Sunday, April 25, 2010

SNAP leaders Peter Isley and Barbara Blaine did not receive papal kudos from Benedict.

Pope Hails Anti-Pedophilia Group
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: April 25, 2010Filed at 10:05 a.m. ET

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope Benedict XVI told priests Sunday they must protect their flock from harm and regain trust as he hailed efforts to battle pedophilia but did not mention the sex abuse scandals buffeting his papacy.

Benedict noted Sunday was Italy's national day to remember children who are victims of violence and offered praised for a group, led by an Italian priest, that pioneered efforts in the predominantly Roman Catholic nation to combat ''violence, exploitation and indifference'' toward children.

The pope didn't mention the word pedophilia, but the association he cited, known as Meter, has denounced cases of pedophile priests in Italy. The group was founded by the Rev. Fortunato Di Noto. Earlier this year, Di Noto lamented that some of these cases were handled ''with imprudence'' by the Church. (Fr Di Noto is one priest who has acted on behalf of the world's children. Some of you may remember him from the global internet porn sting of 2001. Given the recent SEC sting here in the states, internet porn is another problem which isn't going away.)

''On this occasion, I want to above all thank and encourage all those who dedicate themselves to prevention and education'' against violence, Benedict said. He singled out ''parents, teachers and so many priests, nuns'' and other church workers who work with young people in parishes, schools and groups.

Sunday was the day the Vatican dedicates annually to efforts to encourage young men to enter the priesthood, and Benedict urged clergy to follow the example of Jesus ''the God Shepherd'' in carrying out their ministry.

A priest should ''take care of his flock with immense tenderness and defend it from harm, and the faithful must place absolute trust'' in their clergy, the pope said. (This is Benedict's whole problem in a nut shell--the clerical structure, of which he was a key part, didn't defend, they harmed, and now the laity no longer trust. Demanding trust from the laity at this point in time is pretty brazen.)

Benedict's encouragement of efforts to prevent abuse of children comes after weeks of stepped-up accusations he and other top churchmen helped perpetuate systematic cover-ups of abusive priests worldwide in the past decades. (And this comes after decades, centuries, a millenia, of silence, secrecy, denials, and cover ups.)

Clergy abuse victims have been demanding he acknowledge his role in fostering what they call a culture of secrecy, including frequent shuffling of pedophile priests from parish to parish or even country to country after complaints of sexual abuse were not quickly reported to police and prosecutors.


It's sort of amazing that Pope Benedict would demand the laity must place absolute trust in the priesthood. What reality is he living in? Apparently not the one I am.

It is something I guess, that he singled out Meter for praise, but in my reality I can't forget that SNAP representatives were arrested and detained protesting outside the Vatican--not even a month ago.

One other aspect about the abuse crisis which is receiving little play, but should be receiving more, is that this is a perfect example of President Kennedy's notion of the importance of separating Church and State. It is all too evident from reading case material that secular officials dropped the ball when it came to prosecuting religious figures. They did not make this separation and we have all paid the price, especially lay Catholics. Our children have paid for it, our parishes have paid for it, gays have paid for it, the media has paid for it, all kinds of innocent people and groups have paid for this non separation.

It seems to me the USCCB, and it's chief political agitator Archbishop Chaput, want a win/win situation for themselves. A very self determined separation when it comes to pet political issues, but total separation when it comes to legal, constitutional, and tax issues. That might be part of their unique reality, but it isn't part of mine and hopefully they are completely unsuccessful in making it part of the common reality.

This muddling of Church and State does neither Church nor State any lasting good. Jesus never stated His Church needed the State to enforce His teachings. He was pretty adamant about keeping their spheres of influence separate. Perhaps He saw that this path would lead directly to the State controlling the Church, the State directly rejecting and suppressing the Church, or the Church being totally compromised by it's entanglement in the power issues of the State. We have seen all these scenarios played out in the history of the Church. In the abuse crisis we have seen secular authorities get tangled up and compromised in the issues of the clerical church. No one benefits.

Vatican II was correct in placing the primacy of the individual conscience as paramount in living one's life, especially for those who claim to follow the teachings of Jesus. In the final analysis we will be judged (and judge ourselves) on how we actually acted on Jesus's teachings, not what we thought about them or taught about them or believed about them.

Actions always speak louder than words because they point directly to the state of one's intellectual, emotional and spiritual maturity. For Pope Benedict to demand the laity place absolute trust in the clergy does not demonstrate a very high level of spiritual maturity on his behalf, but then neither has his history of capitulation to Cardinals like Sodano or Castrillon Hoyos or his total obedience to the whims of JPII. But he is now Pope, which says what about the maturity level and motivation of the College of Cardinals?


  1. For Benedict to encourage "absolute trust," especially under the present circumstances, is indeed "brazen," to put it mildly.

    I really can't figure him out. This is a man who clearly thinks laypeople are stupid. Or maybe he is just counting on there being enough stupid people among the laity to populate the "smaller, leaner church" he's trying to create.

    At the same time, he also encourages the people of the Church to think of themselves as "a creative minority."

    So what does he want? Creative or stupid? Because those two things tend not to coexist in the same people.

  2. PR Campaign: Trust as a commodity!

    Heck, even some stupid people have common sense. Enough common sense to base trust on past experience.

    Common Sense: Something which is apparently lacking in the RCC leadership.

    And Absolute Trust! Isn't that a Vodka?