1. Standard memberNemesio
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    08 Jan '07 07:15
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/08/world/europe/08poland.html?ei=5094&en=f7c90dfd9c7901fd&hp=&ex=1168318800&partner=homepage&pagewanted=print
    January 8, 2007
    New Warsaw Archbishop Quits Over Communist Collaboration

    By CRAIG S. SMITH
    WARSAW, Jan. 7 — The newly appointed archbishop of Warsaw, Stanislaw Wielgus, abruptly resigned on Sunday at a Mass meant to celebrate his new position after having admitted two days earlier that he had worked with the Polish Communist-era secret police.

    There is no direct evidence that Bishop Wielgus spied on any of his fellow clergy members. But the revelation and the resignation have shaken one of Europe’s largest concentrations of Catholics and refocused scrutiny on collaboration with the Communist government by some of the clergy in Poland even as the church was supporting dissidents trying to free themselves from that political system.

    Moments before he was to symbolically ascend to his new place in the church hierarchy by taking his seat on the archbishop’s throne at St. John’s Cathedral in Warsaw, Bishop Wielgus read from a letter he had sent Pope Benedict XVI earlier in the day offering his resignation “after reflecting deeply and assessing my personal situation.”

    A roar of shock arose from the crowd inside the cathedral and stunned many people watching the proceedings live on television. The Vatican had announced the resignation a half hour earlier, though few had heard the news.

    “Stay with us, we want you here!” people in the church shouted as a clearly troubled Bishop Wielgus removed his glasses and sat down beside Warsaw’s departing archbishop, Cardinal Jozef Glemp.

    The Vatican reappointed Cardinal Glemp to the position until a new archbishop could be found, and he took the throne instead. But Cardinal Glemp, who supported Bishop Wielgus’s promotion, was also clearly troubled by the sudden turn of events and defended him later in his homily.

    The Polish president, Lech Kaczynski, who was sitting at the front of the congregation, applauded Bishop Wielgus’s resignation then stopped, apparently realizing that the commotion from the crowd was overwhelmingly against it. Mr. Kaczynski has led the country’s renewed efforts to expose former Communist secret police agents and their informants.

    Outside the cathedral, scuffles erupted between supporters and detractors of the bishop among the hundreds of Catholics gathered beneath umbrellas in the rain. Some of his supporters shouted that “Jews” were trying to destroy the church. Anti-Semitism, long present in Poland, is a particular problem within some conservative branches of the Polish Catholic church.

    The resignation of an archbishop, or even a bishop, so soon after an appointment is rare, if not unprecedented, and raises questions about how he could have been given the job with such serious doubts surrounding his past.

    Bishop Wielgus, 67, had tried to minimize reports of his collaboration, which surfaced two weeks after the pope appointed him to the post on Dec. 6. He insisted that his contacts with the country’s feared Sluzba Bezpieczenstwa, or Security Service, were benign and routine.

    Bishop Wielgus may have believed that there were no longer documents linking him to the secret police. Gen. Czeslaw Kiszczak, who served as chief of secret services and minister of internal affairs during the Communist years, told the Polish clergy in the early 1990s that all files related to them had been destroyed, according to Adrzej Jonas, editor of the Warsaw Voice, a weekly newsmagazine. But microfilm of some of the documents on Bishop Wielgus survived. They do not include any reports written by the bishop, though in one document a secret police agent praised him for providing information on fellow priests while teaching at the Catholic University of Lublin. He admitted deeper involvement Friday after the Polish news media published the documents, though he maintained that he did not spy on anyone or hurt anyone. Two groups of experts, one from the church, said the documents proved his willingness to work for the secret police even though they did not prove what he did.

    That judgment set in motion negotiations with the Vatican that ended with his resignation. In its statement, the Vatican said the charges surrounding Bishop Wielgus had “gravely compromised his authority.”

    Allegations that the secret service archives contained incriminating documents concerning Bishop Wielgus first appeared in the Polish media in the middle of 2006, shortly after he was mentioned as a potential successor to Cardinal Glemp. The documents that led to his resignation had been located by Dec. 20, when the Polish news media began reporting their contents.

    Still, the Vatican was sufficiently confident of Bishop Wielgus’s innocence to allow him to take the canonical vows for the post Friday. It even reissued a statement saying that it had taken into account “all the circumstances of his life, including those regarding his past,” and that Pope Benedict had “every confidence” in him.

    Many people believe that the pope changed his mind only after personally reviewing the documents in question or at the urging of Polish government officials.

    “Definitely there must have been somebody very high up, maybe the president, who was in touch with the Vatican,” said Zbigniew Lewicki, a professor at the University of Warsaw. “Otherwise, why would he have changed his mind without anything new surfacing.”

    It is the second major miscalculation by Pope Benedict since he was chosen as pontiff in April 2005. In September, he caused an uproar among Muslims with a speech he gave in Germany that seemed to equate Islam with violence.

    Any cooperation between the Polish clergy and the secret police is troubling to Poles because the church under the Polish-born pope, John Paul II, was considered a beacon of hope and encouragement to people opposing the Communists.

    That the head of the Warsaw archdiocese could be a former Communist collaborator would have been a cruel twist for many people here who remember the murder of Rev. Jerzy Popieluszko, one of the first priests from the influential archdiocese to support the pro-democracy Solidarity movement. He was beaten to death by police agents in 1984. They dumped his body in a reservoir.

    Poland screened thousands of people for past Communist collaboration in the early 1990s, but the process lost momentum until President Kaczynski revived it last year. He has argued that the country’s 1989 transition left much of the Communist apparatus in place, fueling corruption and distorting democracy. He says society cannot move forward without breaking with that past.

    But many people argue that the secret police files are in many cases too incomplete or unreliable for conclusive judgments and are too easily manipulated for political ends.

    It was not clear what Bishop Wielgus would do in the wake of the resignation. The bishop said his contact with the secret police started when he applied to study in what was then West Germany.

    He spent 1973-75 at the University of Munich and went there again in 1978 when Pope Benedict, then Joseph Ratzinger, was teaching there. He spent the rest of his career teaching philosophy at the Catholic University of Lublin, where he served three terms as rector. Pope John Paul II appointed him bishop of Plock, north of Warsaw, in 1999 and he served in that post until being appointed archbishop of Warsaw.

    The drama over Bishop Wielgus was, in part, a battle between opposing forces in the Polish church — mirrored in societies across the post-Soviet bloc — between those willing to forgive and forget and those who insist that past Communist collaborators be exposed and be excluded from positions of authority.

    “Today a judgment was passed on Bishop Wielgus,” said Cardinal Glemp in a homily defending the prelate that was interrupted repeatedly by applause. “But what kind of judgment was it, based on shreds of paper photocopied three times over? We do not want such judgments.”

    Had the church managed to keep Bishop Wielgus in his new job, the program to purge former collaborators would have been severely weakened, Mr. Jonas of the Warsaw Voice said.

    “It wouldn’t be possible to accuse somebody or blame somebody for being a spy or former member of the secret service if the archbishop of Warsaw was himself one,” he said.
  2. Standard memberNemesio
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    08 Jan '07 07:20
    Just three days earlier, the Vatican and specifically the Pope was endorsing him. Consider this
    excerpt from an article also from the NYtimes.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/06/world/europe/06poland.html?pagewanted=print

    Later Friday, Bishop Wielgus issued another statement, which was broadcast by Vatican Radio’s Polish service, in which he said he had collaborated so that he could travel abroad for his academic research.

    “I’m not trying to justify anything, I know that I shouldn’t have had any relations with the Communist regime’s secret services,” he said. “At the time I thought I had to continue my important scientific research and acquire sound training for the good of the church.”

    The Vatican has continued to support the embattled prelate.

    “The Holy See, in deciding the nomination of the new archbishop of Warsaw, took into consideration all the circumstances of his life, including those regarding his past,” the Vatican said in a statement on Friday, repeating the position it has taken for the past month.

    The statement said Benedict “has every confidence in Bishop Stanislaw Wielgus and in full conscience entrusted him the mission of pastor of the archdiocese of Warsaw.”
  3. London
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    08 Jan '07 16:09
    Originally posted by Nemesio
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/08/world/europe/08poland.html?ei=5094&en=f7c90dfd9c7901fd&hp=&ex=1168318800&partner=homepage&pagewanted=print
    January 8, 2007
    New Warsaw Archbishop Quits Over Communist Collaboration

    By CRAIG S. SMITH
    WARSAW, Jan. 7 — The newly appointed archbishop of Warsaw, Stanislaw Wielgus, abruptly resigned on Sunday at a Mass meant ...[text shortened]... py or former member of the secret service if the archbishop of Warsaw was himself one,” he said.
    Apparently 'forgiveness' is a concept that exists only in theory.
  4. Joined
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    08 Jan '07 16:52
    I find it unsettling that the Vatican can claim this is worthy of resignation, whilst at the same time protecting priests that abuse children.
  5. Standard memberNemesio
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    08 Jan '07 22:00
    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    Apparently 'forgiveness' is a concept that exists only in theory.
    Actually, I am all for forgiving the prelate for his commiserating with
    the communist party.

    Here is the problem I have: Here we have an example (increasingly
    too common for my tastes) of an individual in the position of
    significant authority (the archbishop) who baldly looked into the faces
    of the flock he is supposed to be shepherding and lied with the sole
    purpose of avoiding the consequences for his actions. This is what
    politicians do and, sadly, it seems that bishops are increasingly interested
    in gaining more power than they are being role models for their flock.

    While I do forgive the archbishop for the espionage, I have not been
    able to forgive him for his deception to the flock. I can explain and
    even partially justify his actions (just like I am totally untroubled by
    the Pope's involvement in the Hitler Youth). I cannot provide a single
    justifiable reason for lying except for his own personal gain.

    What troubles me, LH, is the lack of Vatican condemnation on this issue,
    in addition to the indifference of his flock. The Vatican's blase attitude
    towards the sex scandal in the US and now this financial problem
    astonishes me. The fact that it is proven a greater priority to change
    the english translation of the Nicene Creed rather than deal with these
    substantial issues ought to be infuriating.

    As I said in another thread, if I found that devout Catholics were as
    willing to criticize the Church for her faults as they were willing to extol
    her virtues, I think she would be a much stronger institution.

    Nemesio
  6. London
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    09 Jan '07 15:131 edit
    Originally posted by Nemesio
    Actually, I am all for forgiving the prelate for his commiserating with
    the communist party.

    Here is the problem I have: Here we have an example (increasingly
    too common for my tastes) of an individual in the position of
    significant authority (the archbishop) who baldly looked into the faces
    of the flock he is supposed to be shepherding and lied w re willing to extol
    her virtues, I think she would be a much stronger institution.

    Nemesio
    Believe me, devout Catholics are as willing to criticise the Church when genuine faults are discovered. But, as ivanhoe said, that doesn't mean we have to parade our disapproval in front of those who are not part of the Church. I'm sorry we don't seem to satisfy society's voyeurism. I'm sorry we don't want to give you sticks to beat us with.

    The job of the Church (and of the "Vatican" ) is to save souls, not condemn them. It recognises that there has always been, and probably will always be, sinful Catholics. It doesn't mean that the sin itself is excused; it just means that the Church doesn't kick a guy when he's down. It also means the Church doesn't define people by their sins.

    In this case, the guy has done something wrong in the past. Something, I might add, in extremely difficult circumstances that you and I have never faced. If he's repented, then that's the end of the matter. Even if he hasn't, he resigned quite promptly once he recognised that his ability to carry out his office was compromised. And that is that. There have been scores (even hundreds) of bishops like him and there will be many more.

    And yes, the liturgy is right at the heart of the Church and what it means to be Catholic -- so I see nothing wrong in importance being given to it. Sorry I don't agree with your (and maybe others) notions of the Church as one massive charity or social club with a few quaint notions.
  7. Standard memberNemesio
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    10 Jan '07 22:09
    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    And yes, the liturgy is right at the heart of the Church and what it means to be Catholic -- so I see nothing wrong in importance being given to it. Sorry I don't agree with your (and maybe others) notions of the Church as one massive charity or social club with a few quaint notions.

    That you might insinuate that I think that liturgy is a trivial part of
    the Church borders on insane. Liturgy means 'the work of the people,'
    and I do not object to refining liturgy whatsoever. I'm a bells-and-
    incense man, myself, and the higher the liturgy, the more rewarding
    I find it. And, frankly, while you may have a better knowledge of
    the Catechism or understanding of mainstream, Orthodox morality,
    I'm certain that I have you matched in both modern and Tridentine
    liturgical practice.

    That having been said, I think that tackling the theft issue totally
    trumps whether you say 'And also with you' or 'And with thy spirit.' If
    your claim is that the USCCB's time is best served focusing on making
    new translations of the Latin (which they should have done right in the
    first place back in the 60s) rather than buckling down on theft (which
    is presently the case), then you've been missing the point of Mass and
    the liturgy. The weekly hour that you spend in church is supposed to
    inform the actions that you take in the other 167 hours. And, while
    I fully recognize the validity of an ex opere operato stance --
    that one can be sacramentally rewarded by a worship experience led
    by a very flawed individual -- to shy away from those flaws, especially
    on a monumental scale is to ignore bad work. Formal liturgy is
    a means to inspire good work outside the Church (not that this is its
    only goal, of course).

    And, while you may take his 'apology' as sincere, I see no reason to
    think it is. That doesn't absolve one's duty to forgive, but he certainly
    doesn't have my respect. He is only apologizing because he got
    caught
    , not because he has reflected on his wrongs and desires to
    right them, and certainly God will know this and that is sufficient for
    me.

    Consequently, that the faithful should feel comfortable worshiping
    under someone that disingenuous, that power-hungry that, as a
    leader in the Church, lying is a perfectly legitimate and justifiable
    action, is a bizzare claim indeed. I'm not suggesting that people
    should simply leave the Church as a result of this, but simply shrugging
    and saying 'No big deal' is a similarly irresponsible response. Indeed,
    Saint Matthew's Jesus was deeply critical of such false leadership and
    I think He was most certainly right for criticizing it publically, to both
    Gentile and Jew.

    Believe me, devout Catholics are as willing to criticise the Church when genuine faults are discovered. But, as ivanhoe said, that doesn't mean we have to parade our disapproval in front of those who are not part of the Church. I'm sorry we don't seem to satisfy society's voyeurism. I'm sorry we don't want to give you sticks to beat us with.

    Unless you are one of the thieves, I will not be beating you at all.
    You certainly don't mind parading your approval of the Church or your
    disapproval of the behavior of people outside the Church. Perhaps it
    is because your belief that the Church is, indeed, universal. But, if
    that is the case, then there are no people who are edic to it and,
    consequently, they all deserve to both praise and chastise Her when
    She fails in her principal duties.

    No, I am not beating you when I express my disgust at the lackadaisical
    financial safeguards. We ought to be beating those who don't love
    the Church enough to protect Her from thieves together.

    Even if he hasn't, he resigned quite promptly once he recognised that his ability to carry out his office was compromised. And that is that.

    His repentance is between himself and God. The respect that he has
    shown to the Church by lying so baldly to his flock is what compromised
    his capacity to carry out his office. A true confession requires penance,
    and a true penance comprises earnest regret and a desire to repent
    (i.e., rethink) one's actions and begin the process of repairing the
    harm caused by them.

    There have been scores (even hundreds) of bishops like him and there will be many more.

    I don't disagree. When the Church Universal show the outrage
    commensurate with the misaction and a dedication to minimizing the
    occasion of such misactions, She will be a stronger bastion for Her
    faithful.

    Nemesio
  8. London
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    11 Jan '07 15:591 edit
    Originally posted by Nemesio
    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    [b]And yes, the liturgy is right at the heart of the Church and what it means to be Catholic -- so I see nothing wrong in importance being given to it. Sorry I don't agree with your (and maybe others) notions of the Church as one massive charity or social club with a few quaint notions.


    That you might insinu ons, She will be a stronger bastion for Her
    faithful.

    Nemesio[/b]
    That you might insinuate that I think that liturgy is a trivial part of
    the Church borders on insane.


    Based on what you wrote so far (e.g. on the Nicene Creed) and the manner in which you wrote it, I clearly don't think so. But, that's for others to decide.


    And, frankly, while you may have a better knowledge of
    the Catechism or understanding of mainstream, Orthodox morality,
    I'm certain that I have you matched in both modern and Tridentine
    liturgical practice.


    The one is of very limited value without the other. Lex orandi lex credendi.


    That having been said, I think that tackling the theft issue totally
    trumps whether you say 'And also with you' or 'And with thy spirit.'


    Maybe we should switch this subtext over to the other thread. 🙂


    And, while I fully recognize the validity of an ex opere operato stance -- that one can be sacramentally rewarded by a worship experience led by a very flawed individual -- to shy away from those flaws, especially on a monumental scale is to ignore bad work.

    That isn't what ex opere operato means. It means that the sacrament is just as valid and gives the same spiritual graces regardless of whether it is ministered by a saint or a sinner. It means that Communion consecrated by an adulterous priest is just as much the Body and Blood of Christ as that consecrated by the Pope or someone like Fr. Groeschel. It means that parishes and dioceses ought not (and, in general, do not) become personality cults.

    Once you really appreciate what ex opere operato means, you will understand why Catholics generally do not take to the streets with placards and slogans every time one of our pastors is less than perfect.


    Formal liturgy is a means to inspire good work outside the Church (not that this is its only goal, of course).

    It is not even its primary goal. If liturgy is a means to anything, it is a special and privileged means to bringing the faithful to a deeper relationship with God. I would be perfectly satisfied if not one Catholic I met after Mass told me, "That service really inspired me to donate time and/or money to a charity today"; I would be less than happy if not everyone told me, "That service really helped me meet/experience/understand a bit about God today". I know the two are not mutually exclusive and that the former would follow from the latter -- but it is a question of emphasis.


    And, while you may take his 'apology' as sincere, I see no reason to think it is.

    In general, unless I have reason to believe otherwise, I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt.


    Consequently, that the faithful should feel comfortable worshiping
    under someone that disingenuous, that power-hungry that, as a
    leader in the Church, lying is a perfectly legitimate and justifiable
    action, is a bizzare claim indeed.


    That you think so tells me that you do not understand what ex opere operato really means. That you do not understand what is sine qua non to the office and exercise of the episcopacy and what is not. That (at times) you do not differentiate between the office and the man.

    I'm not saying the faithful should be "comfortable" with the situation, or that they shouldn't take efforts to remedy the situation. But neither is it cause to start running around as though the Church is collapsing. There is a time and place to worry about it and take action - but it isn't at Mass.


    Indeed, Saint Matthew's Jesus was deeply critical of such false leadership and I think He was most certainly right for criticizing it publically[sic], to both Gentile and Jew.

    Jesus wasn't criticising them before Gentiles -- his was an exclusively Jewish audience.

    Besides, it's in Matthew's Gospel that He says:

    "The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat;
    so practice and observe whatever they tell you"
    (Mt. 23:2-3)

    Jesus certainly knew the difference between the office and the man holding the office.

    Remember, this was the same Jesus who choose some of the most flawed people around to be his privileged Apostles. He knew their past faults and even that some of them would continue to fall in the future. Heck, if Judas hadn't hanged himself and had repented instead, we'd be calling him one of the greatest saints ever today.


    You certainly don't mind parading your approval of the Church or your disapproval of the behavior of people outside the Church.

    I generally don't "parade" my approval of the Church either. But it's true that I don't particularly hide it.

    As to my disapproval of the behaviour of people outside the Church, I've never said that non-Catholics have no right to criticise the actions of Church leadership. I said they have no right to demand I follow suit.


    Perhaps it is because your belief that the Church is, indeed, universal. But, if that is the case, then there are no people who are edic to it and, consequently, they all deserve to both praise and chastise Her when She fails in her principal duties.

    We've been over this 'universal' debate before. Besides, you're conflating the visible membership and structure of the Church with its mystical ones.


    When the Church Universal show the outrage
    commensurate with the misaction and a dedication to minimizing the
    occasion of such misactions, She will be a stronger bastion for Her
    faithful.


    Maybe. Maybe not. If the faithful hope or think they will ever manage to have flawless, inerrant Church leadership, they are fooling themselves and setting themselves up for severe disappointment.
  9. Gangster Land
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    11 Jan '07 16:321 edit
    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    [b]That you might insinuate that I think that liturgy is a trivial part of
    the Church borders on insane.


    Based on what you wrote so far (e.g. on the Nicene Creed) and the manner in which you wrote it, I clearly don't think so. But, that's for others to decide.


    And, frankly, while you may have a better knowledge of
    the Catechism or und lves and setting themselves up for severe disappointment.
    [/b]LH,

    I find it interesting and a little frustrating that your views on this matter seem to encourage the idea that the church is a very large and somewhat organized mutual admiration society. You seem to care very little about what those on the outside think of the church and instead place very high value on what the people who are already christen/catholic get out of it.

    Surely it has occurred to you that the behavior of church leaders and the subsequent reaction (or lack thereof) by church members directly influences the attitude and even receptiveness of those whom Jesus himself commanded you to spread the gospel to.

    Perhaps I have misunderstood you?

    TheSkipper
  10. London
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    11 Jan '07 18:13
    Originally posted by TheSkipper
    LH,

    I find it interesting and a little frustrating that your views on this matter seem to encourage the idea that the church is a very large and somewhat organized mutual admiration society. You seem to care very little about what those on the outside think of the church and instead place very high value on what the people who are already christen ...[text shortened]... imself commanded you to spread the gospel to.

    Perhaps I have misunderstood you?

    TheSkipper[/b]
    Perhaps.

    I think of the Church as a very large, somewhat organised (but with a large degree of chaos as well) family. As such, it hurts much more when someone in a fatherly role within the Catholic family wrongs/hurts other members of the family than if it had come from a stranger or a business associate.

    However, what this also means is most Catholics do not particularly feel the need to air all such hurts for the benefit of those who are not part or friends of the family. If 'outsiders' come up with non-constructive criticism, or ask that Catholics behave publicly in a manner that undermines the unity and values of the family, the natural reaction is, "Bugger Off"! It's our problem. We'll deal with it.

    I hope that helps you understand the reactions of Polish Catholics, ivanhoe and myself.

    Certainly Catholics are aware that the behaviour of Church leaders and subsequent reactions (or lack thereof) of ordinary Catholics influences the attitudes and perceptions of non-Catholics. However, that doesn't mean that the Church (leadership and laity) have to put on a tableau for the benefit of people outside the Church so it can appear attractive. It doesn't mean the Church has to alter its core values and structures so as to align it more with the zeitgeist.

    The Church believes that the Gospel it proclaims is the truth and that human beings, by their very nature, are drawn to the truth. So it doesn't have to "window dress" itself. Part of that Gospel is the fact that we live in a fractured world of which sin will always be a part (at least until the Second Coming, anyway). And that there will always be sinners in the family. Jesus knew that just as well as anyone.
  11. Standard memberNemesio
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    11 Jan '07 18:38
    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    The one is of very limited value without the other. Lex orandi lex credendi.

    Yes, of course. But both are of limited value without outwardly
    practicing (and this is my essential point): Yes, one must recognize
    the importance of liturgy. Yes, one must recognize the importance of
    sacramental life. Yes, one must know one's Bible and one's Catechism. But if one does all of these things and does not
    live a life of service to others, it serves no purpose.
    Liturgy is
    supposed to inspire. The priesthood is supposed to inspire. The
    sacraments are supposed to inspire. Inspire what? Inspire people to
    live Christ-like lives.

    When the Church fails in monumental fashion -- sex abuse scandals
    and, especially coverups, massive thefts from unprotected church
    coffers, bald-faced denials of profound wrongdoing for personal gain --
    this is something that the faithful should rise up and shake its fist at.

    If it were just one church with stolen money or some tiny, unknown
    priest in Our Lady of the Bog in Bilgewater, England, then I wouldn't
    make particular note of it because, as you said, people are imperfect,
    even priests. But the scope of the thefts is massive and the fact that
    an archbishop of a deeply devout Roman Catholic country lied repeatedly
    about his shameful actions in the past rather than being a model of
    honesty, contrition and repentence is dreadful. If you don't think that
    these things erode faith in the Church, then you are deluded.

    That isn't what ex opere operato means.

    I know what it means (in fact, I wrote that the sacramental
    rewards are unaffected by the flawed individual performing them). If
    I was unclear, then I apologize.

    However, my point which you ignored was that simply because
    the Sacraments are valid even under an adulterous priest, the faithful
    ought not simply shrug when they hear of one. They should be
    outraged, proportional to the nature of the offense. If Father O'Maly
    has been taking $10/week to support his drinking habit, that's a relatively
    minor (albeit tragic) offense. If Father Buccigrossi is sleeping with
    a married parishioner, that's a larger one. If Father Bunois is molesting
    children, that's pretty severe. And if Bishop Anderson knows all of this
    and hides it from the faithful, protecting the priests and not serving the
    faithful
    , that is the most extreme example of denying the importance
    of the Living Gospel.

    It is not even its primary goal. If liturgy is a means to anything, it is a special and privileged means to bringing the faithful to a deeper relationship with God. I would be perfectly satisfied if not one Catholic I met after Mass told me, "That service really inspired me to donate time and/or money to a charity today"; I would be less than happy if not everyone told me, "That service really helped me meet/experience/understand a bit about God today". I know the two are not mutually exclusive and that the former would follow from the latter -- but it is a question of emphasis.

    Well, we totally disagree, then. I don't believe that one can separate
    the idea of meeting/experiencing/understanding God from serving
    people in need. If you cannot see God in each other, then you cannot
    see God, period. And if you cannot see the hungry Christ in your
    neighbor, then you've never met Jesus.

    Jesus wasn't criticising them before Gentiles -- his was an exclusively Jewish audience.

    Obviously a Gentile wouldn't know proper Jewish liturgy from the improper,
    but his lambasting of those who wash the outside of the cup and
    ignore the inside was a public declaration, letting all who have ears
    listen. Of the things that Saint Paul got right, that Jesus' message was
    a universal one and not a Jewish one is the most important. I am
    certain that Jesus never would have turned away a Gentile from His
    crowds and His demonstrating that liturgy for its own sake was one that
    a Gentile could equally appreciate.

    "The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat;
    so practice and observe whatever they tell you"
    (Mt. 23:2-3)

    Ahem. You neglected to finish the passage, which reads: ...so
    practice and observe whatever they tell you, but do not follow their
    example
    . And what follows is a scathing review of Jewish liturgical
    practice. Would that a Roman Catholic half as devout as Jesus would
    give such a similar rebuke to the Church, I wouldn't be nearly as
    frustrated. But no such rebuke is forthcoming. No, the faithful, like
    you, remain silent in the face of grotesqueries made in the name of
    God.

    I'm not endorsing getting rid of liturgy here, LH. I'm endorsing the
    same disgust for the false leaders of the RCC as Jesus rightly had for
    the false leaders of the Temple.

    Remember, this was the same Jesus who choose some of the most flawed people around to be his privileged Apostles. He knew their past faults and even that some of them would continue to fall in the future. Heck, if Judas hadn't hanged himself and had repented instead, we'd be calling him one of the greatest saints ever today.

    Again, I am all for forgiveness and repentence. But, as Saint
    Peter wept bitterly when he denied Jesus and became a champion for
    a cause he believed in, even unto death himself,

    Here in America, there is a guy who was a horrible individual,
    murdered his wife and was incarcerated for some 25 years. While
    incarcerated (after a good while), he discerned a call to the religious life
    and became a Capuchin brother. After his release, he became a champion
    for attending to those in prison.

    http://www.capuchin.com/News/Townsend/ThePrisoner.htm

    This is a guy who is doing what he can to demonstrate contrition
    and repentence. This is a guy who is trying live out the Gospel. This
    is a guy who is trying to see Jesus in the needy.

    As to my disapproval of the behaviour of people outside the Church, I've never said that non-Catholics have no right to criticise the actions of Church leadership. I said they have no right to demand I follow suit.

    No one is 'demanding that you follow suit.' I am, however, expressing
    my dissatisfaction with your apparent comfort with repeated offenses
    of a significant nature. I also express my contempt for people like
    Ivanhoe, for whom the Church can do no wrong such that he would
    raise a harsh word against Her.

    Being visibly upset or devastated about what the Church does would,
    I think, garner respect from those outside the Church, because it
    demonstrates that you care that the Church has failed and that you
    demand that it change and improve.

    We've been over this 'universal' debate before. Besides, you're conflating the visible membership and structure of the Church with its mystical ones.

    Well, this is an example of the Church's wanting to have it both
    ways. It would have non-Church members follow its edics because of
    its claim to Natural Moral Law and so forth, but doesn't tolerate non-
    Church members' demands that it not allow theft or molestation?
    C'mon. That's silliness.

    Maybe. Maybe not. If the faithful hope or think they will ever manage to have flawless, inerrant Church leadership, they are fooling themselves and setting themselves up for severe disappointment.

    I hate to sound like Ivanhoe, but that's a strawman. It's absurd to
    hope for perfection because, as you said, the Church is made up of
    imperfect members. However, that shouldn't stop you from striving
    for improvement at all times and expressing disdain when such
    obvious lacks of striving take place.

    Nemesio
  12. Gangster Land
    Joined
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    Moves
    20732
    11 Jan '07 19:18
    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    Perhaps.

    I think of the Church as a very large, somewhat organised (but with a large degree of chaos as well) [b]family
    . As such, it hurts much more when someone in a fatherly role within the Catholic family wrongs/hurts other members of the family than if it had come from a stranger or a business associate.

    However, what this also means is ...[text shortened]... t there will always be sinners in the family. Jesus knew that just as well as anyone.[/b]
    I think of the Church as a very large, somewhat organised (but with a large degree of chaos as well) family. As such, it hurts much more when someone in a fatherly role within the Catholic family wrongs/hurts other members of the family than if it had come from a stranger or a business associate.

    I think creating an analogy between the Church and a family is a good one and if you don’t mind I’m going to borrow it. So, while I agree that the Church is like a family I would suggest it is a family with a higher purpose than most classically defined families. While a typical nuclear family’s main goal is to protect and perpetuate itself the Church family has the added burden of being a light for those who are lost. The Church does not have the luxury of focusing solely on self preservation and must represent Christ. Later in your message you suggest that Truth is its own best promoter and the Church need not engage in “window dressing” and to an extent I agree but the Church has the responsibility of *at least* not dimming the light of said Truth.

    However, what this also means is most Catholics do not particularly feel the need to air all such hurts for the benefit of those who are not part or friends of the family. If 'outsiders' come up with non-constructive criticism, or ask that Catholics behave publicly in a manner that undermines the unity and values of the family, the natural reaction is, "Bugger Off"! It's our problem. We'll deal with it.

    As I suggested above, the Church has a higher purpose than simple self preservation. One of the burdens of that higher purpose is to represent Christ and the truth He revealed to us through the gospels. The manifestation of that burden (at least in my mind) si the Church is denied the luxury of attempting to remain above the people, be those people Catholics or otherwise, and must police itself publicly so that the public may judge for itself the validity of said Truth and Christ himself.


    Certainly Catholics are aware that the behaviour of Church leaders and subsequent reactions (or lack thereof) of ordinary Catholics influences the attitudes and perceptions of non-Catholics. However, that doesn't mean that the Church (leadership and laity) have to put on a tableau for the benefit of people outside the Church so it can appear attractive. It doesn't mean the Church has to alter its core values and structures so as to align it more with the zeitgeist.

    I’m not sure anyone was suggesting the Church alter its core values and structures unless one of its core values is to place damage control above righteous indignation. This is the problem I (and many others I would guess) have with the Church’s reaction to various sins committed by its leadership, it seems that the Church will go to great lengths to defend itself publicly when it considers itself to have come under an unjust attack (or even a just one for that matter) but refuses to publicly rebuke itself when those attacks are found to have merit. The Church needs to decide whether it deals with these matters internally or not because attempting to have it both ways causes her to look wildly disingenuous.

    Here is the thing, I think Paul did Christians and the Church a huge disservice when he came up with the original sin doctrine wherein we are all sinners and just can’t seem to help ourselves. Just as it is clearly no accident that there are spiritual consequences and reparations to be made when one sins I think it is also not an accident that there are also worldly consequences for sin and the Church seems largely unwilling to make the necessary worldly reparations.

    The Church believes that the Gospel it proclaims is the truth and that human beings, by their very nature, are drawn to the truth. So it doesn't have to "window dress" itself. Part of that Gospel is the fact that we live in a fractured world of which sin will always be a part (at least until the Second Coming, anyway). And that there will always be sinners in the family. Jesus knew that just as well as anyone.

    If human beings are drawn to truth I would think that the Catholic Church (and many other denominations for that matter) should do their very best to not stand in the way when someone shows up to find it. When the laity sits idly by and refuses to publicly rebuke its own it makes the truth which it claims to champion seem cheap and undesirable. The truth did not have to be window dressed until all the different denominations claimed to own it, once that happened the public relations campaign began and the Catholic Church is in no position to opt out now.

    TheSkipper
  13. Standard memberNemesio
    Ursulakantor
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Joined
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    11 Jan '07 22:40
    Originally posted by TheSkipper
    The truth did not have to be window dressed until all the different denominations claimed to own it, once that happened the public relations campaign began and the Catholic Church is in no position to opt out now.
    There is a lot of good stuff in this post, and I don't have the time to
    write a longer reply, but I wanted to isolate this one part.

    I'm not sure I agree with the statement, and I'll explain why. The
    decision not to opt out would certainly hurt the pockets of the Church,
    but I think Jesus' claim that the love of money is at the root of all
    evil is probably a good rede.

    The Church has a certain obligation to be involved with politics where
    inhumanity is concerned -- its protesting against regimes which engage
    in crimes against humanity, or its pressuring governments to offer
    more aid to those in need -- and I have no problem with this (natrually).

    However, the Papacy and various bishoprics have often been political vehicles
    for the accumulation of wealth and thereby power. Pope John XXIII was
    a notable deviation from this (not so his successor, Pope Paul XI),
    striving to improve the Church in the pursuit of Truth even at the
    expense of some of the benefits to which the Church was accustomed.
    His mindset was markedly different than those who succeeded him;
    consider his ecumenical mindset:
    In the essentials: unity -- In our differences: dialogue -- And, in all
    things: charity.

    This was a radical departure from his predecessor (politically speaking,
    it is said he was elected as a compromise because he didn't seem
    particularly strong or charismatic; if it were not for his bad health, he
    may have seen Vatican II through to the end and molded the Church
    into a more noble image) and resulted in a fair bit of dissent and,
    ultimately, his decisions very likely had a negative financial
    impact. But his thinking (and I agree with it) was 'who cares about
    the money: we need to do the right thing.'

    Is it right for the Church to have a relatively indifferent attitude
    to those bishops who harbored pedophiles? Is it right for the
    Church to be indifferent to what is probably millions of dollars in stolen
    offertories? Is it right for the Church to tolerate an archbishop
    who looks his flock dead in the eye and lies solely to protect his own
    reputation?

    I answer an emphatic 'No!' to these questions. Their (non-)response
    to these issues is akin to the so-called 'Blue Wall of Silence' which
    plagues police departments who protect their own even in the face of
    scandal.

    Think of it this way: Would you tolerate it from a school? A business?
    The police? Your extended family?

    Using the family metaphor: if you had an uncle who molested prepubescent
    girls or boys, would you protect him from the authorities? If you
    had an aunt who kept stealing from the family vault, would you
    just shrug and say, 'She's just a sinful creature.' If your grandfather
    had been a Nazi captain and participated in the systematic torture of
    thousands of individuals, would you lie before God and His
    creation and say you thought he was a great guy without a trace of
    impropriety in the past?

    If you consider yourself God's vessel, obligated to uphold that which
    was Right and True, I should think that you would not do so. I think,
    even though you love your family, you would not tolerate such a thing.
    Among the reasons you might tolerate it, the most obvious is to
    protect your own reputation: If people knew about grandpa, Uncle
    Marmaduke, or Auntie Esther, they might hate you by extension. They
    might avoid you. They might make fun of you.

    But they'd be wrong for doing so. However, if you protected those
    individuals and then other people chastised you, they would most
    certainly be right, just as Jesus was most certainly right to chastise
    the Pharisees and scribes.

    No. I think the Church should opt out of these public relations
    campaigns, suffer the consequences of losing fairweather congregants,
    lose money, and become a smaller, more Jesus-centered institution
    rather than the political machine it has become.

    Nemesio
  14. London
    Joined
    02 Mar '04
    Moves
    36061
    12 Jan '07 17:28
    I'm splitting out just the bits about the liturgy in this post as that's a different debate altogether.

    Originally posted by Nemesio
    But both [liturgy and beliefs] are of limited value without outwardly practicing (and this is my essential point): Yes, one must recognize the importance of liturgy. Yes, one must recognize the importance of sacramental life. Yes, one must know one's Bible and one's Catechism. But if one does all of these things and does not live a life of service to others, it serves no purpose. Liturgy is supposed to inspire. The priesthood is supposed to inspire. The sacraments are supposed to inspire. Inspire what? Inspire people to live Christ-like lives...

    Well, we totally disagree, then. I don't believe that one can separate
    the idea of meeting/experiencing/understanding God from serving
    people in need. If you cannot see God in each other, then you cannot
    see God, period. And if you cannot see the hungry Christ in your
    neighbor, then you've never met Jesus.



    Reading your post one would think I've been saying that love of one's neighbour is not an essential part of Christianity. I have not been saying that liturgy and orthodox morals without service of one's neighbours is meaningful. I have not been saying that love of God and love of one's neighbour can exist independent of each other.

    However, what I am saying, is that the two are not identical. One is not a means to the other. One does not worship God in order to serve one's neighbour. One enters into a relationship in God simply because He is who He is and we are who we are. And that is what liturgy is about.

    You're right - if it does not inspire us to help our fellow humans then it hasn't worked. However, that is not its purpose.

    Let me try an analogy (it may not be a particularly good one -- but I believe you're sensible enough not to get too pedantic about particulars -- and it was the first one that came to mind). You love your wife. So, if she's had a particularly tiring week, you might decide to drive the kids to soccer practice instead. Maybe you'll be the one cooking breakfast for the family over the weekend, letting her have a lie-in. You might take up some extra chores around the house.

    However, none of these is what you're thinking about when you're out with your wife for a romantic dinner. Or if you're making love to her. These latter actions are not means to ends like driving the kids or making breakfast or taking up extra chores. They are about time dedicated exclusively to the two of you and your relationship. You spend those moments with your wife because you want to be with her; not so you can be "inspired" to do the things mentioned in the previous paragraph.

    Naturally, either of the two forms of expression of your marital love would be meaningless without the other. You can take your wife out for all the nice dinners in the world and make the most passionate love but it means nothing if that love does not translate into concrete actions. However, if you restrict your expressions of love purely to concrete household and family tasks and never even so much as tell your wife you love her or spend time with her in these special moments, then your relationship is missing a lot.

    Liturgy is all about God's people and God spending time together in a special and privileged setting, apart from the activities of the other 167 or so hours. It ought to have the effect of inspiring the actions of those other hours, but that's not what it is all about. As I said in my previous post, it's a question of emphasis -- not separation as you seem to think.

    Yes, one should and does see Christ in one's neighbour. But one also receives Christ in a unique and privileged way in the Eucharist. The two are not equivalent. They are not interchangeable.

    In Christ's own life, how many times has He left behind teaching and healing the masses to go to a solitary location to pray? Why does Christ say, "The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me" (Mt 26:11)?

    With the Catholic and Orthodox Churches in particular, there is a long-standing tradition of recognising contemplative lives of prayer and meditation as valid Christian vocations. Would you say that those men and women over the centuries who have lived in eremetic and contemplative orders were poor Christians because they did not spend their time serving the poor? Were St. Therese of Lisieux and St. John of the Cross serving no purpose with their lives?
  15. Standard memberNemesio
    Ursulakantor
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Joined
    05 Mar '02
    Moves
    32455
    15 Jan '07 18:45
    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    ...I have [b]not been saying that love of God and love of one's neighbour can exist independent of each other....However, what I am saying, is that the two are not identical...One does not worship God in order to serve one's neighbour. One enters into a relationship in God simply because He is who He is and we are who we are. ...You're right - if it does not inspire us to help our fellow humans then it hasn't worked. However, that is not its purpose.[/b]

    It may be that we disagree here, but while they are not identical they are inseparable.
    If the purpose of liturgy, as you said, is to enter into and enhance one's relationship with God
    (a fair description), then by necessity the person worshiping will be a person who
    provides the sorts of outward works described by Saint Matthew (oft cited by me) in the
    25th chapter. A person who sees the 'God-ness' in a person in need is a person who has a
    relationship with God. Liturgy that fails to recognize this, inspire this, elucidate this, or
    promote it fails; it is a necessary quality. I am inclined to believe that it is its primary
    purpose (certainly not its sole purpose), for if liturgy is supposed to stimulate, foster and
    maintain a relationship with God, then it will do the same for relationships with His creation,
    most notably with other human beings.

    Liturgy is all about God's people and God spending time together in a special and privileged setting, apart from the activities of the other 167 or so hours. It ought to have the effect of inspiring the actions of those other hours, but that's not what it is all about. As I said in my previous post, it's a question of emphasis -- not separation as you seem to think.

    I feel that it goes beyond 'ought.' If it does not then the liturgy has failed for the
    individual in question. This may not be the fault of the liturgy -- although, I find that it often
    is because of priests' inattentiveness to liturgical norms, guidelines, and a general lack of
    creativity -- but a fault of a person's unwillingness or inability to let the liturgy speak to them.

    And, bringing this back to the topic at hand, when a priest, especially one who has risen in
    the ranks of the hierarchy, demonstrates that he himself has not been moved by the liturgy
    but, instead, by a power-hungry self-preservation, it undermines the whole of the Church
    itself.

    Poland's older clergy are undergoing further investigation and it will come as no surprise to
    me to find out that many have engaged in the same sorts of illicit behaviors as the former
    archbishop. These are people who have preached Sunday after Sunday about charity and
    honesty and compassion who themselves are guilty of profound offenses to these same
    virtues. When Mother Church fails to condemn this in a decisive and unequivocal way, She
    undermines her own claims to moral authority.
    These people have profaned the
    majesty of the Church and the sacredness of the Sacrament of Ordination. They have spit upon
    the Catechism and made a fool of all that which the Church stands for.

    The Church speaks of motive as a critical element of determining the nature of sin. If I untie
    a rope with a heavy weight on it and, unbeknownst to me someone walks underneath the weight
    and it crushes him and dies, assuming I took every reasonable precaution to prevent such a thing,
    I am not guilty of any sin. Similarly, if I give a desperate friend of mine $10 and insist that he
    pay me back $20 in a week, I am not doing him any favors -- the benefit is largely mine. I have
    not acted with compassion, but with greed.

    A priest may have been preaching a powerful and profound message of Christ's love, but
    he himself did not believe it. He was not driven by a belief in that message -- his motive
    was not spreading God's Word and Sacrament -- but by an interest in protecting himself and
    elevating his own status. I'm sure he didn't start out that way, but he most certainly became
    that way. He forgot that the greatest in the kingdom of heaven is the one who is servant to
    all.
    The lure of money or power or fear of his corporeal life led to his foregoing of his own
    spiritual values. Yes, the outside of the cup was clean, very clean indeed, but the inside of the
    cup was rancid.

    When the Church fails to respond with disdain upon these actions but responds with a casual
    indifference and shrug (and perhaps a nod and wink!), She tells the faithful a mixed message.
    Her nearly ambivalent response to the sex scandal in the US continues to infuriate me; the
    USCCB's hostility to Voice of the Faithful (comprising liberal and conservative Roman Catholics
    alike, for they all agree that the sex abuse scandal coverup was a dereliction of Churchly duty)
    is disgusting. Her support of this Polish bishop, Her slap on the wrist to Cardinal Law, Her
    'gee whiz' attitude to what is likely millions of dollars stolen because even the most trivial
    safeguards weren't in place: These things make a mockery of all the Church claims to stand on.

    And when Her faithful shrug and turn the other way...well, there is no wonder that fewer and
    fewer people are attending Mass every weekend, that both attendance and collections are down,
    that ordinations are at a crisis level, that the convents and monasteries are emptying. Fewer
    and fewer people have confidence that the Church leadership comprises people with clean
    insides to their cups. And, I'm sad to say, that I have to agree with those people.

    Yes, one should and does see Christ in one's neighbour. But one also receives Christ in a unique and privileged way in the Eucharist. The two are not equivalent. They are not interchangeable.

    A person who receives the Eucharist and does not attend to his/her brother's/sister's need has
    not entered into a relationship with God.

    In Christ's own life, how many times has He left behind teaching and healing the masses to go to a solitary location to pray? ... With the Catholic and Orthodox Churches in particular, there is a long-standing tradition of recognising contemplative lives of prayer and meditation as valid Christian vocations. ... Were St. Therese of Lisieux and St. John of the Cross serving no purpose with their lives?

    This is an auxiliary issue, but I will address it.

    I categorically reject the cloistered/hermetic lifestyle. Especially nowadays, when there
    is more than anecdotal knowledge that many of these lives were lived in near servitude, abused
    by flawed priests, coerced by fear and threats of damnation, I find that the emphasis on this
    borders on perverse.

    That is not to say that I believe that prayer doesn't matter. I take Saint Paul's admonition to
    pray unceasingly very seriously. I strive (and fail) to be contemplative about everything
    that I do -- my work, my relationships with wife and son and friends, my hobbies, even my posts
    at RHP. One can have a prayerful conversation. One can have a prayerful meal. One can
    help another person prayerfully. (I personally do not distinguish between 'prayerful' and 'mindful.'😉
    I strive for mindful/prayerful improvement in all that I do. But, I fervently believe that if this
    prayerfulness is not realized in its impacts upon those people I know and in attending to the needs
    that they have, it has no purpose. Yes, Jesus went out into the desert, but He came back.

    Nemesio
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