Hey! Here’s Some Hopeful News!

A reader writes:

I don’t know if you have had a chance to read Germain Grisez’s proposals to the bishops on how to deal with the current Church scandal. The document is called “Submission to the Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse – USCC“.

If half of what Grisez recommends is adopted by the bishops, the Church will be a long way on the road to recovery and reform. He takes up delicate and important questions, such as, when to use psychological tools vs. pastoral ones in dealing with fallen priests and in evaluating seminarians. He has a very healthy skepticism towards much of psychology. He even provides 8 steps that can be used to define a suitable mental health professional. He clearly thinks that much of the abuse that priests have visited upon young people is homosexual in nature, and that unlike pedophilia, ephebophilia can be effectively treated if the victimizer is open and willing to change. On the other hand, he thinks that being a homosexual and a priest is filled with problems, but possible. Several arguments are made for the laicizing of abusive clerics, even first-time offenders. Grisez has a wonderful way of separating true mercy from

sentimentality.

In addition, he takes up the issue of clerical dissent from Church teachings and its relationship to the present crisis. And it goes on and on. Like most of what Grisez writes, we get to witness a great Catholic mind at work. In many ways the best part of what he has to say is the fact that he ultimately sees the scandal as a spiritual crisis that needs to be solved by a rededication to the spiritual life.

For me he gets to the heart of things when he clearly lays the blame for the current scandal on the inactivity or silence of the bishops, rather than on those few priests who have betrayed their vows.

The only bad news is in that last line, since it will be the same bishops who created the problem and who have been covering their butts who will be the ones in charge of implementing Grisez’s ideas. We’ll see. Meantime, if you are asked for money by one of the bishops who are responsible for this mess, look him in the eye and hand it to somebody else.


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