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the reluctant apostle

By Diogenes (articles ) | Aug 18, 2005

New Zealand Bishop Peter Cullinane enters the public conversation about the civil response to abusers of children. Painful reading.

The public is right to insist on protecting people against thugs and sexual deviants.

True.

But the public needs to set aside understandable but distasteful feelings of vengeance ...

Distasteful? Is vindictiveness wrong because it's immoral or because it's unpleasant to those of superior taste? If the latter, what standing does a bishop, as bishop, have for instructing the public in etiquette?

... and try to come to grips with what is likely to minimise the chances that further innocent children will suffer at the hands of identified child molesters.

Baffling. Who's had the problem in coming to grips with the relevant facts of life here -- millwrights or bishops?

We must be willing to take the steps necessary to protect children and ignore our dysfunctional desire to simply punish.

So it's dysfunctional as well as distasteful. We now have our psycho-therapeutic bases covered as well as our table manners. But is there a minister of the Christian religion in the house?

However much it might grate on our feelings, the evidence tells us that assisting child molesters to put their lives together in ways that allow them to function effectively, is the most effective way to reduce the risk of them re-offending.

No, Excellency. The evidence tells us that the most effective way of eliminating recidivism is putting molesters to death. And life-term imprisonment takes second place. That's if we're talking -- as you are -- about the risk of re-offending. My own religious convictions teach me that there are also non-utilitarian values to be pondered, such as the salvation of souls, which could oblige us to tolerate an elevated degree of risk in order to achieve a higher good. But you seem inordinately bashful about mentioning them.

Strategies, including treatment, aimed at achieving this goal do not exclude holding the offender responsible. On that basis, would my attitudes make me part of the solution or part of the problem?

I think you answered your own question.

Pathetic. Here's a guy who takes three full whacks at the tee-ball and still can't bounce it out to grandpa. He's obviously unclear himself about what he wants to say, and there's hardly a sentence in the piece that doesn't curl back and eat its own tail. If he wished to make use of it, however, he'd have a genuine gift to give his readers in the Gospel, which teaches us -- and them -- about sin, justice, punishment, repentance, forgiveness. Why couldn't he drop the gibberish and just talk Christian?

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Show 6 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Aug. 24, 2005 7:39 PM ET USA

    Diogenes, check your sources and the herald's sources. 90% of the text you qote was attributed, wrongly, by NZH to Bishop Cullinane. http://www.pndiocese.org.nz/?sid=144&id=64 In fact, the good Bishop was quoting W L Marshall. The last line that the Good Bishop quoted did assert the need for holding the offender responsible. He seemed to call out, in this section, with wonder about who can cast the first stone. We ALL deserve to be in Hell. Confiteor Deo omnipotente, beata Mariae . . .

  • Posted by: - Aug. 24, 2005 7:38 PM ET USA

    Diogenes, check your sources and the herald's sources. 90% of the text you qote was attributed, wrongly, by NZH to Bishop Cullinane. http://www.pndiocese.org.nz/?sid=144&id=64 In fact, the good Bishop was quoting W L Marshall. The last line that the Good Bishop quoted did assert the need for holding the offender responsible. He seemed to call out, in this section, with wonder about who can cast the first stone. We ALL deserve to be in Hell. Confiteor Deo omnipotente, beata Mariae . . .

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Aug. 19, 2005 9:56 PM ET USA

    Your last sentence covers it all, Diogenes.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 19, 2005 9:20 AM ET USA

    Being able to look both from before and after the Second Vatican Council is for the most part a very demoralizing undertaking. Remarkably clear doctrines from before have been so watered down in the after as to be almost unrecognizable. The obvious adoration of God we had before, has fallen into a community self-praise entertainment melee that has seriously eroded belief in the Real Presence. The dire warnings of the senior Cardinal at the council have clearly come to fruition in reality.

  • Posted by: Ignacio177 - Aug. 18, 2005 8:11 PM ET USA

    We should love good and hate evil. We should feel a repugnance toward evil and evil doers in so far as they do evil. We should however desire the good even for repugnant perverts. We should desire that they convert from their evil ways. We are morally obliged to help them be better. The first step is that we prevent them from doing evil. If they can´t control themselves they need to be controled. Prison, is a good option. It is a shame that we have done away with church prisons.

  • Posted by: astrid - Aug. 18, 2005 5:22 PM ET USA

    thanks for this piece....hadn't read this yet. I live in New Zealand and this is where our church here is! Most faithful would not understand Christian straight talk Diogenes, ours is a weak and thoroughly watered down Catholicism. I am wondering when Rome is going to realise this! Maybe we are too small.......

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