Last Friday’s Wall Street Journal included an article on the need for better financial oversight in the Catholic Church in the US by David Gibson. While there is no doubt that the news has been full of stories of financial misconduct in the Church (not a new development in itself), I was a little leery of the article from the beginning because of its author, David Gibson.
Gibson is the author of “The Rule of Benedict: Pope Benedict XVI and His Battle with the Modern World”. From the title you can guess there might be an anti-Pope Benedict slant, and you would be right. Here’s part of the blurb on Amazon: “No fan of the current pontiff, journalist and religion writer Gibson provides a scathing profile of Pope Benedict XVI and issues a dire warning about the future of Catholicism. Asserting that Benedict is a regressive theologian, he cautions that the church is headed in a very conservative direction, in direct opposition to the silent majority of American Catholics, who favor a more liberal spiritual and social agenda.” Say no more. I know exactly where Gibson is coming from and going.
In addition I’m left a little wary finding the kind of mistakes in the story that a so-called expert on the Church shouldn’t make:
The dangers in such a drumbeat of stories are similar to those that attended the sexual-abuse scandal: the impression that all priests are prone to theft (celibacy was blamed for the abuse of children—will the vow of poverty be attached to embezzlement?); the claim that the Catholic Church is uniquely prone to such crimes and the sense that it is not doing enough to address them.
Someone should tell Gibson that secular priests do not take a vow of poverty; only members of religious orders who adhere to the evangelical counsels do.
Stealing and sexual sin are intertwined