Monday, April 19, 2010

Still struggling with Castrillon Hoyos' letter and the response

Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos' letter and Fr Lombardi's response is still troubling me.
 Obviously, we all want to root out the "filth that has infiltrated the Church", the Pope has made war on the sexual abuse of children by clergy and its cover-up. He has stressed that in this matter the members of the Church, including bishops, are not above the law and should co-operate with the civil authorities. Because of the horrific nature of such abuse and the long term affects of it on the victim, few could argue against such a stance with this particular crime.




My problem is my problem is the precedent it sets in the relationship of the priest and the Church with the law of the state, how far should our co-operation extend?



In the previous post most people have said that a priest should reveal those things told to him outside the confessional, as good Catholics they accept the inviolability of the "seal of Confession" but in today's secular society the Confessional is hardly likely to constitute an acceptable legal defense in a civil court.



In my experience spiritual direction is often linked to Confession, an hour long conversation may well lead into Confession. If someone has committed a serious sin as a priest my intention is to bring him to repentance. In some cases that might be my intention but necessarily the intention of person who has come to talk to me, in some cases this might be the object of a series of conversations lasting over a number of weeks and Confession my take place in the place where we are talking.

Therefore the problem for a priest is: what constitutes both confession and the confessional?



What does a priest do when, for example, an airline pilot wants to talk about his relationship problems and in the conversation he then reveals he has drink problem, or a doctor reveals his drug problem, both of which place others at serious risk? What does he do when the daughter of an elderly confused father tells him she gets so frustrated she hits him regularly or locks the door of the house and leaves him sitting in his own filth for hours on end? On a more prosaic level what does he do when someone tells him about benefit or tax fraud.

The implication of what the Pope has been saying is that the priest should report these occurrences, "The Church is not above the law". In the past a priest would want to lead the sinner to repentance and to get them to resolve the situation themselves.

Looking at the worst case situations: in Uganda the law says homosexual acts are illegal and punishable by imprisonment, what does a priest in Uganda do when someone tells him he is engaged in homosexual sex? In China where underground Christianity itself is illegal, what is bishop or priest to do?

In England, a Catholic teachers might in the future tell a priest that they have denied a child her right to access contraceptive or abortion services, would he be expected to report the teacher?

38 comments:

Mike Cliffson said...

Too true, blue!

Lucy said...

Fascinating to really think through the implications, especially as I had not really thought about confidential discussions outside an actual confessional box etc. I suppose, as lay people, we would be expected to report someone who was guilty of a crime such as abuse - and how likely I personally would be to report would depend on how serious the crime was: child abuse, definitely - benefit fraud, possibly not. It is hard. Last year I reported a crime to the police which I knew had happened as I was the victim, and which was serious, but I still hesitated even so. And then, as in the case of Uganda - it would depend on whether the state would commit a "crime" (murder) by sentencing someone to death for a sin which they have defined as a crime. Maybe that is when we look to the Israelite midwives? You know, when it is okay to lie in order to prevent a greater crime. I am thankful I am not a priest as it makes my head hurt. Prayers for you, Fr Ray and all your brother priests as you all wrestle with these issues.

B flat said...

You are right to be worried by this question, Father. I believe the only safe way is to stand firm on your ground as priest, uniting God and man. All conversations with you are confidential, and you answer to God for them at the judgment. Every act of your life is subservient to your state as a priest, and you should be faithful to your service to God and man in persona Christi, even at the cost of imprisonment and death. whether in yesterday's pagan Rome, the Soviet Union, or today's Uganda, China, or the United Kingdom.

You have duties as a citizen, but you are not a policeman. There is a reality behind the appellation of priest as "Father", which each priest has to be. Christianity is uncompromising towards the world, otherwise it cannot protect the individual from the world, which seeks to devour him and destroy the soul of man and deprive us of Eternal life in God.

Delia said...

Even on the borders of the confessional, priests can surely not act as informers.

Mark said...

...These outrages have occurred because the church has viewed itself above the Law & far too superior an institution to concern itself with the mere Law of the Land. Vows of silence and moving the problem on to fresher, newer unsuspecting victims just facilitated the offenders. My vote is to extend the Law of the Land into the Church & Church Law itself. So that any confession, inside or outside the confessional, or for that matter, any evidence of wrong-doing whatsoever, is reported immediately to the Police. Isn't this what any fair-minded citizen would do? Weren't we all brought up that way? If anyone confessing to a serious crime isn't prepared to report themselves, they cannot be truly repentant anyway!! When did the guilty acquire more rights than the oppressed victim? This obligation to report knowledge of any crime is incumbent on all citizens, especially Christians & the Clergy.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Mark,

Sometimes what people tell priests is, I hope too incredible to believe. Do I report that.

I was once told by a man in a psychiatric hospital that he had personally sacrificed babies in a black Mass on a Sussex hill. I didn't believe a word but I took him seriously. It was possible.

Most fairminded citizens would expect a degree of proof beyond self accusation.

Paul Mallinder said...

There needs to be a new vision at the heart of the spiritual/pastoral relationship between priest/people and priest/bishop.
It is unfair to allow each priest just to operate on their own opinion or vision. The people should not be placed in a position where they unknowingly open themselves up for legal prosecution or open the priest up to possible legal prosecution.
Where there is no vision, the people perish.

Jamie said...

Wow, you brought up some interesting points.

Andrew said...

And when people like Mark have their way I as a psychologist will be forced to prosecute my clients. My brother, a barrister, could be called as a witness against those he is defending.
Where will end?

dominic1962 said...

Isn't this something like what St. Thomas a Becket went to his grave for? Protecting the Church and Her people from the "Law of the Land". Contrary to what various noseclean Legal Eagles may opine, the Church is in a way "above" the "Law of the Land." Her supreme law is the salvation of souls, what is the State's supreme law? It isn't the salvation of souls, that's for sure.

The State's legal system is corrupt, unjust, and arbitrary-and that's the best of them. Its all downhill from there to some that are outright evil. Those who would be so rash as to suggest that the priest should have to report wrongdoers to the authorities, even on things he heard in the Confessional just because the "law" says so and we have to kowtow to what the law says no matter what are the same kind of useful idiots that totalitarians use to march societies into their Brave New Worlds.

Furthermore, repentance does not entail wanting to throw yourself into the gaping maw of the civil "justice" system. Isn't the subjectivism obvious? Why would it be just for someone to have to turn themselves in to the civil authorities for, say, child porn or sodomy or whatever and ruin their whole lives in one country when in another (i.e. child porn was legal in Japan until fairly recently) it would only be an in and out of the box and the firm resolution to not do it again?

Where is the justice in that?

Ma Tucker said...

God is the just judge not man nor the state. As a priest I'd see my job as the care of souls. I'd let the police do the policing and I'd mind my own business in the sure knowledge that if I did my job well there would be less to police!

As regards dealing with an official allegation of abuse/crime made by a victim. That is a completely different matter. Such allegations should be properly investigated and approriate action taken.

I do not see where there is a problem at all. So what if you go to jail, souls in prison sometimes need even more care that those outside anyway. You could not be better placed.


When Hamilton murdered all those children in Dunblane, his mother was asked how she could possibly turn up to the funeral of such a monster. Her reply, "I am still his mother". The State felt the need to slap 100 yrs secrecy act on evidence obtained in the investigation to hide activities that were not in the interest of the State to disclose. The State has a right to silence. A right to a "confessional seal".

Fr Ray Blake said...

Dominic,

I and many would hope your last paragraph is ironic.

Mark said...

B Flat writes- "Christianity is uncompromising towards the world, otherwise it cannot protect the individual from the world, which seeks to devour him and destroy the soul of man and deprive us of Eternal life in God". However it would appear covering up abuse shows Christianity can be anything but uncompromising to the world & often subservient to its darker side? Andrew, any psychologist working with active Abusers, unknown to the Police, must be superbly confident in their own abilities, in the knowledge the client they consul could continue offending during and after his treatment. Especially as their silence may mean the continuance of abuse! Father I accept some confessions must be so bizarre as to be incredible and the example you site appears to be one such case. The Pyschiatric Hospital would lead most sound minds to feel that this wouldn't be taken seriously by the Police either. Although, if in doubt give them a shout and allow the experts to be the arbiters of whether a crime has been committed.

bernadette said...

If a Catholic teacher confesses that they have denied a child their right to contracepton and abortion services, you'd have to ask whether they were Catholic or not.

Mark said...

The bottom line is any confession of a serious crime not reported to the civil authorities allows a repeat offender to offend again and again and again....... and this issue will never be resolved! The reputation of the Catholic church will suffer amongest right thinking men & women. Even in the secular world they have sufficient morality to know these things need Police action. It's a very sad time indeed when they leave us lagging behind when we should be leading the war against evil.

Qualis Rex said...

Father - with no disrespect, as a pastor of your flock, you have a moral obligation not only to hear their confession (obviously) and to attempt to bring the to reconciliation (also obvious) but to protect the greater good of ALL your flock--not just the individual making the confession. As a priest, you are not simply God's stenographer taking notes then passing it upward at that moment. You need to weight the case of each indivual and what their sins mean to THEIR salvation as well as the SAFETY of those around them.

And most importantly, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GIVE RECONCILIATION TO EVERYONE. If someone confesses to you that they have molested a child, you can bet the bank it was probably not the first nor will it be the last time. You would have a moral obligation to MAKE that individual turn himself in and get treatment (priest or not). And most likely this would involve getting this individual removed from society (most certainly from any children) before they could receive the sacrament of reconciliation.

It would appear what needs to happen is a shift in mentality where many priests need to be far more proactive, working towards the greater good (this includes the church). And there are absolutely ways of accomplishing this WITHOUT breaking the seal of confession.

Jacobi said...

With respect Fr., I think you worry too much.

Whether or not society regards the seal of Confession as as a legal defence,is irreleveant. It is sacrosanct and presumably cannot be discussed in any form or even acknowledged - regardless of the consequencies.

As a "private soldier" layman, if I accidently overheard someone's confession, I would consider myself under the same obligations as the priest on the other side of the door.

Regarding the examples, such as the airline pilot etc., the situation is quite different. We all required to behave responsibly, priests and laity alike. It is a matter of judgement. Before acting we must have the full facts, an appropriate level of understanding of the problem (for instance another airline pilot would be in a better position to judge than the average priest) and have weighed up the greater good, before considering going public.

Otherwise........

Cetti's Warbler said...

Surely Father, if priests are obliged to divulge what passes in the confessional (or even in conversation), then the problem will quickly resolve itself as no-one will bother with confession any more.

terry said...

The case of Monsignor Pican deserves serious examination and consideration.It was the first case since the French Revolution that a French Bishop had been subject to a criminal trial and had been found guilty and punished.

There seems to be a good summary of the case in French at http://www.denistouret.net/constit/Pican_Caen.html

There is a discussion of the case and the facts (in French) at
http://www.rfi.fr/actufr/articles/018/article_8631.asp

The letter of the Cardinal in French is at
http://www.golias-editions.fr/spip.php?article3794

What seems to have been relevant was:

1. There was specific crime created by the French Penal Code which placed an obligation on everyone to make a report to the competent authorities about a pedophile act which they knew about on which had been committed on a child of 15 years or less.

2. French law also provided (since a case of 1891) that what was said in the sacrament of confession or in confidence was privileged and could not be impugned or challenged in a French Court.

3. The Court seemed to get round the conflict between the two conflicting principles in its reasons. The Court said that what the Bishop learned about the priest was not derived from the confessional or the confidential relationship between the Bishop and the priest.

4. However, as the defence lawyer said, the case did in effect seem to establish a reduction in the scope of the confidential professional relationship which was privileged between Bishop and the priest

5. What seems to have counted against the Bishop is the length of time between the first knowledge and the length of time that the priest carried on with the abuse which appears to have been horrific and involved children as young as six. The bishop appears to have been impassive and not active in trying to resolve the situation. His attitude was characterised as "wait and see". He seems to have been oblivious to the harm occasioned to the victims or potential victims.

It was not a pastoral situation between Bishop and priest. The Vicar General Michel Morcel was fully involved.

The Bishop would also appear to have deliberately made the decision early on not to involve the civil authorities.

6. The case was fought on the question as to the extent of the defences available to a Bishop as (a) falling within the "confessional" and (b) being privileged as part of the professional and confidential relationship between bishop and priest.

7. The Bishop did not appeal (no doubt after consulting his colleagues on the Bench and also the Vatican).

8. Could it be that what Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos may have been trying to do was to make it clear to Bishops that the principles of secrecy within the confessional, the conscience of the Bishop and the obligations of professional confidence in the Bishop-priest relationship were not to be given up lightly and had to be asserted before the organs of the State whether they be Courts, or other bodies ?

The Bishop asserted these rights and privileges before the Court. The Court avoided the question in its ruling. The Court did not impose anything like the penalty requested by the Prosecutor.

It is noteworthy that the Bishop did not deny or refute the jurisdiction of the Court to determine the matter and abided by the decision of the Court without appealing it further.

10. Could it be that the Congregation which the Cardinal headed and Pope John Paul II recognised was that if these principles were not jealously and energetically asserted then the principles would be easily undermined in other fields of activity not involving child abuse ?

dominic1962 said...

That is exactly what it is.

Ma Tucker said...

Cetti, of course you are quite right and fewer confessions serve no good whatsoever.

Thank you Terri for the clarifications. I have to say I would be very surprised if Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos was anything but proper in his judgements concerning the principles of the issues involved.

John Lamont said...

Dear Fr. Blake,

I don't know that the CDF's position can be accurately characterised as saying that priests must report any violations of the civil law reported to them outside the confessional. Obviously some the laws you mention, such as the banning of the Catholic Church in China, are contrary to natural law and divine positive law, so not only should not but must not be respected. The CDF is referring to the laws requiring the reporting of sexual abuse of minors. And it is not talking about how priests should treat penitents; it is talking about how bishops should treat priests under their jurisdiction, in the situation where there are allegations of sexual abuse against that priest. The context of the existence of allegations means that the bishop's knowledge cannot simply be derived from the confidences of the priest. The CDF's rule thus is that when allegations of abuse are received from a third party, the bishop is obliged to report them when civil law demands. There is no violation of confidence involved in this, since the knowledge of the abuse ex hypothesi does not come from the person accused of it. As for the case in France; the bishop did not hear of the priest's crimes in the confessional or in confidence, and the mother of one of the victims had complained to the vicar of the diocese. There was thus no defence in law or in morality here, and it was right for the bishop to go to jail.
As for the relation between bishop and priest being a relation between father and son, and thus excusing the bishop's not denouncing the priest to the law; do the children of a diocese who are being raped by a priest (the situation in the French case) not have the bishop for a father? Not in the mind of many bishops, it is clear.

mikesview said...

Father, I think I'm right (?) in saying that in confession you shouldn't ASK for spiritual direction, though the priest may choose to GIVE such direction.
As for priest-informers, yes there have in our own times been many such, notably in the former iron-curtain countries (Delia, note). So you will be accompanied in your difficult journey by such fellow-clergy (and laity)
More practically though, how - apart from our prayers - do WE support YOU in all these trials?

Clarke said...

I'm glad to see you're still struggling! But you seem to be presuming that only priests face these dilemmas, as if everyday people would never be put in a similar situation, where they need to make a decision, and break a confidence, which could ultimately cost them their job or face being excommunicated from their family.

All I know is there's no point catastrophising in advance, you can guarantee that it won't be a situation you will have planned for! But it is important for us all, and that includes priests, to acknowledge the possibility of a situation arising which will require us going against the wishes of our employer, our family or our church to stop the abuse of a vulnerable person.

Hopefully you will never hear that critical confession that will make you break the seal of confession ... but imagine if Josef Fritzl had come to you and confessed that his daughter was imprisoned underground ... what would you do, break the seal of confession and rescue her, even if it meant that you could no longer serve as a priest ... or continue working as a priest and leave her to rot for 24 years?

nickbris said...

The fact that Catholics can "go to confession" has always been a stick used by anti Catholics to beat us with and brings with it a lot of ridicule.

For donkey's years we have seen movies where Priests are tortured to reveal what they have been told and also where the Nazi Gestapo or SS have posed as Priests in the confession box to find out secrets.

When I was at school we were convinced that it was not safe to confess to our resident Priest and stopped going to confession until they brought in a confessor from outside.

There are always calls for modernisation & innovation so is it not time to discuss the possible abolition of Confession in the present form?

A priest said...

1. Bishops/Superiors & Confession

Bishops should not hear the Confessions of their own priests. Confession is a matter of the Internal Forum. Bishops have responsibilities for the External Forum. In the same way, Seminary Rectors should not hear the Confessions of their own Seminarians (which is in fact forbidden in Canon Law).



Otherwise there is the danger of EITHER the Bishop/Rector/Superior abusing (or being accused of abusing) the Confessional by using the secrets of the Confession to judge someone in the External Forum OR the Priest/Seminarian going to the Bishop/Rector (or other members of the Seminary Staff apart from the Spiritual Director) in order to seal the lips of the Bishop/Rector/Superior and to prevent them from taking appropriate action against him in the External Forum.



2. Priests & Confessions of Serious Crimes

I have often wondered what I should do if someone came to me in confession and confessed to a really serious crime. I think that the solution lies in Canon 981 – concerning the imposition of “salutary and appropriate penances”.



In “The Canon Law: Letter & Spirit – a practical guide to the Code of Canon Law” (prepared by The Canon Law Society of Great Britain & Ireland in association with The Canadian Canon Law Society – published by Geoffrey Chapman in 1995), the authors write on page 535:



< This canon (981) essentially repeats c.887 of the 1917 Code. “True conversion is completed by satisfaction for sin, by improvement of life and repair of the damage done. The work of satisfaction and its measure should be suited to the penitent, so that he should restore the order he has damaged and take suitable medicine for the malady which afflicted him.”….The penitent has an obligation to carry out the penance personally. >



In my opinion “repair of the damage done” and “taking suitable medicine for the malady which afflicted him” can and should mean that the Priest has the right and the duty to require the Penitent to hand him/herself over to the police as part of his/her Penance – and for the Confessor to explain clearly that this is required for the validity of the Absolution. If the Penitent truly has a firm purpose of amendment and is truly sorry for his/her sins then he/she will do this. If they are not prepared to do this as part of their Penance, then the words of the Absolution are null and void.



In the case of a serious criminal, I would argue that this is also required in justice because:

a. No innocent person should be accused of and punished for a crime that he/she did not commit. If the culprit fails to hand themselves in, it is quite possible that an innocent person may be arrested.

b.. The Police should not have to spend time (and Public Funds) looking for the culprit of this crime – when they should be protecting the public from other criminal activity.

c. The victim and his/her family should know BOTH that the criminal involved is no longer a threat to them AND ALSO that the criminal involved is being punished for his/her crime(s) - for their peace of mind and to prevent further suffering to them as a result of the crime that was committed.


3. A Final Thought

The Code of Canon Law furthermore requires that Confessions should normally be heard in a Confessional (c.964 $3) – which has a fixed grill separating the Priest from the Penitent (c.964 $2).

This means that normally the Priest would not be able to identify the Penitent – even if there were no such thing as the seal of Confession.

Ma Tucker said...

A priest
I think it obnoxious to insist that a man present himself to the authorities for any crime as a condition of absolution.

I sincerely hope the canon law applicable to the issue is so written to discorage onerous penances like the ones you suggest. Also, I was told by a priest that penances administered in confession are token and it was wrong to be see them or to use them as weight measures for sin. The purpose of confession surely must be to allow a person to turn away and make a new start. How would you deal with a woman who knowingly arranged the slaughter of the child in her womb?

Mark said...

I suggest that its a bit too late to do anything with a woman who has confessed to an abortion! A Priest contribution is the most refreshing one I've read here. Ma Tucker is way wide of the mark and hopefully not practising!

Edward P. Walton said...

Reuters reported today that US Victims Groups are trying to stop Cardinal Hoyas from celebrating a Tridentine Rite Solem High Pontifical Mass at the high altar in their National Basilica, the first time in fifty years.

Demonstrations are plamed at the Basilica.

Peter said...

Father
Thank you and your contributors for this interesting analysis.
The comment by A priest about refusing absolution seems to miss the point: you are still bound by the seal of the confessional. I think Clarke puts the point most clearly: what if a crime is happening and you are in a position to do something. It seems that you have two conflicting duties: to respect the confession and to help a victim. Your own safety is then a consideration also as you might be threatened by the not very penitent confessor.

My guess is that you would have try to alert the authorities in a way that they could resolve the matter without being told who had confessed. Surely a bishop should be able and willing to help here.
This is one for seminary students to ask their teachers.

Thank you for raising key questions and showing that these need careful thought. I pray that you never need to consider my suggested approach.

A priest said...

1. The seal of confession

The seal of confession is absolute. "A confessor who directly violates the sacramental seal incurs a "latae sententiae" (ie automatic) excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See." (canon 1388 $1)

2. The use of the confessional

Canon 964 states that confessions should normally be heard in a confessional. Moreover this should have a fixed grille between the penitent and the confessor so that penitents can confess anonymously.

This means that the penitent can be reassured that even if pressure were put on the priest by the civil authorities to break the seal of confession, the priest can simply state that he does not know who came to him in confession.

3. "What if a crime is happening?"

The confessor cannot use any information he has received as a result of a confession without the permission of the penitent.

He can only EITHER ask the penitent to take whatever actions are necessary to prevent any further harm from being done OR ask the penitent permission for him (ie the confessor)to take those actions.

4. Are there any conditions for forgiveness required on the part of the penitent?

This is Q 286 in the old "Penny Catechism" (which is still in print).

The answer is: three conditions for forgiveness are required on the part of the penitent - Contrition, Confession and Satisfaction.

The Catechism of the Council of Trent for Parish Priests adds:

"Duties of the Confessor as Regards Satisfaction.

Restitution must be insisted on.

Above all, priests should be very careful not to give absolution to any penitent, whose confession they have heard, without obliging him to make full satisfaction for any injury to his neighbour's goods or character for which he seems responsible.

No person is to be absolved until he has first faithfully promised to restore all that belongs to others."

I think this implies that the penitent can and should be obliged to ensure that no further harm is done to the victim of the sin committed and to any other innocent parties.

5. Abortion

A person who actually procures an abortion incurs a "latae sententiae" (ie automatic) excommunication. (canon 1398)

Ma Tucker said...

Mark, are you the same Mark who said this

"My vote is to extend the Law of the Land into the Church & Church Law itself. So that any confession, inside or outside the confessional, or for that matter, any evidence of wrong-doing whatsoever, is reported immediately to the Police."

So are you saying that God should not forgive sins until the secular penalties as laid down by secular law have been paid? When the Nazi's made it illegal to harbor jews would you have shopped your jew harboring neighbour for illegal activity. During the English Deformation would you have disclosed the location of priests and those who aided them? I presume not because you know and I know that what is right is not determined by secular law but by God's Law. Furthermore, you know and I know that people are very poorly served by secular justice. Jailed criminals become more criminal and perverts become more perverse because our system of justice is fowl. The less converted we are the more this will hold true in the future. In fact I can say that poor law has produced many of the criminals and perverts. Is it not the failure of secular law to prosecute the media porn industry, to support marriage and the family etc.. that has led to a great deal of sin in the country?

I vote to let the priest be a priest and not the local arm of secular law enforcement. Mother Church has never been harsh with penitents. It serves no purpose and prevents sinners coming forward for the healing that they need so badly. Healing that really is the only hope for a better future both here and hereafter for every person, victim and perpetrator.

Mark said...

So to summarise you are coming at this by way of protecting the guilty and I am more concerned with protecting the innocent.

Ma Tucker said...

Mark,
that is not a fair summary at all and I'm sure you know it too.

Firstly, we are all guilty.

Secondly, God sees all things and His perfect justice and perfect mercy awaits every one of us without exception. Nobody gets away with anything.

Thirdly, the perpetrator is more sick and wounded than the victim.

Fourthly, if I were a victim of an awful crime, imagine it as awful as you like, the one thing that would bring me peace would be to know that the person who so wronged me would repent and never do that wrong again. That that person would turn to God and live out the rest of his/her life fruitfully and well. I think the damage caused by sin cannot be measured and paid for by any penance we do. We throw ourselves on God's mercy and His mercy is not lacking. This is the gift of the sacrament of confession. Throwing a repentant sinner into the jaws of our our secular justice system would be, in a lot of cases, an injustice itself. The system is not restorative. It is for this reason that I consider obnoxious the position that absolution should be withheld to a repentant sinner unless the sinner reports his crime to the police.

Qualis Rex said...

"A Priest" - Thank you for your enlightened comment there. You masterfully echoed my comment in a much more efficient and orthodox way, backing it up with canon law. Thank you so much for this, again. I wish more priests had such knowledge and common sense.

Ma Tucker - what you find "obnoxious" is irrelevant. You are not the priest, nor do you have any authority in the matter; canon law does. You might wish to get off scott-free with a bit of prayer, but that is just not how it works. You are, in effect, yet Another victim of the modern church.

Pablo said...

Saying you want to root out filth and leaving it in place is to become an accomplice.

If Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos or anyone else at the Vatican wanted to stop the wayward Bishops and Priests, why not throw them under the bus and put them under arrest like Bishop Bernard Fellay did to Bishop Williamson of the SSPX?

Bishop Williamson is an innocent man.

Shouldn't the guilty also merit immediate punishment?

*

A Priest said...

Qualis Rex

Thank you.

On Good Friday we are faced with the true cost of sin. Each time I look at a crucifix, I remember: this is how much God loves each one of us.

"And when I think that God, His Son not sparing, sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in.

That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing, He bled and died to take away my sin."

Edward P. Walton said...

John Allen gives a synopsis of this weeks scenario between the US Bishops and Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos in a report on 4/23/10 in the National Catholic Reporter.