This is news?

This is news?

“Some in US question Vatican’s strong hand” is the headline of the Boston Globe article. Here’s the meat of itL:

    Lay Catholics and some clerics in the United States are increasingly challenging highly doctrinaire Vatican institutions like the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith as archaic, out of touch, tinged with anti-Americanism, and too bureaucratic to respond to the priest sexual abuse crisis that is plaguing the Catholic Church in the United States.

This isn’t news. Heterodox American Catholics have been complaining about the Congregation for decades. Of course, there are also plenty of orthodox Catholics who think the CDF hasn’t been doing enough. That’s the nature of the game.

I love the subtle digs in the reporter’s article: “Despite the power of this and the other Vatican congregations, which help the pope govern what the Vatican calls ‘the universal church…’” It’s not what the Vatican call it, it is what the Church calls herself. The underlying tone is that the Church is separate and distinct—i.e. the free-wheeling, heterodox Americans,—from the Vatican, i.e. the “oppressive monarchy of old men.”

The article also shows why, despite the good he did by exposing the problem of the Scandal in the first place, I think Fr. Thomas Doyle is now doing more harm than good to the Church.

    He says church officials’ intransigence grows out of a culture in Rome that has sought to minimize the scandal, protect its own priestly power, and isolate clerical sexual abuse as an American problem. … ‘‘It feels like the last item on the agenda is the protection of children and the top of the agenda is power, power, and power.”

He complains that the Vatican “watered down” the role of lay review boards, when all it did was acknowledge that bishops are sovereign in their own dioceses. Changing that is non-trivial and fraught with far more dangers than keeping that principle is. And what exactly is wrong with giving accused priests the right of due process? The problems with the Dallas policy were not the Vatican’s but the US bishops’. It is the bishops’ conference which Doyle should be pointing at since their original charter was filled with problems and never addressed the central question which is their own role in the Scandal.

This whole article smells. It smells like someone who has an agenda to undermine the Church, and especially her teachings on moral issues, by creating and encouraging the perception that the Vatican and non-US bishops are somehow out of touch with US Catholics. Is it the first step to a call for a separate American church. It’s unthinkable and ridiculous, but I predict we’ll be seeing something like it on an editorial page in the not too distant future.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli

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