A Tridentine Co-Dependency

The secular media may be going after the wrong guy. If they’re intent on sniffing out the most heinous scandals, that is.

I noticed a bit from last week in which some prelate thought it timely to throw John Paul II under the bus. I can only imagine if the entire curia were put into a room with presshounds and an open mike. Would any of them emerge unscathed?

I confess my amazement that so much bad news has broken over the past week. Clearly, no journalist is fazed by repeated (and increasingly shrill) denials from bishops, archbishops, and cardinals. Triduum, which has been on my front burner for weeks, seems to barely register, even for some prelates. I really find it hard to believe the monolithic Vatican is crumbling before our eyes. Maybe there is reason for hope that Vatican II reforms will (finally) touch the deep curia. Rewriting the council hasn’t appeared to have saved them. Deo gratias for the secular media.

Henry Karlson diagnoses accurately, I think:

The problem is that the ecclesial structure as it has developed over the last few centuries has cracked, and it is breaking apart. A new structure needs to emerge, one which can deal with the problems of the modern age, not the age of Trent.

The question I have is this: will the world’s bishops stand by idly while this all happens? Supposedly this new crop is presiding over six 2009 abuse cases–do they have the moral force to call their brother bishops in Rome to account? If the number six is credible, one might think they would. Archbishop Dolan has offered a stirring defense of the Holy Father. Will he and others be so ready to back up the tainted Cardinals Sodano and Levada? The story on the latter is particularly horrific, confirming once again for me the whole mess is rooted in deep, deep addiction.

Dale Rodrigue sums it up well on MSW’s thread from In All Things yesterday: a cabal of clowns. A Tridentine co-dependency isn’t going to hold up well under modern scrutiny. The Vatican has no power to enact homeland security laws. They can’t wiretap their adversaries in the Church let alone those outside of Catholicism. No pat-downs and searches before entering cathedrals. The political dirty tricks are reserved for their own brothers in the presbyterate who dare to rock the Barque in favor of moral standards. No bully tactics except in their own house.

I see difficult days ahead for some Catholics, but I have hope. Where do you readers think this is going to end?

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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8 Responses to A Tridentine Co-Dependency

  1. smf says:

    You know, part of what you say sounds an awful lot like the complaints of traditionalists who say the only people ever disciplined or pressured by the authorities of the church today are those promoting the true faith.

    I think in large part Rome still has no idea what it is supposed to do in the new “pastoral” and “collegial” time. The curia knew its place in the old order, now they don’t know their own purpose. In part this is true of local diocesan administrations as well. All too often it has not been active cover-ups at work. Rather it has been mismanagement, poor governance, buck-passing, and waiting on someone else to do something. The bishops largely wait on Rome to take the initiative. Rome waits on the bishops to take the initiative.

    What is needed now is not a pastoral approach or collegial action, what is needed is proper exercise of authority and responsibility from top down and bottom up and everyone in between.

  2. I predict that the ecclesiastical structure of the Church will undergo a truly radical change — just like we all remember it did back in 2000-2003 when there was an even bigger ongoing media firestorm (complete with blame for the pope then in office and demands for his resignation) about abuse.

  3. smf says:

    After having read your linked article regarding Levada, I would seriously question his competence in these matters.

    I think too often the church deals with problematic people the way all too many organizations do – it promotes them to some safe, out of the way place where hopefully they will be far enough out of the real action to cause no harm.

    Let me illustrate the point from another organization I have experience with, in this case a certain youth serving non-profit. It is set up with a national organization, but also local organizations. Legally each of those local parts is its own corporation with its own board, CEO, etc. They have a somewhat uniform personnel system for all their professionals nationally. When some professional needs to be gotten rid of at the local level, the easiest way to do so is to send them to some other place (which often requires approving them for a promotion). So, very often the people who are the least capable are the ones each local CEO is most eager to recommend to one of the other local CEOs. Even if someone is actually fired by on local, they have about a month to try to find some other place that will take them without losing any of their seniority. To actually remove someone from the profession entirely and immediately just about requires a criminal conviction due to the way the contracts are set up.

    In the not named organizations case, it also had its fair share of sex abuse cases at one time, but got ahead of the problem (for the most part, there are still occasional problems, some of them involving long serving people at times) long before the church’s scandals broke. It also happened that most of its abuse cases were the responsibility of volunteers, not its paid staff, and thus the organization as a whole was largely insulated from the worst of the reaction. This probably has less to do with the organizations ability to protect its youth, but more to do with the fact that most of its youth never spend any time at all with its paid staff, only with volunteers.

    • Jimmy Mac says:

      The promotion of Darth Levada (I worship in what was his former Archdiocese) gives new meaning to the term “Peter Principle.”

  4. crystal says:

    I wish I could say I thought all this would bring change but I think things will go on pretty much as they have. There’s no one who both can and will hold the Vatican accountable, no matter how veanl it’s shown to be. If guys like Dolan are our hope for change, we’re in trouble.

  5. I believe in the Holy Spirit…

  6. smf says:

    The Holy Spirit has not been on sabbatical.

    Rather we humans have failed to listen, have confused our own novel pet innovations with Inspirations, failed to trust in God’s ways. We have instead tried to do things our way. We have said no to the path of the saints, the doctors, the fathers, the popes, the councils, and yes to the ways of the world and of man.

    In our failures to act, and in our failing to act rightly, we have chosen the path not of the Prince of Peace, but rather of the dark prince of this world.

    Now we may be tempted to say, “I am not a bishop” “I am not an abuser” “I don’t have power” but that is trusting in the things of man. We have the gifts of the Holy Spirit do we not? When have we used them?

    Someone I read recently said that if you aren’t part of the solution you are part of the problem, you are an enabler. Now I disagree with the persons external political approach to changing things, but they were right. We are part of the solution if we are willing to trust in God and do His Will.

    I know I too often fail in that. I suspect others do too. At the very least I am going to try to remember to pray more often for our Church, our priests and bishops, and for those hurt by the misdeeds of those acting in the name of the Church.

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