Saturday, May 11

Oh yeah, leave it to the laity, and we'll fix it:

Congregation cheers approval as admitted child predator says he's staying on as their pastor

-- Parishioners clapped and shouted approval after learning that a priest who admitted having sexual contact with a minor more than 20 years ago will remain as their pastor.

....The Rev. Michael Allen told more than 400 people who filled the pews at St. Peter Catholic Church in Celestine, Ind., that he initiated a sexual relationship in 1976 with a 16-year-old boy....

Allen was an associate pastor at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Princeton, Ind., at the time of the abuse. The boy had been hospitalized for depression after the death of his father....

That's who I want as my pastor...a guy who takes advantage of a depressed, fatherless teenager. Yeah, that's the ticket.

So is reform and repentance impossible? Of course not. But whatever the case, the cheering and clapping is totally inappropriate. Imagine if that boy's mother or a sibling was present that day, listening to a congregation whoop it up over the presence of their son or brother's molestor. In a sense, of course, they were, because they are a part of the Body of Christ. They may not have heard the cheers, but the echoes resound nonetheless, shaping and perverting the very air we breathe in between our "Amen's".

Just asking...

In past years, EWTN has provided gavel-to-gavel coverage of the bishops' meetings. I know. Believe it or not, I've watched it. When I was having a hard time going to sleep.

Anyway, this June's EWTN schedule indicates that all we're going to get this summer is recaps from Raymond Arroyo. (scroll down) That's too bad. This is probably the most important meeting the bishops have ever had. Millions of Catholics (and others) will be interested and concerned with what's being discussed and the decisions being made. In the name of "transparency" and "reform" don't you think the discussions should be open? Wouldn't that tell us that the bishops really mean what they're saying?

Definition of a Sociopath:

Got it for ya right here, right now, from the deposition of a Massachusetts priest who has admitted molesting scores - between 50 and 100 by his own estimation - of girls. The deposition was taken in 1996 in the context of a lawsuit alleging he raped a young girl:

In the deposition, Rev. Kelley told the questioner that he worried his admissions made him look like “some type of a monster or idiot.”

“I work beautifully with people, no matter of age,” he said. “... Humility is truth and I'm going to put it right on the table. I have an unbelievable track record in the Diocese of Worcester as an administrator and as a people person, and as being a hell of a trench fighter. You can put that in the record: A hell of a trench fighter.”

That's bad. But what's just as bad is this:

He has served prison time for raping a young girl.

Kelley is merely "on leave" from the Diocese of Worcester.

He has been on leave since 1985, been sued, charged, imprisoned, and the diocese was still giving him financial support through at least 1996 (the date of the deposition.)

A heartbreaking must-read from tomorrow's NY Times Magazine about David Clohessy, spokesman for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP and his brother Kevin, a former priest who left ministry because of a credible accusation of...abuse...against him.
See the fascinating places your blog can take you:

Yesterday's blogging on annulments led a reader to wonder about a crucial plot point in Brideshead Revisited:

In reading the posts on annulment here and elsewhere, it occurred to me
to wonder, why is Lady Julia Flyte (a Catholic who marries the previously married Rex Mottram in "Brideshead Revisited") not free to
marry again when Charles asks her to do so?

I have always been led to believe that even under the strictest judges,earlier in the last century, Catholics who erred by marrying divorced persons could marry again because their original marriages were not valid in the first place. What's more, Waugh seems to have known or found this out at some point in his life: when his friend Anne Rothermere (divorced from Lord Rothermere) married Ian Fleming, she expected him to be horrified but found to her surprise that he was pleased, since her marriage to the divorced Lord Rothermere was not canonically valid in the first place. So why couldn't Lady Julia marry harles? Or was her refusal merely a self-imposed penance for having married the idiotic Mottram?

The answer, swiped from another source because I'm lazy and because I've still got 20 letters to go:

Julia is free to marry whomsoever she pleases, as long as that person is Catholic and unmarried; the Church would not have recognised her marriage to Rex as valid since in its eyes he had a wife living. She merely needs to be free in the eyes of the state - and her divorce will see to that.

But she and Charles still cannot marry, for in the eyes of the Church he is validly married to Celia. The Church will not rule on the validity of a marriage contracted between two people who were not Catholics and possibly give an annulment, as it might do with a Catholic marriage : such interference does not fall within its sphere. It does not, moreover, accept divorce in either Catholic or non-Catholic worlds. Thus, the divorces that both Rex and Charles have obtained do not have any validity in the eyes of the Church. So though the ‘marriage’ with Rex is no barrier to her, Julia still cannot marry Charles.

If Julia had gone ahead and married Charles, the union would not have been recognised by the Church. She realises that she needs now to acknowledge and affirm the love of God, and that this need requires the denial of a life with Charles. She must place the love of God before her love of Charles.

An interesting thought is that after he became a Catholic, Charles might have been able to pursue an annulment of his marriage with Celia. (EW himself successfully did this very thing and after much waiting had his marriage to Evelyn Gardner annulled.) If an annulment had been granted, he and Julia would have been free to marry.

That was then, this is now. I don't know when this changed, but these days, marriages between non-Catholics can be annulled by the Catholic Church. . It's the logical consequence of
recognizing those marriages as valid (like "Protestant" baptisms which are simply Christian baptisms in Protestant Churches.). I have mixed feelings about this. I worked in a parish as a DRE, with the RCIA, and you cannot imagine the pain and confusion that arises when people cannot become Catholic right now because they are in a second marriage, but they have to get their first
marriage, contracted when they were non-catholic to a non-Catholic, annulled through the Catholic church before they can validate the second marriage and then enter the Catholic Church.

It is often a nightmare.

A Rather Important Priest in Boston writes to scold me, sort of:

What is wrong with the prayer to the Holy Spirit by the Archdiocese of Boston? Who cares, we as an Archdiocese are called by our leader to pray to the Holy Spirit for healing and renewal. Please , don't criticize that! There is nothing we need more than prayer. If the prayer is not perfect, well who cares, the Holy Spirit is perfect. I am sure He can work with it.

Oh, he's probably right. But I have to continue to argue that there are many, many Catholics who are waiting for more specific acceptance of responsiblity from those in power than "mistakes have been made" and "reform is needed." This prayer pushed my button as a symbol of the failure to accept and name that responsibility.

Well, this is nice. My Loyola Kids' Book of Saints has broken the 6,000 mark on Amazon. At least for today. At least for this hour. I'm sure it will be back down in its usual cellar soon enough, but for now...thanks for all those (I presume) First Communion orders!
I just opened my e-mailbox for the first time since early yesterday evening. I have 39 letters. Sigh. I'll get to them...


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