Wow! I’m feeling hopeful!
Tucked away on the TIME site, near Andrew “Anguished Catholic Argues for Getting Rid of Catholic Teaching” Sullivan’s most recent bloviation and the laudatory piece on Catholics Suffering from Stockholm Syndrome is the big news: Bp. Wilton Gregory gives an interview in which he appears to be a bishop who actually gets it!:
Dallas is about us as bishops. The spotlight has shifted from the priest who abuses to the bishop who doesn’t handle the situation fairly. We must convince our people that first of all we are terribly open and contrite. And we have a firm resolve to mend our ways.
Q. Don’t you also have to explain how you missed what was going on for so many years?
A. I think it was getting things in the wrong order. We were worried about the priesthood instead of the kids. The kids should have been first.
If we don’t re-establish our credibility, we will lose our ability to speak about the great moral challenges we face as human beings. And, I might also add, one of the great difficulties is that there are forces that would love to see the Catholic Church reduced to becoming a lifeless, silenced voice. There were earlier times in the church when the clergy and laity worked much more collaboratively. That relationship did derail. You know, I’m not sure why. I think it’s the power thing. The clerical and hierarchical community began to enjoy power and prestige more than we should.
Q. The sin of–
Finally, a bishop willing to say what the problem is: bishops who arrogantly thought more of the priestly guild than of the good of children. Let’s have a clear acknowledgement of that, gentlemen, and then you can begin to build some trust. I’m somewhat cautious when a bishop starts to talk about “collaboration” with laity. If he means what the Catherine of Siena Institute means, well and good (since they are actually making use of the revealed teaching of the Church in discussing collaboration). If he means what your average Bostonian afflicted with Stockholm Syndrome means (“Let’s reinstitute the Church modeled on the US Constitution!” Verrrrry bad.) But still, a very hopeful start.