The Catholic church made all sorts of headlines in June:
Item #1: The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops: Nothing Has Changed
The bishops’ conference was June 11-13, an assembly of nearly 300 members in Baltimore. Its focus was the Catholic church sex abuse scandal, and it came practically on the heels of the bishops’ conference in Rome in February, which was also about – guess what – the sex abuse scandal.
Whew! Those poor guys barely had time to unpack and get over their jet lag!
So all the guys sat around for three days and talked, which – when it comes to the church and sex abuse – they’re really good at.
This time around there was a lot of ya-da ya-da ya-da about bishops holding each other accountable for committing sexual abuse, and for covering up the crimes committed by their fellow bishops.
“In the past, only Rome was involved in the investigation of bishops, and the process was surrounded by secrecy,” said an article in the National Catholic Reporter (NCR).
In that same article, I learned about the new and improved reporting process, which sounds neither new nor improved.
The bishops came up with the idea of a toll-free phone number for receiving reports of “certain complaints” against bishops.
Why only “certain” complaints was not made clear.
Also, allegations will now be reported to the “nuncio,” an Archbishop named Christopher Pierre, the pope’s representative in the United States, who lives in Washington, DC. He’s also referred to as “His Excellency.”
His Excellency Christopher reports to the Vatican, then sits around and waits for the Vatican to empower him to do an investigation.
If that happens, His Excellency then investigates.
NCR noted that this new and improved system “has no provisions providing for transparency.”
As far as I can ascertain, the system has no provisions for reporting allegations to local law enforcement, either.
Since I’m talking about the bishops’ conference and how nothing changes, I’ll include this:
|This is Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, looking holier-than-thou at the conference.||Just before the conference began on June 11, DiNardo was making his own headlines.|
DiNardo is head of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, and it was to him that Laura Pontikes came in December 2016 to report that his deputy in the Galveston-Houston archdiocese, Monsignor Frank Rossi, had manipulated her into a sexual relationship that had gone on for years.
DiNardo’s solution? He simply allowed Rossi to take a new job as pastor of a parish two hours away in east Texas.
On June 4, 2019 – three years after the meeting with DiNardo and a week before the conference – the church temporarily removed Rossi, announcing in a statement that he was being placed on administrative leave.
Item #2: The Vatican’s New Document: Courtesy Of The Know-Nothings
Speaking of the Vatican, that brings us to Item #2, the June 10 release of its document with the lofty title of “Male and Female He Created Them: Towards a Path of Dialogue on the Question of Gender Theory in Education.”
According to the Washington Times, the document is “intended to help Catholic teachers,
parents, students and clergy address what the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education called an ‘educational crisis’ in the field of sex education.”
Let’s start with a basic.
Catholic clergy, from priest to pope, take a vow of celibacy. The definition of celibacy is “abstention from sexual relations.”
Yet somehow these guys are positioning themselves as experts “in the field of sex education.”
Somehow these guys feel they’re qualified to “help” Catholic teachers, parents, and students deal with the very complicated issues around sexual relations and sexual orientation, issues that even the most highly educated experts grapple with.
Upon what do the Catholic clergy base their qualifications as sex experts?
They’ve read about sex in books, maybe?
The document was co-signed by Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, the head of the department charged with overseeing Catholic education, and Archbishop Angelo Vincenzo Zani, the secretary.
A cardinal and an archbishop.
Two more celibate know-nothing sex experts.
Item #3: The Lord’s Prayer: Is Nothing Sacred?
While all this was going on – the pope’s conference about sex abuse and the pope’s document about sex education – somehow the pope wasn’t too busy to say the Lord’s Prayer.
That is, change what is said in the Lord’s Prayer.
Which, you’ll be relieved to know, has nothing to do with sex.
The pope has officially approved changes in the wording of the Lord’s Prayer, probably the most famous prayer in Christianity.
Instead of saying “lead us not into temptation,” people should now say “do not let us fall into temptation.”
After the announcement, an explosion of controversy erupted:
“Very upsetting!” said one commentator.
“It just makes you wonder, where does it stop?” said another.
“I was shocked and appalled,” said yet another. “It is not only deeply problematic, it’s almost breathtaking.”
Perhaps those who don’t like the changes, and anyone who’s unhappy, should call that toll-free hotline that the bishops at the conference are creating to field complaints.
Here’s the number: