Friday, April 30, 2010

White hats, black hats…

A very brief article by Phil Lawler notes the following:

With the latest revelations by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, a clear picture begins to emerge from what had been a haze of confusion about the Vatican's approach to sex-abuse complaints.

There was a conflict within the Roman Curia over how these complaints should be handled. That conflict apparently endured through much of the pontificate of John Paul II. It ended with the election of Benedict XVI.

… The Congregation for the Clergy, under Cardinal Castrillon, argued for protective treatment of accused abusers. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) under Cardinal Ratzinger, argued for decisive disciplinary action. Sometimes Cardinal Ratzinger had his way, as in the handling of the Groër case; sometimes he was frustrated, as with Maciel case; sometimes the results were indecisive, as with the Burresi case.

Then in 2001, after the abuse scandal exploded in the US, Cardinal Ratzinger won a major victory, with the assignment of abuse cases to the CDF. The lenient attitude of the Congregation for Clergy was no longer a factor; prompt and serious discipline was possible. The second, decisive victory came in 2005 with the election of Pope Ratzinger. Within weeks the Maciel and Burresi cases were resolved.

That to which Lawler refers about Cdl. Hoyos is basically the following, as reported in another article from Catholic World News:

Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, the former prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, has escalated his defense of a policy that protected priests from prosecution for sexual abuse. Meanwhile the National Catholic Reporter has unearthed evidence that Cardinal Castrillon pressured an American bishop to halt disciplinary proceedings against a notorious abuser.

In an April 22 radio interview, Cardinal Castrillon said that he did not regret writing in 2001 to congratulate a French bishop for not informing police about an abusive priest. He said that for a bishop to inform on a priest would be like a father testifying in court against a child. "Why would they ask that of the Church?" he said.

Without making any definitive judgments about Hoyos' soul and penitential status in the Church, I must say this is one of the worst cases of clericalism I've seen. It's like my confessor told me this afternoon, "Don't feel too bad if you don't have moral credibility. The Church has always been that way. It really is like a sinking ship––and it really looks like it's about to sink at any moment––but we have to keep going. That's why we have faith, the hope to keep us going." It certainly is what's keeping me going. Confessed, cleansed, chastened, clear-in-waiting. Hear Christ:

[Luke 6:21] "Blessed are you that hunger now, for you shall be satisfied.
"Blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh.
[22] "Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of man! [23] Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.
[24] "But woe to you that are rich, for you have received your consolation.
[25] "Woe to you that are full now, for you shall hunger. "Woe to you that laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.
[26] "Woe to you, when all men speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.
[27] "But I say to you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, [28] bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.

I doubt there are harder words to hear and heed from our Lord than the above at times like these, especially that last clause as it strikes the wounded ears of the abused victims. Mater Dei, ora pro nobis!


Crude said...

One thing that has always heartened me is that I've not, for a long time, viewed the Church as run by morally perfect beings. But what cured me of that wasn't any modern or middle ages scandal - I just read the bible.

Peter, the Rock, was a lot of things. Morally or dutifully perfect? That depiction isn't even attempted.

Pray for those who abuse us, and do good to those who hate us. Hard to live by. And yet, we really must try.

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

There's nothing like Catholic offenses to generate people's long lost sense of absolute justice and morality. Nor anything which more starkly elicits the cognitive dissonance between natural-selectionism and realism, to wit, the profound but seldom faced dissonance between saying what is now, distasteful or not, has successfully adapted by promoting selection vs. saying what is now, and is bad, must be changed based on our selections. If "religion" is "just" a function of social epigenetics and memes, and its moral trappings are just struts for selective survival, then it's achieved selective excellence, and should be heeded as an awesome selectionist modality. That is, if our basis for morality is what has been selected up to our present time, then we can only rely on selected moral standards to praise or pan religion (and anything else, including our approbation of selectionist ethics). If, however, religion is bad BECAUSE it is just an overweening epigenetic meme, and must be destroyed for the good of the human species (ahh, creeping finality once again), then clearly natural selection can't be the only criterion we have for "natural morality."

In any case, yes, as depressing as the actions of many have been, they are not the Church. I don't know who it was but I dimly recall a philosopher or some notable figure in his day telling Napoleon or some other great figure that he should stop trying to destroy the Church in his lifetime, since the bishops have tried and failed for centuries.

Also, why don't you have a blog?


Crude said...

Yeah, the hypocrisy is wild and evident. I've more and more been of the mind that there is not and likely has never been a 'religious' versus 'secular' dispute. The dispute is actually 'religious' versus 'religious'. Always has been. Likely always will be. Well, until a certain end anyway.

And, I should probably pick one up. I comment enough in other people's blogs, may as well give others the privilege!

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

Verily! Good bloggers always begin as great commenters. Just look at me. (haha, gonna have to put some penance on that joke)

Anonymous said...

Bishop Tomas-Martin is a bishop in the Catholic Church and is also a victim of clergy sexual abuse. He has issued a statement defending victims of clergy sexual abuse and condemning the bishops and cardinals for hiding this crisis. Please go to to read the statement.

mightygreekwritingmachine said...

"In an April 22 radio interview, Cardinal Castrillon said that he did not regret writing in 2001 to congratulate a French bishop for not informing police about an abusive priest. He said that for a bishop to inform on a priest would be like a father testifying in court against a child. "Why would they ask that of the Church?" he said."

Really, what sort of logic is he's putting forth? Bishops don't bare priests (priests aren't children)--fathers and mothers do, and they can't testify against their own child or any child. Maybe Satan is in the halls of the Vatican and perhaps he's had some meals with Cardinal Hoyos.