Rod Dreher

Rod Dreher


Cardinal: John Paul approved of cover-up

posted by Rod Dreher

The plot thickens:

ROME (AP) — Spanish media are quoting a retired Vatican cardinal as saying the late Pope John Paul II backed his letter congratulating a French bishop for risking jail for shielding a priest convicted of raping minors.Web sites of La Verdad and other Spanish newspapers reported Saturday that Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, 80, told an audience at a Catholic university in Murcia, Spain, on Friday that he consulted with John Paul and showed him the letter. He claimed the pontiff authorized him to send the letter to bishops worldwide.La Verdad said the audience at Universidad Catolica de Murcia applauded the cardinal’s remarks.

If Castrillon Hoyos is telling the truth, then John Paul personally approved sending this letter in direct violation of the instruction Card. Ratzinger’s CDF had sent down months earlier, urging bishops in countries where the law obliges them to report knowledge of sexual crimes against children to civil authorities, to follow the law. If Castrillon Hoyos is being truthful, it would suggest that, as far as the pontiff was concerned, the Ratzinger directive was window dressing.By the way, one should not over-interpret that 2001 CDF instruction. As Msgr. Charles Scicluna of the CDF characterizes it today:

Msgr. Scicluna also emphasized that the Vatican’s insistence on secrecy in the investigation of these cases by church authorities does not mean bishops or others are exempt from reporting these crimes to civil authorities.”In some English-speaking countries, but also in France, if bishops become aware of crimes committed by their priests outside the sacramental seal of confession, they are obliged to report them to the judicial authorities. This is an onerous duty because the bishops are forced to make a gesture comparable to that of a father denouncing his own son. Nonetheless, our guidance in these cases is to respect the law,” he said.In countries where there is no legal obligation to report sex abuse accusations, Msgr. Scicluna said, “we do not force bishops to denounce their own priests, but encourage them to contact the victims and invite them to denounce the priests by whom they have been abused.”

Anyway, what Card. Castrillon Hoyos said in Spain is very big news. It’s the first time to my knowledge that someone who was in the curial inner circle under John Paul II has publicly said that the late pontiff encouraged a policy of covering up for clerical sex abuse. That’s a bombshell.By the way, do note how the laity who heard Castrillon Hoyos reacted to his admission: they applauded. People who believe the Church scandal is simply a matter of an out-of-touch clerical leadership squared off against a laity that wants to know the truth, and wants true reform, should consider this. It’s not that simple, at all. If you wonder why some victims of abuse waited years to come out about what was done to them, you have part of your answer right there. Many laymen were quite willing to collaborate with evil to keep a truth they found intolerable to contemplate buried. Some still are. It’s human nature. You can see it every day, if you look. UPDATE: John Allen of NCR adds some context:

That congregation was led by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the man who is now the pope, and who is credited with taking a more aggressive approach to sex abuse cases. In effect, the thrust of the Vatican statement was to suggest that Castrillón’s letter illustrated the problems that Ratzinger faced in kick-starting the Vatican into action.On Friday, however, during at a conference at a Catholic university in Murcia, Spain, the 81-year-old Castrillón insisted that he had shown the letter in advance to John Paul II, and that the late pope had authorized him not only to send it but to eventually post it on the internet.Castrillón said that the issue at stake in his letter was protection of the seal of the confessional. The cardinal said he was applauding Pican for maintaining the sanctity of the sacrament, and cited canon 983 of the Code of Canon Law, concerning the confessional. Some analysts have questioned whether the sanctity of the confessional directly applies in this case, since Pican said in 2001 that he had discussed the case with the victims and with another priest. French law recognizes the seal of the confessional as part of a protected category of “professional secrets,” but makes an exception for crimes committed against minors. According to reports in the Spanish media, senior church officials at the conference, including two Vatican cardinals, applauded when Castrillón issued his defense.Beyond the specific question of the confessional, Castrillón has long been among those church leaders who argue that bishops should not be put in the position of reporting their priests to the police or other authorities, on the grounds that it disrupts a father/son relationship with his clergy. Instead, such leaders suggest, bishops should encourage the victims themselves to make a report.

Here is a translation of Castrillon Hoyos’s letter to the French bishop. Assuming this translation is correct, I don’t see where this has anything to do with the seal of the confessional. The cardinal is not relying on the seal to make his argument here:

September 8, 2001Most Reverend Excellency:I am writing to you as Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, charged with collaborating in the responsibility of the common Father over all the priests of the world.I congratulate you for not having denounced a priest to the civil administration. You have acted well, and I rejoice to have a brother in the episcopate who, in the eyes of history and of all the other bishops of the world, has preferred prison rather than denouncing his priest-son.In reality, the relationship between priests and their bishop is not professional; it is a sacramental relationship, which creates very special bonds of spiritual paternity. This theme has been amply taken up again by the last Council, by the 1971 Synod of Bishops and the one in 1991. The bishop has other means of acting, as the Episcopal Conference of France has recently recalled; but a bishop cannot be required to denounce [him] himself. In all civilized legal systems it is recognized that close relatives have the opportunity not to testify against a direct relative.We recall to you in your regard the words of St. Paul: “My imprisonment has become well known in Christ throughout the whole Praetorium and to all the rest, and the majority of the brothers, having taken encouragement in the Lord from my imprisonment, dare more than ever to proclaim the word fearlessly” (Phil. 1:13-14).This Congregation, in order to encourage brothers in the episcopate in this very sensitive area, will send copies of this letter to all the conferences of bishops.Assuring you of my fraternal closeness in the Lord, I greet you with your auxiliary and the whole of your diocese.Dario Castrillon H

David Gibson adds more context — and creates more confusion:

Whether Ratzinger himself was on board with mandatory reporting to authorities is also unclear. In February 2002, Ratzinger’s top lieutenant at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, said new internal church norms he and Ratzinger just completed to help bishops deal with abusers would not compel them to hand over molesters.”It seems to me that there is no basis for demanding that a bishop, for example, be obliged to turn to civil magistrates and denounce a priest that has confided in him to have committed the crime of pedophilia,” Bertone told the Italian Catholic monthly, 30 Giorni.After Ratzinger was elected pope, he made Bertone a cardinal and named him his secretary of state, basically the second-in-command at the Vatican.

UPDATE.2: Wow, that Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos is a world-class knothead. Check out this amazing interview translated by Austen Ivereigh at the (Jesuit) America magazine blog. Excerpt below the jump:

A glimpse of that attitude was on vivid display in an April 11 interview that Cardinal Castrillón-Hoyos — who along with Cardinal Law (formerly of Boston) is one of the leaders of the movement behind the restoration of traditionalist liturgy — gave to the Spanish-language CNN. My translation:”As prefect of the Congregation for Clergy I had meetings with scientists. And there was one group of scientists who said that the paedophile doesn’t exist; there exist persons who commit acts of paedophilia, but the illness of paedophilia doesn’t exist. So, when one person makes a mistake, which is often a minimal error, that person is accused – that person confesses his crime, or is shown his crime — the bishop punishes him according to what [canon] law allows: he suspends him, takes him out of a parish for a time, then sends him to another parish. He is correcting him. This is not a crime, this is not a cover-up, this is following the law just as civil society does in the case of doctors and lawyers – in other words, it’s not about taking away the chance of them exercising their profession for ever.”So you mean, asks Patricia Janiot, that for the Church sex abuse of minors is not a crime? Castrillón-Hoyos loses his rag in a flash of arrogance.”Patricia, for the love of God, don’t you understand what I’m saying? Am I speaking a foreign language? I’m talking in Castilian. The Church punishes paedophilia as a very serious crime – do I have to repeat this a thousand times? — but punishes it according to the law. The fact that it is a serious crime does not authorise a bishop to punish without following the processes to which the accused has a right.”When Janiot asks him about those processes, the cardinal talks about the need for corrobative evidence and witnesses but quickly adds that even when these exist, “when you factor in the enormous sums of money which are benefitting large numbers of people in relation to these crimes, we all have the right to question the honesty of those cases.”Janiot then asks him whether, if Pope John Paul II had acted more decisively to clear up the mishandling of abuse cases, Pope Benedict would not have inherited such a large problem. Castrillón-Hoyos is having none of it.”Pope John Paul did everything he should have done, and did so within the clearest norms of justice, charity, and of equity, – he did exactly what he should have done to maintain the purity of the Church. He did exactly what he should have done. I am witness to his worries and his pains. It is very easy to have news stories about cases which have not proved in which the image of the clergy is far from reality – this does not mean that there have not been painful cases in the Church; he knew of them, and he punished them. Show me one single case – I challenge people – one known case anywhere in the world where a case has been proved where the delinquent has not been punished.””What about the case of Fr Maciel?” Janiot answers. “This was never brought to justice. He died, never having been tried.”Cardinal Castrillon’s eyes look sharply to the left, to where an advisor or lawyer is obviously sitting. He then turns back to the camera. “Non ti rispondo”, he answers (in Italian, oddly). The interview is over.

If you understand Spanish, you can watch the entire eight-minute interview here. The cardinal’s face is often angry throughout; I don’t understand the language, but he comes across as someone who feels he is having to sit through an interrogation he finds insulting:UPDATE.3: Pope Benedict met with clerical abuse victims in Malta today.



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LutheranChik

posted April 18, 2010 at 8:19 am


Why does this all sound like [cue the sonorous violin music], “Whatever you do, you don’ go against The Family”?



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Joel

posted April 18, 2010 at 9:14 am


Maybe … it’s time to slow down the canonization freight train for JP?



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APL

posted April 18, 2010 at 9:39 am


Rod, given that you blog about this story in vigorous terms when new developments emerge, I have an inquiry that is in no way meant to be rhetorical. You’ve written eloquently about wanting accountability– but this is a term with strikingly diverse meanings and possibilities, more or a gesture or a hard-to-disagree-with attitude toward justice rather than a proposal to achieve it. But what specifically does accountability mean here? Is it a matter of the Vatican mandating a global zero-tolerance policy in the manner of the UK’s and USA’s current policy? A penitential Mass (or Masses) to be held in each diocese where credible accusations have been made? Would you also support Pope Benedict’s resignation? The suspension or closing of the process for Pope John Paul’s canonization? I fully understand that this would be a general estimate, but based on your own investigative journalism, roughly how many American bishops do you think should resign? What sort of financial or legal penalties should be considered in the months and years to come? It would be useful to your readers, I think, to understand– if in understandably provisional terms– what the Catholic Church’s accountability means to you as you continue to comment upon this issue.



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Reaganite in NYC

posted April 18, 2010 at 9:40 am


Over at another beliefnet blog this morning (“Deacon’s Bench”), Deacon Greg Kandra leads with this story:
“BREAKING: Pope meets abuse victims in Malta”
Guess everyone has their priorities this Sunday morning. It looks like Captain Rod Ahab is still chasing after his Moby Dick.
Cardinal Dario C-H supposedly makes a claim that JPII gave him encouragement to send his 2001 letter (to the French bishop) around to the other bishops’ conferences. We don’t know if this encouragement was in writing, or if it was verbal. We don’t know if anyone else was there when the claimed encouragement from JPII was presumably solicited by Cardinal C-H.
We have a dead Pope unable to speak for himself. We’re not even sure what the retired Cardinal, who is alive, actually said on Friday. None of us have seen the full text of the Cardinal’s remarks nor the context of this particularly supposed admission. But none of that stops Rod from calling this a bombshell.
“La Verdad said the audience at Universidad Catolica de Murcia applauded the cardinal’s remarks.”
What does that mean? Did the audience applaud the Cardinal at the end of his presumably lengthy remarks (a reasonably polite thing one would expect from any audience)? Or was the applause specifically in response to the claimed admission by Cardinal Dario C-H?
None of this is clear. Then, again, who cares about journalistic caution when you’re chasing after Moby Dick?



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Rick

posted April 18, 2010 at 9:42 am


Why is this a surprise though?
The immunity of clergy from secular jurisdiction is a very ancient teaching and rule of the Church. I’ve quoted this passage from the old Catholic Encyclopedia before:
Likewise, not all persons are to be judged by secular courts. The Church could not permit her clergy to be judged by laymen; it would be utterly unbecoming for persons of superior dignity to submit themselves to their inferiors for judgment. The clergy, therefore, were exempt from civil jurisdiction, and this ancient rule was sanctioned by custom and confirmed by written laws. On this point the Church has always taken a firm stand; concessions have been wrung from her only where greater evils were to be avoided.
John Paul II and all the bishops who refused to turn over offending clergy to secular authorities were merely acting according to this open, established tradition.
And you know what? I don’t believe this is so shocking. I don’t believe the tradition is inherently scandalous or evil.
I can imagine many countries and cultures where forcing bishops to denounce their priests (or parents their children…or wives their husbands) would be a very effective tool for weakening churches and families and strengthening tyrants. That’s why there are all sorts of protections, in different jurisdictions, from being required to incriminate spouses and even close family members.
Here is the real scandal: That the Church, having negotiated a kind of de facto immunity, often DID NOT ACT effectively to keep a minority of offending priests from reoffending.



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Your Name

posted April 18, 2010 at 9:43 am


I take Card. Castrillon Hoyos’s comments with a grain of salt. Pope John Paul II is not here to defend himself.
It’s sad to say, but it looks like Catholics will just have to wait for our illustrious Vatican prelates to stop their childish whinning, finger-pointing, and media-blaming games. Maybe, then, we can all assemble together as a Church (Pope, Cardinals, Bishops, Clergy, Religious and Laity) in order to bring a final solution to this self-inflicted nightmare.
In the meantime, I will continue to offer up my rosaries for peace in the Church.



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Orthodox Agrarian

posted April 18, 2010 at 10:00 am


I’m afraid I have had enough of this, and will not be returning to this blog for the foreseeable future. There’s been a dearth of critical, searching, attention to the articles circulating about this issue. It’s bad editorializing, and even if I don’t come here to read editorials, I am weary of it. I advise Mr. Dreher to give this up; it’s obvious this unsettles his own peace of mind and as far as I can tell only aggravates the memories of the blood left on the floor 6-8 years ago.



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jaybird

posted April 18, 2010 at 10:53 am


it would be utterly unbecoming for persons of superior dignity to submit themselves to their inferiors for judgment.
In a nutshell, there is the mindset of the Catholic hierarchy. “Superior dignity” indeed. Where’s the barf-bag?



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CatherineNY

posted April 18, 2010 at 11:08 am


This is the first time you sound like you’re channeling Andrew Sullivan on this topic. This in particular is terribly unfair: “Many laymen were quite willing to collaborate with evil to keep a truth they found intolerable to contemplate buried. Some still are. It’s human nature. You can see it every day, if you look.” I know a lot of people (I am one) who found the early stories about the abuse scandal difficult, if not impossible, to believe. There was good reason to be skeptical — fear that trial lawyers were targeting the Church because that’s where the money was, suspicion that some of the victims were disturbed people who were being encouraged to “remember” things that never happened by unscrupulous therapists in the pay of aforementioned trial lawyers. To pick a specific example, when the first stories broke about the late Father Bruce Ritter, a priest I respect (now retired) told me that he suspected that the stories had been ginned up by organized crime figures who were angry that Ritter was taking child prostitutes off the streets. Alas, the Franciscan Order seems to have decided that this was not the case. I don’t think devout Catholics who insisted on reliable evidence were “collaborating wtih evil” because they were reluctant to believe that child abuse had occurred and was covered up, especially given the fact that so many of the episodes dated from decades before. And I especially do not think that those of us who are not willing to belive every NY Times or AP story that alleges that the last two Popes were complicit in the coverrup are “collaborating with evil.” That is just offensive! With respect to this story, first of all, the Cardinal may not be telling the truth. Secondly, how do you know what else he said in his talk, and which parts the audience applauded? Could they have just applauded politely at the end? Where is the full text of his talk? You are jumping to a whole lot of conclusions based on a very, very skimpy AP report of what another news organ reported in another language.



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Charles Cosimano

posted April 18, 2010 at 11:39 am


“Superior dignity?” A Catholic Cardinal–dignity? My day just started with a good laugh.



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alvarez

posted April 18, 2010 at 11:42 am


I almost never agree with Mr. Dreher, but that said, the commenters here baffle me. What would it take for you guys not to defend the Vatican? “Well, JP2 in here to defend himself; the AP and the New York Times, etc…” Perhaps it would be healthy to simply grapple with reality, as Rod as done.



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John Shuster

posted April 18, 2010 at 11:43 am


The Vatican has created a spiritual myth that it can no longer sustain. Many of the faithful are frantically drinking the cool aid in larger and greater quantities, but it is losing its potency and the myth continues to deteriorate. Sounds like an excellent opportunity to shift from cult of personality religion to a Roman Catholic faith that focuses on spirituality and each person’s spiritual journey.



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Reaganite in NYC

posted April 18, 2010 at 12:00 pm


alvarez: “Perhaps it would be healthy to simply grapple with reality, as Rod as done.”
Rod’s not grappling with reality. He’s grasping at straws.



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Rod Dreher

posted April 18, 2010 at 1:02 pm


Rod’s not grappling with reality. He’s grasping at straws.
You have a letter — the authenticity of which was verified by the Vatican spokesman — in which the cardinal in charge of the worldwide clergy wrote to a bishop who went to jail for hiding a pedophile priest from authorities, praising that bishop and saying that his example in this matter is one all bishops should emulate. It’s there in black and white. And now you have that same cardinal saying subsequently, and in public, that not only is it true, but John Paul II himself approved of the letter. And you still cannot accept that the pope — the last one, not the current one — has grave fault in this scandal.
But see, it’s Rod Dreher who is grasping at straws. White is black, up is down.



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Rod Dreher

posted April 18, 2010 at 1:08 pm


Incidentally, the Spanish audience to which Card. Castrillon Hoyos spoke was an international university conference dedicated to “John Paul the Great” (their words). See the conference website for more information. Here, from that website, is what the cardinal was scheduled to speak about:
12:15 h.
LECTURE
Title: “Eucharist and Priesthood in the Papacy of John Paul II”.
Speaker: H.E. Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, president Emeritus for the Congregation for the Clergy and President of the Pontifical Commission ‘Ecclesia Dei’.



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Rod Dreher

posted April 18, 2010 at 1:49 pm


In any case, it seems to me that after this, I would be well-advised to quit blogging about this ongoing crisis. There’s no point in it anymore. I do believe that the inability of the Roman church hierarchy to confront honestly and humbly the corruption that led to this abuse of children is a sign of its own decadence. I don’t think this is a particular Catholic fault. As I said to a Catholic writer I spoke with today — a conservative Catholic who, by the way, express disgust with the way John Paul II misgoverned the Church — the inability of the OCA Holy Synod to deal openly and decisively with the corruption at the top of the OCA, in the person of Metropolitan Herman, ultimately brought the Church to the brink of catastrophe, before the election of the truth-telling Metropolitan Jonah turned things around, and began to restore confidence in the Church. But I think that the agonies of the Roman Catholic Church will continue, because despite laudable moves like Pope Benedict’s meeting today with Maltese abuse victims, there is no real sign that the deeper, hierarchical habits of mind that led to this crisis are changing (as some have noted, Pope Ratzinger may be the only one in a senior position at the Vatican who has a clue in this regard).
If this were only happening to Catholics, it would be tragic. But in my view — and I could be wrong — the moral and civilizational health of the West in this post-Christian era depends heavily on the moral and spiritual health of the Roman Catholic Church. The old Protestant churches are dissolving into irrelevance. The new, vigorous Evangelical and Pentecostal churches are much stronger — even stronger in most ways than the Catholic Church — but I fear they do not have the philosophical foundation to withstand the corrosive effects of modernity. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think I’m wrong. Orthodoxy is so tiny in the West that it’s effect is negligible. Like it or not, all Christians and traditional-minded religious believers living in the West have our fates linked to the fate of the Roman church.
This is why it’s short-sighted to say, “Well, too bad for the Catholics, but that doesn’t effect me.” It does, or at least, it will. Today in our liturgy, our priest said that the day will come in this country, perhaps decades from now, when Christians will be persecuted for what we believe. I think that’s true — and I think that if that day is to be delayed, it depends on the Church being strong. And it depends on Rome, the mother church of all Western Christians, being strong, and being both a light and a bulwark against the new Dark Age coming upon us.
But it looks as if what we all desperately need to happen is not likely to happen. From a Christian point of view, this is a civilizational tragedy, and to my mind, far worse than the institutional corruption of our political and financial institutions. Yet here we are. And there’s really nothing more I can say about it, except that it depresses me deeply, because many of the things I care most about in the world, including the kind of life my (non-Catholic) children and grandchildren will have, are at risk here. I really believe that. But there’s nothing I can do about it, or say about it anymore.



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Reaganite in NYC

posted April 18, 2010 at 2:22 pm


Rod: “It depends on Rome, the mother church of all Western Christians, being strong, and being both a light and a bulwark against the new Dark Age coming upon us.”
I agree with you. And whatever rot and stench has existed — and still exists — in Holy Mother Church is a scandal plain and simple. It’s got to be rooted out.
The problem for a faithful Catholic like myself is distinguishing genuine evidence of such rot from the straws that our Church’s enemies willingly grasp at.
In my gut I trust you’re on to something. And though I’ve never met you, I trust the sincerity of people like you and Dr. Podles and other analysts who are going at this from an orthodox angle. We all appreciate your efforts many years ago to dig out this rot and I wouldn’t want to have had to trade places with you back then. The stench still clearly fills your nostrils after all these years … and I’m sorry for that.
However, all we have here is ONE letter. AND a news report — still unqualified — that the author of said letter claimed on Friday that a dead Pope endorsed it when he was alive nine years ago. We don’t know if the endorsement was in writing. If not, was it in the form of a whispered conversation and was anyone else in the room when it happened?
And the “other party” is not talking, of course, because the other party is dead. It doesn’t add up to much, Rod.
Everything I’ve read on this blog over the past three years tells me you’re not like other journalists. Not completely, at least.
Nevertheless, a lot of journalists on this current story are acting like Woodward-and-Bernstein wannabees. The breathless question seems to be: “What did the Pope know and when did he know it.” In their eagerness to scalp these Vatican honchos they’ve raised doubts about their own objectivity, soberness and professionalism as journalists.
Rod, I want to believe you’re not like these hacks at the New York Times. For a non-journalist like me it’s hard to know these days who to trust and what report to believe.



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Reaganite in NYC

posted April 18, 2010 at 2:43 pm


Rod: “Today in our liturgy, our priest said that the day will come in this country, perhaps decades from now, when Christians will be persecuted for what we believe.”
Sadly, your priest is on target I think. I would not be surprised if this occurs and I’ve already braced myself for the possibility of living long enough to face the prospect of jail or worse for my Catholicism.
Strongly urge the faithful to read up on their history of the 1789 calamity in France — its sources and consequences, including the bloody outcome for faithful Christian disciples. The Jacobin era was a model for Soviet Russia; Communist China/Vietnam/Cuba; anti-clericalist regimes in Mexico, Portugal and Spain; and what is beginning to emerge here in the Western democracies (Britain, Canada, US, NZ, etc.).



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kenneth

posted April 18, 2010 at 2:44 pm


I share Rod’s dismay about the chances for real reform. I too hope he’s wrong, simply for the sake of the victims present and future. If, however the church is not to reform itself, I don’t see the need to mourn its dim future. An institution which cannot confront even the lowest common denominator of evil is not in a position to be a “bulwark” against any dark age of any kind. Moreover, an institution which consciously and repeatedly persists in a pattern of collusion with evil is an evil institution. I see no philosophical or theological way around that fact. Such a group deserves to be persecuted. Christians should know that, and be in the front lines of the assault, not protecting the evil from attack simply because they happen not to like the motives of some of the attackers. This crisis has been good in one way: it has forced all parties to show their true colors and has been very revealing. As a side note, I’m interested to see another thread exploring Rod’s assertion that Christians are facing a pogrom of some sort. Are we talking about Bill Donohue’s notion of “persecution” anytime the church has to cede some of the public civic space to others? Is it Islamism that has you concerned?



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Denis

posted April 18, 2010 at 2:52 pm


It would be wise to wait and see what this letter really means before rushing to the judgment that Cardinal Ratzinger’s directive was mere ‘window dressing.’ That accusation suggests that it was all a sham, but the fact is that there have been concrete, substantial, and dramatic changes in the way that the Church deals with such accusations.
It’s also important to note that Catholic parishes are typically large, and, statistically speaking, a typical priest is likely to have a number of complaints against him during his tenure. Often, perhaps in the majority of cases, these complaints turn out to be false. It’s not surprising that Catholic laymen were skeptical and inclined to give their priests the benefit of the doubt.



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Gerard Nadal

posted April 18, 2010 at 2:53 pm


In assessing the credibility of the Cardinal’s remarks, one need consider a few objective facts.
John Paul LOVED young people and thundered against the societal corruption that impacted young people, specifically through sexual immorality, throughout his pontificate.
The scandal of 2002 broke when the Pope was half dead, weighted down by the many sequellae from his assassination attempt, hip surgery, and Parkinson’s Disease. The last seven years of his life, from 2008 onward saw his curial circle assume more and more responsibility as the Holy Father’s vitality waned.
We have here a Cardinal from Spain who sat on this story, if it is true, for nine years. He has no credibility one way or the other. This would be the same Cardinal who just looked the other way on King Juan Carlos signing a more expansive range of gestational levels qualifying for abortion into law. He was also a Bishop when Juan Carlos helped open the door to abortion, and looked the other way back then as well.
I suppose that when the heat is on it’s easier to throw a dead Pope under the bus than a living one. Waiting nine years to speak out, and then only when this Cardinal has retired and scrutiny shifts to the European continent is hardly what I would call a profile in courage, let alone credibility.



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John E. - Agn Stoic

posted April 18, 2010 at 2:57 pm


Today in our liturgy, our priest said that the day will come in this country, perhaps decades from now, when Christians will be persecuted for what we believe.
Sheesh…
Are we talking “Christian photographer doesn’t get to discriminate against gay customers” persecution or “Chinese government locks up house preacher for twenty years” persecution?
Sadly, your priest is on target I think. I would not be surprised if this occurs and I’ve already braced myself for the possibility of living long enough to face the prospect of jail or worse for my Catholicism.
Double sheesh…
Reaganite, I’ll bet you five ounces of silver, or the equivalent value in Ameros, or whatever we are using for currency at the time, that you won’t be faced, in America, with prison time or worse for being a Catholic within the next, oh say forty years.



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Max Schadenfreude

posted April 18, 2010 at 3:00 pm


Does anyone have a link to the letter in question?



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Lorenzo-NY

posted April 18, 2010 at 3:31 pm


How interesting lately to see the these lions of the right so willing to throw John Paul II under the bus to save their and Benedict’s skins. Castrillon is only the latest and most ” inside” the Vatican to add his voice to the chorus of hurling the blame at JP II. They are probably right, but only weeks ago they were firmly in the ” Santo Subito” Amen corner.



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Astragirl

posted April 18, 2010 at 3:37 pm


“We have here a Cardinal from Spain who sat on this story, if it is true, for nine years. He has no credibility one way or the other.”
Wow, that is a major stretch. You are trying to use the sins of the Spanish monarchy to discredit this Castrillon. Whatever, dude. Castrillon is from Colombia. Second, Castrillon would still be sitting on this if the letter he wrote hadn’t been made public by that French website. When he said that John Paul approved it, he was at a conference dedicated to all the good things John Paul did. I read that program, and there were many other cardinals at that conference. It’s not credible to think that Castrillon would throw John Paul under the bus. In fact, the reports say the audience cheered when he said that. It sounds like they approved of what John Paul supposedly did.
If Castrillon is lying, he sure picked a dangerous place to tell such a lie. Is there anything that will make you guys believe John Paul endorsed bishops covering up for child molesting priests, aside from John Paul rising from the dead and saying “I did it”?



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steve2

posted April 18, 2010 at 3:38 pm


I cant see the Church being persecuted, but maybe prosecuted. The church has lost its spiritual focus. it has become a political institution. It may lose its tax exemption in the future, which I am sure its members would see as prosecution. If it does not learn to deal more openly and forthrightly with issues which are seen as crimes by the rest of the world, it may face prosecution.
Steve



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Lord Karth

posted April 18, 2010 at 3:43 pm


Mr. Dreher, @ 1:49 PM, writes:
“Yet here we are. And there’s really nothing more I can say about it, except that it depresses me deeply, because many of the things I care most about in the world, including the kind of life my (non-Catholic) children and grandchildren will have, are at risk here. I really believe that. But there’s nothing I can do about it, or say about it anymore.”
That’s quite all right, Mr. Dreher. Human beings are not going to be the dominant species on this planet by the close of this century anyway. Thanks to, among other things, the continuing marginalization (and subsequent eradication) of religion, and the ongoing exaltation of technology, there will perhaps be things that walk on two feet and talk, but nothing that you or I will recognize as Human.
Your servant,
Lord Karth



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Rod Dreher

posted April 18, 2010 at 3:45 pm


Gerard, I’m not sure what your point is. As noted, Castrillon Hoyos is from Colombia, not Spain. And he is not a deadhead or a liberal; he was the point man for the reintroduction of the Tridentine Mass (for which, bless him). It seems extremely unlikely to me that he is the sort of cardinal to scapegoat John Paul. It seems far more likely that he believes he did the right thing, and is claiming the mantle of JP2 for having done what he unquestionably did. Why else would he go before a conference dedicated to “John Paul the Great” and say such a thing, except that he had confidence he was in front of an audience that would approve of what he (Castrillon Hoyos) wrote in that letter because JP2 affirmed it as well?
Besides, even if CH were Spanish, and was guilty of staying silent on those issues, what would that have to do with anything? Why would that make him less credible in this matter? Unless we are supposed to disbelieve statements of fact when they are said by people who don’t share our ideological orientation.



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James Kabala

posted April 18, 2010 at 3:46 pm


Mr. Nadal – Castrillon Hoyos is Columbian; he just happened to be in Spain for this speech.
I agree with you otherwise that we don’t really know what John Paul said about the letter or, for that matter, what exactly he knew about the Pican case.



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Ed

posted April 18, 2010 at 4:24 pm


John Paul’s action (the motu proprio) in 2001 shows that both he and Card. Ratzinger were of the same mind with regard to improving the handling of abuse cases. Castrillon Hoyos was clearly on a different page.
From John Allen..
[..Vatican analysts have long regarded Castrillon Hoyos as part of the “old guard” opposed to the reforms on sex abuse cases instituted by Ratzinger. In 2002, for example, Castrillón Hoyos led a Vatican press conference after the sexual abuse crisis erupted in the United States in which he suggested the crisis was largely an “American problem”..]
http://ncronline.org/news/accountability/vatican-disses-one-its-own-sex-abuse



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Gerard Nadal

posted April 18, 2010 at 4:34 pm


Rod,
Did Castrillon Hoyos offer an explanation for nine years of silence? I’m more inclined to believe what I’ve seen and heard while JP II was alive-his constant outreach to youth, his exhortations to holiness, his personal example.
This statement by Castrillon Hoyos makes him complicit in the very cover-up he accuses a dead Pope of orchestrating. That means he plays the hero and is forgiven for his long-standing silence. Pretty neat indemnification for his efforts at maligning a dead man. I’m sorry, but I don’t buy it. Not from this guy. If true, he had his chance to speak out for the last four years of JP II’s life. Why didn’t he?
In science we tell students that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. Standing atop the grave of the accused is hardly extraordinary proof. Hoyos could easily have stated in 2001 that the Pope’s neurodegenerative disorder had affected his cognitive capacity to the point where he lacked the capacity for prudential judgement, as evidenced by the supposed approval of the document in question. That could have been the most powerful argument for forcing JP II’s retirement, or appointing Ratzinger or the Cardinal Secretary of state into a coadjutor role.
Hoyos was a Cardinal at the time of the alleged incident. He had a moral obligation to the universal Church, and if the allegation is true, lacked the moral fiber to preserve the Church, and his Pope. Obviously, if true, Hoyos had something personal at stake in playing along, some personal benefit that meant more than the obligations of his office to the Church and his Pope. If true, then there is something Hoyos needs now that is forcing his disclosure. In stating what he has he asks us, implicitly, to accept that he failed his Church and his Pope in a cold and calculating manner.
Now, atop that dead Pope’s corpse, he asks us to trust him, in light of the lack of character. Like Sammy “the Bull” Gravano turning state’s evidence against John Gotti after Gotti is dead.
Sorry Rod, by his own admission he is a man given to a degree of self-interest that outweighs the good of the Church and the Pope he was obligated to aid in preserving from error. That he couldn’t screw up the courage to do so when the Pope’s condition would have buttressed such a disclosure, suggests to me that such an event never took place.
The alternative is that Hoyos is as filthy as they come.



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Rod Dreher

posted April 18, 2010 at 4:35 pm


That John Allen piece, dated Thursday, is interesting. Allen writes:
In effect, this is the first time the Vatican has conceded that a senior Vatican official committed an error in judgment on the sexual abuse crisis — albeit one later corrected by the future pope.
Interesting. So the next day, Castrillon Hoyos tells a JP2 conference that Pope JP2 himself had approved the letter. Sounds like CH’s statement at the Spanish conference amounts to fighting back against the Vatican spokesman’s unprecedented (in this crisis) criticism.



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Ed

posted April 18, 2010 at 4:48 pm


Wait, this is about breaking the seal of the confessional? That’s not how I understood the story from the start..
More from John Allen..
[..Castrillón said that the issue at stake in his letter was protection of the seal of the confessional. The cardinal said he was applauding Pican for maintaining the sanctity of the sacrament, and cited canon 983 of the Code of Canon Law, concerning the confessional.
Some analysts have questioned whether the sanctity of the confessional directly applies in this case, since Pican said in 2001 that he had discussed the case with the victims and with another priest. French law recognizes the seal of the confessional as part of a protected category of “professional secrets,” but makes an exception for crimes committed against minors.
According to reports in the Spanish media, senior church officials at the conference, including two Vatican cardinals, applauded when Castrillón issued his defense.
Beyond the specific question of the confessional, Castrillón has long been among those church leaders who argue that bishops should not be put in the position of reporting their priests to the police or other authorities, on the grounds that it disrupts a father/son relationship with his clergy. Instead, such leaders suggest, bishops should encourage the victims themselves to make a report.
Asked about Castrillón’s statements during a press briefing tonight in Malta, Lombardi said that he wouldn’t go beyond his statement earlier in the week, except to point out that the 2001 document assigning responsibility for sex abuse cases to Ratzinger’s office was signed “by John Paul II, not by me,” and invited journalists “to draw the conclusions.”..]
http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/crisis-hangs-over-pope-malta-volcanic-ash



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Rod Dreher

posted April 18, 2010 at 4:49 pm


That still makes no sense, Gerard. You write: If true, then there is something Hoyos needs now that is forcing his disclosure. Castrillon’s disclosure was forced by the publication of his letter from 2001, and the Vatican’s response, which implicitly criticized him for what he wrote back then. Castrillon kept silence for that long because he could. Clearly Castrillon does not believe he did wrong; he is claiming the mantle of the previous pontiff as justification for his point of view. (Note Allen’s remark that Castrillon was part of the Vatican “old guard” that denied the impact and reach of the scandal.) As I said in the initial blog — something many commenters here apparently missed — we don’t know that Castrillon is telling the truth. But unless he had the stones to flat-out lie to an audience that includes cardinals and intimates of John Paul II, he said what he said expecting them to agree that he had made the right call. And judging by the reported applause, they did agree.
Sadly, this would not have been out of character for John Paul. Cardinal Schoenborn has spoken about how hard he had to fight to get John Paul to take seriously the scandal over Cardinal Groer, the previous archbishop of Vienna, in which the retired cardinal was revealed to have molested scores of minors. John Paul simply didn’t want to hear it. That’s not me saying it; it’s Cardinal Schoenborn.
Do you really find it impossible to believe that John Paul both loved children, and had a terrible blind spot on the issue of clerical sex abuse?



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Gerard Nadal

posted April 18, 2010 at 5:06 pm


Rod,
Anything is possible. The question is, what is probable. I note these brave men who speak after the Pope is dead and no longer able to defend himself. Why did they not present their cases to the Roman Rota? Why did they not speak out publicly at the time, forcing the issue?!
My native sense of justice really does accord the accused the presumption of innocence, placing the burden of proof on the accuser. Brave men indeed to speak out while JP II moulders in his grave. I ask you Rod, where was that moral courage while he lived? The heat is on now, beyond the American shores. NOW we hear of these stories. Its a little convenient.
John Paul came from a Priestly society in Poland where Priests were masculine men. Rough men who stood down totalitarian regimes. It could be argued that in light of this, perhaps JP II could not fathom the abuse of children by Priests, especially on so vast a scale. But then, it could also be argued that his masculinity would have reviled such molesters.
Yes Rod, I have serious doubts. And it is unjust for men who claim to have been so outraged all these many years ago to speak up only now that JP II is no longer with us to defend his good name.



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Ed

posted April 18, 2010 at 5:08 pm


The Cardinal is really trying to walk this one back if Allen’s reporting is correct.
I’m sure there is truth to the fact that JP2 loved children, priests and had a blind spot when it came to sexual abuse cases . John Paul, in fact, acknowleged that he was less than stellar with regard to his administrative duties.
But in this case, he and Ratzinger pulled oversight of abuse cases from Castrillon Hoyos and the Congregation for the Clergy in 2001 for reasons that the Vatican has made pretty clear.



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Rod Dreher

posted April 18, 2010 at 5:09 pm


A reader provides her own translation of Castrillon Hoyos’s 2001 letter on her blog. Assuming this translation is accurate, I don’t see that this has a thing to do with the seal of the confessional. CH takes the position that expecting a bishop to denounce a pedophile priest is like expecting a father to denounce a son. Here’s the translation:
September 8, 2001
Most Reverend Excellency:
I am writing to you as Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, charged with collaborating in the responsibility of the common Father over all the priests of the world.
I congratulate you for not having denounced a priest to the civil administration. You have acted well, and I rejoice to have a brother in the episcopate who, in the eyes of history and of all the other bishops of the world, has preferred prison rather than denouncing his priest-son.
In reality, the relationship between priests and their bishop is not professional; it is a sacramental relationship, which creates very special bonds of spiritual paternity. This theme has been amply taken up again by the last Council, by the 1971 Synod of Bishops and the one in 1991. The bishop has other means of acting, as the Episcopal Conference of France has recently recalled; but a bishop cannot be required to denounce [him] himself. In all civilized legal systems it is recognized that close relatives have the opportunity not to testify against a direct relative.
We recall to you in your regard the words of St. Paul: “My imprisonment has become well known in Christ throughout the whole Praetorium and to all the rest, and the majority of the brothers, having taken encouragement in the Lord from my imprisonment, dare more than ever to proclaim the word fearlessly” (Phil. 1:13-14).
This Congregation, in order to encourage brothers in the episcopate in this very sensitive area, will send copies of this letter to all the conferences of bishops.
Assuring you of my fraternal closeness in the Lord, I greet you with your auxiliary and the whole of your diocese.
Dario Castrillon H



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Rod Dreher

posted April 18, 2010 at 5:17 pm


Gerard, Castrillon Hoyos is NOT trying to sabotage John Paul. You are misreading what he said, and why he said it. He doesn’t think he did anything wrong! He’s not saying, “Oh, I was so wrong, but John Paul made me do it!” He thinks he made the right call, and he’s claiming that John Paul did too. As someone else pointed out on this thread, until a relatively short time ago, the mind of the Church held that priests were not to be tried by civil authorities. Then-Bishop Daily of Brooklyn actually testified that he believed that was still in effect — this, in a deposition in an abuse case. I don’t understand why you think that Castrillon Hoyos is trying to do an injury to John Paul here. It seems far more likely that he’s trying to fight back against Fr. Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, who implied in his statement the other day that Card. Ratzinger had to have the abuse cases taken into the CDF, and away from Card. Castrillon — in effect, throwing Castrillon Hoyos under the bus.
If Castrillon Hoyos is lying about John Paul having approved of that letter, he has committed a grave calumny against the dead pope — and I would expect there to be strong objection from people in a position to know. We may yet hear that. But the fact that the Spanish audience, including two cardinals, reportedly applauded the Castrillon remark ought to give one pause before assuming that Castrillon was a rogue outlier.



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Peter

posted April 18, 2010 at 5:29 pm


The whole thing sounds like a bad remake of a few good men. The church seems to be overflowing with cardinals who think they did the right thing and don’t see why they have to pretend they are as accountable to civil authorities as normal folk.



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NY Barrister

posted April 18, 2010 at 5:33 pm


Rod, I’m not as pessimistic about the long-term impact/influence of mainline Protestantism as you are, but I’m also more critical of pentecostal and evangelical sects than you (shallow to non-existent theology; inherent anti-intellectualism and biblical literalism from modern English scripture-YUCK!).
It is with great sadness that I see your cogent arguments about this Colombian cardinal and his indefensible actions being misrepresented and Hoyos’s actions spun,spun,spun, by the usual suspects on the self-described “orthodox” wing of Catholicism a/k/a the “bring back the Index of Forbidden Books” crowd. Know Rod that though I’m not, I suspect, as conservative as you, your views are on target. Do not be disuaded by the alphabet soup (LC/RC;Op.D;SPX) of the RC far-fight on here from your coverage of this matter.



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Ed

posted April 18, 2010 at 5:45 pm


Rod: But the fact that the Spanish audience, including two cardinals, reportedly applauded the Castrillon remark ought to give one pause before assuming that Castrillon was a rogue outlier.
The audience and those senior officials were applauding the Cardinal’s defense of the sacrament of confession from what I understand. According to Allen’s report, the applause came after his citation of canon 983 of the Code of Canon Law.
The letter, of course, makes no mention of the seal of confession. I think CH was playing fast and loose with the facts in front of the group.



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Ed

posted April 18, 2010 at 5:56 pm


Some clarification from the NY Times..
At the Murcia conference, the cardinal said that Pican did not denounce Bissey because the priest had told sins in the confessional, where secrecy is respected under the law.
At his trial, Pican said Bissey admitted his abuse in a private conversation, which would not enjoy legal protection.
http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2010/04/17/world/international-us-pope-abuse-cardinal.html



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Rod Dreher

posted April 18, 2010 at 7:58 pm


Wow, check out what Austen Ivereigh at America magazine’s blog passes on from an April 11 interview Castrillon Hoyos gave to Spanish CNN. What follows is from Ivereigh’s blog entry:
A glimpse of that attitude was on vivid display in an April 11 interview that Cardinal Castrillón-Hoyos — who along with Cardinal Law (formerly of Boston) is one of the leaders of the movement behind the restoration of traditionalist liturgy — gave to the Spanish-language CNN. My translation:
“As prefect of the Congregation for Clergy I had meetings with scientists. And there was one group of scientists who said that the paedophile doesn’t exist; there exist persons who commit acts of paedophilia, but the illness of paedophilia doesn’t exist. So, when one person makes a mistake, which is often a minimal error, that person is accused – that person confesses his crime, or is shown his crime — the bishop punishes him according to what [canon] law allows: he suspends him, takes him out of a parish for a time, then sends him to another parish. He is correcting him. This is not a crime, this is not a cover-up, this is following the law just as civil society does in the case of doctors and lawyers – in other words, it’s not about taking away the chance of them exercising their profession for ever.”
So you mean, asks Patricia Janiot, that for the Church sex abuse of minors is not a crime? Castrillón-Hoyos loses his rag in a flash of arrogance.
“Patricia, for the love of God, don’t you understand what I’m saying? Am I speaking a foreign language? I’m talking in Castilian. The Church punishes paedophilia as a very serious crime – do I have to repeat this a thousand times? — but punishes it according to the law. The fact that it is a serious crime does not authorise a bishop to punish without following the processes to which the accused has a right.”
When Janiot asks him about those processes, the cardinal talks about the need for corrobative evidence and witnesses but quickly adds that even when these exist, “when you factor in the enormous sums of money which are benefitting large numbers of people in relation to these crimes, we all have the right to question the honesty of those cases.”
Janiot then asks him whether, if Pope John Paul II had acted more decisively to clear up the mishandling of abuse cases, Pope Benedict would not have inherited such a large problem. Castrillón-Hoyos is having none of it.
“Pope John Paul did everything he should have done, and did so within the clearest norms of justice, charity, and of equity, – he did exactly what he should have done to maintain the purity of the Church. He did exactly what he should have done. I am witness to his worries and his pains. It is very easy to have news stories about cases which have not proved in which the image of the clergy is far from reality – this does not mean that there have not been painful cases in the Church; he knew of them, and he punished them. Show me one single case – I challenge people – one known case anywhere in the world where a case has been proved where the delinquent has not been punished.”
“What about the case of Fr Maciel?” Janiot answers. “This was never brought to justice. He died, never having been tried.”
Cardinal Castrillon’s eyes look sharply to the left, to where an advisor or lawyer is obviously sitting. He then turns back to the camera. “Non ti rispondo”, he answers (in Italian, oddly). The interview is over.



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Cecelia

posted April 18, 2010 at 8:04 pm


For those who have been critical of Rod’s ongoing posts on this topic, I think it is imperative that discussions continue. I have been perusing the web in a desire to learn more about this from the perspective of those who were abused and have found a number of sites that are dedicated to continued follow up of abuse cases in the Catholic US Church. I also found numerous sites of people who claim to be victims of sexual abuse in other churches. It seems apparent to me that the RC Church should in fact be thankful that the press coverage and the victim organizations has forced them to make significant reforms – the clearing of the rot to the extent it has happened has been made possible by these revelations in the press and by victims. One can see on the other sites that because the press has not extended its scrutiny to allegations about other Churches those churches have not had the pressure on them to clean up their own rot. I say “alleged” not out of insensitivity to these victims – whose anger and pain is very apparent on these sites – but because these are unproved claims at this time. Obviously the revelations about the RC Church will understandably turn many against the Church but ultimately cleaning the evil out is of greater value and this has happened because of the pressure exerted by the press/victims. Benedict acknowledged this last Sunday when he said that “Now, under the attacks of the world that speaks to us of our sins, we see that being able to do penance is a grace,”. Note he said “of our sins” – no excuses there.
My reservation about the coverage in general and some of the coverage here is that it should be balanced. Clearly many who post here are totally unaware of the steps already taken. And – while there is much criticism of the Church and even pessimism that reform will occur expressed by Rod – signs of reform are not reported here.
That strikes me as being unbalanced discussion and overly pessimistic. For example, the above remarks were not reported here. The LA bishop – Mahoney – has been subjected to criticism by Rod and others here but when Mahoney was replaced last week no mention was made. No mention either that the same diocese which was responsible for the Murphy horror has now won editorial congratulations from the local papers for its handling of cases since the reforms nor was the AP’s report on the “swift and public” handling of the Denver archdiocese response to an old case of abuse recently reported by the victim. The local Denver paper commented “Is there any other institution or employer that would act this decisively on the basis of a single, uncorroborated accusation dating back decades?”. There was no mention here of that Tennessee Bishop who last week immediately turned a case over to the police after the (now adult)victim came to them with an accusation from the past and then promptly laicized the priest and made it clear that this priest will never again serve in the Church. Nor has there been any mention that this week the Vatican released a compilation of all abuse cases brought to the curia over the last years (for those who seek full disclosure). There has been no mention that the CDF will be releasing sometime this month new regs for the entire Church that are the same as those put in place in the US, the UK, and Ireland. Finally, there is no mention that Cardinal Hoyas USED to be in charge of sex abuse cases and had his authority removed from him by JPII at then Cardinal Ratzinger’s urging – the authority to deal with the cases was then given to Cardinal Ratzinger precisely because Hoyas had this attitude that Bishops should not turn priests over to the police because of this “special nature” of the relationship.
I think it has been clear for many years that JPII blew it seriously concerning the sex abuse scandal at a time when he could have spared everyone this ongoing scandal and the pain of those who were abused.
Lots of reasons have been offered – his infirmity, his seeming depression over what he saw as the decline of the West, but ultimately he failed to address this. This is tragic but it isn’t news.
The pessimism expressed here does not seem justified to me. And while I do agree that it is vital to continue the pressure – people should be aware that we are talking here these last few days about the PAST and that circumstances now have changed. There is a difference between a constructive analysis of organizational structures that may have facilitated this, how effective the current efforts will be, and how abuse in other sectors of our society can be addressed versus “the RCC is rotten to the core” and “there is no hope for reform” narrative. Of course we need to remember the past so we can be fully motivated to make corrections – but we also need to recognize those corrections – otherwise we risk nihilism.



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Rod Dreher

posted April 18, 2010 at 8:19 pm


Cecelia, I thank you for your posting, but I must remind you that I did, in fact, mention in at least the post that began this thread, and I think even in the earlier Castrillon post I made, that the abuse portfolio had been taken away from C’s congregation in 2001 and given to Card. Ratzinger’s CDF.
As to the rest of it, it’s true that I haven’t mentioned any of those other things. From your list, the only one I knew about was the replacement of Mahony by the San Antonio archbishop — but I didn’t blog about it because this is not a Catholic blog, and I judged that the change of personnel in Los Angeles, as welcome as I personally find it, was not something that would interest most readers. The sex abuse story centered on the Vatican has, rightly or wrongly, been on newspaper front pages in the past month, which is how I found out about it. I used to read abuse tracker websites all the time, but haven’t done that for years. One reason it’s good to have comments is that readers like you can bring in information that I haven’t seen, and others who frequent this blog haven’t seen. This adds to the conversation, and helps all of us understand what’s going on better.



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Reaganite in NYC

posted April 18, 2010 at 8:56 pm


In other Vatican news today …
… Pope Benedict XVI met with abuse victims during his apostolic visit to Malta.
Over on the “Deacon’s Bench” blog here on beliefnet, Greg Kandra has the details, including reports by the BBC, AP and John Allen of National Catholic Reporter.
You can go straight to Deacon Kandra’s story (headlined “Pope meets abuse victims in Malta — UPDATED”) by linking here:
http://blog.beliefnet.com/deaconsbench/2010/04/breaking-pope-meets-abuse-victims-in-malta.html
The Times (UK) Online also had an interesting report on this story headlined, “Pope ‘prays and weeps’ with Malta sex abuse victims”
You can link to it here: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article7101213.ece



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Peter

posted April 18, 2010 at 9:06 pm


Wonder if the abuse victims were on the schedule before the U.S. and European press started raising the curtain on the Pope’s connections to the scandals.



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Rod Dreher

posted April 18, 2010 at 9:12 pm


I just added the Times Online link to the main blog entry at the top of this thread. I’m not going to blog again on this story for a while; I’m sick of it. All of it. And I don’t want to get sucked into that black hole again.



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Mere Catholic

posted April 18, 2010 at 9:39 pm


I am not surprised at all that JP II may have at the least known and tolerated the letter sent by Hoyos. In his dealings with both Cdl. Groer in Austria and with the odious legionaries founder Maciel, JP II showed terrible judgment. A Pope (or any man) can be great as JP II in certain areas (e.g., taking a strong stand against totalitarianism and the culture of death) and live an intense life of prayer but be a poor administrator and a terrible judge of people. Both Groer and Maciel had the facade of theological conservatism and perhaps this was JP II’s blind spot: that a man who claims fidelity to the Church’s teachings could not possibly be a pedophile. Moreover, it has been mentioned by others that in the Nazi-occupied Poland during which JP II began his seminary studies, unfounded rumors of priestly sexual abuse were often levied against the Church to discredit its moral standing in Poland. Perhaps his memory of this time clouded his judgments of the well-documented cases of abuse. Whatever it is, had there been a stronger response from the papacy during JP II’s time, some of these wounds may not be as open as they are today.



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Reaganite in NYC

posted April 18, 2010 at 9:46 pm


Rod Dreher (7:58 PM): “Wow, check out what Austen Ivereigh at America magazine’s blog passes on from an April 11 interview Castrillon Hoyos gave to Spanish CNN.”
Austen Ivereigh has written some good stuff over at the “America” magazine blog on this issue. Something he wrote nearly a week ago (April 12) expresses my skepticism regarding what passes for “news coverage” of this issue, including, frankly, here at the “Rod Dreher” blog.
Ivereigh’s blog entry on April 12 is entitled, “Abuse coverage reveals scapegoat mechanism.” You’ll find the gist of what he wrote here:
“The scapegoat mechanism comes into play when tensions — often buried and unconscious — accumulate, when those involved must ‘let off steam’ or the social fabric will burst. The energy of indignation and anger is fuelled, over this issue, by the fact that sexual abuse of minors is extremely common in families — 70 per cent of victims have suffered at the hands of a relative — yet almost never talked about, let alone dealt with. The Church has become a surrogate victim, unconsciously identified as the cause of the tension which society feels but cannot identify.”
“But the coverage has now moved into a new, irrational phase. The media have merged with the mob. They are not standing outside the crowd, coolly examining the facts. They are standing in ‘locus vulgi.'”



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cirdan

posted April 18, 2010 at 9:48 pm


Catherine, you take exception to this:
Many laymen were quite willing to collaborate with evil to keep a truth they found intolerable to contemplate buried. Some still are. It’s human nature. You can see it every day, if you look.
I can’t see why you do. Mary Kenny, who’s as orthodox a Catholic as anyone, told the story, in one of her columns, of meeting a group of lay women who actively covered up for a priest accused — accurately, if I remember aright — of sexual abuse. This mess wouldn’t have happened without the active complicity of the laity; it’s too easy to blame it all on clericalism.



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Rod Dreher

posted April 18, 2010 at 10:05 pm


Cirdan, a group of lay insiders at the Arlington, TX, parish I briefly attended collaborated in their pastor putting to work a priest who had been formally accused of sexual abuse in another diocese, and removed by his bishop there from ministry. The Texas pastor did not tell his own bishop that he was putting the suspended priest to work in the parish — and some of the parish laity knew all about this, and kept quiet, even among themselves. And all you have to do is read Jason Berry’s excellent “Lead Us Not Into Temptation,” about the Gilbert Gauthe case in Louisiana in the 1980s, to see how communities work together to protect predator priests and to punish victims and others who insist on bringing abuse to light.
Again, it’s human nature. You will find that in any group and society, political, religious, ethnic or otherwise.
RNYC: Austen Ivereigh has written some good stuff over at the “America” magazine blog on this issue. Something he wrote nearly a week ago (April 12) expresses my skepticism regarding what passes for “news coverage” of this issue, including, frankly, here at the “Rod Dreher” blog.
As long as you’ve been reading this blog, you still don’t understand that this is not a blog that does “coverage”? Come on, man. Anyway, nobody, not even the Vatican, disputes the validity of the Castrillon letter, and now Castrillon himself has not only defended the letter, but publicly claimed that John Paul — who had a terrible record of dealing with the scandal (see Maciel, Groer, etc.) approved of it. What, people are supposed to ignore this, or to downplay its significance, because it doesn’t fit the preferred narrative?



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Rod Dreher

posted April 18, 2010 at 10:16 pm


On second thought, RNYC, your use of “coverage” in this context is more or less fair, though I disagree with your judgment, of course. Seeing the word made me think of people who routinely come around here to urge me to go investigate scandals in my own church. This is an opinion blog that almost never does original reporting, only comments on news reports and commentaries done by others. I don’t “investigate” scandals in anybody’s church, or anywhere else. Like most bloggers. If readers want to send me links to stories and commentaries done by others, I welcome them, and may publish them here.



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Cheeky Lawyer

posted April 18, 2010 at 11:09 pm


What is Austin Ivereigh’s problem with the Tridentine Mass? I ask because he seems to take shots at it a bit. Also, Cardinal Law is a pusher of it? Really. I hadn’t heard that. This is the same Cardinal Law who tried to give us an inclusive language catechism. I admit Law is a man of great contradictions as he suggested the catechism.
I had been thinking of attending this Saturday’s High Pontifical Mass at the National Shrine being celebrated for the Pope’s 5 anniversary, but I believe Hoyos is the one celebrating it. I won’t be attending. Not because it wouldn’t be valid or anything like that. But I find it scandalous.



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Katriona Milroy

posted April 18, 2010 at 11:21 pm


Mr. Dreher:
Would you respond to Mark Shea’s column about your coverage?
http://www.markshea.blogspot.com/2010/04/peggy-noonan-voice-of-conscience.html



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Your Name

posted April 18, 2010 at 11:28 pm


Peter – the Pope has been meeting with abuse victims for years – and it is kept off the press schedule because they don’t want it to turn into a circus
I think this is an example of what I spoke of earlier – if you haven’t the info – why jump to the worst conclusion? There is plenty here to be legitimately disgusted by we don’t need to create more.



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elizabeth

posted April 18, 2010 at 11:32 pm


“Reaganite, I’ll bet you five ounces of silver, or the equivalent value in Ameros, or whatever we are using for currency at the time, that you won’t be faced, in America, with prison time or worse for being a Catholic within the next, oh say forty years.”
I disagree, John. When Catholics start being thrown in prison for their beliefs, it will be the hardcore right wing evangelicals locking the doors shut. There are scads of them who do not recognize the RC as a Christian church.



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Charles Curtis

posted April 18, 2010 at 11:59 pm


Last night I watched Gladiator for the twentieth plus time. The film came out when I was in the Army, and as soon as it was on DVD we would watch it over and over again when we were stuck on overnight duties like CQ .. Some of the coolest battle scenes ever filmed. That was the draw back then.
I’ve also always been impressed by Maximus’s (Russel Crowe’s character, the gladiator) deep pagan piety. It’s always been really clear to me how such powerful faith flowed naturally into the full flowering of Catholic Christianity. Maximus was a man willing to die for his beliefs, for his loyalty, even as a pagan. Of such men Christian martyrs were (and are) made, of such men came the early leadership of the Church (SS Ambrose, Augustine, Polycarp, John Chrysostom, etc. etc.) ..
Yesterday though, I was also struck by something else. I was impressed by how violent and cruel, how drenched in blood, how power worshiping, ancient antiquity was. By the depiction of all the crowds crying for blood, by their ecstatic worship of the emperor, his troops and gladiators.
At the end, when Maximus dispatches the Emporer Commodus in the Colosseum..
As he is dying of the poison that Commodus had given him by dagger just before the fight, he gasps “There was once a dream that was Rome..”
(Historically, Commodus actually did take to the arena as a gladiator, but did not die there, as he does in the movie – he was actually was strangled in his bath by his wrestling trainer Narcissus – I kid you not: no less an authority than Wikipedia says it is so: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodus )
There was once a dream that was Rome.
I dated an Italian girl last summer who every time we spoke of Rome would reverentially say “Roma, Roma, caput mundi..” Then she would tell me that I, issue of German barbarians, owed what thin veneer of civilization I possess to Rome. Which is to say, she would say, to my Catholicism.
I think she was right. The so-called “dark ages” were when that world of barbarism was converted to the world of relative peace we know today.
What people here like Charles Cosimano and Kenneth (like all secularists) fail to see (I’m being charitable in assuming blindness, here) is that this world without the humanism instilled by the Catholic Faith would be just a world of death and brutality.
Without the transcendence promised by Christ, there is only death.
Without the Church preaching the commandments and mercy of God, we are in the world of Nietzche and Hitler.
There is no triumph for the meek, merely the passing triumph of the powerful.
That’s to say that if we do not live in a Catholic world we live in the world of Commodus.
(Whose father was (remember, mark it well) Marcus Aurelius, a “good emperor..” Remember too, that the year after Commodus’ assassination was the “Year of the Five Emperors” – his five successors were each butchered by coups in turn. Six emperors in two years.)
You throw aside the Church, you throw aside the Beatitudes.
That is, the Church – despite her corruption – is still the Institution of the Beatitudes.
The Church is also the source of the very same sexual morality that condemns the acts of those priests who betrayed the trust of the faithful.
In classical antiquity pedophilia and sexual activity with youth generally – particularly buggery of boys – was extremely popular. The ancient Greeks loved it. The Emperors, along with the rest of the Roman upper class (see Petronius’ Satyricon for a choice literary testament to the buggery of boys) – One may assume that Roman lower classes also indulged..
Our troops in Afghanistan and other places in the Muslim world, are revolted to discover that behavior we label molestation is rather widespread there. Our allies, the Afghan national army, apparently sodomizes boys at checkpoints.
http://www.examiner.com/x-25600-World-History-Examiner~y2009m11d14-Sodomy-in-Afghanistan
There is no human institution free of the sin of sexual abuse. The powerful often have their way with the poor and weak.
The Orthodox churches are not free of abuse, nor are they free of cover ups.
http://www.pokrov.org/
The Church in Greece recently had it’s own paroxysm of scandal in which many of its bishops and other senior clergy (who unlike parish priests in Orthodoxy are all celibate) were caught in homosexual trysts..
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/feb/19/religion.uk
Rod, you already know all this. I’m not accusing you of bias, or of being unfair. I’m certainly not trying to undermine your loyalty to the Church.
No. But I will ask if it may not be better to let all of this go, before the scandal destroys you?
I’ll also simply ask you Rod if words like Kenneth’s (see above) don’t give you pause:
“An institution which consciously and repeatedly persists in a pattern of collusion with evil is an evil institution… Such a group deserves to be persecuted..”
Huh. Over a billion Catholics deserve to be persecuted, for to the sins of thousands. Interesting thought, that.
I think that this scandal may in fact be preparing the ground for the apocalypse. I wonder at the true motivations of many of the abusers, and even those who in power who protected them. Christ prophesized that there would be wolves amongst the sheep, tares in the wheat. The antichrist is supposed to come under a mask of piety, I’ve heard it said.
I also wonder at a press, many of whom applaud the sexualization of youth by organizations such as Planned Parenthood, and who editorialize that people such as Roman Polanski should not be punished for their sexual acts with teenagers.
I think there is quite a bit of hypocrisy in the air.. Not to mention a bit of danger..
I think it may be time to stop obsessing over the abuse scandal, Rod. There may be worse things to be careful of, soon to come.



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Hector

posted April 19, 2010 at 12:31 am


Cecelia,
Well, I’ll happily grant that the RCC has taken steps to prevent this kind of abuse from happening in the future. My understanding is that the heyday of the abuse was in the 1950s through 1970s, and that there has been very little in the last couple decades. And that’s all to the good. I would feel more comfortable with my future kids around a Catholic priest then in, say, the public schools (though I’m not Catholic).
Having said that, that doesn’t solve the problem. People right now are full of anger over the past more than fear for the future. There are huge numbers of people alive today- and many who have died, some from suicide because of the abuse- who were horribly wronged by the people who were supposed to be looking out for their welfare, and even if this isn’t happening right now, or in the future, people are still very angry about it. As they should be. It will take the RC church a long time to regain the trust and faith that was lost, and it will only take longer (and risk even more people leaving or living in defiance of its teachings) if the defenders of the church keep bleating about petty gossip and superior dignity instead of humbly accepting blame and asking for forgiveness. n



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Charles Cosimano

posted April 19, 2010 at 12:31 am


I honestly do not think that anyone is going to be locked up for being Roman Catholic in and of itself. We have more efficient ways of dealing with belief structures we do not like, like ridicule and ostracism.
Catholic Bishops will simply treated with the same respect as the Grand Poobah Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. They will not be given any press coverage and be relegated to the ranks of loons and dangerous weirdos.



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Cecelia

posted April 19, 2010 at 2:13 am


Rod – I apologize – I did not read your remarks on Hoyas and his dismissal. Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I would not expect you to have a separate post on Mahoney’s replacement – but rather perhaps when you see things that do correct problems you have noted – that you use an update? This is obviously a very disheartening topic so I understand your reluctance to continue posting on it – I admit also it would be easier in many respects to see the whole thing disappear. It is such an important issue though that at least for major news, I hope you will continue.
Hector – I have posted before that I expect it will take a generation or two before people stop associating the term “pedophile” with “Catholic priest” so I very much agree that even the most stringent reforms do not undo the damage done. My point was that 1) people posting here seem to be unaware that reforms have occurred and have resulted in changes and 2) that we should balance our pessimism with a recognition of these changes. Certainly one can be encouraged that the horror of child sexual abuse has at least where reforms have occurred been reduced and when uncovered will be responded to correctly.
Benedict isn’t bleating about petty gossip etc – his remarks were unequivocal – “Now, under the attacks of the world that speaks to us of our sins, we see that being able to do penance is a grace,”. Note he said “of our sins” – no excuses or claims of petty gossip there.



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Joseph D'Hippolito

posted April 19, 2010 at 2:55 am


When Catholics start being thrown in prison for their beliefs, it will be the hardcore right wing evangelicals locking the doors shut. There are scads of them who do not recognize the RC as a Christian church.
Elizabeth, you’ve just proved a point I’ve long made: Catholics love to look at themselves as aggrieved victims of bigotry but refuse to confront the anti-Protestant bigotry (such as your own) in their own midst.
As far as Mark Shea is concerned, for him to dismiss Noonan’s column simply because of her stance on “torture” is unconscionable. One has nothing to do with the other; it’s a complete non sequitur. Either Noonan is right about the hierarchy’s response (and I believe she is) or she’s wrong, regardless of her stance on other issues.
Regarding his comments about Rod…if those doesn’t convince anybody that Shea doesn’t have the intellectual or moral cojones to confront issues without constructing straw men, engaging in personal attacks, refusing to deal forthrightly with opposing option and using the other “tactics” that have made him so popular, then nothing will.
What’s worse is that Shea is behaving just like all those self-righteous “orthodox” Catholics on blogs like Fr. Longnecker’s, Fr. Zuhdorf’s, the National Catholic Register, et al: Throw people under the bus if they tell inconvenient truths.
That is not the behavior of people ostensibly dedicated to God, His Son and His Spirit. That is the behavior of arrogant, entitled, self-obsessed members of a cult.
Over the past couple of weeks, I’m beginning to see — for the first time in my life — that’s that’s what the Catholic Church really is.
Think about that one, people. Think about that one very seriously.



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public_defender

posted April 19, 2010 at 6:01 am


Reaganite writes:
Cardinal Dario C-H supposedly makes a claim that JPII gave him encouragement to send his 2001 letter (to the French bishop) around to the other bishops’ conferences. We don’t know if this encouragement was in writing, or if it was verbal. We don’t know if anyone else was there when the claimed encouragement from JPII was presumably solicited by Cardinal C-H.
Reaganite,
Are you saying that a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church is lying to cover his tracks on a matter related to the sexual abuse of children?
Some might call that anti-Catholic “scandal.”



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Rod Dreher

posted April 19, 2010 at 7:16 am


Charles, I’m pretty sure you and I agree on the effect the Church had one civilizing formerly barbaric lands, East and West. I’m pretty sure you and I agree on what kind of horrors are likely to follow the demise of Christianity, at least in the West (I don’t follow the Orthodox nations closely enough to track what’s happening in those countries, but in my view, the health of those societies depends on the health and strength of the Orthodox Church, much as the health of the West depends on the health of the Catholic Church). This is not, of course, to say that the world was ideal by any stretch in times of greater church strength. That would be a foolish thing to claim. My point is simply that for all its failings, the Church and its ideals have acted as a restraint on what is worst in men. As regular readers know, I share the late (secularist) Philip Rieff’s view that absent the “remissions” of the Christian religion (in which he did not and could not believe), our civilization is headed for a dark time. Many people believe that a world without Christianity will be a better one. I do not think they will like what they get. But I believe that in some nations of the West, they will get it, and are getting it.
What I mourn is that we in the Church universal have aided in our own demise. Of course it gives me pause to see the loathing of someone like Kenneth; I expect that to become more general. If they are going to hate us, I wish they would hate us for being holy, not for being corrupt and, well, loathsome. It ought to pain all us Christians that the sexual abuse of children by clerics only became exposed and dealt with decisively by secular institutions (the courts, the media). If the Church were more powerful, this wouldn’t have happened, and things would have continued as they had done during the Church’s relative salad days. If this isn’t a cause for shame and grief among Christians, I don’t know what is.



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Astragirl

posted April 19, 2010 at 7:53 am


Like Public Defender, I’m confused. It would help if some of you Catholic writers so eager to identify and condemn Catholic-bashing would list for us which cardinals it is necessary to denounce as dirty, rotten lying scoundrels, and which ones we have to canonize as without fault or blemish, in order to stick to the politically correct story. I would not want to denounce the wrong cardinal and be accused of being an anti-Catholic bigot. A daily Twitter feed keeping us outsiders apprised of the political status of the cardinals would be most useful. Thank you.



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Rod Dreher

posted April 19, 2010 at 7:59 am


This thread is just about played out, it seems. I’ve started a new one about church corruption, one that is general to Christianity, not specific to Catholics, but also playing off of a theme we’ve recently discussed on this thread. Go here for the new line of discussion. (Or keep talking here if you like; I’m just sayin’…)



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John E. - Agn Stoic

posted April 19, 2010 at 8:30 am


I disagree, John. When Catholics start being thrown in prison for their beliefs, it will be the hardcore right wing evangelicals locking the doors shut. There are scads of them who do not recognize the RC as a Christian church.
Okay, so are you willing to take my bet?
And as an aside, your scenario presupposes that the hardcore right wing evangelicals care about your personal religious beliefs enough to put you into prison over them.
I don’t think that to be the case.



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Pauli

posted April 19, 2010 at 9:45 am


Rod, this is the final straw. I’m joining the OCA. Where do I sign up, and what language(s) should I learn?



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Rod Dreher

posted April 19, 2010 at 9:56 am


(He’s kidding, people. Given the irony deficit among some of the readership, this needs saying before you respond.)



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Your Name

posted April 19, 2010 at 11:18 am


“As prefect of the Congregation for Clergy I had meetings with scientists. And there was one group of scientists who said that the paedophile doesn’t exist; there exist persons who commit acts of paedophilia, but the illness of paedophilia doesn’t exist. So, when one person makes a mistake, which is often a minimal error,
I get it now, the proper charge wasn’t child rape- It should have been following too closely.



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Sister Maureen Paul Turlish

posted April 19, 2010 at 12:09 pm


There is a reason why there is a Canon Law about priests NOT going to confession to their own bishops.



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Goodguyex

posted April 19, 2010 at 12:18 pm


This whole thing may relate to confidentiality of sacramental confession, but I am not sure.
If Cardinal C-H was applauded as reported, I can not see how it can be otherwise.
As far as a letter being sent “all around the world” I can not see why we have not heard about it until now. Does not seem possible for it to be sent to 2000+ bishops and not being heard about.
This whole thing seems like a bit of 4thto 5th hand hype. Rod’s report-to the intenet-to the Spanish press-To the Cardinal- To Pope JPII.



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Lori Pieper

posted April 19, 2010 at 3:13 pm


Rod, thanks for linking to me and my translation. (This is actually the first I’ve learned of it).
I’ve learned a lot more here than I knew about in my original remarks. It’s a hugely complex case.
In regard to John Paul II, what we’ve learned so far is only leaks and gossip, and by partisans of various stripes at the Vatican at that. I think it would be more prudent to reserve judgment.
From what I’m learning about Cdl CH, he apparently has a great deal of trouble keeping his story straight. It doesn’t seem that his original letter or the original issue had anything to do with the seal of confession. So I don’t particularly believe anything he says about JPII.



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Lori Pieper

posted April 19, 2010 at 3:25 pm


Nor would it be fair to say as you have, that JPII “covered up a policy of sexual abuse.” If he approved the letter at all (which is questionable), he would have been approving of protecting the Church’s rights against the state.
Given that he was from Poland, where the Church had to struggle for many years with interference by the Polish government, it wouldn’t be surprising if he took a hard line on this. The Church could well be in favor of voluntary reporting of crimes by bishops, but being forced by the state to do so would be another thing.
How far should the state go? Should it monitor all private mail and phone conversations between bishops and priests “because the Church has a problem here in regard to abuse and we need to keep tabs on things?” (What do you want to bet that the government was doing that very thing in Poland?. Since the French law evidently insisted that the seal of confession not be respected in regard to abuse against minors, its understandable that the Church would see the French state as intrusive in this case as well as in others (even if the particular case isn’t about confession).
Once again, it should be stressed that the letter itself makes absolutely no mention of priestly pedophilia or the precise crime the priest was charged with. This was merely a letter about general principles.
The headlines are irresponsible.



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elizabeth

posted April 19, 2010 at 5:06 pm


“Elizabeth, you’ve just proved a point I’ve long made: Catholics love to look at themselves as aggrieved victims of bigotry but refuse to confront the anti-Protestant bigotry (such as your own) in their own midst.”
Joseph, I’m not Catholic. Nor Protestant, though I was raised Methodist until age 8. My Lutheran family did suffer at Catholic hands in Germany, centuries ago, which is why I’m American and not German.
There is much sturm und drang on this blog about secularists wanting to imprison Christians. Since, in this case, the discussion was particularly about Catholics being persecuted, I thought I’d add my thoughts about who, if it were to happen, might do the persecuting other than the wicked secularists.



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NY Barrister

posted April 19, 2010 at 5:35 pm


The trouble those of us who are either non-RC Christians(or ex-RC) have with the “We have it under control and we’ve changed” mantra is that the forces in the ascendancy are more Hoyos/Chaput/EWTN than say, the Jesuits (Fr. Fessio notwithstanding). These are forces committed to a return, if not to the Index of Forbidden Books and the joys of burning heretics (and kidnapping Jewish boys like Mortara in forced conversions)to a clerical, reactionary, defensive, ultramontane church. This is the crowd that either openly or covertly loathes the Novus Ordo mass and in some cases regards it as defective in a sacramental sense.
From this crowd we should expect transparent reform with a full intention to sack anyone, even with red hats, who covered up or applauded cover ups?? As we say in these parts: FUHGEDDABOUDIT!



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CatherineNY

posted April 20, 2010 at 10:43 am


To answer two comments directed to me: Alvarez, I am defending the Popes as individuals, not “the Vatican.” Cirdan, and Rod, what I take exception to is Rod’s description of lay people who defended or helped certain priests accused of abuse as “collaborating with evil.” The cases you cite are of people who believed the priest was innocent, based on their own experiences with him, and therefore tried to help him, not of lay people who knowingly helped a convicted child abuser. People who try to help someone they believe is innocent are not “collaborating with evil.” Bishops who knowlingly covered up actual abuse, and moved abusers around from parish to parish, allowing them to continue their repulsive crimes, were “collaborating with evil.” By tarring innocent lay people who could not believe their own priest could be guilty of such an enormity as “collaborators with evil,” you are blaming the victims. And I repeat that the headline on this post and the analysis that follows do not seem justified by the news reporting that inspired it.



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JS

posted April 21, 2010 at 3:22 pm


According to Fr. Z he in fact was congratulating the bishop on not breaking the seal of confession:
According to La Verdad, a regional Spaniard journal, the French bishop did not denounce the priest because he knew it by the first instance under the Sacrament of Confession. According to the Canon Law of the Catholic Church, a priest cannot denounce the matter that is given to him under the gravity of Confession. It includes crimes.
[Note from Rod: Father Z. has the story wrong. Read the actual letter, which I’ve provided in translation on this post. This is not about the seal of confession. — RD]



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Joseph D'Hippolito

posted April 22, 2010 at 1:35 am


NY Barrister, I completely agree with you about Chaput. He is an ambitious, ignorant loudmouth who’s looking for a red cap and a more important see. Just go back to his comments concerning capital punishment and Justice Scalia, which were published in First Things several years ago. His ultramontane views of the subject completely ignore two centuries of teaching from Scripture and Tradition on the subject (as did JPII’s theological revisionism).
I’ve never watched EWTN but I wouldn’t be surprised if your opinion is correct. I have read Fr. Z’s blog; he is a traditionalist wacko.



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Solicitor General

posted May 18, 2010 at 2:36 am


NY Barrister:
The traditionalist Catholics are not vampires, they are people seeking to find the trascendental, which has been largely expunged by the current practice of the Mass. I grew up in the Novus Ordo and believe that it does not do service to the profound meaning underlying the ritual. In fact, I find it stultifying. If you look more closely, you will find a near perfect overlap in the folks that pushed the radical implementations of Vatican 2 and the figures that colluded in the coverup. True traditionalist are far more likely to put on sackcloth and ashes than the slick priests produced by the “Vatican 2 at all cost” seminaries. The Cure of Ars would be devastated by what has happened to the current Church, and he would not try to hurt you but save you.



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