Pope Urges Bishops To Identify Concrete Steps

New approach to clerical sex abuse

I see the Pope has instructed the Irish bishops to identify concrete steps.

It might work, even though these guys are normally not good at identifying things.

After all, they couldn’t identify any problem with sex abuse in their church, and they refused to identify rapists for the police.

They won’t identify with the hurt and anger of the victims.

They couldn’t identify the real problems, but now the Pope has set them a task that might just suit them: identify something cold, soulless, unemotional and stony.

Identify concrete steps.

The only problem is, what happens if he tells them to take concrete steps?

The full text of the Vatican statement is reproduced below, but it’s worth having a little peek here and there.  It doesn’t contain an apology to the victims.  It doesn’t mention the resignation of bishops, but it does contain one absolute gem of wisdom.

the weakening of faith has been a significant contributing factor in the phenomenon of the sexual abuse of minors

See?  And there I was thinking the sex abuse was caused by hairy, sweaty old pervert priests with power over children.

No.  Not according to the Holy Father.

It was caused by a weakening of  faith.

You see?  Nobody was responsible.  It just happened, like the weather.

I’m sure all the victims will have read Ratzo’s press release with gratiitude and relief.


Vatican press release

On 15 and 16 February, 2010, the Holy Father met the Irish bishops and senior members of the Roman Curia to discuss the serious situation which has emerged in the church in Ireland. Together they examined the failure of Irish church authorities for many years to act effectively in dealing with cases involving the sexual abuse of young people by some Irish clergy and religious. All those present recognised that this grave crisis has led to a breakdown in trust in the church’s leadership and has damaged her witness to the Gospel and its moral teaching.

The meeting took place in a spirit of prayer and collegial fraternity, and its frank and open atmosphere provided guidance and support to the bishops in their efforts to address the situation in their respective dioceses.

On the morning of 15 February, following a brief introduction by the Holy Father, each of the Irish bishops offered his own observations and suggestions.

The bishops spoke frankly of the sense of pain and anger, betrayal, scandal and shame expressed to them on numerous occasions by those who had been abused.

There was a similar sense of outrage reflected by laity, priests and religious in this regard.

The bishops likewise described the support at present being provided by thousands of trained and dedicated lay volunteers at parish level to ensure the safety of children in all church activities and stressed that, while there is no doubt that errors of judgment and omissions stand at the heart of the crisis, significant measures have now been taken to ensure the safety of children and young people.

They also emphasised their commitment to co-operation with the statutory authorities in Ireland – North and South – and with the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland to guarantee that the church’s standards, policies and procedures represent best practice in this area.

For his part, the Holy Father observed that the sexual abuse of children and young people is not only a heinous crime, but also a grave sin which offends God and wounds the dignity of the human person created in his image.

While realising that the current painful situation will not be resolved quickly, he challenged the bishops to address the problems of the past with determination and resolve, and to face the present crisis with honesty and courage. He also expressed the hope that the present meeting would help to unify the bishops and enable them to speak with one voice in identifying concrete steps aimed at bringing healing to those who had been abused, encouraging a renewal of faith in Christ and restoring the church’s spiritual and moral credibility.

The Holy Father also pointed to the more general crisis of faith affecting the church and he linked that to the lack of respect for the human person and how the weakening of faith has been a significant contributing factor in the phenomenon of the sexual abuse of minors. He stressed the need for a deeper theological reflection on the whole issue, and called for an improved human, spiritual, academic and pastoral preparation both of candidates for the priesthood and religious life and of those already ordained and professed.

The bishops had an opportunity to examine and discuss a draft of the pastoral letter of the Holy Father to the Catholics of Ireland. Taking into account the comments of the Irish bishops, His Holiness will now complete his letter, which will be issued during the coming season of Lent.

The discussions concluded late Tuesday morning, 16 February 2010. As the bishops return to their dioceses, the Holy Father has asked that this Lent be set aside as a time for imploring an outpouring of God’s mercy and the Holy Spirit’s gifts of holiness and strength upon the church in Ireland.

25 thoughts on “Pope Urges Bishops To Identify Concrete Steps

  1. Any one here with a strong faith? How do you reconcile your faith with the abusing clergy and the non action of the Pope and his Bishops? Concrete steps,nah,the gallows.

  2. No. 8, I have a very strong faith.

    Not in christianity, though. Maybe the question should have specified what belief/religion ;-)

  3. If one accepts the pope as ones religious leader then the faith is that of a roman catholic,. Fairly obvious,I would have thought.

  4. ‘fraid your question doesn’t make that assumption clear, though.

    > Any one here with a strong faith?

    yeah, me.

    >How do you reconcile your faith with the abusing clergy and the non action of the Pope and his Bishops?

    no reconciliation necessary – it’s nothing less than expected.

  5. In April 2007 my good friend took his own life. He did it quietly in a small room, where he couldn’t be stopped. He took his life in the same way that a trusted member of the clergy in his parish did, when he was just 11 years old. He was a good boy, like all children are good. He was an alter boy, like his parents wanted. He didn’t know what happened to him until he was a grown man. How could he? What do children know of hard erections? How could they understand objects being pushed into their bodies, where things aren’t supposed to go? I have two children of this age. I can’t go there to formulate this picture with them. My friend joined the priesthood. Unbelievable isn’t it? His pains were so deep he had no idea. He hit the bottle in a big way and as the pain began to come up, so did the memories, then everything went to hell. He was told he was a liar by his family. How could he say such things. he started to hurt himself routinely and spent so much time in and out of institutions, eventually unable to work. He tried to find his killer. He found him, on the other side of the world. He couldn’t get access to him. The fucker was protected. It had come out over the years that he had abused in several places and was being re-located to protect the guilty and endanger the innocent. My friend tried his best. All he wanted was to live a life without pain. He wanted an apology. In April 2007 he was told to sign a confidentiality agreement when he entered into a meeting with the then Bishop of Limerick. He was laughed out of court, told he would never get and apology, or a penny. He had three children to support. My friend gave up. He was beautiful and sweet, a man who loved this country, the earth and the sea and everybody who loved him. But he could never love himself. The church took his life while he was doing the very thing the vatican have said we have all failed to do; serve God. There is no God in this institution of conspirators and demons. May he rest in peace.

  6. Your Blog “Pope urges Bishops to identify concrete steps”—- category “Religion”.
    I was a little intrigued by the ex “Panzer Kardinal,s” statement that it was the weakening of Faith which had been a significant contributing factor in the phenomenon of sexual child abuse of minors.

    Perhaps I can give a little story about “weakening of Faith “, thanks to Vatican II.

    Way back in AD 1964, when along with other Science Graduates, I entered a one year post graduate Course in Education at a Roman Catholic Training College in order to obtain a Teaching Qualification. As part of the Course we had to study Religion, the Roman Catholic Religion, as all teachers would be teachers of the One True Religion as part of their work.
    We were astounded to note that we were to concentrate on “The Good News” preached by Jesus. We were advised not to consider the Book of Genesis as historical, but more poetic literature.
    There was no actual Adam & Eve, no Serpent, no “Fall” of mankind.

    We were quick to see the implications of this:

    1) The female sex were not responsible for the Fall of Mankind. They now had the same status as men on Earth. All “saints” who preached that women were intrinsically evil were wrong, and so were Popes who refused to permit women to be priests!
    2) There was no “Eternal Life” on earth before the “Fall”.
    3) There was no “Original Sin” and therefore no need for Baptism to wash away our Original Sin.
    4)There was no need for the Mother of Jesus to have been “Conceived without Sin “, so she was not Immaculately Conceived”.
    5) There was no need for Jesus to have been conceived partly by the Holy Spirit instead of his Dad, Joseph.
    6) There was no need for a place called Limbo for children and “good people” who had died with original Sin on their souls, as there was no Original Sin.
    7) “St.” Paul of Tarsus could never have had a vision of Jesus on his way to Danascus, as he preached the existence of Adam &Eve which was untrue and God must have already known that.
    8) The statement at Lourdes,in AD 1858, from the “Virgin Mary”: “I am the Immaculate Conception ” was obviously made up by some human at the time, as Mary knew there was no Original Sin,etc. Was it probable that the corrupt Pope Pius IX had instructed the local clergy there to coach an uneducated ,ill and impoverished young girl “Bernadette” to agree? Yes it was, as he had already declared the “Immaculate Conception” an Article if Faith for the Roman Catholic Church in AD 1854. Thus Lourdes is a fake!
    9) The self proclaimed “Infallibility” of Popes was thus null and void,as they had been declaring th Virgin Birth as an Article of Faith.
    This took 5 months; we were very clever. We were 42 years ahead of Pope Benedict XIV,who declared that Limbo did not exist!
    However, we were 1584 years too late; it was none other than the great Celtic/British ascetic monk, Pelagius,who, in Rome in AD 380,declared the same things at his time — he was declared a Heretic by the Military Roman Church and Banished.

    Is it possible we are all Heretics now, including good Pope Benedict XIV ——– maybe we should be told!

  7. @Val – Your friend’s tragic story is just one of tens of thousands worldwide.

    @Hubert Mc Kenna. I’m glad you mentioned St. Pelagius.

    There’s huge potential for a break-away religious movement here to cater for people’s real need to be part of a church that affirms life and protects the weak and the poor. Since the rolling back of Vatican II it’s clear the the Catholic church will not be reformed without a second Reformation.

    So what about an alternative for and from people who care about their faith – headed by a woman bishop, naturally?

  8. Hey Epopt, do you seriously think people have a:

    “real need to be part of a church that affirms life and protects the weak and the poor.”

    I’ve had enough of churches. No more nutty virgin mother nonsense. You’re lucky if they’ve only screwed your head.

    I’d settle for an Irish state that affirms life and protects the weak and the poor. Our present government is in the business of affirming reckless greed while robbing the weak and poor.

    “Real need to be a part of a church.” Will you not be happy without some silken tyrant bullshitting you out of your autonomy? Have you not got the gumption to believe whatever you believe, regardless of what other people think, without a mob around you? You sound to me like a lost lamb who can’t wait to have the crozier around your neck. You’re ready for the exploiting. Look out for the mint sauce.

    A nave has a real need to be a part of a church.

  9. I’ve been busy with real work raising money for real problems, and I missed Epopt’s comment until now.


    When you say there’s there’s huge potential for a break-away religious movement, you’re suggesting that we need another delusion.

    What is really here is huge potential for people to realise that good people don’t need priests to lead good lives.

  10. Ref. Epopt 8,9,10.
    It is difficult to discuss Religion with indigenous Irish people ( people like me ). Most Irish have been educated in their Roman Religion and their History through the eyes of the One True Church(the OTC).
    Their Religion has always been the correct one, their heroic History of defending the OTC, the absolute truth.
    To cap it all, they have their own mono cultural, mono religious “Peoples Papal Principality”, ruled by dictatorial Archbishops who tell them what to believe,what to do, and what not to do.Those who dare to challenge their Fascist utterances or comment adversely on Murderous Papal Bulls, non Biblical Doctrines, Paedophilia, Cover Ups of Criminality, ad nauseam, would be sacked from any State Employment they may have had, including Banks. If they were Shopkeepers or Business people they would be ostracised from the pulpit. History professors:Beware!

    Thus we live in a Medieval Society, surrounded by modern nations who have long since thrown off some of the yoke of Myth and Superstition; admittedly in the last 100 years, all our neighbours have suffered the ravages of World Wars and one Bloody Civil War (Spain ), which greatly influenced political & social thinking.

    We cannot change the beliefs of the present generation, but we can help the next generation of 4 year olds to be altruistic and to do things because they are right and just. We must force our lethargic government to remove patronage of Primary and Secondary Schools by the “Monsters of the Deep Faith” . Replace”Religion” with “Comparative Religion”. Remove the theatrical “First Holy Communion” and “Confirmation” rituals. Remove “Confession” to a priest, and finally remove the Crucifix from Churches and schools. Jesus of Nazareth should be remembered for what he is supposed to have said, not for his execution; think about it!

  11. But Hubert, this is really revolutionary.
    Could ther really be a primary school with just pupils and teachers, and no wizard in a pink hat living in a palace? How could that possibly work? Has it ever been tried?

  12. Hubert, why do you think it is that there are Crucifixes in every (RC) Church and this seems to be such an important symbol for Christians, even being used as jewelry? Are we sadists maybe?

  13. FME, well originally, the symbol for Christianity was an Ichtys (food, sharing, the common life), and that was replaced by a crucifix (dying, persecution, torture) – what do you think?

  14. Well that’s what’s curious, why is a symbol of such suffering so revered by people. If aliens landed on the planet, they would wonder why people would have an instrument of torture as a holy symbol.. interesting.
    I have my own ideas, but I won’t be so bold as to share them as I’ve been told it gives the implied impression that I presume others hold similiar beliefs.

  15. A crucifix, as I understand it, is not used by any Christian denominations except Catholic. Some people prefer a simple cross.

  16. It’s not limited to Catholics Bock.. for instance Lutherans use it too.
    ‘A common misunderstanding among some Lutherans is the opinion that a crucifix, or the use of a crucifix, is a “Roman Catholic” practice. The history of Lutheranism demonstrates that the crucifix was a regular and routine feature of Lutheran worship’.
    The empty cross is still a symbol of the crucifiction.

  17. The crucifix while predominately a Roman Catholic means of devotion is certainly not unique to Roman Catholicism. In Ireland however you will be hard pressed to find one in an Anglican/C of I church but across the water in the C of E it would be quite unremarkable, especially in a ‘high church’ parish. The crucifix obviously focuses on the sacrificial/suffering element of the Crucifixion while the empty cross emphasises the Resurrection – The preference for the empty cross in low church Protestantism which is the norm in Ireland stems from the suspicion of sacramental liturgy and a reluctance to see the Eucharist as anything other than a ‘memorial’. The concept of a re-enactment of the sacrifice in the Eucharist aided by the visual image of a crucified Jesus is seen as contradicting the once only once and once for all nature of the sacrifice of Christ.
    And so follows the preference for the empty cross.

  18. The crucifix epitomises misery. Ever since christianity shunned its tantric origins, it has spent two millenia compensating by trying to place death above sex. See saint Philomena, virgin martyr, or more recently Maria Goretti. To deny sex and embrace death is still a christian ideal. The christian art of the middle ages contains thousands upon thousands of representations of human beings being tortured to death.
    But why should millions of people follow this misery cult?
    The answer is, they don’t, really. Nobody ever really practices christianity. But millions try to impose it on others.

  19. Pay us for raping your kids…….. the latest from Ferns. Apparently the Bishop of Ferns wants his punters to contribute 8 million to his child rapists legal fees and compensation fund. Good to see this new found enlightenment on part of the hierarchy. Oh come all ye faithful.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.