More Adventures with Hermeneutics

The blogging right tries to pin blame for Catholic Eurodecline on Cardinal Danneels:

At the center of this story is retired Archbishop Godfried Danneels. He is a classic post-Vatican II liberal, someone who had the relative sympathy of the secular elites.

And the moral condemnation of liberals predictably emerges in the commentariat:

Cardinal Danneels also approved of pedophilia-promoting catechism books and rebuked those few faithful Catholics that were offended by Danneels-approved catechism.

The next thing we’ll be hearing is that they smoked the wrong brand of cigar and drank tea wine instead of whiskey.

Interesting the meme that the police and the press went after “their” bad guys (Groër, Law, Milingo, etc.) but left the Left alone. It seems more likely that the police and the press are more careful than the blogosphere in making claims before a matter has been fully investigated.

I’m aware that Cardinal Danneels has a reputation for being a non-conservative. That may make him a centrist or even a liberal–I don’t know the man personally. And it might be that he looked the other way when his misbehaving clergy surfaced with serious allegations against them. That seems to have been an across-the-board failing of bishops, knowing no ideology. The hermeneutic of privilege. Well, let me be the first from the left to say it today: it’s still bad even if it comes from a liberal. And I’m just unorthodox enough to condemn it in my political confreres.

I’ve never visited Belgium, though I know a person or two who have lived there. I’m not inclined to believe right off that they enjoy a police state, in which law enforcement officers detain and raid people, especially the religious aristocracy, at will. Usually the police and the press, unlike the blogosphere, wait to move until they have ample evidence. The shoot-first-ask-questions-later tactic generally backfires when you carry guns (if not pens) and gets you  in more trouble in the end. Doesn’t bother many bloggers, though. Worst case scenario there is to reinvent yourself with a new pseudonym.

I recall reading that an informant was at the root of the Belgian raid. We can only guess as to what that was about. Maybe it was the high road, and somebody in the chancery was having a James Connell moment. Maybe somebody got stiffed by meanies higher up and this is all about revenge. Or a lover’s spat. In any event, serious investigators aren’t going to screw up a case with an illegal search unless they know they have the goods. I’d be more worried about what the raid turns up. And what it might mean for bishops if other frustrated people in other countries get to the point of desperation in the face of that hermeneutic of privilege.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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