On Ash Wednesday, more darkness for Catholic Church

By Elizabeth Tenety Tuesday may have been Mardi Gras for many in the Christian world, but in Catholic America, Tuesday … Continued

By Elizabeth Tenety

Tuesday may have been Mardi Gras for many in the Christian world, but in Catholic America, Tuesday brought a much graver reality: In a mass suspension, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia placed 21 active priests on administrative duties due to what the New York Times characterized as “credible accusations of sexual abuse or inappropriate behavior toward minors.”

After a February grand jury report that “identified 37 cases of concern,” Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, ordered an investigation into the accused priests in his diocese. (This was after the cardinal insisted that there were no predator priests in active ministry.) Per the investigation’s recommendations, Rigali said in a statement, the 21 were placed on leave “to allay concerns in the community about the suitability of priests to minister.”

Catholic Church insider and Whispers in the Loggia blogger Rocco Palmo said the move was the “largest single suspension of priests in the history of the Stateside church.”

Palmo also ran a damning response to the dismissals from another Catholic bishop which read, in part, “. . . The scandal is amplified ten-fold because it looks like it is the same old church and the same old leadership doing what it has always done in the past.”

Over at Spiritual Politics, Mark Silk mulls the news and speculates on the sex abuse ‘scandal’ –both in its secular meaning and connotations within Catholicism.

There is widespread agreement that the fear of spiritual scandal, that is, the desire to protect the church and its congregants from the bad news of the sex abuse crisis, compounded the abuse problem. The church considers the avoidance of public scandal a spiritual good. That, Silk says, has got to go.

If anything has become clear over the past quarter century, it is that the doctrine of scandal has been the occasion of greater scandal in the Catholic Church than the sexual abuse itself. Nothing has done more to drag the Church into disrepute–and to alienate the laity–than the revelations of cover-up. It’s time for the doctrine to go.

Lent, which begins today, Ash Wednesday, is a season of penance for the church. The traditional gospel reading for Wednesday’s observance is a passage from Matthew, in which Jesus gives one his most direct calls against the hypocrisy of the holy, and calls for private piety over flashy shows of one’s holiness. Here’s hoping.

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Take care not to perform righteous deeds
in order that people may see them;
otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.
When you give alms,
do not blow a trumpet before you,
as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets
to win the praise of others.
Amen, I say to you,
they have received their reward.
But when you give alms,
do not let your left hand know what your right is doing,
so that your almsgiving may be secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

About

Elizabeth Tenety Elizabeth Tenety is the former editor of On Faith, where she produced "Divine Impulses," On Faith’s video interview series. She studied Theology and Government at Georgetown University and received her master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. A New York native, Elizabeth grew up in the home of Catholic news junkies where, somewhere in between watching the nightly news and participating in parish life, she learned to ponder both the superficial and the sacred.
  • areyousaying

    Donohue and his victim demonizing minions cry, “others do it, too” and claim the percentage of priests who molest is less than in general society. So the question is what percent is this of total Philadelphia priests. Maybe Catholic Peter King can hold congressional hearings on this terrorism as well.

  • thomasmc1957

    They keep telling us these pervert priests are only a small percentage, but these scandals keep coming out, every few weeks, for decades on end. And every single time we find out that the Church KNEW about it, and COVERED IT UP.At some point, we just have to face the concept that pedophilia is actually a basic secret doctrine of Catholicism.

  • Sajanas

    So much for ‘zero tolerance’. I thought the American Catholic Church was supposed to have a one strike and your out approach, and was going to deal with these problems before they became crimes. I suppose its my own fault for expecting an aging fraternity to police itself. We should just let the police do it, and make these sex offenders go through the same protocols that any other ones do. The good news is, in 20 years, most of these priests will be gone, as aging as their population is.

  • john_reader

    Perhaps it’s time to remove all priests from having any unsupervised access to children. Full Stop.

  • YEAL9

    After the latest Philadelphia Archdiocese “vomit-inducing” revelations about priestly pedophilia and coverups, I am giving up the RCC not only for Lent but permanently.

  • areyousaying

    Here’s another one that applies to your criminal Church as well:Matthew 7:15-20 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. …

  • RoundlyMocked

    Does anyone ever wonder why the Catholic Church seems to be hit by these scandals again and again? 1. Easy target…those Catholics are just everywhere!4. All of the above.Unless there’s been a legal change recently, an abuser can ALWAYS be held criminally accountable for sexual abuse. But if you are a student abused by a priest or employee of a Catholic institution, you have until age 25 in Maryland to report an intent to sue in civil court (suing for money/damages). If you are a student in a PUBLIC school, you have 6 months (yes 6 months) after the actual sex abuse occurred to file an intent to sue for money in civil court. Think about how bankrupt the states would be if public schools were held to the same standard as Catholic institutions…These priests, if the accusations prove true, are guilty of horrible crimes against children. But to make it seem that Catholic priests are the worst or only abusers of children is simply not true. And until we look at the sex-driven culture in our society and go beyond this vendetta against the Catholic Church. None of our children will be safe. There is a bigger problem here and it goes way beyond the Catholic Church. Too bad such prejudice will keep reform from happening in public schools and other institutions…and that more youth will go without protection from all the predators that are out there

  • mikeoblarney

    For decades (probably centuries) catholic terrorists have been sexually abusing our children thereby destroying their lives.

  • areyousaying

    “Others do it, too!”Others do it, too!”nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah!”"It’s not that bad for ‘Christ’s Chruch” ’cause Except “others” don’t claim to be “Brothers of Christ” and hide behind Cardinals $10,000 red dresses.

  • YEAL9

    Another view from some of the contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Crossan, Ludemann) about Matt 7: 15-20, John 15:20 and Matt 16: 18.None of these passages were said by the historic Jesus.e.g. See Professor Ludemann’s book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 548

  • eezmamata

    It’s amazing, it’s appalling, that catholics come here and see only anti-catholics where the most of us are anti-pedophile.Given this observation by the posting catholics, we must assume that all catholic priests are pedophiles, else why would the catholics complain that anti-pedophiles are anti-catholic?It seems it never ends. Every few months, another collection of pederasts and child molestors are revealed to us all. On top of that, there’s the cardinals and bishops and administrative catholic types who shuffle around the pedophiles to protect the church, over an above protecting the children.Really, catholics, what are we to make of this behavior? Your priests are doing doing this, why do you complain about us noticing it and NOT NOTICE IT yourself!Right next to the disgusting and perverted behavior of your priests and your church is your support of these same people molesting the children. You are guilty as accessories after the fact.

  • jr_carri

    Revelations 12:15 Satan is an accuser like the “flood waters from the dragons mouth” which means unclean dialogue full of vanity and pride against the defenseless sheep and lamb. As flood waters are unclean and full of dirt, so is the many accusations aimed at Catholics by proud and vain, unclean “flood waters pouring from the dragons mouth”. Humm Satan is thus amongst us in the form of protestant flood waters and he will get more and more accusatory especially when he discovered that he is no longer allowed in heaven. This is a period soon to come.

  • jr_carri

    There is a book called “As I Passed Him: a prophecy within our times” at amazon that contains a timetable of events to come.

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