10 June, 2011

Once-accused priest now leads diocese inquiries into sex abuse - KansasCity.com

Seriously folks... why is it so hard for the 'higher-ups' in the Church to understand the basics of this issue? We need to be purer than 'Caesar's wife', whiter than a fresh snowfall, as transparent as glass all held together with the love of the heart of Christ himself.

Perhaps some don't like being held to such difficult and lofty standards, but that's too bad. Bishops have brought this upon themselves. The faithful understand that there will be predators in every profession and vocation. As much as they would hope to find very few if any among men professing to be 'holy' priests, people understand if some of them are found even there. But the cover-ups and lies that followed in the wake of these offenses has profoundly wounded the faith and confidence of believers in such a way that the Church is no longer given the benefit of the doubt as regards her 'good intentions'. The RC Church is now subject to the Reagan Protocol: 'trust, but verify.'

Lest a good reader think that I am over-playing the damage done to the Church in North America, I offer this link. It will take you to a story about a man who has decided the refuse the invitation to Holy Orders as a deacon because he could not promise 'respect and obedience' to the local bishop given his record (and that of his predecessors) in covering up for and enabling predator priests in the diocese.  Assuming the validity of the candidates vocation and call, this is truly a tragedy for it is based upon a faulty understanding of this religious vow.

This promise is oft times in the past been raised as 'evidence' that the protection due to the faithful by binding other clergy to keep them silent and passively complicit to the Bishops... but this is a shibboleth. Aside from the obligations imposed upon any clergyman who receive a confession in confidence to respect the sanctity of that admission, but neither 'respect' nor 'obedience' is due when what is demanded is a crime under both civil and church law. Clergy know this to be true so it really cannot be used (any longer*) as a means of obliging them to participate in a crime and a sin.  

These issues are not too hard to understand. Why is it proving to be so difficult for Bishops the world over to disseminate and implement the demands of both church and civil law? They are opening themselves to being accused of being either unwilling or unable to govern their own conduct.

(*I add the conditional proviso 'any longer' for priests who served in the generation now passing into retirement or death. The Church practiced a different discipline back then. I can only offer as a defense the fact that such matters were routinely handled discretely by all authorities of that time, in deference to protecting the reputation of the child's family)

Once-accused priest now leads diocese inquiries into sex abuse - KansasCity.com

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