Bishops Behaving Badly, Joliet Edition

By: Saturday March 23, 2013 10:40 am

Another week, another court-ordered document dump of records that detail the abuses covered up by bishops of the Roman Catholic Church. This time, it’s Joliet, Illinois.

While the bishop that comes off worst in these files is retired, another former bishop of Joliet is not only still active, but has been promoted and currently serves in several powerful roles with the USCCB: J. Peter Sartain of Portland.

For victims, this isn’t about simply getting their own abuse to stop anymore. It’s not about money for counseling, treatment, and other things. It’s about making visible the behavior of not only the priests but the bishops who protected them.

A Humble Suggestion for the College of Cardinals

By: Saturday February 23, 2013 9:00 am

Father James Martin, SJ, humbly proposed to the college of cardinals that they look beyond their own ranks for a new pope, and offered himself as an obvious choice. (Gotta love those Jesuits and their fine sense of humor!). But I think the good father didn’t go far enough.

Things are in a real tough place for the Roman Catholic church, from the scandal of bishops protecting priests who sexually abused children from the law to the non-transparency of the Vatican Bank that is putting their relationship with major EU banks in jeopardy to liturgical translation battles and other worship wars to . . . well, you get the idea. What is needed is something — someone — really outside the box. Someone that will capture the attention of the world. Someone whose selection will be so out-of-the-blue that it could only be seen as a miracle, an act of God. Someone like . . .

Bishops Sacrifice a Lawyer to Continue Attacks on Women and LGBT Rights

By: Saturday November 5, 2011 9:57 am

Daniel Avila, a lawyer for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, has resigned over a column he wrote ascribing same-sex attraction to Satan. Church Lady jokes aside, Avila’s resignation reveals a great deal about the USCCB’s efforts to get religious exemptions to various federal regulations on health care and providing social services with federal money.

Avila’s apology seems more aimed at his former employers at the USCCB than to LGBTs, which says a great deal about the political priorities and goals of the USCCB.

RC Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City Indicted for Failure to Report Child Sexual Abuse

By: Saturday October 15, 2011 9:21 am

Roman Catholic Bishop Robert Finn has been indicted on charges of failing to report child abuse by one on his priests.

I’m a Lutheran pastor, and I’ve taught clergy and lay leaders in a variety of denominations — including Roman Catholics — about child abuse and the need to file a report when you have reason to believe that abuse has taken place. When a bishop or any other church official fails to report suspicions of abuse, that’s a crime.

It’s about time a bishop faced a judge for failing to report allegations of child abuse.

No, let me restate that. It’s *well past time* for a bishop to be indicted for trying to sweep things under the ecclesiastical carpet and pretend there’s no problem here. Even so, this indictment is better late than never.

Instead of Speaking With the Passive Voice, Benedict Needs More Active Bishops

By: Saturday April 3, 2010 9:02 am

In dealing with the current crisis in the Roman Catholic church of child abuse by its priests, the symptom the church is confronting is the abuse, but the underlying disease is a love of power. So long as Benedict addresses only the symptom and not the disease, real healing cannot occur. He called for “decisive action” and “complete honesty and transparency” in his letter to Ireland. A good place to start might be for more bishops to offer their resignations, and for Benedict to start accepting them.

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