Monday, May 20, 2002

From a reader of this blog:



I appreciate your blog and all the other authentic catholic blogs for informing the laity. An informed laity will insist on change, and prayer for the laity to have the courage to speak up would be good too.



My friends and I are making copies of the Open Letter to the Bishops from the Catholic World News site to send to all the Bishops in this country along with a letter saying who we are and why we are concerned.



A list of the Bishops can be found on their site, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops,, then clic on either bishops or dioceses, We hope that if they are flooded with mail before their June meeting it will help.




Here are some points made in the Open Letter;



First, this is crisis is not the creation of the secular media:




The severity of this crisis should not be underestimated. This scandal has not been created by the mass media; secular reporters have merely exposed the unhappy truth, uncovering a frightening pattern of abuse and corruption within the Church.



Secondly, it is a problem of widespread acceptance of active homsexual activity among clergy:



In the vast majority of cases, the priests' victims have been adolescent boys or young men. Emerging evidence makes it impossible to ignore the widespread toleration of homosexual activity among American priests.



This widespread acceptance of homosexual activity is a grave problem in itself because it causes disdain for Catholic doctrine and fosters a climate of hypocrisy among those who are the official representatives of Church teaching.



We believe that the current scandal is a direct consequence of a failure to uphold and promote the teachings of the Catholic Church regarding sexual morality. When bishops do not accept, understand, and boldly proclaim the necessary link between sexual intimacy and procreation, they cannot expect the faithful of their dioceses to uphold that magisterial teaching.




Third, a new "policy" is not the solution:



The problem that you must now confront cannot be solved simply by adopting new procedures and guidelines for the handling of troubled priests. Still less can it be solved by setting "boundaries" for the clerical behavior, as some commentators have suggested. Guidelines and procedures are useless if they are not enforced; "boundaries" will soon be crossed by clerics who lack the habits of chastity and self-discipline.



The resolution of this crisis will begin, we respectfully suggest, when you, our bishops, firmly insist that the teachings of the Church must be upheld, and the discipline of the Church must be enforced, in the seminaries, parishes, and schools under your authority.




Finally, a plan of action is laid out:



1. NO ONE SHOULD ASSUME ANY POSITION OF AUTHORITY IN THE CHURCH (INCLUDING ADMISSION TO HOLY ORDERS OR RELIGIOUS VOWS, APPOINTMENT AS RELIGIOUS SUPERIOR OR DIRECTOR OF FORMATION, OR EMPLOYMENT IN ANY DECISION-MAKING POSITION WITHIN A DIOCESAN CHANCERY) WHO DOES NOT WILLINGLY ACCEPT AND PUBLICLY DEFEND ALL THE TEACHINGS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.



2. EVERYONE WHO UNDERTAKES A POSITION OF AUTHORITY IN THE CHURCH MUST RESOLVE TO ENFORCE THE TEACHING AND DISCIPLINE OF THE CHURCH, AND DEMAND THE SAME RESOLVE FROM THOSE WHO ARE UNDER HIS AUTHORITY.



3. CHURCH LEADERS MUST MAKE A FIRM COMMITMENT TO BE DILIGENT IN INVESTIGATING ANY CREDIBLE EVIDENCE OF DISSENT FROM DEFINED DOCTRINE, OR VIOLATION OF MORAL NORMS, WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THEIR AUTHORITY.




I think the letter is strong and makes very good points, until you get to the conclusion where it seems to state the obvious. Perhaps some stronger sense of "enforcing" such a plan should be part of it, as well as cleaning house.









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