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which is the greater scandal?

By Diogenes (articles ) | Aug 08, 2007

I have already called readers' attention to the alarm sounded by Prof. Robert George in his "plea to Catholics" on the First Things blog. That succinct and powerful statement deserves a second mention; read it all.

Coming back to George's essay to read it afresh, my attention was captured by this passage:

Nothing undermines the cause of justice and cultural reform and renewal more than the bad example of prominent Catholics who have made themselves instruments of what Pope John Paul II bluntly described as "the culture of death." The scandal given by these individuals over the past thirty years, particularly with respect to the exposure of the unborn to abortion and, more recently, embryo-destructive research, is far greater in its cultural effects even than the horrific— the word is not too strong— scandal of clergy sex abuse. Some bishops, to their credit, have taught clearly that any Catholic who seeks to deprive the unborn of their fundamental human right to life profoundly weakens his relationship with Christ and breaks communion with the Church. More need to be heard from.

More damaging than the sex-abuse scandal? Phil Lawler has called that scandal the greatest crisis to face Catholicism since the Reformation. So he probably diagrees with George-- and that might be a debate worth hearing.

But if Robert George is a man to be taken seriously-- and he is-- then the US bishops should be as energetic in repudiating Catholic politicians who support abortion, gay marriage, and embryo research as they have been in denouncing pedophilia. (On that point, I suspect, Phil would not disagree.) Apologies would be in order, too, for the failure to correct these erring Catholics in the past.

Come to think of it, why not background checks for parish employees and volunteers, to make sure they have no connections with the "culture of death"? How about training programs for children in parochial schools, preparing them to recognize and resist the approaches of politicians whose favored programs would undermine human dignity?

Strange, isn't it, that the US bishops have issued a Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, but still haven't taken an unambiguous common stand against those Catholic politicians who would allow those children and young people to be butchered in the womb?

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  • Posted by: - Aug. 14, 2007 11:49 AM ET USA

    Article 2 of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People could be used to enforce adherence to the Magisterial Teachings of the Catholic Church by changing a few words as it would relate to Soul Abuse: we read (in part): “…ARTICLE 2. Dioceses/eparchies will have mechanisms in place to respond promptly to any allegation where there is reason to believe that sexual abuse of a minor has occurred. Dioceses/eparchies will have a competent person or persons to coordinate assistance for the immediate pastoral care of persons who claim to have been sexually abused as minors by clergy or other church personnel. …” Proposed: ARTICLE 2. Dioceses/eparchies will have mechanisms in place to respond promptly to any allegation where there is reason to believe that soul abuse of a minor or adult has occurred. Dioceses/eparchies will have a competent person or persons to coordinate assistance for the immediate pastoral care of persons who claim to have been soul abused as minors or adults by clergy or other church personnel. …”

  • Posted by: - Aug. 09, 2007 11:04 PM ET USA

    In the 1970's the bishops rejected pleas from pro-life Catholics that they had the right and duty to excommunicate these politicians. By 1984, when both Ferraro and Cuomo were bold enough to mock Catholic teaching and proclaim themselves "good Catholics", Card.O'Connor had no backing whatsoever from the American hierarchy to make good on his threats because the 1970's precedent had to be defended -- it had been settled for a dozen years by then: the bishops would not confront pro-abort pols

  • Posted by: - Aug. 09, 2007 4:21 PM ET USA

    altar boy and I have disagreed on more than one occasion, but I completely endorse his comment this time, though I wish to make clear that the Scandal is caused by buying into the phony "Spirit" of Vatican II, and not by accepting what the Council actually taught.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 09, 2007 1:17 PM ET USA

    I’d disagree with Phil’s contention that the homosexual clergy sex abuse scandal is the greatest crisis to face Catholicism since the Reformation. In fact, that scandal, along with the Phony Annulment Scandal, the Protestantization of the Liturgy Scandal, the Destruction of Religious Orders Scandal, the Communion to Abortion Advocates Scandal, and so many more scandals, are all part of the Spirit of Vatican II Scandal, which is, without a doubt, the greatest scandal in the history of the Church.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 08, 2007 10:07 PM ET USA

    in a way, I see the scandal wrought by the lack of a forceful response by many in the hierarchy to the "culture of death" as part of the the same scandal as the sexual abuse crisis...just different facets of the scandal of Church leadership not "doing the right thing." (maybe the overall crisis can be termed as a "crisis of leadership," or more harshly as shepherds behaving like hirelings)

  • Posted by: - Aug. 08, 2007 9:18 PM ET USA

    Or not putting Catholics into positions like head of the parish Knights of Columbus when it is known that said Cathoilics openly supported pro-abortion politicians. Or Pastors failing to enforce the requirement that lay persons in key positions accept and affirm the "Affirmation of Faith" published by the diocese...the end result being a Parish Director of Religious Education who does not accept the Church's position on abortion or artificial birth control and many are aware of that fact!

  • Posted by: - Aug. 08, 2007 7:52 PM ET USA

    "Please ignore the man behind the seamless garment."

  • Posted by: - Aug. 08, 2007 7:52 PM ET USA

    The Bishops and seemingly most of the religious in the USA are Democrats. Whenever I confront thier stand, as members of the ABORTION LOVING PARTY; I am told that other things are just as important. The "other Things" are education, poverty, capital punishment etc. I then ask how often they actively work at these causes and the answer is usually silence. God help the unborn; most of our bishops do not have the nerve!

  • Posted by: - Aug. 08, 2007 7:38 PM ET USA

    Di, I would have to say that these "charters" are quite ambiguous. Take a look at the one on the archdiocese of Washington website. Do a word search. Look for words such as "homosexual", "sin", "salvation", "sacrament", "repentance". You'll find nary a one. Ambiguous? Definitely a "cya" job, if you ask me.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 08, 2007 6:37 PM ET USA

    Not strange, at all. Another sign that the USCCB is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Democratic National Committee. The bosses let the help get away with making an occasional nod toward Rome in the form of some moderately unkind words about those who support The Right To Choose, but they can't get too far out of line. 18 "Catholic" Members of the House to tell the Pope where to get off. (May 15) The response (from their spokeswoman) says in effect they're free to say whatever they like.

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