mercredi 16 juin 2010

Catholics still have a conscience, when it comes to other things than hunting pedophiles ... or presumed such

Here is an article by Leila on Catholic Culture called Department of Icy Timelessness, Office of Unintended Consequence Management.

It says among other things:

The interaction of desire and gain is too close. On the one side is too much passion for fulfillment of a basic human hope; on the other, too much of a reward with little oversight, even if the process were licit, which it is not.

In the breach: the barely formed little ones, lost in their frozen limbo. Facilitating denial: the sheer passage of time, in which we all get familiar with and, frankly, desensitized to the evil.


It’s wrong to make the begetting of a child into a mechanical production. It’s wrong to think that if you can do something you may, because you want to so much.

Yes, that was NOT the matter of chasing pedophiles ... or presumed such. It was - as you will find out if you read the article - about in vitro fertilisation.

Here is another article. It is about whether predating priests should be "defrocked" i e laicised or controlled in other ways.

I will quote the main issue:

Now in the 1989 case that was cited in the AP story, the bishop of Springfield, Illinois, sought to laicize a priest who had abused children. Cardinal Ratzinger might have been perfectly happy to see that penalty enforced. But he told the bishop that a severe canonical penalty could not be imposed without allowing the priest a canonical trial.

Anyone familiar with the term "due process" should readily grasp the future Pope's point. The Church, like the state, has its own system of justice, its own canonical courts. A priest can be penalized for misconduct, but only after he has been found guilty.


Let me repeat the question, because if reporters were seriously interested in protecting children, rather than attacking the Pope, that is precisely the question they should ask: How should the Church protect young people from a predatory priest?

Ask that question, and immediately you come to a realization: The Church can suspend priests, or laicize priests, or excommunicate priests. But the Church can't jail priests. A priest who is laicized-- or "defrocked," if you prefer-- remains at large. He still might have access to children.

What the Church can do, and should do immediately, is remove abusive priests from active ministry, so that they cannot use their clerical status to lure young men. In the 1989 Springfield case, Bishop Daniel Ryan had both the authority and the duty to pull the accused priest out of active ministry while he pursued the canonical case for laicization.

In many cases, actually, the suspension of an abusive priest might be more effective than laicization, in terms of protecting young people. A bishop cannot put a priest in jail. But he can assign a priest to work in a remote location, under close supervision. He might even tell the priest to live in isolation in a monastery-- although the priest would have the right to appeal such a directive. Once that priest is laicized, the bishop has no more control over him.

This post is by Phil Lawler, Leila's husband.

He is actually flouting the requirement of due procedure before laicizing in order to achieve something he wants very much. Protect children. So does everyone, but not everyone wants to ruin the lives of the possibly innocent or make impossible for the guilty to make repairs at smaller cost than the ruin of their lives.

He actually wants the life of an offender controlled for the rest of his life. That is more than secular law traditionnally asks. That is more than Church law asks.

Secular law asks that an offender, unless his crime be so extreme as to merit death penalty, serve his sentence. After that society does not control his life as closely. He may still be in policde registers, but he can roam about.

Church law traditionnally asks that an offender of this particular nature be laicized, after due procedure of course. And after that, the laicized priest is in registers, he can no longer pose as a priest. Which was the position in which he got his victims.

And parishioners are usually warned against defrocked. Whatever the occasion for defrocking. It happened to Paul Ballaster, according to his own words due to doctrinal deviation from the Franciscan fathers about the Papacy. He had to leave where he was staying (Barcelona) and got support from Protestants before becoming Orthodox, even bishop of Both Americas. But he was regarded ascance for defrocking by Catholics.

Defrocking a priest is usually a protection of Catholic children, even when the Church guards no longer any control over a priest.

Here we see a reasoning asking for much closer control over his life - but without due procedure. Now, that is unjust.

Not only is it unjust, but coupled with other new fashions it may have exactly opposite effect. The then not yet Pope Joseph Ratzinger once harboured a priest who had offended in a way he was perhaps not aware of, but he did know an offence was involved. He also knew that the destination was not a due process but "councelling" i e that his own bishop had decided to keep him under control by psychology or psychiatry. As with "Fr." Gheoghan, in whose case Ratzinger was not involved, but Cardinal Law was, this turned out to be illusory.

There is one thing a laicized priest might do himself to guard himself from further offense: marry (according to older Church law a laicized priest could not marry in Church, but now there are secular ways to wed) or get a concubine. Some would have been better off like that perhaps? Though the latter case involves a risk of eternal ruin to his soul, due to breach of celibate promises and against chastity.* So does an ambition to control the rest of his life, because it provokes obviously hatred. Especially if control is improportional to offense, or if the presumed offender is innocent.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Mairie du IIIe, Paris

In a well known other case a lot of people believe the offender should not have his life controlled to the end of his days. But there of course there was no vow of celibacy and he did marry.

*One reason the Church did not allow offending priests to marry after laicisation was that a crime does not dissolve a vow. Another is that in the case of a priest who believes as Catholics should believe, the crime in question usually includes spiritual incest. And if they wanted to keep celibate and in the future chaste and penant, the Church did not refuse prayers for that purpose.

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