Saturday, April 03, 2010

Bearing the shame...

The Chicago Tribune featured my guest post about the abuse issue and Holy Week. It's a kind of refined version of my earlier post (you'll recognize some of the phrasing!). Your comments on the Tribune site will be most welcome, especially because this issue tends to inspire people to trot out some pretty lame arguments that really do not bear at all on the situation, its causes and the means to resolve it.

Another post (from the Tribune staff) raises the question, "Should the Vatican repent?" There have already been numerous expressions of regret, shame and, yes, apology, coming from the Pope himself. How else can the "Vatican" repent, if not to enact specific reforms? What do people mean when they continue to ask for "repentance" or "apology"?

Blessed Holy Saturday.


Anonymous said...

Happy Easter Sister. May God Bless you!

Anonymous said...

You know, it's just crazy. There are a billion Catholics and about 300 million Americans. Shall we blame the President for every abuse case that slips through the cracks of justice on his watch? Hardly. These people need to get a life.

Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous. It's time for all of us to throw our stones back into the pile. Happy Easter to ALL.

RAnn said...

Here is the apology most of those folks want:

We are so sorry that the abuse scandel happened. The only good that has come out of it is that we now have had our eyes opened about the following:
1) A celibate male clergy is impossible.
2) The solution is to ordain folks who aren't celibate and aren't male
3) This tragedy was enabled by the absolute power of the celibate male clergy power structure. We are going to dismantle that and start ruling the church by elected committees of the faithful--majority rules

Sr Anne said...

The Pope has already repeatedly expressed sorrow, shame, regret and a commitment to address the root causes behind the negligence with which the abuse cases were dealt with. Canon Law has already been modified, at the request of the US Bishops; it is likely to be furnished with more teeth for the sake of consistent application. That's where people need to be looking for solid reform; if Canon Law does not change, things will always remain up to the personal judgment of the bishop, whoever that might be.
As for those other statements that people want, I hope they're not holding their breath. Such conclusions attempt to analyze, diagnose and address the issue as if there were no supernatural dimension to the Church's ministerial tradition; as if it were all purely political.
Re: celibacy, how can we, who have a broader perspective on the roots of Catholic practice than the typical consumer of news media would help people to think more critically in this regard? I mean, first off, to help people recognize how sadly superficial it is to "blame" the vow of celibacy for a crime that is far and away committed by persons with no such commitment at all. Would a married clergy really make a difference? It doesn't seem to in other denominations or professions. The real issue in the Catholic Church was that cases of abuse were swept under the rug in diocese after diocese, when Bishops failed to exercise their authority with vigor and uprightness--not that these things only happen in Catholic settings.
And how many people realize that until the 5th century or so, while married men were ordained, once they were, they and their wives knew that celibacy was their life, too, and this was acknowledged to be "by apostolic tradition"? That was mitigated in the Eastern Church, but even then, priests and their wives abstained (and still do, my understanding is) from the marital embrace in preparation for the Sunday Divine Liturgy (one of the practices that influenced the Eastern Church's not having a strong daily Mass tradition!).
Can we see more women involved, with sufficient authority to make a difference? That's what an editorial in the Vatican's own newspaper suggested: Naturally, that can be done with full respect for the tradition of the priesthood, which faith tells us is part of the apostolic tradition we do not have the right to alter.