following are my views on some of the recent Church statements
regarding modern life and its challenges. A particularly useful
source is Zenit: (www.zenit.org).
- On the Economic Sphere. "Therefore,
even in competition, 'the Church's social doctrine holds that
authentically human social relationships of friendship, solidarity and
reciprocity can also be conducted within economic activity, and not
only outside it or after
it. The economic sphere is neither ethically neutral, nor
inherently inhuman and opposed to society. It is part and parcel
of human activity and precisely because it is human, it must be
structured and governed in an ethical manner.'" (Zenit,
8/23/09). I can't improve on that.
the Priesthood, in this, the Year of the Priest. Several
articles declare the central role of the Catholic priest, the only
human being who can change bread and wine into the true presence of
Jesus Christ for all the Faithful to receive, despite our
unworthiness. That gift is derivative from the Bishops, the
successors of the Apostles. But it is theirs upon ordination to
the priesthood; and thus they should be more highly valued than they
are in the Church hierarchy. They should be obedient, within the
understanding of filial respect. But this should not preclude
assistance, correction and guidance of father by son when
Culture of Life is
discussed in a Zenit article dated 11/21/09. "Without God, man no longer perceives
himself as 'mysteriously other' in relation to the various earthly
creatures, and is considered as one of many living beings, as an
organizm that, at best, has reached a very high level of
perfection...." Sound familiar? That is the immoral
and amoral subtext to all of the rationalizations justifying abortion,
human cloning, embryonic stem cell research, and euthanasia.
After all, we "humans" are only the latest in a line of evolutionary
beings stretching from the amoeba to our present imperfect state.
And forget that the Son of God, for our unique sake, became Man...not
Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, through its
President William Donohue and its publication, Catalyst
(www.catholicleague.org) regularly shines a spotlight on the constant
defamations piled on the Church by people who are generally
guilt-ridden and worried about their own past and future. What
else can explain the vitriol?
- The Church is rightly mounting a sustained
defense of Marriage, the life-long union of a man and a woman as
the foundation of society. Where the Church over-reaches, without
jurisdiction and with sad consequences, in my opinion, is in the
discharge by such a loving and committed couple of their inherent
charge to develop responsibly a family of offspring for whom they can
properly care. Here, the only forbidden action would be anything
that destroys or manipulates an already conceived fertilized ovum from
the instant of fertilization.
- The outreach by the Church to dis-affected members of the
Anglican Church is, in my opinion, is a true manifestation of
the Faith, Hope and Charity that sustains Christianity. And it is being
offered with proper sensitivity and accommodation to fellow
Christians. I hope that there is no retreat from the
implementation of this offer. (See the article in America magazine
entitled "Bridge Over the River Tiber",
Nov. 16, 2009).
- What to do with
pro-abortion "Catholics" and "Catholic politicians" during
their lives...and after death. This is an important source of
continuing discord and distress among Catholic Bishops, priests and the
Laity, most recently crystallized in the debate among Archbishop
Raymond Burke, Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley and the Kennedy
family. In my opinion, such individuals should not be offered
Holy Communion during their lives - until they repent or until their
deaths, when the justice and the mercy of God should not be anticipated
or pre-empted by refusal of Christian burial.
- Finally for now, there follows an article on the
statement by Irish prelates on the rampant child abuse reported
to have occurred between 1975 and 2004 in that bastion of
Catholicism. The article is printed below as the only way to
distinguish this clear, unambiguous and heartfelt cry from the
obfuscation and obstruction of justice that defined the approach of the
American hierarchy to this disaster...culminating in a coronation-like
sendoff for Cardinal Law before his deportation to Rome. The
epitome of "what's right...and wrong...with the Catholic Church".
ZENIT, The world seen from Rome
Irish Prelates Lament Report on Child Abuse
Say No Apology Is Sufficient
DUBLIN, Ireland, NOV. 27, 2009 (Zenit.org).- In response to the
publication of a report about sexual abuse of children by clergy, the
archbishop of Dublin is stating that "no apology is sufficient."
The report, which details abuse cases in the Dublin Archdiocese from
1975 to 2004 and the response of Church and state authorities to these
accusations, was published Thursday by the Commission of Investigation.
The investigation began three years ago, under the leadership of
Justice Yvonne Murphy, a High Court judge from Dublin.
The publication of this Dublin report comes several months after
the Ryan report, which detailed widespread child abuse in Catholic
schools throughout the country.
In a statement posted on the Dublin archdiocesan Web site after the
Murphy report's public release, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin affirmed,
"It is difficult to find words to describe how I feel today."
"What can I say," he continued, "when I have to share with you the
revolting story of the sexual assault and rape of so many young
children and teenagers by priests of the archdiocese or who ministered
in the diocese?"
"No words of apology will ever be sufficient," the prelate said.
He thanked Murphy for the "diligent and professional work in producing
this report" which, he affirmed, "will provide an invaluable framework
for how we can better protect the children of today and the future."
No report, the archbishop acknowledged, "can give an indication of the
suffering and trauma endured by the children, and indeed the suffering
also of their family members."
He continued: "Many survivors have not yet been able to speak about
abuse they experienced. For them the publication of the report must be
Archbishop Martin urges these victims to "turn to some trusted friend,
to a counselor or counseling service of their choice," or to the
Diocesan Child Protection Service in order to seek help.
This report, he said, "highlights devastating failings of the past"
that "call on all of us to scrupulously apply clear guidelines and
"One of the most heartbreaking aspects of the report," the prelate
affirmed, "is that while Church leaders -- bishops and religious
superiors -- failed," many parents worked hard to try to stop the abuse.
He explained that "almost every parent who came to the diocese to
report abuse clearly understood the awfulness of what was involved."
Archbishop Martin continued: "Almost exclusively their primary
motivation was to try to ensure that what happened to their child, or
in some case to themselves, did not happen to other children.
"Their motivation was not about money or revenge; it was quite simply
about that most basic human sense of right and wrong and that basic
Christian motivation of concern for others.
"The survivors of abuse who courageously remained determined to have
the full truth heard by all deserve our recognition and admiration."
The archbishop acknowledged that "excuses, denials and minimizations
were taken from priest abusers who were at the least in denial, at
worst devious in multiple ways, and decisions were taken which resulted
in more children being abused."
Thus, he said, efforts to "protect the Church" and "avoid scandal" have
only resulted in "bringing this horrendous scandal on the Church today."
"The damage done to children abused by priests can never be undone,"
the prelate affirmed.
He offered "to each and every survivor, my apology, my sorrow and my
shame for what happened to them."
Archbishop Martin noted that there are many priests in his archdiocese
that share his "sense of shame" about this "offense to God and affront
to the priesthood" by the perpetrators.
He added, "I hope that all of us -- bishops, priests and lay persons --
working together can rebuild trust by ensuring that day after day the
Church in the Archdiocese of Dublin becomes a safer environment for
The archbishop concluded: "Today, it must be unequivocally recalled
that the Archdiocese of Dublin failed to recognize the theft of
childhood which survivors endured and the diocese failed in its
responses to them when they had the courage to come forward,
compounding the damage done to their innocence.
"For that no words of apology will ever be sufficient."
Healing and hope
Cardinal Desmond Connell, who served as archbishop of Dublin from 1988
to 2004, acknowledged that the report was "severely critical of the
diocesan response" to the "appalling problem" of child sexual abuse,
"particularly in my earlier years in office."
"From the time I became aware of this history," he said, "I have
experienced distress and bewilderment that those placed in a position
of sacred trust could be guilty of such heinous offenses and cause such
appalling harm to vulnerable young people."
"The abuse of children is an unspeakable crime," the prelate added.
He said, "I wish to express without reservation my bitter regret that
failures on my part contributed to the suffering of victims in any
The cardinal concluded: "I apologize again now from my heart and ask
the forgiveness of those who have been so shamefully harmed.
"It has long been my prayer that they may be able to rebuild their
lives and find healing and hope for the future."
In another press release, the archdiocese reported that its Child
Protection Service is currently working to "minimize the possibility of
abuse happening, and if it does to maximize the possibility of