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Friday, May 11, 2012

Thomas Reese SJ on sex abuse

You can read what he had to say at America magazine's blog, but I was especially struck by the honesty of this part ....

A culture of fear and dependency also contributed to the crisis. I don’t know whether Monsignor Lynn broke the laws of Pennsylvania, but he was certainly no hero. Too few priests stood up to those in authority and said, “No, you can’t do that.” Speaking truth to power is not welcomed in the Catholic Church. Diocesan priests are totally dependent on the good will of their bishop for assignments and promotions. If a 60 year old bishop is appointed to your diocese, he is going to be your boss for the next 15 years. In practice, there is no appealing his decisions toward you nor can you escape by moving to another diocese. You are stuck.

In this corporate culture, few are going to tell the bishop “no.” The one pastor in Philadelphia, who refused to accept an abusive priest, got reprimanded and punished for challenging the archbishop. This is what happens when you speak truth to power in the Catholic Church.

The problem in the Catholic Church today is that the hierarchy has so focused on obedience and control that it has lost its ability to be a self-correcting institution. Creative theologians are attacked, sisters are investigated, Catholic publications are censored and loyalty is the most important virtue. These actions are defended by the hierarchy because of fears of “scandalizing the faithful,” when in fact it is the hierarchy who have scandalized the faithful ....

I like what this former editor of America magazine (removed from his post via the Vatican) had to say at the Clergy Abuse Conference in Santa Clara University - the whole thing is worth a read.


Blogger Deacon Denny said...

Reese is himself an honest man who speaks the truth to power.

4:47 PM  

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