Chaput v National Review Board

Chaput v National Review Board

Archbishop Charles Chaput has rebuked the National Review Board for overstepping its bounds. A number of very good bishops have legitimate concerns about the NRB, specifically its mandate and where it’s authority is derived from.

It’s not unlike the situation of the independent special prosecutor during the 1980s and 1990s. Republicans didn’t like the law when it was passed and didn’t want to renew it when it came up for renewal, because they believed it created a situation where power could be abused for partisan purposes and because it unconstitutionally usurped executive and legislative powers. Still, there weren’t a lot of complaints when Ken Starr was investigating and impeaching President Clinton. It was a bad tool for a good job.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
14 comments
  • Dom, I think Burke withdrew her resignation.

    I think Caput’s letter was overheated – there were no threats.  The letter is full of petty quibbles like the difference between an “audit” and a “report”

    The bishops got into this mess because they screwed up.  Dumping the NRB isn’t the solution.  Let a decade or two go by with zero cases where a priest-abuser was not withdrawn from ministry and then we’ll talk about whether there is a need for an NRB.

  • I’m in total accord with Patrick Sweeney.  Is there any reason at all to trust, as a whole, the bishops?  This is a group of people who 1) can’t even allow a discussion of the true nature of the scandal (homosexualization of the priesthood); 2) who collectively and overwhelmingly exacerbated it (but from whose ranks no one resigned [except those caught as pederasts themselves]); 3) and who have shown themselves to place politics, reputation, money and everything else above the welfare of children.  Yeah – let a generation of so go by and earn our trust with full oversight.  There is NO ONE around where I live who trust them one bit.

  • Please note my email to Dr. Kathleen McChesney. 
    Dear Doctor.  Please come clean what is going on,

    Kathleen McChesney, executive director of the church’s National Office of Child and Youth Protection, said her office needs a mechanism to measure dioceses. She said it might be possible to audit on a rotating basis, where not all dioceses are evaluated every year.

    If you don’t have an enforcer, it might be best to shut the whole damn thing down.  I trust Bishops Chaput and Sheridan.  You might ask Bill Burleigh to deal with the SNAKE Mahony before he hangs it up.

  • The question is whether priests, deacons, and EEM’s read this as in instruction that obligates them to enforce Can 915.  “You may not park at a fire hydrant” for example is the language which empowers a police officer to ticket your car.

  • There are legitimate reasons for oversight. I’m not disputing that. The question is whether the NRB is the right kind of oversight. In Soviet Russia, there was very little street crime, but I don’t think I’d advocate their enforcement mechanisms for the US.

    What Bruskewitz and Chaput and others are saying is that, yes, there needs to be some kind of oversight, but the NRB creates more problems while trying to solve another one. Why not try a solution that takes care of both problems? That’s because the solution is one that the Bernadinites would prefer not to face.

    To put it another way, the NRB gives some bishops cover to say that things are different when they’re really not.

    And after all, do you trust a board comprised of Clintonites and people who are very cozy with Call to Action and VOTF? I know I don’t.

    John: McChesney’s no solution either. She’s become much too cozy with VOTF as well.

  • Patrick has a good point.  In purely legal terms, “may not” is never the equivalent of “shall not.” I don’t know how that will come across from a purely ecclesial point of view, but there you have it.

    I don’t say this as a point of pride, but just as an observation of what good priests can do for a parish.  At St. John Westminster, you won’t find “Pro-Child – Pro-Family – Pro-Choice!” bumper stickers on any car on any given Sunday.  I don’t suspect our priests will be put in the position of having to deny receipt of Communion to any regular parishioner.

  • The NRB is no great thing, as you rightly indicate, Mr. Bettinelli.  However, and sadly, it’s most likely the best we’ll ever get.  If there were a way to replace it with something better, I’d be all for it.  However, bishops without oversight with regard to sexual abuse, is, as we’ve all come to see, a horrific idea.  There is absolutely no reason to trust our bishops on this, and several thousand wounded soul reasons to not trust.

  • You know it’s interesting, Christine K.  Among our 12 Confirmation class students, we have several who are trying to get their PARENTS to go to Mass and to Confession.  Wow!  More people are going to Confession recently in our parish; it is wonderful to see.  (It has a lot to do with a wonderful and holy priest who has come to us…)

  • I don’t find Archbishop Chaput’s letter overheated at all.  But I’m fairly certain that that’s because I basically trust him, having met him twenty years ago and had an opportunity to pay attention to things that he does.  Far too often bad solutions are eventually twisted to be used against good people.  As in, the NRB gave Los Angeles more of a pass than I think it deserved.  Small dioceses will bear a crushing burden, etc.  And a review board composed of people with an agenda is really scary to me.  Chaput has proposed the correct solution and I think he should be commended for insisting that perhaps what the bishops need to be doing now is praying with each other.  We’re seeing several bishops get a spine.  Let them pray with each other this June and see if it helps.  I really can’t see that waiting until November for decisions about audits is going to change anything.  And since what some bishops are doing is trying to ram programs down people’s throats in order to pass the audits I’m all for trying a different tack for a few months.

  • Chaput is one of the good guys.  But to trust the bishops as a whole?  No way.  Here’s a little trust test: You’re at a conference with your teenage son and you meet a local bishop.  He notes your son’s interest in Catholicism, and suggests that your son spend the weekend at his beach house with some other priests.  You know trust has been restored when you feel good and elated at sending your son – and you don’t get a sickening pit in your stomach.

  • DOM:

    Please note that I challenged McChesney when she apperared at a University of Dayton presentation.  She swallowed her tongue when I asked her who she was going to supply as the enforcer.  They are a rubber stamp for Gregory.

    Let’s pray that Bishop Chaput as host and Bishop Sheridan as co host run Mahony up the flag pole and blow him apart at the June Bishops meeting.

  • Why a beach house?  Trust will be restored a lot more quickly when bishops don’t have beach houses.

  • “Why a beach house?  Trust will be restored a lot more quickly when bishops donadded]

    Notice he did not say “should not” like most other bishops. He is giving a command. They may not receive, thus his priests have a duty to ensure that. Of course, it’s very significant that he’s extended the order to those who would even vote for “culture of death” politicians. Since voting records are not public, I guess it devolves to individual consciences (yeah, right) or those who express public support and/or work for such candidates.

    I think the whole thing is a rather nice exposition of the Catholic position as it applies to our current circumstances, and I also think the bishop did a good job answering reporters who tried to trip him in up in interviews on the subject. What’s in the water in Colorado because their bishops seem to have it going right?

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    2004-05-18 06:51:03
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    For the first time in a long time, a bishop will not be complacent about those parishioners who advocate and promote evil.

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