Reidy's review also raises a ghost that will stalk Catholic intellectuals and those in the media for at least the next generation. Father Barron, Reidy notes, makes "only passing mention of the clergy abuse scandal." While Reidy doesn't explicitly criticize this brief mention, his comment leads me to wonder: How much of Catholic self-reflection must address or discuss the sexual abuse scandal? Is there a venue (like Father Barron's "Catholicism") where it need not be raised and dealt with in detail? Can a Catholic feel good about his Church and celebrate the grace and beauty it provides without summoning images of a cowardly priest and a complicit bishop?
Or is clergy sexual abuse now, in some contorted way, part of "the heart of the faith" such that no contemporary overview of Catholicism can avoid it? I ask without irony. For many, the clergy sexual abuse scandal is the defining feature of Catholicism, the event that has irredeemably destroyed its credibility as a witness to the incarnate God.
In making only passing mention of the scandal, however, Father Barron is taking a risk and implicitly attempting to respond. I like his answer.