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Crime or a sin

By Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. (articles ) | Nov 12, 2003

From a report on the US bishops' meeting:

But the study that has the bishops most on edge is a survey by criminologists at John Jay College of all known allegations of sexual abuse of minors by priests in the past 50 years. Bishops have expressed concern that false accusations would be lumped in with real ones, that no distinction would be made between sex crimes and conduct that was inappropriate but not illegal, and that the responses of 50 years ago would be judged by the standards of today. [Emphasis added]
Who cares about the distinction between what's a crime and what isn't? The fact is that they're all sins and that's what they should really be concerned about. Do you get the sense that some bishops don't have the call to holiness as their primary concern?

N.B. I do want to point out that no bishop is quoted as saying that, so it could be a reporters interpretation. But still it's not out of line with what I have seen bishops quoted as saying in the past.

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  • Posted by: - Jul. 31, 2004 3:41 PM ET USA

    "no distinction would be made between sex crimes (real ones) and conduct that was inappropriate (false accusations) but not illegal. Some Bishops don't have the call to holiness as their primary concern.?" Is the Church or our World less likely to be affected by sin, and are we saintly enough to cast the first stone? The Bishops have a huge responsibility for our Church. Faith, Hope, Charity. May the Lord, Challenge our Spirit and Cleanse our Souls to be worthy to stand before His Holy Presence.

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Nov. 13, 2003 4:32 PM ET USA

    Increased exposure of sin as an improvement??? But by what means? Is our God some sort of evil villain in the Heavens rubbing His divine hands together gleefully at the sight of so much exposure and humiliation? Do you think for one moment, shrink, that God wouldn't have healed most of these horrific situations privately if the priests and bishops involved had come to Him willingly in the confidence of the confessional ready to do anything to be free? But they did not.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 13, 2003 1:22 PM ET USA

    De mortibus, and all that. But subsequent events have made me wonder if Bernardin and his accuser made some sort of separate peace when they discovered they were both really on the same team. Yes, yes--off to confession with me! :)

  • Posted by: shrink - Nov. 13, 2003 10:34 AM ET USA

    To one and all, as important as the discussions of sin & leadership are, do keep your eye on the ball in this report: look for the trends in the reported abuse over time. E.g., in the 1992 Chicago report, there was a 4-fold increase in reported abuse between 1952 and 1991, almost all of which occured after 1978, which was the beginning of Bernardine's reign. --This fact has never been reported. There has always been abuse in the Church, it's the relative change in level that's significant.

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Nov. 13, 2003 8:46 AM ET USA

    I would beg to differ. The Pope, for the most part, has not "led " the Church. "Taught" the Church, yes; But lead, with a high degree of competency? A general who leads his undisciplined troops out into critical battles and still refuses to punish reasonably when many of HIS men become traitors within the ranks???

  • Posted by: Elan - Nov. 12, 2003 10:34 PM ET USA

    Karen, It is not just most bishops in the US who are failing the church. It is also most of the laity. The recent Washington Post poll illustrated it clearly. Most "practicing" Catholics reject many church teachings, although most give the Pope high marks on his leadership of the church. It is not just the bishops who pick and choose their catholicism. We do too. We are all called to holiness, not just bishops.

  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Nov. 12, 2003 5:52 PM ET USA

    "inappropriate" is such a weasel word: If the conduct is not "wrong" but merely "inappropriate" under what circumstances what this conduct be "right"?

  • Posted by: AveMaria580 - Nov. 12, 2003 5:09 PM ET USA

    And, if the responses of 50 years ago were sins then they are still sins know. How did we get some clueless bishops?

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