Tag Archives: sex abuse crisis

Bearing the wound the clergy inflict

MahoneyMother Church, the sacrament of Jesus Christ on earth bears the wounds inflected on her by her clergy.

I cannot say whether this story, “For Roger Mahoney, clergy abuse cases were a threat to agenda,” published by the LA Times is without bias, but if it is objective in reporting the facts, then we have even more opportunities to pray, and to offer sacrifice for the offenses of the Catholic clergy; our education on the matter is not over, and we ought not to be complacent.

That the reporters and not Church hierarchy has written about this subject is indeed amazing. Say what you will about the media, the Church does owe a debt of gratitude for shedding light on a dark point of our history. I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that if the media didn’t write about the abuse and the attitude of the bishops toward the Church –a la what you see in Cardinal Mahoney– little change would have happened. It must be recognized with a clear voice that the Catholic Church is charting a path to resolution and healing, a path that many secular institutions have yet to walk.

Mercy is required –Jesus the Good Shepherd teaches us this. Pope Francis is the current face of God’s tenderness for the victims and victimizers. Mercy for the victims, law enforcement officials, healthcare professionals, the laity of who give lives to the following Jesus as faithful members of the Church, and the clergy.

In 2007, the then Prefect of the Congregation of the Clergy, Cardinal Claudio Hummes, wrote a letter to the bishops of the world asking for a spiritual work to aid concrete actions in assisting those affected by clergy sex abuse. To date, few cenacles of prayer have been established. Where I live, Cardinal Hummes’ letter is a dead letter, seemingly completely ignored by the bishops (at least in the USA). So that you know what the cardinal is looking for,

We are asking, therefore, all diocesan Ordinaries who perceive in a special way the specificity and irreplaceability of the ordained ministry in the life of the Church, together with the urgency of a common action in favour of the ministerial priesthood, to become an active part and promote – in the different portions of the People of God entrusted to them – , veritable cenacles in which clerics, religious and lay people – united among themselves in the spirit of true communion – devote themselves to prayer, in the form of continual eucharistic adoration, also in the spirit of genuine and real reparation and purification.

 May the horrible history of Roger Mahoney be an invitation for all of to make conversion a priority.

Pope Benedict defends record

Our emeritus pope Benedict broke a self imposed silence to defend his record against false accusations the he did little to correct the misconduct, particularly sexual abuse behavior of clergy. He did this in Italy’s La Repubblica and it was also picked up by Daily Telegraph in the form of a letter a well-known atheist, Piergiorgio Odifreddi, about this issue (and others) that he originally published in a 2011 book, Dear Pope.

You read the article here and here. The letter is in Italian at the moment.

Here in the USA, the Catholic Church once again has had to deal with the craziness –immorality and criminal behavior– of her priests.

We know from the press several weeks ago a Boston priest was taken out of ministry for constant contact with a prostitute, there’s Scranton priest charged with molesting a teenaged boy he met on Craigslist, a Benedictine monk in Wisconsin who stalks young girls looking for a “quicky” and then we have Curtis Wehmeyer a Minnesota priest who simply is a creep and a criminal. Plus you can call to mind the NJ priests Michael Fugee and Robert Chabak, among others.

Who wouldn’t feel, after reading about pedophile clergy, that the Church has not done enough? That the Church is not too serious about this issue. After all, it is said that the Church has cleaned up her game. Or, so the church and civil authorities claim. In fact, the Catholic Church is a benchmark for cleaning up clergy sex abuse and other misbehavior. The Church record today is vastly different than 10 years ago while civil institutions have yet to address the problem. Nevertheless, you hear that the Vicar General of Wehmeyer’s archdiocese is portrayed as an unfaithful, ignorant, arrogant, incompetent churchman. You can read the story here.

The critics are right to question. Catholics have not left their mind at the door. But the questions of the critics are misplaced if they think that going after Benedict is the right thing to do. He was the pope, not the universal police chief. A pope can only do so much. The local authorities in the Catholic Church are most directly responsible for the faithful and they are to be held accountable. Look at the bishops and various vicars before pointing fingers at the Pope. That’s how the Church has worked for the last 2000 years.

Barbara Dorris of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) sheds no light for the path nor does she adequately convey with exactitude what, in fact, Benedict tried to do in his previous work the CDF, or as the Roman Pontiff. Dorris is good at complaining and stirring the emotions of victims and antagonists but does not speak the truth. Some of SNAP’s tactics lack charity for both victim and victimizer. Remember the Lord does have concern all the sheep and goats of the Kingdom. And yet, SNAP does attempt to keep the toes of some clerics over the fire and honest).

Within his area of pastoral authority Benedict did everything he could to root out the evil, but the bishops and their close collaborators have obstructed the truth and justice from all. Benedict strengthened church law, spoke out against misconduct, removed clergy, heard the stories of victims and responded according to law of charity.

In one address to the Church, the emeritus pope noted that the spiritual decay has happened, and that it unfortunately continues, and we all have to be vigilant. Supervision is not easy. AND, unfortunately, there are lots of priests, bishops and religious superiors who are neither honest nor holy. In time their malfeasance will be dealt with. But the matter of supervising priests and other church ministers is the obligation of all people, even non-believers, not merely the pope.

Pope Francis to be decisive in sexual abuse crimes

Abp Gerhard Ludwig Mueller & Francis.jpgThe Pope is meeting with all the heads of the various departments of the Holy See. 

Today, there was a meeting with the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, 65, to discuss the work of the Congregation and its competence in handling cases of sexual abuse.
Archbishop Müller is the bishop emeritus of the Diocese of Regensburg; he was appointed to his present work on 2 July 2012.
No surprise in that Pope Francis will continue the good work of Pope Benedict in acting quickly and decisively, in excising justice and compassion, and being close to the victims and their families. The unsaid part of this is being attentive to the needs of the people falsely accused. Sin and criminal behavior will not be tolerated in the Church.
No formal message was issued but several news agencies have carried their own analysis of the meeting. Read about the meeting here and the CNS story by Carol Glatz here.
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Curbing sex abuse is a long term process

Robert W. Oliver.jpgFather Robert W. Oliver, a priest from Boston began his new work –a ministry of justice– as the new Promoter of Justice at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on February 1.

Interesting in Cindy Wooden’s CNS article today is that three-quarters of the 112 conferences of bishops around the world have submitted their plans to protect children. Many who have not are from Africa.
Oliver has offered praise for the press in the USA in shedding light on a difficult subject. Most certainly this is a very difficult subject to understand and rectify.
There’s a lot of work to do. What is needed today is for all of us to be steady, coherent and faithful to the task of protecting all people from predators.
Father Oliver replaces the competent and forthright priest from Malta, Charles J. Scicluna, 53, now an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Malta serving with the Dominican archbishop Paul Cremona.
Prayers of Father Oliver and the people he will serve as a Good Shepherd.

Visiting clerics in prison –a provocation to conversion

Recent revelations, though not completely surprising, of the high ranking LA cleric covering the tracks of priests’ immoral and criminal behavior, ought to cause us all to stop, think, pray and work for change in the Church. Some bishops and priests in this country have not acted in the manner of the Good Shepherd, have not lived in communion with Jesus Christ and have opened the doors to further disaster with regard to the ordinary faithful. AND “Msgr. Meth” is yet another story.

John Zmirak’s “I’d Like to Visit Cardinal Mahoney in Prison” should make you stop and think what exactly we have gotten ourselves into when we’ve neglected some very important spiritual and human of our person. Cardinal Roger Mahoney is only the latest to have been exposed for being a bad Catholic.

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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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