“using the victims of clerical child abuse to fight internal political battles”

Some analysis from the UK by Damian Thompson with my emphases and comments:

Some liberal Catholics are thinking: It’s payback time, Ratzinger!

By Damian Thompson

There is still no good evidence that Pope Benedict XVI is seriously implicated in the atrocious child abuse scandals that are – rightly – blackening the reputation of the institutions of the Catholic Church. But still the attempts to join the dots continue. To put it bluntly, there is an increasingly frantic media campaign against the Pope in which headlines are being written first and then facts shaved to fit them[What’s on the masthead of Hell’s Bible again?  "All the news that fits"?]

It is also clear that many prominent liberal Catholics are turning a blind eye to this media vendetta because they don’t like Pope Benedict. [Do I hear an "Amen!"?] They are happy for him to take the rap for diocesan cover-ups initiated, in some cases, by liberal prelates. Those relates are grateful for the opportunity to pass the buck to the one man who, though his record on this matter is certainly not beyond criticism, has done more than any other to rectify the Church’s lax procedures – Joseph Ratzinger.

Some Catholics, such as our blogger Cristina Odone, have protested against the unjust treatment of the Pope. God bless her, for I know that Cristina is not sympathetic to some of the Pope’s views; yet she can spot the hidden agenda here.

I have to ask myself: if a liberal, liturgically wet Pope was castiagted unfairly in this way, would I stick up for him? I can’t be sure, but how shameful if I did not. [Do I hear an "Amen!"?]

If I was Benedict XVI, I’d be asking myself if I even wanted to visit Britain this autumn. For, when he does, he will meet English bishops, Catholic journalists and self-appointed spokesmen for the Catholic community who did not dare offend liberal opinion by defending him properly, or whose judgment was clouded by personal dislike of the Pope and his agenda.

Some Catholics – not many, but they are prominent – are actually thinking: it’s payback time, Ratzinger. If we can make this mud stick, then [and this is the moral of the story…] we can continue to sabotage your liturgical reforms. [Because everything, eventually, hinges on worship.] In other words, they are using the victims of clerical child abuse to fight internal political battles. Why am I not surprised?

I wrote the other day that…

…to a certain extent we are going to have to lie here and be kicked by anyone who walks by… until they decide that kicking someone else gets them what they want…  that and must continue to revitalize our worship of Almighty God, who alone can see us through to the other side.

The battle is vicious and the stakes are high.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. ghp95134 says:

    …[What’s on the masthead of Hell’s Bible again? “All the news that fits”?]…”

    I think the full masthead is, “All the news that fits, we print.” ;^)

  2. Lee says:

    “Have no anxiety about anything…” it says here (Phillipians 4:6), but I like the wording of another translations: “Dismiss all anxiety form your mind.”

    For decades I have been convinced that the “news” is institutionalized worry, and as such it is a drain on our spiritual lives.

    If we refused to let ourselves be worried (and at other times fascinated) by the media, like a mouse being worried by a cat, our prayer lives would be that much better, our graces that much more abundant, our falls less frequent, our scandals less odious and prevalent.

    Well, however that may be, worry will get us nowhere.

  3. Norah says:

    Two lines from songs of the past come to mind:

    “There’s a battle outside and it’s ragin”

    “Which side are you on boys, which side are you on?”

  4. chironomo says:

    I cannot tll you how tired I am of reading “Gotta Sing Gotta Pray” (Jerry Galipeau-WLP Blog) where, nearly every day, every issue from the new translation to the development of liturgical music is somehow tied to the issue of clerical child abuse. Does anyone NOT SEE that the issue is, to a large extent, heavily fueled by the very “theology” that they continue to defend?

  5. Alex P says:

    There’s something rather deplorable about abused children, who were so badly violated, being used as a political football to beat the Church and the Pope with. Liberals outside the Church hate the fact that the Church stands almost alone in denouncing the sins of abortion, contraception, homosexual acts, euthanasia etc., so there is presented here- in the persons who were abused- the perfect opportunity to criticise the Church as a cover-up for the real desire of liberals to attack it over its moral positions. And of course liberals within the Church are lining up with similar motives, this time to snipe at the Pope for his years of sticking to Catholic doctrine, and not subordinating Christ’s teaching to the itching ears of those wishing to hear what they want to hear.

    One senses in all the criticisms there is at heart not a desire to help the Church grow through this difficult time, but to simply point fingers and for people to delight in seeing the Church cower and almost unable to respond to criticism. To use human persons like this as a stick to beat others with demeans the inherent dignity of the abused, and shows those attacking the Church for political ends to be people who don’t give a brass farthing for the hurt experienced by so many.

  6. shellac says:

    “our worship of Almighty God, who alone can see us through to the other side.” Amen.

  7. yatzer says:

    The absolute hatred of the Catholic Church demonstrated in some of the comments on the reports online is astonishing. Unfortunately, I think some of it is from Catholics, and that is kind of dispiriting. It is Holy Week, tho, and we know how that crowd went as well.

  8. MWindsor says:

    The battle is vicious and the stakes are high.

    How about some pointers on what the laity can do to fight this battle? There were important people in my parish who literally said to me, “anybody but Ratzinger” during the last conclave. This whole mess will certainly sound good to their ears.

    Any suggestions, in addition to prayer, would be greatly appreciated!

  9. KAS says:

    Well, ultimately we know the Devil is the enemy here. So, in addition to prayer what can we do in the battle against him?

    Daily Mass
    Daily Rosary
    Divine Mercy Chaplet


    reparation for sins, blasphemies and other offenses against God

    Join a pro-life group and get involved in electing men and women to government office who stand for LIFE.
    Donate money to monasteries and convents where you know prayer is the order of the day.
    Donate to local programs that help the poor–like the St. Gabriel Project or St. Vincent De Paul–or to the local battered women’s shelter
    Donate to places like Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary–they turn out priests who know the Mass in the Extraordinary form!

    Get your Christmas Cards from someplace like OLOG Seminary–they do a novena of Masses for the people you list!

    What else is gonna kick butt on the Devil?

    Anything that is charity, anything that is true worship, anything that is prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

    And using our daily trials to offer them up for our sins and the sins of others, to sanctify our work by doing each and every bit of it for God.

    mmm, Holy Water in the home, Blessed Salt in the home, Family devotions, things done every day to impress on the minds of the young that we think of God now and always.

  10. catholicmidwest says:

    Completely predictable.

  11. KAS says:

    Oh here is a good thing to do: Daughters of Charity run schools in all sorts of places like Haiti–why not find out some place where things are really bad and make THAT a special focus for your efforts?

    Anything that spreads God’s light, shows God’s love, and is done FOR God and according to the Law of God is worthy.

    Just ask yourself–is this thing I am planning to do with my money, time or day off gonna please God and kick the devil or not?

    And the biggest thing that pleases God and harms the devil is when we an individuals seek sanctity in our own lives by choosing to live out the virtues–and studying them to find out what they are and are not if we do not already know!

    I think if we are trying to become Saints then lots of good things will happen–although there may be a nasty back-lash first.

  12. KAS says:

    You know, God’s way IS completely predictable.

    God has been repeating himself for many many many many hundreds of years.

    Catholics still are a rather lazy ignorant bunch, lacking in virtue and unwilling to sacrifice for the good, not even the good of their own souls.

    So, yeah, what to do is very very predictable.

    Prayer is good–but as we find in scripture, it is incomplete unless you also incorporate fasting and almsgiving–that is why Matthew’s gospel brackets the Lord’s Prayer with instructions on Fasting and Almsgiving!

    Taking part in our parish life–Mass, Adoration, helping with catechesis provided you know enough to teach straight from the Catechism of the Catholic Church is good.

    Taking part in the community–Pro-life work, work with food kitchens, food banks, St. Gabriel, these are all proper things for Catholics; but so is all the work to get good men and women elected to office, who will never forget that LIFE is the FIRST right and the one from which all others grow–for if Life is violated ALL other rights are violated utterly and without cure.

    Doesn’t anyone ever sit down with encyclicals and the Catechism and the Bible and just ask the question–how should I live? Then dig in and find out?

    Try outlining Rerum Novarum or Pacem in Terris…or even better, outline both.

    Go read ALL the encyclicals in chronological order–Or just to focus on Catholic Social Teaching, how about a book that collects a bunch of encyclicals and has a bit of commentary about what was going on in the world when each was written–I’ve got CATHOLIC SOCIAL THOUGHT, THE DOCUMENTARY HERITAGE published by Orbis; I dislike the commentary in several ways but it is handy to have so many encyclicals in chronological order so as to make reading them in order handy.

  13. adagio48 says:

    From The Diary of St Maria Faustina, # 634 Our Lord’s words to St Faustina’ “Fear nothing; all difficulties will serve for the fulfillment of My Will.” Jesus I Trust In You

  14. catholicmidwest says:

    No, KAS, the fact that the progressives would use the child abuse scandals as a weapon is completely predictable. It’s good political warfare. And the conservatives are flummoxed again.

    Traditionalists, however, know that this has nothing to do with anything except the fact that some people sin, as always. It teaches a lesson about how far up the hierarchy this can reach no matter what is said to the contrary. And how the angel of evil we call the devil still exists. It teaches that good and evil must still be respected no matter what the popular culture insists on asserting. None of this ever changes. It can’t because it’s ontological. What also won’t ever change is that God has already won this war. We just have to fight the battles and we get no reprieve, in season or out as long as we live on this mortal coil. The rest is just details.

    Now the typical 20th century catholic stops there and doesn’t see any consequences because most of them are not traditionalists, let alone traditionalists with brains. But there are consequences. Always. It’s part of the traditionalist world to understand that there are always consequences. Life is a thread you live, come what may.

    The devil needs to be resisted. He cannot be allowed to “eat” too many lives. So fight, damn it, and don’t believe the facile excuses you or others make, even others you think can’t fall. Go to confession. Put some effort into this, invest yourself and act like a Catholic. The time to be a soppy sentimental sorta christian milquetoast is ending. Some of you wanted the Traditional view to come to the fore, well now you may get your wish, but not just half of it–the half with the incense and flowers. All of it.

  15. catholicmidwest says:

    And so yes, we’ve had people who’ve fallen. Hasn’t that been the story of Christianity all along: that human beings are sinners? Soldiers fall on the field. Step over them and fight, for Pete’s sake, before you are struck in the midst of your dismay. Give it to God and go on.

    And watch your own children. *You* are responsible for them–they’re your family. Don’t farm them out to other people if you can help it. And for heaven’s sake, not to men. Men are many, many times more likely to commit child abuse than women. Use your head.

  16. janek3615 says:

    It’s a media witch hunt fueled by ignorant and slothful thinkers, if that, who despise Christ’s Church and Christ Himself in the person of His Vicar on earth. Leading among the most vicious and perfidious are often the malignant, progressive forces within the Church.

    Our Lord warned His disciples that these events would happen and that they [and us] would be subject to the same calumnies and persecution as Himself. And it’s no accident that this crap makes headlines now almost every Palm Sunday.

    The Satanic irony in all this is that Education czar, Kevin Jennings’ promotion of sexual abuse of children in the form of public school homosexual propaganda gets a pass in the MSM while unearthing old and stale accusations against the lack of proper discipline of abusing priests is held to be the breaking news of the day.

    But, in the end, Christ rules supreme. And newspapers turn yellow.

  17. catholicmidwest says:

    “But, in the end, Christ rules supreme. And newspapers turn yellow.”

    Yup, some things never change.

  18. Mitchell NY says:

    I can not imagine any other religious leader in the world being attacked this way. The person of the Pope is what they are attacking which happens to Pap Ratizinger right now. They hate the Catholic Faith. But the attackes, from the two attempts to tackle him, verbal insults up close to him, and the media campaign to sway opinion against him are horrible. Again, I could not imagine this happening to any other religious leader. And some of the attackes are coming from within Holy Mother Church herself. Pope Paul VI was profetic in saying that the Church seems in some sense in a state of “auto-demolition”. And where did that all start? Circa 1965, around the close of the Council? What a spiral since the reduction of the power of the Holy Father. There is no longer respect for the office or even the human individual who could have fallen, hit his head, and left us permanently had one of the attacks gone terribly wrong. It COULD have happened. Then the media would be covering his Pontificate with much Praise, Glory and Hippocracy! What a shame on the world.

  19. catholicmidwest says:

    Look at it this way, Mitchell. This might be a satanic reaction to the fact that the Church is finally getting somewhere with the new translations, the resurgence of the TLM, the dealing with abuse in public, and the increase of traditionalism that’s budding out there.

    Think of it this way: We’re finally taking out the garbage and it stinks. Isn’t that how it works? No cause for alarm.

    The pope is a strong man and a prayerful man. Any mistakes he (or his office) might have made were made BEFORE he was pope. The detractors & media of the world don’t get this distinction because they’re ignorant. Pope Benedict has been a staunch supporter of the Church’s truest principles, particularly after he became pope. We’re going to be okay.

    PS Besides God already won–don’t forget.

  20. Grabski says:

    The day that “Catholics’ take the word of the NYT is the day you know they aren’t Catholic in any recongnizable way.

  21. catholicmidwest says:

    The devil is finally losing his cosy 20th century cover, complete with smaltzy elevator music (Haas & Haugen anyone?) and show business finales and it’s making him angry. People are once again starting to notice the “man” behind the curtain.

  22. Totus Tuus says:

    “…[What’s on the masthead of Hell’s Bible again? “All the news that fits”?]…”

    I thought it was, “All the news that fits our slant”.

  23. New Sister says:

    I don’t want to take this off topic, but I want to say again:

    let’s GET on planes & FILL the National Shrine on 24 April

    It will show, world-wide, the support & gratitude Supreme Pontiff has among his faithful that does not get covered in the press.

    When the EWTN cameras pan across the nave during the Holy Mass, I hope the world – and the “prominent Catholics” who try to sabotage the Pope’s reforms – will see standing room only, YOUTH, chapel veils, and awe-struck reverence as we approach the altar rails to receive Our Lord.

  24. PostCatholic says:

    Interesting that you take the opportunity to castigate “liberal Catholics.” What the non-Catholics, lapsed Catholics, and former Catholics who are writing these articles want is

    To sell newspapers and advertising (Remember that, please!);The truth to be be exposed;The cover-ups and denials to stop;Justice to be done, including restitution, civil criminal justice.

    When all of those things happen, perhaps the institution will have expiated its misconduct.

    I don’t think that, in relation to the problem of clerical sex abuse, most folks give a rat’s hindquarters where their bishops and Pope stands on the spectrum of liberal to conservative. We care about honesty and forthrightness. We’d like an admission of responsibility and a ready willingness to cooperate. What we continually are confronted with are bishops such as Bill Lori fighting the victims tooth and nail to keep their dirty secrets, bishops like O’Brien hope monsters like Rev. Anthony Colleary, bishops like Weakland who embezzle the collection plate for hush money, we’ve watched the Vatican shelter bishops like Bernard Cardinal Law and give them positions of authority. You’ll excuse us for wanting to see someone do the perp walk.

    I’ve said elsewhere already that I agree with your characterization of Benedict XVI as a someone focused on policy rather than administration. And I also believe in his personal integrity and sense of hurt and outrage at the people who perpetrated his crimes. But you’ll forgive us if we believe that with ad limina reports, formal and informal visits, and the work of nuncios, the Holy Office and other dicasteries were well aware of problems and failed to act. Even you yourself acknowledged here on this blog that the Vatican’s response to the latest allegations fails to appear forthright and honest.

    These crimes have been terribly expensive in terms of the waste of human potential and destroyed lives. The very people who claim to have been given authority by Jesus Christ to tell us how we ought to live have in truth turned out to be liars, hypocrites and scoundrels, and in some cases even sexual predators themselves. That’s a good story to a journalist.

    Sinead O’Connor has an Op-Ed letter in this morning’s Washington Post that explains what’s lacking in the Pope’s (otherwise good, in my opinion though not in her’s) apology to the people of Ireland. Well then, where ought the buck to stop? To quote a Catholic character–one with all the hallmarks of episcopal moral flexibility: “Only don’t tell me you’re innocent. It insults my intelligence and makes me very angry.”

  25. PostCatholic says:

    I should have said “bishops like O’Brien who’ve helped monsters like Anthony Colleary flee the country and its courts.”

  26. catholicmidwest says:

    Oh, PostCatholic, there’s far more to it than that. The whole thing started out as a problem involving less than 5% of all clergy, and should have been dealt with more wisely, it’s true. But it has turned into a field day for dissidents who are exploiting it for all they’re worth. Our bishops, dummies that they can be, left them an opening and they took it. Good solid political warfare.

    As a Unitarian Universalist, do you know what VOTF is (was, heh)? REDUX.

    And the timing is as suspect as hell. We’re being used by the democrats in this country as a scapegoat for Obama’s healthcare fiasco. It’s only going to work to the degree that the progressives can whip it up, though. They’re doing their damndest, but it’s a little old hat, even for them.

    Hey wanna hear a Sinead O’Connor joke? What does Sinead O’Connor do after she combs her hair? She gets dressed.

  27. PostCatholic says:

    Yes, I know what Voice of the Faithful is.

    My suggestion? Axe the derelict bishops. All of them. Put new conservative ones in their place if you like; as a non-Catholic I’d don’t mind if you do. Answer the call of justice with a guilty plea.

    I’m not going to confuse this issue with debate about health care reform or President Obama.

    By the way, Sinéad O’Connor was badly abused by her family and claims to be a victim of church abuse at Grianán Training Centre. Given that, one can understand her anger at the Catholic church and have some compassion for it.

  28. catholicmidwest says:

    Sure, you don’t want to talk about how the timing is suspect. I understand, wink, wink.

    Poor little Sinead. Can she still not sing? Does she have any hair on her topside yet?

  29. catholicmidwest says:

    I can’t help it if Sinead O’Connor’s family abused her. Some people all over the world have low-life relatives. Evil exists–never doubt it. She “claims” (?) to have been abused by the church? Honey, some people “claim” to have been abducted by space aliens. Do you believe them too?

  30. PostCatholic says:

    No, I just fail to see how they’re connected by anything logical.

  31. PostCatholic says:

    I personally believe O’Connor and take her at her word consistent word over decades now that she faced abuse at Grianán. Form your own conclusions if you like, but abuse taking place there is a well-established fact.

  32. irishgirl says:

    catholicmidwest-what you said in all your posts!

    And as usual, Damian Thompson is on target! Way to go!

  33. catholicmidwest says:

    Okay, now you have an ambiguous pronoun reference. Your cliff notes experience should be ringing your mental bells–or should have been about 5 seconds before you hit the “Submit comment” button.

    If you mean that abusing children isn’t logical, you would be right.

    If you mean that you don’t want to talk about Obama and timing and that’s not logical, I expect you would be right.

    If you mean that VOTF is Voice of the Faithful, that would be correct, but I don’t know how logical it is. It seems to be a nominal distinction to me. HOwever, carry on.

    If you want to talk about Sinead O’Connor’s political views, I can tell you that her hair status is about as connected to priestly child abuse as her political views are. She’s not logical, but then, heh, she’s a singer, and not a very good one. Who the hell cares what she thinks about it. She could sell toothpaste to subnormal consumers though simply on the basis of being a celebrity, probably.

    If you want to feel bad because Sinead O’Connor’s relatives reportedly abused her–aw. I’m sorry.

    If you want to talk about her claims about abuse, I think “claims” is an interesting word. I don’t think “claim” rises to the status of anything until there’s far more to it, and that’s logical.

  34. catholicmidwest says:

    PS, PostCatholic,
    I’m amused. What got you to pick the Unitarian Universalist Church anyway?

  35. PostCatholic says:

    I fail to see how the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church and passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act are connected by anything logical.

    To each their own. I happen to think O’Connor’s The Lion and the Cobra album (that title’s a reference to the psalm Qui Habitat) is beautifully sung, but art is a matter of taste.

    As for what made me pick Unitarian Universalism, I could be flip and say going to Catholic seminaries, but I won’t say that. (Except that I just did. Just persiflage, don’t get your dander up.) I had a friend who was raised Catholic and had begun attending First Unitarian in Baltimore; we had a phone conversation one night that led me to do a bit more reading. I realized I could intellectually assent to the seven principles and purposes and that a covenental rather than creedal faith left me free to hang on to and even grow what I consider good about the Catholic spirituality imprinted in me.

  36. catholicmidwest says:

    Timing, PostCatholic, timing. If you don’t realize that, you know nothing about politics in general, nor American politics in specific.

    And oh, now we’re talking about preferences in rock music? Please. Don’t waste my time. Being a rock music has-been is not any kind of qualifier–not even for selling toothpaste. Some people are just stupid and easily relieved of their money–or their senses, common sense to be exact.

    My dander is not up, I assure you. I just found it–and you–amusing. For someone who’s supposedly interested in pure inquiry, you sure have a stake in the judgment of other people.

    I think you have some sort of residual attachment to the Catholic Church, and that’s why you’re here. If you didn’t, you’d be off pursuing “free and responsible search for truth and meaning” as you put it in another thread, instead of hanging around here trying to blend in with Catholics.

    Hey, but there is no truth and that’s the truth, right? You amuse me.

  37. catholicmidwest says:

    Are you sure you didn’t just pick the short straw, lose the bet, pick the shortest steeple in town (*sounds like this one*), follow the prettiest girl, find the funkiest church picnic or the nicest vanilla minister? Those just about sum up the reasons why people traverse from one protestant congregation to another. People generally have no clue about salvation history nowadays.

  38. spesalvi23 says:

    When I look at the hype about the Munich case, it just seems very, very strange to me, that NOBODY gives the slightest **** about Card. Wetter’s role in all this. Strange enough he was Archbishop of Munich from 1982-2008. What did he know? Anybody interested in the minutes from meetings he attended concerning Father H’s shift from A to B? Nobody cares. Even though the abuse took place during Wetter’s time. I wonder why?!

    Sure, Card. Ratzinger was the all powerful Grand Inquisitor who knew everything about every single Parish on this planet.
    I’m sure all those Bishops who were covering up their local cases went to spill their heart out to the famous Panzerkardinal in the Holy Office during ad limina visits! Did they tell him instead of the Pope?
    I’m sure it would have also been very easy for the good Cardinal to push aside any opposition within the curia (everybody in the curia simply loved him!!) to applying more severe measures, or to establishing some type of internal proceidures of investigation.

    How can anybody hold Ratzinger accountable for how the Church handled those matters? Oh, right. He’s German -> bad. He’s defended tradition for decades -> bad. he’s trying to clean up the mess called VII -> really bad! He won’t get down to their level of communication and will rather take the insults as he has for years -> great! But also bad, considering that he is known to be a rather sensitive person.

    The letter to Ireland was the first letter of a Pontiff written in that form and in that regard. If some people believe that it didn’t go far enough – fine. Ripping it into pieces in tabloids is simply stupid!
    You might want to wait a while and see what will happen next. Things have begun to move into the right direction. Why would you like to kick the Vatican between the legs now! What’s the benefit of it? If the visitations and resulting changes are not according to expectations – ok, then it’s fine to scream and rant…. but before??

    Is anybody actually still applying Christianity to all this?

    I’m sorry. O´Connor??! Who’s next? Iggy Pop?!

  39. Reflecting upon this whole “bruhaha” the past several days, I am in complete agreement with D. Thompson.
    Talk about a smear job; not getting all the information; making rash judgments; in some sectors, calling for “the resignation of the Pope” (what?) over things that either aren’t proven or have some kind of explanation.
    It’s just bosh.
    A big stick used by “little people” who hate the Church, the papacy, the priesthood…and I’m talking about the commentators at the NCReporter site. What a bunch of nasty, idiotic creatans. And ignorance; of Catholic theology, of Canon Law, of Church history, on and on and on. How John Allen stays (and he’s in Rome, if I’m not mistaken, so maybe THAT’S why he doesn’t bail!). No discourse, no dialogue. Just complete hatred of Pope Benedict, accusing him of all kinds of everything, calling for married, gay (!)[like THAT’S gonna change the situation, oy!] and women priests…I’m sorry but if there is an ounce of charity there by most of these folks, I’ll eat my habit.
    And it’s nine yards, folks…the old fashioned kind…you know the saying:<)!

  40. PostCatholic says:

    I think you have some sort of residual attachment to the Catholic Church, and that’s why you’re here. If you didn’t, you’d be off pursuing “free and responsible search for truth and meaning” as you put it in another thread.

    Well, of course I do, catholicmidwest. I grew up Catholic in Irish-Catholic Boston, did my CCD and Mass every Sunday, and went on to Catholic college, a collegiate seminary and two major seminaries. Later I was married at the altar of a Catholic cathedral-basilica. I’ve kissed the Fisherman’s ring, shaken hands with Mother Theresa, I’ve prayed in Jerusalem and at Fatima, and so on. My “free and responsible search for truth and meaning” unavoidably includes Catholicism. I came to reject many of its beliefs–including the central one, that there is a deity–well before I became a UU or read any Hitchens or whatnot. My choices have nothing to do with pretty ministers or picnics or guitar music. Can we agree not to be insulting, even if we disagree with each other?

    And I’m not here to blend in, nor am I ignorant of salvation history. Here’s a bit for you: “We need not think alike to love alike.”

  41. catholicmidwest says:

    Wait, wait.

    You said, “I came to reject many of its beliefs—including the central one, that there is a deity”…..

    Meaning: *You don’t believe in God.*

    I’m not being insulting, regardless of what a textbox makes it sound like. You do amuse me, from a philosophical point of view. You see, I’m not a cradle catholic and I’ve seen many like you. I used to be an atheist myself. It’s a lot of work, you’ll see. To assert that “there is no truth and that’s the truth” is incoherent.

    When you left, you may not have left your memories but you left the reality associated with them. That reality is no longer yours, because the faith of Catholics is not relative, no matter what you might think. I’m so, so sorry. We don’t think alike, which means we don’t love alike. It’s true.

    Nevertheless, I wish you the best you can have with what you’ve chosen. I chose differently myself. You see: I’m a convert–TO Catholicism.

  42. PostCatholic says:

    Right, I don’t believe in gods, including God. I’ll let you have the last word, because I really do not want to derail this any further with my religious biography.

  43. PostCatholic: At least you have the integrity to admit what you believe and what you don’t believe and have left the Church (although I will pray for your return…daily!)…these people who call themselves “Catholic” and attack every single one of the Church’s beliefs are the real enemy to me; the secular press? they’re “outside” the circle, so to speak. Former Catholics? At least they are honest enough to act according to what they think. I don’t agree with you. But I respect the fact that you don’t call yourself a Catholic and undermine everything from “within”.
    That, to me, is more diabolical than someone who for whatever reason, dissents from the teachings of the faith and goes elsewhere. Blessings to you and prayers.

  44. AJP says:

    ditto nazareth priest – PostCatholic shows a lot more intellectual honesty and integrity than many self-avowed Catholics do.

  45. robtbrown says:

    And I’m not here to blend in, nor am I ignorant of salvation history. Here’s a bit for you: “We need not think alike to love alike.”
    Comment by PostCatholic

    Disagree with that. Love flows from knowledge because there must be an object of love. If we think differently, we will also love differently.

    I will say, however, that Irish Catholicism is not my cup of tea. If I had grown up with it, there’s a good chance I would have attitudes similar to yours.

  46. PostCatholic says:

    Thank you for the compliments folks.

    I fear I’ve taken this thread a long way away from my anger at the episcopal college.

  47. PostCatholic: I, also, grew up with Irish Catholicism, albeit “outside” the Church and from other influences (my people are Scots-Irish, lost the Faith somewhere in Tennessee, but I digress)…there is a lot, a lot of cultural stuff here. Just be honest, seek the truth, be open to whatever…know you are upheld in prayer by lots of folks here.

  48. Dave N. says:

    Some of the objections to coverage of the sex abuse scandals reminds me of the stuff that comes out of the mouth of my 11 year old:

    “Did you do it?”

    “Buuuuut, everyone else does it. Only they’re worse.”

    “But did you do it?”

    “The teacher haaaaates me; she’s always picking on me when everyone else is just as bad.”

    “But did you do it?”

    “X is a snitch.”

    “But did you do it?”

    All I expect from the Vatican (or any other bishop for that matter) is either a point-by-point refutation of the charges against them or an admission of guilt and resignation. No excuses, no whining, no spin. If they’ve been involved in a cover-up of these crimes it’s clear their not up for the high standards of the office they hold. And I don’t care if that’s what everyone else did at the time; they’ve forfeited their right to a paycheck from the church. Their guilt and penance is up to God, their confessor and, if applicable, the civil authorities. Just don’t expect me to help pay their salaries.

  49. robtbrown says:

    To each their own. I happen to think O’Connor’s The Lion and the Cobra album (that title’s a reference to the psalm Qui Habitat) is beautifully sung, but art is a matter of taste.
    Comment by PostCatholic

    Whether or not someone likes art is a matter of taste (De gustibus, etc). That notwithstanding, there is good art and bad art–but not everyone is able to tell one from the other.

  50. lhwhitaker says:

    Now this….

    The most liberal Cardinal in the flock defends the most conservative Pope in generations.

    (This should be interesting)


  51. Bressani56 says:

    “Does the Pope realize the trouble he’s in? Does he know what even his most fervent supporters are starting to think? And – this is a liturgy blog – what will all this do to the Pope’s liturgical agenda? As the Pope’s credibility sinks, what all will it drag down with it? How much spielraum will the Holy See have left to act?

    I have a hunch it won’t be pastorally feasible to implement an unpopular liturgical translation anytime soon. I’m sure church officials must be thinking about all this and considering the best thing to do.”

    —Fr. Anthony Ruff

    taken from:


    It seems that Fr. Anthony has completely missed your point, Fr. Z. Intentional? I’m not sure.

  52. robtbrown says:

    I have no objection to the coverage. It is a fact that the Church was derelict in ordaining men with problematic dedication to the doctrine of the Church and who could not be celibate.

    The reporting of the story “implicating” the pope, however, has been little else than dishonest sensationalism. A few days ago on Nightline it was obvious that the Ratzinger link to these situations was, at best, tenuous. That was followed by asking viewers to vote on the Internet whether the pope should resign.

    Of course, this is the same news media that was in the tank for Obama and unable to inform the electorate on what was in the health care legislation.

  53. Hieronymus Illinensis says:

    PostCatholic, if you don’t believe there’s a deity, why are you calling yourself a Unitarian rather than a Nullitarian?

  54. PostCatholic says:

    Heironymus Illinensis, I call myself that because I’m a Unitarian Universalist.

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