“Speaking the Truth” on Catholic LGBT Inclusion

Regular readers here will know that the infamous CDF document on “homosexuals”, Homosexualitatis Problema (better known as then Cardinal Ratzinger’s Hallowe’en letter), is not my favourite Church document.  Nevertheless, it does include some important features, which many people in the Catholic Church too easily forget.

In its closing paragraphs, the document reminds us of the words of Scripture: “Speak the truth in love”, and “The truth shall set you free”. It is disgraceful that the document itself ignores its own advice here, but no matter: the advice itself is sound, and there are an increasing number of Catholics, lay and clerical, who are making up for the CDF omission, by speaking the truth in love on LGBT inclusion in church. The latest to do so is  Jody Huckaby, executive director of PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), in an address October 21 at King’s University-College, a Catholic institution based at the University of Western Ontario. In doing so, he reminded us of the other neglected portion of the CDF letter – the exhortation to treat “homosexual” persons with dignity, compassion and respect.

I regret that the only report I have been able to find of Huckaby’s address is from Lifesite News (but see the update below*), which is not usually renowned for its sympathy with progressive causes in general, or LGBT Catholics in particular. Nevertheless, they quote some sections verbatim, which are worth taking on board:

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Ireland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands, Italy, Denmark – SPAIN

What more is there to say?

First, of course, is to welcome the fact that the cases are being investigated at all, and that the numbers are low.  But here, as elsewhere, there is evidence that some clergy at least put heavy pressure on a young complainant to simply withdraw his allegations.  Given the high proportion of sexual abuse cases outside of the church that never get reported, we should recognise that the reporting rate inside the church will also be low – especially when powerful authority figures put pressure on the weak to just button their lips and go away.

 

From Times Online:

Vatican investigating 14 sex abuse cases in Spain

The Vatican is investigating 14 cases of alleged child sex abuse committed within the Spanish Catholic Church over the past nine years it emerged today.

The incidents of abuse are alleged to take have taken place between January 2001 and March 2010. Charles Scicluna, the promoter of justice in the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said today they amounted to “less than one case every year”.
Monsignor Scicluna stressed that Spain was one of the countries with the “lowest number of alleged abuse investigations” and said no convictions had been made.

The Vatican investigation in Spain widens the number of alleged abuse cases involving the Catholic Church after recent cases in Italy, Ireland and Germany.

Despite falling church attendances, the Catholic Church in Spain is said to wield much power which victims claim makes it hard for them to denounce their abusers.

Juan Pedro Oliver, a lawyer who acted for a 12-year-old boy who was sexually abused by Amador Romero, a priest in Granada in 2001, said that his client came under pressure to withdraw the allegation.

Romero was later jailed for 18 months for sexual abuse of a minor.

“The bishop, instead of helping the victim to make the allegation, did exactly the opposite,” Mr Pedro said.

“He kept the priest in the same village and made it difficult to go ahead with the case.”


Church Sexual Abuse: Train (& Tame) the Rottweiler

Now here’s a nice idea:   Benedict XVI, in his earlier incarnation as head of the CDF, was known as “God’s Rottweiler”, for his diligence in guarding the faith from all threats.  Every dog owner knows that Rottweiler’s for all their skill as watchdogs, need training, lest they themselves become a threat to those they are supposedly protecting.  Ergo – train the Rottweiler.

Rex

Benedict’s career has been woefully short on pastoral or administrative experience. He started out as a celebrated academic theologian, in which capacity he made a renowned contribution to the proceedings of Vatican II.  Later, he served briefly  as Archbishop of Munich. Now, recall that the origin of the post of Bishops” was as an “overseer” for the diocese, implying management and supervision.  We now know that in Munich, Ratzinger’s supervision skills in overseeing his priests and protecting the people were somewhat underdeveloped. EITHER he was remiss in allowing a know paedophile priest to return to active ministry against strong professional advice; OR he was remiss in leaving the required supervision to a junior underling, who has now accepted full responsibility.  However, as has been pointed out elsewhere, one can delegate tasks and decisions to subordinates: one cannot delegate the responsibility.

He was soon recalled to Rome to head the CDF (successor to the old and notorious Inquisition) , where he earned the soubriquet “God’s Rottweiler” for his enthusiasm and vigour in reigning in and silencing dissenting opinion:  opinions in dissent, that is, from the views of John Paul II and his own. Read the rest of this entry »

Abuse as the “Defining Moment” of Benedict’s Papacy

In an effective analysis at the Times, Richard Owen argues that the whole clerical abuse saga may well turn out to be Pope Benedict’s defining moment. For far too long, the church authorities appeared to totally ignore the problem and brush it under the carpet. Even as recently as the visit of the Irish bishops, the impression created was that he was totally underestimating the problem.

“Papal Whitewash” ran one headline in the Irish press after Pope Benedict’s encounter with the Irish bishops. No bishops were sacked, no abuse victims were heard, and the Pope — who is to visit Britain in September — announced no plans to visit Ireland to apologise and to mend fences.

More recently, there has been some grudging recognition that more may need to be done, but this still does not go beyond absolute basics. Instead, they have gone on the defensive, trying to argue (against all the evidence) that the Vatican response has been “decisive” and that other institutions are equally guilty.

(Continue reading this post) Read the rest of this entry »