The following article from the Irish Times by Fintan O'Toole is one of the best laments I have ever read about the cynicism my generation has developed regarding the 'reform of the reform' and our Catholic leadership. Back in those heady original days of Vatican II we thought Vatican II would truly open the doors to something more than rote memorization of a catechism, or abject obeisance to whatever priest was assigned to our parish, or whatever bishop to our diocese. We dared to think our thoughts mattered and our voices would be heard and peace and joy would mean more for Catholics than condemnation and hell. What we didn't take into consideration is that power corrupts and it's wielders will never give up their perks. They will fight tooth and nail to keep their prerogatives. And so fifty years later the Church is where it is now, and we optimists are forced to deal with really really ugly truth. None of us started out as liberals. We started out as silly naive optimists who thought we were on the same page as our leaders. Truly silly us, we had no clue of the actual reality of the leadership we believed in. Our hope was in the myth. We mistook the myth for reality. Now we know. No more silly naivete.
Vatican loud on liberals but silent on abuse
FINTAN O'TOOLE - Irish Times - 4/30/2012
THERE’S A column I would have written a few years ago, but can’t be bothered to write now. It was a reliable old standby about the latest abuse of power by the institutional Catholic Church. It would be fuelled by anger and by expectation – rage at the hierarchy’s latest folly but an implicit hope that the innate decency of Irish Catholicism would some day be allowed to blossom. There was something real at stake in this argument – the church’s hold on Irish public culture was so strong that everything it did mattered.
I thought about writing one of those columns in response to the Vatican’s censuring of five priests – Brian D’Arcy, Tony Flannery, Gerard Moloney, Seán Fagan and Owen O’Sullivan – simply for saying what most Catholics actually think about celibacy, women priests and homosexuality. But I couldn’t find either anger or hope.
All that’s left is a double dose of sadness – for a generation of idealists; for a society in need of moral leadership that is being given just one more, all too familiar dose of the most abject cynicism.
What we’re seeing now is the sadistic humiliation of a generation of clergy that deserves better. At a simple human level, there’s something genuinely tragic in the fate of these priests: not just those who have been silenced but all their like-minded colleagues. These were once young men and women, mostly in rural Ireland, in the wake of the Second Vatican Council. They were infused with the energy of reform and renewal. The priesthood still had glamour, and it was still tied up with familial snobbery, social prestige and institutional arrogance.
But there was also a promise of something more: that the institution to which they were drawn was changing, opening up, moving away from cult-like obedience to obsessive sexual doctrines. It was engaging with deep questions about power and poverty. And it was reasonable to think that this process was sure to continue, to imagine that by 2012 the church would long since have made its peace with democracy.
These young men and women may have been naive, but they were not contemptible. Their families and communities invested in them their often meagre resources of pride and hope and idealism. They returned that investment, in many cases, by expanding the narrow horizons of the world from which they had come. Especially those who worked in developing countries brought back experiences and ideas that made Ireland a richer, more complex place. The relative success with which new migrants were integrated in the last decade, for example, owes much to their influence.
These people don’t deserve to be called to heel like errant lapdogs. It is easy to say that they should refuse to follow orders or just walk away from an abusive institution. But that would be to walk away from the only adult life they’ve known. It would be to write off decades of work and sacrifice – to accept that the most profound decision of one’s life was based on a delusion.
It’s desperately sad that what should have been a noble story in Irish life should end so cruelly. But there’s also a sadness for Ireland itself. Our society hardly needs yet more hypocrisy, another layer of self-serving cynicism. The institutional church disgraced itself by systematically covering up child abuse. It is almost beyond belief that its final conclusion from that trauma – the real outcome of all those apologies and visitations – is that the true problem is some mildly liberal articles in Reality or the Sunday World.
(Unfortunately for modern Catholicism, the men with all the power are themselves living in a delusional world.)
This is the institution that told us that it was unable to control child rapists in its ranks because it couldn’t just issue orders. Remember Cardinal Cahal Daly writing to the parents of a victim of the hideous abuser Brendan Smyth: “There have been complaints about this priest before, and once I had to speak to the superior about him. It would seem that there has been no improvement. I shall speak with the superior again.” Remember the stuff about how bishops were lords in their own dioceses and religious orders were their own kingdoms?
When priests were raping children, the institutional hierarchy was wringing its hands and pleading “what can we do?” The Vatican was very busy and very far away. But when a priest makes some mild suggestions that women might be entitled to equality, the church is suddenly an efficient police state that can whip that priest into line. The Vatican, which apparently couldn’t read any of the published material pointing to horrific abuse in church-run institutions, can pore over the Sunday World with a magnifying glass, looking for the minutest speck of heresy. (This is a brilliant paragraph.)
An institution so stupid that it thinks its Irish faithful is more scandalised by Brian D’Arcy than by Brendan Smyth is not worth anyone’s anger. It is doing a far better job of destroying itself than its worst enemies could dream of.
All we can do is mourn the passing of a strain of decency and hope in a society so inured to hypocrisy that one more example is neither here nor there.
What's really stupid is the institution thinking it's laity are stupid enough to actually think the mild statements of D'Arcy are more scandalous than the estimated 100 children raped by Brendan Smyth. That's truly stupid. And yet, it may be stupid like a fox, because as statistics show, money rolls into the Vatican from right wing sources when the Vatican engages in crusades against the left. So, it is, as it always is with the wealthy and powerful. It's about money and control. The real stupidity lies in Catholic laity who believe other wise.
Yes, its an excellent article !ReplyDelete
Just because the hierarchy stands up for Catholic doctrine (gay marriage, the 'ok'ing of abortion and contraception, and the ordination of women not being anywhere to be found in Vatican II), doesn't mean the Church is ignoring its own ecumenical councils.ReplyDelete
The Pope's speeches make frequent reference to the documents of the Second Vatican Council.
The resistance of the Church to your pet projects arises from the integrity of the Church, not from its corruption.
What integrity? That is exactly the problem. Covering-up for child abuse is sick.Delete
And it's just as disgusting to refuse to admit the hypocrisy of our Hierarchy preaching morality when engaged in the perpetuation of child rape. Our leaders have sold their last remaining vestiges of integrity to the Temple Elders. Wake up.Delete
Ah, yes, integrity. Jesus claimed to be faithful to his Father, close enough to call Him Abba. But what happens when a law like keeping the Sabbath holy gets in the way of some showy healing? He ignores his Abba and goes right on with his own little game.Delete
What about washing before eating? Now, seriously, a simple ceremony shows that we cleanse ourselves before God, just as we were told. But, no, too much work for Jesus. He thinks its not important and curses the leaders out to boot.
Maybe Jesus doesn't think doctrinal integrity is the last word. Maybe some other concept is more vital. I don't know for sure, but I'm just sayin.
And by the way, arguing integrity for the hierarchy in the light of the sexual abuse coverup, Mafia Don burials, continuing banking crises, and attacking the nuns? I'd love to have a hierarchy to follow, but such willful blindness would be sinful.
If the Church sanctions a sin or an erroneous teaching, then the Church loses its integrity.
If a priest commits a sin or imparts an erroneous teaching, then the priest loses his integrity.
The two cannot be conflated, it is not logically legitimate.
As the Pope affirms, the foundation, heart, and outward expression of our Catholic principles is love. As a natural consequence, and following - as you yourself say - Jesus' example, traditions can be made subservient to the requirements of love, as seen when the Church allows an individual exemption from Lenten fasting, or when married convert vicars are allowed to take Holy Orders.
What Jesus did not do, however, was to deny the doctrines out of which those traditions grew. Jesus would not have 'compassionately' denied God, or 'compassionately' accepted paganism, or 'compassionately' accepted murder. It's not what he did, and it is foolish to expect it from the Church.
Jesus loves and obeys the Father.Delete
Jesus says following the rules is important, even necessary.
Jesus breaks the rules of His Father multiple times in each Gospel and without a second thought.
No matter how you (or the pope) tries to spin it, this doesn't logically fit unless something supercedes the rules. If not, then the integrity of Christ is less than optimal.
From below.....I am not blind, and if I may we are not blind, to human atrocities. Instead, we see those atrocities attributed to the commands of God, even to the glory of God. I am not allowed to vehemently hate even those who subvert my church. However, when church leaders say that black is white and their evils are what God wants, I must sacrifice my complacency and trust where God sends me.
Loves can supersede the the rules we follow. It cannot supercede the truths we know, because love and truth run in the same channel.Delete
We can both (all?) agree to that in theory. In application, you feel I've been duped by the world. I feel you've been duped by people representing themselves as "in persona Christi", and indelably marked according to themselves. But their fruit is bitter and rotten, their love is minimal and self centered, and their response to other faith filled people is fearful. "Fr. Corapi was really right....until he went bad." "Fr. Eutenauer really battled evil....until the demons took over." Cardinal Law was a wonderful leader.... until he had to run away to avoid prosecution." "How could the Vatican stop bishops or priests....unless you are speaking of Bishop Morris, or Bishop Hunthausen, or the Irish priests." And on and on.Delete
Bluntly, despite being trained in all the platitudes you espouse, my experience leads me to oppose thes people, if only to retain my integrity and my faith and my poor emulation of Jesus. I know that doesn't fit your worldview. I just think you've been so indoctrinated that you've accepted this boxed up God who can be parsed out. I don't know that...man.
If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.
Indelibly marked by the Holy Spirit, not by themselves. And is their love really minimal? I can only speak of the priests I've met and met recently enough to remember well, and while one of them seemed to be suffering from spiritual dryness, and one other seemed to be a bit too swept up in naive enthusiasms for tambourines and low liturgy, the five others I know well enough to have any impression of their love are possessed of a profound love and a profound dedication.Delete
Perhaps you only "know" the priests you read about in newspapers and witch-hunt style blogs like these?
After all, if you really knew any priests (or Jews, or Sikhs, or any other body of individuals), I doubt you'd be so ready to refer to them as "these people" and in such disparaging terms! Where's the love?
Indelibly marked by the Holy Spirit so they tell us, anyway.Delete
I have had the privilege of meeting all kinds of priests, four who stick out as having had a great impact on my formation. Two were very conservative and hated Vatican II and two were very liberal and loved Vatican II. I loved all four of them for the same reason, they were followers of Jesus before they were Roman Catholic priests.
A large part of my motivation for writing this blog is in their memory. I guarantee that all four of them would be appalled with what has come to light about the hierarchy and Vatican in the last 15 years. I'm quite glad none of them are now alive to see this mess.
I know many priests and count more than a few of them as friends. They struggle with the hierarchy and embody Jesus.Delete
Do not defend the indefensible. This is not a football game and you cannot distinguish one team from the other by the color of their clothes.
Good Catholics are shamed and humiliated by their association with these clerical evil doers and those who enabled them.
I was defending Church teaching. If that is defending the "indefensible"...what, pray, would you prefer me to defend?
You should try a bit of introspection. You have the second comment in on a post titled "Vatican loud on liberals but silent on abuse" And your comments, time and again, demonstrate exactly that mentality. You jump on us "liberals" here and remain largely silent on the abuse. Sure you acknowledge it in secondary comments but only just in passing, or response.
The abuse is indefensible. The cover-up is indefensible. You are distracting from the main issues being discussed. You argue priests can't do wrong when they are "in persona christi" but seem to excuse their other reprehensible behavior. You aren't that stupid. You're goading me when you say "What's the relevance here?" A priest wore a gun under his vestments and made a spectacle of his "reverence" through his idiosyncratic performance during the liturgy. In persona christi? Appearances can deceive. In this case the surface was meant to distract the congregation from the threat of his gun and his state of mind. Move away from the literal for a moment. There is symbolism and a lesson to learn about the wider clerical picture. Too many rogues, too little supervision. A failure of humans and the institution.
Pay close attention Invictus. You cannot call yourself Catholic. You seek to exclude those with whom you disagree from the church, often calling us Protestants. Every time you suggest "we" here are not Catholic you reveal yourself as less than Catholic because you do not believe in the universality of the one, holy catholic apostolic church.
How does it feel to realize you are not Catholic?
The abuses are indefensible, but I've never defended and nor could I ever defend them, so the statement isn't really worth making.
Much more serious is your accusation that I seek to exclude anyone.
This is the opposite of the truth; I would much prefer for everyone to be included, and this is basically the only reason I subject myself to the often dispiriting and mortificatory exercise of coming to this blog every now and then and clarifying and explaining the authentic Church teachings as best I can, so that those who exclude themselves from the Church by adherence to protestant doctrine or misunderstanding of Church teaching might have some chance to unite or reunite themselves with the Church.
It seems to me Invictus that you can't accept we are thoroughly familiar with what the Church teaches and because of that familiarity, find some of it suspect and needing to be dropped or updated. The Church has a history of calling those who dissent heretics, schismatics, and protestants, but then a century or so later, accepting the changes these 'disobedient protestants' were advocating. Luther's 99 theses are a good example. The current Church accepts almost all of them.Delete
Unification is not uniformity. It's sometimes diversity held in a creative tension. The problem comes when the center can not hold, and Catholicism is on a path where the Vatican is defining where the center is, and it is so far out of touch with the current world view of the west, that it will not hold. And it is only a matter of a few more decades where it won't hold in the South. You can fancy yourself a martyr self sacrificing for us 'protestants' on this blog, but that's not how you come across. You come across as a self righteous parent trying to correct stupid children. That's not evangelization. In the final analysis it's self aggrandizement.
One of my pet projects is to sound the trumpet very loudly wherever and whenever I can against corrupt leadership that enables pedophiles, misogyny, slavery, inquisitions, hatred and bigotry and that slams the door against any notion of REAL integrity.ReplyDelete
Protecting dogma, property, wealth, rather than being true Good Shepherds and leading the world out of ignorance and poverty is just stupid. And it has led to nothing but mayhem for the world's people.
Not to mention their behavior has nothing to do with the "Truth"... but everything to do with power. I never thought I would witness the absolute collusion of our Church leadership with premeditated evil.Delete
Exactly FreeRangeK - I will say it again, even my SSPX right wing parents would be really pissed off with the FACT that pedophile priest were not kicked out of the Church as soon as the leadership KNEW ABOUT IT and that their beloved Church was taken over by so much corruption, lies and evil.Delete
At least my parents were Catholic enough to not SEXUALLY abuse their children!!!!!! Geesh!!! That is why I cannot understand someone like Invictus being so protective of this leadership and saying that is "Catholic" to obey pedophiles and their enablers. SICK.
As bad as the sexual coverup is and was all these centuries, the coverup of of the mafia control of the Vatican Bank will be found to be just as awful when people understand the extent of this problem and the many murders surrounding the coverup of scandalouus banking in the Vatican. Some of these facts are also in Georgio's book mentioned in the last column. The opacity of the Vatican is more than sickening. It is imploding the church. dennisDelete
Yes Dennis you are so right. But I will take your observations one step further. People will really rebel when they understand the Vatican hierarchy has always done whatever they had to to keep the money rolling in. If that's protect pedophile priests, Amen. If that's arrange concordats with anti semitic fascists, Amen. If that's pander to organized crime to get death bed bequests, Amen. If that's perpetuate the myth of Apostolic succession to enable all the above, Amen.Delete
In their crusade against communism they took things even further. If that meant pandering to the Ustache and ignoring their genocide, Amen. If that meant jumping in bed with Western intelligence agencies and forming the Rat Line for thousands of escaping Nazis, Amen. If that meant getting in bed with western intelligence agencies to abet fascist dictators, silencing South American theologians, and turning a blind eye to the assassinations of Catholic religious, including an Archbishop, Amen.
Jesus never guaranteed the Church would survive saddled with this kind of self willed evil. I say, AMEN.
...what blinds you to the fact that these atrocities are human ones, rather than ecclesiastical ones? Why do you so vehemently hate the Church that it blinds you to the atrocities of all other groups; protestants, islamists, secularists, nationalists, liberals, etc etc etc ad nauseam.
So much hatred and bitterness!
I will get over my anger when these clerical hypocrites stop claiming to be 'in persona christi'. They aren't even close.Delete
I'm not blind the atrocities of other groups, I'm just unable to compute our hierarchy claims they have a moral voice in our culture when they have been utterly silent on their own vices.
What have you discovered that makes you right that the priest's role 'in persona Christi' is hypocritical and false, and the Church wrong that the role is a true one?Delete
What insight do you possess, that the councils of the Church have missed?
When somebody rapes your children and the institution does nothing about it, when the institution's bank is run by the mafia for personal change, anger can be and is very JUSTIFIED. For those not angry, I would wonder if you are part of this sociopathic clergy, because sociopaths are what we are dealing with. dennisDelete
You ought to chill out a little, Dennis. Nobody here is excusing those things.Delete
You have blazed the trail I am now walking: from puzzlement to anger to sadness. Lacking any institutional leverage, I guess the only thing we disgruntled layfolk can do is refuse to leave so that the Old Boys' Club can completely overwhelm the People of God. I used to count on the Holy Spirit setting things right. Not so much anymoreReplyDelete
Best wishes, Bill. Truly. I think the only real leverage the pay people have is in the figures- mass attendance and money coming in. When/if the hierarchy sees those drop, they may take note.Delete
Perhaps, invictus, you would care to explain exactly how covering up, ignoring, and moving child-abusing priests into new parishes without warning anybody in the parish that they are in fact child-abusers thus enabling those child abusers to find and molest new victims is not in fact the sanctioning of the sin of child abuse? Perhaps you would care to explain how hurling epithets at the abused children when they do come forward worse is not the church doing it when they are acting in their church-appointed roles and authority?ReplyDelete
Because the hierarchs WERE IN FACT acting in their official 'in persona christi' Vocational roles. You want to argue the the individual abuser-priests were acting out of human sinfulness, fine. You and I agree on that point. But when the bishops willfully and over the course of not years or even decades but generations and centuries protect those abuser-priests, promote them, and elevate them, they are acting for the hierarchy and in their own assumed roles of 'in persona christi'.
They hold forth that I can not be 'in persona christi' because I have the wrong genitalia. I can clearly see that they assume the role of 'in persona christi' because they have the right genitalia and then turn around and act as Satan's Advocate using church assets they DO SERIOUS DAMAGE to the integrity of the church. It is not just personal integrity at stake anymore. This is not blindness and hatred on my part; this is blindness and hatred on their part and by extension then yours as well.
PS: BTW, just because the focus of this discussion is on certain groups of Catholics who sin doesn't mean those of us holding the discussion are 'blind' to similar sins of other humans. That is your strawman.
A priest acts in persona Christi when they are performing the Mass and giving absolution. I would be surprised if a priest managed to perpetrate any such abuses in those situations.Delete
Your angry bile has crippled your rationality, your open-mindedness, and your charity.
This is not a good thing.
I'm being serious- you're in my prayers. It's not the individual humans, it's the institutional church. And you're right, it is not good to be angry. I keep the institutional church in prayer as well. 'Cause boy is that a mess.
Read the linked article: The Reverend Ryan Erickson Case Study
Note I have linked to page 2 where the author says "They knew that Erickson liked guns. He wore a gun under his cassock and even wore it under his vestments at Mass."
What was the circumstance? War? or just another Sunday in Wisconsin or Minnesota?
Matthew 26:52 Put your sword away
Invictus_88 - Is that the year you were born - 1988? Just wondering. If it is it might explain your lack of maturity, heartless attitude, presumptuousness, a propensity to want to bully others who don't agree with you, a shallow perspective and/or indifference to the truth that is being presented here in this blog, which is not very open-minded or charitable of you.Delete
Otherwise, what is your excuse for mistaking myth for reality?
Definitely a bad priest there. Unpleasant reading. What's the relevance here, though?
Ageism? How liberal and forward-looking of you. Do you have a downer on gays and blacks and Jews as well as young people, or is ageism your only prejudice?
Wondering one's age is ageism? And that would lead you to believe all the other supposed prejudices I have? That really is something.
I believe some people in here, including Colkoch and p2p and dennis and Matt, have recently told you about your projections, your style of communication. So, I need not repeat what they and I have already said to you.
It's an oxymoron to use Vatican and integrity in the same sentence.ReplyDelete
The Vatican is now the Ratican. The new integrity is to salute the new fascist feuer Pope Ratz. He is quite pleased to present himself as anti-Christ, to borrow the term from SSPXers, and he is anything but a spokesperson for Jesus Christ. Anyone not blind can see this very clearly.Delete
When you represent an institution, esp one to which you have made sacred life-long promises, your actions and words reflect back on that institution and reveal it to be good or not good. Not only what you say and do produces a judgement on you, but the institution which you represent is likewise judged.Delete
So, what the hierarchy or the church does and says reflects not only on themselves but on the institution.
That is why there is no longer integrity within the Roman church, in spite of what is written in the cathecism or is held by tradition.
People create institutions and as members, they represent and ARE the institution. That is why you cannot explain away protecting child abusers as a personal sin only. It is that, but also the sin of the institution.
So, Invictus, a lot of what you say seems to be just an effort to white wash what is evil.
And, pointing out the sins of other groups as you do earlier in this stream of posts just makes the Roman church's sins even more deplorable because their cathecism, their tradition, their written statements of holiness, the designation of a priest as another Christ, are seen to be utterly worthless. Just talking the talk doesn't produce integrity.
Searcher, your points are well made. I personally am at a loss as to why some folks just can't make the connection that when you represent an institution as visibly as priests represent Catholicism that what they do reflects the institution.Delete
Maybe Newt Gingrich had it right when he said about himself and his philandering ways when he said "people don't care about what I do, they only care about what I say." Rush Limbaugh has made a fortune following this principle, but then, so has the Vatican.
Integrity is integrity of doctrine, Searcher. If you're saying we should reject the Church because it possesses all the weaknesses of the people who live in it, then you're just erecting a variation on the Donatist heresy - which is clearly erroneous.Delete
Colkoch. So, you see, Searcher's not actually making very good points at all.
Thanks for this particular comment Invictus. Your statement that 'integrity is integrity of doctrine' clearly delineates why we differ in our understanding. For me integrity is in 'living' the gospels. It is not in unchanging doctrine. Once something becomes incapable of change it is no longer living, it is dead. The clerical system is hell bent on staying unchanging and that is why it is in it's death throws.Delete
None of us live the gospels without failing and falling, so why do you berate the Church for exhibiting the same ability to fail as you and I both do?Delete
It makes no sense.
It makes sense in that I believe the hierarchy has substituted obedience to discipline, doctrine, and dogma for living the gospels. The story of Cardinal Brady illustrates this point. He put following crimens solliciotanis ahead of doing his Christian duty which would have been to at least contact the parents of the children he knew were currently being abused.Delete
He let little ones be destroyed in favor of following a Vatican protocol. That is not living the Gospel. That is putting a mill stone around your neck in favor of following the Vatican.
We live the gospels by obeying...by following. "Follow me" doesn't mean following Marxist, feminist, or postmodernist butchery of original Church teaching. Just as it doesn't mean following the apparently corrupt example of Cardinal Brady.Delete
I'm not letting you skirt the issue Invictus. Cardinal Brady followed mandated Vatican protocol in total obedience to the pope. He was not following the Gospel or in the footsteps of Christ, but he was being a loyal Catholic priest. Follow me, also doesn't mean making a butchery of the Gospel by slavishly following Canon Law to the detriment of innocent kids.Delete
Evidence, please? Come and share it! Canon Law most assuredly does not support the covering up of any crimes, let alone such serious ones as we refer to here.Delete
Unless you can point your readers to the evidence, you should retract that libel.
How long might you need?Delete
Crimens Solliciatonis was an adjunct protocol based in the 1917 Code of Canon Law and not appreciably changed even in it's Ratzinger version of 2001. In 2010 when Benedict finally saw that he would have to abrogate the sections on Pontifical secrecy, letting diocesan personnel contact the secular legal authorities, the sections dealing with Pontifical secrecy were finally modified.Delete
Cardinal Brady has apologized to victims of Brendan Smyth for following Canon Law and not contacting parents of the children he knew were currently being abused.
I am not writing libelous statements, I am writing the truth as that truth has played out in real life.
Unfortunately too many people seem to buy only "the talk" and neglect to see if the speaker "walks the walk." There is something rather sociopathic about how the Roman church is conducting itself. SearcherReplyDelete
Searcher I know from my own experience that sometimes knowing the person doing the talking also does the walking can be extremely challenging. I mentioned up above one priest who hated Vatican II but really was a Jesus priest. Sometimes when he was lecturing me on some thing or another I wanted to just get angry with him, but I couldn't because he walked the Jesus talk. Literally. He would walk miles a day at seventy something ministering to the homeless and the elderly shut ins.Delete