IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010 | Uncategorized

I think you can make a solid case that the Roman Catholic Church’s sex scandals are the greatest tragedy ever to afflict that church.  But Chris!  What about that Reformation thing that was in all the pamphlets back in the day?!

What about it?  I’d call that one more a missed opportunity than a tragedy.  Had Rome taken Luther seriously and seriously debated him instead of just peremptorily ordering him to stand down, the whole Reformation might never have happened.

This one’s different.  There are no dissident German monks nailing up theses this time; this wound was entirely self-inflicted.  From what I understand, the Catholic Church in Ireland has done to itself what generations of English Protestants never could.

It’s been the same in other traditionally-Catholic parts of Europe where large numbers of people have left the Church.  I guess every Roman Catholic who loves the Church has to regard news of this person leaving Roman Catholicism, that person leaving the Christian faith entirely or that other victim of some predator priest blowing his brains out as yet another dagger to the heart.

A dagger stuck there by a Catholic bishop.

There have been, of course, no shortage of suggestions as to What Rome Ought To Do About It.  The secular ones don’t interest me.  The world hates the Christian church, whatever its manifestations, and always will.  The religious suggestions do, particularly those coming from liberal Catholics.

Because to be perfectly blunt about it, this scandal has been a Vague, Ambiguous Deity Concept-send for LibCats like Auxiliary Bishop Pat Power of the Diocese of Canberra-Goulburn in Australia:

The current crisis facing the Catholic Church arising out of sexual abuse is arguably the most serious challenge the Church has faced since the Reformation in the 16th century.

Agreed.  How should the Catholic Church respond?  Easy.  By becoming Episcopalian.

In 1996, I gave a talk in which I expressed my hopes for the Catholic Church. They were that it would be:

  • a more human Church
  • a humbler Church
  • a less clerical Church
  • a more inclusive Church (and therefore more truly catholic)
  • a more open Church
  • a Church which finds unity in diversity
  • a Church which discovers its whole tradition
  • a Church which truly reflects the person and values of Jesus.

After all, the Last Truly Great Pope would have wanted it that way.

The Second Vatican Council (1962-65) called by Pope John XXIII provided so many opportunities for reform by empowering the laity as part of the People of God, engaging with the modern world, other Churches and non-Christian religions, promoting religious freedom, encouraging greater participation in the liturgy, enabling all to have a deeper relationship with God. Unfortunately, these days we are more likely to be warned of the “excesses following Vatican II” or told of the need for “reform of the reform” in regard to the liturgy or the “re-interpretation of Vatican II”.

And as everyone knows, none of these atrocities happened during that all-too-brief golden age when nary a Latin word was to be heard in the Catholic liturgy and Gregorian chant had been thrown on the ash heap of Church history in favor of the works of Häagen-Dazs or whatever that guy’s name is.

The reform needed by the Church today will involve much more than just “tinkering around the edges”. Issues such as the authoritarian nature of the Church, compulsory celibacy for the clergy, the participation of women in the Church, the teaching on sexuality in all aspects cannot be brushed aside. Listening must be a key component of reform and at times that will involve listening to unpalatable truths. It needs to be recognised that all wisdom does not reside exclusively in the present all-male leadership of the Church and that the voices of the faithful must be heard.

Leaving aside questions of theology, patristics and history, two questions jump out at this non-Catholic.  The first is this: exactly how would reassessment, presumably in a much less stringent direction, of “compulsory celibacy” as well as “the teaching of sexuality in all aspects” reduce the number of priests who sexually molest children?

Seems to me that going Episcopal Organization confirmation class on the whole sex question is exactly the wrong message to send.  An indifferently permissive sexual ethic is not conducive to communicating that some sex acts not only should not be engaged in, they should not even be considered.

After all, eliminating ID checks for $2.50-a-bottle Jack Daniels doesn’t seem like a good way to attack the problem of underage drinking.

But here’s the kicker: Power’s ideal Catholic Church(“less clerical…more inclusive…unity in diversity,” a church with a non-existent sexual ethic, a church in which women are fully represented at all levels and a church which the laity help run) already exists.

It’s called the Episcopal Organization or the Anglican Organization of Canada, depending on where you live.

Is Power suggesting that the Roman Catholic Church needs to emulate western Anglicanism, a pseudo-Christian sect that has been dying for the last 30 years?  If he is, that’s fine.  There’s just one problem.

Exactly the same crime against the young has taken place in Episcopal and Canadian Anglican churches.

Australian ones too, for that matter.

Yeah, well, the Anglicans have handled it better!!  Probably.  But if you listen to the liberal utopians, the problem wouldn’t happen at all if everybody would only emulate the Episcopalians.  So does Pat Power honestly care about this problem?  Or is he simply using it to advance his own agenda?

34 Comments to IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING

Scott W.
April 28, 2010

So does Pat Power honestly care about this problem? Or is he simply using it to advance his own agenda?

The latter. It’s the Christian version of Shock Doctrine.

Truth Unites... and Divides
April 28, 2010

“this wound was entirely self-inflicted. From what I understand, the Catholic Church in Ireland has done to itself what generations of English Protestants never could.”

I think, by and large, most traditional Catholics would agree with you, CJ. I think what’s particularly irksome for the faithful is the media pile-on by the New York Times (eg. Maureen Dowd) and others who are on an Inquisition for the Pope. They’re relentlessly agitating to take him down, and knowing that they won’t be able to, they know that their smear campaign will at least marginalize and discredit him and the Catholic Church.

And the LibCats will fully use this scandal to further their “Reform” efforts and to strengthen their political position within the Vatican.

And the little that I know… the liberal nuns are being cracked down upon in America… and it’s making them into sympathetic “martyrs” by LibCats and the secular media which then makes Rome look like the Big Bad Heavy. Either way, LibCat nuns win. “Persecute me: You look bad. Leave me alone: I continue to sow seeds of Liberalism (contraception, abortion, WO), contra Church teaching.”

Fuinseoig
April 28, 2010

The scandal in Ireland is complicated in that it’s not merely or simply a sexual abuse scandal; it’s tied in with (practically since the foundation of the State and certainly as far back as the 30s) accusations of physical and emotional neglect and abuse in the orphanages and industrial schools.

So not everyone who has come forward with a complaint is alleging sexual abuse, but that’s the kind of fine detail that’s getting lost in the media deluge.

Yes, though: shooting ourselves in the foot.

[...] IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING | Midwest Conservative Journal themcj.com/?p=11210 – view page – cached I think you can make a solid case that the Roman Catholic Church’s sex scandals are the greatest tragedy ever to afflict that church. But Chris! What about that Reformation thing that was in all the pamphlets back in the Tweets about this link Topsy.Data.Twitter.User['editor_mcj'] = {“location”:”Webster Groves, Missouri”,”photo”:”http://a3.twimg.com/profile_images/809617305/john-calvin_normal.jpg”,”name”:”Chris Johnson”,”url”:”http://twitter.com/editor_mcj”,”nick”:”editor_mcj”,”description”:”…logical unit of some kind”,”influence”:”"}; editor_mcj: “A Catholic Church solution: become Episcopalian. Except… http://themcj.com/?p=11210 ” 31 minutes ago view tweet retweet Filter tweets [...]

Fuinseoig
April 28, 2010

The only reasoning behind the “dump compulsory celibacy and ease up on the sexual inhibition” mantra that I can make out is that the argument is that these men were so screwed up by Catholic Guilt and repression about sexuality being evil and dirty and sinful that their natural human sexuality was warped and they indulged what they felt were filthy desires by having sex with minors.

Which is a load of codswallop. You want to have sex but you’re vowed to celibacy and you’ve lost your struggles against temptation? Then you have an affair with your ‘housekeeper’ (and we’ve had clerical sex scandals about priests and even one bishop having secret mistresses and fathering children by them). This argument is about as convincing as the excuse put forward by the one of the sodomites in Dante’s “Inferno” that because his wife was frigid, he was driven to sleep with other men.

Paedophilia or ephebeophilia is a sexual orientation that does not depend on whether or not the person is gay, straight or married, lay or cleric. Make the priesthood less attractive to predators by doing away with celibacy and (presumably) making it so that an unmarried man looking for ordination is viewed with suspicion? Then they’ll just have to go into teaching, or athletics/swimming/gymnastics coaching, or scouting, or any of the other professions that have had similar scandals.

Smurf Breath
April 28, 2010

The secular ones don’t interest me. The world hates the Christian church, whatever its manifestations, and always will. The religious suggestions do, particularly those coming from liberal Catholics.

Sheesh, what’s the difference?

An indifferently permissive sexual ethic is not conducive to communicating that some sex acts not only should not be engaged in, they should not even be considered.

Maybe the plan is this: if people are conditioned in a permissive ethic long enough, then events like this will no longer be scandalous. That’s another way to eliminate scandal.

Floridian
April 28, 2010

“Paedophilia or ephebeophilia is a sexual orientation…”

Whoops, not. It a sickness, compulsion, disorder, disorientation, one that is nigh impossible to cure. They had some success treating these disorders with aversion therapy using electric shocks, but that is out of fashion or frowned upon.
However, most persons with these disorders feel entitled to their gratification, do not feel remorse and are not repentant so they do not seek help or treatment anyway.

As we speak/type pedophiles and ephebophiliacs, their supporters and agents are lobbying the APA groups to recognize children’s ‘sexual rights’ and lobbying legislators to lower the age of consent…all that effort is a ploy to get at your children.

Sasha
April 28, 2010

That Mr. Pat Power ought to be promptly laicised and excommunicated: he’s obviously unfit to be in any position of responsibility in the Romanist Church, let alone a “bishop”!!!

Yes, I know that the Catholic branch would shrink considerably if the people I believe should be deposed, excommunicated and anathematised had as much happen to them. [Benedict XVI is a bit subtler than I would have liked; however, given that his Church (contrary to what people all too often believe or think!) is NOT an absolute-monarchy or dictatorship, he obviously has to be, alas...] However, it’s better for it to be a bit purer and more openly devoted to the God in Whom real Catholics – like the rest of the genuine Christians – believe and serve, given how the Episcopalian/Anglican alternative is now so openly available.

Just let the heretics and apostatic parasites (for that’s who they really are!) honestly accept that they’re not true Romanists and swim the Thames and/or Potomac/Hudson/Golden-Bay (whichever people want to use for US Episcopalianism – take your pick!). There they’d be more than welcome, and they at least would be honest with not only themselves but everybody else!

Sasha
April 28, 2010

Also in the EOUSA/O of E/O of Canada/etc., the sodomites not only can enjoy their sinning without reproach from within the denomination, they can openly go for the ephæbophilia (for more pædophilia happens with boys than with girls – with the latter, one has a heterosexual disorder, whereas the former is definitely homosexual!) they believe in (at least in secret!!) and want!

That way, they will have their “inclusive church” nonsense and mark themselves as the reprobates they truly are! [And of course those Orthodox and Protestants who feel the same way can also join them in the same evil movement...]

Floridian
April 28, 2010

Among Anglicans in Australia were “191 alleged cases of child sexual abuse, reported from 17 dioceses throughout Australia between 1990 and 2008.”

That’s a whopping number…and considering that most abuse is not reported for decades (average delay is 23 years). It takes a long time to come out of denial and for the effects to accrue and create enough pain to face the truth, so there may be more, many more. 27 people accounted for 43% of the abuse.

Sasha
April 28, 2010

Postscript: I remember reading that John XXIII was extremely upset when he saw what Vatican II was becoming!! Even on his deathbed, he wanted to stop that council!!!!

st. anonymous
April 28, 2010

In fact, the Pope IS doing something about the situation: he’s getting tough on homosexual ordination, which according to the latest data takes care of 65% of the problem.

Mark Windsor
April 28, 2010

You’re right. It’s like a dagger to the heart.

LaVallette
April 28, 2010

Bishop Pat Power is one of the leaders in Australia of those so called catholic Progressives who high-jacked Vatican II and sought to mould the Church according to the Hippies agenda of “flowers, sweetness and lurve”. If anything in Catholic teaching, liturgy and practice is/was hard, the solution is to get rid of it and substitute some banal,hackneyed, “society approved” alternative. They still won’t accept any responsibility for the wreckage round them.

AS to your point about “From what I understand, the Catholic Church in Ireland has done to itself what generations of English Protestants never could.” A little bit of context:

“Brendan O’Neill, editor of the Spiked-Online website and no particular friend of the Church, points out that the Irish government’s official commission spent 10 years, from 1999 to 2009, intensively inviting, from Irish-born people around the world, reports of abuse at Irish religious institutions. Out of the hundreds of thousands of students who passed through Catholic schools in the 85 years from 1914 to 1999, the commission managed to gather 381 claims—with 35 percent of those charges made against lay staff and fellow pupils rather than priests.” (“Anti-Catholicism Again”, Joseph Bottum, Week;y Standard, 5 May 2010)

I am not trying to justify even one single case of these numbers, however the damage in Ireland did not ensue from the “size” of the problem but by the slow dribbling by the media in the most sensational terms of details of these incidents over the period of ten years of the Commission.

FW Ken
April 28, 2010

Libcat commentary on the crisis doesn’t really interest me, to tell the truth. As Christopher points out, it’s just mainline protestantism waving rosaries around to show their Catholic de fides. I prefer to look to the real Catholics, like Joseph Bottum, for commentary:

http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/anti-catholicism-again

He focuses on the anti-catholicism driving a lot of the press coverage, but includes useful analysis of some of the real issues as well.

Personally, I have to say this I don’t think this is the biggest crisis the Catholic Church has faced, nor was the Reformation. In my view, the latter is merely a part of a larger crisis that lasted hundreds of years as Europe transformed from tribal to national structures. But if you insist on a really nasty crisis, the corruption of the papacy in the 10th and early 11th century might qualify, or, perhaps, the tranfer of the papacy to Avignon.

To some degree (noted above), the current “scandal” is a media event being used by all sorts of people to advance all sorts of agendas. Several of the stories have been shown to be lies, and some dramatically missed the real story. I think particularly of the Oakland, Calif. case, in which the media obsessed on the pope’s alledgedly resisting laicizing the priest the while gliding over the fact that the diocese removed the guy from ministry but he ended up as youth coordinator in a parish. That’s HUGE!

All of that said, I have my own agenda, of course, which isn’t to trash the media. God has spoken through an ass before and He is now. Of course, the ass is still an ass and we don’t sit him at the table with us, but we do well to listen.

Us Catholics really have been clericalist too often, abdicating to the ordained the work of “ministry”. This is the opposite of the true respect we ought to give our spiritual fathers. Instead of entering into ministry under their leadership, we sat like baby birds demanding our dinner.

We have been a Church far too wealthy. I’ve said it before, but having $3 billion lost in lawsuits is a tremendous blessing.

We have been too concerned with fitting into American culture. Too often this has meant accepting homosexualist ideology, not in principle, of course, but we have tolerated parishes, priests, practicing gays, and even some gay pride bishops; we have altered our understanding of marriage so much that annulments are, practically speaking, Catholic divorces. We have failed to enact discipline on public dissidents such as pro-choice politicians parading about as Catholics. Our schools concern themselves more with “academic freedom” and social standing (think: Notre Dame inviting the most pro-abortion president ever) than with forming young people to live whole lives in Christ.

So, let the libcats push their agendas. They are a dying breed, like the libprot ecclesial organizations they seek to emulate.

Duane
April 28, 2010

This Catholic has been outraged by the behavior of some of the bishops. I remember watching the Dallas meeting where they addressed sexual abuse, and one of the bishops was refusing to report predatory priests, saying “I can’t rat out my brother priests” as if he was a two bit hood in the Mob and not a successor to the Apostles. Many of the problems with the leadership could be fixed, if the bishops would remember their Apostolic Succession. They are the successors to the Apostles and need to act accordingly. What would Peter do? What would Luke do?

Fuinseoig
April 28, 2010

Floridian, thanks for the clarification of my point, which was that – contrary to the abysmal psychiatric treatment model adopted back in the 70s of paedophilia as a perversion that could be steered back to ‘normal’ with a dose of therapy – it is instead a deep-rooted and definite inclination that has to be controlled and treated as such and is not amenable to ‘just get married and that’ll straighten you out’ recommendations of dropping celibacy, etc.

FW Ken
April 28, 2010

the Roman Catholic Church’s sex scandals are the greatest tragedy

I just noticed that the word was “tragedy”, not crisis. My apologies. I’m still fairly sure I would not go with the current situation, although put into the context of western materialism, it is certainly part of a very great tragedy.

Tim Ferguson
April 28, 2010

Not to diminish at all the depth of the crisis – which is indeed huge, and it calls for a serious honest look, rooted in faith, at the structures and processes that permitted the wound to occur and fester through malfeseance, neglect and misguided fraternalism, BUT, I often recall a statement I first heard from Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, then Master of the Dominican Order: The greatest crisis the Church ever faced happened right after the institution of the Eucharist, when Christ himself was arrested and hauled off and executed the next day. Any crisis we face today or in the future pales in comparison to that. And seeing how God managed to transform that initial and greatest crisis, should give us some confidence in His ability to transform each and every crisis we face now.

Don Janousek
April 28, 2010

Typical liberal. Thinks that doing more of the modernist agenda, which caused most of the problems in the Roman Church as well as others, e.g. Episcopos, will be a sane solution to the problems. And in almost every case, it isn’t just a matter of child molestation, it is a matter of a homosexual predator molesting a boy or young man. But can’t say that. Not PC, doncha know. “Homosex good,” says Igor.

PNP, OP
April 29, 2010

Another tiresome ecclesial dinosaur flailing about in the tar pit he helped to create.

Where’s an asteroid when you need one?

Truth Unites... and Divides
April 29, 2010

“Is Power suggesting that the Roman Catholic Church needs to emulate western Anglicanism, a pseudo-Christian sect that has been dying for the last 30 years?”

Sure seems like it. Man, oh man, if the LibCats ever got political, institutional control over at the Vatican…..

It. Will. Be. Ugly.

Christopher Hathaway
April 29, 2010

KW Ken, I would add to the Avignon Papacy the divide Papacy that followed it and the collapse of the Conciliar movement with the result that there were at one time three competing popes. At least now there is unity at the top with some trust in the Pope among the broad laity.

Yes, this is a self-inflicted wound, but one that may also provide the cure. My sense is this: Toleration of such abusive clergy comes from the church being comfortable in its power and position, being part of the cultural establishment. The shock of this crisis is like the sudden realization of the depth of one’s own sinfulness. Many of us go through life never dealing in serious terms with our sin, thinking we have it at bay and under control. Once it breaks out of our control we are confronted with a crisis that will either break us completely or force us to a greater moral and spiritual seriousness.

Plus, if the world sees this crisis as an opportunity to take control of the church than an additional layer will be added to the crisis, one of active state persecution of the church. It is unimaginable that any western state will even approach the level of persecution of the Roman Empire, let alone the Muslim states, so such persecution would only help to purify the church and strengthen its witness to thos who actually are thirsty for the Truth.

It is an ill wind that blows no good, and God commands the winds.

Sinner
April 29, 2010

Anyone who thinks that this secular persecution will be limited to the Roman Catholic Church is fooling themselves. These gay pedophiles will be taken
as examples of all Christian ministers, from Southern Baptists
to MCC, by the secular press and atheist campaigners.

And the Anglican Communion is in now way immune: look at both
Canada and Australia, where Anglicans ran children’s homes, with
an even higher rate of abuse than the Catholic homes in Ireland.

As for the US – Pope Benedict is working tirelessly to remove all these
gay priests from the Catholic Church and prevent their training in seminaries,
while TEC now wishes to ordain only gay priests and their supporters.
We can be sure TEC”s rate gay child abuse will exceed anything measured
anywhere else over the next ten years or so.

Sparky
April 29, 2010

My wife and I worshipped last Sunday at an oratory where the Latin Mass was prayed. Many young people, including both young adults and youngsters were present–many more than the last time I visited this church about two years ago. Between Benediction and the Eucharist, the priest acknowledged the sexual abuse problem, suggested that the seminaries essentially be “cleaned out” and asked for prayers for the church and for holy priests.

“Liberalizing” the Roman Catholic church does not seem to be any way to address the abuse problem.

FW Ken
April 29, 2010

Christopher Hathaway, one of my fears is that the situation of the Catholic Church in the U.S. remains precisely what you describe:

Many of us go through life never dealing in serious terms with our sin, thinking we have it at bay and under control.

Does the Dallas Charter deal in serious terms with our sins(enculturation and materialism) or simply provide procedural gimmicks to keep the insurance companies and the New York Times at bay?

It’s true that another type of bishop is coming on line now. Consider the replacement of Card. Mahoney with Abp. Gomez in LA. My own diocese has undergone a sea change in the 5 years since our Bishop Vann came here. The diocesan staff has turned over through retirements and it’s fair to say they are of a different breed (that’s a massive understatement, but only locals would get the humor). We have a friary of the Fr. Groeschel’s Franciscans working among the homeless and I believe Fr. Groeschel spoke at our priest’s meeting a couple of years ago. But to what have the laity been called besides 3 hour sessions on “Keeping Children Safe”? We recently saw one of the Kentucky bishops deal appropriately with an abusive priest, but there was always more of that than you’d think from reading the papers. This bishop just did it on TV.

Procedural gimmicks are fine as far as they go, but I for one would be more confident that the bishops were serious about this problem if I saw them making serious efforts to address the other problems (pro-abort politicians, annulments out of control, and so on).

NOTE: For what it’s worth, the French revolution tried to destroy the Church in France, and Napoleon tried to take it over. That’s happened repeatedly throughout history. Didn’t Henry II of England fight with the pope over appointing bishops? It’s an ongoing struggle.

phil swain
April 29, 2010

Read the news article that Chris cites about Ralph Elwood Johnson. There’s no mention in the article that Johnson was an Episcopal priest. The article even refers to the Arch diocese(sic). I assume that most readers of the article would assume that Johnson had been a Catholic priest.

The Australian-Anglican report only goes back to 1990. From the Jay Report in the US we know that most of the abuse occurred in the 70′s. So, the Australian-Anglican report from the 1990 forward probably doesn’t paint a realistic picture of the extent of abuse.

Finally has TEC done a report similar to the Australian report and is it accessible on the internet?

Whitestone
April 29, 2010

Ha – today’s Front Page article exposes the double standard (double-mindedness) and double-bind of both the PC pansexualists and the Mohammedans in regard to morality. – Here

(hat tip, Anglican Mainstream)

Smurf Breath
April 29, 2010

We can be sure TEC”s rate gay child abuse will exceed anything measured
anywhere else over the next ten years or so.

Sinner, are you really that naive? How many young families do you suppose are left in TEC? And of those that are, do you really think they are ignorant of their leadership’s stand on issues like this?

And I don’t understand why you would want to promote such things in the first place. Don’t you think this is wrong? Do you have any notion of appropriate boundaries left?

Minuteman
April 29, 2010

“So does Pat Power honestly care about this problem? Or is he simply using it to advance his own agenda?” I’m going “all in” on “advance his own agenda?”… Thanks to all for some good and helpful comments, especially Fuinseoig, LaVallette, FW Ken, and Tim Ferguson.

Sinner
April 29, 2010


Sinner, are you really that naive? How many young families do you suppose are left in TEC? And of those that are, do you really think they are ignorant of their leadership’s stand on issues like this?

As TEC gets smaller, its per capita rate will go up
And for Liberal families, going to a church with an out gay rector is a point of pride.

And I don’t understand why you would want to promote such things in the first place. Don’t you think this is wrong? Do you have any notion of appropriate boundaries left?

Not a promotion – merely a prediction.

Paolo
April 29, 2010

Bishop(!?) Power’s message is very clear: bend to the spirit of this age and you won’t be indicted any more, whatever you do.

The fact that most of the abuses happened during post-VII wild experimentation time doesn’t suggest anything to him: QED.

Christian
April 29, 2010

Each year our Catholic parish brings between 30 and 40 adults into the Church on Easter Vigil. They know about The Scandal. It doesn’t stop them.

Patrick
April 30, 2010

Some related (and, I hope, entertaining) commentary on misguided ways to “fix the church” can be found here:

http://catholicexchange.com/2010/04/30/129833/

Support The MCJ

Search

Links

Meta