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"Double Standard" Update

Cardinal Dulles Says Homo-Priest Scandal No Big Deal

by Christopher A. Ferrara

With the news that the Pope has summoned the North American cardinals to the Vatican - for what, I fear, will amount to little more than a useless "workshop" on "policies" to "address" a scandal that should never have been allowed to fester for decades - what do we find but the liberal Cardinal Avery Dulles telling us that the scandal is no big deal.

As reported in the Boston Herald of April 16, 2002, "Dulles, who was elevated to cardinal last year and shares many of the pope's conservative philosophies on church teachings, said the scandal is an American media creation that does not rise to the level of historical church crises such as the Gregorian revolution in the 12th century or the Protestant reformation of the 16th century. ‘I don't think this is anything of comparable proportions,’ he said. ‘I don't think there's any great crisis in the U.S . . . It's really practically no news. To the extent it's a crisis, it's created by the news media. I suppose every individual case is terrible but it is not something peculiar to the Catholic church.’"

He supposes that "every individual case is terrible"? That’s an amazingly cavalier attitude to take toward abominable crimes by members of the sacred clergy. As for the claim that the scandal has been "created by the news media", the Cardinal has to be kidding. The media did not "create" (at last count) nearly 2,000 pending civil suits against priests in every major American diocese for the sexual molestation of boys or women. One of these, a Father Shanley in the Boston Archdiocese, was moved from parish to parish for years while he molested altar boys, and when he was finally packed off to Arizona for "treatment" he took the opportunity to establish a "gay" resort facility! (An interesting question is where he got the money to start this business.)

What, exactly, has the media "created", Cardinal Dulles?

The Boston Herald quotes the head of Boston College’s theology department, Stephen Pope, to the effect that Dulles’ attitude is "stunning'" and that "it could reflect John Paul's feelings, given the two share similar views." Professor Pope (liberal though he himself is) rightly observed that Dulles "is profoundly out of touch with what ordinary Catholics are thinking. There's a very deep emotional level of anger and depression. If that's the way the Vatican is thinking, there's a very big problem."

Indeed there is. Despite its public hand-wringing and its soothing talk of "beginning the process of healing" in recent days, neither the North American hierarchical establishment nor the Vatican apparatus was too terribly concerned over the decades about doing anything to stop the abominable crimes of these clerical predators - until the media "created" the scandal. Does anyone seriously believe that this meeting would have been called in the Vatican if not for the media coverage of what the bishops were trying hide? The top priority for the Vatican apparatus is protecting its credibility, not punishing clerical criminals and rendering swift justice for the victims. If they really cared about justice for the victims, justice would have been rendered long before the media coverage began.

Dulles, I am afraid, is only too typical of an institution that is, quite simply, corrupt and tottering to its ruin. I do not mean the Catholic Church in the supernatural sense, or even the average priest who is honoring his vows, but rather much of the Church’s bureaucracy, whose nearly total indifference in the face of unspeakable evil is now on public display, for the world to mock and scorn. And statements like the one by Dulles only add to the Church’s disgrace.