Author Topic: The Church’s Judas Moment by Maureen Dowd/NY Times  (Read 2308 times)

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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The Church’s Judas Moment by Maureen Dowd/NY Times
« on: April 07, 2010, 12:34:22 am »
The Church’s Judas Moment
Published: April 6, 2010

I’m a Catholic woman who makes a living being adversarial. We have a pope who has instructed Catholic women not to be adversarial.

It’s a conundrum.

I’ve been wondering, given the vitriolic reaction of the New York archbishop to my column defending nuns and the dismissive reaction of the Vatican to my column denouncing the church’s response to the pedophilia scandal, if they are able to take a woman’s voice seriously. Some, like Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, seem to think women are trying to undermine the church because of abortion and women’s ordination.

I thought they might respond better to a male Dowd.

My brother Kevin is conservative and devout — his hobby is collecting crčches — and has raised three good Catholic sons. When I asked him to share his thoughts on the scandal, I learned, shockingly, that we agreed on some things. He wrote the following:

“In pedophilia, the church has unleashed upon itself a plague that threatens its very future, and yet it remains in a curious state of denial. The church I grew up in was black and white, no grays. That’s why my father, an Irish immigrant, liked it so much. The chaplain of the Police and Fire departments told me once ‘Your father was a fierce Catholic, very fierce.’ ”

My brothers and I were sleepily at his side for the monthly 8 a.m. Holy Name Mass and the guarding of the Eucharist in the middle of the night during the 40-hour ritual at Easter. Once during a record snowstorm in 1958, we were marched single-file to church for Mass only to find out the priests next door couldn’t get out of the rectory.

The priest was always a revered figure, the embodiment of Christ changing water into wine. (Older parishioners took it literally.) The altar boys would drink the dregs.

When I was in the 7th grade, one of the new priests took four of us to the drive-in restaurant and suggested a game of ‘pink belly’ on the way back; we pulled up a boy’s shirt and slapped his belly until it was pink. When the new priest joined in, it seemed like more groping than slapping. But we thought it was inadvertent. And my parents never would have believed a priest did anything inappropriate anyway. A boy in my class told me much later that the same priest climbed into bed with him in 1958 at a rectory sleepover, but my friend threw him to the floor. The priest protested he was sleepwalking. Three days later, the archbishop sent the priest to a rehab place in New Mexico; he ended up as a Notre Dame professor.

Vatican II made me wince. The church declared casual Friday. All the once-rigid rules left to the whim of the flock. The Mass was said in English (rendering useless my carefully learned Latin prayers). Holy days of obligation were optional. There were laypeople on the heretofore sacred ground of the altar — performing the sacraments and worse, handling the Host. The powerful symbolism of the priest turning the Host into the body of Christ cracked like an egg.

In his book, ‘Goodbye! Good Men,’ author Michael Rose writes that the liberalized rules set up a takeover of seminaries by homosexuals.

Vatican II liberalized rules but left the most outdated one: celibacy. That vow was put in place originally because the church did not want heirs making claims on money and land. But it ended up shrinking the priest pool and producing the wrong kind of candidates — drawing men confused about their sexuality who put our children in harm’s way.

The church is dying from a thousand cuts. Its cover-up has cost a fortune and been a betrayal worthy of Judas. The money spent came from social programs, Catholic schools and the poor. This should be a sin that cries to heaven for vengeance. I asked a friend of mine recently what he would do if his child was molested after the church knew. ‘I would probably kill someone,’ he replied.

We must reassess. Married priests and laypeople giving the sacraments are not going to destroy the church. Based on what we have seen the last 10 years, they would be a bargain. It is time to go back to the disciplines that the church was founded on and remind our seminaries and universities what they are. (Georgetown University agreeing to cover religious symbols on stage to get President Obama to speak was not exactly fierce.)

The storm within the church strikes at what every Catholic fears most. We take our religion on faith. How can we maintain that faith when our leaders are unworthy of it?”

Offline Hypestyle

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Re: The Church’s Judas Moment by Maureen Dowd/NY Times
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2010, 11:41:09 am »
..intriguing... I can remember halfway considering the priesthood in adolescence, the semi-annual pitches that were made in my schools from 6th grade forward.. but the celibacy thing was too much of a dealbreaker for me.. no girls.. ever? never? eh..  :-\
« Last Edit: April 07, 2010, 11:49:19 am by Hypestyle »
Be Kind to Someone Today.

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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The Catholic Church's Waterloo: Why The Pope Should Step Down
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2010, 02:19:22 pm »
Keli Goff
Author, commentator and contributor to
Posted: March 26, 2010 03:09 PM
The Catholic Church's Waterloo: Why The Pope Should Step Down

It's a sad state of affairs when new allegations of Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse are greeted with the same measure of surprise as another Tiger Woods porn star: none at all.

At this point the story has to take a particularly egregious and shocking turn to warrant front-page news coverage. This week it did. The Vatican -- not a local parish, or a local papal leader, but the Vatican itself -- stands accused of halting an investigation into a Wisconsin priest believed to have molested 200 deaf boys over a 20-year period. (Yes, you read that correctly.)

As reported by the Associated Press, the case bears disturbing similarities to a case in Italy in which a group of priests is also accused of preying on a group of deaf children, and on that matter the Vatican is also accused of dragging its feet. But even more shocking, the New York Times reports that during his tenure as Cardinal, Pope Benedict was cc'd on a 1980 memo that notified him and others of the return of a known pedophile to a parish. The priest was eventually convicted of molesting boys there. But I'm sure that came as no surprise to the people who helped put him there, which, no matter how you dress it up, includes the current Pope. And that's what makes these stories a turning point.

Let me ask you a question: if a memo surfaced making it clear that a CEO knew that a product was highly dangerous but turned a blind eye as the product was given to children during his career, ultimately injuring thousands of them beyond repair, would that CEO keep his corner office? No, because every mother and father of an injured child would demand his head, or at the very least his resignation. Yet for some reason the Vatican appears willing to protect Pope Benedict at all costs, despite the fact that his judgment has been proven reckless at the very least, and legally questionable at worst. For years, the leadership of the Church has tried to convince us that it operates with a level of confusion and disjointedness equivalent to the FBI and CIA pre-9/11 and that this is to blame for its own homegrown terrorist disaster. But now these documents have revealed that that is simply not true: the Church operates deliberately.

Before anyone starts the "you-must-be-anti-Catholic-and-anti-faith" chorus, let me say that nothing could be further from the truth, as regular readers of my writing know. I am not anti-Catholic, anti-religious, or anti-faith, but I am anti-pedophile, and I am even more fervently opposed to those who would protect pedophiles.

You can always tell a lot about a person, organization, or institution by how they respond to a crisis. President Bush's handling of Katrina will forever be haunted by echoes of "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job," which became a YouTube symbol for how hopelessly out of touch he and his administration were. But the most telling sign is when those who stand accused, and whose guilt is in the process of morphing from maybe to certainly in the eyes of the public, go on the attack. Think former president Bill Clinton angrily declaring, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman," and then going after the "vast right-wing conspiracy." (Yes I know there probably was one, but I think we're all in agreement by now that we can't really blame them for Lewinsky.) Think Gov. David Paterson insinuating that his gubernatorial woes were, in part, racially based. But when the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano recently attempted to blame the media for its current image crisis, it demonstrated a level of gall wrapped in chutzpah with a good dose of delusion sprinkled in that not even Bush, Clinton, or Paterson could match. The media was accused, in part, of acting as if the church "were the only one responsible for sexual abuses -- an image that does not correspond to reality."

Yes, the reality is that there are pedophiles elsewhere, many of them in prison where they belong, but many more not. But is the Vatican arguing on the record that it should be viewed just like any other business or institution in the secular world, where vigilantly protecting children from pedophiles is simply the price of doing business?

People of faith should -- and do -- expect more of our religious leaders, especially when these same leaders continue to try to dictate the morality of others.

But hypocrisy aside, the impact and level of victimization of this scandal reaches far wider than Jim and Tammy Faye Baker, Jimmy Swaggert, and Ted Haggard combined, as does Pope Benedict's role in this victimization. Yet while they all tearily resigned, his job so far appears to be safe.

If Pope Benedict is interested in saving his "company" -- the Catholic Church, in this instance -- then he should do what any CEO who had a role in distributing a dangerous product would do: fall on his sword by resigning. If he does not, then he and the church he leads are sending a clear message that they consider themselves above not only the law but possibly God. And if that is the case, then perhaps its remaining parishioners should send the Church the same message that they would send to a company that endangered their children with its products: boycott that company right out of business.

Offline Battle

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Re: The Church’s Judas Moment by Maureen Dowd/NY Times
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2010, 09:22:18 am »
Now I understand why Sinead O' Conner ripped the pope's photograph in two at the end of her Saturday Night Live performance 20 years ago... :-[

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Connecticut bishops fight sex abuse bill
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2010, 09:31:37 pm »
Connecticut bishops fight sex abuse bill From Jamie Guzzardo, CNN
April 11, 2010 10:30 p.m. EDT
Hartford, Connecticut (CNN) -- A bill in Connecticut's legislature that would remove the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse cases has sparked a fervent response from the state's Roman Catholic bishops, who released a letter to parishioners Saturday imploring them to oppose the measure.

Under current Connecticut law, sexual abuse victims have 30 years past their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit. The proposed change to the law would rescind that statute of limitations.

The proposed change to the law would put "all Church institutions, including your parish, at risk," says the letter, which was signed by Connecticut's three Roman Catholic bishops.

The letter is posted on the Web site of the Connecticut Catholic Public Affairs Conference, the public policy and advocacy office of Connecticut's Catholic bishops. It asks parishioners to contact their legislators in opposition of the bill.

The "legislation would undermine the mission of the Catholic Church in Connecticut, threatening our parishes, our schools, and our Catholic Charities," the letter says.

The Catholic archdiocese of Hartford also published a pulpit announcement on its Web site, which was to be read during Mass on Sunday, urging parishioners to express opposition to the bill.

The bill has been revised to address some of the church's concerns about frivolous abuse claims against it, according to Connecticut state Rep. Beth Bye, one of the bill's sponsors.

"The church didn't recognize that this bill makes improvements," Bye said. "The victims -- their lives have been changed and some will never recover from years of sexual abuse. For me, it's about giving them access to the courts."

Under the bill's provisions, anyone older than 48 who makes a sex abuse claim against the church would need to join an existing claim filed by someone 48 or younger. Older claimants would need to show substantial proof that they were abused.

"They were worried about frivolous lawsuits and so we made the bar high," Bye said.

The bill does not target the Catholic Church, she said.

The bishops' letter raised concerns that the bill would allow claims that are 70 years or older, in which "key individuals are deceased, memories have been faded, and documents and other evidence have been lost." The letter said that the majority of cases would be driven by "trial lawyers hoping to profit from these cases."

The bill passed in Connecticut's House of Representatives, and Bye said the state Senate should vote on it in the next week or two.