“Trust and confidence in the church has been broken at a fundamental level”

In light of recent revelations as to the extent of his archdiocese’s involvement in covering up child abuse including beatings and rape, priest and diocesan spokesman Michael Canny has made the following statement:

“There is no good in saying other than the truth. The church at this state has no credibility, no standing and no moral authority. The issue is now one of trust, and that is why it will take the rest of my lifetime as a priest to build up that trust again, because the trust and confidence in the church has been broken on a fundamental level.

One of the reasons why I pass along reporting on the international Catholic cleric rape-coverup is because I recognize it is very possible wrapped up in this wicked conspiricy are my own private failings. I can’t help but think of myself and many persons close to me as somehow complicit. My parents attend mass every week; have been doing so for near thirty years. And they always give dollars or cents to the collection plate. Has any of their money ever gone to defense funds for abusers, or out-of-court settlements to abuse victims?

I’m at a Catholic university situated in the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Milwaukee; they’ve got a cathedral on campus.

Last week it came out an archbishop who retired just eight years ago shredded weekly reports on rapes committed against minors by his own underlings. Is there anyone left in the infrastructure of the diocese that knew about this? Does Marquette give any money to the diocese? Does it receive any from them?

I’m not sure how much privilege of insight I can claim into my own deliberations; but I believe my questions are compartmentalized from my irreligiosity. If the Diocese of Milwaukee were a secular institution, I wouldn’t be the only one asking about tainted money. Even as I type this, there are students petitioning the University to review its investments to determine whether or not we give money to the Sudanese regime. Pro-healthcare subsidization students protested the invitation of a health insurance broker to campus. When MU students think their money might be funding something deplorable, they ask questions. If their fears are confirmed, they demand it be stopped–except in regard to this church.

I of course accept full responsibility for my choices; but I’d like to think if I had really understood the scope of the coverup, I wouldn’t have gone to a Catholic school. I like to think if Weakland’s testimony had been released six years earlier, I wouldn’t be at Marquette. I’d thought about transferring for a long time–for purely pragmatic, selfish reasons. But I decided to stay for purely selfish, pragmatic reasons. This really was the best school I got into (though I probably could have applied to an equally prestigious one), and I was afraid I wouldn’t walk away with the most impressive degree possible. And it’s such a bother transferring. That I might be in the smallest possible way complicit in some conspiracy against justice never occurred to me. Not until the Weakland revelation.

But now I know I should have. It’s quite possible I’m responsible for funneling my parents’ money and my own–if only a few dollars’ worth–to something revolting and evil.

Meanwhile, the Vatican Banks is being investigated by the Italian government for suspected laundering of $300 million. It remains to see if Cally’s church will do him any favors in the rebuilding.

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3 Responses

  1. Just so you know, that is not at all a cathedral on campus.

    Also, if you are really feeling guilty, you should re-examine if that is at all reasonable. I do not know the extent of Marquette’s financial ties to the diocese. I suspect they are minimal, if any. Regardless, you have no fault for giving money if you did not know that it would be used in that way.

  2. Katie: I’m not sure what technically qualifies as a “cathedras,” but when I said “They has a cathedral on campus,” I meant Gesu is geographically on Marquette’s campus (wedged between three classroom buildings, one of which has an above-ground connecting bridge into the building, though it’s boarded up now) but under the jurisdiction of the diocese.

  3. Gotcha, and it is–just wanted to clarify that it’s not actually a cathedral, but simply a regular old, unusually cool looking, parish church.

    The only cathedral in Milwaukee is St. John’s (on Cathedral Square downtown). We also have a basilica on the south side that is very impressive.

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