Thursday, June 20, 2002

A very good column by Bishop Doran (written before the Dallas conference) that deals with a number of issues quite intelligently, from The Observer

Why he would be against laicizing guilty priests (doesn't want to sully the name of the "good" ones that leave:

In many cases, those who have been laicized are honorable people and I would not want to lump them together with priests who have abused children and who are, therefore, criminals in Canon Law and in civil law. That is something that we bishops will have to address.

What about all the other priest's crimes against the faith:

Some ask why we propose to punish sexual offenders when we don’t punish others who flout the demands of our faith. There are priests still active who deny the divinity of Christ, who ridicule people’s devotions, who maim the liturgy prescribed by the Church, who deny the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, who scoff at the teachings of the Holy Father and the Magisterium. People ask me why they are left alone by our hierarchy. We used to be told by the sisters in school that a mortal sin is a mortal sin, and all those things — together, certainly, with child abuse — are mortal sins. How can we leave some in office and dismiss others?

These are questions with which we bishops must wrestle. St. John Chrysostom once said that the major burden of the bishop in Jesus’ Church is the discipline of the clergy, and he didn’t mean spanking them when they are wrong. He meant helping them to stay on the right path. It is difficult for the bishops in Dallas because for years we have winked at all sorts of doctrinal and liturgical and moral nonsense going on in the Church. Now we are faced with a great crisis where those doctrines all of a sudden mean a great deal. Unused as we are to enforcing them for the last 35 years, we are now faced with the prospect of having to acknowledge our laxity in the past and of steeling ourselves to resolution in the future. That requires large doses of penance and humility, with which bishops and indeed many Catholics these days are not conspicuously endowed. That’s why I ask that you pray for us all..