Saturday, March 30

A blessed Easter to all of you.
So much for posting...

We've had a busy 24 hours. Last night we bought Joseph his brand-new, front-facing big boy car seat. Today we we fetched our rental car (cheaper for the company than all of us flying, with no wear on our car!), Michael worked out, Michael shopped for a new laptop computer, Michael got Office Depot to match Best Buy's price on a laptop, since neither Best Buy in town happened to have their featured laptop in stock, Amy got her hair cut, Amy did about six loads of laundry, finished her NCEA talk, made transparencies, did a bit of packing, Michael set up the new laptop, and Joseph followed us around, making this funny new face he has (scrunching up his nose and squinting his eyes), and picking up objects and putting them in places where they will never be found again.

We are leaving tomorrow after Mass, and hope to make it pretty far across Pennsylvania. I'd like to spend some time in Philadelphia on Monday, given I've never been there, and we'll get to Atlantic City late afternoon or early evening on Monday. Since we have the laptop, I can work on the columns I didn't write today in the car, Michael can do book revisions, and we can both blog away in the hotel when we get bored. So...perhaps if you check in late Sunday or early Monday morning, there will be something new and fascinating in this space. Or not.

A good piece from Michael Novak on the Current Situation.

His view is that a general culture of "dissent" that has marked the life of Catholicism from top to bottom since Vatican II has a role to play in this, and one can't really disagree with this at all.

Except to ask - if that is the case, why is that some vigorously non-dissenting bishops have covered-up behavior, shifted offenders around and protected them? Cardinal Law? Cardinal Egan? Dailey of Brooklyn? Not a dissenter in the bunch, but plenty of protectors of sexual predators there.

It would be very helpful if orthodox Catholics who have a good grasp of the theological and spiritual aspects of this crisis would honestly confront the nature of clerical culture, which is partly related to mandatory celibacy, and partly to the dynamics that engage any group of professionals and bureaucrats.

An interesting question, to those who can't see a leadership composed only of celibate males as having any impact on the shape of this culture: imagine that the members of some other profession - any profession - all followed an identical lifestyle (on paper). All lawyers were celibate women. All doctors were celibate males. All teachers were celibate, period. Would that impact the way those professions are practiced and the way they relate to their "clients?" Probably. Would it impact the members' relations to each other? Probably. Any profession is almost reflexively self-protective - hence, for example, the existence of professional associations, most of which came into existence as a way of defining who was and wasn't permitted to practice those skills. Hence the sense that there are some things, for example, that lawyers, doctors and teachers know about each other and the practice of their professions that the rest of us haven't a clue about. Church work is no different - and I mean all church work, whether it's engaged in by lay or ordained folk. But the impact of mandatory clerical celibacy really takes that sense to another level.

Yes, a culture of "dissent" undoubtedly contributed to the lax morals among many clergy, as described in Novak's piece, but it doesn't explain the episcopal protection of these guys. At all.

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