First I wrote something long and angry and decided that after five years of blogging I should know better than to write angry, so I dumped it.
Then I got busy with something that I actually have to write on deadline.
Then, I took a break, mosey’d over to Deacon Greg’s establishment and found this:
“From the beginning and throughout history, Peter has often been a wobbly rock, a source of scandal, corrupt, and yet this is the one – and his successors – whose task is to hold us together so that we may witness to Christ’s defeat on Easter Day of sin’s power to divide. And so the Church is stuck with me whatever happens. We may be embarrassed to admit that we are Catholics, but Jesus kept shameful company from the beginning.”
– Timothy Radcliffe, O.P., in London’s Tablet, explaining why he stays Catholic.
Do read it all.
So, a quick link-around to various and sundry stuff that has come across my email in the last 24 hours -all offered without comment because I really am tied up. But you guys, discuss amongst yourselves!
From Newsweek: “The priesthood is being cast as the refuge of pederasts. In fact, priests seem to abuse children at the same rate as everyone else.” This of course is not meant to excuse anything, but to expose the fact that the problem of people in authority abusing their trust and power in this way seems epidemic, as we see today with swimming coaches and in this gross story of a female school teacher.
It is heartening though, to see a media outlet admit that every priest is not a defacto pervert. Perhaps some will actually note that studies give evidence of startling effectiveness in the steps taken by the church on this issue. Let us pray that the church continues and builds on these effective reforms, throughout the world.
Meanwhile, of course, we continue to pray for the victims. I wonder if -for the sake of the victims, who want nothing more than to know that others will never have to suffer as they have- the press is remiss in not covering the success of the church reforms? A little focus – just a tad- could reassure those victims, and given them a hope that yes, they had been heard; yes, their painful, necessary testimonies had not been given in vain; yes, something good has finally come out of all of that endless bad they’d been living with.
I want victims of abuse to be validated; where crimes can be prosecuted, I want to see them prosecuted; I do not know a living human being who feels differently. I agree with Fr. James Martin that the press did the church and the world a favor by exposing some dark and miserable corners to the disinfectant light.
But I also agree with Mary Ann Walsh, the director of media relations, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, that the media was recklessly inflammatory in its applications. A laser is a useful thing, but a pinpoint beam leaves too much in the dark. Illumination is a good thing, too, but too much wattage can be blinding. The Holy Week Headline Swarm was too much; even non-Catholics called it excessive.
It must be said, the pope and the church were not helped by the insensitive, defensive and tone-deaf responses by some within the Vatican.
A reader sent this piece to me, wondering about the title, a bit: Is history over? Have we already seen the last American President? Is this the last Pope?
I’m sensing we ain’t seen nothing yet. Do check out the link to the 2002 piece by the NY Times’ Bill Keller, where he writes:
It should be clear by now that this scandal is only incidentally about forcing sex on minors. There is no evidence so far that predator priests are more common than predator teachers or predator doctors or predator journalists. The scandal is the persistent failure of the church hierarchy to comprehend, to care and to protect. The Boy Scouts, not an organization in the vanguard of sexual enlightenment, adopted a clear, firm policy to protect children from molestation 19 years ago. The Catholic bishops and their Vatican handlers, meanwhile, are still parsing the rhetorical fine points of ”zero tolerance,” which is at best an empty slogan (does anyone favor ”10 percent tolerance”?) and at worst a way of abdicating responsibility.
The pope lamented last week that the child abuse scandal is eroding trust in the church. But that is rather backward. American Catholics have reacted so explosively to this sordid affair precisely because they felt so little trust to begin with. The distrust is the legacy of Pope John Paul II.
And now, in Bill Keller’s world, the distrust is the legacy of John Paul’s successor, the very man who has done more to activate within the church the sorts of responses, guidelines and policies that Keller rightly admires of the Boy Scouts of America.
So, let me get this straight. When the church was not doing enough -and it wasn’t- to address the sickening sins and crimes that reached their zeniths in decades past, the NY Times was quite rightly appalled and scandalized and giving no quarter. And now that serious steps have been taken, and church guidelines are being effective and enforced, the Times remains appalled, scandalized and still gives no quarter.
That seems strange, doesn’t it? It doesn’t seem consistent with mature and disenthralled analysis which could reasonably be expected to report on and encourage constructive and effective measures taken in the present, even while decrying the unchangeable past. To do less suggests that the Times prefers one part of the story over the other.
On Holy Saturday, Newsday’s Lisa Miller wrote a piece suggesting, “…insular groups of men often do bad things. So why not break up the all-male club?”
George Weigel effectively countered that male celibacy cannot be blamed for the married/heterosexual abuse that abounds globally, or for those abuses committed by female religious, either.
Aren’t you glad I said “without comment?” Well, when can I resist opining, but believe I do so in good faith, in any case!
The Passion of Benedict: Six accusations, one question
Chinese Bishop: Under arrest for not rolling with the government
60 Minutes: Hey, Look, Bush saved lives in Africa!
Krauthammer on Obama’s nuclear posturing
Is Gates as “comfy” as Obama says he is?
Nuclear Cost-Benefit analysis: Seriously?
David Goldman: how Jewish neocons blew it on Iraq and Iran
Make Every Friday Good?: I thought we were already supposed to be doing that, as Catholics.
How far is too far: for a tween actress?
NoVa Police Blackout: What you don’t NoVa won’t hurt you!
And of course, the big story: Are Brad and Jen back together again?
Inkjet-like device prints cells right over burns. Wow. Faster, please.
More Catholic Stuff:
In Defense of Benedict
Scandal Threatens Pope’s Focus on EU’s Christian Roots
What the Catholic Church can Learn from Married Priests
Scandal-Time, Once More
Ratzinger Emerges as Campaigner Against Filth
A Married Priest Supports Celibate Priesthood (Video)
Saving What Can be Saved
In Praise of Patriarchy
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes