One Other Thing…

Sullivan, who is in such a hurry to insist that there is no possible connection between homosexuality and abuse of boys, boys, boys, boys, and boys is certainly in a huge hurry to condemn and execute, without trial, JPII, Cdl Ratzinger, and Fr. Maciel. He just knows they’re guilty. He also just knows that theocons like Fr. Richard John Neuhaus say Maciel is innocent, not because he is, but because they are protecting their guys. Never mind that Neuhaus has closely examined the evidence and did so before The Situation ever hit the headlines. This is not the first time Sullivan has portrayed himself as a “knowledgeable Vatican insider” when in fact he has no more idea than you or me what is really going on there. Indeed, he has repeatedly stunned me with his amazing innocence of the rudiments of Catholic teaching, as when he wrote: “The evil that we have discovered in our church these past few months is not simply incidental. It is structural. It comes from a hierarchical structure that, far from reflecting the truth of the Gospels, has become its own rationale.”

Who taught this guy in catechism class? When is the last time he read the New Testament he cites as proof against a hierarchical Church? It is one thing to say that bishops can err and sin. It is quite another to say that the hierarchical structure of the Church is intrinsically “evil” and “far from reflecting the truth of the Gospels.” In fact, of course, the hierarchical structure of the Church is obvious from the gospels (which record Jesus choosing the Twelve apostles to govern the Church), Acts (which show the apostles ordaining elders to govern the Churches), and the epistles of Paul (which famously say, “his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” [Ephesians 4:11-12]). Indeed, three New Testament epistles (1 and 2 Timothy and Titus) are written precisely to give guidelines to bishops on how to govern the Church. A member of the hierarchy might sin. That does not mean there’s no such thing as a hierarchy.

So: asked to choose between a guy who clearly has no idea what he’s talking about and Neuhaus, Ratzinger, and JPII, who know both the Faith and Fr. Maciel, I opt for the charitable presumption of innocence and not the Witch Hunt mentality of Andrew Sullivan.