When they punch out, they’re not my problem

When they punch out, they’re not my problem

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.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
3 comments
  • If you mean you don’t understand my point, then you’re not paying attention.

    I you’re saying you don’t know why I posted it then you should know that this blog isn’t for anybody else’s benefit. I post what I’m thinking about.

  • I read the post yesterday, and it appears (to me at least) to be second hand; in other words, Gerald is getting it from someone who was there. I don’t know if that helps. But it is certainly in great detail, and the narrators name names, including their own.

    But most important is the reminder of a saying from a devout Catholic, the late Admiral Hyman Rickover; that when you can’t find someone responsible when something goes wrong, then you never really had anyone responsible.

    (Karen: If you are a practicing Catholic, and you don’t see the point, then I for one couldn’t begin to explain it to you.)

  • Karen,

    Thank you, but in two comments you’ve made vague allusions, but have made no concrete statement.

    This post is no different than dozens of similar posts highlighting outrageous statements by bishops. Unless you have something specific to say, I’m left in the dark with your criticism.

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