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accentuate the positive!

By Diogenes (articles ) | Nov 18, 2003

The Erie Times-News is perplexed by Bishop Donald Trautman's take on the National Review Board:

Erie Catholic Bishop Donald W. Trautman had sharp words for an independent lay review board that is examining the scope of the clergy sexual-abuse scandal nationwide. Trautman on Tuesday said he wishes the panel, which the bishops created, had a different task.

He bluntly told the review board in Washington, D.C., that the board would be better off to focus on writing about the vast majority of dedicated and generous priests whose only wish is to serve and do good, according to Trautman's remarks as reported by the Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service.

ALL of us wish the lay review board had a different task, in the sense that everyone wishes there were no problem of sexually predatory clergy and no problem of episcopal cover-up and consequenty no nasty business for the commission to report on. But what can Trautman possibly mean in suggesting that the board would be "better off" in focusing on the majority of priests who -- we all agree here -- do not commit felonious sexual assaults on minors? It's an entirely honorable endeavor to make known the good behavior of faithful priests, but is it the task of the outsiders you bring in for the fix?

By Trautman's reasoning, the SEC would be better off concentrating on the vast majority of honest traders, the FDA on the vast majority of wholesome vegetables, the FBI on the vast majority of dutiful citizens. NBA referees should leave their whistles at home (most plays don't involve traveling violations).

Suppose the National Review Board accepted Trautman's admonishment and gifted us next February with an up-beat, positive, smiles-all-around report: Profiles in Chastity: Six Bishops Who Have Not Throttled Male Prostitutes in Hotel Rooms. Constructive? Yes. Edifying? Undoubtedly. But will it contribute to solving the problem?

Ask Frank Keating.

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Show 11 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Nov. 22, 2003 1:50 PM ET USA

    What a neat time in which to live. The NCCB now has a CHILD PROTECTIVE BOARD to watch out for your children. More of the fruits of Vat-2?

  • Posted by: - Nov. 20, 2003 8:44 PM ET USA

    It's precisely this mentality that is at play in defended so many disasters that have happened in the past 30 years. Don't look at the plunge in Mass attendance, look at the increase in 'participation'. Don't look at the abysmal state of Catholic youth catechesis, look at how children are 'excited' or 'creative'. Don't worry about heresy being taught in the parishes, look at the 'empowerment of the laity'. And don't worry about being voices of authority, but be 'nice', 'compassionate'...ugh!

  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Nov. 19, 2003 10:43 PM ET USA

    The only way New York was able to restore its image as a safe place for families was to hire the police, district attorneys, corrections, etc. and do the job. The reality speaks for itself in statistics and the experience of visitors to New York. Comments such as Trautman's are signals that they don't get it. And let's not forget that the damaged image of the priesthood and episcopacy was earned and not created by the media's fantasy.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 18, 2003 4:01 PM ET USA

    Thornton: To be clear, I wasn't disagreeing with Diogenes. I was just responding to JD who thought focusing on good priests is the way to fix what's wrong with bad priests.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 18, 2003 2:33 PM ET USA

    Trautman's past history is enough to convince any Pope "in the know" to re-assign him to an isolated island, where he can do no more harm. Much of the blame for hootenany "Masses" can be placed at his front door !

  • Posted by: - Nov. 18, 2003 2:29 PM ET USA

    To Diogenes: EXACTLY RIGHT! To Dom: If the panel were to focus on the fact that an overwhelming number of priests and bishops are sincere, compassionate, and faithful to living and spreading the word of God, and would never harm a child, sexually or otherwise, then how would they differ in their mindset from the bishops who knew about this grotesque,deviant, predatory sexual behavior and did NOTHING? You can't prune a tree by looking at the healthy leaves. Its messy, uncomfortable; it should be

  • Posted by: - Nov. 18, 2003 1:27 PM ET USA

    The Erie Times-News has good reason to be perplexed, as do all thinking people (especially Catholics), by Bishop Trautman's remarks. The ugliness and misery caused by the grave sinfulness of a small number of our priests and bishops regarding the sexual CRIMES committed against CHILDREN, and then perpetuated by the inaction of weak, fearful, and culpable bishop 'shepherds', MUST command our full attention. Bishop Trautman wants it to just go away, which is the kind of thinking that got us here.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 18, 2003 12:56 PM ET USA

    The difference, JD, is that Trautman is not asking for the press to report on the good priests, but that he wants the organization set up to find a solution to the problem to instead focus on what isn't wrong.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 18, 2003 12:48 PM ET USA

    I'm really tired of all of this, I think it was entirely right and proper for the Bishop to try to stand up for the 96 to 98 % of good Priests out there. The liberal press wants to condemm all priests everywhere while ignoring the sacrifices made by good priests all over the globe. I'm a 47 year old Catholic who has known good and couragious Priests all my life and I don't think it a bad thing to want the press to balance out its reporting, I will stand up for good priests whenever I can.

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Nov. 18, 2003 12:35 PM ET USA

    And no doubt on the vast number of faithful bishops...

  • Posted by: AveMaria580 - Nov. 18, 2003 11:12 AM ET USA

    From what I've read about the Erie Diocese, Bishop Trautman has a serious problem with gays in the priesthood. He may have a lot to lose. Candidates for the priesthood have been screened by a psychologist who screens out orthodox candidates. He has Joan Chistterer's Benedictine Sisters of Erie who he hasn't done anything to curb. I think he also removed Fr.Trigilio's right to function as a priest in his diocese. Bishop Trautman may have a bad case of nerves. I hope so.

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