Matthew J. Franck
Robert P. George
William J. Haun
David T. Koyzis
Robert T. Miller
James R. Rogers
Russell E. Saltzman
Our friend Michael Liccione offers a meditation, drawing on his own painful experiences, in Crucifying the Pope.
Thanks for posting this–I hope we can hear more from Liccione.
Could we be a bit more careful, please, before flinging down the word “crucifixion”? While Cardinal Law remains both protected and elevated by the Vatican, ostentatious sympathy for Benedict tastes sour. And, sad to admit, so does the pope’s weeping with victims of sexual abuse.
It would healthier for us all if Benedict, together with over-eager defenders, took a line from Truman: “The buck stops here.”
Here is part of what I just posted after Liccione’s article:
…I am surprised that you don’t seem to be able to get what bothers many of us.
First off, I am not inclined to disagree with much of what you say in your article…but good grief:
“But notice that nobody is calling for the prosecution of public-school officials who, in many cases, have done too little to address just the same problem among adults under their authority.”
Here’s where your argument falls down completely. If someone produced documentation showing that my local school official even suggested that the good of the local school district – or public schooling as a whole – should be considered regarding whether or not to not only suspend a teacher, but to take away their teaching license, I would be utterly irate.
Yes, they should be suspended and have their license removed. They should not be allowed to work in that line of work again.
There is nothing irrational about that. It is not only great moral evil but great lack of judgment that causes us anger – and makes us demand that things be put right.
What is the true difference than? Only this: people / reporters are likely more concerned to expend their resources to try and reveal the Church’s sins than they are anyone elses’. Is that OK? Well, it depends on their purposes (see my post here: http://infanttheology.wordpress.com/2010/04/15/dawkins-1-pope-0/ – please see also the brief comments, which are key). On the other hand, God uses even evil intentions for good.
I am afraid that the leadership of the RCC – and even some of its most faithful and competent apologists – continue digging their hole. And the worldwide Church as a whole can’t not be affected negatively as a result.
We can forgive someone and also insist that others be protected from them. All of this is not to say that Benedict is guilty – but that it does him no good to not speak directly to the matters at hand.
I think Liccione pretty much misses the whole point of this scandal. The scandal really has nothing to do with the relatively few clerics who did bad things. The scandal is that the bishops actively enabled them to continue doing it. Can’t people get that through their heads: the problem here was bishops, not priests? Yet the latter have paid a heavy price while the former have walked away unscathed.
Apparently you didn’t notice that what you describe as the scandal is exactly what I focused on in my first paragraph. You and others should also notice that I did not say, or assume, that the Pope is free of guilt. And I think all of you missed the main point of my article, which came in the last few paragraphs.
@ Maureen: The Problem with the Pope saying the buck stops here is that that is not how the Catholic Church works. The buck stopped with the diocesan bishops, as a rule. Still I’ll concede that I’d certainly like to see an explanation for the Cardinal Law thing.
@ Nathan: You wrote
I think there’s a little apples v. oranges here. There’s no indelible character to being a teacher nor life vows from which teachers have to be dispensed. As Maureen may err (IMHO) in likening the Vatican polity to that of a corporation or of the US government, so you may err( also IMHO) in failing to see that life vows are significantly, even essentially, different from getting a professional license.
And it seems that while you want the Pope to “speak directly to the matters at hand,” when he not only speaks but weeps, Maureen still will castigate him.
@ Bob: while I agree that some bishops seem to be getting off lightly, I’m wondering what an appropriate “scathing” would be.
For some of us, two desires contend. On one side there is great outrage and sorrow over these abuses and over the ham-handed or dishonest handling of them by bishops and others. On that same side there is the perception that among those directly injured and those who, quite appropriately and even admirably ‘feel their pain’, there is an impatience with fine distinctions and an understandable desire for a clear, simple, abject, and contrite apology, statement of contrition, and offer of serious reparation.
Contending with that is our own desire to “get it right,” which, while it may be more a matter of temperament than anything else, still has this on its side; that justice is not done to A by doing injustice to B, and, further, that strong emotions of anger, pain, and the rest as much hinder as they assist the activity of finding the right thing to do.
I will close with this thought: few things are as simple as either we’d like or as they appear.