Monday, February 25, 2013

"Filth"


When will the spotless virginal bride of Christ, who I love, be seen in all her radiant beauty? Why does she continually present herself as filthy diseased harlot that is both corrupt herself and corrupts all who come in contact with her? I hate her and I am ashamed of her and I am embarrassed to be associated with her.

Yes, I know it is Original Sin. Yes, I know the Church is made up sinners. Yes, I know she will be both until the end of time and has been from the very beginning.

Today's news about Cardinal O'Brien is just the latest sign of the Church's sickness. I don't know, no-one seems to know exactly what "inappropriate behaviour" the Cardinal is accused of  and despite his sacking - he has been sacked by the Pope, his resignation was due to take effect next month on his 75th birthday- he is of course contesting the allegations. However, it would seem to suggest that corruption is far from merely a Roman or Curial phenomena but embraces the whole Church. We have seen it all over the world, the Lavender episcopal palaces of Cardinal Bernardin and Weakland, the cover-ups by Law and Mahony and many other American bishops, the major sexual scandals in Poland, in Austria, in Ireland, in Belgium and a score of other places.
These are priests and bishops in a very grave state of sin, who seem to count it as nothing. These are men who are content to live in the sewer whilst ascending to the atar of God. There is not just the sin they are involved in, it is also the hypocrisy, the lies, the deceit, everything that runs contrary to the integrity of the Gospel, the betrayal of brother priests of laity, all contribute to the undermining of faith of "the little ones", "better millstone be tied around his neck ...".

Fr Eamon and various priest bloggers have posted the video below of Cardinal Arinze speaking about mortal sin. It strikes me that a restoration basic catechesis would be a good first step. An old priest friend of mine, sighs occasionally and says of priests and bishops, "In my youth they wouldn't have been allowed to make their First Holy Communion, let alone be ordained".
The Cardinal talks about effects of David's sin, one single act which destroys his empire. The sin of our first parents is trivial but its effects have huge ramifications for mankind. The "filth" of the clergy, their mortal sins, even the ancient ones, really do corrode and destroy the credibility of individuals but more importantly of the whole Church. Even after Confession though the sinner is absolved the wounds of mortal sin continue to disfigure the face of Christ's Bride.

Not unconnected my friend Fr Zhulsdorf recently published a little passage by Henri de Lubac on Heresy
“If heretics no longer horrify us today, as they once did our forefathers, is it certain that it is because there is more charity in our hearts? Or would it not too often be, perhaps, without our daring to say so, because the bone of contention, that is to say, the very substance of our faith, no longer interests us? Men of too familiar and too passive a faith, perhaps for us dogmas are no longer the Mystery on which we live, the Mystery which is to be accomplished in us. Consequently then, heresy no longer shocks us; at least, it no longer convulses us like something trying to tear the soul of our souls away from us…. And that is why we have no trouble in being kind to heretics, and no repugnance in rubbing shoulders with them… It is not always charity, alas, which has grown greater, or which has become more enlightened: it is often faith, the taste for the things of eternity, which has grown less…”
We have the Catechism of the Catholic Church and various learned documents, perhaps the next Pope might produce a simple syllabus for First Confession and Communion, dealing with the basics which every Catholic child or bishop or Papal-Elector ought to know.

55 comments:

Sixupman said...

Absolutely, Father!

johnh said...

A VERY powerful piece Father , especially the first paragraph . The 'filth' tarnishes all of us , but my heart primarily is with the many good priests and religious who serve Our Lord so humbly , but who must now take another beating from an all knowing and finger pointing press and public alike . So , so sad .

Clearly , we need to await news on the allegations about Cardinal O'Brien to come to any conclusion . It is sad . My very first thought was how he and Cardinal Winning had reacted to the Bishop Roddy Wright situation some years ago , after he , amongst other things , had sold his soul to a tabloid and let down the people of Argyl and the Isles .

Now , Britain and Ireland's only conclave representative will be Cardinal Brady - who has hardly covered himself in glory .

Patrick Langan said...

The sin of the modern world is the sin of selfishness, whatever! i want i can have. This sin is not new it has existed as long as man has existed. The difference now is that the modern world endorses, celebrates and wallows in this ideology. Through the modernists in the church, as Pope Pius X warned, it has entered into the soul of laity and clergy alike. Vatican II, or the spirit of Vatican II was not the start of it without any doubt however it only accentuated the process and the weeds are strangling the life out of the good seed as all can see.Sancta Maria ora pro nobis

EFpastor emeritus said...

Father, I was once told that when Christ first came on earth priests crucified Him, and if he came back today priests would be the first to do so again.
We must not be disheartened. We are a church of sinners and there is ALWAYS room for another.

Re the O'Brien matter. I think we have much more to learn. Personally I suspect the revelations are part of a hidden agenda. Why did those who claim inappropriate behaviour wait until now? After all they were adults at the time of the alleged offences. Seems to me there is something fishy about this event.

Keep up your great work.

johnh said...

Good point Patrick . I was listening to someone on the radio today , who was educated by the monks of Downside . He said they taught him to seek the truth , and to envisage your prayer life as if you were actually talking to God and learning and engaging - not praying for a new Bentley .
Life is corrupt in many ways , and we are expected to continue the corruption in the modern secular world .

Jacobi said...

History has not come to an end. The present crisis in the Church is as grave as the Protestant Reformation and possibly worse. It stems from the gross misrepresentation of Vatican 11 which prevailed after the Council and has only been seriously questioned in the last 10 years or so.

As Fr Thomas Crean said of this phenomena,

“this later Modernism might be compared to a great flood of water pouring into a house with devastating effects.”

It allowed the Original Sin which has always existed in the Church, to shake off constraint, especially in the 70s and 80s.

We are now learning the hard way and must start again, possibly as Pope Benedict has said, with a smaller Church, even if that means fracture.

Benedict has steadied the Barque and it is up to the Conclave to elect a Catholic Pope to set sail again.

Misericordia said...

I do feel some pity for Cardinal O'Brien. Like many others, I have sins from the distant past which have been confessed and absolved, and I should be horrified if someone were to turn up thirty years later and expose these sins to others.
I am reminded of my favourite fridge magnet,which says "You'll always be my friend. You know too muuch."

Don McGovern said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fr Ray Blake said...

Misericordia,

Yes I feel sorry for the Cardinal.

But let us be clear: Mortal sins might well be forgiven but they still leave us wounded. Those committed with others damage them and us, I cannot understand why someone who has committed sins with others actually allow themselves to be put forward for high office, not only is originasl sin wicked but to received such offices is a damnable sacrilege!

fidelisjoff said...

Clear catechesis in homilies would go some way to help but that assumes a level of seminarian training and confidence in the faith which in my experience is rarely there in England. I think I recall a Polish bishop that required a series of catachesis in homilies according to his plan to ensure effective teaching. To learn we must hear and see the Gospel. For many the main spiritual in put is Sunday Mass.

Fr Ray Blake said...

fidelisjoff,
I and I presume all my contempories were taught "the fundamental option" it is certainly still taught in many seminaries and I have heard it taught by many priests and even bishops.

The problem is we priests are often badly or uncatechised.

JARay said...

I do so agree with EF Pastor Emeritus that the timing of these accusations is very suspect.
I cannot but think back to the time when accusations of this nature were made against Cardinal Pell. He stepped aside and called the accuser to account but setting up a public Court with a retired Judge in judgement and made his accuser put his accusations to legal process. In the end Cardinal Pell was cleared of all accusations and the man concerned had to admit that his accusations were false!
But that's Cardinal Pell!
It seems as if Cardinal O'Brien is not made of the same stuff as Cardinal Pell.
What a cry would go up if perchance Cardinal Pell became the next Pope! He has a proven history of cleaning out where cleaning out needs to be done. I, for one, would love it if it happened.

John Fisher said...

How Pell avoided censure was he asked a retired judge (secular law) not Canon law (where the proofs are different) to hold an investigation. They then pointed out that the accuser who had been a boy at the time had gone to goal since and had a very bad crminal record..... so his testimony could not be trusted. Also it was over 30years ago. Yet often the sexually abused do fall into lifes of further abuse, drugs, promiscuity, crime, goal. So Pell avoided it by casting doubt. Priests who know Pell tell me in any event he was in his early 20's so we should forgive. However Pell set a precedent by letting a secular judge/ lawyers with non Roman concepts or reasonable doubt judge issues that should be judged in a Church court as well.
I escaped being sexaully abused by running from a room where a priest grabbed me and tried to force me into a sexual act. The priest hates the Church, its beliefs, moves in gay circles, he has never ever done anything but attack it for over 50 years as a priest. Unable to be prosecuted in Court through ill health he is supported by the Vincentian Fathers. They won't report amy abuse to Rome that isnt prosecuted through secular courts. So this priest who rejects the Church lives off it. I and 6 other victims who he abused over the years were boys at the time hate the Church.

John Fisher said...

Pell's accuser did NOT admit that his accusations were false!

wretchedwithhope said...

"in the fields of the Church there will be much chaff" - Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

"These are men who are content to live in the sewer whilst ascending to the atar of God." The 'abomination of desolation' comes to mind. "In my youth they wouldn't have been allowed to make their First Holy Communion, let alone be ordained". Yet for how many years have those called to celibacy and a clear understanding of the historical faith been refused at the seminary door, or biffed out once the Alinskyites running things got a whiff of their call to holiness?

In your previous post, Father, Cardinal Ratzinger had this to say:

RE: 'scandals and sinners will be present...the Lord wanted St Peter who was a great sinner, chosen as the first Pope...we must expect that in the fields of the Church there will be much chaff...there have been other times at least as difficult as ours - all we have to think of is the ninth century, the tenth century, the renaissance...we must suffer, the scandals make so many people suffer...the Lord sat at the table with sinners - the definition of the Church - we cannot be amazed or dispair - the Lord seeks sinners in order the save us..."

Anagnostis said...

" The present crisis in the Church is as grave as the Protestant Reformation and possibly worse. It stems from the gross misrepresentation of Vatican 11 which prevailed after the Council..."

I've been saying this for twenty years. You identify the stem, but not the root. Reformation 1 arose in reaction to the abuses and exaggerations of late medieval Catholicism; just as Reformation II is generated by the abuses and exaggerations of 19th century Catholicism. There is a direct line of causation, through the "Spirit of Vatican II" to the "Spirit of Vatican I".

Remember - you can't be reborn without dying. When the thing has worked through to the end the Roman Church will be renewed at last; but it won't bear much resemblance to the iron beehive of Trent or the irresponsible autarchy of Pius IX. Then this unhappy dialectic - generating Protestantism and then fighting it and then generating it - will be over at last.

Michael said...

I, too, tend to view the accusations made against Cardinal O'Brien with deep suspicion - why wait until now? Is there, indeed, a hidden 'gay' agenda here? I would love to see a similar challenge made as did Cardinal Pell! The one comfort to be drawn in this affair is that, whoever is lying, God knows the truth! I pray for God's Grace to enlighten with Truth the soul of whoever is lying!

Don McGovern said...

Whilst I'm no apologist for Cardinal O'Brien, I do wonder here whether we are being taken for suckers.

Cardinal O'Brien has spoken out loud and clear against sodomitical "marriage". Could this not be a case of gay priests trying to bring him down? After all, if a priest is happy to engage in sodomy, choking on a few lies and a bit of calumny really would be a case of swallowing a camel and choking on a gnat.

nickbris said...

What exactly is the difference between "inappropriate behaviour" and "irregularities"? Everybody seems to be speaking with forked tongue. What has the Cardinal done wrong apart from upsetting an obnoxious bunch at the Top Table

ORA PRO NOBIS said...

RE: Your Comment on Catechesis

As you know Daphne McLeod of Pro Ecclesia et Pontefice has called for the return of the Penny Catechism for years. She has implored the Bishop's Conference to reinstate it on a yearly basis and I know for a fact that they keep turning her down.

I know that the book alone will not change the church over-night but that downs not mean that it would set down a marker if it were to be distributed in some form.

I am looking at seeing if somehow we can raise £4000 for 2000 copies of the Penny Catechism to be distributed at the Youth 2000 week long prayer event in Walsingham.

Like I say it will not change the world, but it will set down a marker.

Deacon Augustine said...

Fr. you said: "But let us be clear: Mortal sins might well be forgiven but they still leave us wounded. Those committed with others damage them and us, I cannot understand why someone who has committed sins with others actually allow themselves to be put forward for high office, not only is originasl sin wicked but to received such offices is a damnable sacrilege!"

Doesn't this rather negate the possibility of metanoia, of sincere repentance for one's past sins and conversion to Christ?

If everyone with serious sin in their past were to be excluded from high office, then we might find there was not one soul left that was worthy to assume high office at all. Perhaps in his past, the Cardinal struggled and sometimes failed with temptations to homosexual acts. That does not mean that he didn't subsequently repent, receive absolution, turn to God again and successfully turn away from those temptations of the flesh. Certainly his public opposition to homosexual sins might imply that he rejects any such failings in his own life. The people who worry me are those who try to justify their sin and want to change the Church's teaching in order that their sins can be called "good".

And w.r.t. the "fundamental option", I'm sure that was mentioned in the course of our seminary formation as well. However, just because a seminary lecturer espouses bollocks, that does not mean we have to accept it. Maybe I am too cynical, but I go into every lecture/seminar/presentation with my heresy radar on, because I am the one who is responsible before God for the data which I allow my mind to accept as true. I will stand before Christ to give an account of my faith - not any priest, bishop, pope or theologian. However well-meaning they are, they often get things wrong, so it is important to have an inerrant rule of faith by which we can judge what they say.

Cardinal Arinze fairly demolished the "fundamental optionalists" by using very basic biblical stories and concepts to illustrate the perversity of their position. The wisdom God has revealed to fools confounds the mighty hypothesizations of the wise. The true "ressourcement" looked for by the Fathers of Vatican II could still yet save the day - the ressourcement of Faith in the Bible as the revealed Word of God.

pearl said...

Cardinal O'Brien has not committed any sexual deviant act as it is implied here in some posts. Shame on you!

Cardinal O'Brien has quite rightly been very outspoken against gay marriage and homosexuality and obviously has angered some jumped up gay hissy fit priests who have complained and called the Cardinal's outspokeness 'inappropiate behaviour!
I am sick and tired hearing of about gay priests, gay network in the Vatican, pedophile rings. They are the scourge of the earth, that about their perversions and inapproriate behaviour.
The Catholic church will never live the abuse scandal down, because we Catholics get this flung in our faces and there is no answer to it.

.

GOR said...

There is much ballyhooing going on about Cdl. O’Brien and the allegations. I don’t know if they’re true (only he and the accusers really know the truth) and the timing seems fishy - but without more information I’m not prepared to come down on one side or the other. Suffice to say that either way I am beyond being shocked – sad and disappointed yes, but not shocked any more.

But the apoplectic reactions of some – it’s a ‘crisis’, a ‘disaster’ etc. are over the top. Steady on, people! We’ve been here before and we’ll be here again - for one reason or another.

Here in Milwaukee we were shocked when the true nature of Ab. Weakland was finally and very publicly revealed. And despite his much vaunted - and made for TV - ‘repentance’ we were not mollified. Why? Because like so many in public life who are found out, one has the impression that the remorse was generated not by really feeling sorrow for what they did - but by feeling sorry that they were found out.

So, cheer up! We are a sinful people seeking redemption – and it will always be available to us, regardless of what any one else says or does.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Deacon Augustine,
Yes, metanoia is possible but that means a whole hearty renunciation of the sin, however the effects still remain. If I kill someone, I might forgiven but there is still a corpse and the likelihood of my killing again is still greatly increased, in the public mind I am still a killer albeit a repentant one.
There is always the risk of skeletons tumbling out of the closet years later, and the harm that that does.

A Country Priest said...

For the record - though this is easily found elsewhere - it was shown that then Fr Pell wasn't even in the country when he was alleged to have assaulted the boy. It's not fair to suggest Pell was cleared via character assassination. The retired judge concluded both accuser and accused testified in good faith and found both to be truthful. In the end, though, the allegations had no credibility and were rightly confined to the dustbin of history.

Amfortas said...

The Penny Catechism - or a version of it - is stiil in print.

RJ said...

In response to Deacon Augustine saying " I go into every lecture/seminar/presentation with my heresy radar on"

Precisely!

A bit worried, though, about the idea of thinking you can have a rule against which to judge what the Pope teaches, or maybe I misunderstood you. What the Pope (and bishops in communion with him) teach in their official capacity is the rule.

Deacon Augustine said...

Fr., I do agree with you that the gravity of matter of some crimes and sins should entail the exclusion from high office - or any office - despite the repentance of the offender. Obviously crimes such as homicide, rape and paedophilia should immediately lead to dismissal from or be impediments to receiving the clerical state.

Perhaps part of the current problems results from an extended period of uncertain teaching regarding what does, and what does not, constitute grave sin? To quote our bishop in one of his first addresses to his clergy: "The problem with moral theology at the moment is that its in a mess!"

JARay said...

I am indeed saddened by John Fisher's comment that he just escaped being sexually abused as a boy by running out of the room.
His final comment that the priest responsible hates the Church, may well be true. But why, John Fisher, do you hate the Church, as you say, because of the sin of someone else? Did the Church actually attempt to abuse you? I am part of the Church and I never ever attempted to abuse you. I don't know you and I have never met you so why do you hate ME?
Your hatred is so illogical!
Jesus DIED for you out of LOVE. How can you possibly hate the God of LOVE? I am so aware that God loves me that I could never, ever, say what you have just written!
I love God.
I love His Church.
Viva Christo Rey!

Independent said...

Before his conversion St Augustine was guilty of "inappropriate behaviour" , one suspects of several kinds, yet he lived to be a great teacher and a great saint. Are sinners not to be allowed to put away their sin and even denounce it publicly without on a future occasion being accused of hypocricy?

Independent said...

Before his conversion St Augustine was guilty of much more than "inappropriate behaviour" , yet he lived to be a great teacher and a great saint. Are sinners not to be allowed to put away their sin and even denounce it publicly without on a future occasion being accused of hypocrisy?

Fr Ray Blake said...

Independant,
Like Augustine, I think they have to "come clean" about their past.

Independent said...

Before his conversion St Augustine was guilty of much more than "inappropriate behaviour" , yet he lived to be a great teacher and a great saint. Are sinners not to be allowed to put away their sin and even denounce it publicly without on a future occasion being accused of hypocrisy?

Pablo the Mexican said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Fr Ray Blake said...

Pablo,
St Jerome says, "ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ", it is often a good idea not to reveal just how ignorant we are.

Damask Rose said...

Absolutely excellent thread Father.

"We have the Catechism of the Catholic Church and various learned documents, perhaps the next Pope might produce a simple syllabus for First Confession and Communion, dealing with the basics which every Catholic child or bishop or Papal-Elector ought to know."

Your above comment is 100% spot on as a tie-up to the discussion in your thread.

My son learned absolutely nothing for his First Holy Communion catechesis (great colouring-in though) and received no "examination of conscience" for his First Confession. One or two children were allowed to go forward for First Communion who had done practically nothing in their workbook (and believe me, the tasks weren't that demanding). Parents turn up to First Communion classes who oviously haven't been to Mass. Why are these children allowed to go forward to First Holy Communion? I think it's a fair question. I don't think I'm being mean to the children and their families. You know, waving around a "you can't be included" flag. It's all very deprecating towards the Blessed Sacrament. But then the "system" is deprecating towards the Blessed Sacrament. People talking before Mass (sometimes during) and after, EMHCs (sorry, but I'll never approve of them), no kneeling, Communion in the hand. How many priests bother to say at the end of their homily "please don't come up for Communion if you are in a state of mortal sin". How many priests catechise on mortal sin from the pulpit?

OK, so you have the phrase "we're all sinners", but something has changed. The sinning seems to be accepted now, it has to be accommodated. Remarried adulterers can get their priestly blessing at Communion, no one has to repent. There's always the general talk about how God will forgive you. It's terribly sad when, for instance, a teenager dies in a car crash, and the priest gives a general discussion about how God is forgiving, they're no doubt saved, but the teenager (perhaps) hasn't practiced his faith, and the worry is that, yes, he could have died in mortal sin. But no-one will say anything to the parents in case they're seen as being cruel. Priests will not pull-up parents for not bringing their children up in the faith or remind them of their duty. (Maybe because the priests know the parents will OK for their kids to contracept.) Perhaps priests think they will be booted out of the parish if they do. The other side of the coin is that parents whose children don't practice the faith, well, kind of form a club. If their children, don't practice, are divorced, live-in-sin whatever, it's "ah", arm round the shoulder time.

Deacons whose children are divorced, remarried, likewise living-in-sin, don't practice, well, some deacons will aviod preaching on any morality on this subject. Latest arrival of an "illegitimate" baby is joyfully announced after Mass. Aren't deacons supposed to witness through their Catholic family life?

It's like the three monkeys. See, hear, speak no evil/nothing about sin. It can feel very isolating if one is getting one's child to learn the catechism and bring up one's child to understand chastity.

No catechesis. It's frigthening what the priests are allowing to happen.

It's all to do with sex. People won't give up contraception, so there's no use going to Confession because they have no "firm purpose of amendment" regarding this. A lot of priests probably agree with contraception. So, no sexual catechesis. If the Church has given up on this, then anything goes.

Some lightheartedness -

Temple of Doom - geddit...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1H9eKWPGRo

...don't forget to join in the chorus!

If priests agrees with thwarting God the Father's command to procreate by being sterile through contraception, further up the sinful line, they'll be gay.

JARay said...

Dare I recommend another blog on your blog Father?
I often read the blog of Mons Charles Pope of the Archdiocese of Washington. It is http://blog.adw.org
Today's reading is entitled "No one goes away from Jesus unchanged". It is about our reception of Jesus through the Sacraments and reading it I thought of that poor man John Fisher who says that he hates the Church. I earnestly pray that he will come back to Jesus and his Church. I do hope that he will read what Mons. Pope has written. In my opinion it is very good.

Damask Rose said...

Father, I do agree with some of the points Pablo made.

Yes, I do think mothers have to be Marylike.

If a Catholic mother is contracepting then, it could be said, that lust is at the base of her marriage. I'm not sure how many contracepting mothers will produce priests. I think there is the dichotomy in the spiritual life between lust and chastity (and further for the priest - celibacy).

Some catechists for my son's First Holy Communion would wear strappy dresses (no bolero to cover shoulders), low cut tops (bending in front of a boy, reveals cleavage a la a barmaid working in an inn frequented by buccaneers and highwaymen). Dresses worn at the First Communion were more suitable for an evening do on a cruise ship, I'd never seen so much cleavage on display.

But in general, dress for women in Church seems to have gone downhill. Gosh, I'm still young, but, must sound like a frump. I don't know how some husbands can go into Mass with with their wife wearing such tight leggings, she might as well be wearing, just er, tights. I call it the contraceptive mentality.

Sexual morality has been smashed in the Church. I would say that practising homosexual clergy are mainly to blame for this as, if narcissistic, they change the liturygy to suit themselves. Also if they're sinning themselves, they won't necessarily teach sexual morality and will not have an incentive to, if, being gay, they do not have the inherent nurturing fatherly-ness as a heterosexual father will have towards striving for and teaching his child.

Damask Rose said...

Dear John Fisher

Please don't hate the Church. You've chosen to name yourself after such a great Saint.

St John Fisher and St Thomas More took so much abuse and hardly no-one from the Catholic hierarchy at the time seemed to back them.

Don't give up on the Catholic faith. The Communion of Saints - I sometimes think that the saints choose us, not we choose them to pray to. St John Fisher must be looking out for you - see how humbly, nobly and bravely he went to his execution and all because of the dreadful sexual behaviour of Henry VIII.

I'm glad you're reading Fr Ray's blog and will say a prayer to Saints John Fisher and Thomas More for you.

I'm glad you mentioned what happened to you. Let yourself heal.

God bless you.

Mark Lambert said...

Blimey. What a powerful post. Really made me stop and think and really glad that you feel this way, because you express the pain of so many who struggle with the hypocrisy in those we expect to be most wedded to the teaching of our beloved Church. I remember Ratzinger's Introduction to Christianity says something along the same lines. In it, the Pope expresses the pain he feels over those hypocrites who destroy people's faith in the Church through their sin.

Thomas JD Travers said...

Cardinal O’Brien has not been accused of any criminal conduct so far as I am aware. If it is alleged that he has committed a crime then the matter should be reported to the police for investigation and decision as to whether the evidence supports the allegations. Innocence is assumed in Britain unless proven to the contrary in a competent judicial forum applying fair process. Cardinal O'Brien has been placed in an appalling situation where people are speculating on what he is alleged to have done and some may be making their minds up while he is given no opportunity to rebut these vague but clearly scurrilous allegations due to the secretive way in which they are being handled by the Church. Thank God the Cardinal has the protection of the laws of defamation! In order to clear his good name one option he could consider is to act as Lord McAlpine recently did and issue a writ against anyone who has defamed him in a internet blog.

Gigi said...

I understand your dismay and grief Father Ray, truly. But do you not feel the very timing of these "disclosures", which actually do not disclose but nudge and hint insidiously, could be part of another agenda? Are we assuming that a man is guilty of something largely because other men say he is without revealing what the crime, and because he's left a short while before he was due to retire?
My heart sank when I heard about this new scandal, so close to the Papal Conclave; and I'm sure that many many others did too: was that the intention?
Why did these priests stay silent for so long, only to come forward at such a critical time, when the eyes of the world, of all denominations and of non-believers are focused on an historic moment?
My reaction to the saga, as much as I can know of it and including all that is left to "popular" conjecture, is one of utter sorrow and sadness.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Gigi, It is all very suspicious but I cannot imagine that the Holy See would dismiss the Cardinal and allow him to face disgrace on no grounds what so ever, that would be beyond cruelty.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Father: The Pope did not dismiss Cardinal O'Brien. The Cardinal had put in his request to resign. It was on the table and would have been dealt with in due course. In the circumstances the Pope decided to pick it up and act on it immediately.

These four accusers have made complaints to the Vatican about "inappropriate behaviour". Normally this would be done in confidence. However they have decided to make the matter public because they say they fear that the Vatican would not deal with it properly. So they are also accusing the Vatican. Having decided to go public they themselves are hiding behind the cloak of anonymity. I think that is cowardly.

Further what is meant by "inappropriate behaviour". The trouble with that is that it is just so vague that it could mean anything. It is like the word "abuse". If a priest was to become so exasperated with a woman parishioner he might call her a silly cow. That would be abuse. The problem though is that using the word "abuse" suggests anything from something trivial to rape. The same goes for "inappropriate behaviour". Is he being accused of putting his arm round someone which might be misinterpreted as a sexual advance or was it something more serious? I think these four accusers should stand up and say who they are and state what it is they are complaining about rather then hiding in anonymity and innuendo.

Mention was made of a relationship being established. It takes two to have a relationship and we are talking about adults here and are they not both then guilty although one perhaps more than the other?

And why wait thirty years? And why just now? I query what the real motives of these four accusers are. One says he left the priesthood because he did not want to serve under O'Brien as bishop. Are we really supposed to believe that when he could easily have asked for a transfer to another diocese or joined a religious order?

Cardinal O'Brien has been very outspoken on sexual matters. He has been completely undermined by these accusations. Was that the motive for these accusations?

Even if one was to believe that there was truth in these accusations could one not accept, indeed does not one have a duty to accept that he has repented and his sins were forgiven? I suspect that at the most very minor incidents are being alleged - otherwise they would have been detailed - and are we really saying there is no forgiveness and any harm done cannot be overlooked after thirty years? If not there is not much hope for the rest of us poor sinners from those who are prepared to throw stones.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Nicholas,
Actually he was due to retire after his 75th birthday according to the Law, consequently all bishops submit a letter of resignation before that date.
The Holy See's decided he should go before that date, therefore it was primarilly the Holy See's decision, possibly H.E. was in agreement considering the possibility of a leak to the press.

As for repentance, he should have admitted to skeletons in the the closet before being raised to the Episcopate, not doing so suggests moral blindness and pride rather than repentance.

Even so, it does seem a bit fishy, a put up job.

Gigi said...

Hi Father Ray. I thought the Cardinal had "chosen" to resign in order to deflect any adverse publicity away from the Conclave? I assume there must be reasonable doubt that something not in keeping with Holy Orders or the faith has happened. It's extremely depressing that many will lump whatever crumbs they've unearthed of this story together with previous child abuse and other sex scandals. These are adult men that we're talking about, although clearly they were in a junior position and requiring guidance... I'm not saying that anything that could be deemed inappropriate behaviour in such circumstances would ever be acceptable.
If the perpetrator, as a man of the cloth, had acknowledged his mistake, his sin, at the time and indeed confessed it and asked for guidance himself... could he not have been advised that repentance and restraint would ensure that he could remain in his vocation? Obviously I'm displaying my ignorance here.
I certainly understand your extreme disappointment, as a priest defending the vocation and the faith he loves. Faith is always the unspoken victim in these situations.

romishgraffiti said...

As for repentance, he should have admitted to skeletons in the the closet before being raised to the Episcopate, not doing so suggests moral blindness and pride rather than repentance.

Exactly. And while we're on it, no one is calling for him to be stoned to death, excommunicated, or declared condemned to Hell, so can we please dump this silly idea that forgiveness means everyone gets to keep high offices when they disgrace them?

Fr Ray Blake said...

Gigi,
The Lord says that if when bringing your gift to the altar and there remember your brother has something against "Go and be reconciled first then bring your gift to the altar".

Whatever happened reconcilliation had not neen made.

Reconcilliation is not here merely sacramental but then sacramental reconcilliation needs real repentance.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Father: You say "As for repentance, he should have admitted to skeletons in the the closet before being raised to the Episcopate, not doing so suggests moral blindness and pride rather than repentance."

You are assuming that he had skeletons in the cupboard which is unproven. I was putting the position IF there was any truth in the allegations.

But am I not correct in saying that before being made a Cardinal he was obliged to take an oath confirming his allegiance to Church doctrine and it specifically mentioned the teaching on homosexuality? This though suggests to me that perhaps he had expressed some dissent previously rather than that he had been engaged in any particular activity.

It is interesting that on Channel 4 news "inappropriate behaviour" had become "sexual advances" without any justification being given. This is how innuendo works.

Nicolas Bellord said...

romishgrafiti: Whatever happens to Cardinal O'Brien may be very sad but my chief concern is the damage done to the Church by all this being brought up at this particular moment. You only have to listen to the News on TV and ignorant journalists describing the Church as being in total disarray if not on its deathbed. It is this that makes me ask what the motives of the four accusers are.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Nicholas,
I repeat, "... I cannot imagine that the Holy See would dismiss the Cardinal and allow him to face disgrace on no grounds whatsover, that would be beyond cruelty."

pablothemexican said...

Charity in Rome is only for the enemies of Christ.

Faithul of Christ in Holy Mother Church are beaten as was Our Lord.

If this Cardinal was dismissed lightly, it was sith intent of not truly harming. Brother of the lodge.

.

Gigi said...

That's a fine and fair point Father Ray, eloquently made. Apparently these men felt there had not been reconciliation.
I do echo Nicholas' remarks about the definition of "inappropriate behaviour", although if someone is seriously offended then they will feel an offence has been commmited against them.
Thank you; that's actually made me reflect.
I wonder if the priests concerned had tried to speak to anyone within the church at the time. Conjecture can be so damaging in itself and any light being shone on this matter now has to cast some area of the Church in darkness. again.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Nicholas, This might be what you are referring to.

http://archive.catholicherald.co.uk/article/17th-october-2003/1/vatican-presses-cardinal-elect-to-uphold-the-faith

Nicolas Bellord said...

Thank you Father for that reference. However it does refer to previous dissent from the teachings of the Church and not that he had sinned against purity. It may suggest such but that really is pure speculation.

As to resignation one has to remember that his Holiness steps down to-day and presumably there will be no-one to deal with resignations until a new Pope is appointed. Cardinal O'Brien's 75th birthday falls on 17th March when the See of Rome will be vacant. So could it not be that the Pope was merely clearing his desk of unfinished business?