In the continuing media blitz on sex abuse and cover-up, two items of note today:
First, the former archbishop of San Francisco in a PBS interview at Rock’s website. The video is embedded there. It will be interesting to see if the bishops, complaining that the media doesn’t promote the positives of the Church, will compliment secular journalists when they do ask the right questions:
MARGARET WARNER: So you don’t think it’s appropriate that people hold the church to a higher standard? There is more focus on the church?
CARDINAL WILLIAM LEVADA: That’s a fair question. I think we should hold ourselves to a higher standard in the sense that this is not something that one would have expected that a bishop or anybody in the church, parents none of us would have expected this but I think the causes we will see go back to changes in society that the church and priests were not prepared for, particularly changes involving how to be a celibate person in a time of the sexual revolution, that’s one of the causes I’d say.
Fair question indeed, and interesting response, if a somewhat evasive one. The cardinal doesn’t allude to the nature of the Church as a holy society, or its leaders as dedicated to a higher moral standard than the Boy Scouts or the town high school. As for the sexual revolution, I wonder how the cardinal might have improved on the blame game were he a student of history. Other ages have known sexual promiscuity in society and among the hierarchy. How did they cope?
That said, note the concession that bishops were wholly unprepared from the 70’s on.
A lay man and father of three asked for help in 2002. He asked his bishop to take the cover-up seriously.
The truth is that our bishops are not doing all they can to stop the sexual abuse of minors by their brother priests; they’re each doing all they care to. Like most Catholics I’m stunned and horrified that there’s a distinction, but after the disclosures of the past few weeks you can’t deny there still is.
Clearly, most of the rest of the Catholic Church is where Bishop Gregory and his colleagues were eight years ago. The link to David Spotanski’s memo is here. Worth a read. Definitely worth a read.