Your American bishops today

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | Feb 18, 2004

Today's headlines in the secular press inform us that:

And those are just today's stories-- just one day's worth of bad news about the American hierarchy.

Next week we'll hear about what the US bishops' conference has done to address the scandal of misconduct among diocesan priests. We won't hear about what they've done to address misconduct within their own ranks. Because they haven't done a thing!

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: John J Plick - Feb. 20, 2004 7:30 PM ET USA

    Dear tmac, We are dealing with the SAME problem, for which the "reformation" was an imperfect solution, the abuse of power. The Church hierarchy would have us believe the the "reformation" was the "primary" problem, but it was not. The pope failed to rein in the bishops of that time who were busily selling indulgences, parishes, and even whole dioceses without any regard to reasonable internal disposition. These sins were never properly repented of. God is our hope. HE will split the Red Sea.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 20, 2004 7:25 PM ET USA

    Is it my imagination, or are the very bishops who are being revealed as perverts and criminals the same ones who have been unyielding in denying the faithful orthodox teaching, licit and/or Latin Masses, adoration chapels...? If so, watch for more such revelations. You can guess where.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 20, 2004 7:14 AM ET USA

    ".We don't need another Martin Luther, these men will be punished under CANON Law" Please list the number of U.S. Bishops to date who have been severly punished under "Canon Law' by Rome (or civil law for that matter) for their active role in one the most devasting crisis the entire Church as witnessed since possibly the Reformation itself. Even Cardinal Law, one of the arch vilans of this mess, will be appointed within the next few months to a prominent Vatican position.

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Feb. 19, 2004 5:25 PM ET USA

    Verax, dear Father, As many American Catholics, I don't think you fully appreciate that even now we are being protected by the "fruits" of the reformation, and that is by the laws of the USA. The very same legal principles that are being used to degrade Christianity are paradoxically the same principles that protect us from these bishops, who would no doubt silence, jail, and torment us or worse if they could. We don't need another Martin Luther, these men will be punished under CANON Law.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 19, 2004 4:09 PM ET USA

    At least in Sanchez's case, you know the male children are safe.

  • Posted by: Sterling - Feb. 18, 2004 11:39 PM ET USA

    You know how the papers have sections like "Around the Nation" or "News in Brief"? If we have many more days like February 18, maybe they'll start a column called "Catholic Crime Roundup." Or maybe it will be like a gossip column, with the offenders names in boldface. Gee, I wish that possibility could seem funny.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 18, 2004 9:33 PM ET USA

    Keep it up, Phil ! We don't need a privileged caste, a pseudo-nobility, in the Church, lording it over us--a caste whose failures are not failures, because they are "above the law," and untouchable. Democracy in the Church would not work, but purging it of power-mad cronies would be a major step in the right direction. If the Pope will not act, then the Lord may just allow another Martin Luther to be raised up and shake the institution to its foundations. If that's the only way, then fiat.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 18, 2004 9:03 PM ET USA

    Okay, now I understand why orthodox Catholics have effectively been suppressed by most bishops over the last 40 years. It wasn't a 'misunderstanding'.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 18, 2004 9:02 PM ET USA

    It would be comforting to think that we have finally hit rock bottom. It would be comforting but probably not realistic. O'Brien, by one report, joined Matthew Fox in rituals or dances greeting the four directions. It's a Wiccan ritual and Starhawk, a modern day self-proclained witch, is on Fox's staff. A Catholic bishop joining in pagan ritual is about as low as it gets. All the rest of it flows from the spiritual bankruptcy. Someone must call the bishops to account-spiritually & sexually.

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Feb. 18, 2004 5:21 PM ET USA

    There is no explanation, either logical or theological. It is truly "The Elephant in the Living Room," the glaring black hole in the midst of Catholic life.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 18, 2004 3:02 PM ET USA

    " We won't hear about what they've done to address misconduct within their own ranks. Because they haven't done a thing!" I couldn't agree with you more!! How much do you want to bet that Bishop O'Brien gets probation instead of jail time.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 18, 2004 11:05 AM ET USA

    Has Bishop Wilton "Don't confuse me with Gregory the Great" Gregory issued a press release commenting on the above? More importantly, were there any verbs in it in the active tense?

  • Posted by: - Feb. 18, 2004 11:05 AM ET USA

    "But, oh, we can't address misconduct of our brother bishops. Only Rome can." I can hear it now.