Friday, March 26, 2010

Clarity on Abuse Controversy

John Allen, whose reporting we've come to respect, addresses the new controversies swirling around the church, the pope and the priesthood.

"Intense scrutiny is being devoted these days to Pope Benedict XVI's history on the sex abuse crisis. Revelations from Germany have put his five years as a diocesan bishop under a spotlight, and a piece on Thursday in The New York Times, on the case of Fr. Lawrence Murphy of Milwaukee, also called into question his Vatican years as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Despite complaints in some quarters that all this is about wounding the pope and/or the church, raising these questions is entirely legitimate. Anyone involved in church leadership at the most senior levels for as long as Benedict XVI inevitably bears some responsibility for the present mess. My newspaper, the National Catholic Reporter, today called editorially for full disclosure about the pope's record on the sexual abuse crisis, and it now seems abundantly clear that only such transparency can resolve the hard questions facing Benedict.

Yet as always, the first casualty of any crisis is perspective. There are at least three aspects of Benedict's record on the sexual abuse crisis which are being misconstrued, or at least sloppily characterized, in today's discussion. Bringing clarity to these points is not a matter of excusing the pope, but rather of trying to understand accurately how we got where we are." Read for the three aspects.


  1. as a catholic, it makes us also worried,because why a catholic media make extra a big issues about abusing priest,are they just as a good guy but bad from behind.

    Mr.John Allen you are not from silent support anti christ,right???????


  2. One might ask the National Catholic Reporter's for full disclosure on its actions over the years.

    The fact is this: on April 19th 2005 The Third Person of the Blessed Trinty through the sucessors of the Apostles the Cardinals choose of the the 5 Billion people on earth Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger the Vicar Of Christ. In these times The Holy Spirit which sees all would not have chosen this man if he wasn't meant for the job.

    The Pope goes to Confession I believe every week and sins like us all and is not perfect. But he was chosen by the Holy Spirit knowing that this abuse crisis would have to be handled in his years as Pope.

    Why Not Arzine, Schorrmberg or Maida??? The Holy Spirit knows what he is going.

    Pope Benedict has done more than anyone to condem this abuse and speak to and address it as he did when he came to the USA and spoke to its victims.

    Clawson MI

  3. John,
    While most of my time is spent defending or, at least, rendering plausible certain aspects of Catholicism, apologetics is not about making excuses for the bad behavior of priests or popes.

    If you read the Allen piece, you would notice that those who are trying to drag Pope Benedict directly into this are off-base.

    A man's election as Pope does not confer impeccability on him. Several popes in history have taken mistresses and sired children. Alexander VI is counted as having four children. We've been especially blessed in that we have had a long string of outstanding popes but we don't do ourselves any favors by implying that election to the papacy guarantees spotless behavior. If that were the case, then St. Peter would not have had to be reprimanded by St. Paul (Gal. 2:11-14).

    The National Catholic Reporter is not a paper whose editorial policy we endorse but John Allen has shown himself to be an honest, hard-working journalist and not a champion of exhausted Catholic liberalism like some of his colleagues at the Reporter.

    You may or may not think there needs to be more transparency in hierarchical matters. I do.