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By Fr. Wilson (articles ) | Feb 27, 2004

I've watched several times today as Bishop Wilton Gregory boldly announced on TV that the release of these sexual abuse figures is a "benchmark' for our Church. One marvels at the performance.

As he speaks, we're coming out of weeks of bad headlines about bishops. The Bishop of Albany is doggedly clinging not just to office but to active control of his diocese under circumstances which would have been a "benchmark" resulting in the benching of any priest under his jurisdiction. Faithful Catholics in Springfield MA are reeling from the "benchmark" of the abdication of their bishop (Dupre) in the face of sexual abuse allegations (and in his wake there pop to the surface an array of stories about his genial toleration of priests under suspicion). Let's not forget what the Faithful of Manchester NH currently labor under (i.e., John McCormack), and those of St Petersburg Fl. (i.e., Robert Lynch), and what those of Springfield IL had to deal with in Daniel Ryan.

As Diogenes has consistently pointed out, the bishops, despite their regular and depressing appearances in the headlines, steadfastly avoid taking any personal responsibility for themselves or for each other, let alone for the dismal state of the Church. They adopt a "charter" for the protection of young people with seemingly strong sanctions against offending priests, which is inapplicable to themselves.

As everyone must realize by now, the percentage of offending bishops is significantly higher than the known percentage of offending priests. How did these men arrive at such height of hubris that they could publicly present themselves as the solution to the problem they so ably represent?

And is society, and the Faithful of the Church, going to give them a pass on this performance?

Speaking as a priest, I've never been so disgusted.

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Show 11 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Mar. 01, 2004 10:21 AM ET USA

    We confront this by remembering that it is God's Church and He is castigating the unfaithful rabble that has taken worldly control over it. Amazingly enough, these creeps still confer the sacraments. The sacraments derive their power from God not the "minister." We still have the Rosary. Just because times are tough doesn't mean we don't have to become holy just like "in the old days." Let us do our best to hang on and leave the rest to Almighty God Who loves us more than we can imagine.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 29, 2004 9:05 PM ET USA

    Yeah! Just like busymommy, I don't think this gets a passing score. What recourse is left for laity when bishops act like the twentieth-century corporate men they've been trained to be? The stuff they spout reminds me of the NewSpeak you hear in all bureaucracies these days. How do we the laity confront this?

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Feb. 28, 2004 9:44 PM ET USA

    An interesting problem, and one that I am sure the bishops for the most part hope that we the laity do not solve. How DO you deal with bishops who refuse to be reasonably accountable? As far as I understand it, it is far less complicated for laity than it is for priests, who are bound by specific vows and are liable to stiffer penalties. In any case, God is not a fool and will seperate the wheat from the chaff, providing us with necessary wisdom as we trust in His goodness and love. JP

  • Posted by: - Feb. 28, 2004 3:20 PM ET USA

    Father W, you get better and better every time ! I'd like to buy you a "cat-of-nine-tails," to go after the lying, hypocritical, McSatans !

  • Posted by: - Feb. 28, 2004 2:49 PM ET USA

    I don't want to give them a pass, Father. So what do I, as a not-well-connected but trying-to-be-obedient daughter of the Church, do? (Besides pray, which I already do.)

  • Posted by: - Feb. 28, 2004 1:13 AM ET USA

    Actually it would be far better for a well-connected 14 year old to be appointed Cardinal Archbishop of Los Angeles (for example) than for the region to languish under its current leadership. For starters, the 14 year old would be ignored (rightfully). But given the fullness of authority and the righteous indignation of an adolescent, he might even succeed in cleaning house and finding a Chinese company to buy the new cathedral and turn it into a hula hoop factory.

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Feb. 28, 2004 12:42 AM ET USA

    "Are the bishops deliberately using questionable "pedophilia" to shield entrenched consensual homosexual priests and religious?" That is the question.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 27, 2004 7:26 PM ET USA

    I think the saddest part of the whole thing is that those who are ordained Bishop are to be to us "other" Christs for us. It is obvious that many do not take this very seriously, but want everyone else to treat them as if they are. I reminds me of the days of long ago when one didn't even have to be ordained to be a bishop or cardinal - just well connected. The level of scandal such men in the past have laid at the feet of the faithful is just about the same as today. The Church will survive

  • Posted by: principle not pragmatism - Feb. 27, 2004 6:40 PM ET USA

    Hopefully, the offending Bishops still in charge will soon be gone. The cleansing will then begin!!!

  • Posted by: - Feb. 27, 2004 4:26 PM ET USA

    Very true, Fr. Wilson. Of course the real 'percentage of offending bishops' is an unknown - given that we don't have full episcopal disclosure. Nor are we likely to, unless more people 'in the know' speak out - and live to tell about it...

  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Feb. 27, 2004 4:19 PM ET USA

    The mark on this bench is 666.

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