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Silence of the bishops

By Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. (articles ) | Feb 09, 2004

Fr. Rob Johansen discusses whether there is a "different 'level of communication'" among priests, as alleged by Amy Welborn. I think he misunderstands what Amy is talking about, but his response does include some very important truths.

Regarding the former, having lived with priests, I can testify to the fact that most priests talk about their brother priests and bishops in much more candid terms than they would with anyone else. The faults and failings are much more obvious to them and residual effects of a certain pedestal-raising clericalism don't apply to them. Plus, they also find it more prudent to not cause scandal to their parishioners and most lay friends by candidly discussing certain problems in the Church and so they turn to their brother priests for that.

Now, as to the latter, Fr. Rob is right on with regard to bishops. What we have seen in the past few years is clear evidence that most bishops won't criticize or fraternally correct one of their brother bishops. To be sure, there has been some mild criticism, but almost always after the fact, when everything had been made public. But has any bishop called for another bishop to resign by name and before his hand had already been forced? No.

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Show 5 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Feb. 14, 2004 6:40 AM ET USA

    Too many priests I've gotten to know a bit are easily cowed, almost weak-minded, and the worst among them -- obviously -- are in our current episcopacy. Call it "bad formation" or "a product of the licentiousness of the Sexual Revolution" or whatever -- it's a contemptible weakness purged only by discipline, restraint, and a quality rarely discussed seriously: moral courage.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 10, 2004 5:57 PM ET USA

    Whose money paid for building the churches being sold? Who paid for the acreage being sold? The fat bank accounts of the criminal clergy or the pennies of the poor people? Isn't it time to wake up and have a healthy "revolution"? Little wonder the wicked Voltaire said: "Ecrasez l'infame!" If the Pope refuses to act effectively, then a way must be found sooner, not later, to oust the judasbishops !!! If someone opts for schism [not heresy, mind you], I cannot condemn him.

  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Feb. 09, 2004 11:19 PM ET USA

    I hate to disappoint some priests out there, but some of us who spend our lives dealing with borderline psychotic management types that are straight out of a Dostoevsky novel, would deliver some quite spot on observations that would curl the hair of many. Thankfully, charity prevents us from doing so. That said, I think the laity know a lot more than many priests think they do about the state of the faith of the episcopacy. And, no, I'm not talking about inside information.

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Feb. 09, 2004 9:36 PM ET USA

    It is no exscuse, Dom. NO ONE is called to scandalize another by appropriate correction. Really, it is appropriate correction, discretely done, particularly between peers who truly love each other in the fullest sense of the word that avoids scandal. It should not be implied that spiritual sloth, indifference and mutual patronage have anything to do with true brotherhood and the Kingdom of God. The Bishops are far from the mark.

  • Posted by: Psalms - Feb. 09, 2004 6:53 PM ET USA

    Our Bishop was forced to resign. Our diocese has just settled on cases involving him to the tune of $3,000,000. There is not a peep/chirp from any bishop including the one now in power. In fact, the present Bishop did not make the announcement as to the settlement: the PR lady of the diocese did. As usual, he just wants this all to go away. He is in the process of selling off the 6 country churches he closed recently. It was stated that property sales will be help in the money settlements.

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