getting tougher?

By Diogenes (articles ) | Aug 24, 2006

Ed Peters, a canon lawyer whose blog offers sound perspectives on the more interesting developments in that field, thinks that he might see a trend:

Maybe it's just me, but I sense today a rather different mood among American bishops facing outlandish behavior by their clergy; problem-priest cases seem much less likely now to drift along year after year in unresolved, canonically ambiguous states. Ecclesiastical justice is never swift, of course, but at last its wheels seem to be turning again.

If Peters is right, and the US bishops are acting a bit more decisively, could it be because they're getting more encouragement in that direction? Pope Benedict has been sending clear signals, encouraging diocesan bishops to tackle the tough issues themselves, rather than postponing decisions (thus letting the problems fester) or passing the buck to Rome. It's possible that the message is getting through.

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  • Posted by: - Aug. 26, 2006 7:13 PM ET USA

    As a being is so it acts, or so I was told in a philosophy class once. If that is still true and not a victim of relative changing norms, bishops should start acting like bishops and govern their dioceses. That means enforcing the rules of Canon Law. Maybe too many of those who like being a priest do not like doing the hard jobs that come with the territory. Harry Truman had it right: If you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 25, 2006 10:53 PM ET USA

    Point well taken, Convert1994. I should say, dishonest Bishops today cannot count on the Pope's trusting in their honesty as they did when John Paul lived.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 25, 2006 5:39 PM ET USA

    Esalkin - I am booking the flight now

  • Posted by: - Aug. 25, 2006 12:27 PM ET USA

    Hey 'Where'sthemoneyRoger?', forget stamps. Hand deliver it. I'll start a collection for your non-stop plane ticket.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 25, 2006 8:52 AM ET USA

    I don't think JP2 "looked the other way" Coco. He was just too trusting!

  • Posted by: - Aug. 25, 2006 8:23 AM ET USA

    Around 1947 the old, old Orioles were deep in last place near the end of the season. The "big" gun came to the plate. He was hitting about 175 and climbing - since early july. "I think you can see he' s trying harder now," the ever hopeful radio Announcer told us. "He seems to be holding the bat differently." It was an occasional source of laughter for my Father, an avid fan, till the end of his life. I suspect I'll be laughing about Mr. Peter's comment till the end of my life.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 24, 2006 2:06 PM ET USA

    Pseudo - Here in Los Angeles we are planning a big celebration in 2011 on the feast day of Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows - that is Feb 27, 2011. And by the way, Happy 75th Birthday that day to our Cardinal. (PS Rog - can I lend you a stamp for that letter? Can I take it to the post office for you?)

  • Posted by: - Aug. 24, 2006 1:54 PM ET USA

    Ed Peters had a link to an article which I think is significant. The priest in question - the following info is important. This priest was ordained in 2001 "Fisher has been married and divorced and raised two children and ran an insurance business. He said he plans to remarry soon." If Bishops are unwilling to truly depend on the Holy Spirit instead of grasping for straws, we get what we don't deserve!

  • Posted by: - Aug. 24, 2006 1:52 PM ET USA

    It'll be refreshing when BXVI limits the scope and seeming importance of national bishops conferences. Then there will be no excuse for bishops who jog in place and whine, "I'd do something, but I think the conference is already working on a solution..." They haven't come up with many solutions in decades. They have, with great pastoral concern, attempted to usurp OUR rightful apostolates in the world by issuing cumbersome and often confusing texts addressing certain secular goings on...

  • Posted by: - Aug. 24, 2006 12:57 PM ET USA

    and if that doesn't work, the buck will "come from" Rome??

  • Posted by: - Aug. 24, 2006 12:42 PM ET USA

    I don't believe most American Bishops could be responding to a positive "encouragement" from Rome. In fact, I believe they are responding to the fear that, when they behave badly now, Pope Benedict will not look the other way, as they could always count on our wonderful Pope John Paul to do.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 24, 2006 12:16 PM ET USA

    When Cardinal Mahony is booted out of Los Angeles, call me.

  • Posted by: Sir William - Aug. 24, 2006 11:09 AM ET USA

    It may also be that there is more open criticism of bishops by laity, and the trend of younger Catholics faithfully desiring a return to our traditional roots and being vocal about it. While everyone publically disregards blogs and forums etc as mere opinions of the unwashed, no one likes to have their darkness exposed to the light in a manner in which folks in half the world can see, and comment on, and email to friends, in one afternoon. Can't help but think it has no small impact, too.