Treating Cover-Up/Sex Scandal in the Parish

We had a vigorous discussion at parish staff today about the issue. How can we and how should we treat the press reports, internet bites, and other news about Ireland, Germany, Brazil, Wisconsin, the pope, the NYT, and the various cheerleaders or defenders for each side.

When we talked, I was interested to learn what different constituent groups in the parish are thinking. My colleague Misty hears what the students are saying. Our priests get deluged with e-mails, some of them quite nasty (and not all from parishioners, to be sure). I realized my perspective in following the story on the net does not include the pastoral picture my brothers in the presbyterate are getting. They describe the deep insult they feel when priests are made the butt of comedy on late night tv.

If your parishes were asking for answers, what would be an appropriate response from where you are? Bulletin information? Letter to parishioners? Listening sessions? Homily? Post-Communion bit? Some combination of the above choices? Or something new?

And once you’ve decided on the means of communication, what about the message?


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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4 Responses to Treating Cover-Up/Sex Scandal in the Parish

  1. Dr. K,, D.A. says:

    5. This is from a previous response I gave about Taking a pill”
    Dr. K,, D.A. Says:

    14 April 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Thanks for your sensible suggestion. We all have gone through this eight years ago, and the same papers have said the same things. If you can tolerate Catholics you believe one paper like the Washington Post that gave the statistics that sex abuse was the same across the board in all churches; if you hate Catholics like the New York Times , you will believe anything bad about us, and and they forget about the Rabbis that were on their own back page for a day for sexual abuse..
    There was only one Cardinal I can think of in the History of the Latin Rite in America who had any insight, intellect and brains – who came from a Presbyterian background, Cardinal Dulles. He disagreed with these outright laicizations by the Vatican for a number of reasons. Too many to speak of here. One was putting the few who were real pedophiles out on the street without the church keeping them in a safe place away from children. They should have done it before – now the church gave up their chance to do it. Once laicised the church could not protect the young from the real pedophile, but could no longer be sued – so damn the children – once again. Secondly, the laicisation for one’s offense without forgiveness moves us into Calvinism – where there is the saved and the damned. Is the repentant priest damned – it would seem so.
    if you read the decree of laicization.He becomes some sort of sub species of Catholic who can never rise to take a normal part in the Church.
    In the Decree Of Laicisation the Bishop is admonished to look out for the Spiritual Welfare of the priest – but that never happens – just go away and don’t bother the diocese again. The bishop doesn’t care if the laicised priest becomes a male whore as long as he doesn’t bother the diocese again. We must remember that many of these sinful men gave great service to the Church in their time.
    I will be back tomorrow – I was accused of abuse 14 years ago and was asked to seek laicisaton for “the Good of Holy Mother The Church”. Repressed Memories often are not the true memories and the Psychology Department of a few Universities question their validity – despite their popularity on TV;Looked what Cardinal Bernadin went through and that poor father with his family after a so called hypnotism. but I was lucky – I am happy not being a priest anymore. I do miss it during Holy Week – and I always loved to help people in the confessional to help them forgive themselves and see how much God loved them
    O, Well have a good night. Might be back tomorrow – anyway – good article – took a pill a long time ago. Love and peace.


  2. Dr. K,, D.A. says:

    Father, just work well with your people. You could have sent a similar e mail 2000 years ago from Rome – like they accuse us of this or that or killing babies and drinking their blood. All you can do is take care and love your people. President Roosevelt said it best in 1939 to the Bishops when he said, ” Remember, this is a Protestant Country, and you are only guests here.” We have a hard time getting that into our psyche. Just do the best you can and do not expect to be loved by America – you are a fool if you do.Love your Church and People and try to make them both a hell of a lot better than they are, I feel sorry for priests – but this is going to come up again and again before you die. It happened eight years ago during Holy Week and it happened this year during Holy Week and it will happen again in the future during some other Holy Week.

  3. crystal says:

    I think it would be helpful to have a discussion/meeting where people could ask questions and talk with each other and the priests about the issue.

    • Dr. K,, D.A. says:

      Most Priests would be in the dark about the whole situation as you are, The way the press and news makes it seem it is ” the Priests”, and it is no more or less than any clergy of any religion as statistics show. Your local Lutheran Pastor would not know what to discuss as your local Catholic priest.

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