What Do I Make of It?

My pal, Roy, ask what I make of USS Clueless’ analysis of the bishops’ latest act of irresponsibility, the “resolution” (what an inappropriate word) to really take a gutsy stand and… discipline priests who really make a name for themselves by committing spectacular evil that makes the evening news while overlooking quiet unobtrusively evil acts that the public does not hear about:

That word notorious is the key. What this means is that if the local bishop can somehow keep cases of abuse quiet, then the priest in question gets to stay in the Church. But if it hits the newspapers, then he’s out on his ear.

Tragically, I think Clueless ain’t clueless here. Looks a great deal like saying “Don’t do it in the street and frighten the horses, dear brother priests, but if you do then be aware that we will preserve a layer of deniability for the sake of our vital role in the Church to, er, govern and, um, see that the Church’s moral teaching is, uh, upheld.”

I do think that Clueless got one thing wrong, an abusive priest should be kicked out of the priesthood, not “the Church” since our function after all, is to try to save souls, not damn as many as possible. But he is mainly on the side of the angels here. A priest who abuses children ought not be a priest. Duh. Lowering the bar to merely address “notorious” abusers is weasel language.


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