Friday, April 02, 2010

Stand Up and Speak Out Lest Evil Triumph

Catholic Clergy Stand With Peter and Defend Pope
4/1/2010 - 11:13 PM PST

Catholic PRWire

HARRISBURG, PA (April 1, 2010) – On this Maundy (Holy) Thursday in which the Church celebrates the institution of the Sacraments of Holy Orders and Holy Eucharist by Jesus Christ at the Last Supper, the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy publicly stands with Peter and defends the person and office of Pope Benedict XVI. A national association of priests and deacons committed to ongoing formation (spiritual, theological and pastoral), the CCC declares our total loyalty, support, confidence and fraternity with the Successor of Saint Peter, Bishop of Rome and Vicar of Christ. We condemn and repudiate the slanderous attacks on the Holy Father and we encourage all the faithful (laity, religious and clergy alike) to join us and stand with Peter as did the early Church in the time of the Apostles. The secular press and media are supposed to REPORT the news and allow the public to DECIDE. Instead, we see conjecture, innuendo, false inferences, distorted facts, and many details taken out of context so as to promote an agenda of hatred and deceit for the Catholic religion. Ironically, the same media which demonstrates a hypersensitivity to not offending non Judaeo-Christian faiths by not printing offensive cartoons of Prophets and other religious founders, nevertheless, shows no restraint in making specious allegations against the spiritual leader of more than one BILLION Catholic Christians around the world.

Terrorists and other violent criminals are afforded a presumption of innocence until proven guilty in the press and media yet when it comes to the Pope, especially Benedict XVI, we rarely see the disclaimer “alleged” printed or spoken before a series of accusations are leveled against him. Lacking incontrovertible evidence, the media frenzy is nothing short of a bunch of sharks circling the water after smelling blood. They seek to devour former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict. Sexual abuse of children is a grave evil no matter who is the culprit, be they priest or parent, minister or rabbi, teacher or coach, sibling or neighbor. Any instance of abuse is inexcusable and detestable. Abusers should be punished.

However, the current clarion call for ‘transparency’ must be taken in context. Forty and fifty years ago, the buzz word was ‘discretion.’ Families were discreet when a fellow family member was known or suspected to be a pedophile. Today, we learned the hard way that discretion was not the proper solution, yet, back in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, everyone kept a lid on child abuse, whether it occurred in the house, at school, in the gym, on a camping trip or God-forbid in the rectory or parsonage. Some police and school administrators kept silence as did some bishops when they should have acted more vigorously. Society in general and not just Church leaders had to learn to no longer be quiet about child abuse. Furthermore, psychiatry and psychology were not the keepers of the panacea, the cure for all mental illness. Bishops were not the only ones given false hope when sex offenders were released after so-called ‘successful treatment.’ Today, everyone knows serial abusers are incurable and must never be allowed anywhere near children. Half a century ago, modern mental medicine told us otherwise.

The yellow journalism and anti-Catholic propaganda seen in some attacks on Pope Benedict, from demands for his resignation to convening an ‘inquisition’ rival the same rhetoric once found in the former Soviet news agency, TASS, or in the vitriolic ranting of Nazi Josef Goebbels. All reputable reporters, journalists, and news people need to distance themselves from the tabloid tactics of some of their colleagues. We need responsible reporting that does not color the facts, merely reveals them. We need balanced analysis and fair treatment given to every person and every religion. Instead of connecting dots that do not exist or instead of making outlandish accusations of elaborate Vatican conspiracies as found in pulp fiction, the world deserves to be treated more intelligently. Instead of throwing stones, how about giving both sides of the issue in showing mistakes AND progress; in telling the corrective measures now being taken as well as the sins committed in the past?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

An Inconvenient Truth

The secular press is being manipulated by dissident Catholics. Those who are calling for the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI are doing so for either illogical and fallacious reasons OR to serve a clandestine agenda to destroy the credibility and ultimately the authority of the Roman Pontiff. One group means well INSOFAR as they purport to have the common good in their intent. While protecting children from abuse is a magnificent and proper goal, the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy that merely because he was Archbishop of Munich in 1980, he de facto is responsible for the transfer of an accused pedophile priest. Likewise, that same logical fallacy attempts to implicate Pope B16 with a case in Milwaukee just because he was Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. There is no cause and effect evidence to demonstrate these allegations. That Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict) was in charge is accurate. What he knew and when he knew it are not being accurately delineated in the secular press. Furthermore, the media is grossly distorting the facts regarding a Vatican document Crimen Sollicitationis .  Rather than being a smoking gun proving a conspiracy of cover-up and plausible deniability, in reality, it is a very specific response to a very specific and rare phenomenon.

The document in question was issued in 1962 and dealt with the sin of solicitation in the confessional. In other words, it was an instruction to bishops on how to handle the heinous instance of a priest molesting someone during the sacrament of Penance. Canon law imposes an automatic excommunication for any confessor who absolves his accomplice or victim in a sin against the Sixth Commandment of the Decalogue. The necessity of SECRECY was not and never was to protect the culprit, instead, to protect the victims AND the sacrament of confession itself.

Since a priest can NEVER divulge the identity nor the sin confessed by any penitent, EVER, how does a bishop proceed using due process to ascertain the guilt and then impose the proper punishment upon the offender? How can evidence be gathered when no names can ever be revealed? Most cases of sex abuse occur OUTSIDE the sacrament, so this is a very limited but nonetheless still horrible crime. But all the penitents of the same confessor need to know their identities are still safe even if they never were victimized. All penitents need to trust in the total and absolute inviolability of the seal of confession. No one, not even the Pope can command a priest to ever reveal who went to him for confession and/or what was confessed. No civil or ecclesiastical authority can supercede this. Hence, some norms had to be drawn up to protect the identities of ALL penitents as well as the sins they confessed. THAT is the only secrecy involved. The secular press perverts the intent of the legislation and insinuates a conspiracy of secrecy. Are not court records of minor children SEALED so that identities cannot be revealed? Are not adoption papers kept confidential?  The document is NOT a recipe for omerta (Mafia code of silence) in the Church. Instead, it is a safeguard for the Seal of Confession.

Finally, those dissident Catholics who want to see the demise of priestly celibacy; who want to see female clergy; who want to allow same-sex marriages; who want to allow abortion and contraception, et al., are now using the mood and climate to stir up public disdain for the hierarchy and the Magisterium. The are abusing the abuse cases by using them for their own agenda. They are taking facts out of context and manipulating the conclusion so as to promote their own ideology. Since they had no ammunition to discredit then Cardinal Ratzinger and now Pope Benedict, they throw as much mud and filth as possible HOPING something will stick. But it shall not. Pope B16 is INNOCENT. He is also the Vicar of Christ for life. The so-called 'public-image' of the Catholic Church may not be as sparkling or as palatable to the world as before, but so what? DOING the right thing for the right reason is more important than APPEARANCES. Papa Ratzinger has ALWAYS acted with integrity, honesty, justice and out of love for God and Holy Mother Church. While some may disagree with some of his prudential judgments, HE is the Pope, they are not. He answers to GOD and not to the press, not to vox populi and never to opinion polls or to popularity.

As said before and before, again and again, often it is MIDDLE MANAGEMENT to blame. They buffer what information gets to the local bishop or to the Pope. Spin-doctors are not just found in secular politics but in the Church too. They do not belong, but they are there. Just as some of the Apostles argued among themselves who was the greatest, churchmen today sometimes concern themselves with vain concerns. The common good is better served when ALL diocesan officials and all the clergy and laity are on the same page and seek to know and do the will of God and the good of the Church. Personal needs must be superceded by the larger need of the common good. Recent popes have had that in mind, sadly, some under them and way down the ecclesiastical food-chain have other ideas.

In the meantime, PRAY FOR THE POPE.  He needs our support more than ever. And tell anyone who asks that the Church is not governed by the media or the public. She is the Bride of Christ and the Pope is the Vicar. ANYONE guilty of child abuse (be they a cleric or layperson; be they a priest or parent, sibling or relative, teacher or coach) should be punished but as always the ends never justifies the means. Therefore, we can never do evil no matter what good what come from it nor how much harm would be prevented. Thus, we must do right and encourge others to do likewise.

Pope Benedict XVI is part of the solution not the problem

Pope Benedict XVI is part of the solution not the problem


Some liberal Catholics are thinking: It's payback time, Ratzinger! – Telegraph Blogs

Some liberal Catholics are thinking: It's payback time, Ratzinger! – Telegraph Blogs

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