Tag: Catholic Church

It Takes A Village – UPDATED.

My fellow bloggers here at Patheos have done a fantastic job highlighting the various problems surrounding the news of the Home (a house for unwed mothers and children) in Ireland,…

My fellow bloggers here at Patheos have done a fantastic job highlighting the various problems surrounding the news of the Home (a house for unwed mothers and children) in Ireland, where the bodies of 800 infants, dead many years, were found in a septic tank in 1995.

I’m still unclear why it’s news now, almost twenty years after the finding. Nevertheless, it invites comment.

Each of the bloggers points to the communal aspect of sin, all sin, which brings to mind Archbishop Diarmuid Martin’s address to Marquette University (I believe it was a conference sponsored by the law school.) in 2011.

Archbishop Martin, after noticing in a priest’s file a note that Fr. So & So was up to his old tricks again, called in an independent outside expert to review all the priests personnel files to see if the previous investigations had in fact been sufficient. They had not.

He asks a lot of good questions. It’s worth the read if you haven’t read it before. But this paragraph stuck with me for years and the Home reminds me of it again:

The culture of clericalism has to be analysed and addressed.  Were there factors of a clerical culture which somehow facilitated disastrous abusive behaviour to continue for so long?  Was it just through bad decisions by Bishops or superiors?  Was there knowledge of behaviour which should have given rise to concern and which went unaddressed?   In Dublin one priest built a private swimming pool in his back garden to which only children of a certain age and appearance were invited.  He was in one school each morning and another each afternoon.  This man abused for years and there were eight priests in the parish.  Did no one notice?   More than one survivor tells me that they were jeered by other children in their school for being in contact with abuser priests.  The children on the streets knew, but those who were responsible seemed not to notice. [Emphasis mine.]

I’ve been to Dublin. In August. It was not swimming pool weather then or in any of the other months that I’ve been there. I can’t imagine a swimming pool being at all appropriate, especially if it was built by a priest. And before the tiger economy. His fellow eight priests had to know that something strange was up. It’s not like one can hide the antics that occur in a backyard swimming pool. The kids knew. So that means the teachers and the parents, at least some of them, had to know. The people who installed or built the pool had to know that there was something at least off in a priest having access to funds for such a luxury. Lots of people knew. Now, Archbishop Martin stays focused on those who were responsible, but I think he’s somewhat generous or he knows it won’t do any good to call out the community at large for crimes perpetrated by people who were expected to be much, much better.

People knew. Just like the situation at the Home:

  • The local board of health.
  • The community which didn’t want their daughters to end up there and which knew that many of the children did not survive.
  • The teachers and the students.

But Jennifer Fitz offers a really important consideration:

It occurred to me then that if you’d grown up never having quite enough to eat, your body always aching, the cold always biting, you’d be a very poor judge of what constituted reasonable conditions for a group home.

So it could be that in a community that has known hard living, as the Irish did for centuries, the things that strike those of us commenting on events long past as wrong and sinful may have simply been a brutal reality of life. Still sinful, just unavoidable.

The point is, individual sin doesn’t occur in a vacuum. Even if it’s “private” or no one talks about it, it doesn’t go away. It still wreaks havoc.  In fact, denying that it exists seems to feed it and allow it to grow. Evil like the sex abuse scandals and the Home cannot exist without the support of people around it, especially those who pretend the problem is not there at all. Many other examples from history confirm this and, yet, the historical aspect itself (like the reflection Fitz offers) seems to be the distance that helps us to see evil for what it is. Evil.

UPDATE:

Caroline Farrow has a very interesting piece providing historical context. In particular, I like this insight:

For every mother sent to an institution there was a society unwilling to accept them into their community and to stand up for their basic dignity. There was a documented unwillingness to rely on their testimony regarding the paternity of their children or to hold the men to account.

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No Discussion, Please. We Want Diversity.

Oh that ignorant Catholic Church. Once again, it has a different view from those who preach “diversity.” The Catholic Church in Poland has come under attack for apparently challenging “gender…

Oh that ignorant Catholic Church. Once again, it has a different view from those who preach “diversity.”

The Catholic Church in Poland has come under attack for apparently challenging “gender workshops,” a type of sex-ed class in the schools that present children with “alternatives” to permanent monogamous heterosexual relations. According to an article in Our Sunday Visitor, the circumstances are not quite clear. Nevertheless, in a column for the theguardian.com, Agata Pyzik attacks the Church in a way that makes it seem that she, the Church, and other critics of the Church are at least agreed upon the subject of the dispute, namely the “gender workshops” and accompanying topics like abortion and contraception.

Think about it. The gender agenda, inclusive of same-sex marriage, is probably the largest social experiment in the history of humanity. And it’s being driven by anything but science. Gender is a fluid notion despite the scientific fact that the human person’s sex is determined at conception.

It’s interesting that at the same time that most European countries won’t stand for altering the integrity of food produce with genetically modified organisms [GMOs], the integrity of the human person is discounted insofar as one’s sex is considered to be arbitrary, changeable, even mistaken, not an integral and essential part of who we are even though…again…it’s determined at conception. That’s pure science. Not religion, not the Bishops, not the Pope. There is no human being created who is not male or female and yet the significance of that seems to count for very little in some circles.

Obviously people are going to have different thoughts and feelings about policies impacting society in such a profound way. At the very least, differing view points ought to be discussed, pondered, and explored. Instead, any suggestion that perhaps this experiment needs some rethinking or perhaps children  should not be the guinea pigs of a vast social experiment (an EXPERIMENT!), results in an attempt to shut down the dissenting voice[s]. Then again, this is Poland we’re talking about. Perhaps the decades of Communism have left a deeper impact than we thought, namely that a voice that challenges a questionable and potentially harmful idea should be shut down, especially if it’s the Catholic Church. After all, a 2,000 year-old institution has no experience to draw upon…

Pyzik discusses the issue assaults the Church for its actions to stop the “gender workshops.”[A quick internet search turned up this bio which describes her as a writer whose primary interest is “(post) Communist Eastern Europe.”] She refers to a recent comment by actress Meryl Streep to Polish politicians:

“I thought that after years of communism you’d caught up with the west in a social-cultural sense.”

Pyzik notes, however,

“… it was during the People’s Republic when women in Poland enjoyed civil and reproductive rights.

“Enjoyed”? Last I checked, the flow of traffic, had the borders been open, would have been out of Communist countries, not into them, precisely because human rights were not acknowledged and supported by law. The rates of abortion in Communist countries have been notoriously high, due to factors like population control, economic conditions, and a basic lack of hope for the future.

Let’s talk about contraception for a moment. Back in 2005, the World Health Organization repeated its 1999 finding that hormonal contraception is a Group 1 carcinogen for humans, in other words hormonal contraception creates a serious cancer risk for women who use it. Yet, Pyzik is not alone in mistakenly seeing it as a part of women’s “rights” or “health.” The current HHS mandate in the U.S. makes the same assertion, apparently without any thought to women’s health.

Given that we’re talking about a very serious drug with dangerous side effects, shouldn’t doctors and pharmacists be able to make the decision to refuse to expose a patient to the danger of a particular treatment? It’s not as if a patient has a right to any medication that she deems necessary. That’s left to the doctor’s discretion. Ethical doctors don’t automatically write prescriptions without first diagnosing the patient and then considering the effects (good and bad) of the treatment. Doctors who are driven by an agenda rather than the health of the patient, well they’re unethical.

But this abortion+contraception = women’s rights formula is all part of a tired, albeit all too successful trope. If something is repeated often enough, it seems true no matter how dubious it might actually be.

I’ve listened to women who have had abortions. Many women. I’ve only had one tell me years after that it was a good choice for her. I’ve met with and researched doctors who work in the developing countries who would like to provide safe maternal care. Instead they are provided with contraceptives…even though their patients want safe deliveries and healthy babies.

With regard to the gender issues, Pyzik complains:

Even scientists speak in one voice with the church: the Polish Academy of Sciences published a letter in which they called the gender workshops an attempt at “unseating children from their own sex”.

I dunno. When I question a scientist, it’s about methodology, not whether or not the scientist agrees with the Catholic Church.

How about measuring progress in terms other than abortion, contraception, and how one chooses to use one’s genitalia? And while we’re at it, it wouldn’t hurt to have an open discussion about a major, major, major social EXPERIMENT.

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Benedict’s Resignation – Bringing the Church into the Modern Age

So, here’s my two cents about B16’s resignation. In a piece in the Washington Times today, I maintain that this is part of John Paul II and Benedict’s vision for…

So, here’s my two cents about B16’s resignation. In a piece in the Washington Times today, I maintain that this is part of John Paul II and Benedict’s vision for the future of the Church. You can read the piece here.

Additionally, I think it’s important to note that Benedict will be remembered for influencing two consistories conclaves. The last with his homily on the dictatorship of relativism and this with his extremely clear signals as to what the leadership of the Church should look like.

Exciting times! I do hope Benedict gets a cat when he steps down…

 

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An Infant King & Why It’s A Good Time To Be A Catholic

Well, the month of December pretty well got away from me. I was writing, but missed posting here on my blog. So to wrap things up, here’s a piece reflecting…

Well, the month of December pretty well got away from me. I was writing, but missed posting here on my blog.

So to wrap things up, here’s a piece reflecting on why God made man had to start as an infant.

And here are some thoughts on why this is a good time to be a Catholic. I’d been reading some history and once again was reminded of the idea that only a divinely instituted church could survive humanity and all its foibles.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

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