The president of the Catholic League is dismayed that a leading assailant of the church’s handling of sexual abuse would like the bishops to muzzle him. So far as I’m concerned, it’s not a question of muzzling.
Voice of the Faithful (VOTF) held its annual Assembly in Hartford on Saturday, and I can report that the mood of the liberal Catholic organization was pretty chipper. It was, pretty clearly, yet another manifestation of the Francis Effect.
The Vatican’s position at the moment is that its far-flung dioceses should obey the laws of whatever jurisdiction they happen to be in, and it’s hard to argue with that. But the problem with the “spare the victims’ feelings” line is that it can all too easily be used as an excuse to protect the perpetrators.
The hit of this year’s Hartford Jewish Film Festival was “The Jewish Cardinal,” a French TV biopic about Aaron Jean-Marie Lustiger, the Jewish convert who served as archbishop of Paris from 1981 until 2005. It was the opening night presentation last Thursday, and played to sold-out crowds in two theaters Saturday evening.
It’s not surprising that long-time victims’ advocates have been less than blown away by the naming of eight members to the new papal commission on sexual abuse in the church. But there’s reason for a little optimism.
How good is it that the world is head-over-heels in love with Pope Francis? In the opinion of Commonweal editor Paul Baumann, writing in Slate, not so good, at least as far as the church itself is concerned. I beg to differ.
Rome, we’ve got a problem. Pope Francis, politically the surest-footed pontiff in many a long century, stumbled pretty badly last week in discussing the crisis that has engulfed Roman Catholicism these past dozen years.
Last Friday, a somewhat puzzled federal appeals court panel denied Notre Dame an injunction against having to comply with the terms of Obamacare’s contraception mandate because the university had in fact complied with them. Huh?
Forget about clerical celibacy, contraception, same-sex marriage, and (of course) women priests. The threshold question on whether Pope Francis intends to make actual alterations in church doctrine will be divorce.
Last month, the Vatican presented a report on its efforts to deal with the abuse of minors in the church to the U.N.’s Committee on the Rights of the Child. There are so many problems with today’s response from the Committee that it must be considered a lost opportunity to encourage the Holy See to do the right thing.