Thursday, August 23, 2018

Defending liberalism in the wake of the abuse scandal

Mark Shea does the important work here.  His first flaw is the notion that those who are wanting to look at the question of homosexuality are somehow using it to deflect from the Bishops. I'm sure there are some who are.  But I have heard plenty of people wanting both to hold the Bishops accountable and look at such things as the modernist/progressive trends within the last few generations of Catholicism. 

Just yesterday, many decidedly conservative Catholics made a great deal about the daily readings, with the emphasis on holding the shepherds of Israel's flock accountable.  Mark, on the other hand, does what he says not to do.  He portrays it as an either/or.  You must either go after the Bishops or you can try to investigate the role of homosexuality or feminism or other liberal influences in this longstanding affront to the Gospel.

Fact is, you can - and should - do both.  Mark's dogged defense of Catholicism's recent moves toward liberalism is no different than any who would try to deflect to something like homosexuality to avoid going after the Bishops.  His willingness to defend even the rather unChristian notion that a person should be labeled according to his sexuality because it's what the world nowadays says to do shows how far he will go in circling the wagon.

Right now the Church is at a crossroads.  Will Catholics go beyond the divisions to find the solution?  Or are they so entrenched that they will erect barbed wire fences around this or that pet priority?  Only by looking at all - and I mean all - of the factors behind this terrible scandal can the Church hope to recover and move forward.

It should be noted that by looking at all of the problems, perhaps the Church will lose its place among the privileged and the beautiful people who get invited to all the best parties.  I hope that's a price that Catholics are willing to pay.  The good news is that most, contrary to what Mark suggests, are looking at all of the parts that have played out in this sad tragedy.  And least so far.

Unfortunately, as Mark demonstrates all too well, there is a concerted effort by not a few Catholics to insist that no matter how egregious the sins of this horrific scandal, and no matter how many are hurt, there are some questions they simply will not allow to be asked.

BTW, I won't discuss the comments section on Mark's post, which is made up of folks cheering the usual pro-gay, or anti-JPII or similar ideals that are a staple on his blog.  There comes a time when I might as well go back to the Friendly Atheist for all it's worth. 


  1. I've got no idea what parallel universe Mark is writing from, but I'd like to visit one day, just to see what it's like.

    And that’s one of the things I keep wondering about: how do know the person you’ve decided needs expulsion is gay if he is celibate?

    Funnily enough, that's exactly the reaction I've been having every time Fr. James Martin SJ or one of his ilk worries about how expelling gay priests is going to result in us losing a lot of good clergy. If a priest is attracted to men but doesn't have sex, how is anybody going to know? So good, celibate gay priests, it seems to me, have nothing to worry about from a purge of sexually-active gay priests from the ranks of the clergy.

    Anyway, here's a fun thought experiment: suppose the sexes of the victims were reversed, and 80% of them were teenage girls instead of teenage boys. Would Mark and his liberal friends be fretting about how emphasising the female victims was leading us to erase the existence of the male ones, and how we needed to talk about the men more to even out the balance?

    Still, at least one thing has come out of all this: Mark Shea is now willing to accept the possibility, even just theoretical, that Francis might make mistakes sometimes.

    1. In fairness to Mark, the Church itself seems to have accepted the world's spin on sexuality and sexual identity. It adds the caveat that you aren't supposed to act on it, but identity as? Seems increasingly the official teaching.

      You make a good point about it being 80% girls, hypothetically. I think that speaks to the obvious double standards and exploitation of victims we see today.


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