healed wounders

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jan 19, 2004

With the action news team cameras trained on him, Bishop Brown takes a deep breath and gives us DRAMA:

Turning to an ancient method of public notice, Bishop Tod D. Brown on Sunday nailed to the doors of Holy Family Cathedral a document proclaiming a commitment by the Diocese of Orange to help heal the wounds caused by the Roman Catholic sex abuse scandal. ...

"I call on all Catholics in our diocese -- clergy, religious and lay -- to join me in wearing our ashes on Ash Wednesday as a sign that we acknowledge the pain of the victims" of the sex scandal, Brown said.

As a publicity grabber, Brown's stunt ranks somewhere between bungee jumping and juggling magnums of champagne while on a unicycle -- though theologically it's more problematic than either. But the greater dismay is caused by his Seven Point Pledge itself, which is fluffy to the point of weightlessness. Just what, in fact, does he promise?

1. Healing
2. Implementation of the Bishops' Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
3. Healing
4. Healing
5. Healing
6. Healing -- and, last but not least
7. Healing

If you read the actual pledges themselves, you'll find that none (with the possible exception of Charter implementation) is concrete enough to be verifiable. There's no measure against which we can say that he delivered on his promise or failed to deliver. Of course, all that's beside the Diocese's point, which is to remind us that we have the problem, they have the cure.

So you want to promote healing and restore trust, Excellencies? Let me make this proposal as a starter:

Rent a hall one Saturday a month for a year, big enough for some laity as well as the media. Convince at least one other California bishop to appear with you. Invite too some of the journalists that have made the most specific criticisms of your conduct; preferably from the Left and Right equally -- say Ron Russell and George Neumayr, or Steve Lopez and Maria Kennedy, or Jason Berry and Rod Dreher. In this setting, with no escape hatch, let them give you their best shots, and let us hear you handle the tough questions, commenting not only on your own bailiwick, but on the difficulties your brother bishops have faced (it's about trust, remember?).

But will it spread scandal? On the contrary, the accusations are already out there in public and eating away at your credibility; this is your chance to put a stake through their heart. Will you lay yourself open to outrageously groundless charges maliciously cooked up for partisan motives? Well, that's what the balance is for. You can trust Neumayr to demolish Russell's groundless fictions and vice versa. It's a perfect chance to level with us.

You can leave the hammer at home.

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  • Posted by: Fr. William - Jan. 24, 2004 4:37 PM ET USA

    Is this the same Bishop Tod "with one 'd'" Brown whose now-Vicar-General priest gave the keynote talk to the presbyterate of the Diocese of Orange during the Spring of last year?... a talk with the theme: "We need to decide whether we like 'Ken' or 'Barbie' and be honest with ourselves..." Let us pray that Bishop Tod "with one 'd'" Brown and other bishops in his camp will return to an unquestioned love for/obedience to the Holy Father, the Church, the Magisterium, the Teachings of the Church.

  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Jan. 21, 2004 12:32 PM ET USA

    This would be a pay-per-view event that I'd pay for. What's remarkable is that the bishop didn't see that the "covenant" was stuff that he would say that he's been doing all along, and it's all based on intentions. There's no mention of a result or an outcome in the "covenant".

  • Posted by: - Jan. 20, 2004 9:22 AM ET USA

    Actions speak louder than words......I'm very dismayed the the man took his example from someone who managed to do great harm to the faithful rather than from the abundant examples of our Saints. A little humility and obedience would go a long, long way in healing all of us who have been hurt by all this, either directly or indirectly. Personally, I trust Jesus to do the healing. I know He will do exactly that for anyone who asks Him. Why don't I hear many advising us to turn back to Him?

  • Posted by: - Jan. 19, 2004 9:12 PM ET USA

    Even though this is still a very destructive situation in the Church, I still have to say that these bishops are getting very boring. Maybe that's their real program. Keep issuing these inane statements until we are all comatose from boredom so we won't notice the abuses anymore. Healing will come when they start addressing the issue of the active homosexuals in the priesthood . Healing will come when they start talking about sin and repentance. But that might be politically incorrect.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 19, 2004 12:26 PM ET USA

    Excellent proposal, Diogenes; may I suggest an amendment? Even though we've read reports of health problems, should Cardinal Ratzinger be granted retirement, it would be most instructive to have the good Cardinal on stage at the same time. Most soft lefties are speechless if they read, say, Christian Brotherhood, and then try and square the text with the cartoon character they've been le d to believe is the Cardinal. A live action appearance should seal the deal.