Wednesday, June 12

Sean Gallagher's doing some good thinking about Church History and The SituationScandalMessKettleoFish over at Nota Bene. Go check it out.
New Catholic blogger Bill Cork provides some salient Scripture passages regarding the responsibilities of religious leaders. Go read if you're tempted to get all soppy and treat these guys like they're little helpless kids, rather than the men in service to Christ that they're called to be.
A reminder: I will, to the best of my ability, be providing you with hourly (or so) updates of the discussions in Dallas on this blog. I don't do the PayPal or Amazon handout thing, so if you appreciate this service, all I ask is that you take a gander at my books (linked to the right) and my husband's books (linked on his blog) - all the money goes to the same place - the mortgage company. The Prove It books are a little problematic to get on Amazon, so if you're interested in those for the faith-challenged teen (or catechist or DRE or church or school library) in your life, you might do better to order them through OSV directly.
Was the Monastery shooter upset about his divorce? That's one theory being floated.
Neil Cavuto is dumb. Or else the person who writes his copy is dumb. Here's what he just said on Fox:

Hundreds of Catholic priests are gathering in Dallas to vote on reforms in the Church.

Uh...yeah. I guess that's what's happening. Sort of.

I am, quite frankly, sickened, by the expressions of "relief" that Bishop McCarthy sinned with women, as expressed in some of the comments on this blog and in this column from Newsday.

Two points:

To extend the vocabulary of "abuse" to relationships withadult women is indeed, not right. To do so cheapens and minimizes the horror of crimes against minors.

But at the same time, many, many relationships between clergy and women - of all denominations - are tainted with a shadow of manipulation and exploitation of the clerical role and the dynamic between a cleric and laypeople, particularly those who come to him (or her) for counseling. Yes, a mutual, consensual relationship is certainly possible, and does occur, but don't assume that just because a priest or minister's paramour was over 18 means that there wasn't a misuse of power and position involved somewhere. There often was.

Secondly, as "good" a man as Bishop McCarthy might have seemed - or been - hell, I don't know the guy - the fact is that there was obviously an Integrity Gene missing, or at least, underused. If the man had serious, continuing trouble with celibacy, not just in terms of wanting sex, but in terms of desiring the intimacy of a relationship with a woman he should have recognized that as a sign (duh) that he wasn't "called to celibacy" and gotten out. He should have left the active ministry, applied for laicization, gotten a job, and pursued a relationship with honesty and integrity, with an eye towards the holiness of an authentic relationship sacramentalized in matrimony. But he didn't. Which indicates to me a lack of honesty as well as a type of cowardice. Everyone seems to say that the guy was on track for bigger things. Sounds like the price he'd have to pay - ask any laicized priest about that - would be too high, and, in the end, he wasn't willing to sacrifice the possibility of being a Big Time Hierarch.

Oh well. Looks like circumstances have given him the chance, anyway.

From Detroit:

Bishops are torn between victims and parishioners

Teary-eyed parishioners from St. Suzanne parish in Detroit met with Cardinal Adam Maida to beg for the return of their pastor, ousted in late March amid allegations of long-ago sexual misconduct.

Five grown men also had a face-to-face meeting with the leader of the Detroit Catholic archdiocese because their onetime pastor at Our Lady of Loretto in Redford Township, who they say molested them, had resurfaced as a parish priest.

Before this week's meeting of U.S. Catholic bishops in Dallas, Maida spoke with Detroit-area victims of sexual misconduct by clerics as well as distraught parishioners who want their priests back in the pulpit. Their polar-opposite viewpoints illustrate the contentious problem facing the bishops: what to do with priests accused of decades-old misconduct.

...."You have to picture what it's like to have your pastor whisked away before you can say good-bye to him," Wasko said. In their meeting with Maida, Wasko said, they asked the cardinal to consider Duggan's outreach to the west side. ....

Wasko said he hopes the bishops in Dallas take parishioners' anguish into account. "There can't be anybody moving forward without involving the laity in the process," he said.

Sorry, no. The accusations may or may not stick, but "parishioner's anguish" is of absolutely no importance in this debate. Parishioners need to get a grip and realize that their faith is to be in Christ, not in priests. I'm not a liturgical Traditionalist with a capitol "T" by any means, but the fact remains that one of the effects of the Tridentine Liturgy was to render the priest almost anonymous. His presence was essential, but his identity was irrelevant. That's not to say that the personalities and gifts of priests are of no import. We come to know Christ through the particular way to which we're ministered and loved (not just by priests but by all who bear the name Christian), and the kindness of a priest, his clarity in explaining the faith, his service to the poor - are all powerful witnesses to the truth of the Faith and the power of Christ's love. But we must always be careful, lest the minister become the object of our reverence and the definition of our faith.

Read 1 Corinithians 1, in which Paul juxtaposes the power of his message alongside his own weakness in proclaiming it.

Superb piece by Rod Dreher at NRO

The Church doesn't need new policies; we need new men. I don't mean that literally, though clearly in many cases, such as Boston's, a new bishop is required. I mean we need many of these bishops to be converted, truly changed in their minds and hearts. Any new policy voted on in Dallas is only as good as the willingness of each individual bishop to enforce it. There is nothing — nothing — in the church's rules that would have prevented a bishop from sacking a John Geoghan or a Paul Shanley at the first sign of trouble. The problem isn't a lack of law; the problem is a lack of leadership, a lack of virtue, a lack of humility, a lack, even, of faith. That is not something two days in Dallas will likely impart to any of the American bishops, who have shown so little of it till now.

Our Man in Dallas, Mark Adams, posted his first on-site observations late last night. Look for more later.
There's a lot going on, obviously. I'm not going to post and comment on every story that comes down the pike, only those that present an interesting angle or revelation. For the most thorough collections of news articles on this, as usual, go to The Poynter Clergy Abuse Tracker and (this week at least) the Dallas Morning News
From the Dallas Morning News (LRR, I think, but it's worth it) - a nice list to greet the bishops - Predator Shuffling Bishops: An exhaustive, detailed list.

A bit later: I insist. You really must read over this list, meditate on it and, while you're at it, thank God for a free press.

Leave it to the NYPost:

Playboy Bishop - an account of McCarthy's fall. Note that the photo on the article is not McCarthy - it's the late Cardinal O'Connor (in the late stages of his illness, no less, when he was terribly bloated because of his medication).

From the Washington Post: Abbey rampage a mystery.

I wonder if the motivation in this will ever be discovered. The murderer was a real loner, with only the most minimal contact with even his family.

As if one canon lawyer wasn't enough....

Peter Vere has started this Group Canon Lawyer Blog Thing where the rest of us can go, and with an almost masochistic curiosity, watch these guys discuss whether the rest of us should be barred from the sacraments or not!

Heh. Just thought I'd stir things up a little. Did it work?


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