Perspectives on the Letter

Jimmy Mac sent me this link to Catholica Australia’s commentary on the pope’s letter to Irish Catholics. They didn’t like the blame game either, but added three other points: protecting the pope, extending the poor, dumb laity meme, and undoing Vatican II.

I’m a bit of skeptic on reading these kinds of themes into the text of a letter with a fairly singular thrust. Naturally, a human institution protects itself. And the pope’s revisionism on Vatican II is no surprise.

On the other hand, one canon lawyer sees the letter as a bombshell. This letter, coming from an advocate of continuity, I find it hard to believe that something explosive will tackle the situation. Unless the pope views grave sin and cover-up as something worthy of a certain … disruption.

Meanwhile the opposites play out with the “Munich Tsunami.” The secular press pokes for dirt, but the Vatican seems to be inching toward a conspiracy theory.

My suspicion is that the truth is somewhere in between. The letter is not a total disappointment, nor is it total reform. I want to believe that when confronted with paradigm-shattering truth, that moral and good people–like the pope–will strive to do right in the face of horrific wrongs.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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5 Responses to Perspectives on the Letter

  1. crystal says:

    I was pretty disappointed in the letter. It blames secularism and Vatican II, which is really reaching. It provided no plan for fixing the abuse problem other than spending more time adoraing the Eucharist. I don’t think the Vatican cares at all about sex abuse aside from the bad press and possible loss of income and I think the Vatican will really do nothing practical to avert it in the future becuase they don’t believ they have to.

  2. Mary says:

    I thought it was a beautiful letter. If you think – 1. he didn’t have to say anything let alone what he did say, 2-he repeated the themes brought to him,3- that there were abuses after Vatican II that we have all lived through in terms of lapse of discipline in the church by the laity, priests and bishops, 4-that secularism has brought about a culture of anything goes, 5-that it is what on would want a priest to say, isn’t it? or then don’t you believe in the sacraments, the real presence of Christ and the power of prayer? and that only reinforces why the Pope was right. You are also disappointed because he doesn’t fit your expectations of who he is and what you want him to do. No, I’m sure the Lord is pleased with him-even if you aren’t. I will try to do as he asks because this is the role of the laity – this is something we can do besides be armchair Popes – that is if you really believe.

  3. John says:

    I respectfully disagree Mary. The rape of an innocent child is not a lapse of discipline. The church continues to find words like ‘lapses’, ‘social phenomenon’, and ‘grievous mistakes’ to explain away its actions. The Church owes its followers, you and I alike, an admission of its crimes. The priests and bishops, past and present, need to be held accountable for these horrible abuses to the children.

    The identification of the rapists and the removal of them from the church will be the only true and honest path to follow. While I very much believe in the sacraments, the real presence of Christ and the power of prayer, I also know that the sacraments and prayer alone will never change the culture of the Church and its heirarchy. It is our faith AND our works that will lead us to a new day.

    Only when the Church decides to no longer deny and bury its darkest secrets and the civil prosecutions begin for these violent crimes against our children, will we be able to consider this issue resolved.

  4. Jimmy Mac says:

    “1. he didn’t have to say anything let alone what he did say”

    That attitude is hubristic. Above all B16 knows how to smell the wind. Failure to say something on his part, weak though it was, would simply exacerbate the untenable situation he and the ecclesiastical wagon-circlers find themselves in.

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