I pretty much agree with him. I think Fr. Groeschel’s worst failing has been his tendency toward over-the-top “blame the press” rhetoric. If it weren’t for the press, the Scandal would not have come to light. Period. He needs to quit talking as though this is primarily the press’ fault.
That said, I also hasten to add that if it weren’t for the Assyrians, Israel would not have been punished for their sins. This does not, however, transform the Assyrians into saints and they did indeed have their own judgement to face. Israel survived its judgement. Assyria did not. In short, it’s obvious to me that Groeschel is right that the press *is* profoundly hostile to the faith. So it’s silly to talk as though one must pick between two truths: the hostility of the press to Catholic Faith vs. the corruption of the Church. Both are true.
As Dom Bettinelli and Mike Dubruiel both showed, the Dallas Morning News’ attempted hatchet job was a typical case of the former truth at work. “Mansion” indeed. The man lives in half a garage. And today’s DMN is another example, to my mind. And a worrisome one for what it portends for the Church’s doctrine of redemption and mercy. Frs. John Hardon and Groeschel are, in essence, tried and found guilty because they were “willing to help anyone, including abusers, and believed deeply in rehabilitation.” Dear Heaven, as pastors and healers, they actually took seriously the mercy of Christ? What further evidence do we need? Off with their heads!
Call me crazy, but from what I can see, these men did the legitimate work of Christian healers in giving the guy his dignity the best they could and finding some way he could live out his vocation in a way that was not a danger to anybody. They were not his bishops. It was not their task to give him his walking papers. Caesar had, from what I can see, already decided to take a pass on the guy. So it was their task to extend mercy and healing to a miserable sinner. And from what I can tell, the sinner lived the life of a penitent. Isn’t that, well, kind of the point of Christianity? Are we going to press on until we’ve annihilated the doctrine of redemption entirely? I don’t want a Church that coddles abusers or endangers children. But even less do I want a Church where, when I sin gravely (oh, I know *you* haven’t, but I have), I must watch my back because somebody is keen to discover and publicize, not only my sin, but to expose any believer who was kind enough to have mercy on me when everybody else had written me off. I fear we are in danger of becoming a Church of Javerts from Les Miserables (“Financial Scandal engulfs French diocese: Priest admits giving priceless silver candlesticks to known escapee”). Every damn one of us has skeletons in our closets we regret and saintly people in our lives who have extended grace to us when we deserved nothing but disdain. In our zeal to find and expose the sinner, are we really doing Christ a favor when we create a climate where a penitent and the people who have tried to help him are treated as the DMN treats Groeschel and Hardon today?
Sorry, but the more the DMN does this, the less over-the-top Groeschel will sound.