Bishop Serratelli on New Mass Translations, Sex Abuse and the Media

Taking a break from vacation for this public-service announcement: Don't miss this forceful talk by Bishop Arthur Serratelli, bishop of the diocese of Paterson, N.J., to the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management, at their annual June meeting at the Wharton School in Philadelphia.  Bishop Serratelli, who has the important job of Chairman of the Committee on Divine Worship and Chairman of the Ad hoc Sub-Committee for the Review of Scripture Translations (read: the USCCB's point man on the new Mass translations) addressed three hot-button topics in a morning session: the new translations (which he feels are long overdue, for reasons he explicates), the reasons behind the sex abuse crisis (which he feels stemmed largely from the general moral laxity of the 1960s) and the media's treatment of the church (which he feels is unfair).  His talk, now available on The Leadership Roundtable's Web site is, as they say in the trade, "unbuttoned." 



Most Rev. Arthur Serratelli from The Leadership Roundtable on Vimeo.

James Martin, SJ

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James Lindsay
8 years 5 months ago
I can't watch such things on my computer (no speakers or earphones), so I will rely on your reporting.  I fail to see how the moral laxity of the 60's and beyond had any impact on the mismanagement of this crisis by the bishops, unless he is including as part of this laxity the view that abusers can be made whole in therapy and sent back into parishes.  I suspect, however, that the real damage came not from listening to therapists, but from listening to both the churches lawyers (who counsel covering things up and enabling this to happen) and the clerical culture itself - which is immorality of a different kind - the kind that gives excuses (or blames the media) rather than seeks forgiveness.  If that is true, this bishop is part of the problem. 
As far as the translations, as long as we use the Roman Rite, we need to be faithful to it.  Getting a translation closer to the English venacular is a half-way measure to considering abandoning the Roman Rite and the Roman Patriarch altogether, which is always an option provided any new patriarchy created seeks union with either Rome or Constantinople.
8 years 5 months ago
Bishop Serratelli may have glossed over the aspect of the abuse crisis that pertains to the actions of the hierarchy in response to the abuse cases.  Bishops in position of authority in the church kept the abuses secret and even transferred the abusers from parish to parish, putting additional children in harm's way.  That is a major cause for loss of trust in the church.  Many of those who made those decisions are still in positions of authority in the church.  We can forgive them as Christ teaches, but we may never trust them again.
Dale Rodrigue
8 years 5 months ago
If you read this bishop then please understand that you are part of the problem and the church is going down the drain because of you and your blame game excuses.

For God's sake, even the church in Poland is quickly vaporizing and a cross in a public square is causing demonstrations and calls for its removal, in Poland of all places.
Bishop, Newman said that the church will look stupid with only clergy members. Because of you that is happening.  We are NOT stupid and don't buy your excuses.
Robert Burke
8 years 5 months ago
Well, it's hard to know where to start assessing this amazingly defensive speech, but the big point that the bishop misses completely is this:

The problem in the eyes of the laity, the news media, and nearly everyone but themselves, is not the bishops' authority, but their performance. The new text of the Mass may have had the intent to meet all these high-flying standards, but on the ground it is an unproclaimable mess worthy of a C- in a second-year Latin class. That the efforts to "prevent scandal" were themselves scandalous appears beyond the comprehension of the bishops, and especially that of the boys in Rome who refused Cardinal Law's first attempt to resign his post and just today refused to let the two Irish bishops quit as their archbishop demanded. 

Does Bishop Serratelli think we don't have eyes to see, ears to hear, and brains to analyze? Or that we check our eyes, ears, and brains at the door when we enter the church? 
Molly Roach
8 years 5 months ago
Bishop Serratelli believes that anyone who is not ordained is incapable of a meaningful point of view on things.  He just seeks adulation-the usual business of corrupt bishops.  I thought the Leadership Roundtable had some standards.  Seems I am wrong.
8 years 5 months ago
Fortunately, Bishop Serratellie only represents that very small component of the church, known as the hierarchy.   He's correct; most Catholics today do not blindly accept ''church authority'' because so many positions the official church takes seem to be more about preserving a feudal power structure left over from the middle ages, the primacy of Rome and a detachment from reality.   There are some conclusions he draws that I agree with but his logic is faulty.   After much study, I do agree some of the new Mass translations are needed but these changes need to be made from a pastoral platform rather than an authoritarian position.   Leadership comes  more from influence than authority.      I’m reminded that our Declaration of Independence and Constitution was much about the kind of abuse that Church and King had heaped on mankind.    Papal authority is not transparent, collegial, and representative nor does it have any judicial review.   Thank goodness for the New York Times, America Magazine and other publications that seek the truth.   Whenever I hear a defensive tone from the “official” church about the news media, I smile.   The hierarchy always works in secret, has historically had little accountability and while there are many good people who are part of this group, there are many who have abused their power and ruined people’s lives.   Sadly, Bishop Serratellie doesn't strike me as a pastoral or humble man, knowing and in love with Jesus Christ but is lost at sea and more concerned about the the proper use of vestments, and upset because the liturgy is being said at the beach.  Perhaps he should read more of the Gospels as most of Jesus' ministry was found along the beaches of Sea of Galilee, ergo "the Beatitutdes and The Seromon on the Mount" 
Carolyn Disco
8 years 5 months ago
Let's look at some of Serratelli’s actions, which reveal more about him than any words. My computer audio/visual works, but I have no patience any more for such self-serving drivel.
Priest Pays Price for Speaking about Abuse
 Serratelli refuses to meet with an award-winning priest in his diocese, noted for ministry to abusers.
“Monsignor Kenneth Lasch said he once overheard fellow priests talking about him. ''Why doesn't Lasch keep his mouth shut?''
Lasch said he wrote those priests to suggest getting together to explain why he had become an advocate for victims of clergy sexual abuse. No one took him up on the offer, he said, and even priests who remained his friends became quiet when he brought up the issue. He wrote for years to the present bishop, Arthur Serratelli, asking for a meeting.

Lasch said an attorney wrote back telling him that wasn't going to happen. So Lasch became in some ways an outsider in the church he says he loves. ''It's like the death of a wife,'' he said.”
Lasch was honored by Voice of the Faithful with a Priest of Integrity award, but was too ill to travel to receive it. The burden of standing with survivors has been incredibly draining on his health. Read his moving acceptance speech to learn how cruel priests and bishops like Serratelli are to the most compassionate priests among us.
“There are no cheap graces”
Carolyn Disco
8 years 5 months ago
More on Serratelli’s record:
Suit: Church Knew Ex-Priest Aggressive
“Passing the trash” from his days in Newark?

''According to a letter written by the Most Rev. Arthur Serratelli, “I have reviewed the personnel file and other records that we maintain, and I have consulted with some who have served with him in previous assignments. Based on this review, I assure you to the best of my ability that Reverend Wladyslaw Gorak is a person of good moral character and reputation, and is qualified to serve in an effective and suitable manner in any diocese that welcomes him.'' (Gorak later took the name Walter Fisher.)

Serratelli’s letter was subsequent to multiple complaints in writing by Gorak/Fisher’s former pastor about the priest for his aggression against women. “Fisher broke into the victim's house by kicking in the door, threw her to the floor, ripped her clothes off, and took his pants off, the lawsuit said.

He screamed profanities at her, thrust himself against her, and tried to rape her…The victim finally escaped and ran outside of her house in her bra and panties, with her blouse in her hand.”


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