By Diogenes (articles ) | Mar 12, 2007

A recent editorial by the National Catholic Reporter on financial auditing of parishes concludes with the following point:

Transparency is essential to the health of the community.

Your Uncle Di couldn't agree more. The Left's commitment to the process of auditing does have limits, however. Auditing of clerical sexual behavior seems to an entirely different matter:

Fr. John Canary, rector at Mundelein, confirmed to NCR Dec. 21 that two members of the 11-member (seminary visitation) team, led by Archbishop Elden Curtiss of Omaha, Neb., asked what Canary called “inappropriate” questions of seminarians about their sexual conduct. Though Canary did not specify, other sources said the two visitors asked, for example, about masturbation.

For Cardinal George's seminary rector, the solitary vice is still protected by the right to privacy. One does not have to imagine that it has been extended to other not-so-solitary vices as well.

Last month, an archdiocese audit found Mundelein seminary officials had learned in 1992 of three separate allegations of sexual misconduct by McCormack during his time at Niles College and St. Mary of the Lake.

Audits back then didn't cover 19 year old boys. Obviously an oversight.

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  • Posted by: - Mar. 13, 2007 12:23 AM ET USA

    canary is now vicar general for card george, and maybe a bishop, too?

  • Posted by: - Mar. 12, 2007 5:12 PM ET USA

    The visitors should have the right to ask anything pertinent to the training and discernment for the priesthood. If a candidate habitually masturbates, he is at personal and professional risk. The habit impedes his ability to relate to other human beings, hence impedes his whole vocation. This is licit inquiry.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 12, 2007 4:33 PM ET USA

    "...asked questions about the sexual practices of seminarians that risked invading their consciences, or “internal forum.” Perhaps it was not appropriate for the interviewers to ask questions more appropriate for a confessor, but from the reasoning above, it seems that some sexual pratices the Church teaches are intrinsically wrong are given more "latitude" at this seminary.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 12, 2007 4:04 PM ET USA

    Asking a candidate for priesthood what his position is on masturbation is not a violation of the "internal forum" and is certainly not "inappropriate." The visitors need to know whether what the candidate is learning at the seminary, and what he will be telling his congregation in the future, is consistent with the teaching of the Church. By the way, for seminarians so concerned about their privacy, they sure managed to publicize this. Or is it the rector with the agenda?

  • Posted by: - Mar. 12, 2007 11:22 AM ET USA

    RC, from the language of the text, it would appear that "other sources" from the seminary, whomever they may be, stated that masturbation was an example of what the two members were asking about--and not simply limited to that action. So it would also seem that the question was broader and intent and scope--though the way it came across between you and Uncle Di, I would concur with you.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 12, 2007 10:59 AM ET USA

    RC, When I apply for an job, I am required to submit to a background check, a drug screening, a psychological test and anything else the screener should decide is important. But you are right, one of the team should be a confessor so the seminarians can exercise their "right to confess their sins anonymously." But part of the penance should be a requirement to reveal any impediments to priesthood.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 12, 2007 10:04 AM ET USA

    The rector's right, Di. Seminarians, like everyone else, have a right to confess their sins anonymously and voluntarily, not to every well-meaning visitator with a notepad.