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« The First Father Matthias Lu Memorial Lecture... | Main | An Augustinian Wasteland: A Canticle for Leibowitz Fifty Years Later »

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Comments

Thomas S

I think Fr. Fessio might have accidentally conflated the Wisconsin case with the Arizona case during the interview.

Beefalo

I think he conflated the Wisconsin case (Murphy) and the Oakland case (Kielse).

Scott123

yes he was getting it all mixed up.
I can't believe how this whole entire issue is confused and messed up ---
I think it is just becoming fodder for bigots and those that have an axe to grind against the church.
I hope our Holy Father surprises the world by setting up an inquisition to police the morality of the clergy, including their sexuality, doctrinal views and liturgical actions.
This is a good time to purge the Church, and indeed the media and liberals can't criticize, because they have instigated for action!

MotuProprio

Thank you Fr. Fessio. At this point any defense of the Catholic Faith is most, most welcome. Like you said, Pope Benedict was the one who wanted to speed the condemnation of homosexual/pederast priests up. Ratzinger lifted the statute of limitations for perverts. All Catholics must stand shoulder-to-shoulder in defense of the Catholic Church at this time, because what the Evil One seeks is to destroy the authority of the successors of Peter. The Communists at Reuters, AP, and the NYT are out to get US because we represent the last hope of humanity.

Ben Joseph

Pope Benedict is certainly innocent of any wrong doing. However, if the practice of the Catholic Church throughout the world and throughout the centuries has been the reappointment of abusive priests to parish after parish...the best medicine right now is to admit the truth; admit a lack of understanding of the phenomenon; admit the slowness in learning from the social sciences; admit its concern for the theology of “you are a priest forever” and its care for its priest sons; admit its underestimation of the profound harm sexual abuse causes to the victims; admit its preoccupation of not causing scandal. Let’s admit our profound ignorance, our lack of constant evaluation of the centuries old practice of handling sexual abuse by the clergy and our shame and uneasiness in facing the issue squarely in the face. If the Universal Church had done this eight years ago when the problem irrupted in the American Church, we would not be in this mess right now. (If you editors don’t print this comment, then have the curtesy to please tell me the reason why not).

Carl E. Olson

If the Universal Church had done this eight years ago when the problem irrupted in the American Church, we would not be in this mess right now.

You are aware that the vast majority of abuse cases date from the 1950s-1970s? And that the instances of abuse cases reported in the past ten years has been incredibly small? I think we can all agree that more can be done, things can be done better, certain things can be done more quickly. But acting as though this has not been, or is not being addressed, fails to honestly assess what has been happening for the past 10 to 15 years.

Ben Joseph

Mr. Olsen, you didn't read my comment thoroughly to understand it. Sexual abuse by the clergy has been occurring for centuries in the Universal Church as any Church Historian can tell you. The reported cases and subsequent media coverage is something all together new. In the past, the abusers confessed and received penance while both abuser and confessor hoped that “a firm purpose of amendment” would eventually resolve the issue. The practice of the Church for centuries has always been to remove the offending priest to another locality. A priest was “a priest forever” and never to be ousted because of this “sin” or any sin whatsoever. Both society and the Church were ignorant of so called deviant sexuality. Moreover, both Church authorities and society in general underestimated the profound psycho-sexual harm sexual abuse had on young victims. Victims rarely spoke publicly not only because of both the shame and the fear involved but also because of ignorance on this issue in every sector of society. Only with the advance of the social sciences did we begin to understand the problem a “little” better. (We still have a long way to go). Even up to 1950, rarely did you see the subject of “pedophilia” treated in psychology textbooks. As the second half of the 20th century advanced, the sexual revolution kicked in and created a dominant zeitgeist of the age. Though dreadful in many of its consequences, it had a silver lining: it encouraged open and free discourse on sexuality in general as well as a more honest and forthright approach to one’s own sexual history. Myriads of books, articles and research papers, television and radio shows, (and now the internet) appeared in the literature as in no other epoch before. Married people began talking about their intimate sexual lives while others talked about their own adultery, promiscuity, homosexuality, masturbation, transexualism, gender identity disorders, etc. People began to reveal sexual wounds including being abused as minors by adults. (After Oprah Winfrey publicly revealed her own painful experience of sexual abuse on TV, more and more people felt the courage to admit a similar event in their own lives).
The Church at first seemed to be leery of the development of social sciences but little by little, very slowly, took advantage of their results. Both society and the Church were on a learning excursion, with the Church being a bit behind and cautious. The social sciences themselves were still developing with new and greater findings. Yet the practice of reappointing sexually abusive priests to other parishes after repentance or psychological rehabilitation continued. But the same practice continued in other institutions regarding rabbis, pastors, teachers, hospital workers, daycare center employees, etc. Ignorance of this phenomenon was not a special mark of the Church only! And here, the present day Press is being hypocritical in stigmatizing the Church as criminal, negligent and nefarious. The Media is showing itself to be most ignorant of all, an ignoramus noise maker without historical perspective.
The Church would do well to make a vast, professional study on sexual abuse in its 2000 year existence, drawing on her own excellent Scholars of History, Monasticism, Cultural Anthropology, Canon Law, the Sacrament of Penance, etc. but also her own present day professionals in Psychology and Sociology. This will be a valuable tool in overcoming the present, unjust hysteria as well as a mammoth contribution to society in general.
So, yes indeed, “if the Universal Church had done this eight years ago when the problem irrupted in the American Church, we would not be in this mess right now”.
What has certainly not been addressed is the honest admission of transferring abusive priests from one place to another over the centuries in every culture. What is not being admitted is our historical ignorance of the problem. This is not an accusation but a sheer fact. It is only being addressed now because of all the publicity and public denunciations by the victims and because of a better knowledge of the issue. If the Church has been finally acting on this issue over the past 10 to 15 years, she has not yet honestly assessed what has been happening for the past 2000 years. That would open up a vast, pedagogical perspective for the healing and the good of all!

Manuel G. Daugherty Razetto

Nothing is more instructive than to observe the way in which some who think themselves wiser than the Church, fall into questionable footing.

You are right Carl, cases of sex abuse have been reduced lately; that proves how seriously determined has the Church been; how great efforts shown are deemed insufficient at a time when dioceses are very busy working on it.

I cannot but doubt the premise thrown at the Church for two thousand years of guilt for sexual abuse insisting for forgiveness, etc. This sounds very much like the relativists demanding apologies from the pope (every pope) when visiting Israel.

I feel we must be firm and resolute against those who put the blame on the Church with apparent scientific reasons; why she is a failure due to ignorance on the matter. I am doubtful of hazy authority claiming to be the so called social sciences.

The teaching of social sciences in matters of sex will not change fundamental precepts of Church morality, especially for two reasons:
a.- The catholic concept of sin.
b.- social sciences are greatly influenced by non or anti-christian agendas. Some examples: acceptance of Lamda org., transexuality, abortion, incest.

I submit, as well, that generally espeaking such sciences are neither precise nor quite successful. I'll mention some cases:
Margaret Mead's indigenous sexual behaviour studies, who twisted data to prove false announcements; knowledge thus acquired and opinion thus formed were defective. A failure.

Sigmund Freud's outlandish conclusions can be labeled today as exaggerated`; ordinary rules about sex were deduced from extreme cases.

Dr Kinsey's conclusions are now questionable.

I cannot conclude without mentioning a contemporaneous case: Tiger Woods. Do we believe he got cured of his problem by such scientific treatment at the Sex Clinic? I hope so.

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