Cleansing Fire

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“End The Church Culture That Led to Abuse”

April 13th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

Today’s Demagogue and Barnacle features an article penned by the would-be-theologian Mark Hare, whose musings on anything dealing with the Holy Catholic Church can be summarized as “Bishop Clark is divine” and “the old ways must die.” His article is below, with my commentary.

A lot of Catholics are angry. (Good deduction, Sherlock.)
Some are incensed at what they see as a media attack on Pope Benedict XVI and other high-level Vatican officials for protecting pedophile priests.(“They” as in “a lot of Catholics”? Shouldn’t you include yourself, Mr. Hare, unless you are either not “incensed” or not Catholic”?)
Others, myself included, (Ah, here comes the “Me-Show” we can all expect from Mr. Hare) are far more disturbed by a pattern of paranoia and obfuscation by some in the pope’s inner circle. (Paranoia? It’s not paranoia when people really are out to get you, Mr. Hare. Just look at the news and tell me this isn’t the case.)
The official preacher of the papal household delivered a Good Friday reflection comparing the media criticism of the pope to anti-Semitism. The church’s chief exorcist charged that the devil “prompted” New York Times stories suggesting that the pope, as archbishop of Munich in 1980, may not have been sufficiently vigilant in preventing a pedophile priest from returning to parish ministry. (So now it comes to Mr. Hare to critique the Pope. Oh, rest assured, his credentials enable him to do just that – “columnist for Rochester, NY paper.” Let us kneel before his awesome presence.)
Circling the wagons is the worst response; the pope and the hierarchy of the church are not the victims. (They are victims, Mr. Hare. How many innocent priests are labeled as pedophiles because a few idiots couldn’t control themselves? How many bishops are now being slandered for doing the right thing, even though the media says they didn’t? How many young men are being mocked and derided for their faith which prompts them to enter seminary or religious life? I can tell you, sir, it is vastly more than the children who have been abused. No one is saying “forget the kids,” yet people seem all too willing to put words like this into the mouth of the Church. People like you, sir.)
It is painfully clear that the abuse was not an isolated American phenomenon. The criminal circle has widened to Europe, and I suspect that hundreds of allegations will become thousands.(I wonder how many of these cases hinge on a middle aged man who sees an opportunity to cash in on the contrived abuses of his past? Many of those who have come forward have not been abused – they have been goaded into action by the media and by gold-digging parents and spouses. This kind of behavior slanders the Church and wounds the true victims even more.)
Of course, the vast majority of priests and bishops (and certainly nuns) have given their lives to loving service. (“And certainly nuns”? What is this supposed to mean? Nuns are more pure than the priests and bishops? I tend to doubt that very much, Mr. Hare. How many nuns covered up abuses for the scandalous pastors? How many nuns physically attacked children in the classroom? Oh, you should not single out the nuns, sir. If anything, single out the new young people, men entering the priesthood, and women entering religious life, who are of the “new breed,” the solid, God-fearing, and pure young people that you implicitly lump in with all the trash the Church must clear out.)
It is also true, as John Allen Jr., senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, ( “senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter”. . . “Thou woulds’t have no power against me, had it not been given to thee from above.”) has written, that if Pope Benedict is “part of the problem … He’s also a major chapter in the solution.” While he was in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was assigned responsibility for reviewing all cases of alleged abuse by priests. He is probably more familiar with the horrific details than anyone, Allen writes, and “he and his team approved direct administrative action in roughly 60 percent of the cases,” Allen wrote in a New York Times (aka “Treason Times”) op-ed piece. (Pope Benedict did not handle every single case that came through that office. That would have been impossible. When he did handle a case, personally, it was dealt with according to ecclesiastic and civil norms.)
As pope, Benedict has disciplined priests, met with victims and apologized for the harm done to them.
This damage, however, cannot be repaired with a new policy or an apology, or 20 apologies, or 100 apologies. Church culture protected criminal priests and silenced their young victims to avoid bringing shame and scandal to the institution; the result was both shame and scandal. (If you know the answer, why don’t you go over to Rome and sort the Pope out individually? Oh, that’s right, because your only venue is a liberal rag in an Upstate New York City.) Victims were twice victimized, and millions of Catholics have lost faith in the moral authority of the hierarchy. The “zero tolerance” policy of the U.S. Catholic bishops is a huge step forward, but there is no statute of limitations on contrition.
I do not believe that leaders of our church are indifferent to this tragedy. (Then why write this vociferous rubbish?) But every time a church official blames the media or anti-Catholicism or “petty gossip” for the crisis, I cringe. (Kind of like how I cringe every time I see that Mark Hare has written another piece attacking the institutions of Holy Mother Church.) The insular culture that so distorted the Gospel values remains intact.
As Timothy Shriver eloquently said in a Washington Post (can you cite any reputable pro-Church source, or are you only able to find what you want to in the liberal and anti-Catholic press? Convenient, isn’t it?) op-ed piece last week, the only answer is conversion ? a total change of heart, with God’s help. The church teaches us that God’s Spirit speaks to and through all of us, not just the hierarchy. (Right, but we aren’t the ones who have intimate knowledge of the workings of God or the Church. Why consult a janitor when applying for college? It’s the same thing. Lay people are generally not qualified for the kind of work required by things like this. We don’t have the experience, the education, or the know-how.) I fear for the future of my church if its leaders do not listen to the many men and women (Don’t you hate it when people use awkward language to make a political point?) whose lives, experience, and faithfulness could help them build a more welcoming, sensitive and accountable (accountable to whom, Mr. Hare? As of now, it’s accountable to God, the Creator, not Bob the Created) church culture. That is what conversion requires.
Many of the Catholics I know struggle every day with our own sinfulness. We seek, as the church has taught us, contrite hearts. We expect no less from those who ask us to be faithful. (I guess the pity party’s over, folks. And just when I was getting ready to pin the tail on the . . . donkey.)

And so, Mr. Hare tells us to “end the Church culture that led to abuse.” I say “chan
ge the Church culture that led to liberal nut-jobs and Church-attacking ‘Catholics’ like Mark Hare.”

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4 Responses to ““End The Church Culture That Led to Abuse””

  1. avatar Dr. K says:

    "help them build a more welcoming… church culture"

    That could be interpreted in more than one way.

    I will offer the following though: You're going to be hard-pressed to convince me that Catholic Churches are not "welcoming" enough when they interrupt the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to sing Happy Birthday or applaud for couples having their anniversary. What about all the blabbering before and after Mass? How about when the lady in the choir asks the people to turn around and greet the people around them? None of this is welcoming? Come on, Mark Hare, you go to the Cathedral and you are a "Facebook Fan" of St. Mary downtown. I don't want to hear any chastisements about the Church not being "welcoming."

    ~Dr. K

  2. avatar Scott/Mary says:

    Mark Hare is an enemy of the faith.

    "I fear for the future of my church if its leaders do not listen to the many men and women."

    Maybe we should send him the Novena of prayer for Pope Benedict XVI that faithful Catholics are praying. Ask him to pray for the Holy Father instead of trashing him.

  3. You know, it's possible, Mr. Hare, that (1) some of these cases could have been better handled by Church officials and (2) some in the media are distorting the facts due to anti-Catholicism. Nuance we call it, I think; you liberals are famous for it.

  4. avatar Mike says:

    "I fear for the future of my church if its leaders do not listen to the many men and women whose lives, experience, and faithfulness could help them build a more welcoming, sensitive and accountable church culture."

    This is merely the usual progressive Catholic insistence that, for instance, those living in "committed" homosexual relationships or women who are convinced that they have a vocation to the priesthood somehow have something to positive to say to the rest of us.

    It is simply experiential theology run amok. At its core it denies the doctrine of original sin and its effects on the human intellect and, in the process, both negates the need for divine revelation and rejects the notion of a Church that teaches with the authority of Christ.


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