Somos el Cuerpo de Cristo
Thoughts from Some Fellow Parishioners of Holy Spirit—December 24, 2006
“Even if we were talking about just one case, it would be a great source of concern, above all as regards the victims. But it’s unjust and hypocritical to generalize the scandals of pedophilia, because 99 percent of priests have nothing to do with it.” Cardinal Claudio Hummes, 72, of São Paulo, Brazil, the new Vatican prefect of the Congregation for Clergy.
The good Cardinal has his numbers wrong. In the United States, the only country that has systematically gathered data on clergy sex abuse, the study commissioned by the Conference of Catholic Bishops found that 4,392 clergy have been accused of the sexual abuse of minors. This represents approximately 4% of the clergy active over the time period surveyed. This is still a small number, but it is four times larger than what the Cardinal indicates. The important number, however, is 100%, which is the percentage of bishops and dioceses who have been shown to have been either derelict in their oversight of their priests or complicit in their priests’ immorality by continuing to place them in contact with young people and criminally negligent by either covering up the priests’ crimes or lying to parents and authorities about their knowledge of these crimes.
Yes, 100% - every diocese which has been forced to release its files has been found culpable. If there were a diocese in this country that handled the clergy sex abuse problem in an exemplary way, we would have heard about it - that diocese would be held up as a model. Sadly, no such diocese has been found. So, Cardinal Hummes, it is not “unjust and hypocritical to generalize” about this scandal, since, to date, 100% of the bishops and dioceses have been found to be at fault in their actions.
Note: the study commissioned by the USCCB found that 98.5% of the accusations of clergy sex abuse were credible—meaning, in only 66 of the 4,392 cases were the accusations deemed not credible.
Rejoinder to Anonymous
In the long time I've visited this blog, I have not seen any defense of your pastor at all. Is he so incompetent that he is incapable of leading you?...I find it hard to believe that in all the parishes that he has been a pastor, that this is the only parish where trouble has occurred. It leads me to believe that maybe it isn't Msgr. who is the problem. An Anonymous Blog Contribution, 12/12/06
This contribution to the Blog has clerical turns of phrase that indicate the author is a priest of the Diocese. It is good to hear voices from a different perspective, but the answer to the contributor’s question is, yes—the Monsignor is incompetent. Unless being absent from the Parish offices during much of any week, being routinely late for everything (including almost thirty minutes to a wedding this past weekend), providing no financial reports, conducting Pastoral Council meetings in secret with no reports, and failing to support parents in their home-based religious education is considered competence, of course. The Monsignor’s past isn’t relevant here—he is to serve the Parish, not the other way around. It is not the fault of Holy Spirit parishioners that they expect their pastor to do his job.
I believe Msgr.'s actions to be pastoral and corrective to those members gone astray in his parish. It is sad to see that he is attacked vigorously and openly about this. from Anonymous
On the contrary, the Monsignor has led a smear campaign in the Parish, attacking individuals vigorously and openly with nothing but personal animus as his basis. No one has “gone astray,” People hold different views about what is important in a “vibrant Vatican II parish.” The litany of activities and ministries dismantled in the Parish has been recited many times and those activities and ministries are not the hallmark of people needing correction. The Monsignor has justified the vast majority of his actions with nothing more than an appeal to his authority to take those actions—that is not, and has never been, sufficient at any time in the Church, in any parish.
As I mentioned, it is the platform of the group Call to Action that is what I question and wholeheartedly disagree with. That is what is out of line… I do not believe that the actions of this protest group is the solution to the problem. from Anonymous
Call to Action is a “straw man” in the war on parishioners that the Monsignor is carrying out. If there were not CTA members in the Parish, some other excuse would be put forward. The anonymous contributor certainly doesn’t have to agree with the platform of CTA, but what he sees as “protest” others see as a call for renewal and reform in the Church. Calling for married priests, women priests, increased lay responsibility, transperancy in Church finances, and a just and open resolution of the clergy sex abuse scandal may not sit well with everyone, but these are not at all related to the destruction of Holy Spirit Parish and the efforts that people have made to forestall that.
Total below budget: $23,275.27 (last year same date: $17,731.71)
Total shortfall (including expenditures over budget): $42,697.87
Projected yearly shortfall: $222,028.92
I just recently shared this story with some of you – when you are the mother of a precocious 5 year old girl, some stories just resonate. My thanks to Felipe Salinas for sharing the story with me.
“Sharon’s Christmas” (by: John Shea)
She was five, sure of the facts, and recited them with slow solemnity, convinced every word was revelation. She said:
They were poor; they only had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to eat.
And they went a long way from home without getting lost. The lady rode a donkey, the man walked, and the baby was inside the lady. They had to stay in a stable with an ox and an ass (she giggled) but the Three Rich Men found them because a star lited the roof.
Shepherds came and you could pet the sheep but not feed them. Then the baby was borned.
And do you know who he was? Her quarter eyes inflated to silver dollars.
The baby was God.
And she jumped into the air, whirled around, dove into the sofa, and buried her head under the cushion. Which is the only proper response to the Good News of the Incarnation.
May the joy of Christmas find you and fill your heart, and may your sofa catch you! from fellow parishioner, Michelle Peña
Prepared by RGV Parishioners for Progress and edited by Jerry Brazier. Copy this, and pass it on to fellow parishioners, either by e-mail or paper. If you want an opportunity for prayerful discussion of these and other issues about the parish or have any other comments, please contact us at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org