The bishop’s experts

The bishop’s experts

Diogenes quotes from a letter sent by one Mary Gail Frawley-O’Dea, a psychologist who was asked to address the US bishops at their 2002 Dallas meeting on the topic of the Scandal. Her letter was sent to Archbishop Sean O’Malley, and copied to every pastor in the archdiocese, and in it she blasted him with both barrels for, well, being a bishop and doing his job. I have obtained a complete copy.

And what motivated this screed now, after the archbishop has been in office for so long? I bet you’re not surprised to hear that it is the resignation of one Father Walter Cuenin. What interesting friends Cuenin has. What interesting takes on Catholicism they have. And what interesting “experts” the US bishops decide to consult. Anyone wonder at the value of her advice to the bishops?

Dear Pastors of Boston,

Please read this letter to Bishop O’Malley. I hope you will reflect on it and decide to support Walter Cuenin and others like him. Look at how many of you there are. If you stood together for one another, no bishop could abrogate power the way O’Malley is doing in Boston.

Blessings on you,
Mary Gail Frawley-O’Dea, Ph.D.

Clinical Psychologist & Psychoanalyst
Speaker, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Dallas 2002
Speaker, Annual Assembly, Conference of Major Superiors of Men, 2002
2617 Cadagon Court
Charlotte, NC 28270
(704) 814-6612
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

October 1, 2005

Dear Archbishop O’Malley:   

It is the eve of Walter Cuenin’s reception and the march that will take place on his behalf.

I met you at the Annual Assembly of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men in Philadelphia in August 2002 where I spoke about the long-term consequences for victims of sexual abuse by priests. Interestingly that day, despite your acclaimed affinity for Franciscan garb, you were sporting clericals, complete with pectoral cross. Travel clothing perhaps.

In the three years since my speech to the bishops in Dallas and to the provincials in Philly, I have immersed myself in research and discourse about the multiple underpinnings of the Church’s sexual abuse scandal. My conclusions will be available in my forthcoming book, “Perversion of Power and Sexual Scandal in the Catholic Church.”

As the book title suggests, sir,—and as many others have opined – it has become clear that the responsibility for the sexual abuse of tens of thousands of minors, as well as the succeeding scandal, rests squarely with those least willing to shoulder it. To wit, the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, from the Seat of Peter to chanceries throughout the world, have labored long and hard to structure a Church dedicated too much – much too much – to the preservation of their own power. It is the power born of homosocial monarchy and it is frightening. As your recent actions make clear yet again, great woe befalls sexual abuse victims/survivors, laypersons, and especially priests who, in order to follow Gospel teachings, poke at the hierarchy’s assumed power and authority.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
  • My fav line “Is there such a log in your eye that you truly do not apprehend the meaning of your rejection of the contemporary true and courageous >
    2005-10-14 20:17:55
    2005-10-15 00:17:55
    I met you at the Annual Assembly of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men in Philadelphia in August 2002 where I spoke about the long-term consequences for victims of sexual abuse by priests.

    And who says these guys don’t know how to get good speakers??? wink

  • You guys are too harsh.  I like the lady (or man).  She (or he) seems very balanced, displays a deep love for the Church and a can-do attitude toward christology. 

    It’s not hard to see why the bishops would rummage for her business card when in need of an expert consultant.

    If you’ll excuse me, this Facade of the Christ Follower (sic) must go now and bless some test tube babies and, if I’m able to wade through the sea of abuse victims, embrace an alienated child of Eve, Sophia and the Magdalene—the dignity of whom can never be stolen by latter day episcopal Smeagols.

    Just like The Galilean would do if he (or she) had me to remind him (or her).

  • One could easily criticize her gratuitous comment about clerical garb, but I prefer to note that a person with a Ph.D. should not assume that Judaism permits tattoos without spending the five seconds it takes to find out that it does not:

    OK, I cheated. A student at Brown did an undergraduate honors thesis that dealt with this topic a few years ago, so I already knew the answer.

  • She’s been reading the Gnostic Gospels and the writings of the people who follow them, and she obviously bought the heresy.  I hope her letter lands in the round file where it belongs.  Or perhaps Archbishop O’Malley could frame it as a reminder why defending doctrine and accepting resignations when necessary is so vital to the faith, in spite of the venom those who don’t like it spit out.

    I sure hope he doesn’t lose any sleep over it!

    On a slightly different aspect of this whole topic…does anyone know what Fr. Cuenin plans to do to earn a living?  Has he joined up with one of those Unity churches that “Fr. Greenhouse” from Akron connected with?


    In the Spirit Daily site, I came upon the above speech done by one Michael O’Brien at St. Patrick’s basilica in Ottawa on 9-20-05.  About 20 paragraphs down – where it starts “In 1948, Etienne Gilson, one of the great Thomistic philosophers …” – he mentions the modern threat of making ourselves into God. 

    There seems to be a progressive separation of the term Christ from the person of Jesus today – where even a Eucharistic minister I know professes a belief that there have been many Christs throughout history.  Growing up in parochial schools, I remember being taught that we’re all called to live a life that’s Christ-like – but not to strive to be ‘Christs’ (the distinction is colossal to my way of thinking).  Is not Jesus the sole Christ, the sole Redeemer, the sole Truth, Light & Way?  Am I missing something new-and-improved here? 

  • Sorry – above, I should’ve said “where even a guy I know, who is a Eucharistic minister at his Church, professes a belief that …”

  • Tom2 is right – this deranged woman is not a priest so she is never ever “another Christ”. A priest making a fraternal correction to a fellow priest may be Christ-like – but he is not another Christ. When we gather in His name Christ is among us spiritually – but we are not all Christ. Honestly – what was the sin of Satan? – spiritual pride to the monstrous extent that he thought he was another God.

  • Tom2, you have hit the nail squarely on the head.  The separation of Christ from Jesus is a concept out of Anthroposophy that has caught on in New Age circles, though it has a much older history.  According to them “Christ” is something that you can put on and take off, kind of like a new sweater.  They believe Jesus put on a Christ nature.

    Christ is, indeed, the only source of salvation.  There is only one of Him and His Christ nature is not separate from His human nature. 

    We will never be “Christed” as the Gnostics would like us to believe we will. 

    And as Michael says, this is the error Eve bought in Paradise.  Remembering the consequences of her decision, and then taking note of how many people today are making the same decision, makes me apprehensive about the future of mankind.

  • I guess it is not ok to judge people unless, of course, they are bishops.  You can’t judge a liberal priest, but you certainly can judge a conservative priest.  Apperently, this woman is a complete moron.  What the hell were the Conference of Major Superiors of Men thinking when they allowed her to speak.

    Is she trying to tell Archbishop O’Malley that he needs to get his tongue pierced, get tattoos, and wear jeans and a leather jacket?

    I’m just asking.

  • You know what really gets my goad about folks who talk about “Well if Jesus were here he’d eat with the sinners (tatoo artists, gays, children born in test-tubes yadda-yadda-yadda)” is that they COMPLETELY leave out that Jesus ALWAYS calls them to leave their sin behind.

    In Matt 9, he does not just heal the paralytic he says “Your sins are forgiven” and continuing on he goes to Matthew a tax collector and says “Follow me”. 

    “While he was at table in his house (assuming Matt’s home), manytax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples. ” Pharisees saw and didn’t like it to which Jesus responds “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do”.
    Uh, HELLO. He was calling the tax collectors and sinners SICK and in need of HEALING from a PHYSICIAN.

    He did NOT tell them “hey I love you, continue on in your sin.  It doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things”.

    I’m ashamed of some in my gender claiming to be Catholic.  As a “daughter of Sofia,” et al (gag) let me say that I know my daughterhood rests in Jesus Christ (the one and only) and am saved through His Bride the Church and His work through the Church. Take that, fellow woman.

  • There is a proper sense in which we can speak of each of the faithful as ‘another Christ’.

    The Divine Liturgy tells us this at Easter in the words of St. Paul: ‘you who have been baptized in Christ are clothed in Christ’ (Gal 3:27).

    This is not the sort of ‘many Christs’ that syncretists invoke. They think of multiple historic figures who would deserve the title “Christ” equally and independently of Jesus.  Rather, we are made sons of God only because of what Jesus Christ has given us in our baptism: He has made us in some sense ‘partakers of the divine nature’ (2 Pt 1:4).

    This is based in the gifts of baptism, and thus common to all the faithful; it is not the same spiritual characteristic as that conferred in the ministerial priesthood, which makes priests able to act ‘in persona Christi’ in consecrating the Eucharist. 

  • By the way, Dom, what does Elizabeth Johnson have to do with this?  Did Abp. Sean block some attempt to have her speak at a Catholic event here?

  • Sorry to post three in a row, but Mary Gail Frawley-O’Dea (sing that name!), despite having a Ph.D., doesn’t know the difference between ‘abrogate’ and ‘arrogate’. 

    Anybody who would address an archbishop as ‘sir’ has no place lecturing him about arrogance.

  • Try this search at Google:

    “Mary Gail Frawley-Obr />
      Changes are certainly coming, as we await the Synod’s outcome for one.  Ultimately, perhaps the Pope is right – that we will likely need to become a smaller Church. 

  • I was laughing at this ridiculous loony until she implicitly equated the Five Holy Wounds with the self-mutilating jewelry fashions of today’s wayward punk youth.  Jesus was “multiply pierced”, and not because it looked cool!

  • “As a c.

    and crazy lady, you bet the untattoed Jesus would dine with gays and lesbians, and he would say “Go and sin no more”.

  • I doubt Jesus would come back tattooed and pierced.

    It is quite obvious when He returns that he will have a Ph.D.