Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Christ Our Hope

The Holy Father arrives on these shores in a few hours. Despite press reports, there is more to American Catholicism than the sex-abuse crisis, in fact the real story, if they wanted to report on that angle now, would be the story of greedy lawyers and innocent priests being victimized. The Pope comes to bring life, with the beautiful theme "Christ Our Hope." There is much to be proud of in the US Catholic Church, I pray these days will be grace-filled and will lead to a fresh and confident revitalization of the Catholic community here in the land of the free.


M. Alexander said...

In Boston a full 20% of priests were removed for sex abuse once the scandal broke. I don't call that insignificant.

Growing up in Vermont we had 5 pastors. 2 of them were serial abusers. Willis and McShane. My brothers and sisters went on camping trips with McShane and came back with stories about being intimidated into bathing nude while McShane took pictures.

Insignificant. No it wasn't. Not to us and not to people who were abused.

the owl of the remove said...

Who used the word "insignificant?" It's nowhere in my post. However, even in this country the concept of "innocent until proven guilty" is still meant to be true - that is, unless you are a priest. One disgruntled parishioner can accuse an entirely innocent man and ruin his life - it's happened - and is still happening - and why so much money? How does that "heal" the victims? Are the children of Nazis repsonsible for the Holocaust? In 20 years times, when passions have cooled yes, the scandal will be seen as a terrible thing - but so will the grave injustice of denying a priest all the basic rights of presumed innocence. As Father Rutler has written, the hatred of the priesthood is as old as time. Did a small minority of priests do some terrible things? - yes - must the Church talk about this forever? - no. When will the school districts of the US be investigated with the same fervour? They won't because the money isn't there. The Catholic Church in the USA is now the most regulated institution with regards to child safety that exists - so much so, that even normal pastoral ministry with children is no longer possible. - Who is behind all this - both the abuse and the consequences - Satan.

M. Alexander said...

The horror and injustice of a false accusation is not new, just consider the case of St Gerard Majella.

I haven't trusted the public school system in years but the Church and its priesthood I held to a higher standard.

Much of the disappointment and the pain of the scandal came from the lies of bishops and their spokesmen. These lies are well documented in court transcripts and I'm still sickened when I read them.

And Fr. doesn't it seem insulting that once the abuse became acknowledged the calls from the Church were for "a day of fasting and penance... for the laity", sex ed programs in religion classes so the children can "protect themselves", criminal background checks... for the laity.

I think it was very right of the Holy Father to acknowledge the abuse. It was the elephant in the living room after all.

Yes, it is a terrible thing that the State has gotten control of the Church, especially in places like New Hampshire.

On the issue of the money. That seems like a small thing to me. Especially compared to the loss of innocence of a child and the loss of The Faith to a whole family or community. And when I think of the way the diocesan spokesman publicly suggested that Gregory Ford, a Shanley victim was probably abused by his own father, I think he deserves every penny.

I don't mean to argue with you Father. You are a good and holy priest and I think we would agree on far more than disagree but I cringe when I see the scandal minimized and that was the impression that I received from your post. I'm sorry if I misinterpreted your post.

the owl of the remove said...

I agree with all your points (I'll leave it to God whether I'm "good and holy" - I'm trying!) We must try and see the bigger picture - terrible though the scandal was, and is - it is being used by the enemies (and THE Enemy) of the Church - as though there is nothing else - that was my point. God's blessings!

blarg said...

m. alexander,

I feel your pain. If attending a church of lapsed Catholics were not enough, molestation victims accused three of my pastors for sex abuse before my 18th birthday. This was all before the Scandals of 2002. Now I reflect on my years as an alter boy, I remember on several occasions where one pastor tried to suggest we spend an evening together. Fortunately, I had the childhood wisdom to know something was odd about this man. Of course, his victims later revealed the nature of these evenings and the Worcester bishop dismissed him from office.

I believe the parts of the Church that live as mere human institution rather than part of the vine are dying as they should. God is God and he is partial to no one; why should he favor the unfaithful in his own church? And though fidelity is hard to come by, why should the shortcomings of those we esteem be the justification for cynicism? Will despair over our glory days bring us hope? No. Focusing on our present moment and fidelity to the living Word of God in both scripture and sacrament—that will bring us hope. When Jerusalem fell, it was sad, but eventually the Jews got up and rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem. Let us do the same.