The breaking news on abuse and cover-up is getting to people. It’s time for some bishops and priests to publicly show the courage to be Catholic. And take things down a notch or two.
Bad behavior department:
Bishop throws a tantrum over unfavorable editorials and asks clergy to cancel their print subscription.
Pastor gives the pope and bishops a public choice: own up or step down. This one falls short of a tantrum, unlike the deceptive Pewsitter headline, “Priest calls for Pope Benedict to resign.” Father Scahill defends his stance somewhat by the standing ovation he received. Well, heck, Archbishop Dolan gets the ess-oh, too. Has the liturgy become a setting for a pep rally for the Holy Father? This is unseemly no matter who does it. Even an archbishop.
I’d say it’s time for a moratorium at liturgy on the matter. It’s intrusive, unproductive, and self-serving.
That said, I think the best thing the pope could do is to apologize for his past inattention to clergy abusers and bishops who harbored predators. I think the best thing the bishops could do is lay off the press. Secular and church. Public statements–something sincere and heartfelt would be helpful. Stay on message. As for the laity, it would be best to disconnect from our favorite issues: gays, celibacy, democracy, culture of death, clericalism, and the like. We can stay on message too: bishops behaved badly and need to be held accountable. I think we too can show some compassion to victims, and reach out to people even if our bishops and clergy are stuck behind their press releases and pulpits.