Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Catholic Accountability...

This site is wicked... literally.


Rod Dreher reports about the gay-priest scandal in the Church; sickening.

Read it and weep. How could this ever happen?

The Gay Priest problem

Well, it is Ash Wednesday, so let's talk about something difficult, something that requires penitential self-examination.

Father Neuhaus calls "The Faithful Departed" by Phil Lawler "the best book-length treatment of the [Catholic] sex abuse crisis, its origins and larger implications, published to date." Again, let me commend this excellent book to all Christian readers, not just Catholics, who want to know how it is that a church's leadership class can become corrupted by trading fidelity to the church's true mission for worldly power and comfort. Here's a quote Neuhaus cites from Lawler's book, one that originated in "The Gay Priest Problem," a powerful Catholic World Report essay from the year 2000, by the Jesuit Father Paul Shaughnessy:

If we examine any trust-invested agency at any given point in its history, whether that agency be a police force, a military unit, or a religious community, we might find that, say, out of every hundred men, five are scoundrels, five are heroes, and the rest are neither one nor the other: ordinarily upright men who live with a mixture of moral timidity and moral courage. When the institution is healthy, the gutsier few set the overall tone, and the less courageous but tractable majority works along with these men to minimize misbehavior; more importantly, the healthy institution is able to identify its own rotten apples and remove them before the institution itself is enfeebled. However, when an institution becomes corrupt, its guiding spirit mysteriously shifts away from the morally intrepid few, and with that shift the institution becomes more interested in protecting itself against outside critics than in tackling the problem members that subvert its mission. For example, when we say a certain police force is corrupt, we don’t usually mean that every policeman is on the take—perhaps only five out of a hundred actually accept bribes—rather we mean that this police force can no longer diagnose and cure its own problems, and consequently, if reform is to take place, an outside agency has to be brought in to make the changes.

That is worth pondering in sorrow.

Neuhaus continues with this critical point:

Lawler adds: “Homosexual influence within the American clergy was not in itself the cause of the sex abuse crisis. The corruption wrought by that influence was a more important factor.” He very gingerly addresses a theory proposed by a number of commentators on the crisis, namely, that bishops engaged in cover-ups and other deceptions because they were threatened with homosexual blackmail. He cites a number of instances in which this appears to be the case and bishops were permitted to resign when their misdeeds could no longer be denied. “The blackmail hypothesis,” he writes, “provides a logical explanation for behavior that is otherwise inexplicable: the bishops’ willingness to risk the welfare of the faithful and their own reputations in order to protect abusive priests.”

This is a difficult topic to discuss, for obvious reasons.

Read the depressing rest below...

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