Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Lucia Benedict XVI laying down markers for the Catholic Church throughout the world

While the mobs bay for blood, reasoned and knowledgeable commentators weigh in on what is actually going on with the Pope's recent response to the Catholic sex abuse scandal in Ireland. Here's George Weigel:
It is also worth noting that, while the Vatican has accepted the Irish government’s Murphy Report on abuse, the Church, by the Pope’s explicit command, intends to go even farther in investigating these patterns of gross misbehavior, in order to identify their causes and root them out. This is appropriate in itself; it may create some barriers against the likelihood that aggressive secularists will seize on this scandal to try to bring the Catholic Church in Ireland under the virtual control of the state — by, for example, having its seminaries supervised by the government (as was proposed in Massachusetts in 2002 by politicians playing to the mob).

While the Irish crisis is unprecedented in its scope and in the depth of corruption it revealed, it is clear from his letter that Benedict XVI is laying down markers for the Catholic Church throughout the world — further confirmation that this pope takes the moral crimes of sexual and physical abuse, and the failures in governance of the Church’s bishops in dealing with those moral crimes, with utter seriousness. The Pope is quite aware of two facts of the global crisis: that it is far worse in other parts of society than it is in the Catholic Church today, and that the Catholic Church must nonetheless hold itself to a higher standard than others. Indeed, as one of the bright spots in this dark picture, Benedict’s letter notes that the Church’s efforts to come to grips with these problems within the household of faith — which have been more far-reaching than in any other institution or sector of society — have led others to look to the Catholic Church for guidance on how to address what is, in fact, a global plague.
Hattip: Ignatius Insight

For more, read: The End of Euphemism ~ National Review Online

10 comment(s):

Bearhunter said...

So no mention of why the Vatican refused to cooperate with the Irish investigations then? That's okay, the Pope has said we must do better, let's just draw a line under the past, a few bad apples etc, etc...

Lucia Maria said...

Now, that you've mentioned it yourself, care to be more specific?

Bearhunter said...

The Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, refused to cooperate with the Murphy inquiry because he claimed the inquiry had not gone through the proper diplomatic channels, citing sovereign immunity. The request should perhaps have been made through the Dept of Foreign Affairs, but nevertheless the inquiry was a legitimate body incorporated by the Dept of Justice and within its terms of reference to make the request for information.
The Vatican never subsequently assisted the inquiry, nor has it given any indication it is prepared to in the future.

Lucia Maria said...

Ok, nothing strange there.

The Vatican is a sovereign state that deals quite often with hostile governments (such as China), so ... what exactly is the big deal?

Bearhunter said...

Well, you could hardly describe the Irish Government as hostile to the Church or to the Vatican generally. Over the first 60-odd years of its existence it even had a tendency to confer with the Catholic hierarchy over policy. I would have thought that the Vatican would have been supportive of the inquiry rather than obstructive. But I'll give up now, because I am clearly annoying you. Slan.

KG said...

Berhunter, the point is, surely that the Vatican has policies in place for dealing with foreign states. Are you arguing that they should suspend those policies in this case because the Irish Government doesn't have a history of hostility towards the Church?

Bearhunter said...

KG, I have no issue with the Vatican's policies for dealing with foreign countries. I just wish they had dealt with a request from a foreign country and assisted the inquiry, that's all. My reference to the Irish government's history of rolling over in the face of church pressure was simply in reply to Lucia's comment about hostile regimes. But as I said above, I'll withdraw now, as you clearly believe that nothing the church does could ever be wrong.

ZenTiger said...

A couple of things. Firstly, the Nuncio approached the foreign Office and reminded them of the request to work through the normal channels. The inquiry could have "called the bluff" and forwarded the two requests through the proper channels.

Secondly, the Vatican could have been far more active in assisting the inquiry, including detailing the issues around the requests in terms of the ability to meet them, or otherwise.

In many respects the Vatican is like a massive Corporation or another Government, and needs to gear it's administrative system to become more open and transparent as other western organisations strive to be. This is a challenge, and one I think the Pope understands but it will take much time to effect such change.

He has done much to suggest these changes are coming, and issues like this probably hasten the process.

Consider our current "open governments" and "open corporations".

We have FOI requests, financial audit controls and consumer codes, and they are good things. Equally, we have staff shielded behind departmental decisions, ability to declare secrecy over selected information even when there is no real need to do so, and frequent examples of manipulation, obstruction and buck passing. We have a way to go in secular organisations too.

I think the Church Administrative Organization needs to reform itself along the lines of "open government" and this is a process very distinct from its purely ecclesiastical and spiritual direction.

I know we'd like this to be faster, but I take heart that it is changing.

MrTips said...

Bearhunter
you have touched on the important point.

there are corrupt and insidious individuals within the Vatican curia, who would very much like these investigations to just die out. why?

because the paper trail will lead to them, as they are the "progressive" leaders, post-VII who are trying to mould the Church in their own image.

Benedict is staring them down by taking the actions Lucia points to.

By "identifying" the causes, he means rooting out the complicit curia who neatly hide away problems that have been going on, and actively supporting dissident and errant Bishops. In this regard, NZ is not immune, but thats another post, for another day.

Lucia Maria said...

Actually, Ireland is a hostile country when it comes to the Vatican, much like NZ. There is a spirit of "Rome can't tell us what to do", over there, that's added to the abuse scandal.

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