John Allen Article on the Belgian Abuse Crisis

This an excellent article by John Allen from the National Catholic Reporter. (posted 13th September) is on the Belgian sexual abuse crisis and the role of the Bishops. 
I really did not want to post this latest revelation, the Cardinal Danneels scandal. It just seems to get worse.

The crime itself, the cover up, the easy and incompetent discounter statement : "you can always blame it on a few retired "bad apples,")...  They just continue stumbling along hoping things will magically get better.
This cover-up didn't happen decades ago--it happened in April of this year!

Like so many articles on these and other contentious issues in the church it becomes ever more difficult to plough through them without revulsion, a deep sense of unease and a heartfelt desire for renewal in my church.

Because I am writing at a time when Catholics are awaiting the papal visit in the UK, I also hesitate as to what to write these days but I can't ignore what is going on or collude with whitewash and defensive stances that are so obviously just a desperate buttress against the truth and these issues are important to everyone.

Undoubtedly,there has been some awful one - sided vitriol in the media against my church and this too needs countering but I can only go by my conscience in deciding to air these articles and hope that they are chosen with some discernment  and recognition of the integrity of the author.  I believe John Allen is a respected journalist.
I also believe that these articles are part of a much bigger blog that celebrates and honours the word of God and the love of Jesus Christ who wants us all to be "One".

The comments section that follows John Allens report is thoughtful and has many diverse points of view.

I agreed with this comment by Tom W.

"There still remains ONE other fraternity to which they all belong: priests trained before Vatican II. I see many conservative Catholics blame the sexual abuse crisis on the "permissive" or "lax" theology that was ushered in after the Second Vatican Council, but in fact it was the openness of Vatican II that seems to have empowered victims to come forward. 
As is the case with much of the abuse itself that took place, so too with this fraternity of disgraced bishops: it was the training and teaching of pre-Vatican II priestly formation that has proven to be a constant throughout the abuse crisis.
I mention this because many of our younger priests and newly-minted deacons increasingly see the "old" ways as the better ones, and I fear that the abuse crisis (or something similar) will rear its ugly head in new ways as this "reform of the reform" continues on its path."
and also this one by Joseph Jaglowicz

As you've suggested, these abuse cases were handled by men trained in the Tridentine church. The clerical culture, centuries in the making, elevated the ordained and subordinated the laity.
And now we have a pope whose response has been muddled at best. On the one hand, B16 sentenced Maciel to a life of prayer and penance, but, on the other hand, Ratzinger has been hell-bent on restoring all the cultural artifacts and beliefs of a monarchical papacy that lie at the heart of the institutional rot and decay of the Church of Rome."

But as one of the comments quoted , I too I find this statement below  by Pope Benedict incredulous ...........
  "The problem of abuse by clergy is solved more by a spirit of penitence and conversion by its members than by a radical change of church structures, Pope Benedict XVI said" (NCR).
and as another commentator says 

"Can the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church be blind to the fact that its actions in continuing on its present course are speeding up an already unprecedented erosion of credibility among the ordinary faithful who want to cling to the belief that church leadership is capable of telling the truth and being accountable for its failures in protecting children?..............................................................."
My own view concurs with this fear even though the laws on sexual abuse have been clarified and revised now (Thank God).
None of this sits light in my heart and mind and soul and I all I can pray today is that the visit of Pope Benedict will not be a shallow and futile flop.

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colkoch said...

Phil, I would have chosen the same two comments. The crisis in leadership is a product of pre vatican II training and it is precisely that clerical world which Benedict is desparate to save.

But the second states the real truth. Does the hierarchy even care that the laity are losing all trust in the Vatican's ability to tell the truth or submit to any real accountability. Actually I wonder how many of them are capable of seeing the truth, much less telling the truth.

It is all so frustrating and at the same time heart breaking.

Philomena Ewing said...

Hi, Colleen,
It is great to have your comments
It is also relief and a great support to hear your own comments are in agreement as I really am questioning my own self when I am writing about the mess the church is in. But every day the hierarchy responses get clearly more and more guarded or so appallingly condescending it makes me cringe.