Two reactions to the Vatican’s “revision” of pedophilia policy

Paul Knitter of the Union Theological Seminary Community:

 The fact that the Pope and his fellow-clerics had no inkling of how this juxtaposing of priestly pedophilia and women’s ordination would be perceived, how it would register on the minds and especially in the feelings of people “out in the world,” both inside and outside the Catholic Church, is itself an indication of how much these old, celibate, woman-less and childless men are out of touch with the people they say they are serving.

Sporadically-relevant NY Times columnist Maureen Dowd:

If the Vatican is trying to restore the impression that its moral sense is intact, issuing a document that equates pedophilia with the ordination of women doesn’t really do that.

The Catholic Church continued to heap insult upon injury when it revealed its long-awaited new rules on clergy sex abuse, rules that the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said signaled a commitment to grasp the nettle with “rigor and transparency.”

The church still believes in its own intrinsic holiness despite all evidence to the contrary. It thinks it’s making huge concessions on the unstoppable abuse scandal when it’s taking baby steps.

The casuistic document did not issue a zero-tolerance policy to defrock priests after they are found guilty of pedophilia; it did not order bishops to report every instance of abuse to the police; it did not set up sanctions on bishops who sweep abuse under the rectory rug; it did not eliminate the statute of limitations for abused children; it did not tell bishops to stop lobbying legislatures to prevent child-abuse laws from being toughened.

There is no moral awakening here. The cruelty and indecency of child abuse once more inspires tactical contrition. All the penitence of the church is grudging and reactive. Church leaders are merely as penitent as they need to be to protect the institution.

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One Response

  1. Why should Catholics care what anti-Catholics think anymore than Gays would care what Fred Phelps thinks? No one is forced to be Catholic. For those of us that choose this, can’t just one day go by where we don’t see our faith and people we respect (like the Pope) treated with such scorn?

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