|SNAP will continue to be needed as long as enablers in the clergy keep their frocks....and their futile strategy to keep the laity as religiously immature as they were at ten.|
I took a break, again, because I had to put a huge amount of energy into my real job. After four weeks of top of the heap stress, there was a huge turn around and it now looks as if things are going uphill in a big way. I wish I could say the same for the clerical abuse crisis.
There were a lot of Catholic stories in the past month I could have written about and didn't. It wasn't because I wasn't interested or they weren't important. Many of them were important. Many of them revolved around the Vatican and the CDF and the Vatican and the IOR and everywhere and always, Pope Francis. However one story kept changing spots and that story is still the most important story hanging over the Church: the clerical abuse crisis. I have lately been thinking this story won't go away because the Vatican is terrified of it's real solution and that solution is completely revamping the theology of the priesthood.
I have spent the last day or so commenting on the National Catholic Reporter article written by Margaret Gail Frawley-O'Dea. She states in this article that she views SNAP as counterproductive in regards to the upcoming meeting Pope Francis announced on the plane as he was flying back from a highly successful trip in the Middle East. This was a trip in which he garnered great international press coverage for the Vatican and himself. His sudden turn around on meeting with abuse survivors struck me as an attempt to hide a change of tactics behind the fog of universal positive press coverage. As usual the Vatican's chief spokesman Fr Frederico Lombardi restated things the very next day. There will be a meeting between the Pope and survivors from around the globe but not in the next week. Maybe in a couple of months. At this time there are no American survivors invited and no date set. Cardinal O'Malley will work out the details.
SNAP took an assertive and somewhat cynical approach to this meeting with the Pope. After all this is the same Pope who after the first less than positive meeting with the UN more or less stated that no other institution had done nearly so much as the Catholic Church on this issue, so why all the finger pointing? But now, after a second less than positive take down by the UN, a meeting in which the Vatican claimed it had no jurisdiction over any clergy outside the Vatican City States, the same Pope wants to meet with survivors and celebrate his daily Mass with them and claims that the impotent Vatican is never the less investigating three bishops for something related to abuse. Most Vatican observers think these three bishops are involved with clerical abuse themselves, and include the Polish diplomat Jozef Wesolowski, Scotland's Cardinal Keith O'Brien, and Chile's Cristian Molina....none of whom committed clerical abuse in the confines of the Vatican City States.
It would have really been healing for some survivors if the name Bishop Robert Finn had been mentioned because it is very often the betrayal from the people and institutions who should have cared and did just the opposite that causes the most long term damage in survivors. I think this message is not getting out in any way that people are getting their heads around. Frawley-O'Dea's article did not help one little bit in helping the rank and file understand this fact. Every time a bishops acts as callously and deceitful as has Milwaukee's Listecki, or Minneapolis's Neinstedt, or Kansas City's Finn it destroys the kind of relational trust survivors need to forgive the enablers. It's one thing to forgive the 'sick' puppy who raped you, it's another entirely to forgive the supposedly healthy adults who wouldn't believe you and wouldn't act to stop the abuse.
So I think SNAP is dead on with their cynicism about this upcoming meeting and right to caution survivors about the damage this meeting could do in the long term. There is one thing about Francis that truly has bothered me and unfortunately he keeps doing nothing but furthering my angst. He seems bent on keeping the laity religiously infantilized and dependent on the clergy. Allowing married clergy does nothing about the religiosity, much of it surrounding the priesthood, that keeps laity infantilized. Fixing the IOR does nothing about this, and his continual references about the devil and Holy Mother Church only serves to reinforce the infantilization. And I can't even let myself get started on the CDF.
Sometimes I think the only really adult voices in the Church come from victims organizations like SNAP, the victims themselves and their few supporters. Unfortunately that doesn't say much for meaningful reform in the Church.