Tuesday, February 19th, 2013
19 February 2013
RNS linked Cardinal Peter Turkson’s CNN interview. He steered the conversation well from the political concerns of the day, and focused on the essential of the Gospel.
And this, at the 7:05 (question)/7:31 (answer) mark:
When Amanpour asked Turkson about the possibility of the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal spreading to Africa, he said it would unlikely be in the same proportion as it has in Europe.
“African traditional systems kind of protect or have protected its population against this tendency,” he said. “Because in several communities, in several cultures in Africa homosexuality or for that matter any affair between two sexes of the same kind are not countenanced in our society.”
A troubling answer. Cardinal Turkson misses on two points.
First, that sex abuse isn’t about same sex attraction as much as it about using sexuality to dominate, humiliate, and impose upon the innocent. There is probably nothing more intimate and personal than a person’s sexuality. Throwing out the gay thing is just a smokescreen.
Second, the scandal is less in the misconduct of clergy and much more in the mismanagement of predators. Could she have asked him about bishops who had mishandled wayward clergy? That would have been an interesting exchange to see.
He does concede the restoration of credibility is very needful. But he doesn’t address the problem of bishops.
I’ve seen commentary that Cardinal Turkson is too much in the news, and has campaigned his way out of consideration by his fellow cardinals. I think that if he were elected, he would need to listen to the facts and learn of the situation. Africa is not Eden. The powerful in Africa have certainly used sex to exert domination over the innocent, the weak, and the vulnerable. African bishops have not avoided their own sexual escapades.
I wish the interviewer had been more incisive and better researched on these points. At least Cardinal Turkson recognizes the credibility gap. That he doesn’t take it for granted suggests the higher-ups in Rome don’t count on it either. That can be a good thing.
19 February 2013
If Cardinal Mahony had come out on his own blog about the smail’s pace of the curia in dealing with priest predators, it might have come across as somewhat self-serving. I’m inclined to think there’s blame to spread around, if not up, with this LA Times piece. One predator was yanked from his parish. But he appealed to Rome to prevent his defrocking. The Humiliated One wrote to Rome in ’93:
The case has been there for many, many months. The lengthy delay has created serious problems for my own credibility as a Diocesan Bishop.
(Confidential archdiocese records) suggest that Mahony at times had to press an unresponsive Vatican to get molesting priests out of the church.
Cardinal Mahony was unwilling to comment for this piece. Interesting. He’s been public with a lot of comments lately. A comment on the CDF and the Congregation for Clergy might be very illuminating at this point. Or maybe personally dangerous.
I wonder if there would be a thaw in that approach after the upcoming conclave. I can imagine an icy reception in Rome if he decided to spill beans like the ones he spit out at Archbishop Gomez a few weeks ago. If he’s going to post personal honesty pieces on his blog, I’d rather see some sense of honesty about the situation as it unfolded all those years ago. I’d like to think the man who harbored criminals from prosecution in the 80′s had learned something by the 90′s. If nothing else, a recognition that he and his brother bishops dislike having their credibility impaired by their being so slow on the uptake.
Cardinal Mahony, after this conclave, has nothing to lose. There will be no more cushy appointments for him. Clearly, he’s been led down a road he didn’t expect and wouldn’t have taken. What was the Petrine experience of John 21:18? Perhaps that is the path beyond the humiliation of abandoning the innocent.
19 February 2013
Posted by catholicsensibility under Rite of Penance
| Tags: Psalm 51
| 1 Comment
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
*Thoroughly wash me from my guilt,
and of my sin cleanse me.
For I acknowledge my offense,
and my sin is before me always.
And so begins the most famous of the penitential psalms. According to biblical tradition David has committed adultery, conspiracy, and murder to gain for himself the beloved wife of one of his generals. The prophet Nathan knows his king has a back door through which he can bring the psalmist’s sense of justice to light. And he does so with devastating effect on the man’s conscience.
From the asterisk, verses 4-5 are given in the section of Prayers of the Penitent (RP 85-92). Verse 3 doesn’t subtract away from the confessional nature of this piece.
I’m used to the ICEL Psalter’s “Have mercy, tender God, forget that I defied you.” Direct and to the point. And what an acknowledgement for the penitent: we haven’t just offended God. (Who can be sure of God’s direct reaction to our major transgressions?) But we can say without hesitation that we have defied God. And that deeper admission carries a lot of weight.
Verse 5b strikes me, but not because I identify with it. In fact, more the opposite. My sin is before me always? Really? I think not so much. The whole point of sin is often our lack of recognition of it. Or our self-deception in shielding our consciences from it. The psalmist is engaged in wishful thinking. Or perhaps an attempt to wool-pull on God’s eyes. But God knows. And when we are deep in penitence, so do we.
I’d like to take several posts over the coming week to delve deeper into Psalm 51. It appears in the Lectionary frequently, even outside of Lent. It is a staple of Ash Wednesday. It is the most common text associated with the plainchant antiphon, “Parce Domine,” which itself is based on Joel 2:17. Always a fitting way to leap into Lent, and delve deeply into our experience of contrition and penance.