Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Tom Doyle on Why Clericalism Is Primary Root of Catholic Abuse Horror Show (Contra Benedict)

The emeritus pope recently published a statement about the abuse horror show in the Catholic church which makes absolutely no mention at all of the roots of this horror show in clericalism, and which takes no responsibility, on the part of the clerical governing sector of the church, for this horror show and the cover-up of clerical abuse for years. The emeritus pope's statements blaming the Catholic abuse horrors on the 1960s, not clericalism, were followed by a statement by the emeritus prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Müller, affirming the emeritus pope's analysis and suggesting that the clericalism explanation of the abuse situation in the church is "ideological."

Here's a recent statement by one of the people who knows more than anyone else about the Catholic abuse story, Thomas Doyle. This is the opening part of an essay entitled "The Sexual Abuse Crisis is Not a Crisis" that I'd like to recommend to you in its entirety:

The clerical leadership of the Catholic church has been aware of sexual violation of minors and vulnerable adults for centuries. This tragic reality is a critical problem, even though it has been buried in secrecy. The secrecy ended in the mid-80s, when the media exposed the church’s cover-up of a prolific priest-perpetrator in Louisiana. Often referred to as a "crisis," it is, in truth, not a crisis. It is something much worse. It is a worldwide manifestation of a complex, systemic and self-destructive condition in the church. It is giving us a view of today's version of the Dark Side of the institutional church. 
The hierarchy has been trying to fix what it considers a temporary problem for more than three decades with no real or lasting success. Despite the countless statements, programs, apologies, explanations and excuses provided by popes and bishops, the toxicity is still very much a part of today's church. Essential to moving towards any healing is the real acceptance by the clerical estate that the church is not limited to the clergy and those enmeshed in ecclesiastical governance, but is what Vatican II called "The People of God," of which the hierarchy is but a very small part. Much of the bumbling and even disastrous response thus far has been justified by those responsible as being "for the good of the church." "Church," however, has not meant what is best for the entire community of believers. Instead, it means what is best for the image, the reputation, the power and the financial security of the clerical elite. The persistent failure to make it all go away is akin to trying to fix a hardware problem with a software solution. … 
First, it is essential to acknowledge the most glaring aspects of causality. The clerical culture, or clericalism, is the most commonly identified contributor. This is a world set apart from the rest of society. It is sustained by the toxic belief that the ordained are not only set apart from lay people but superior to them. This belief fosters the narcissism and sense of entitlement so common among clerics. It also creates a detachment from children, family and the role of intimacy in life to the extent that many clerics simply cannot comprehend the devastation parents experience when their child is sexually violated.

Given a choice between Tom Doyle's analysis and that of the two emeriti hierararchs, I'll take the former in a heartbeat. Because Tom Doyle is seeking to tell the truth….

(Thanks to Ruth Krall for sharing this article with me.)

The photo of Thomas Doyle is from Richard Sipe's website.

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