conspicuous compassion -- and those difficult iron shots

By Diogenes (articles ) | Nov 08, 2004

A Kansas City Star article (thanks to Greg Popcak at HMS) on outgoing USCCB president Wilton Gregory tries to spin the criticism of his tenure along ideological lines:

It was an unenviable position at the beginning. Church conservatives blamed Gregory for caving in to those they viewed as trying to tear down the church. Critics on the other end of the spectrum said the bishop wasn't doing enough to address the full scope of the [sex abuse] problem.

Not true. Gregory received lots of criticism (and lots of approval) from Catholics of all stripes, yet in fact it was precisely his mushiness on the gay priest problem -- a problem Gregory has never addressed forthrightly -- that caused Lefty Catholics to be slow in taking him to task and which even today works to soften their critique, as evidence the anodyne comments offered by VOTF in the piece cited. Throughout the media blitz Gregory's invariable dodge was to repeat "It's about the children! the children! the children!" so as to deflect attention from the deeply embarrassing fact that the victims were overwhelmingly post-pubertal males.

The Star's picture is vexing because of its innuendo that Lefties care about the real problems while conservatives are out to defend the (worldly) institution at any cost. Compare Gregory's treatment by the National Catholic Reporter and by Catholic World Report, and ask yourselves who was more willing to roll over and play dead when he sidestepped the tough questions. No one would claim that conservatives had a monopoly on outrage at the buggery betrayal, but we were out of the starting blocks long before our brethren on the Left admitted there might be limits to celebrating diversity.

By the way, has Wilton Gregory grown, as a person and a pastor, by experiencing first-hand the sufferings that, as victims and their families found their voices, gushed out as from a suppurating ulcer over the past two years? Has grief taught him to see spiritual shortcomings in the model of episcopal stewardship into which he was apprenticed?

Gregory, an avid amateur golfer, said he's also looking forward to getting a little more time on the golf course. "I'd like to say that my golfing game will improve, but maybe I ought to pray about that more," he said with a chuckle.

(P.S. It's about the children. )

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  • Posted by: - Nov. 10, 2004 12:15 PM ET USA

    You know, Dom is right. As soon as the bishops clean up the Church and return it to the apparently pitiful state it was in in 1960, I will build an 18 hole golf course for each and every one of them. I'll even throw in a fleet of Porsche golf carts.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 08, 2004 4:49 PM ET USA

    I don't mind bishops having hobbies (we all need to do something in our spare time) but why must they trot them out precisely when what we need is spiritually serious and sober episcopal leadership. Pearls before swine and all that. If the bishop had cleaned house and left the Church in the US better than when had started, I'd probably feel differently about him thinking about his golf game. (Plus he's not exactly retiring; he's still bishop of Belleville.)

  • Posted by: - Nov. 08, 2004 3:52 PM ET USA

    Perhaps, many of the bishops could unionize with AFCSME or SEIU Local? Then, his Excellency could be shop steward. Could regular golf games be one of the hard won benefits along with limiting the number of confirmations performed each year?

  • Posted by: - Nov. 08, 2004 1:54 PM ET USA

    It is difficult for me to visualize the foursome of SS Athanasius, Borromeo, Fisher and Pius X cavorting on the links at Pebble Beach. It is even more difficult for me to visualize a spiritually serious American bishop - one who sheds tears over the eternal fate of unrepentant sinners or .... Go ahead and play through Wilton, I think I'm going to get sick.