Monday, April 12, 2010

Sanity Is In Short Supply In The Upper Echelons Of Catholicism, But There Are Other Voices Lower Down, Closer To Reality

The Vatican Secretary of State had better wake up to some hard facts because as it sits right now he is becoming Benedict's biggest PR nightmare. Right behind Cardinal Sodano.

On a day when Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone has this to say:

"Many psychologists and psychiatrists have shown that there is no link between celibacy and pedophilia but many others have shown, I have recently been told, that there is a relationship between homosexuality and pedophilia," he told a news conference in Santiago.
"This pathology is one that touches all categories of people, and priests to a lesser degree in percentage terms," he said. "The behavior of the priests in this case, the negative behavior, is very serious, is scandalous."

And retired Italian Bishop Giacomo Babini is quoted as saying a "Zionist attack" was behind the criticism of Pope Benedict, because it was "powerful and refined" in nature;

And on a day when Giovanni Maria Vian, editor of L'Osservatore Romano, maintains the whole crisis is perpetuated by the media because:
"The media, not only in Italy, are in decline; their sales are less and less. This kind of news helps them sell." Journalists always have known that stories about animals and stories about sex sell newspapers, he said.

The sex story becomes even easier to sell when it involves the Vatican, he said.
(This link is to John Allen's take on the same press conference.)

And then he added:

"The need to sell is the first key to understanding this campaign. Then there is the hostility" against the Catholic Church, he said. "Anti-Catholic hostility certainly exists. This has been documented," Vian said."The preaching of the Catholic Church bothers many people in many ways," particularly when it comes to moral issues, he said. (Oh, it's not Jews, it's gays and feminists.)

And on a day when Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nicholls is denying he knew anything about predator priest David Pearce until he became Archbishop of Westminster- in spite of the fact he had previously served as Chairman of England's Catholic Office for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults while Pearce was doing his preying and Cardinal Murphy-O'Conner was ware of it:

And on a day when Vatican and Church sources are blaming everyone and everything for their own despicable actions, there was another voice. A voice calling for accountability, transparency, and actually doing something about all the verbiage the Church has said about putting the victims first. And it was a call that came from the altar.

In sermon, E. Longmeadow priest calls on Pope Benedict to step down
By Emma Stickgold - Boston Globe Correspondent / April 12, 2010

An East Longmeadow priest called yesterday from his pulpit for Pope Benedict XVI to step down, demanding greater protection of children and greater accountability from the Catholic Church hierarchy.

The church’s top leader has not been truthful, said the Rev. James Scahill of St. Michael’s Parish, violating an important tenet of the faith. His strongly worded sermon echoed sentiments he shared with parishioners several weeks ago, but this time, he spent more time and spoke with greater conviction on the controversial subject.

“Any who deny the truth deny Christ, and we, as people, must reclaim our church,’’ Scahill said in a phone interview last night. “Those in authority must be willing to admit to the truth, admit their horrific crime of coverup, and beg for forgiveness, and until that happens, there will be no healing.’’

Benedict has been heavily criticized recently for the way he has dealt with some abuse cases, and Scahill said that because of all the information that has been brought to light, the pope should resign.

Scahill, who became pastor of the church in 2002, has long been outspoken on the need for accountability among church leaders.

Parishioners generally were supportive of Scahill’s sermon, said Parish Council president Thomas LaMondia.

“I thought he did a great job of conveying how he feels and how the church feels about the whole issue,’’ he said yesterday. “I thought he did a really nice job of explaining that it’s really about the protection of children. . . . The church really needs to look at what they need to do to hold people accountable.’’

Controversy within the church over priests’ and bishops’ roles in the abuse scandal has been going on for more than eight years since the scandal broke in Boston but recently it has escalated, with new allegations about the actions of the current pope when he was an archbishop.

“If we cannot get a pope that’s going to give us the truth, then our church is dead,’’ Scahill said.

Mark Dupont, a spokesman for the Diocese of Springfield, was quick to distance the diocesan leadership from the comments made by Scahill.

“It in no way represents the position of the bishop,’’ Dupont said. “We find his statements to be unfortunate.’’

Scahill, he said, has not properly recognized measures to ensure safety undertaken by the American Catholic leadership, which has “led the world in their efforts,’’ as well as steps the Diocese of Springfield took over the years to deal with the issue of sexual abuse.


The Diocese of Springfield was once led by Bishop Thomas L. Dupre. Fr. Scahill's long advocacy on behalf of victims started when he and Bishop Dupre got into it over comments Scahill alleges Dupre made in which Dupre states the Diocese was lucky that it's former bishop destroyed records of priests accused of sexual activity with minors. This was in 2002 at the height of the Boston scandal. By 2004 Bishop Dupre had himself been accused of sexual abuse and resigned, but not until he had done his best to demonstrate why we can not trust Catholic bishops to implement any non binding policies. And of course Canon Law more or less precludes placing Bishops under binding policies because it conflicts with their autonomy as bishops. That's why the Vatican only issues guidelines and that's why some guidelines which, serve to protect their position and resources and wealth, are universally followed, and some will be disregarded for the same reasons.

Fr. Scahill's long battle against his own diocese for transparency and accountability is worthy of acclaim. Say what you want about him, he has never lost site of who this abuse crisis is really about and that of course is not the greater glory of Mother Church, but the victims Mother Church has kicked to the curb and continues to kick to the curb.

Pope Benedict's upcoming trip to Malta should prove very interesting. Maltese victims, as elsewhere in Europe, are surfacing in droves and demanding Pope Benedict deal with reality and not the Vatican fantasy. Speaking of fantasies, someone should tell Cardinal Bertone to actually investigate what reality based mental health professionals know about pedophilia.

In the meantime, yesterday also produced Jason Berry's second installment on Maciel and his money machine--eergh the Legionaires of Christ--and Cardinal Sodano does not fare well. One wonders to just what 'family' does Cardinal Sodano owe his allegiance.


  1. Let's hear it for "I have recently been told" - yup, that's convincing argument!

    A good summary, Colleen!

  2. "Giovanni Maria Vian, editor of L'Osservatore Romano, maintains the whole crisis is perpetuated by the media..." ..."The media, not only in Italy, are in decline; their sales are less and less. This kind of news helps them sell."

    I wonder what the sales figures are lately for L'Osservatore Romano? What sort of stories keep them in business? Or maybe Sodano donates with cash wrapped up in newspaper?

    All the dirt that the Church has reaped is because the Church has sown its own filth.

    I suppose denials will sell newspapers too.

  3. Has anybody actually watched "The World Over Live" (EWTN news report) this week?

    Raymond Arroyo's (Opus Dei) guest was George Weigel (Opus Dei). Together they did a magnificent Method Acting performance. In which they repeated, as if both 100% logical & factual the most common lies & misdirection in re the sex abuse crisis.

    To wit:

    1. it's the fault of the New York Times
    2. the problem has been solved.
    3. it's an attack on the Catholic Faith
    4. Pope Benedict responded very quickly in handling abuses cases.
    5. It's Sinead O' Connor's fault.
    6. No good Catholic would believe what the media is saying.
    7. The media has no proof to support their assertions.
    8. The lawyers have no proof to support their assertions.
    9. Priests do not work for the pope/Vatican; the Vatican/pope is not responsible for their actions.
    10. The pope/Vatican has sovereginty/diplomatic immunity & cannot be sued (in the US or elsewhere, nor in the World Court)

    (...which is NOT necessarily true.)
    11. The aforementioned matter may well end up before the Supreme Court.

    (which would get very interesting with an overwhelming Catholic majority of Justices, linked to Opus Dei)

    12. It's Mickey Mouse's fault.

    (Just kidding....but it makes as much sense as #1-10)

    Anon Y. Mouse

  4. Butterfly, that's a good question. I too wondered if Vian felt badly about this--until he went to the bank.

    Anon, I have not watched EWTN, but I have read Weigel's critiques of the media and noticed how careful he is to stay away from certain undisputed facts. And then of course, the whole unspoken assumption that we can safely trust the system to fix itself since Jesus and the Holy Spirit is with Benedict.

    Which is true, but there is no guarantee Benedict is listening or will act on their prompts.

  5. Actually, Mickey Mouse and Disney INC have been blamed for the breakdown in culture:

  6. I hate linking to the National Post but here's Toronto's Archbishop Thomas Collins in "Abuse must never be dismissed"

    "We cannot escape the horror of this by pointing out that almost all priests serve faithfully -- though that fact is a grace that gives joy to the Catholic people," Archbishop Collins said in a homily.

    "But even one priest gone wrong causes immense harm, and throughout the world priests have done unspeakable evil."

    AB Collins was fully available to media, appearing on television and radio throughout the Easter Week.

    Toronto's Salt and Light TV, a Catholic media company, has more of his Chrism Mass comments here:

    He defends the pope, given the information available on 30 March 2010.


  7. ## Great read, Anonymous :) - one wonder what other excuses will be made; & I mean excuses, not reasons.

    "Fr. Scahill's long battle against his own diocese for transparency and accountability is worthy of acclaim. Say what you want about him, he has never lost site of who this abuse crisis is really about and that of course is not the greater glory of Mother Church, but the victims Mother Church has kicked to the curb and continues to kick to the curb."

    ## So much could be said about this.

    It is bitterly ironic that the Church has so much to say about abortion, but so little about molestation. It can't influence secular legislation directly - but it could certainly make the Church far safer for the molested and the young. So why does it not do far, far more to help them ?

    Father S. is entirely right. As long as the institution's self-interest is given priority over the protection & nurture of its most vulnerable & least powerful members, these scandals will carry on. To protect the weakest against human selfishness is essential to the Church's mission, not an "add-on" - it is one of the main ways of promoting the Kingship of God. This is fairly basic NT theology, not some esoteric theory confined to a few.

    It's very encouraging that Father Scahill can see the Church's priorities.

  8. Anon Y. Mouse,
    you can add to that list:

    13. Look at all the child sex abuse in public schools.

    I've noticed the web boards filled with this theme lately in a clumsy attempt to deflect responsibility from Rome.

  9. Ah yes, Bishop Thomas Dupre, former bishop of Springfield, MA (aka: Bishop Depraved).

    The same week he left (literally in the middle of the night) following revelations of his sex abuse, every Catholic home and parish in the state received glossy tabloids condemning gay marriage.

    The tabloids cost the four Catholic dioceases of Mass. ONE MILLION DOLLARS, and featured color photos of the four bishops, including Dupre, on front.

    So the combined public message became: it's OK for bishops to molest children, but not OK for mature, healthy gays to enter into committed relationships.

    Got to love God for His sense of humor in the timing!

  10. "13. Look at all the child sex abuse in public schools."

    Oops - I really meant to include that along with...

    #14. Look at the abuse happening in other faiths.

    Weigel & Arroyo mentioned those in great detail. Aside from the obvious tactic of shifting-blame, there is this:

    Neither teachers, rabbis, Protestant ministers/camp counselors are claiming Infallible guidance by the Holy Spirit, nor to represent Christ/act in the person & Name thereof/to be His ViceRegent on earth, nor to be the sole gatekeepers of heaven.

    It would be irrelevant even if the other groups had more abuse victims (which is next to impossible, logically). As the grave responsibility of asserted power, position & spiritual authority make abuse doen byb a Priest or Bishops so many times worse.

    As to Weigel.....Colleen, you observation is interesting. But do note this: even the worst of men can speak the truth on occasion.

    Which is another way of saying: "Even the Devil must serve God".

    ...poor devil.

    And while I might agree about the cultural wasteland propagated by The Mouse.....both literally & in a joking mood.....the real culprit is:

    Brian Griffin, of Family Guy.

    Yup. He dun it. It's all his fault. All those anti-Catholic jokes he has told have wrecked Western Civilization.

    (of course you realize I am making much joke here, yes?)

    Anon Y. Mouse

  11. If I remember correctly, Weigel defended Maciel also, until it became pretty clear Maciel was a sexual abuser. The interchange between Arroyo and Weigel reminds me of why I've never watched EWTN. Per Arroyo and Weigel, I would be considered a "bad Catholic" anyway.

    The hierarchy finds it useful to use abortion and other people's sex lives as a distraction to prevent people from paying attention to the hierarchy's contributions to the scandal.

  12. Anon, I don't watch EWTN at all. I've watched it in the past and it is a waste of one's time to listen to the priest talking. They never once inspired me or brought me closer to Jesus. Fr Corapi seems to start out decently but always winds up making my stomach turn.

    EWTN for me stands for Eternal Wisdom's Truth NOT!

  13. Thank God I do not have cable! I've never had our TV besmirched by this channel!

  14. Butterfly -

    I watch EWTN primarily as comic relief....and the for opportunity to throw popcorn at the screen:)

    As to Fr. you take a former addict, dry him out, 'santize' him, indoctrinate him, prop him up as an 'expert' (complete with videos, speaking events, books, etc.), you have a "Fr. John Corapi".

    ...whose degrees are from Opus Dei' flagship University of Navarre.

    Having said that - the obvious is....obvious.

    A robot....shill.....ready-made demagogue.....fanatic....rabble rouser....if not somewhat 'Manchurian Candidate'.

    Because he does not know how sick he is. They used his former additictions....and simply recast a 'new Corapi' cleverly using those mental/emotional set-up.....togive him a new 'addiction'.

    Anon Y. Mouse

  15. Thanks Anon Y Mouse - I had a good laugh with your comment! LOL!! Keep up with the comic relief!!

    word verification is sumbogo

  16. Is Corapi the EWTN talking collar that is in big trouble with real members of the Green Berets for claiming he was one when in fact he wasn't one?

    Maybe he was just having some kind of self induced chemical hallucination.

    In the old days I would watch EWTN for good old Mother Angelica. I would laugh and laugh until I realized I was supposed to take her seriously. Then I would just shake my head and wonder why she was allowed to continue on presenting her own version of Catholicism without any correction.

    I subsequently learned why this state of affairs existed. I will now occasionally watch for their live coverage of major events, but usually have the mute button on.