Lux Occulta carries a report in Catholic Voice about Maynooth, the Irish seminary, it is not by Archbishop Dolan but by a or a group of seminarians. It is damning. Fr Z has an easier to read version.
There were suggestions in the Irish press that Maynooth would be closed following the Apostolic Visitation, Archbishop Dolan said the suggestion was without foundation, presumably because he will collect facts and make a private report to the Holy See. However the President seemed to imply everything was fine that the Visit team had a great time and was pleased with everything they saw and heard.
This is cannot be so if only a tiny percentage of the Catholic Voice accusations are true.
It is not the details that concern me so much as the culture that makes the President say everything is fine whilst an anonymous seminarian or seminarians say there are very serious problems. It suggests a culture of fear and secrecy. It is same culture which made Irish bishops claim everything is fine and dandy, whilst having filing cabinets stuffed full of child abuse allegations.
This isn't just an Irish problem; it is problem that lies at the very heart of the Church.
I called for a Court of Israel, a place, a mechanism where Catholics could speak and ask questions honestly.
Our structures are feudal, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. A feudal society in which there is a covenant between the leaders and the led can often be more open than a modern elective democracy but feudalism depends on dialogue and scrutiny. A family is feudal, at its worst it is repressive, at its best its head listens to all kinds of concerns and is questioned and scrutinised by its members.
The model presented by Vatican II is a Church of Colleges, the Pope with the bishops, a bishop with his priests and priest with his people. The problem is of course is that it doesn't work, we have seen in the worst situations in Australia and the US of parishes that have actually left the Church, where wacky priests have surrounded themselves by equally wacky lay people, formed in their own image and likeness. Even in the more ordinary dioceses and parishes, as in a family, show it is often the most manipulative, and therefore frequently the most dysfunctional, who are heard and have the most influence.
One of the glories of the Latin Church, which I am sure has been part of its success as missionary Church is the monarchical Petrine form of government, as opposed to the Synodal or oligarchic governance of the Eastern Christianity. The Petrine form means decisions and change can be made quickly, the Synodal form means that most decisions tend to get bogged down in “Byzantine” discussion.
The weakness of the Petrine model, which has increased the power of Pope, Bishop and Priest since the Vatican Council is that everything is subject, often, to the whim of the individual. The strength of the Synodal model is that it depends on consensus and therefore tends to stability. It is stability that seems to be lacking in the Western Church.
My idea of a Court of Israel is ultimately about scrutiny and debate. The next question is who should scrutinise and who should raise matters for debate and where should this take place.
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