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
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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.