Thursday, 16 April 2009

Bishop shame file grows - Paraguay and Montreal

I never know whether to ignore these stories or report them. Do we really need to know that yet more of our shepherds has been a cause of scandal? Is it simply detraction?

I had been intending to ignore these two, but a reader brought my attention to them, and given that these stories do get widely reported anyway (and have generally been the result of public admissions to the media), perhaps we do need to be aware of the facts so we can deal with the issue when it comes up in conversations with non-catholics (or nominal catholics). And we need to know what we may be up against! So herewith two more items for the shame file.


Remember the bishop who ran for the Presidency, was elected, and was subsequently laicized by the Pope? Well, now it turns out that his disobedience was not just on running for political office, but also against his vow of celibacy. President Lugo has admitted paternity of a child by a girl who he met and seduced while preparing her for confirmation classes when she was aged 16.


And today's gem, Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte of Montreal, Canada has said that while he is against abortion "I can understand that in certain cases, there is almost no other choice than to practice it."

In an interview with Le Devoir, Lifesite News reports that the Cardinal contradicted the teachings of Catholic Church on abortion and condoms.

"Personally, I am against murder," Cardinal Turcotte was quoted as saying, "but can understand that sometimes, when someone is being attacked, they need to kill someone in self-defense. I am against abortion, but I can understand that in certain cases, there is no other choice than to practice it."

On condoms, he said it would be "ridiculous" to suggest that Pope Benedict said condoms should not be used.

"Essentially, the pope said that it took two things to fight this disease, the means, but also a change of mentality. He pronounced this sentence to show that condoms were not in and of themselves the perfect solution; we took his words out of context and all this was largely amplified," said Cardinal Turcotte.

"As if the pope had said that condoms should not be used. This is ridiculous! When someone has AIDS, it is his or her responsibility to protect the people with whom he or she has intercourse."

Please pray for these bishops in particular, and all bishops, that they might lead their flocks both by example and in the rectitude of their teaching...


Victoria said...

Once again we must ask who put forward the names of these men as bishop material and did anyone check to see whether they were orthodox or not.

I am sure that there have always been priests and bishops who have caused scandal but the majority of people wouldn't have knows about them and so their Faith was never shaken by these people but today when you can cough in Australia and one minute later someone emails you from Canada asking about your cold the sins of those who, we were told, were called by God to be His priests are broadcast around the world.

I don't think a day goes by when there isn't a revelation about some new or imagined scandal about the Catholic Church. If I didn't believe that the Catholic Church is the Church which Christ founded I would be shaking the dust off my shoes as I left the Church. I can spout the platitude "the Church is a hospital for sinners" with the best of them but when the biggest sinners are those who are supposed to be our shepherds it's all a bit hard to take.

Terra said...

Victoria - I think one of the problems is that it really is hard to tell how some people will go when they get put in a particular position. It is true that there have been some bad appointments where it was perfectly predictable that the person would not be a good shepherd.

But I've been on lots of selection panels for jobs and a few times have been fooled by people who presented well, seemed to be doing a good job at a lower level (although sometimes it turned out they were covering up major problems), but proved disastrous when promoted. So vocational grace notwithstanding I have a bit of sympathy for those involved in these selection processes.

I also think the current tension between those wanting pastors in their own image (liberals) and those wanting orthodox bishops who will address longstanding problems has a way to be worked through yet.

And it is not all the fault of the hierarchy. If nominal catholics don't actually come to mass each week, and demand good liturgy and orthodox sermons; if not everyone seriously discerns whether they might have a vocation to the priesthood or religoius life and is willing to commitment to the requisite sacrifice; if traditionalists hide out in their ghettoes, grateful for the TLM but not actually working to engage in the wider church, then we get the leaders we deserve..

In the end the strength of the Church is that she survives despite her members (lay or clerical), not always because of them!