Curious Case Concludes

urrutigoityGrant Gallicho’s series on Carlos Urrutigoity concludes at dotCommonweal today. You may recall that famous renegade priest who peppered an experience of sleeping with male teens and men within a career as a self-styled rigorist within traditional Catholicism. The man surfaced as a vicar general in a Paraguayan diocese. A short time later his bishop was brought down. But not without much fussing and hand-wringing among some internet Catholics.

In my own life, I have to temper a self-image as virtuous based on my association with the Church. My being a church minister does not make me virtuous. My being a Catholic does  not make me virtuous. My obedience to moral rules, likewise.

Virtue is a bit deeper. I don’t find it to be only obedience to rules and membership in the right organization. It seems it should be a way of being. Of living rightly. Something positive in what one does and especially in who one is. It would seem to be independent of Christianity, in fact. Am I true to God’s best calling and intention? I am a sinner and a mixed bag, at best. But thanks be to God for the grace of Christ.

I wonder how defenders of Bishop Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano will take this series, if they read the whole thing as it unfolded in Argentina, in Minnesota, in the SSPX, in eastern Pennsylvania, and in Paraguay. What will they make of these priests and bishops wrapping themselves in the mantle of two much-loved popes? How does this taint church figures like Cardinal Arinze who was claimed as an ally of a secretive sect that couldn’t (or didn’t) manage money, seminarians, boys, or work well with people who, at first, were totally on board with a brand of Catholic exceptionalism?

It has been my stance, annoying to many elder Catholic siblings, that the Right possesses no advantage in moral virtue. We are all sinners. We all struggle. We all have our blind spots, as well as moments of grace. Advocating adherence to the Catechism, the Latin Mass, or what the latest EWTN/NCReg guru pontificates guarantees nothing but likemindedness and a friendly welcome on select blog sites. I get the sense this opinion is totally dismissed by my foils at those various sites.

And yet, I don’t think my assertion can be easily dismissed. The dotCommonweal story is populated by many bishops–some well-liked and others not so much. Some people appear a bit out of character. Bishop Joseph Martino, no friend of unions or certain speakers, sure tried to root out wayward priests from his diocese. Though he started well, in the end he got early retirement. Even Joseph Ratzinger got thrown under the bus at one point.

The Carlos Urrutigoity case seems not quite resolved. When I read the final paragraphs of part VIII, it was a bit like reading the credits at the end of Animal House. Some characters are still at large and mischief still waits to be made.

About catholicsensibility

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