Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Religious Communities May Be the Worst

Story here.
I knew one of these guys - 
I attended regularly at the parish he was at.  
I knew his pastor
at the time.
Doesn't make me an expert, of course.  

The 'worst' as regards cover-up and reassignment, that is.

Especially if they are dwindling communities.

I think it has always been like this.


  1. I believe in Catholicism and simultaneously I believe it is dysfunctional as to admnistration and as to facing its own problems.
    By now a major Council should have been called to examine why authorities failed children and parents.
    By now a major Council should have been called to address how 96% of Catholics do not accept Humanae Vitae. No Council is called for large problems but a Synod for the family is called which revealed I'm not sure what. Three Popes in a row have been not administrative geniuses but celebrities each to his own group...John Paul II to those concerned with liberal sins...Benedict to those desiring more Latin liturgy...Francis to those tired of the first two groups. We actually needed a Pope who called a major Council to examine the sex abuse response. The sex abuse was maybe 4% of clergy. The silence by diocesan newspapers was maybe 100% for decades. The shunting of dangerous clergy by authorities near more children was also a depressingly high percent. Imagne Pope, no Cardinal, no Bishop raged against this abuse until two major newspapers wrote about it twenty years after the big Louisianna Gauthe case in 1985 that was reported then in all media. We had no heroes in the Magisterium and til this day...that does not seem odd. Catholicism is the fullness of the faith....and she is dysfunctional at the organizational level because her Popes now are writers and not administrators....and we think that is normal. It's not. The Cardinal Newman society found that 95% of 191 Catholic colleges allow coed night dorm visits. Only a
    Pope can stop that. The last three didn't. They were authoring instead of ruling our culture which requires constant phone work, 8 hours a day to Bishops of such colleges. Authoring is more fun. Touchy phone calls is actual work. Sloth at the top job is unconscious and is killing our culture.

    1. I'm not as hard on the popes as you - but the curia seems to me to be the culprit. Then the religious orders who have delegates who vote - elect their favorites to provincial status - with all the perks - even in orders vowed to poverty. That is where you will most likely find extremely poor administration.

      That said - you bring up very good points. Thanks.

    2. Truman would tell you that the curia and religious order leaders can only fail if their boss...the not ruling them. Ruling is work....authoring is creative fun....but its a drug if you're supposed to be ruling. No one likes ruling except Trump. All others prefer creatve writing to ruling. Benedict resigned when? He resigned when administrative problems grew to a tidal wave starting with the butler and then moving to multiple other things.
      "The buck stops here.".....means Catholics will always have a dilapidated Church as long as they excuse their president, their captain of the ship. In the Navy, if there's a fist fight in the engineering room, it's the Captain's responsibility to make sure it never happens again. In Catholicism, the buck stops always somewhere below the top....always. Then we will always be
      dilapidated. Truman hit our key weakness without thinking of us.

  2. I agree with Bill on this one. The Pope is the leader both spiritually and administratively. The Church has always been stuck in an outdated Medieval administration mode, a top down with the Kind (Pope) and his Princes (Cardinals) and Lords (Bishops). You can't say you are the head of something and then throw up your hands and say you had nothing to do with it. What to do? Either change the model (as if the Church would creep into modern times and change) or if your going to keep the old model, you need to wield the power and RULE. JP II ignored the problem, I think Benedict was more concerned with getting back closer to pre VII and thinking everything was going to be fixed if that happened, and Francis, God love him (I know I do) is just not the "Absolute Monarch" kind of guy that the administration structure needs him to be.

    1. And I love Francis as a person but he wants to decentralize and put it in Then no one on earth will know where the buck stops within Catholicism. The indivdual he molester or thief of parish money will be the only responsble person in each crime because pastors will have decentralized down to each individual. We'll be the inverse of Truman's ideal. The buck stops at the absolute bottom of each crime because everyone else is really an author...not really a Pope or pastor.

  3. I agree in theory with your point Bill. I have seen administration after administration in very diverse organizations including the RC Church manage in the same framework. Promote your friends and punish your enemies if you can. Even the Trappists who I admire most are not beyond this all too human trait. I follow a number of communities on line and know one first hand for 35 years now. Fundraising, business profit and frequent travel for questionable conferences are the norm. I was taught by Mercy Nuns and, in high school, Franciscian Friars. I shutter to think what may have happened to some. Do not forget the times. Unquestionable obedience, silence to avoid scandal and turning a blind eye to the obvious faults of vowed religious was the norm. As psychology became welcomed into the Church and her communities the suggested remedy was assignment to top secret rehabilitation sites. The offending member returned "cured" and entered back into active ministry. Even innocent administrators were told that this was a humane treatment which would solve the problem. Secular organizations did the same in good conscience. I think it is hard to blame those who did what they were told was the best approach. I have found reading about the good Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in LA. A community of 600 highly educated women in the 1960's brought in Carl Rogers and his colleagues to do "sensitivity training." Low and behold all hell breaks loose, they clash with Cardinal McIntyre and 300 leave to form a lay association which still exists today. Who was right who was wrong? This debate rages to this day between the two groups. I am not sure any Pope can rule or administer such a diverse group of communities. They have always been more or less autonomous. The Pope has more direct authority with Bishops and dioceses but not much. Short of a takeover and dissolution ala King Henry VIII in England which was in part a response to abuses at the time I doubt the answer can come from Rome. We need good and decent Bishops who will actively monitor their territory. Sadly, most are either naive to the evil or, less so I hope, part of the problem. I do not for a minute think these problems are new to our age. They have existed through time. We just know more now and are a more sophisticated laity. My parents could not have even comprehended that any of this was possible, but if they had there is no way they would have stood for it. We know and will not tolerate it even if it means the demise of a wonderful ideal we cherish.

  4. Wallace,
    Read canon law on the papacy. It notes that his power is " supreme" and " immediate" and his decisions cannot be gainsaid. What you're really saying is....most humans won't use that power in all its ramifications.
    Benedict removed about five Bishops from office. Just imagine someone much more severe.
    There was a case in Boston where a psychologist warned against the Diocese permitting a priest to be near children and the Diocese ignored the psychologist and reshuffled the priest. I don't really buy the "we trusted psychologists" narrative given out as the Bishops' cover story since in 1973 and in 1975 the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association delisted homosexuality as a mental disorder and consensus was that it was a healthy variant. How could Bishops have then sheepishly followed that profession? I don't remember the man in the street trusting that profession let alone Bishops who had to wonder after just one incident of recidivism. We're talking decades which had multiple cases of recidivism.

    1. Bill,
      Psychology sold itself as a science. It entered mainstream American culture with an authority previously reserved for theology. I am convinced that many were sold on the promises of their ability to heal the sick with aberrant behaviors including myself. The Church was seduced with this promise. In reality evil has no cure but repentance. This is too spiritual and other worldly for those wanting a scientific answer. Psychology, for all its good points, cannot abide this reality. I know people who were members of communities where nearly everyone was on medication for depression simply because they questioned the direction of the community. I think communities in the 60 and 70's found themselves populated with many dissatisfied and even troubled members. Hence, either they left for a healthy life or persevered in an environment that for many was not spiritual and even toxic. I have witnessed religious acting out and it is not pretty. As for the Pope and absolute authority, well, I think those days are long gone, if they ever really existed. The Papacy has become a spiritual leader, not unlike the Dali Lama in our day. Benedict and Francis now have found that the bureaucracy will do anything to perpetuate their privilege and power. The Protestants have long pointed out these underlying problems and tried without much success to create their own counter Christian organization. The result? An Anglican Church gone wild, a Methodist Church not far behind and even the Presbyterian Church, managed by below, with a hodgepodge of theology and ministers. The Lutherans are trying to hold to Luther"s teaching with a variety of success. Everyones numbers however are declining. All denominations, even our own original Church, are losing people to the Evangelicals or to no one. Every Sunday I see the congregation dwindling. Only the old and a few middle age people bother. The children's liturgy has only a half dozen participants. One or two families present. There are only two Masses, and it is only a matter of time before we are "clustered" with another declining parish. This was not the case when I raised my children only twenty years ago. Can the Pope do anything about this? I think not. America is going the way of Europe where many people only go to admire the art and architecture. If you are lucky maybe some good liturgical music. Meanwhile, the Good News becomes secondary, the sacraments quaint traditions. Believe me I do not like what I see, but I cannot deny it either. Good Bishops or bad it does not seem to make a difference. Meanwhile, everyone including me, loves Pope Francis, but what can he do? The Hierarchy is not trusted since we only hear from them when they want more money. My Bishop sent me a think you for last years contribution to his fund and then in the same letter said it was time to give again. An adjoining Bishop is closing schools right and left, lives in a 10 million dollar mansion and has just begun a 100 million dollar "legacy fund." Nothing from either of them about cleaning house. Is it any wonder we have lost the young and many have lost the faith?

  5. Well...last year we had an increase of converts to 1.2+ billion Africa and Asia as usual. The Amish are doing fine and their divorce rate is probably below 1%.... and Walmart sells their potato salad....and your chances of being murdered or hit and runned in their areas is nil. I believe at some point God will send a great Pope who cleans house, writes nothing, goes to no parades in his honor, meets with no heads of state, travels nowhere, and works 8 hours a day on the phone everyday til no Bishops have mansions ( google Newark Bishop mansion), no Catholic colleges have coed visiting in the rooms, no married gay theology professors ( Fordham right now), no abortion ads in Catholic college newspapers. Elijah was such a figure when the northern kingdom was the pits....then God sent Elijah who used the virtue of severitas and later left in a fiery chariot in the end.

  6. I'll take the fiery chariot exit.,thank you. It has been a long slow decline. Africa and Asia wants the prosperity we have seen. The Church is a means of upward mobility. Their Church has the same seeds of destruction in it. Do not mean to be cynical but there it is.


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