Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Please Read Bishop Morlino's Letter

Bishop Morlino's letter on the abuse scandal is very good. (H/T RedState) Here are several highlights:

If you’ll permit me, what the Church needs now is more hatred! As I have said previously, St. Thomas Aquinas said that hatred of wickedness actually belongs to the virtue of charity. As the Book of Proverbs says “My mouth shall meditate truth, and my lips shall hate wickedness (Prov. 8:7).” It is an act of love to hate sin and to call others to turn away from sin.

The summary is the aphorism "Hate the sin; love the sinner," but the people advocating the second often do it at the expense of the first. It is very difficult to say "It's ok to be gay," and condemn the gay lifestyle as gravely sinful and destructive. But it is, and it needs to be done more especially by those who are called as teachers in the Catholic Church.

There has been a great deal of effort to keep separate acts which fall under the category of now-culturally-acceptable acts of homosexuality from the publically-deplorable acts of pedophilia. That is to say, until recently the problems of the Church have been painted purely as problems of pedophilia — this despite clear evidence to the contrary. It is time to be honest that the problems are both and they are more. To fall into the trap of parsing problems according to what society might find acceptable or unacceptable is ignoring the fact that the Church has never held ANY of it to be acceptable — neither the abuse of children, nor any use of one’s sexuality outside of the marital relationship, nor the sin of sodomy, nor the entering of clerics into intimate sexual relationships at all, nor the abuse and coercion by those with authority.

We've known this, and we have constantly received reflexive disdain for pointing it out. From the Catholic League, 2010: "The conventional wisdom maintains there is a pedophilia crisis in the Catholic Church. Popular as this position is, it is empirically wrong: the data show it has been a homosexual crisis all along. The evidence is not ambiguous, though there is a reluctance to let the data drive the conclusion. But that is a function of politics, not scholarship." But so many others have pointed it out. We're called bigots; we've become used to it. We're realists.

It is time to admit that there is a homosexual subculture within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church that is wreaking great devastation in the vineyard of the Lord. The Church’s teaching is clear that the homosexual inclination is not in itself sinful, but it is intrinsically disordered in a way that renders any man stably afflicted by it unfit to be a priest. And the decision to act upon this disordered inclination is a sin so grave that it cries out to heaven for vengeance, especially when it involves preying upon the young or the vulnerable. Such wickedness should be hated with a perfect hatred. Christian charity itself demands that we should hate wickedness just as we love goodness. But while hating the sin, we must never hate the sinner, who is called to conversion, penance, and renewed communion with Christ and His Church, through His inexhaustible mercy. 

At the same time, however, the love and mercy which we are called to have even for the worst of sinners does not exclude holding them accountable for their actions through a punishment proportionate to the gravity of their offense. In fact, a just punishment is an important work of love and mercy, because, while it serves primarily as retribution for the offense committed, it also offers the guilty party an opportunity to make expiation for his sin in this life (if he willingly accepts his punishment), thus sparing him worse punishment in the life to come. Motivated, therefore, by love and concern for souls, I stand with those calling for justice to be done upon the guilty.

If you get away with sin in this world, there is more likelihood that you end up in Hell. That is common sense applied to spiritual reality.

Obviously I advise everyone to read the entire thing. And when I say everyone I am including myself; I haven't finished it yet.  I need to get back to work now.

Thank you, Bishop Morlino.


  1. There were clearly grave lapses in clerical discipline, especially in the past, but I have to admit that I find the current "crisis" to be largely drummed up. The cases of alleged abuse found in the Pennsylvania grand jury report are decades old and in many cases the accused priests are dead and cannot even defend themselves.

    This is really a case of persecution by unscrupulous media and politicians looking to make a name for themselves. Why is it always the Catholic Church that must be investigated and not other religious organizations or the public schools or the Boy Scouts? Sadly there is a pile on even in the religious media with everyone from Mark Shea to Rod Dreher joining in the dogpile.

    I expect Dreher to do it since he has been a rabid anti-Catholic for years but Shea is now calling for similar investigations of decades old allegations in other states. What is the point? There will be no prosecutions as the cases are too old and all it will do is further damage the Church without doing anything to help victims in the future.

    1. I largely agree with that. Someone on Facebook pointed out that because these are all old cases one take-away should be that the new safeguards seem to be working.

      It does seem like this time around there is a social media structure which was non-existent in the early 2000's. How convenient for Dreher's extended midlife crisis and Shea's rage against the dying of the light.

      I honestly was about to go on a rant myself about this two weeks ago, but then I took a step back. Certainly there is corruption in the church, but is ranting on FB going to "accomplish the righteousness of God." (James 1:20)

  2. Don't get me started with Dreher, whose own communion is horribly corrupt, rife with abuse, riddled with lavender clergy, and as transparent as mud. His selective indignation -- and his blatant exploitation of this crisis -- make my blood boil.

    But now that the Vigano letter has come out, I don't think we can simply resort to "it's better now than it was in the '80s." Yes, that's all true...but now it's the **bishops** who are under the spotlight. The rot goes deeper (and higher) than we imagined. It's time to *truly* drain the swamp!

    Precisely because the Catholic Church *is* the True Church founded by Jesus, we are held to a higher standard. May Our Lord cleanse and purify His Church!!!

    Once we *are* purified, what will Dreher have left to write about? Will he then turn his attention to the rampant abuse and corruption in his own communion?

    Hah, right. Dream on, Diane.

    1. "Don't get me started with Dreher"

      You mean don't point out that he is once again the go to guy on the Catholic abuse scandal? Diane, I suppose I shouldn't point out that Dreher was interviewed by Hugh Hewitt about a week ago on the whole thing, right? Or that an FB somewhat-famous Catholic friend of mine linked to his latest post about gay priests caught in Miami having oral sex? Or that he wrote an opinion piece about how to salvage something of value -- namely, the BENEDICT OPTION -- from a "corrupt Catholic Church" in the NY Times? Is that the stuff I shouldn't mention??

    2. Whoo boy. Check out the latest posting on Dreher's blog.

  3. I think there are at least four real issues that have come up this summer and ought to be forthrightly addressed:

    1. How McCarrick got away with everything, and what (if anything) should be done to remove whatever corruption remains associated with him specifically. (Put “What did the Pope know and when did he know it?” here if you like, but remember to ask it of all three popes involved.)

    2. How to deal with morally corrupt bishops — perhaps starting by adding them to something like the Dallas charter.

    3. What to do about still-active bishops and other officials (including religious orders) who have covered up child abuse, either when/where that was standard operating procedure or since 2002.

    4. Pulling the rest of the Church into the light shining on Pennsylvania. It’s going to happen whether we want it or not. Better for the Church, I think, to go through it as a Church and complete (this time around) the purification needed by the Bride of Christ than to have the story repeated for decades, a handful of dioceses at a time.

    There are plenty of other questions the Church should answer — I hope I don’t own stock in any company as indifferent to business trends as the Church is to the rates of baptisms and marriages in te West, for example. I don’t trust my own judgment on which of these constitutes a crisis.

    1. I agree with all this, Tom.

      What I would like to know is some real "metadata" on victims. What do I mean? I read somewhere once that these predatory priests usually single out kids with single moms, poor kids, etc. and not kids from strong intact families.

      Is that true? Wouldn't this data be useful?

      Generally people take a look at me and know whose family not to screw with. I have an aluminum bat from a yard sale in my trunk and I don't like sports.

    2. Priests can still say mass, baptize and hear confessions from a wheelchair.

  4. Agree 100%, Tom. Especially with #4.

  5. I will admit that Rod was closer to right fifteen years ago in his outrage at McCarrick’s career successes than I was in my assumption that at worst it was a case of whadda-ya-gonna-do hypocrisy. If “professional Catholics” run the risk of seeing every dumb act by someone in the Vatican as a crisis, Catholics who don’t ask for or expect much of any bishop run the risk of downplaying the effects corruption and compromise can have on the mission of the Church.