Tuesday, June 29, 2010


"The Vatican said on Tuesday it would prove it cannot be held legally responsible for the actions of a priest at the center of a sexual abuse scandal in the United States.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider a case on whether the Vatican has immunity over the sexual abuse of minors by priests, allowing a lawsuit filed in 2002 to go forward.

In a statement, the Vatican's lawyer, Jeffrey Lena, said when the case returns to a U.S. district court it would prove it cannot be held responsible for the actions of the priest as he was not a Vatican employee.

"The decision not to hear the case is not a comment on the merits of our case," Lena said, adding that the case would now go back to the district court in Oregon."

Who's running this show? I understand that it may not be in the best interest of the Church, financially, to admit to any wrong doing, if any exists. That being said:

"For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel, shall save it.

For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his soul?

Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"
Mark 8:35-37

I understand the concept of subsidiarity and the way the Church is structured. Each bishop is responsible for his diocese and has the power to do almost anything he needs to within certain guidelines. This is pretty much the way the states were supposed to function in our Republic. Most of the transferring of abusive priests was authorized and carried out by the bishops, without any direction from Rome. At least, that's what we've been told.

My guess is that things were just a bit more complicated and that some direction, whether explicit or implied, did come from the Vatican. Politics is politics and the Vatican's been at it longer than anybody else.

At the very least, evidence of Vatican knowledge of the abuse does exist and has been presented in public. In my mind, this opens the door to Vatican culpability in the abuse cases. The idea that the buck stops with the bishops is ludicrous. It is the responsibility, under the system of subsidiarity, of the higher authority to step in when problems are not being solved at the lower level. This is clearly the case in Matthew 18:15-17:

"But if thy brother shall offend against thee, go, and rebuke him between thee and him alone. If he shall hear thee, thou shalt gain thy brother.

And if he will not hear thee, take with thee one or two more: that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand.

And if he will not hear them: tell the church. And if he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican."

I believe that insofar as the Vatican refused to do its duty and intercede on the behalf of the abused when it was well aware that nothing was being done to stop the abuse, it bears some responsibility for this mess. How much responsibility? That's for the courts to decide.

If the Church continues down this path of trying to avoid any responsibility, when it is so clearly wrong and deceitful in doing so, it will destroy the faith of many, retaining its wealth while losing its soul. What are all the riches in the Vatican or the world for that matter when judged against the value of a single soul?

The Vatican needs to confess and take its medicine like men. You expect us to believe that we can confess and be forgiven yet still have to endure purgatory because of the just payment due for sin. Why can't you accept this same concept when applied to yourselves?

Or, maybe you want us to believe in two sets of rules; one for the people and one for the leaders. That sounds remarkably like the setup in Jerusalem about the time Jesus was crucified.

History goes 'round and 'round.

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  1. Catawissa,

    I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand the Catholic Church brought this sad state of affairs on itself with failing to act decisively in cases of sexual abuse, immorality, heresy and apostasy among its own clerical members, so God in His infinite wisdom allows the State to intevene.

    On the other hand I dislike the idea of the Church being beholden to the State. But when the Church screws up, then God sends His King Sennacherib and King Nebuchadnezzer to exact His will. For and because of their sins, Israel was deported into Assyria, and Judah into Babylon. If this happened to those people who were chosen by God as a birthright, then how much more so we who have (as St. Paul explains) been grafted as branches onto the vine that is Christ? Romans 11:18-24:

    ...If you do boast, consider that you do not support the root; the root supports you. Indeed you will say, "Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in." That is so. They were broken off because of unbelief, but you are there because of faith. So do not become haughty, but stand in awe. For if God did not spare the natural branches, (perhaps) he will not spare you either. See, then, the kindness and severity of God: severity toward those who fell, but God's kindness to you, provided you remain in his kindness; otherwise you too will be cut off. And they also, if they do not remain in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated one, how much more will they who belong to it by nature be grafted back into their own olive tree.


    Sometimes God uses Caesar's sword as a pruning fork. It ain't a'gonna be pretty.

  2. I'm mixed about this, too. I think that the simplest solution would be for the Church leaders to open the books wide, with the permission of the victims involved, and let the chips fall where they may. God will put it right if we work with Him, instead of trying to game the system.