Religion & Public Life With Mark Silk

Religion & Public Life With Mark Silk

The abuse crisis continues

“Will it never end?” Michael Sean Winters asked
last week in contemplating the indictment handed up by a Philadelphia
grand jury for sexual abuse against three priests, a lay teacher,
and–most importantly–the high archdiocesan official who managed the
cover-up. The answer I’d give is no, not as long as the Catholic church
in America is what it is.

You can say that Philly was one of the toughest nuts for critics to crack. You can hope, for his sake, that Tim Dolan of New York didn’t squirrel away
tens of millions of dollars to avoid settling abuse suits when he ran
the show in Milwaukee. You can enjoy the irony of outgoing Roger Mahony
of L.A., he of many sins, summarily dismissing his Vicar for Clergy for assigning a parish to a priest who had abused a teenage girl in the 1960s.


Then consider the latest news from Ireland:

The Pope will be officially told the Irish Catholic Church is “on the
edge” of national collapse and has only five to 10 years to make a
radical recovery by giving laymen and women a greater say in

That’s according to Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, who’s got the job
of reporting to the Vatican on the state of the Irish church. But if
O’Malley tried to deliver the same message regarding the American
church, his fellow bishops would laugh him out of town. In Ireland, they
understand that clericalism is the problem. Here, they think it’s the

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posted February 14, 2011 at 11:48 am

They won’t fix things in Ireland and they won’t fix them here because they believe with all their heart that the Church exists to preserve and protect their power at any cost. They have decided their best strategy is to pare down the Church to hardcore traditionalists and Third World members who they assume won’t ever ask troublesome questions about money or buggery. The situation here may not be as acute as in Ireland, but the damage is done at other levels. As an organization, the Church’s moral voice in the public square on virtually any matter has the same standing as Scientology. At best.

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posted February 14, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Another interesting quote in the linked article about Ireland ‘the Irish church had a decade, at most, to avoid falling over the edge and “becoming like other European countries” where religion is marginal to society.’
Except for notable outliers like the United States, western nations become less religious as they become more wealthy. Since Ireland is a European nation, wouldn’t you expect it to culturally evolve along similar lines of other European nations?
I’d be curious what they plan to do.

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