Two Demands

Catherine Deveney has a hard-hitting article on the Cardinal O’Brien scandal. And what’s not happening with a prince of the church, his confreres in the hierarchy, and any sense of heading to closure on the cult of secrecy.

What are those two demands? They are not the journalist’s. They seem to be the words given to us by the hierarchy:

  • respect without scrutiny
  • authority without accountability

From Professor Werner Jeanrond:

As a church, we have failed to come to terms with homosexuality. The highest clerical representative of the church is himself a victim of the system which didn’t allow him to own his homosexuality.

Let’s not go there. This isn’t about same-sex attraction as much as it’s about two other more critical things. First, the inability of a cardinal to keep the promises he made at the onset of his clerical career. And second, the abuse of his power to manipulate, bully, and dominate people–simply because he could.

Keith O’Brien is no victim.

O’Brien is a timebomb. Anyone who thinks this is only about his behaviour – or just the behaviour of Scottish clergy – is naive. It is about clergy worldwide. But the scandals behind at least one other Scottish bishop are legendary. Sexual “misconduct” is rife among the priesthood. Heavy drinking is common. Payoffs have been made to cover scandals. Serious abuse has been concealed. O’Brien knows where the bodies lie. And the hierarchy knows he knows.

Catholics need more from their clergy, top to bottom. Respect for the scrutiny of the laity, if not the wisdom and will to conduct scrutiny themselves. And accountability for the sins of the system.

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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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