and completely ignoring their pain has been a hallmark of the Church.

In the current crisis, the incidence of abusers may not be that high, but the incidence of abuse skyrocketed. I do recall (acctually it came back to me this morning) seeing an article in the Boston Herald when Geoghan was first hitting the papers that said the "treatment" facility he was sent to used a textbook (written by a priest and a nun) that emphasized that the celibate too had to express their sexuality.

That's all the article cited from the book (the Herald, after all, sees itself as a family newspaper), but it quoted a psychologist who reviewed the book who said something like, "My God, this is psychobabble -- it's like a how-to manual for sex offenders!" I don't think that would been possible pre-Vatican II.

I think the Derbyshire article got me thinking, too, that not only did the timing of Vatican II coincide with the sexual revolution, but also with what we may call the "drug revolution" (can we count the rise of the self-esteem movement here?). The 60s really were a hotbed of truly crazy ideas, and way too many in the Church lapped them up with a spoon and used Vatican II as a means to incorporate them into the Church's practice. Many here have pointed out the chasm between Vatican II documents and what was too often the implementation.

28 posted on 05/06/2002 1:46:55 AM PDT by maryz
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To: Catholicguy
I'll bet a million dollars there isn't a person on this thread who can honestly say they have heard a sermon about the NECESSITY of one having Sanctifying Grace in their soul at the time of death.

I'll take that bet. Wire transfer will be fine. ;)

I should mention that my parish is unusual in that there are literally zero abuses or disobedience. The preaching is above average, and the CCD and RCIA programs are superb. About 25 people are received into the Church each Easter.

Makes for a loooong Vigil Mass, though.

29 posted on 05/06/2002 7:50:11 AM PDT by Steve1789
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To: Catholicguy
Forgot to mention: I'm sure it's just a coincidence, but the church is packed, standing-room-only, every Sunday.
30 posted on 05/06/2002 7:55:39 AM PDT by Steve1789
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To: sinkspur
One of the prime motivations for celibacy is the witness value it brings in the modern world. I question how much the average Catholic even cares that their priests are unmarried. I think it matters not a whit to the vast majority of them.

Of course, the 'vast majority' (approximately 70%) don't believe in the Real Presence and in the most infamous poll ever taken, the 'vast majority' chose Barabas.

31 posted on 05/06/2002 8:16:45 AM PDT by AlguyA
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To: AlguyA
Of course, the 'vast majority' (approximately 70%) don't believe in the Real Presence and in the most infamous poll ever taken, the 'vast majority' chose Barabas.

I don't accept your statistic; I've seen it quoted, but never attributed to any reputable source.

I'm just not sure what first century Jews have to do with 21st century Catholics and their potential acceptance of a married clergy, other than as your vehicle to imply that those who might favor the latter are somehow like those who directly sent Jesus to his crucifixion. Nice try, though.

32 posted on 05/06/2002 9:22:40 AM PDT by sinkspur
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To: Lady In Blue
Help us honor our priests this Father's Day!

NOt a bad idea. My wife and I honor our priest with presents on Holy Thursday.

33 posted on 05/06/2002 9:24:06 AM PDT by Catholicguy
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To: sinkspur
I don't accept your statistic; I've seen it quoted, but never attributed to any reputable source.

Click here for the poll results. Scroll down to "Second Poll Results".

34 posted on 05/06/2002 9:53:28 AM PDT by Steve1789
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To: Steve0113
Sounds like this St. Augustine Center has an agenda. If they wrote the poll questions, I believe the results even less.
35 posted on 05/06/2002 10:17:25 AM PDT by sinkspur
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To: sinkspur
"I'm just not sure what first century Jews have to do with 21st century Catholics and their potential acceptance of a married clergy, other than as your vehicle to imply that those who might favor the latter are somehow like those who directly sent Jesus to his crucifixion. Nice try, though."

Then allow me to explain. Truth is not determined by majority-rule. For example, a 'vast majority' of Americans thought Clinton's 'private life' should have no bearing on his fitness to be President.(Is this example a little more up-to-date for you?)

36 posted on 05/06/2002 10:19:35 AM PDT by AlguyA
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To: sinkspur
'Sounds like this St. Augustine Center has an agenda. If they wrote the poll questions, I believe the results even less."

Perhaps you would care to provide us with an alternative statistic on believe in the Real Presence.

37 posted on 05/06/2002 10:22:00 AM PDT by AlguyA
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To: AlguyA
Truth is not determined by majority-rule.

What does "truth" have to do with the discipline of celibacy?

The Church allows married men to become priests today, as long as they are Episcopalian or Lutheran first.

The Church could change the discipline tomorrow universally.

The "truth" would be that mandatory celibacy exists today, and tomorrow it would be "true" that it didn't.

38 posted on 05/06/2002 10:27:30 AM PDT by sinkspur
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To: AlguyA
Perhaps you would care to provide us with an alternative statistic on believe in the Real Presence.

Nope. But I did note that there were no statistics as to how many "traditional" Catholics believed in the Real Presence. Maybe it wasn't much better.

Hearing four alternative questions over the telephone and being told to pick one is not a very reliable way to poll on an intensely theological issue like the Real Presence.

I suspect the St. Augustine Center knew that, and they got precisely the result they were looking for.

39 posted on 05/06/2002 10:31:40 AM PDT by sinkspur
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To: sinkspur
"Nope. But I did note that there were no statistics as to how many "traditional" Catholics believed in the Real Presence. Maybe it wasn't much better."

ROFLOL!

40 posted on 05/06/2002 10:36:22 AM PDT by AlguyA
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To: sinkspur
Hearing four alternative questions over the telephone and being told to pick one...

Bear in mind that there aren't many possible beliefs on that topic, and that there was the option of "Other". The four non-"Other" choices given covered 92% of replies. If you know of other possible positions on this, aside from the four options given, I'd be interested to see them.

41 posted on 05/06/2002 11:59:03 AM PDT by Steve1789
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To: AlguyA;Catholicguy
This past Sunday my pastor told us about a priest in his seminary. The priest said the difference between a Catholic church and a Protestant church is that in a Catholic church there is the Real Presence and in a Protestant church there is the real absence. LOL!
42 posted on 05/06/2002 1:31:15 PM PDT by ELS
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