The Boston Globe joins the chorus of those who want the US bishops to come up with a policy that will also punish bishops guilty of covering up abuse. The newspaper also criticizes Bishop Gregory for calling heterodox dissenters “false prophets.”
- The bishops’ standard rejoinder is that within the church, individual bishops are ultimately answerable only to Pope John Paul II. This is true, but talk of ‘‘false prophets’’ makes it harder for the Vatican to grasp that the real damage to the church was done not by the critics but by sexual abusers in the priesthood and their enablers in the hierarchy.
Ah, but real damage is done to the Church by the heterodox. It is those who seek an answer to the Scandal in throwing out immutable Church teaching and calling for changes that have no bearing on it that damage their own cases. If Gregory was truly speaking of groups like Call to Action and “Catholics” for a Free Choice, then he’s right. These “false prophets” do distract the Vatican and the bishops from dealing with the root causes of the Scandal by making it seem that much of the call for change is based on an old agenda. And they make it worse when they deny those things that may truly be root causes, such as homosexuals in the priesthood.
Yes, the primary damage done by the Scandal was caused by the perverts and the bishops who covered up for them, but the so-called “reformers” are hindering the process of recovery by injecting all kinds of other issues into the effort to real reform.