Why are the bishops praying about the abuse crisis instead of doing something about it?

Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, Calif., front right, prays during Mass in the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception at Mundelein Seminary on Jan. 3 at the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Illinois, near Chicago. The U.S. bishops are on retreat Jan. 2-8 at the seminary. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, Calif., front right, prays during Mass in the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception at Mundelein Seminary on Jan. 3 at the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Illinois, near Chicago. The U.S. bishops are on retreat Jan. 2-8 at the seminary. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

Catholics are angry. They have every right to be: They have been failed by their priests, their bishops, even their popes. The clergy sexual abuse crisis that many wishfully thought was behind us has come roaring back. While reforms instituted in 2002 seem to have been effective in preventing new cases of abuse, the ongoing revelations about sexual abuse cases going back decades and cover-ups by church leaders underscore that the church has never properly atoned, to say the least. And the wound cuts deeper with every new story of a government investigation, every previously hidden list of accused priests that is released, every survivor’s story of trauma.

Anger quickly becomes toxic when it is compounded by the feeling that no leader is doing anything to rectify the situation. In the case of the sexual abuse crisis, it is a recipe for ecclesial nihilism.

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The U.S. bishops are gathered this week for a retreat near Chicago to pray and reflect on the sexual abuse crisis. The retreat comes ahead of a February summit on the sexual abuse crisis in the Vatican, with leading bishops from around the world. Despite the cries for change, organizers of the retreat have insisted it will be about prayer, and not policy change.

Anger quickly becomes toxic when it is compounded by the feeling that no leader is doing anything to rectify the situation.

But Americans in particular are primed for a distrust of announcements of prayer in the face of tragedy. For example, “thoughts and prayers” are routinely trotted out by politicians and pundits in the face of mass shootings and then followed up with little or no action to reduce gun violence.

With the crisis still unfolding, and now nearly 20 years since it entered the public consciousness, it is reasonable to ask: If the bishops are going to spend a week together, shouldn’t they be doing something instead of spending the entire time on prayer?

Not exactly.

There is a long tradition in the Catholic Church regarding the necessary relationship between prayer and action, and the importance of prayer preceding action. In the “see, judge, act” formulation in Catholic social teaching, judging is positioned after observing an injustice and before acting upon it. In Ignatian spirituality, there is a great emphasis on discernment and prayer before making decisions. It goes back to Jesus himself, who is regularly depicted in the Gospels as taking time away from the crowds and away from direct ministry for silence and prayer.

In Ignatian spirituality, there is a great emphasis on discernment and prayer before making decisions. It goes back to Jesus himself.

Even when prayer is not the focus, the need for taking a pause before enacting reforms and responses is well-recognized. The best managers in the corporate world set aside time and space from day-to-day business for strategic thinking. This becomes even more important when companies are facing a crisis. Tim Johnson, the author of “Crisis Leadership,” writes, “Resist the urge to do anything immediately.” Leading through a crisis requires, as Daniel McGinn summarizes Johnson’s work in the Harvard Business Review, “avoiding these impulses [to overreach or eschew responsibility] and instead figuring out what’s really happening, thinking hard about stakeholders’ needs, and creating a purposeful mission to guide the response.”

David Allen, the consultant who created the time-management method “Getting Things Done” has said “You don’t need time to have a good idea, you need space…. It takes zero time to have an innovative idea or to make a decision, but if you don’t have psychic space, those things are not necessarily impossible, but they’re suboptimal.”

A lasting conversion for the church, what Francis in his letter calls “a new ecclesial season,” will not come without prayer.

The church is not a Fortune 500 company. Pope Francis acknowledged as much in his letter to the U.S. bishops on retreat, writing, “Loss of credibility calls for a specific approach, since it cannot be regained by issuing stern decrees or by simply creating new committees or improving flow charts, as if we were in charge of a department of human resources.” The Gospel demands more of that. It requires of our bishops (as it requires of us all) a change of heart, a metanoia. As much as they need the “psychic space” to undertake necessary reforms, they even more need the grace, courage and freedom to reform themselves and the church. That only comes from God, and that is why time for silence, prayer and penance is so necessary.

A lasting conversion for the church, what Francis in his letter calls “a new ecclesial season,” will not come without prayer. Francis inviting the bishops to make this retreat ahead of the Vatican summit, and also offering the services of the official preacher to the papal household for the retreat, shows that he wants space and time for bishops to “judge” before they “act.” “Judging,” in this case, means not only reaching a decision but “judging rightly,” in accordance with God’s will.

Trying to institute reforms without taking sufficient time to understand and discern a path forward has already failed once. A letter from the Vatican that the Associated Press reported on earlier this week showed that the U.S. bishops sent Rome their proposed reforms to address the sexual abuse crisis only four days before they were scheduled to vote on them at their November annual meeting. The Vatican objected to the hurried vote, and it was cancelled.

This week’s retreat cannot be the end. Anyone who has spent transformative time on a retreat knows how difficult it is to translate the graces received during one into daily life. Catholics should pray that their bishops have the grace to understand where God is leading the church, but also that they will have the courage to enact change when they leave the retreat center and return to their dioceses.

St. John XXIII wrote in “Mater et Magistra” that knowledge acquired by the “see, judge, act,” method of Catholic social teaching “does not remain merely abstract, but is seen as something that must be translated into action” (No. 237, emphasis mine).

Put another way, as Jesus said, every tree is known by its fruit. And people will be demanding good fruit. Soon.

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J Cosgrove
6 months 2 weeks ago

It's wide spread throughout society not just in the Catholic Church. I don't see anyone else doing anything about it. The Catholic Church is proceeding cautiously because going pell mell could cause a lot of unforeseen problems. What is the problem? It is not abuse currently. It may still exist but it is small. Is is those abetting the abusers or who abetted them in the past? Or is it just knowledge of the abuse and the abetting? If it is just knowledge or suspicions, then nearly all the clergy will be affected including some very very good people.

Kemper Wilkins
6 months 2 weeks ago

"I don't see anyone else doing anything about it", Mr. Cosgrove, You sound like you could qualify as a bishop with that warped logic. Send in your job application. You'll fit right in with the rest of them. This crap has been going on for how long? Did it just come up yesterday? We certainly don't want any "going pell mell". That could really screw things up.

J Cosgrove
6 months 2 weeks ago

Thank you for kind response.

Nearly all the priests and religious have done extremely good work. Not all and this small percentage have to be removed. Most commenters here want a massive overhaul and the end result will destroy much of the good.

James Haraldson
6 months 2 weeks ago

"Small percentage?" "Nearly all the priests and religious have done extremely good work?" How come I haven't heard a single intelligent homily in fifty years outside of treking into Manhattan to hear Fr. Rutler or the late Fr. Neuhaus? How come I haven't met a nun in the past half century who wasn't a pro-abortion feminist? Why do Catholics never mention the very concept of the sin of pride anymore? Why don't the profound fools of progressive Catholicism recognize the self-evident connection between homosexuality and the sexual abuse and covering of sexual abuse by clergy and prelates? Why do Catholics not even care about all the pro-aborts among bishops and Cardinals while all this outrage is allegedly occurring over sex abuse?

Phillip Stone
6 months 1 week ago

USA is not the world, James. In many nations and a few continents I have heard the celebrant preach the gospel as the main theme when he had infrequent attendees like at baptisms or weddings and at the other times expounded Scripture and the tenets of the Creed and recommending prayer and sacrifice for all the potential lost souls.

When I was young, pre-Vatican 2, all I heard was the attendees at Mass being abused because there were so many people in tha parish NOT coming to Mass, tendentious whingeing about how little money was being put on the plate or telling us how rotten the new generation of young people were.

Chris Christenson
6 months 2 weeks ago

It doesn't matter what others are doing. Catholics must actively seek good and the truth proactively.

Tom Hanrahan
6 months 2 weeks ago

I became more and more enraged as I read this article. With all due respect Mr. Davis you are so out of touch with this issue it is truly disheartening. The Church is definitely not a Fortune 500 company. If they were and were still dealing with a personnel problem that was twenty years old people would be fired. The time for reflection and prayer has long since passed. The Church is losing all credibility and the time to act is now. Pope Francis has had long enough to act and has done little or nothing. Members are leaving in droves, This is a crisis like the Church has never experienced. Writing articles justifying delaying longer is not helping.

Mary Gail Frawley-O'Dea
6 months 2 weeks ago

Yes to everything you said. And will they have real, honest-to-God experts help them: Tom Doyle, Bessel Van Der Kolk, Dan Siegel, Pat Ogden, me, Lisa Freyd, John Briere, Richard Gartner, Elizabeth Howell, and more? Or will they trot out the usual apologists disguised as experts like Thomas Plante. And how about some of the plaintiffs bar: Jeff Anderson, Mitchell Garabedian, Eric Macleish and others? This is not brain science, but I'll bet you the only "experts" will be the safe ones who tell the bishops what a great job they have done. Ugh!

Chris Christenson
6 months 2 weeks ago

It is always time to pray. But sometimes we should recognize that the truth is before us.
The truth is that our system of selecting leaders is broken. It is demonstrated in the data
produced by the legal system in indictments and convictions. It is demonstrated that
the current method of selecting leaders has not produced good shepherds and good stewards.
Yes, there are some who have done well. A too large group has not done well.

Further, all systems to do well must have an active correction channel that monitors
the actions and inactions of the chosen leader and corrects mistakes. This has failed.

Transparency is required. The correction channel must be independent of the leadership
channel. It must have independent authority. It must be made up of a broad cross section
of the community and not the leadership.

Rockhurst Jesuits
6 months ago

When it comes to changing Canon Law and the way bishops are removed by State actors without a criminal trial, the Vatican must have a part in framing new Church policy. I applaud Pope Francis for exhorting the US bishops to spend the time in some prayerful reflection before the February meeting at the Vatican . John Zupez, SJ

Dennis Doyle
6 months 2 weeks ago

Once a group this size has prayed for guidance, they then have to agree on a process to be followed in reaching a conclusion and course of action. With a group this size, a facilitator could ask for proposals from the participants. The proposals could then be consolidated/ integrated into a small number of proposals on which a vote would be taken. Or the group could choose a sub group to decide. Other processes can be chosen, This is done every day. What process are they using?

Molly Roach
6 months 2 weeks ago

The US bishops can't even agree on a national age for the sacrament of Confirmation--a relatively benign task. I don't anticipate a magically developed ability to "change their culture" to come out of this retreat. I think the overwhelming majority have a blind spot regarding the sex abuse calamity ("we're the good guys" is about the size of it) that shapes their culture and their approach. RICO is coming.

Ellen B
6 months 2 weeks ago

They've had 17 years to "pray". For a while they switched their focus entirely to abortion so they could take focus off of the evil they themselves had perpetrated... and continue to perpetrate through secrecy. It seems more likely that they are dragging their feet in order to give abusers & the people who protected them time to die off or enough time to pass that action against them is "unnecessary" they are retired/ left the priesthood/ etc. But what of the church that didn't come clean for decades? The culture remains unchanged because they continued to protect the evil.

Mister Mckee
6 months 2 weeks ago

No, Ellen, they've had a heckuva lot more than SEVENTEEN years to pray. They were warned by the founder of the Paracletes over 50 years ago:
https://www.salon.com/2018/10/11/the-catholic-churchs-grim-history-of-ignoring-priestly-pedophilia_partner/

Ellen B
6 months 2 weeks ago

I agree with you. I was referring specifically to the reforms put in place in 2002. It's sickening.

Colin Jory
6 months 2 weeks ago

Here's two suggestions for the US Catholic bishops which I am sure they will find most discomforting since it will involve their ceasing to respond to the vilification of the Church over paedophilia entirely in the mea culpa, self-abasing way prescribed by the media secularist Left.

First, institute an enquiry into why it is that paedophilia is being represented in the mainstream media and in politics as principally a Catholic Church problem, and paedophilia in other institutions, as well as in families -- which together account for the vast bulk of it -- are given zero or minimal attention.

Second, institute an enquiry into the extent to which the epidemic of clerical paedophilia in the Church which occurred in the 1970s and 1980s was a consequence of the collapse within the Church, in consequence of the reaction against Humanae Vitae, of belief that the Church's teachings on sexual morality mattered and were seriously binding on anyone.

John Mack
6 months 2 weeks ago

Yep,the problem is the media. Pedophilia never happened in the Catholic church. Ever.

Colin Jory
6 months 2 weeks ago

An experimental flirtation with intellectual honesty wouldn't do you any harm, John. It would involve your addressing what persons with whom you disagree actually say, and not what you would like them to have said as easier for you to rebut or caricature.

Chris Christenson
6 months 2 weeks ago

Sadly, the facts and dates don't match your hypothesis. The abuse started before Paul V1 and extended after Paul.
Asking for an inquiry into others that made mistakes is not a solution to why we made mistakes and what we
must do to correct the mistakes and ensure that future mistakes don't happen.
We should probably recognize that we need to figure out who is not well formed
to be a priest, teacher, or other person in a position of trust and leadership. We
must not put them in places that put the innocent at risk. We should know that
we will make mistakes and some will slip through. We need to actively monitor
the actions of people and intervene immediately and be transparent with the
community. It is an ancient Roman question: Whom guards the guardians.

Colin Jory
6 months 2 weeks ago

Chris, nothing you say is wrong, but you miss my pertinent point. That point is that the US bishops should be concerned about the vile crime of paedophilia wherever it is occurring or has occurred , and not simply with paedophilia in Catholic institutions. My implication is that, for public relations reasons, they will not be comfortable about thus broadening their concern, since doing so will necessitate their refusing any longer to play along with the secularist mainstream media party-line that paedophilia should be seen as predominantly a Catholic Church atrocity, and their drawing attention, for instance, to the fact that from the late 1960s through into the 1980s, largely as a delayed effect of the Kinsey reports, the general secularist Left and feminists line was that children should be introduced to sex as young as possible, and that adults who introduced them to it were doing them a favour.

Mike Macrie
6 months 2 weeks ago

Yep blame the Media and the Left for all the sexual abuse that went on in the Church. You might as well blame them for Catholics leaving the Church and the corruption In the Vatican Bank. Christ is cleansing his Church as he had cleanse his Father’s Temple. He’s is doing it through the Media and Lawsuits from those who were abused. He has opened the Faithful eyes and ears through the Media. Blaming the Media and the Secular Left is nothing but an excuse for sexual abuse by Priests and Catholics leaving the Church. The Church has lost its Missionary zeal.

Scott Cooper
6 months 2 weeks ago

Yes, Mr. Jory, yes
Thank you for speaking the Truth
But please see my comments below
I do believe that the pushing back against teachings ((Christ’s—let us not forget the very hard to follow commandment against committing adultery in our hearts) on sexual morality have led to this sorry state of not just the Church, but also Western Civilization.
Kinsey, the Pill, misguided and unwittingly misogynistic feminism, drugs, Roe v Wade, no-fault divorce, Clinton, and Trump have all led us to this collapse. And I am tired of defending the Church against anti-Catholics (why does that not hold the same power of the term “anti-Semitic” (no disrespect to the millennia of anti-semitism or to the Holocaust intended)), whether they be atheists, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, or other Christians and fallen away Catholics over what is a societal problem—all societies included.
How can you protect children and others from sexual abuse when the prevailing culture advocates and legislates that you are entitled to “getting yours no matter what” and sexual fulfillment is all that is needed?
How about some spiritual fulfillment for a change?

Jeri Graham
6 months 2 weeks ago

The best directive Pope Francis gave was for the bishops to listen to the survivors. They are the experts here and need to be heard for any meaningful changes to occur.

Annette Magjuka
6 months 2 weeks ago

Yes. To act with love, as Jesus taught, we should be listening to survivors. We should lovingly give them what they need to heal, no time or expense spared. We need to provide a safe and loving place (the church) for healing. How can we do this? First, confess the sins with humility and without regard for protecting abusers, assets, or the institutional “reputation.” Put in place procedures where known abusers cannot abuse again (this is part of creating a safe space). Then we must provide survivors with the medical/emotional support so they know: this was not your fault. The community is laying itself bare, and affirming that you, the survivor, is precious. We do not want you to “shut up and go away.” We want to reform all power structures to provide love and safety.

Gary Z
6 months 2 weeks ago

They are praying not to get caught protecting one another. A letter was written to Cardinal Dan Dinardo regarding Jeff Monforton of Steubenville being in violation of the child protection policy. It was copied to the chairman of the bishop's protection board and a judge and a prosecuting attorney on Steubenville's review board. Nothing has been done. Either Jeff has documentation that established an accuser's allegation that he is not giving to the prosecutor, or the documentation does not exist and someone got sacrificed to make a bishop look like he's a champion of something. It's time for Jeff Monforton to right a wrong. If he's really praying, he should pray about that.

Robert Lewis
6 months 2 weeks ago

Dinardo had to cool his anti-Francis jets when it was discovered here in Texas that he had promoted a reported sexual offender to be the chief administrator of Hispanic ministries in the archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. He’s no different than all the other corrupt American Catholic hierarchs, except that he’d like to USE this crisis to implicate Francis, who, unlike Popes Wojtylwa and Ratzinger, had np part in CREATING it.

Jim Lein
6 months 2 weeks ago

Most of the abuse stems from the old pre-seminary practice of high school boarding schools (and maybe even some junior high boarding situations), with teachers who had previously been through the same system. The result: men whose sexual development was stuck at the adolescent and pre-adolescent level were passing along what had happened to them. The celibacy factor was a big part of this. People who went to regular boarding schools talk of the sexual experimentation that occurred. But in schools where a celibate adulthood was not looming ahead, the graduates tended to grow past their adolescent sexual behavior into a more healthy adult sexuality.
A bad combination in priesthood education has resulted in considerable evil and hurt. It may not have been intended. And the church has ended (I think and hope) this pattern of education. The focus by some church officials on homosexuality as the problem misses the real problem: stunted or halted psychosexual development.

Scott Cooper
6 months 2 weeks ago

Thank you, Mr Lein, for pointing out something that is often overlooked. My family had a beloved priest friend, a Jesuit, who spent many years at our working class Baltimore parish (the same parish where Father Maskell (of The Keepers Fame) and a Father John Carney (listed on Archdiocese of Baltimore’s sexual abusers list) both said Mass in the late ‘60s) due to burnout and stress from teaching at the college level since it was unusual then for a Jesuit to spend that many years as a parish priest. He was a working class Baltimore guy of my parents WWII generation who would come over to our house after 7 PM Saturday Vigil Mass for whiskey highballs, cheese, sausage, and crackers with my parents. The strange thing was he was so much more educated and liberal in his views and very attuned to modern-day martyrs like St, Maximilian Kolbe, St, Oscar Romero, the nuns raped and killed in Central America, all of that, but they trusted him and got along. He performed the Memorial Mass for my mother, presided at our wedding Mass and my best friend’s wedding Mass, blessed our son (already baptized in Portland OR) at my cousin’s son’s baptism, and baptized our daughter.
But the thing for which I will remember him most is his interview with the Baltimore Sun shortly after the first sexual abuse scandal broke in Boston (and shortly after he was brutally mugged and beaten near his inner city church in Baltimore).
He said the same thing about several generations of American priests who went into the seminary at a pubescent or just post-pubescent age, sexually stunted and trapped at that developmental level where sexual experimentation often occurs with same sex and same age or younger partners.
He also said he thought we were at a much better place now that new seminarians and priests were older (sometimes late 20s or early 30s) and “had been around the block” so their discernment and vocational devotion was more mature and more true.
Celibacy and homosexuality are not the problems—immaturity and a culture of perpetual and traditional abuse are.
As a child sexual abuse survivor (along w my younger female cousin, both of us at the hands of an overachieving and popular teenage family friend), I can safely say that abuse often begets abuse. Not always, as was my case, since thank Jesus Christ I have never desired to sexually abuse anyone (my cross has been insecurity leading to promiscuity).
And sometimes, it is just pure evil, the workings of the Evil One.
One last note: very disappointed with America’s headline on this piece—so inflammatory and so disingenuous when, as has been pointed out in the comments, the bishops did try to take action this fall here in Baltimore (5-star restaurants, $100 bottles of wine, and crab cakes not withstanding—I’m looking at you Cardinal Dolan on that last one), but the Vatican blocked it.
Please let’s keep our wits about us and our Catholic sense of humor (arguably, second only to our Jewish elders) intact. May God bless you all and the Peace of Christ fill us.

Floyd Grabiel
6 months 2 weeks ago

As a lawyer, I would be ashamed to defend my client as you have attempted to defend the Bishops. Right, they just discovered that they have been passing around sexual predators for the past several years, and now they need time to think about it. Good grief.

Mary Gail Frawley-O'Dea
6 months 2 weeks ago

This article and this premise is infuriating. The first bishops' full meeting on the scandal was in 2002. And, no - the measures passed at that meeting, contrary to the oft repeated PR from church folk, have NOT been effective. At least everywhere. I know. I have been an expert witness in cases of sexual abuse happening now and being treating by bishops with the same secrecy and corruption as they always have been. The same devaluing of victims, the same white shoe firm attorneys pounding at the victims and their families, the same hierarchical lords fiddling their rosary beads while souls burn. Theoretically anyway, everyone has been "praying" and "discerning" for at the least 16 1/2 years! But, really, since 1985 when Tom Doyle, Mike Peterson, and Ray Mouton wrote a 99 page report that every bishop had delivered to him by certified mail (after the authors were kicked off the program for the 1985 November USCCB meeting by Cardinal Law) that predicted pretty much every single thing that has happened. They were just low on the dough -- they said the mess would cost the Church 2 billion; it is over 4 billion so far. That brings the "thoughts and prayers" bull crap to 34 years. Really? This is another article written either by someone who has not bothered to actually learn the history and depth of this scandal and is therefore painfully ignorant or by an apologist who just doesn't give a damn. Stop printing this bull, America. You become complicit in the corruption when you do not demand truth and accuracy from your writers. People are sick and tired to empty thoughts and prayer. Me? I think the Church is sexually corrupt to the core and is completely incapable of reforming unless they are policed by secular authorities.

arthur mccaffrey
6 months 2 weeks ago

bravo! you are right on the money Mary Gail. The only thing worthwhile about this article is the headline--the rest is nonsense. If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. If all you know what to do is pray, then that will be your response to every problem. I love the way the author thinks he is making valid points by bringing in quotes from the world of business--if the crimes of RCC had been committed by a secular corporation it would have been put out of business long ago and its management in jail. Stop praying, get up off your knees, and turn over all your files to the police! Then hand in your resignation, and your passport so you don't do a Bernie Law and flee to Rome.

Mary Gail Frawley-O'Dea
6 months 2 weeks ago

Thank you, Arthur.

John Mack
6 months 2 weeks ago

Because in the USA sending "thoughts and prayers" solves every problem, or at least sweeps it under the rug. Sane thing.

Barbara Beliveau
6 months 2 weeks ago

But no one seemed to need this prayerful pause when the Catican was investigation religious orders for women in the U.S.
Why was that, I wonder.
All the possible reasons make me ill.

Chivas Dudley
6 months 2 weeks ago

I have to give them credit for praying but this needs even more than divine action. This sex abuse issue is within the worldwide Catholic Church. Not just some local dioceses or archdioceses. A total restructuring in how the clergy do business is in order. I feel sorry for our Pope who will need much prayer and direction from a variety of sources. The future of the Roman Church is in their hands.

Peter Schwimer
6 months 2 weeks ago

I am a firm believer in prayer. Ignation spirituality a structure I frequently use to discern and guide my life. That being said, if they haven't, the bishops should have been praying for the last 20 years. If they haven't discerned the issue and the solutions by now, they never will. Tim Johnson was talking about days and weeks, not months and years. There is no doubt that the Church is not a fortune 500 company. If it were, the CEO and his associates would have been fired years ago. Or, the company would have gone bankrupt and closed (think Kodak). The article as it stands shows just how far from reality the writer and I fear his subject, is. AMDG

David Dugan
6 months 2 weeks ago

They have had since 2002 and 50 years before this to discern. There focus has possibly been on the preservation of the institution rather than the person. The Catholic Church no longer has the moral gravity society needed as a compass. The Spiritual exercises emphasizes a focus on the personof Jesus in helping to discern what is reason in each situation requiring discernment. What have these guys been doing for 60 years?

rose-ellen caminer
6 months 2 weeks ago

The culture changed in 60 years; regarding homosexuality, psychology [ pedophilia is a disorder that one can not be cured of], and the reverence paid the opaque hierarchical celibate clerical structure. Take all that in consideration and forgive them already, forgive them!
"The Catholic Church no longer has the moral gravity"; for many it never did. The hatred hurled incessantly at the church clergy over this ,by many in the laity, is even more shocking then that out of ignorance and concern for the institution of the church, sexual abuse was covered at the time. Remember the laity too participated in the cover ups for the same reasons the clergy did;to protect the institution, and out of ignorance about sexual disorders, and the power of sex drive in general.Think of the abusers as drug addicts who murdered their neighbor for drug money, and the laity would have more empathy and capacity to forgive, as that would showcase genuine christian ethos. It is the laity with its vitriolic clamoring ; arrest , imprison, try denounce ,impugn , vilify, decades and decades later,that now diminishes the moral clarity and gravitas of the Catholic church, as much or really more then the abuse scandal and cover up that was of a different time and belief does.

Phillip Stone
6 months 2 weeks ago

There has been no change in the moral law, the 10 commandments or human nature.
Being persecuted for being a follower of Jesus comes with the territory.

God alone can forgive.
Grave sin appropriately evokes outrage and disgust and those in whom there is none of such responses are spiritually dead.
Forgiveness does not in any way involve assigning excuses.
Bad is bad, wrong is wrong, sin is sin.

If you want to know the mind of Christ in this matter, think "but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea." Our Lord teaching on a death penalty in New Testament.

dennis armstrong
6 months ago

We should pray to God to forgive all wrongdoers so that they can change from their evil ways. https://customessaywritershub.com/

Jerome Heavey
6 months 2 weeks ago

NOW the bishops are pausing to pray and think about the problem? They must have been so busy that they couldn't take the time for prayer and discernment last summer, or ten years ago, or a lot longer ago than that. As a Catholic of seventy-eight years I discern that these men are clueless. I do not judge them as persons. I evaluate their performance as executives. Would anyone suggest that they are not incompetent? Time to clean house. Meantime, tell them that
I will not be giving them any money.

Chris Christenson
6 months 2 weeks ago

remember to give money to the poor, the schools and your parish

Jerome Heavey
6 months 2 weeks ago

I agree, but from any money I give to the parish the bishop will skim off a share. Is there some way to prevent that?

Mary Gail Frawley-O'Dea
6 months 2 weeks ago

Don't give money to gage church -- give directly to charities you support

Annette Magjuka
6 months 2 weeks ago

I give my donations only to NETWORK (nuns on the bus), a Catholic social justice lobbying and education organization working for policies that support justice and support for the poor.

bill carson
6 months 2 weeks ago

Ya know, if you’re stupid, you’ll think this writer is making sense with this “pray about before acting” talk. On the other hand, if your brain works, you say to yourself: “Gee, this problem has been known for more than 20 years! This writer is trying to deceive me into thinking it cropped up 2 weeks ago. The bishops had decades to pray and still we’re supposed to believe they need even MORE prayer time?”

Put me down as someone who possesses a brain, please.

Karen Auman
6 months 2 weeks ago

Reading Cantalamessa's Mary, Mirror of the Church "How to conceive and bring forth Christ again" Pg 70 - 72
"These works are "good" only insofar as they spring from the heart, if they are conceived for God's love and in faith. In a word, if the intention prompting us is right. Scripture tells us that "whatever does not proceed from faith is sin." Rom 14:23
Have you prayed the Liturgy of the Hours these days of the Retreat? The Liturgy of the Hours as prolongation of the Eucharist speaks to hearts seeking to conceive Christ and bring forth Christ again!
Conceived by the Holy Spirit in faith bearing fruit in good works -- in the meeting in Rome in February!
From Cantalamessa ... "those who give birth to Christ without having conceived Him are those who do many works, even good works, that are not done with the heart for love of God and good intentions but rather from habit, hypocrisy, the seeking of one's own glory or interests, or simply for the satisfaction of that doing something gives. In a word, those who have works but not faith."
"Let us see what Paul's text on grace and faith has to tell us: "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the Gift of God -- not because of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them". Eph 2:8-10
If a "good work" is to come out of the meeting in Rome, then it is to begin in faith in each heart in prayer in a chapel dedicated to Mary, Mother of God who conceived in her heart before conceiving in her body.
Peace
and all good
amen

Karen Auman
6 months 2 weeks ago

duplicate I tapped save twice
me and two taps on the Rock Moses...
peace
and all good

James Bosinger
6 months 2 weeks ago

The notion that the bishops are praying before taking action just as Jesus prayed is simply ludicrous. This is getting very difficult to endure.

Chris Christenson
6 months 2 weeks ago

We need a new method of selecting deacons priests and bishops.
We are short of priests and shortages cause us to loosen selection discipline. We have a large set of deacons who seem to be substantially free of this problem (certainly not perfectly free). We
should stop losing sleep of their marital state and ordain them so the
faithful can have the sacraments and not close churches because we are short of priests. We can also choose some of them to be bishops if they are suitable. I remember that St. Paul said we are no longer slave or free, men or woman but members of the body of Christ. The concept that only men can be priests seems foolish now that we remember that the people at the food of the cross were mostly women and the people that went to the toom first were women. We recognize Mary Magdalene as Apostle to the Apostles. Surely, that is sufficient.

Let us find a better way to choose priests and have a broader basis for choosing our bishops and an independent organization to assure their proper leadership and behavior

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