Sunday, August 19, 2018

As Papal Visit to Ireland Nears, More Commentary on Abuse Crimes in Church: Cover-Up Directed from "Central Command and Control, Which Is the Vatican"

A Belfast priest has said Pope Francis should cancel his visit to Ireland because of the issue of clerical sex abuse. 
Fr Patrick McCafferty told his west Belfast congregation that "the pope should not come to Ireland". 
"I am going to say something now that will shock you," said Fr McCafferty at the masses in the Corpus Christi Church where he is the parish priest. 
"With two weeks to go to the pope's brief visit to Ireland, for the World Meeting of Families, I think the pope should cancel his scheduled appearance and stay away from the event," he said. 
Fr McCafferty, himself a victim of clerical sex abuse, said there would be men "appearing alongside" Pope Francis who had "very serious questions to answer" about what they knew about clerical sex abuse. 
The priest, in homilies last Saturday and Sunday, details of which have now emerged, has confirmed to The Irish Times he was referring to three cardinals who are due to take part in the World Meeting of Families in Dublin next week.

Former president Mary McAleese has accused Pope Francis of being in a mode of thinking that puts the defence of the Catholic Church as an institution ahead of the interests of victims of clerical child sexual abuse…. 
She said the covering-up of abuse by bishops was not only systemic, but that it was directed from what she called "central command and control, which is the Vatican."

Pope Francis’s record on child protection 'has been a dismal failure" and 'he needs to come [to Ireland] with a mindset that it's not good enough to simply apologise for what has happened', the former chief executive of the Irish Catholic Church's National Board for Safeguarding Children has said. 
Ian Elliott said Pope Francis "needs to say: 'This is what we're going to do now, this is how we're going to move forward, these are the initiatives we're going to drive through.:

I wake up this morning, click to Google, and the top article it recommends for me is an attack on Pope Francis by a Canadian priest disguised as concern that Francis' encyclical Amor laetitia does not quote Saint John Paul the Great's Veritatis splendor.

We need Saint John Paul the Great to teach us morality! this essay thunders from the pages of the conservative British publication Catholic Herald.

Then I click to Yahoo to read my mail, and the top article is one by Yahoo Lifestyle claiming a kiss from Pope Francis has cured a baby of a brain tumor.

My thoughts on these two clashing stories: Catholic officials (and the complicit media) really do think lay Catholics are dumb enough to be diverted from the Pennsylvania horror show by claims of papal miracles and claims that the very same pope who made McCarrick a cardinal while knowing his history, who made Wuerl a bishop, and who protected the notorious predator Marcial Maciel, is the great wondrous savior on whom we must rely to learn morality.

Please. It's this abusive treatment of the laity as dumb animals that's at the root of it all, of all the abuse

Patricia McCormick: "What Father Bradel Did to Me": 

She called the diocese to be sure her report of girlhood abuse by her parish priest was logged into diocesan records. She was put through to a priest who told her that Father could not ever have done that, and he'd give her the name of the diocesan counselor. She asked who this priest was, and he told her he was the advocate for accused priests in the diocese.

The whole system of handling abuse reports was handled totally in-house, within the diocese, designed to shut up and shame survivors and to make sure priests accused of abuse were treated from the outset as totally innocent.

Serbin is also disappointed with the Vatican's response, which came two full days after the damning report from Pennsylvania was released. "Three popes have been involved in overseeing this [scandal] since I started. I really think they are as much responsible as each of the bishops and church leaders in the States," he says. "They knew there were serious problems. They knew children were being harmed for life. They knew families were being torn apart. Some of these child predators were so perverted, and I don't know how any decent human being, not only a member of a religious organization, could look at this other than with disgust.  And this still shocks me to this day. This should never happen again. And these bishops and church leaders, these heads should roll."

And (thanks to Sarasi for sharing this), there's another statement online addressing the U.S. Catholic bishops that invites signatures from those who support it: Statement of Catholic Theologians, Educators, Parishioners, and Lay Leaders On Clergy Sexual Abuse in the United States. An excerpt:

Today, we call on the Catholic Bishops of the United States to prayerfully and genuinely consider submitting to Pope Francis their collective resignation as a public act of repentance and lamentation before God and God’s People. … 
The catastrophic scale and historical magnitude of the abuse makes clear that this is not a case of "a few bad apples" but rather a radical systemic injustice manifested at every level of the Church. Systemic sin cannot be ended through individual goodwill. Its wounds are not healed through statements, internal investigations, or public relations campaigns but rather through collective accountability, transparency, and truth-telling. We are responsible for the house we live in, even if we did not build it ourselves. This is why we call on the U.S. Bishops to offer their resignations collectively, in recognition of the systemic nature of this evil (bold-face in original).

I've had two interesting emails in the past two days from people who follow this blog, from whom I had not ever heard before. Both encourage me to keep blogging and tell me that this blog reaches more people than I may imagine it does. One of these, a fellow Arkansan, tells me he walked away from the church some time ago when he saw there was no intent of church officials seriously, honestly, meaningfully to address the abuse crimes and their criminal cover-up. I'm quoting this private email without disclosing identifying information about the person who sent it to me, because it is private.

This correspondent sent me the statement of the bishop of Little Rock, Bishop Taylor, about the McCarrick story and the Pennsylvania grand jury report. The bishop tells his flock that "we are a Church of sinners and Satan prowls the world seeking the ruin of souls, but more powerful that [sic] evil is the power of the Holy Spirit who continues to guide us in every age."

This response to this dark kairotic moment in the church is more than a little defensive and theologically shallow, is it not? Nor is it in any way an effective pastoral response to hurting members of the bishop's flock who have been harmed by church officials. My correspondent tells me:

In light of the grand jury report from Pennsylvania, I was surprised at how angry the bishop's pitiful response made me all over again. Barely a mention of the victims ("prayers" for the ones he bothers to mention at all) and a litany of how difficult it has been for him to hear the latest news, as well as how "unspeakably disheartening" this has been for him.

And I wholeheartedly agree. They do not get it. They do not intend to get it. Such pastoral action as will ever resolve this situation must come from lay Catholics — if there's to be any such action at all.

(Thanks to Sarasi for information about the statements of Father Patrick McCafferty in Belfast.) 

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