which is the greater scandal?

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Aug 08, 2007

I have already called readers' attention to the alarm sounded by Prof. Robert George in his "plea to Catholics" on the First Things blog. That succinct and powerful statement deserves a second mention; read it all.

Coming back to George's essay to read it afresh, my attention was captured by this passage:

Nothing undermines the cause of justice and cultural reform and renewal more than the bad example of prominent Catholics who have made themselves instruments of what Pope John Paul II bluntly described as "the culture of death." The scandal given by these individuals over the past thirty years, particularly with respect to the exposure of the unborn to abortion and, more recently, embryo-destructive research, is far greater in its cultural effects even than the horrific— the word is not too strong— scandal of clergy sex abuse. Some bishops, to their credit, have taught clearly that any Catholic who seeks to deprive the unborn of their fundamental human right to life profoundly weakens his relationship with Christ and breaks communion with the Church. More need to be heard from.

More damaging than the sex-abuse scandal? Phil Lawler has called that scandal the greatest crisis to face Catholicism since the Reformation. So he probably diagrees with George-- and that might be a debate worth hearing.

But if Robert George is a man to be taken seriously-- and he is-- then the US bishops should be as energetic in repudiating Catholic politicians who support abortion, gay marriage, and embryo research as they have been in denouncing pedophilia. (On that point, I suspect, Phil would not disagree.) Apologies would be in order, too, for the failure to correct these erring Catholics in the past.

Come to think of it, why not background checks for parish employees and volunteers, to make sure they have no connections with the "culture of death"? How about training programs for children in parochial schools, preparing them to recognize and resist the approaches of politicians whose favored programs would undermine human dignity?

Strange, isn't it, that the US bishops have issued a Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, but still haven't taken an unambiguous common stand against those Catholic politicians who would allow those children and young people to be butchered in the womb?

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  • Posted by: JARay - Jan. 28, 2010 6:40 PM ET USA

    This comment by Tony Abbott has really brought the strident feminists out of the woodwork, although, to be fair, some have declared that what he said is exactly what they would say too to both their daughters and to their sons. I keep him in my prayers. We have too few politicians of his stature.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 28, 2010 5:08 PM ET USA

    He might have said they shouldn't give themselves away at all, let him do that at their weddings. Alas, the blessings deferred until bottom of the stair.

  • Posted by: Sir William - Jan. 27, 2010 6:01 PM ET USA

    "Family, monogamy romance. Everywhere exclusiveness, a narrow channeling of impulse and energy. 'But everyone belongs to every one else,' [Mustapha Mond] concluded, citing the hypnopaedic proverb. The students nodded emphatically, agreeing with a statement which upwards of sixty-two thousand repetitions in the dark had made them accept, not merely as true, but as axiomatic, self-evident, utterly indisuptable." Brave New World, Aldous Huxley