Friday, February 04, 2005

Judgement begins at the house of the Lord

The taint of scandal has reared its ugly head in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Many of us who are faithful to the Church and who believe that God will triumph and good will come out of this great evil are also asking when it is that this terrible ordeal of abuse allegations made of priests and former priests of this local Church will ever end.

I must admit that I find it hard to believe the allegations of some people who claim they are victims because they waited so long to report the abuse, and while I understand that the trauma caused by abuse can cause those who have been violated to shut that trauma out, I found it strange that some of these people only came forward when similar allegations were uncovered in Boston.

The latest series of allegations, however, seem all too credible, and there is a paper trail to substantiate them. What's more, the same trail seems to indicate that the Archbishop used his influence to keep allegations against certain priests that were years old from coming to the surface. The logical side of me understands the reasons why: The Church, whose members, and especially her clergy, are subject to the provisions of the more scripturally and ecclesiastically correct Canon Law, does not wish for civil law (the City of Man) to interfere with Church matters. That kind of thinking makes sense, even in a terrible situation like this. The Holy Catholic Church is the Organ of God, and the State has no earthly business interfering with Her.

When priests have physically and sexually abused children, however, and further demonstrate a pattern of such abuse, they have lost their right to the privileges of canonical protection, and their ordinary prelate should not protect them from civil interference. This is because the clergy are in a position of spiritual trust, and the violation of that trust in this way undermines the very nature of the priesthood (the representatives of Christ) itself. If a priest has been shown to have abused children, and the allegation has proven substantive, the last thing the Archdiocese needs to do is cover this up and not let the faithful know. The faithful need to know when a member of the clergy cannot be trusted with them or their children, and that cleric should be removed from active ministry.

The Archbishop, however, now stands accused of sweeping credible allegations of abuse against several priests under the rug, and the paper evidence seems to suggest that this has indeed been the case. Like Cardinal Law, I truly believe Archbishop Pilarczyk never indended to hurt or damage anyone when he transferred some of these priests to other places, and kept the allegations against them hidden. I think he believed that he was acting in the best interests of the Church at the time, and the best interests of the larger flock. This does not mean that these decisions were in the Church's best interests, however, whether the Archbishop thought they were or not. If it is indeed true that the Archbishop attempted to cover the tracks of abusive priests, he has undermined the Church's credibility with the faithful, and with the larger non-Catholic public.

The Holy Catholic Church has done many great things over 2,000 years. She has fed the hungry, clothed the naked, educated the ignorant, buried the dead, and preserved sciences and the Arts. She has been promised by Our Lord that no matter what happens, she will survive even unto the end of time. However, for all the wonderful things that the Church has done and still does for the betterment of the world in which we live, the Church only has one primary mission: The care and salvation of human souls. When scandalous things such as the priest-abuse scandal happen in the Church, it undermines that chief mission because the credibility of the Church is brought into question by outsiders, and the beliefs of many of the faithful are rocked to their core. In short, this is causing Satan to have a field day.

How many people who were thinking of coming into the Church won't do so because of the clergy sex abuse scandal, because they mistakenly believe that all priests are like the ones on the evening news? How many Catholics will leave the Church because their faith has been rocked and shaken until it is all but gone? How many professional anti-Catholics out there will lead people further away from the Church because this terrible scandal has given them all the ammunition they need to say that God's Church is the Whore of Babylon? How many souls will be lost forever? God only knows.

The Archbishop should remember that his first priority is to the faithful he serves, and that when he is judged by God hereafter, he will be held partly accountable for the souls under his care, and the souls that were lost as a result of his actions. Therefore, it is time for him to publicly come clean with the faithful, and to reclaim the credibility of the Archdiocese in the name of the Lord by ridding it of those who would harm children. He should recommit the Archdiocece to total fidelity to the Church's teachings, and to the Holy Father, and he should only place people in authority who also pledge total fidelity to the Church, all its teachings (no exceptions), and the Pope. What's more, he ought to rigorously insure that those who enter Mt. St. Mary's Seminary are going to be faithful priests who will not be inclined to harm those under their care. (Note: I have met and talked with many seminarians here, and I believe them to be faithful and committed, and to be good men, so I believe there is hope. God will send us the GOOD priests we need.)

The Vatican is slated to conduct an apostolic visitation of American seminaries this year. I hope the officialdom come to Cincinnati, and that clean this Archdiocese right down to the bone.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

New column is up

I just wanted to take the opportunity to let everyone know that my latest column has been posted on American Daily. This and all past columns can be viewed at my AD feedback site.

State of the Union

President Bush delivered his State of the Union Address last night, and during a portion of the speech dealing with his proposed plan for Social Security Reform, the President was booed when he declared that the system would be giving out more than it takes in in 2018, and if something isn't done to deal with the projected shortfall right away, the system would be bankrupt by mid-century.

These numbers are a reality, and anyone who favours either party who has studied the numbers is aware of this. During the Clinton Administration, many Democrats such as the late New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan were warning of the system's collapse if action is not taken.

It seems that the Democratic Party, now devoid of issues and unable to connect with Middle America, has no choice but to engage not merely in scare tactics, but in the deliberate propogation of untruths. The Democrat side of the aisle shouted "no" in unison when the President was delivering the bad news. Saying "no" does not make the problem go away, nor does it change the nature of the situation.

Regardless of your opinion of how we as a nation need to deal with the developing Social Security crisis, we cannot deal with it effectively if we fail to admit that a problem exists.

Notice to Democrats: "Houston, we have a problem!"

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Long live the Pope!

The Irish have a knack for developing drinking songs for just about everything. Several years ago, while visiting the Dublin Pub, my favorite quasi-Irish hangout in Dayton, Ohio, I overheard a group of people singing happily over their stouts and cream ales a drinking song about Pope John Paul II, and they were singing loud enough to overhear. I certainly can't remember the words, but the phrase that sticks out in my memory from the song is "they tried to kill him, but he would not die."

Such is the legacy of this Pope. Every time we think John Paul is just about done, he bounces back with a vengeance. The Nazis never could get rid of him, and the Communists gave up trying after sending a Turkish assassin to kill him (one the Pope forgave) and the Pope still survived. A little flu and pneumonia isn't going to take out the Pope, either. The Lord will call John Paul home whenever the Lord thinks that it's time. This could happen tomorrow, or it could be another twenty years, but I have a hunch whenever a conclave is convened, it will happen when we least expect it, and it will not yield results that will be favorable to those who do the bidding with the City of Man and the Kingdoms of this world.

Let the Church roll on...

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Dublin Pub online

I wanted to give everyone a heads-up to my favorite watering hole on earth, the Dublin Pub in Dayton, Ohio. I lived in Dayton for seven years, and when I reached that age where I was old enough to enjoy a Guinness, I found this place thanks to my good friend Chad Monnin. I quickly became a lunchtime regular there. I was often (but not always) alone because I discovered Dublin Pub before I had the pleasure of meeting my wife, but that didn't matter to the waiters, waitresses, bartender, and regulars who made that their pub of choice. I always felt welcome and at home there. When I was happy and had something to celebrate, DP was the place to go for a pint. When I wanted a good lunch served in the Irish style (even if not all the food on the menu was authentic Irish), I went to the DP. When I was sad, DP was a good place to drown my sorrows if I had a few extra bucks, because I never knew who I might meet there. Since leaving Dayton, one of the things I miss most is the ability to make a trip to the Dublin Pub whenever I like. It is a great place to visit, and an even better place to go back to.

Note: Just because I love the place do not mean that I approve of every musical act that appears there. A musical act appearing at DP and being advertized on their website does not mean that I approve. It's a great pub...doesn't mean every band that performs there is great.

Regular readers: Do you have a favorite watering hole or restaurant? I'd like to hear about it!

Locations of visitors to this page
Profile Visitor Map - Click to view visits
Create your own visitor map