There have been many sadly quoteworthy moments from some bishops over the past five years of the Scandal. Perhaps the most emblematic, to this point, was Bishop Joseph Imesch of Joliet, who in answer to a deposition question on the penalty for clerical violation of celibacy, said: “Eternal hellfire. I—you know, what’s the penalty? Put in that I laughed.”
But now I think we’ve found a quotation from a bishop—albeit third hand—that surpasses all others in summing up the Scandal and highlighting why the Church is the way she is today.
Gerald at Closed Cafeteria prints the recollections of a couple who confronted Bishop Tod Brown of Orange, Calif., about a priest who was allegedly catting around in public with another man. When they told him that this priest was his responsibility, he replied:
“No, I am not! I am not responsible for priests after they clock out after 5pm.”
Doesn’t this say it all? A Catholic bishop who thinks of the priesthood as a job, not a vocation. He sees priests as employees, not spiritual children. He feels no responsibility for them or their deeds or the scandal they cause his people.
Now, to be fair, I will point out again that this is a third-hand report and unconfirmed. Did the bishop really say this? Based on what I’ve seen from Bishop Brown already, it wouldn’t surprise me.