Monday, April 23, 2012

Floods and Trends

This is a prophetic sign as the hierarchy is at the end of it's ability to drain off the clerical abuse crisis.

There is so much information flooding out from the Catholic world on so many different topics and events, it's pretty hard to keep up with the flow.  Just in the last two weeks we have endured:

1) The USCCB call for their crusade in favor of their definition of religious freedom, which is really an overt attack on the Obama administration.

2) Bishop Jenky of Peoria give a sermon on socialism, fascism, Hitler and Stalin and how somehow President Obama 'could' belong in the same company.

3) A Holy Thursday homily from Pope Benedict directly criticizing the Austrian priests for doctrinal dissent on priestly discipline, including the ordination of women.

4) News reports out of Ireland about the silencing of at three priest/theologians, and information there are more who wish to remain anonymous in order to avoid further discipline including loss of priestly faculties.

5) The announcement of yet another government investigation of an Archdiocese, this time it's Melbourne in Australia, and this time it was triggered by the horrific number of suicides linked to abusing priests.

6)  The on going abuse trial in Philadelphia in which testimony from three different witnesses has implicated Bishop Bransfield of Wheeling, West VA as an abuser---charges Bransfield, who is in Rome with the group of millionaires known as the Catholic Foundation, has denied.  Additional testimony has revealed a three year relationship of some sort between Cardinal Bevilaqua and a woman known around the Chancellery as 'Fatal Attraction'.

7) Another request from Bishop Finn's attorneys for SNAP documents coupled with the decision from the judge in Finn's case that he continue to trial.

8)  An attempt by a group of Gonzaga alumni to rescind Gonzaga's invitation to Archbishop Tutu to serve as their commencement speaker and receive an honorary degree because Tutu espouses 'culture war' positions at odds with Catholic teaching.

9)  The pending complete rehabilitation and reconciliation with SSPX.

10) The results of the CDF investigation of the LCWR and the implementation of an oversite group of three bishops.

This is a lot of stories to keep up with and it's overwhelming in it's sheer volume for such a short time.  There are trends in all these stories.  For one the priest abuse crisis is far from over.  As more and more information from Philadelphia comes out the more incredulous I am with the perversity with in the Archdiocese.  One sub trend in this testimony is that predators were protecting themselves by threatening black mail against other sexually active priests up to and possibly including Cardinal Bevilaqua.  Which makes me wonder just what is the basis of the 'loyalty' so important to the Vatican in it's promotion of bishops.  Why is it so important that SNAP be silenced?  I'm seriously beginning to wonder if it isn't because too many dots will get connected if SNAP collects too much information from intentionally isolated survivors.

Another trend is the universal and very quick condemnation of any discussion which threatens the existence of the current male celibate priesthood.  Which again, makes me wonder just why it's so important that we not change this system and open it up to at least married men and a female diaconate.  Could it be that the actual version of 'loyalty' this system operates on can't be sustained with married men and women because it has nothing to do with loyalty to Jesus or the Church itself?

Finally, there is the LCWR investigation and it's outcome.  It's pretty obvious the CDF, but especially the USCCB,  somewhat suddenly does not dare trust the LCWR to be left to it's own devices.  One reason I wonder why that is because I am well aware the current head of the CDF was a long time leading member of the USCCB. Cardinal Levada himself does not having a shining record when it comes to clergy abuse.  What do those LCWR sisters, who are after all,  out and about in parishes and other Catholic activities, possibly know about the real comings and goings and doings and not doings of members of the USCCB?  Perhaps it is a great deal too much for their own good.

I wrote last week the flood is coming for the clerical system.  This week points to some serious cracks in the foundation.  It won't be long before the whole clerical edifice is swept away and I imagine the Church will survive this specific flood.  After all, Jesus did say something about the gates of hell not prevailing against the Church and the clerical system is far from the entirety of the Church--no matter what they think about themselves.


  1. Seems to me the Roman church, as it exists now, is indeed beginning to crack and the tape and glue isn't keeping the shell together. But, there may be a lot to be kept hidden, more of which continues to become known....Will the hierarchy go down without a fight? Will it be a fight to the death? Will they turn on each other, as you suggent Colleen? Is this not beginning to happen in the trial of Msgr. Lynn and the need to protect AB Rigali(sp) at all cost?

  2. In fairness, clerical celibacy is open for legitimate discussion. Perhaps you could provoke such a discussion here?

    There are arguments for and against the current tradition of keeping the sacraments of Matrimony and Holy Orders for different individual vocations, and such discussions can be fruitful in illuminating and clarifying other important things as well.

    1. Talk of the Nation "Vatican Reprimand of US Nuns Divides Faithful"

      Interesting discussion.

      Invictus, what planet are you from? Discussion of the ordination of women gets clergy and theologians ex-communicated. Keep up with the news.

      I'd love a discussion but you like to hit and run. Like so many of your persuasion you believe those on the other side of the argument would see things your way if only we were better informed. That doesn't make for much of a discussion. I was really interested in your response to the forgiveness of sins argument I made about killing others.

      In some ways the Mafioso are the most faithful of all for they truly believe their serious sins will be absolved. It troubles me I don't have so much faith.


    2. I chuckled at your last sentence p2p. I don't have that much faith either, but I think it's because I'm past the point of seeing God as the desperate Catholic version of the Tooth Fairy.

      I think I'm much more inclined to believe God hits the reset button and back I come to try and figure it all out again. Which I guess is it's own more intense version of the desperate Catholic Tooth Fairy.

    3. To begin with we would have to define the term 'vocation' because I don't think the traditional idea of an all encompassing life time occupation is necessary for ministry. Following the Way is an all encompassing lifetime endeavor and from that could come one aspect of that vocation which includes a more formal ministry. I don't see any reason why the priesthood should be any different than the diaconate in this respect. Monastic vocations might be a different story.

    4. Glad to supply some levity, Colleen. The transcript of the radio program is available now at the same website given above. Sister Simone Campbell of NETWORK had some interesting points:
      "Well, it's very ironic to me that we women who take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, who don't have families, we don't have babies, that we should become embroiled in an argument over contraception when our basic commitment is to a celibate life.

      The church's obsession, at times, with the sexual relationships is a serious problem, and I know we've struggled with the pedophilia scandals, we've struggled with all kinds of sexual aberration with priests and bishops, and that makes it really hard for us as a church to speak with any sort of authenticity about what does it mean to be people of the Gospel.

      And so we as Catholic sisters, we live this every day with people who are suffering at the margins of our society, and we are laity. It's very interesting, in canon law, religious are seen as laity because there's only two states: There's the ordained cleric, and there's laity. We're laity with vows, where we've committed our lives to service."

      ... more

    5. Sister Simone Campbell:
      ..."And I've been to many OCWR meetings, and it's very clear that we share the fullness of Catholic social teaching of the Catholic Church, of the beauty of our faith. Where there's a difference is that we apply that faith, because of our experience in realms of where - with the poor and marginalized. And because we apply it to a different set of experience, we may end up with different political results.

      And it's the political results that I think are rancoring at this point. We don't speak for the Catholic Church. Catholic sisters don't speak for the Catholic Church.

      CONAN: They don't?

      CAMPBELL: No. We speak for ourselves. We may speak for our organizations. We don't speak for the whole church. The bishops do that, and we say that all the time. But the issue is, is that I believe that our lives speak volumes to people who know sisters."

      ..."Our mission in the church as Women Religious is to the people of God. The bishops are doing their work and their mission as a church, which is to protect the institution and the institution of the church. Those two missions are often historically in conflict, and that's what we have here right now, is a small, little dustup around the different of - difference of mission."

      I am close to 60 years old. This is the first time in my life I realized that those beloved exemplary women were "laity".

    6. Here's some synchronicity Paul, I was reading the transcript at NPR while you were posting this excerpt. I would imagine a lot of Catholics haven't computed that religious sisters and brothers are laity. I do have to admit though, that they never did much to inform us ordinary laity of their actual status. They did and do have their own version of RHIP. I actually found Sr Simone Campbell's insistence on their lay state to be somewhat disingenuous. Other than that I thought she was a very articulate spokesperson.

      I didn't know who Donna Bethell was, so I looked her up. She was at one point Director of the Board of Sandia Laboratories and her husband Tom Bethell is a leading mouth piece for the anti climate change folks. Her connections with the neocon right are extensive. I did know Christendom college was every bit as right wing as Ave Maria University.
      She is all over the media as a spokeswoman for the Vatican side, and I mean all over the media. This all leads me to believe Jerry Slevin is right on target about the USCCB/Vatican/Neocon alliance to make sure President Obama is a one term wonder, and that the timing of this CDF salvo on the LCWR is all about the political power of Network under Sr Campbell and the CHA under Sr Keehan. The 1% is out in force and with an agenda to silence and enforce.

    7. First announcement of Sartain's appointment came in a Wednesday press release from the U.S. bishops' conference, which was accompanied by an eight-page document of the doctrinal congregation and a one-page statement from Levada. According to the document from the congregation, Sartain is to be given authority over the group in five areas, including reviewing LCWR's affiliations with other organizations, citing specifically NETWORK and the Resource Center for Religious Institutes.

      Sister Simone Campbell, whose Encino-based order is called Sisters of Social Service, took the Vatican's assessment personally. She is executive director of Network, which lobbies on Capitol Hill for economic and social justice, and the agency was singled out by Rome as part of the problem..."It's clearly payback for healthcare," said Sister Campbell, "because I wrote the letter that the nuns signed that [President] Obama said was the tipping point for getting healthcare reform, and the bishops had opposed it.",0,7617042.column
      (I have tried many different ways to post a comment over a long period of time and have always been rejected. I am trying "anonymous" this time, but I'm not. Betty Clermont)

    8. Betty, Blogger has changed a bunch of stuff with their blogging system, so you may have to have a Blogger profile in order to not comment anonymously. I don't mean actually have a blog, but it's gone to a commenting system similar to disqus.

      I personally am not the least bit fond of the changes to posting from my dashboard for this blog. But it could be I'm just getting old and hate dealing with pointless changes.

  3. p2p,

    Hit and run? Look back. Not true.

    Also, you say "Invictus, what planet are you from? Discussion of the ordination of women gets clergy and theologians ex-communicated. Keep up with the news.", but if you look at the actual comment you were replying to, you'll see I make no mention of the ordination of women.

    Perhaps you are obsessed? I was talking about the celibacy thing.

  4. Colkkoch:
    First thank you for your great blog.

    Non-ordained religious are laity in special their communities...if it is a diocesan community they also have promises to their bishop, I believe. In religious life there are different vows not all are equal...a monk or nun take solemn vows...and normaly may only be dispensed by the pope.....most all others are perpetual vows...which may be taken yearly or every three lumpping all into the smae three vows and the restrictions are incorrect. Vowed religious are lay state that live out more fully their baptismal promises as we are all called to do. In the church there are only to classes...cleric or lay

  5. The sex abuse scandal in Philly is causing strife and apathy.