Two stories currently on the web site illustrate the sorry state of episcopal leadership of the Catholic Church in te United States. The first, by Jerry Filteau, is a fact check of the bishops’ claim about the recently passed health care reform bill. What becomes clear in his sober analysis is that the bishops’ objections, based on the claims that the reform bill would somehow increase access to abortion, were groundless. The bishops would have sacrificed a once-in-half-a-century opportunity to move closer to universal health care for what turns out to be a phantom of the imagination of the most extreme elements in the anti-abortion lobby.
If you have read Jason Berry’s outstanding expose of the Legionaries of Christ and the methods and crimes of their founder, you know that the Vatican is currently completing an apostolic visitation of the order, and that the Pope is set to soon rule on whether to disband it, reconstitute it under new leadership, or let it continue with its present leaders. The answer is simple: Pope Benedict XVI should shut it down. Period.
Yet, it appears that the protectors of the order remain busy and powerful and, as John Allen reports, efforts are being mounted to choose a compromise, letting the order continue with a Vatican-appointed “commissioner” to oversee it. Unfortunately, the people advocating for anything short of complete suppression are the same people who, according to Berry, were taking bribes from the Order and its founder over the years. They are hardly disinterested.
So how are abuse victim groups reacting to Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Bertone's remarks, linking church pedophilia with homosexuality?
You might have guessed: negatively.
This is a statement released today by Barbara Dorris, Outreach Director of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
Bertone's statements rub even more salt into the already-deep and still-fresh wounds of hundreds of thousands of men and women who have been assaulted by clerics and betrayed by bishops, especially women and girls. They deny and minimize the deep devastation felt by hundreds of thousands of women and girls who are suffering and have suffered because of pedophile priests and corrupt supervisors.
I watched today the video of Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who linked the church's pedophilia crisis with homosexuality within the church, and found myself shaking my head. Is this a cultural divide? An educational divide? Is it homophobic denial? I am baffled. I have seen no studies backing Bertone's contention. Is he simply uninformed?
Gay groups and others are now condemning Pope Benedict's number two for calling homosexuality a "pathology" and linking it directly to sexual abuse of children. It sounds more like scapegoating than anything else.
Sur le Pont d'Avignon,
L'on y danse, l'on y danse.
Sur le pont d'Avignon,
L'on y danse, tous en rond.
Today is the feast of St. Benezet, who built the bridge across the Rhône River between Avignon and Villeneuve-les-Avignon.
Could an independent commission clean up 'the clergy sex abuse mess'?
Jesuit Father -- and sometime NCR contributor -- Raymond Schroth offered the idea in an online column New Jersey Star Ledger last week and the idea was seconded in an op-ed column in the Washington Post guest column by retired attorny Gerald T. Slevin today.
But what if the Pope does not decide to set up such a commission?
Andrew Sullivan has taken issue with my charge that the press is doing a poor job reporting on the role of then-Cardinal Ratzinger in the case of Father Stephen Kiesle of Oakland. It is notable, of course, that he does not actually rebut any of the examples I give, nor cite any of the documents in question to make his own case. With Mr. Sullivan, it is all sweeping, breathless judgment: “At best, [the 1985 letter] convicts Ratzinger of negligence and indifference to priestly child-rape, seeing everything through the Vatican's bureaucratic, institutional lens, concerned far more about protocol and authority than about defrocking a priest long ago known to have tied two boys up and raped them.” But, as I noted, the documents sent to Ratzinger do not mention “child-rape” and what Sullivan dismisses as a concern about protocol can as easily be explained by other concerns.
Mark Fiore, whose animated political cartoons appear on SFGate.com, the Web site of the San Francisco Chronicle, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning. It is the first time since the category of editorial cartooning was created in 1922 that the Pulitzer has gone to an artist whose work does not appear in print.
Thought folks might appreciate his recent take on the Catholic sex abuse saga.
The Michigan Deomcratic primary race to replace retiring Rep. Bart Stupak has "the same internal party fissures that dogged the lawmaker during his battle over abortion funding in the health care bill," CQpolitics.com reports today.
An early front runner is Connie Saltonstall, a former county commissioner who is an abortion-rights proponent. But, CQpolitics.com reports, "Stupak’s decision not to seek a 10th term has generated interest from a crop of state legislators in the district’s Northern Michigan and Upper Peninsula regions, who hew more closely to Stupak’s brand of socially conservative, populist politics. Most are opposed to abortion rights."