Fr. John Zuhlsdorf
The Telegraph [in
My emphases and comments:
Catholic sex abuse scandal: time to sack trendy bishops and restore the faith
It has become fashionable to claim that the sex abuse scandal currently afflicting the Catholic Church is “its biggest crisis since the Reformation”. Oh, really? Tell me about it. The abuse issue is just a small part of the much larger crisis that has engulfed the Church since the Second Vatican Catastrophe and which is more serious than the Reformation. [And we’re off…!]
Abolish clerical celibacy? The last thing a priest abusing altar boys needs or wants is a wife. There is no compulsory celibacy in the Church of England, but that has not prevented vicars and boy scouts furnishing gratifying amounts of copy to the tabloid Sunday papers for the past century. Celibacy goes against the grain of today’s “unrepressed”, “non-judgemental”, let-it-all-hang-out attitude to sex; its continued existence is a reproach to the hedonist Western world; [actually… everything Catholic is that… not just celibacy…] so Rome must be persuaded to abolish it [not "persuaded", but "intimidated", "beaten-down", "badgered"] – likewise its condemnation of divorce, abortion, contraception, homosexuality and all the other fetishes of liberal society. Dream on, secularists.
“Irish abuse victims disappointed by Pope’s letter.” Of course they are. They were disappointed by it before they had read it, before it was even written. [NB:] Any other response would diminish the power they find themselves wielding against the Church.[!] Have they a legitimate grievance? In most cases, yes. They have a ferocious grievance against the “filth” (Benedict XVI’s term, long before he came under public pressure) who defiled them and treated them like animals.
How could clergy transgress so gravely against the doctrines of the Church? What doctrines? These offences took place in the wake of
The “neglected” sacraments and devotional practices that the Pope says could have prevented this did not just wither on the vine: they were actively discouraged by bishops and priests. [This is where I need to intervene. I am sure that some of the more traddy stripe are crowing as they read. I would remind them to supress that reptilian brain-stem a little and recall – before reading the next self-affirming quote – that we are all in this together. When clergy and lay people of the Church fall down, every one suffers. The whole Church needs to help the fallen to rise again. We need to do that by raising the level of holiness, of penance, and worthy worship, just a rising tide raises every boat. Read on, now, and feel that affirmation…] In the period when this abuse was rampant, there was just one mortal sin in the Catholic Church: daring to celebrate or attend the Latin Tridentine
There was a determined resolve among the bishops to deny any meaningful catechesis to the young. That is the generation, wholly ignorant of the faith, that in
The abusive priests are not the only hypocrites. [This is so common today…] “I am so shocked by the abuse scandal I am leaving the Church.” Right. So, the fact that some degenerates who should never have been ordained violated young people – in itself a deplorable sin – means that the Son of God did not come down to earth, redeem mankind on the cross and found the Church? This appalling scandal no more compromises the truths of the Faith than the career of Alexander VI or any other corrupt Renaissance Pope. [Tell that to people with increasingly thin critical thinking skills and who are slaves of the mass media.]
Should bishops be forced to resign? Oh yes – approximately 95 per cent of them worldwide. [!] These clowns in their pseudo-ethnic mitres and polyester vestments with faux-naïve Christian symbols, spouting their ecumaniac episcobabble, [whew!] have presided over more than sexual abuse: [here it comes] they have all but extinguished the Catholic faith with their modernist fatuities. [Do I hear an "Amen!"?] They should be retired to monasteries to spend their remaining years considering how to account to their Maker for a failed stewardship that has lost countless millions of souls.
Benedict XVI should take advantage of a popular wave of revulsion against the failed episcopate to sack every 1960s flared-trousered hippy who is obstructing Summorum Pontificum. It is a unique opportunity to cull the hireling shepherds and clear away the dead wood of the Second
Fr. John Zuhlsdorf
Okay! I am sure you are all ready to suit up and ride into battle now.
And that is a good idea.
But the triumphalism he suggests will be empty unless we all do penance, also for the sins of others.
We must also have a revitalization of
Something of my "manifesto" after the Notre Shame Debacle could be relevant here.
I urge all priests and bishops who read this blog with any slight quaver of resonance or benevolence, to consider this with care:
If you sense that something quite serious and important is going on right now, for the love of God rethink your approach to how you foster
Do all in your power and through your influence to foster a worship of God which conforms not to worldly goals – as praiseworthy as they may be in a world still dominated by its dire prince – but rather to the real point of religion: an encounter with mystery.
Our worship must become more and more focused on the one who is Other. Seek what is truly above in your rites and raise people to encounter mystery.
You will be challenged and reviled, blocked and attacked as you do. You will be worn down and afraid under the weight of resistance.
But I think that to save the world we must save the liturgy.
The Church’s enemies, the Church’s deeply confused, can’t compete with the fullness of Catholic liturgy and sound preaching.
Reforming the liturgy along the lines Pope Benedict has proposed may be the most loving and effective option we have in these ever hotter times.
People will have to keep working very much in the sphere of the secular. Of course! Our inward Catholic Christian identity must find outward expression and bring concrete fruits.
But I think the real work now – where we will make some effective headway – must be done at the level of our public worship.
In the present circumstances, we are not going to argue most people out of danger or error. But together we can draw them in and along and back through worship.
So long as we remain doctrinally faithful and active in works of mercy both spiritual and especially temporal, if we get our public worship together we will have a strong bastion against error.
Holy Catholic worship will be an attractive force for conversion.
We need to foster worship which stuns, which leaves the newcomer, long-time practicing Catholic, above all the fallen-away simply thunder stuck. Worship must at some point leave people speechless in awe. We need language and music and gesture which in its beauty floods the mind with light even while it swells the heart to bursting.
The more people encounter mystery through liturgy, the more hollow will clang the false or incomplete messages of those who have strayed from the good path, either to the left or to the right.
Our goal must be that which is good and beautiful because it is true, that which reflects what is of God, not man’s image merely. Give us mystery, not fabrications smacking of the world, fallen and transitory.
Fathers, and you Reverend Bishops, if anything of alarm has sounded in your hearts and minds of late, rethink your approach to our worship. Examine your approach with an eye on the signs of the times. Take a new approach.
The approach we have had least last few decades isn’t getting it done. Really … it isn’t
Going neither left nor right along the road toward the Lord, even as He comes to us, take the flock now deeper, now higher on that path, but always to encounter the mystery which distinguishes truly Catholic liturgy… and therefore true Catholics.
Lines are being drawn, sides taken, choices made.
More than ever we need what Christ, the true Actor of our liturgy, desires to offer us through
• • • • • •
28 Comments »
1. Thank you Father, for being the voice of reason. I love how you always put things in the proper perspective.
2. Mr. Warner offers a hint or two about the current problem. My local parish associate pastor tells, simply but fully, the plain truth about it:
When we start hearing such honesty from some of our bishops, perhaps a solution will be closer at hand.
Comment by Henry Edwards —
3. “Irish abuse victims disappointed by Pope’s letter.” Of course they are. They were disappointed by it before they had read it, before it was even written”
Correct. As I predicted on Damian Thompson’s blog the day before it was released: “the letter will almost certainly be greeted with bitter disappointment by the Irish Times’ rent-a-victims – namely Colm O’Gorman, Andrew Madden, and Marie Collins. The same ’survivors’ keep being interviewed; we never hear from the rest.”
We must always worry about the extent to which self-appointed “spokespersons” are representative of their ‘community’. It is a common tactic of the media to repeatedly interview the same people in order to whip up a consensus. They also tend to give preference to those most ‘extreme’ in their views.
This report in the Guardian is a good example. The journalists asserts that victims were disappointed by the Pope’s letter. He quotes the ‘survivor’ group One in Four (also interviewed on BBC) to back up his assertion. One in Four was founded by Colm O’Gorman; I believe he still effectively runs it. O’Gorman is also leader of Amnesty International Ireland and is a homosexual. He seems to get quoted on almost any development concerning clerical abuse of children.
NOT quoted in most reports were the welcoming of the letter by the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre and the Irish Survivors of Child Abuse (SOCA), which represents victims in industrial schools. SOCA welcomed the Pope’s letter as “an unambiguous acknowledgement that the Irish Catholic church sinned most grievously against the young over many decades”. SOCA co-ordinator John Kelly said the Letter represented a ‘possible step to closure’ and said “we are heartened by the pontiff’s open acceptance that the abusive behaviour of priests and religious were criminal acts”.
4. Ok, this is simply awesome stuff. Fr.Z’s point well taken.
I wonder, though, if I should: speak, calmly, but clearly to our new pastor, who loves telling stories during his homilies (85% stories, 15% vague doctrine), who rides rough-shod over the rubrics (“Good morning”, “thank you” at times when only the black should be said, winging an absolution in Confession, etc.). He seems Pro-life, and Pro-Benedict, but it’s all watered down RC. He was ordained in ‘70. I sometimes think it would be uncharitable to complain.
Comment by Mike —
5. Father, You get “it”. Keep spreading “it”. We need “it”. I want “it”. Live “it”. You are inspiring. Thank you
Comment by gmaskell —
6. Yes, Vatican II was really more catastrophic than the Protestant Reform
because the heretics of VII still are in the Church while those of the Reform left.
Fortunately there is a new generation of new priests who no longer care about the council since this is an hollow word with no meaning in their mind. Unfortunately they are owing obedience to their bishops who are clinging to it desperately while at last some of them are beginning to understand that the spring, the new pentecost of the Church they dreamed as
the fruits of the council never will come from that side.
Comment by albizzi —
7. “The abuse issue is just a small part of the much larger crisis that has engulfed the Church since the Second Vatican Catastrophe and which is more serious than the Reformation. [And we’re off…!]”
This puts this whole mess in perspective. Loss of faith, loss of morals. All kinds of everything.
“Have they a legitimate grievance? In most cases, yes. They have a ferocious grievance against the “filth” (Benedict XVI’s term, long before he came under public pressure) who defiled them and treated them like animals.”
Read the reports of the victims; it’s just absolutely horrendous. How these priests continued to be moved from place to place by bishops and religious superiors aware of their crimes continued this is ghastly.
“Once you have debauched the Mystical Body of Christ, defiling altar boys comes easily.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself. If you’re “god”...why are you concerned with the moral order?
“The abusive priests are not the only hypocrites.”
And this is the the “rub”...there are all kinds of abuse going on everywhere that is somehow “pushed under the carpet”...within families, within the school systems, in the medical/psychiatric professions…it’s a pandemic today.
“Should bishops be forced to resign? Oh yes – approximately 95 per cent of them worldwide. [!]”
Don’t know about that; but there are many in positions of authority who have much to account for…Jesus, have mercy on us all! Bring us to true repentance and justice for the innocent and vulnerable!
Thank you, Fr. Z. for this post and your commentary. Absolutely on target in all ways.
8. I returned to the Church in 2000 after about 42 years wandering in the Protestant wilderness. I had no memory of ever having attended a traditional Mass – yet, 2 years later, when I attended my first one, I sat there in tears for most of the Mass, knowing (!) that this was the true
Annoying questions immediately began popping into my mind: what then was that other thing I’d been attending every week? Why had the Church replaced this one? Why was it relegated to only one, old, out-of-the-way parish in a run-down neighborhood? Why did Archbishop Pilarcyyk and his intelligentsia dismiss it as “mere nostalgia”?
I have pretty fair answers to those questions now. Gerald Warner has even better ones – and if you think he writes compellingly well, you should hear him speak!
I like your take on the restoration of triumphalism, Father Z, but please note that this is how the SSPX views itself: as a lifeboat pulled alongside a sinking Church.
Comment by Sedgwick —
9. An amusing read! I liked some of his expressions in describing certain modern bishops.
Comment by TJerome —
10. Prov. 11:29.
11. I just read today that, in 2001, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, issued a letter to all bishops of the church urging them to keep the sexual abuse scandal secret. Most shocking, it threatened the VICTIMS of sexual abuse with excommunication. [I think you have been the victim of the abuse called misinformation.]
There have been numerous shocking allegations that have come from the continued sexual abuse crisis in the church. This one, however, seems to be the most repugnant. I cannot imagine how the victims of sexual abuse must have felt to have the Church not only pass off their cries, but to actually find themselves threatened with excommunication.
I do not see how his papacy will survive this stomach-turning revelation. I hope he made an appointment with his confessor soon afterward.
Comment by lhwhitaker —
12. Amen, Father.
Comment by gloriainexcelsis —
13. I take note of many good points that Mr. Warner makes but where the FRACK does he get the authority to take Bishops (his superiors in the Church) to task? I used to be like this when I was with the SSPX, infact the one thing that does annoy me about my current FSSP lot is that they still backbite about Bishops (I was told on the 1st Sunday of lent that all I need to know about Bishop Hollis is that he and Bishop Lang (a little fuzzy but essentially good Bishop) are good mates).
The good padre who ministers to the students at my university dislikes the traditional movement for exactly that reason, along with a gnostic attitude about being TLM Catholics, the fact that some parents there seem intent on making sure that their kids become priests/religious (I thought that that is between each person and God) – which by the way it seems was at least partly responsable for the problem in Ireland (having a preist/religous in the family was seen as a status symbol).
By the way I disagree that the whole thing can be traced back to Vatican 2, if there were problems with the council is was because a problem was already there that would have happened regardless if there had been any council – at worst the council merely gave modernists an opportunitiy.
there I have said my peiece, let all the rad-trads nail me to the tree
Comment by Jack Hughes —
14. Father Z, your posts are usually very good. This is simply a gem.
Comment by viennaguy —
15. Henry Edwards, thanks for the link to Fr. Shelton’s blog. Excellent
Comment by Cath —
16. Now, I really enjoyed that! Both the original article and your comments, Father.
If I may suggest another of Mr. Warner’s articles from today, in the wake of the Obamacare debacle:
We cannot give up the fight on either field of battle.
Comment by Navarricano —
17. J.H.: They’ll have to nail an awful many of their compatriots to the tree, methinks…
lhw.: Care to direct us to the source of this allegation? At face value it sounds like media-fabricated levels of spin on something like a pastoral urge that abuse not be a public spectacle. (And yes, I’ve seen the media spin things to the point that they’re fabricating the bulk of it, on matters as grave as salvation or excommunication.) But to accurately assess it, I’d have to have an accurate version of the claim.
18. lhwhitaker, may I respectfully request a source for your bullshit?
Comment by Emilio III —
19. I’m all for sacking bishops, but since the beginning of the priest sex abuse scandals predate Vatican II, the logic is a bit fuzzy.
Comment by Dave N. —
I agree with you: Our current problems can be traced back further than V2. At the beginning of V2 the conditions were ripe for what happened to happen. Regardless whether you trace it to V2 or prior to V2, it’s the same animal: modernism and liberalism.
As far as bishops, there are some bad ones, and I firmly disagree that they are not to be criticized. You will note that Warner doesn’t judge any particular bishop as having committed any particular crime, but simply says (basically) that bishops, being in charge, are to blame for letting things get out of hand, and that a lot of them did it on purpose. I have seen enough evidence of this that I have no trouble believing it. I have personal friends and loved ones who have taken classes to become certified diocesan catechesis, and the classes made a concerted effort to avoid teaching any essential content whatsoever. If the catechists are not being taught any doctrine by the diocese, what makes us think their students are being taught authentic Catholic doctrine and morals? This can’t be laid at anyone’s feet but the bishops’.
And if catechists are not being taught the faith, and therefore are not teaching it, and the same bishops who are responsible for the lack of content in catechism class, are also in charge of training priests… Well, what follows?
Your diocese may be different, and if so you’re blessed. But in many places it’s been an uphill climb for faithful priests and laypersons to even hold the line on orthodoxy, let alone promulgate it among the faithful.
Comment by Agellius —
21. There is no point is mincing one’s words in the Telegraph. Its readers would be very disappointed.
Vatican II and its reforms certainly contributed in very large measure to a liberalism which had thitherto not existed or was churning away underground and then sprang forth once thedoors were unbolted.
Looking at individual causes of scandal is not really enough. I strongly believe that liturgical reform was a huge catalyst in the auto-destruction of the Church. It was largely uncalled for (except by the bakstage cliques) and was unnecessary. Its restauration will not put the genie back into the bottle, but it will help.
Having read in this blog and elsewhere Fr Amorth’s (the Roman exorcist;s) view, I think we are speaking of a real, concerted, satanic attack on the Church over the last 40 years or more. You couldn’t invent the awful things that have come to light. I do not mean to sound alarmist. The Church will (and is) prevail(-ing). But we must face facts and see things for what they are.
Holiness and faithfulness are key. A few Bishops falling on swords would be a useful and honourable: collegiality had largely emasculated them anyway.
Yes, we are all to blame in one way or another. The Church is all the baptised, but the leadership has manifestly failed and needs now to get a grip. Our Chuch depends very much on the quality and holiness of its clergy. That is its thermometer of good health, so a failure of such proportions as thr Irish scandal does maximum harm and loses souls.
It is after all the vast majority of good and holy priests who have allowed us to survive thus far and I grieve to think of the effect on them. They need our prayers and real support, not to allow dispair or the sheer burden of it all to overwhelm them. The Devil cannot be allowed to win and he won’t, but it takes an effort to fight not sitting on the fence in the vague belief that we can stagger on as we are.
Comment by asperges —
Cath: Henry Edwards, thanks for the link to Fr. Shelton’s blog. Excellent
I’m glad you followed the link. For the others, a few extracts:
“In too many countries we have seen the subversion of the Council, whose call for renewal proposed a deeper embrace, not a Satanic reordering, of the Sacred Liturgy, doctrine, morality, evangelization, penance, devotional practices and discipline.
“That lay Catholics in these countries so gullibly accepted instructions from their priests, issued with deceitful and unfounded reference to the holy Council, to banalize the Holy Mass, to lay aside their devotions, to forget their catechisms, …… Who told you to stand and take Holy Communion into your hand and pick up the Savior with your fingers for your mouth? ….. Why don’t Catholics know their parts of the Roman Mass in Latin as the Council instructed? .....
“The clergy responsible for dismantling the faith and tradition of the
Note that Fr. Shelton identifies Vatican II as the solution rather than the problem.
Comment by Henry Edwards —
23. The BBC is apparently going to air a hatchet job against the Holy Father tonight. The corresponding article is here. Be forewarned that it, and the comments afterwards, are quite distasteful.
(Although I did chuckle in wonderment at who this “Thomas Ratzinger” is that they were talking about.)
They are desperate. The Holy Father is a rock when it comes to theological truths and moral teaching. They cannot shake him. They cannot get him, as the natural extension of and visible head of the Church, to compromise the Truth, or to bow to public or modern pressures. So they are going after his own morality and ethics, trying to undercut the message by making personal attacks against the messenger. It’s shameful, it’s misleading, and it reeks of a desperate attempt by the devil to damage a man who is trying to and succeeding in doing so much good. We must all stop and pray for Pope Benedict, and continue to keep him in our prayers. Pray that he be strengthened to stay the course and fight the good fight. It does not escape my notice that these attacks are coming so close to our remembrance of the Passion of the Lord.
I can’t remember the exact quote, but hasn’t the Holy Father made the comment to the effect that as long as he’s being criticized and attacked, he knows he’s doing the right thing? I pray that he remembers that.
May the Lord bless and protect our shepherd, Pope Benedict XVI.
Comment by ben_g —
24. I can’t figure out if ihwhitaker is a White House mole or a LCWR mole. Both are working to undermine Benedict XVI
Comment by TJerome —
25. AMEN, AMEN, GERALD WARNER ROCKS He is a must read. “His feet would not touch the floor” This should be forwarded to every bishop in the
26. I must say that, despite the extreme tone, I couldn’t help but agree with a lot of what Mr. Warner had to say.
My favorite lines:
“Should bishops be forced to resign? Oh yes – approximately 95 per cent of them worldwide. These clowns in their pseudo-ethnic mitres and polyester vestments with faux-naïve Christian symbols, spouting their ecumaniac episcobabble, have presided over more than sexual abuse: they have all but extinguished the Catholic faith with their modernist fatuities. They should be retired to monasteries to spend their remaining years considering how to account to their Maker for a failed stewardship that has lost countless millions of souls.”
I have gotten to the point where I am so distrustful of bishops I almost think they need to be interviewed ahead of time before they are asked to accept an appointment. Archbishop Dolan, a man for whom I had very high hopes,, has turned out to be a supreme disappointment when he publicly stated that he would not refuse Holy Communion to politicians who supported abortion and that he was “following the lead” of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. This is perhaps the most dangerous example “ecumaniac episcobabble” I have encountered in a long time.
Comment by TNCath —
27. What an excellent entry here! Clearly the beginnings of the scandals were at least present pre 1962. It seems so unreasonable to accuse the Council itself of error, without dismissing the promises of Christ of an infallible church/magisterium. How could one make such claims without assuming a gnostic superiority?
OK, so I have to strive to become holy and pray more. Thanks, Father Z.
Comment by Christopher Gainey —
28. I've had Gerald Warner near the top of my must read blogs. We’ll always need an England, if only to have them come up with phrases such as “pseudo-ethnic mitres and polyester vestments with faux-naïve Christian symbols, spouting their ecumaniac episcobabble” to bolster our spirits.