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A Failure of Leadership

In the wake of the Irish sexual abuse scandal, Pope Benedict XVI summoned the Irish Bishops to the Vatican for a thorough review of how these matters were mishandled for many years. The Pontiff went even further is stating that the scandal was allowed to fester and grow due to a "failure of  leadership" on the part of the Irish Bishops. Click here to read the article which was published by


  1. The only response I can think of is the apocryphal story of Peter fleeing from the persecution in Rome...

    "And as he went forth of the city, he saw the Lord entering into Rome. And when he saw him, he said: Lord, whither goest thou thus (or here)? And the Lord said unto him: I go into Rome to be crucified. And Peter said unto him: Lord, art thou (being) crucified again? He said unto him: Yea, Peter, I am (being) crucified again. And Peter came to himself: and having beheld the Lord ascending up into heaven, he returned to Rome..."

  2. It really isn't only about child sexual abuse within the church, is it?

    The same people, attitudes, institutional structures, etc. , that make conditions rife for child sexual abuse, also engender many other abuses and oppressions against the innocent, young and old. They stifle freedom of thought and expression.

    You can tell yourself anything you want but the fact is that if the church ever reformed itself sufficiently to eliminate child sex abuse, the institutional church would be fundamentally different. Those holding power in the church do not want those kind of changes and that is why no real action is taken on the abuse issue.

    If the church doesn't change it will wither and die. It's happening now. If the church does change it will not be the same church. The choice between these two outcomes is intolerable to Benny and his red hats. They're still looking for some way to return to the past but it's not a place they know how to get to. It's not a place anybody can get to. It's not a place most people have any interest in going.

    Where do you want to go Tim? Are you looking for that which benefits and protects everyone or just you? It's a hard choice.

  3. What exactly are you offering as an alternative, reddog? Because from where I sit the notion that all of the ills of humanity can be attributed to an institution or institutions which must be destroyed if we are to realize our innate goodness is utter balderdash. This is the same line the communists used for 70 years...

    The plain fact of the matter is that humanity is deeply flawed as most history will bear out. Anything that does not come to terms with that fact is nothing more than delusion.

    So, reddog... what exactly are you proposing?

  4. Reddog: Thanks for your thoughts. There is much truth in your statement that the Church needs to reform itself to adequately confront the issue of child sexual abuse. However I do not think that this process needs to be as traumatic for the institution as you might believe.

    First off, the RCC continues to be the fastest growing church, even in the USA. Much of this is due to immigration, but at least the Church is being infused with new participants so as to keep it alive as it confronts this evil in its midst. At the very least, this evidence along stands in opposition to your contention that the Church is currently dying.

    Further, if I was only concerned about my benefit or that of the Church, then my remarks would have no merit whatsoever. What I offer however is something more. I am calling for the Church to address these scandals in an open and transparent manner; ridding itself of these predators that have made their way into the ranks of the clergy.

    At least in our part of the world, I believe that the reason the Bishops have reacted so inadequately (and immorally) is because they are so hard up for priests to serve the community. This has led to a situation where candidates that might not have made it to ordination have been able to slip through.

    Bishop Fred Henry, when he was the rector at the seminary I attended, used to say that if there was even a hint of doubt about the worthiness of a candidate, the candidate should not be advanced to ordination. "The benefit of the doubt must be given to the church, not the candidate." Alas,even back then there were bishops who would ordain men who the seminary would not recommend. Blinded by their need for priests to serve in empty churches, they convinced themselves that the seminary was being too stringent in its assessment of the candidate, thus putting untold number at risk.

    It is this attitude that any priest is better than no priest that needed to change. I believe that it has (with possibly a few exceptions).

    Fr. Tim

  5. Currently, anyone answering a religious vocation must accept and parrot back as divine truth, all teachings of the Church, no matter how patently ridiculous, simplistic or even evil. You know that nobody, no matter how motivated and sincere, can really come to believe all of that stuff. Did you ever really believe in Limbo?

    It fosters within the Church a deeply ingrained culture of hypocrisy and false piety. This culture goes hand in glove with the tolerance of almost any covert behavior on the part of clergy, as long as appearances are maintained.

    The Church could begin to accept the fact that there will be a natural diversity of thought without calling heresy (You will burn in Hell) or apostasy (You're not really a Catholic). The nature of God is mysterious. God talks to each of us in different ways. How does it benefit to pin everything down to specifics, except to muddy up the big picture, which is about kindness, charity and brotherhood?

    It wouldn't hurt the sexual abuse situation if homosexuals were allowed to live openly, priests were allowed to marry and women were ordained but that is probably too much to expect. It would also help if children were regarded as seedlings in need of the nurture required to thrive naturally rather than the base clay from which another Catholic automaton can be molded.


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