Ex-Communicating Oneself for Sins of Others

[Expanding on my thoughts begun here...]:

Surrendering the consolations of the Eucharist, (and access to the sacraments, to the fellowship and to the senses-enlivening liturgy) because of the failings of mortal, passing men, this seems like a heavy burden to afflict upon oneself. Baggott seems to be doing the penance best done by those who need to do it. I wish and pray that she does not encourage her mother in this same outsized penance, as it seems so heavy and counterproductive. The good priests and religious that Baggott knows, the good works of the church, which she admires, they need their prayers.

Baggott’s mother’s faith (and that of many others) has been shaken to the core by a NY Times piece which attempts to lay a charge of negligence and conspiratorial cover-up on the shoulders of then-Cardinal Ratzinger. The blaring headlines and non-stop news coverage, (which serves only to reinforce the Times’ narrative through constant repetition) have certainly cemented a perception.

But there is a chance -a very good chance- that those perceptions are unjust. There is a chance (as much as some would prefer not to admit it) that Pope Benedict may himself be one of those innocent priests in need of some defense. Baggott perhaps does not know -if she listens only to the mainstream media, she cannot know- that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith only gained provenance over the abuse cases in 2001, under then-Cardinal Ratzinger, or that in the case of the warped Fr. Murphy of Wisconsin, the office waived the statute of limitations so that Murphy could be investigated and prosecuted. It is certain that she has not seen this new translation of a key document cited in the Times piece, which -at the very least- brings into question a central premise of their story: that Ratzinger refused to laicize (or “defrock”) Fr. Murphy.

These cases are so extremely disheartening, so shaming for all of us in the pews -who are a “family” of sorts- and the headlines are so insistent, the noise so incessant, that it becomes easy for some to take their eyes off the prize and just throw up their hands, surrendering to the narrative. Modern communication has the means to make a minority seem like a majority with astounding ease. The ubiquitous tv screens all saying the same thing in every public venue have become the equivalent of a public gallows; people’s reputations and life’s work are capable of being put to death so easily -without benefit of a trial- and there is no undoing it.

The public increasingly forms its opinions based upon headlines and soundbites; it is disinclined to do the time-consuming work of reading, and that is reducing the public to mobism. Insta-media has become the sharpest of blades and the world is become a vast multitude of Madame DeFarge’s all sitting there with their knitting, shouting “guillotine! guillotine” as Benedict’s image crosses the screen.

No one is asking further questions and listening to answers; no one is counseling the media or the mob: “if you make a mistake, you cannot take this execution back.” The charges are secondary; the truth is secondary; what matters is the blood. Let us see the blood.

It seems so primal, for such an advanced and enlightened age; a sort of liturgy for those who hate liturgy.

As with their “Obama = God” themes of 2008, the press is already so heavily invested in the “Benedict = evil-monster” narrative that they have no choice but to go all-in, for the sake of its own credibility. I am doubtful that we will see much clarification from the mainstream.

UK Telegraph:Catholic Church is mishandling the Furor
Patrick O’ Hannigan: The Pope, The Scandal and the Crib Notes
Rod Dreher (A troubling but wise Must Read): What it Means to be Catholic also his thoughts on the priest/pastor as spiritual father
Joseph Bottum: Every Catholic is Now Paying
Mark Shea: Thank you, Sir, May I Have Another?
Deacon Greg: Wuerl prays with sex abuse protesters
Lorie Piper: Way of the Cross; Road of the Popes
Jimmy Akin: Smoking Gun
Bookworm: So, THAT’s why they became priests!
Why I Am Catholic: Because Ripples Become Waves
Richard Bastien: Why Attack Benedict?

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Miriam

    The Knights of Columbus have prayer cards at their site for a novena for Pope Benedict XVI which starts on Divine Mercy Sunday.

    Here is the link. Scroll down for the pdf file.


  • Tempus_Fugit

    I believe the Times got the order to smear the Church for having opposed the health care bill on the grounds of abortion.

  • http://salesianity.blogspot.com/ Fr. Steve

    Thanks for your insightful writing. You always have something thoughtful to say. Keep up the great work and God bless you and your family!

  • Pingback: Ex-Communicating Oneself for Sins of Others » First Thoughts | A First Things Blog

  • http://sevenoaks-jeanne.blogspot.com/ Jeanne

    I left the church for many years for similar reasons to the first lady (and other reasons). I came back after exploring other faiths & denominations because of the Eucharist. And because you can’t change something if you’re not a part of it…if you just leave, you make no difference. If you stay and work within the community, you have a chance of making a difference. The church is not one priest or person. It’s not you are or me. It’s the body of Christ, it’s the group Jesus sent forth into the world, and if we all abandon ship when the storms hit, we abandon who we are. We can’t make a difference if we aren’t participating in the church life.

  • Aimee

    I agree with Tempus. And I think it was kind of brilliant–a piece a day, carefully worded, framing the discussion in such a way that any defense of the Pope sounds like a defense of pedophilia–in an evil brilliant kind of a way. It gets people fired up enough so that they don’t stop to wonder why Maureen Dowd, Christopher Hitchens and (Good Lord!) Sinead O’Conner are being offered as legitimate voices in the “debate,” and don’t notice that this is all really about hating the stance of Catholicism on other issues. The argument goes like this: this supposedly moral institution is full of deceit and coverup!coverup!, so obviously it’s a completely corrupt institution as are all of its teachings and members.

  • Cassandra

    Are you really sure Benardin was innocent? Very bad example.

  • newguy40

    I have been noticing more and more of the following statments from folks on line.

    “I am Catholic but I no longer attend Church”.

    That seems so contradictory I wonder if these folks were active to begin with…

    What keeps me in the church? The sacrements and especially communion.

  • Mary

    I can understand the “why’s” , but not the “how’s” of leaving the church if you truly consider yourself “catholic”. Whether the many charges are founded or not, how can one truly leave the Church and deny the Body and Blood of Christ, found only in the catholic church? I can only conclude one of the following: 1. One who leaves does not believe in the true presence. 2. He believes in it but does not believe it necessary (“unless you eat My flesh.. . “).
    As for “paying for lawyers of pedophiles”, does she withhold owed taxes as well since they help to fund public defenders, who protect the rights of the accused? Or does she believe that all are innocent until proven guilty EXCEPT in the case of accused priests, as she refers to them (“. . . paying for the lawyers of pedophiles” – note they are already guilty in this statement.)

  • http://thefilthybeast.com Kafbst

    Baggott is very honest about her Catholic experience: liturgical dance parish; Jesuit college education. She even says that the Church raised her to be an anti-Catholic Catholic. Yet she doesn’t seem to stop and say that maybe her faith crisis is directly related to this upbringing rather than the abuse scandal. A traditional parish may have grounded her when her faith was tested. She clearly agonizes over her loss. A sad story.

  • http://ConvertJournal.com George @ ConvertJournal

    This lady left the one Church Jesus founded, the one Church with valid sacraments. She did that because it includes sinners? She formed conclusions based on “objective” information and context provided by the mainstream media?

    Now she is safe in a Protestant denomination because they do not have similar problems.


  • matteo

    Why not stay and work with the diocese in priestly formation? I’m sure that if we ask, “what needs to be done, Lord?” He will direct us and promoting priestly vocations is so important.

  • Bender’s Cheerleader

    The Catholic Church isn’t a denomination. Its the Church Christ founded.

  • UrbanRevival

    Social justice, liberation theology, dancing liturgies, feminist nuns?

    I submit that Ms Baggott does not know the other side of the story because she does not want to know it. She is an accomplished writer with easy access to any of the defenses that have recently been written on behalf of our beloved Pope (i.e. that he didn’t take office until 2001). Someone in her profession should actively seek the other side. That she hasn’t speaks volumes and provides evidence that she is led by ideology and not by faith.

    I respectfully submit that she was never “really Catholic.” After all, can you ever really be Catholic if your teaching nuns look, act, and sound like Billy Jean King?

    [Please review my rules for commenters. They are not numerous or arduous, but I have a long-standing policy of not commenting on people's looks - ever. Also that comment was just... c'mon. You can do better than that. -admin]

  • Patrick

    After much soul searching in 2002, I, like Ms Baggott, felt that I had to excommunicate myself. Fundamental doubts surfaced for me whether the Magisterium was indeed being led by the Holy Spirit (among some other things). For Roman Catholics, you either believe all of it, or you’re guilty of heresy and therefore no longer Roman Catholic.
    I pray often that the Church can experience the Penitence (“metanoia” = change) that She Herself so rightly teaches. Then, there might be true healing of the Body of Christ.

  • suek

    >>The greatest mistake all these people make is thinking they can control God, they can tell God what to do, whom to forgive, to love, to call home to Him — because that was the truest thing ever written — that it is not the Church God calls us home to — it’s God Himself.>>

    Hmmm. So how do you interpret “Whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatsoever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed also in heaven” ?

    In the afterlife, God judges. No question about that. But in this life, judgment is also necessary, and we can only judge based on what we see, and what we know. We may judge wrongly, but we have to trust that in the end, God will make the wrongs right.

  • Ann

    Sharon, your post screams that there is more to what you have to say than what you have said:
    “Up until Easter morning, I was giving it my best to stick it through, but lately, seeing what I’ve seen coming from the people sitting in the pews next to me, I can’t stomach it any longer.”
    I don’t know what was going on with the people in the pews but when I start criticising those next to me in the pews it is a warning sign that pride is getting the best of me. Could you elaborate? What do those in the pews have to do with your contempt for staying in the Church?

    “Maybe it’s time for all the self-appointed defenders of the corporate structure of the Catholic Church to shut up and be quiet and stop wondering and judging and assuming and let God get a word in edgewise. ”

    Y’all remember God, right…right? ‘Cause it seems to me like He’s gotten real lost in YOUR narrative…”

    This certainly seems to be rather judgemental. You have accused those who defend the Church and Pope Benedict XVI of having forgotten God. How do you know?

    “Surrendering the consolations of the Eucharist”

    Anyone who appreciates the Eucharist, anyone who understands the consolations of the Eucharist is someone who HAS NOT forgotten God for the Eucharist IS God. Scalia is clear that anyone who walks away from the Eucharist and the other sacraments has missed the point. When you walk away from the Catholic Church, you walk away not from abusive priests (and all the rest of the sinners) but you walk away from GOD.

    Staying in the Catholic Church is not about “fixing it from within”, it is about staying with the Church that God founded, staying with the fullness of Truth that HE has revealed. The only fixing that is going to happen is to remove those that need to be removed and for all Catholics to re-commit to being faithful to the teachings of the Church. It is not the Church that needs fixing, but we who need fixing. If priests (and bishops) had been faithful to their vows we wouldn’t have this mess. So some need to go and we all need to understand that this started with disobedience and it will end with obedience. We all have a role in the “fixing” certainly, but God is going to be doing the heavy lifting, we cannot do it without His grace. We will be his instruments, let us pray for HIS help, all for His Glory.

    God bless.

  • Brian English

    “Who are actually accusing anyone who doesn’t spout the party line of all sorts of terrible things.

    Up until Easter morning, I was giving it my best to stick it through, but lately, seeing what I’ve seen coming from the people sitting in the pews next to me, I can’t stomach it any longer.

    I don’t think change from within is possible, because there are too many folks who don’t want change. They don’t want this to be about God or Christ.

    They want it to be a sick, evil hierarchy of men in which they fancy themselves on top, laying down the law to others, excommunicating them in spirit, if not in actuality.”

    So apparently it is okay to accuse those who do not spout YOUR party line of all kinds of terrible things?

    You are actually offended that people are speaking up for the man who has done more than anyone else to rid the Church of this cancer?

    “Maybe it’s time for all the self-appointed defenders of the corporate structure of the Catholic Church to shut up and be quiet and stop wondering and judging and assuming and let God get a word in edgewise.”

    Let me guess — the word God is trying to get in edgewise happens to correspond exactly with your views on the situation?

    I actually think it is time for those who are seeking to condemn this Pope to shut up, be quiet and educate themselves on these cases before they judge him.

  • Mary

    I wonder if she has had any luck finding the Church of All Wheat and No Tares.

  • Charlie Collier

    You might also have linked to Peggy Noonan’s piece in the WSJ, which had, among other things, this rather different if important point to make:

    “In both the U.S. and Europe, the scandal was dug up and made famous by the press. This has aroused resentment among church leaders, who this week accused journalists of spreading ‘gossip,’ of going into ‘attack mode’ and showing ‘bias.’

    “But this is not true, or to the degree it is true, it is irrelevant. All sorts of people have all sorts of motives, but the fact is that the press—the journalistic establishment in the U.S. and Europe—has been the best friend of the Catholic Church on this issue. Let me repeat that: The press has been the best friend of the Catholic Church on the scandals because it exposed the story and made the church face it. The press forced the church to admit, confront and attempt to redress what had happened. The press forced them to confess. The press forced the church to change the old regime and begin to come to terms with the abusers. The church shouldn’t be saying j’accuse but thank you.”

    Also, Anchoress, this paragraph from the post above seems to me to get things wrong:

    “As with their ‘Obama = God’ themes of 2008, the press is already so heavily invested in the ‘Benedict = evil-monster’ narrative that they have no choice but to go all-in, for the sake of its own credibility. I am doubtful that we will see much clarification from the mainstream.”

    I realize that many in the mainstream media adore(d) Obama, but I’ve seen no actual deification going on. I’d love to see some real examples of the mainstream media equating Obama with God. That he might overcome longstanding political divides, people believed. Some hoped he would put the far right in its place and succeed in implementing favored liberal policies. Others thought he would help America transcend its racist history. Surely there was some stupid fawning by folks in the media, now and again. But a sustained portrait of Obama as the Messiah? Examples please.

    Actual demonization of Obama, on the other hand, goes on every day, right here in the comments section of this blog, and even more so over at Gateway Pundit’s spew-festival of a blog. Communism (it is held by most of your commenters) is the worst evil, and Obama is routinely denounced as a Communist. He’s furthermore called an idiot, a liar, a traitor, etc. You yourself lent credibility to Spengler’s claim that Obama is is a Third World anthropologist deeply hostile to “the American proposition” (whatever that means to Spengler).

    If anyone thinks anybody is an evil monster, it would seem to be many of the readers of your blog, and the readers of Gateway Pundit. And perhaps you yourself.

    What people seem to be genuinely concerned about with Benedict XVI, a concern I share even though I consider Benedict to be a genuinely brilliant theologian and an oft-misunderstood cardinal, is that he is complicit in the cover-up of heinous crimes against children. The NYT is notoriously bad with religion, but it’s not to be faulted for wanting to get to the bottom of this story. Noonan’s response is the right one. Cantalamessa’s was not. Circling the wagons is not a Christian strategy.

    [Peggy Noonan's piece was very good; I didn't link it because it was several days old and I frankly forgot, although I am pretty sure I did link to it when it first appeared. Cantalamessa, while impolitic and clumsy, was also simply quoting a Jewish friend and making a point about the many being tarred with the actions of the few. As to the press and the deification of Obama, Evan Thomas came very near it. The press may not have "officially" deified Obama, but they did not register scorn for the many "Obama/halo" photos, either. Their hosannas were of a tone. :-). But you know what? This piece isn't really about Obama. Circling the wagons would be a very stupid thing to do. But allowing the press to distort the facts would also be a stupid thing to do. The church and the press share a kinship in that both have a responsibility to the public trust. The church is abusing that trust by not talking more about what it knows The press is abusing it by talking too much about what it does not. - admin]

  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com Bender

    “I am Catholic but I no longer attend Church”.

    That seems so contradictory I wonder if these folks were active to begin with…

    It bears noting that the Church is not a social club, and one’s Catholicism is not a mere matter of membership in that club.

    Once a Catholic, always a Catholic. By virtue of one’s Baptism and Confirmation in the Catholic Church, the very nature of one’s being is fundamentally and forever changed, an indelible seal is eternally impressed upon the person.

    They may no longer go to Mass, they may no longer call themselves “a Catholic,” but they will forever and always be “Catholic.” Catholic is not something you do, it is what you are.

  • jill e

    “It was too easy to die for what was good or beautiful, for home or children or a civilization—it needed a God to die for the half-hearted and corrupt.” —Graham Greene, The Power and the Glory

  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com Bender

    Noonan is a politician and an elitist, who has shown herself again and again to view things, including her own Catholicism, in political terms (e.g. placing so much emphasis, when it comes to JP2, to his geo-political impact on the fall of Communism). She is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

  • M. Burns

    According to non-Christian studies, a child or youth is safer with Catholic clergy than with clergy from any other religion Christian or otherwise, safer with Catholic clergy even than with teachers, Boy Scout leaders, family friends, family members, lawyers, and even nurses and doctors! Should we all stop sending our children to school, stop seeking medical attention for them, put them in homes away from their family members, etc.? Should we stop paying our school taxes, medical or legal bills, or helping others on the off-chance some of that money might end up in a fund to defend someone of allegations of child abuse?

    Interestingly, 8% of the Apostles were Judases. Jesus, knowing who was going to betray Him and how, did not remove him from His inner circle. Something to reflect on.

  • Myssi

    Looking at it from out here in the Protestant portion of the Church God founded – and you will never convince me that my faith in Him is less than yours because I am not a Catholic – this is noise meant to distract us from criticizing Obama. We know that pedophilia in the Body of Christ is wrong and we know that our denominations have had their share of it, too.
    In the Grand Scheme of things, it’s a distraction from God that Satan uses effectively for his Kingdom of the Air. In the Grand Scheme of things, the Cross satisfied ALL of our sins or it satisfied NONE of them. There is temporal punishment, but Jesus Christ said, “It is finished.” And it is.
    I pray for Pope and President Obama equally. He is not my Pope, but he is the most highly watched Believer out there and he needs my prayers. Obama is my president, for the time being, even though he seems to be leading my country on a path I don’t want it to travel. “It is finished.” The conclusion is known by my Creator. My job is to pray my way to it.

  • Another Old Catholic

    Yes, the press forced the Church come to terms with the abuse crisis and that is a good thing. But a false attack on Pope Benedict is not a good thing. I don’t worry about the Church, which has and will survive worse. I worry about the very idea of journalism, which the New York Times is supposed to represent. If they can’t be bothered to get their facts straight, who will?
    We have a lot to work on, we Catholics, cleaning up “the filth” as pope Benedict put it, restoring the sacred to our churches and liturgy,
    continuing to feed the hungry, clothe, heal and educate the needy. It’s a shame we will have to take on the media, too, when it gets the facts wrong. The alternative is to give up, go home, or join a church that the press likes better.
    As someone who did a lot of spiritual searching before returning to the Catholic Church, I can assure you “the filth” is everywhere, in every church, organization, and institution. At least now, in the Catholic Church, it is out in the open where we can clean it up.

  • Klaire

    It never ceases to amaze me when people leave the faith, especially the Catholic faith, over the sins of others.

    It’s bad enough we have the scandals, but even worse, is to lose our salvation over the scandal of others.

    After all, even Jesus didn’t have a “perfect record” when it came to his followers, which I suspect is why he gave us Peter, the “imperfect” over John the almost perfect apostle for our first Pope.

  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com Bender

    For those feigning scandal and offense at people defending the Church, including the Pope, bishops, priests, and others — it is long past time that people stepped up to defend the Church.

    For too many years we have engaged in self-flagellation, meekly turning the other cheek in the face of malicious attacks by those who seek only to tear down the Church, caring little for the victims, with we even joining in those attacks. For too many years we have engaged in a campaign of condemnation, of division and rancor, of assuming the worst of people, all the while forgetting what our Lord did, and why He did it, just a few days ago on Good Friday, all the while choosing condemnation and rage over forgiveness and charity.

    And, if I may be so bold, it is rather curious that some of those who are most vociferous in their attacks on Pope Benedict, Pope John Paul, the bishops, and priests, are those who have protested for 50 years that the Church needs less control by Rome, not more, and that in all things, the Church must pursue a more pastoral approach, when it is abundantly clear that the MAJOR failing in dealing with abuse cases is that they were dealt with as a pastoral matter, rather than the harshness of law and order.

    For too many years, those in positions of authority in the Church adopted such a “pastoral” approach, viewing the matter in progressive terms of psycho-therapy, with a de-emphasis on the concept of sin. And yet, now we see these very same people, who demand more of the pastoral approach in every other aspect of life, often leading the charge against the popes, bishops, and priests.

    This much is clear — the controversy is NOT about actually protecting children, it is NOT about actual cases of abuse. This is ENTIRELY about attacking the Church for the sake of seeking to destroy her. If not this, then they attack the Pope over condoms in Africa, or over seeking reconciliation with some of our separated brothers and sisters, or over the truthful observation he made about Islam at Regensburg. And if not this Pope, then any other pope who might succeed him.

    It is Peter himself that they are against; it is the Apostles themselves that they are against; it is the Church herself that they are against. It is the Body of Christ that they seek to tear apart with malice.

  • BillW

    That’s right, blame the whole scandal on the press (or ANYONE else) instead of confessing your sins and doing your penance. Good example for the rest of the world.

  • Brian English

    “What people seem to be genuinely concerned about with Benedict XVI, a concern I share even though I consider Benedict to be a genuinely brilliant theologian and an oft-misunderstood cardinal, is that he is complicit in the cover-up of heinous crimes against children.”

    Evidence please.

    And by the way, Noonan is wrong when she claims that past good service by the press excuses the recent hatchet job on Benedict.

  • Brian English

    “When did I attack Pope Benedict?

    That’s exactly what I mean — because I don’t kiss the butts of the holier-than-thous in the pews, I’m attacking Pope Benedict…”

    From the woman who referred to the Church as:

    “a sick, evil hierarchy of men”

    Since he is at the very top of your hierarchy of sick, evil men, most people would consider that an attack on Pope Benedict.

  • newguy40

    Bender: I completely agree with your #16. It seems to me I also heard about some folks who signed some sort of document stating that they revoked baptism. Frankly, I don’t recall if this action was specific to Catholics or christians in general. That won’t look to good upon those folks first judgement.

    Seperate comment: The levels of judgement and hatred by some folks here is astounding. Remember that whole “plank in my own eye” thing?

  • WW2 Marine Veteran

    I likewise am catholic (meaning universal). I believe we can be forgiven for our sins by accepting our Lord Jesus Christ for our Salvation. Even those who commit sins of the body (homosexual acts) can be forgiven if they truly believe and accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their benefactor and saver. May the Lord God Bless all who believe.

  • Brian English

    “And based on what I’ve seen lately and what I now know about a certain unhealthy mindset prevalent among churchgoers, I don’t think this thing is over by a long shot, and I hold little hope for wholeness to be restored to the Catholic Church.”

    What are you talking about? Have you ever bothered to look at the John Jay Report on the abuse scandal? The vast majority of incidents happened 25-35 years ago. There were SIX credible reports of abuse by priests in the entire country last year.

    Do we have to be on guard to make sure the circumstances present in the 70s and 80s do not appear again? Yes. Do we have to have zero tolerance for priests who abuse? Yes.

    However, any assertion that the Church has not dramatically improved in protecting children is an outright lie. Trying to tar Benedict with the failings of others decades ago in Wisconsin is evil.

  • dry valleys

    Well, I do believe I’ll weigh in as I never saw the conversation I didn’t want to interrupt :)

    Personally I am not of any religious belief. I am not “pro-faith” because, essentially, even if I thought religion was a good thing (which I don’t particularly think anyway because of things like this) I would consider it dishonest & very patronising for me to be in favour of & to promote other people thinking something that I don’t myself believe in.

    When you talk about Catholic culture, I always wonder whether come “Catholics” (& members of other religions, especially Jews) are part of the culture, mass-goers, involved, but don’t actually believe in it supernaturally. I know some “Muslims” who are like that. They will generally claim to have some kind of religious belief but they just do it because it’s what their parents did. Are any people sitting on a pew with you are unbelievers? They presumably don’t say, so how do you know?

    This was an argument over whether Catholicism can “save Christian England”. To my mind, it is a bit of a depressing thought if secularism can’t counter Islam in & of itself, so I hope (but don’t pray, eh?) we can prevail against the imams. As much as Matthew Parris won’t endear himself to you by his statements, I agreed with him.

    He is a bit more pro-religion than me, even though he is a heathen, he is a “Protestant atheist”.

    Being secular does not necessarily mean being anti-religion, in fact there are Christians who are secular in that they think the state shouldn’t mandate a religion & those who carry out religious duties should not receive state support, etc. etc. All I say is that the church should not receive the automatic deference of the secular authorities & the wider society in the way it once did.

    Of course I won’t try & stop other people holding beliefs but I would like the dissenters to feel comfortable articulating that no, they don’t actually think that, which a lot of people in tightly-knit Muslim communities in particular can’t do. Which is a shame because some Asian girls could really have a good time with all this free love, eh? That’s what it’s all about really, isn’ it? Never mind those feeble rationalisations above :)

    PS- Sorry for that Spectator thing being annoyingly split into 8 sections. I’d just have one long text smothering you but obviously if they choose to have their website that way there’s nothing I can do. It was never much of a website or a magazine if you ask me, nor is the Daily Fail.

  • Brian English

    “There are parishioners — churchgoers — pewsitters — regular, non-clerical folks — who are still, in the face of the John Jay report, in the face of what the Church itself has admitted, deny what happened, still blame anyone and everyone but those individuals who are directly responsible, and THAT is why it is all bound to happen again.”

    You actually belong to a parish where large numbers of the parishioners refuse to believe that any abuse took place and that all the accused priests are innocent?

    “My comments had NOTHING to do with Pope Benedict, whom I have not directed any of my criticisms toward, no matter how desperately and pathetically you try to make it so.”

    So the conversations at your parish on Easter that so disgusted you had nothing to do with people defending the Pope? What were they talking about that so infuriated you?

    “My comments have EVERYTHING to do with people like you.

    People like you are why the Catholic Church is still not a safe place for children.”

    The Catholic Church is the safest place possible for children. You libeling the Church by claiming otherwise does not change that fact.

    I would suggest you go back and read your first post above and consider whether starting off the discussion by insulting people was the best choice.

    And by the way, you should be ashamed of yourself for your comment about the picture of the Anchoress.

  • Marcellinus

    1.Leaving the Church mostly hurts the person who leaves. We who stay and who will never leave will pray that you return to the fold.

  • Marcellinus

    1. Leaving the Church mostly hurts the person who leaves. We who stay and who will never leave will pray that you return to the fold.

    2. Do not paint all priests as guilty of these heinous acts. You who do so are as corrupt for doing so.

    3. Often, I’ve experienced, malcontented Catholics are always malcontented irrespective of the state of the Church. Oh, and they somehow never seem to commit sins themselves. Talk about holier-than-thou.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    The Anchoress is actually Billy Jean King? Who’da thunk? She’s a celebrity! :)

    (Okay, sorry, I’m being silly!)

    Sharon, have a great rest of your life making mean, intolerant and bigoted remarks about “rednecks” and your fellow church members. But don’t expect us to be swayed by your insults. Try rational argument, instead.

  • someone

    And I, who was abused by a priest/monk in the past, after few decades of Evangelical Protestantism, came back to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic church during this Easter.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    All the Catholic blogs are talking about Billy Jean King?

    (Sorry, couldn’t resist again.)

    Sharon, would you like to talk about God, Christ, the Holy Spirit? If so, what’s stopping you? Go ahead! You might convince us of something? Or would you rather just insult your parish (you can leave, you know, if they are being hateful), Catholics in general, the church in general, “rednecks” in general and the intolerant in general? (You’re setting such a great example of tolerance yourself.)

    It might help if you could provide some links to the remarks, and blogs, you find so offensive, instead of just blindly lashing out.

  • vitae

    I am merely echoing Jeanne @#5… If you believe what Christ through His Church teaches — namely, that it is His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity that we receive in the Eucharist — what will you accomplish by leaving it? How will your leaving help your soul, and how will your leaving benefit the Church? To quote Chesterton (via Fr. Robert Barron), “We’re all in the same boat, and we’re all seasick…” We’re all sinners, me, you, your fellow parishioners. We’re all trying to bear this latest trial (and it is a trial for all Catholics), and we pray for each other as we do. I’ll pray for you that you find peace, wherever you will find yourself.

  • Momma K

    People believe what they want to believe–this is America–land of “Innocent until proven guilty” yet every priest is assumed guilty—even years after the events supposedly occured.
    Were some guilty–yes. Were some innocents accused–yes (some deceased and unable to defend themselves)
    If a doctor abuses someone—do we abandon medicine? No. We recognize that in every group there are those who do evil. Except for the Catholic Church, when some priest does evil—then we get to condem the entire institution and all it represents.
    This is an attack against the Church because we believe in life and marriage, make no mistake.

  • Mike

    I presume Ms. Baggott witholds here tax money each April, as well, since that might go towards things of which she diaapproves.

  • Brian English

    ” Just lots of hate speech, mostly directed towards the gay community, the mainstream media, Maureen Dowd, etc.”

    You find that the hate speech in this situation has been running from the Church to those entities, rather than from those entities to the Church?

    “I don’t think the Church will ever be a safe place as long as there are people in it who will turn a blind eye to abuse in favor of protecting the PR image of an institution.

    And if you’re not one of the people you think I insulted, why so upset…?”

    Because you are libeling the Church. You keep claiming the Church is not a safe place for children when you know that is not true. You are also libeling those in the Church, like B16, who have made the Church a safe place for children.

    Any by the way, if you think the Anchoress looks like Billie Jean King, you should seek eyecare immediately.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Momma K, I believe it is.

    After all, the world at large is completely unmoved by the widespread UN pedophilia scandals, the completely secular sex trade in both children and adults and the porn industry’s exploitation of teen runaways. What else can we believe, when the anger against the church, which is at least trying to rectify the evil, is so unbalanced, and vitriolic? Where was all this rage, for instance, over the Roman Polanski affair a while back?

    (And, Anchoress, thank you for your insightful and gentle articles on this subject recently.)

  • PackerBronco

    It would serve you well to take a break before posting because the vitriol you show in attacking nameless others for their vitriol is rather sad to behold.

  • Mutnodjmet

    I would like to chime in as a newbie Catholic (I was just confirmed and given Communion this Easter vigil).

    Perhaps it is because I joined the Catholic Church to strengthen be during my Tea Party activism, and I have a Tea Party perspective, but how can anyone expect that the best way to affect change in the Church is by leaving it?

    I should think that real change begins from the Catholics at all the churches and parishes specifically insisting that the priests who are proven to be child molesters be defrocked. That act is evil, and if these offending priests were truly Men of God, then this is one act they would not have done. Needless to say, all applicable civil penalties should be applied as well.

    I do not pray for them, and I would not hesitate to tell others why. Jesus forgave sins — not evil. Molesting children is pure evil.

    I also note that the Catholic Church and Tea Parties suffer similar treatment at the hands of elite media: News that they report is molded to fit the template. My husband, a non-Catholic, focused on a CNN report about the Pope — and I had to remind him that he should perhaps consider that CNN reported that “dozens” of protesters were at the recent Nevada Tea Party. The actual number was upwards of 8,000.

    I have appreciated all the work the Anchoress has done in covering a topic that must be horrendously painful to her personally. It has been helpful to me during my chats with my husband and others, who seem to want to focus on this as the sole aspect of Catholicism they alight on (forgetting all the charities).

    I also concur with the above commenter that the NYT-elite media attacks seem like punishment for the Bishop’s stance on Obamacare — rather like the Tea Parties are being painted as violent, racist militias as our groups become primed to start our efforts to repeal Obamacare.

  • HCSKnight

    Im sorry, but I read her piece, thanks to your link, and did not at all find it “interesting”.

    Furthermore, I do not at all share your “so shaming for all of us in the pews”, in fact Im offended by such a reaction.

    There has been for decades a great evil spreading, the Smoke of Satan, within the Sanctuary of The Church. The fruits of which are now even easily seen by pagans and those who hate the Catholic Church, Catholic Faith, and the Pope.

    The feminine reaction and response by the hierarchy to the media to the evils that occurred is not by design or by accident, but by NATURE an outcome of the errors that occurred in the post-Vatican II priesthood and laity.

    There are two fundamental evils being fought right now in the Catholic Church.

    First, the priesthood literally turned their back to Christ during the Sacrifice of His Mass, and turned their eyes toward “their” parishioners and the parishioner’s desire for a more significant and emotionally fulfilling role in The Mass. This has had grave effects upon the Catholic Church, Catholic Faithful, and upon the priesthood. If this is doubted, ponder these two facts; most Catholic Churches literally place Christ off to the side in a corner and the Eucharist is treated with less preciousness during Communion than would be a handful of gold flakes to be distributed to the “needy” parishioners.

    Second, the feminization and the homosexualization of the priesthood has been ignored. The fruits of this error are most clearly seen in one evil; the focus on and promotion of “social justice” above the Sacraments. Do not construe my point as denouncing women or their proper role in Salvation or The Church; to do so would be wrong and to play into the hands of evil. The greatest Catholic of the twentieth century was not John Paul II but Mother Teresa.

    Until these two errors are corrected, the Roman Rite will continue its earthly collapse.


  • SallyJune

    They have to hate and attack the Church — because she is charged by Her Spouse in Truth and Love to firmly insist, again and again, over and over, that murder and fornication are not love but perversions of it. They want to ignore and twist and convert reality to be something else they interpret it into. And she has to keep saying, in love: no, that is incorrect. Try again.