Sins That Demand Justice: How Clerical Culture Failed to Stop Sexual Predators


“High standards are in the Gospel, so I don’t quite know why there is a need to revise standards for behavior,” Janet Smith, a moral theologian at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, told the Register in a candid and bracing response to the cardinals’ promises of change.

However, Smith did recognize the importance of establishing a clear path for “reporting immoral behavior” and for “eradicating the homosexual network in many dioceses and reportedly in the Curia itself.”


Cardinal O’Malley has warned that, if our shepherds fail to act, they will “destroy the trust required for the Church to minister to Catholics and have a meaningful role in the wider civil society.”

The reality is a great amount of that trust already was destroyed by clergy abuse of minors. Now it faces near decimation, and it needs a complete rebuilding.

This must be Pope Benedict’s “smaller Church”. Thanks for the heads up.


From the NCRegister article:

“Over the past two decades, even as the U.S. bishops sought to remove priests facing credible accusations of sexual abuse involving minors, there has been a tacit acceptance of sexual misconduct involving “adults” in many dioceses. This pattern reflects the corrosive impact of secular norms that tolerate nonmarital sexual behavior as long as it is “consensual.”

Meanwhile the US bishops held their annual meeting in June and apparently “spent their time together discussing current politics and changes to a voters’ guide for the Fall midterm elections.”


great, and relevant, too


Love it. I hope this doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone either. The bishops are in a status quo bubble of complacency. Let’s face it, it is not a bad life, probably quite a comfortable, intellectually, personally rewarding one. Moral urgency doesn’t seem to really play much of a role, that is unless you voted for Trump. :wink: Cardinal McCarrick actually baptized one of his victims; he was a close family friend.


Yep, you’re right about that one. Some good points were made in this article by Phil Lawler as well:

One quote that he cites brings up a very similar argument:


Yes, Phil Lawler has been great on this; a lot of what he wrote was in 2000 or something like that, so that tells me there has been a pretty high level of knowledge/awareness of this issue among the engaged lay Catholic community for awhile. I also saw the pieces from Doughtery and Douthat (who has a great book out too on the state of the Church - I highly recommend it). It will take action from outside the hierarchy of the Church to address this; there is just too much at stake for the insiders to voluntarily clean up their act. It is a Church wide bureaucracy, how it has staffed itself and functioned for years, an integral part of the Church’s identity, offline so to speak. I mean look what at is happening to them on account of McCarrick’s exposure. The fur is flying; one’s natural instinct is to avoid that for a number of reasons. The problem is that when the truth wills out these scandals end up bankrupting the Church and emptying the pews. Let’s not even go the moral implications of all this, what it says about the Church in any sort of connection to Jesus Christ, Sacred Scripture, Tradition, all that. I still can’t get over the Vatican’s nativity scene last year. I think the laity are a little lucky they know as little as they do. A blessing. Still, the question is do you coast with your vague discomfort/unease or act. Address the larger problem of how this kind of debauchery taints the Church’s capacity to fulfill her mission, all levels, in all ways. Pick up your cross as they say. Who am I to judge.


The editor of Regina magazine proposes her own solution, here:


I think a big difference from the scandal of early 2000s is that instead of despairing and leaving the Church, Catholics are fed up and are fighting back.


It’s our church, we have to make sure the culture is Catholic so that this doesn’t happen. So I agree that it is us who have to fight for Catholic culture.


Priceless!!! Apparently they’re more concerned about preventing pro Trump politicians from getting elected/re-elected, than they are about getting their own house in order. Meanwhile, the Barque of Peter is taking on water, and is listing badly to starboard.


St Catherine of Sienna wrote about this same problem many centuries ago.


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