A Week of Disorientation

Posted by Censor Librorum on Jul 16, 2010 | Categories: Accountability, Faith, Lesbians & Gays, Scandals

This week, moderate and liberal Catholics are putting their heads in their hands wondering why we continue.

The Vatican made an announcement that priests who sexually abuse minors, view child pornography, or sexually abuse mentally disabled adults, along with those who ordain women or women who attempt to be ordained, will now be included among the list of “delicta gravioria,” or the most serious crimes against church law.

The ordination of women is now classified as a “crime against the sacraments,” which includes any action that defiles or desecrates the Eucharist. men

At a Vatican briefing this week, Monsignor Charles Scicluna, an official at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, denied that the Vatican equates women’s ordination with the sexual abuse of children. An illicit ordination, Scicluna clarified, is a “”sacramental” crime, while abuse is a “moral” crime.

Women’s Ordination Conference Executive Director Erin Saiz Hanna commented: “The Vatican’s decision (to) list women’s ordination in the same category as pedophiles and rapists is appalling, offensive, and a wake-up call for Catholics around the world. The new canonical declaration which names women’s ordination as a serious crime against the Roman Catholic Church is medieval at best. The idea that a woman seeking to spread the message of God somehow “defiles” the Eucharist reveals an antiquated, backwards Church that still views women as “unclean” and unholy.”

This same week, Zenit, the Vatican news agency, announced Archbishop Velasio De Paolis, 74, president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, has been asked by the Pope to govern the congregation in his name “during the time necessary to complete the path of renewal.” VelasioDePaolis

With a strong background in law and finance, Archbishop De Paolis essentially serves as chief auditor for the Vatican.   The Legion’s estimated assets are valued at $33 billion.

The news agency noted that Archbishop De Paolis visited the Legion’s headquarters in Rome on Saturday, presenting its superiors with the papal letter naming him delegate, and handing them a personal letter in which he expressed his own thoughts and recommendations for the Legionaries.

Zenti went on to add: “The Legion of Christ is being guided by the Church in a renewal, following the discovery that its founder, Father Marcial Maciel, fathered children and was guilty of other crimes.”

That has to place first as the wryest, drollest, understatement of the year.

Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado raped and sexually abused underage seminarians and priests; kept mistresses on two continents; fathered at least three children; raped his sons; lied, cheated and stole his order’s money to support an illicit lifestyle.   He was aided and abetted by senior members of the Legion.   The organization was maintained by secrecy and deceit.

Maciel’s key supporters in the Vatican, who provided him with a protective shield, included Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state from 1991 to 2006; Cardinal Eduardo Martinez, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life; and Cardinal Stanislaw Dzwisz, the Polish secretary of late Pope John Paul II.

Fr. Maciel’s biggest enabler was Pope John Paul II himself.   Maciel brought in money and men to the priesthood; and that balanced the account as far as the pope was concerned.

Ponder this for a minute…..senior members of the Vatican hierarchy protected a serial molester and rapist, a priest that had several children with two different women—because this man had created an organizational structure that attracted seminarians and espoused traditional values and practices.

At the same time, they have set into place the most savage penalties for bishops and women who want to become priests, and refuse to consider the issue of priestly celibacy.

In the Zenit article Archbishop De Paolis said it is understandable that some Legionaries are “going through difficult moments, that some have already thought of a different path.” He cautioned that the “vocation is something too serious to be able to make a decision about it in a moment of disorientation.”

“Let’s be patient,” he said.

“Your vocation, like your congregation, is in your hands, is entrusted to your responsibility,” the prelate stated. “The Church accompanies you; the Lord is merciful and generous: He gives his Spirit without measure. His grace goes before you, it accompanies you, and it brings you to the goal.”

And so begins the fumigation of the Legionnaires of Christ. Fumigate2

“Disorientation” is a good word to describe the actions of the Vatican and the state of my mind.

The faith received a good smack this week.

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14 Responses to “A Week of Disorientation”

  1. Póló Says:

    Thank you Karen for taking up the issue of the latest Vatican emmission and linking it so well to the former tolerance and current fumigation of the Legionaries.

    Rev. Stephen Neill, Protestant Anglican Priest, in Cloughjordan has done a very constructive post on on current Vatican dementia on his blog, PaddyAnglican.

  2. paddyanglican Says:

    Excellent post – shows the total inconsistency of these statements that keep spewing forth! I took especially grave exception to a little reported nuance in the document whereby celebrating the Eucharist with protestants is an equivalent crime to chucking the sacred Host in the bin! It doesn’t get much more sectarian that that!
    Glad to find you – sent by Póló who comments above

  3. Anamchara Says:

    I keep thinking I can’t be more outraged by what the Vatican does, but once again I’ve been proved wrong.

    I recently attended the funeral of a woman who was ordained a priest four weeks before cancer ended her life. It was the most spiritually fulfilling and joyful mass I’ve been to in decades.

    As I’ve been (once again) writing my will and end of life directives, I had been pondering whom I would want to officiate at my funeral. At the funeral I attended, I realized I had found a source for such a minister.

  4. Censor Librorum Says:

    All – thank you for your comments. For an institution whose priority is protecting its image, Mother Church exhibits the worst PR skills in the world! It must be nothing less than the Holy Spirit saving it in spite of all the bad management and utter, utter sinfulness of most of its key leaders.

    In their efforts to continue to “protect” the church from the scandal they are wrecking what remains of its moral credibility. That they cannot or are unwilling to see that is indicative of their mindset to protect the status quo at any cost.

    The Vatican lurches along, from one PR debacle to another, unwilling or unable to do the two things that would save it: a sincere apology and request for forgiveness–starting with the Pope and going down through every cardinal, bishop and Vatican bureaucrat associated with this scandal, and a making a dramatic break in Church culture which makes clergy a protected and privileged class within the body of Christ. Especially at the expense of children and the defenseless–that’s what people can’t stomach.

    PaddyAnglican – Polo sent me a link to your blog and blog post about “Becoming Protestant.” I very much appreciated it, and thought your post beautifully articulated what many Roman Catholics think and feel, too.

    I encourage people to read and reflect on it: http://paddyanglican.blogspot.com/2010/07/becoming-protestant-story-of-reluctant.html

    Thomas Doyle of the National Catholic Reporter also had a good article on this subject – http://ncronline.org/news/vatican/vaticans-new-norms

    Best regards – Karen

  5. Pedophilia, Women’s Ordination – and Kid Gloves for the Legion | Queering the Church Says:

    […] -(Read the full post) […]

  6. Pedophilia, Women Priests, and Kid Gloves for the Legion « Queering the Church (towards a reality-based theology) Says:

    […] -(Read the full post) […]

  7. Freespirit Says:

    Though born Catholic I have never felt I belonged and have for a long time moved further away, effectively being left in a spiritual wilderness! I have gone to other Christian services and was glad to have taken part in them. However, there are many fine spiritual aspects within Catholicism that I found very comforting. Of late, I am becoming more angry that ‘my church’ as I am now coming to see it and indeed ‘our church’ has been hi-jacked by a very elitist group who govern over it with a view to holding onto power at all costs. It is v. much in their interests to alienate and indeed excommunicate those that would oppose them to secure the exclusive club they currently enjoy.
    Well its time we take back ownership of this church and bring back true Christianity to it. If this means a schism so be it! We will never see change with the current leaders, nor indeed being aligned to the Vatican. Is it not time that so many who have been marginalised- the abuse victims, gays, women, and all others left adrift to be able to return to their spiritual home?

  8. Póló Says:


    This was the most impressive and unpretentious funeral I ever attended.

  9. EssEm Says:

    You guys just don’t get it. You don’t really understand the 2000 year old Church you sorta still belong to, including the reasons why it is still around after 2000 years. Let me break it down for you: for Catholicism, doctrinal and sacramental matters will always be more important than moral matters. Humans will always sin, priests included. As regrettable as ephebophile clerics have been, that is one more passing example of bad behavior. And it will be replaced by others. But if you start watering down doctrine and sacraments –especially the Eucharist and the priesthood– the whole enterprise will eventually unravel from the inside. Which is what you folks are advocating because you think that by some astonishing gift, it is just since 1965 that Western liberals have insight into “Christ’s ministry of inclusion and justice.” What you want is for the RC Church to ape the US Protestant Episcopal Church, which, while shrinking fast in numbers, is well on its way to being Unitarianism in drag.

  10. Karen Doherty Says:

    Wow!…EssEm….not one word of compassion for the child victims? What kind of “Catholic” attitude is that?

    The sex abuse scandal is not just about pedophile priests; or hetero, bi and gay and straight priests that decided to have sex or pressure someone for it. It is PRIMARILY (big letters so you “get it”) the bishops, cardinals and popes that sheltered them, protected them and enabled them to keep preying on children, teenagers and their families.

    Here’s my take on the difference between “us folks” and people like yourself. Catholics who see themselves as spiritual adults feel free to contribute their opinions and experience on matters that affect them, their families and communities. After all, this is what an adult is supposed to do.

    Of course, some of the hierarchy aren’t thrilled about this Vatican II development, and want to roll back the calendar to the days when “Father Knows Best.”

    And besides, even the most *loyal* Catholics don’t excuse sex abuse as “bad behavior” anymore.

    It is your understanding that “doctrinal and sacramental matters will always be more important than moral matters” in Catholicsm. But this faith in man-made strictures is not shared completely by everyone. Other Catholics see what Jesus said, did, and implied in the Gospels as equally–if not more important–for us to guide our life and relations with others.

    As you may recall from the Gospel accounts, Jesus focused on the moral implications, not the law. He was also pretty clear about about the fate awaiting someone who harmed children:

    “But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of scandals. For it must needs be that scandals come: but nevertheless woe to that man by whom the scandal cometh.” Douay-Rheims Bible – 18: 6-7

  11. Freespirit Says:

    For me at least, its about betrayal — to all those abuse victims,to all those who have been marginized by this church and betrayal to the message of Jesus all of those 2000 years ago.
    Yes we are all sinners, too right. However, with power comes responsibility. This power was used to cover and protect the Institution thus causing many Catholics like us guys who are kinda sorta in the church, to be left in a spiritual wilderness.
    The first and most important responsibility this institution has is to uphold the truth and be true to the example that Jesus set us. Has it done this — sorry no it hasn’t. This is a betrayal of its very raison d’etre!

  12. Póló Says:


    Amen to that.

  13. Póló Says:

    Interesting piece in the Guardian (UK) on women priests (in the Church of England):

  14. Anonymous Says:

    This is shocking to me…why is it that it’s always the women and children that take the brunt of everything…

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