I’m the first to defend the secular press for having done its part to expose the extent of the Scandal. But, as usual, they fall down when trying to diagnose the reasons why or the solutions to fix it, like this columnist for New York Newsday. She recounts the recent stories of Bishop O’Brien’s conviction and the coming John Jay report on the Scandal. She even identifies the major flaw in the primary players in all this: a lack of good character. But then she goes astray in trying to analyze the Church.
Only the pope can decide if a priest is to have his priestly duties restricted, and O’Brien has now resigned from active duty. But how many commandments does a priest have to break to be considered unworthy of wearing the robes?
Actually, no amount of sins disqualify a priest. If that were the case there wouldn’t be any priests, because every single one I know of is a sinner. And the rest of us are no better. And then of course, she finds that one twisted disgusting doctrine that the World can’t understand: celibacy.
Sheltered, placed on a pedestal, isolated from normal life by the requirement of celibacy, and, as we now know, shielded from accountability for crimes against their own parishioners, many priests developed an arrogance that was bred out of their insularity.
I will agree that much of the Scandal was a result of arrogance, but it wasn’t the fault of celibacy. Rather it was the fault of failure to live up to their promises of celibacy. Look at at the arrogance of the columnist’s own assertion: In order to live a normal life, one must not be celibate. That is completely false. Not everyone is called to be married or be involved in an intimitate relationship. Some people are called to live a solitary life, whether ordained or lay. There is nothing abnormal about it.
Then the columnist moves on to the typical misunderstanding of the Church’s teachings, this time that of the sanctity of the confessional.
For two years, the New York State Legislature has been bandying about a bill that would add clergy to the list of two dozen or so professionals who are required to report suspected incidents of child abuse to the authorities. Yet the bill, which seems like a no-brainer, has bogged down over minor sticking points.
They’re not exactly “minor sticking points.” Some of the proposals would require priests to violate the seal of the confessional to report child abuse. Such requirements would force priests to choose between obeying the law of man and the law of God and we know which one will lose out. It’s not going to happen. But since the columnist doesn’t understand the Catholic faith, she can’t see the problem and thus shows that she’s unqualified to comment on the situation.