“Will bishops at last be held to account in abuse cases? We’re about to find out.” Washpost editorial


" … the published list had been whittled down by the bishop and church lawyers to exclude, among others, accused priests who had been left in ministry or restored after a suspension. In one case, a church lawyer wrote to the bishop that a priest alleged to have had sex with a teenage girl in the 1980s should be dropped from the list because including him “might require explanation.” (The priest, Fabian J. Maryanski, who has since been placed on leave, denied the allegation.)

Under the church’s new policy on accountability for bishops, it has fallen to Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the archbishop of New York, to decide whether to launch an investigation of Mr. Malone. As Mr. Dolan mulls that question — his office says an announcement is expected soon — other revelations have surfaced involving Mr. Malone’s less-than-assiduous attention to abuse victims. In an audio recording of a conversation from August, leaked recently by one of his former top assistants, Mr. Malone is heard worrying that “this could be the end for me as bishop.”"  washpost editorial board.


Despair is an unforgivable sin.  Unforgivable because someone in despair does not believe in the possibility of forgiveness and therefore does not repent.  On that basis I am in a lot of trouble because I despair for the ability of the Roman Catholic Church to purge itself, cauterize the resulting wounds and move on.  I know that I should not despair but I do.

Because of the essentially late Roman Empire structure of the Church the chain of command runs from the Pope to metropolitan archbishops who head eccesiastical provinces and then to suffragan dioceses subordinate to the metropolitan archbishops.

In the case of this fellow Malone, he is the subordinate of Archbisop Dolan in New York City because Buffalo is a diocese within the province which Dolan heads.  So, the buck stops (for the moment) at Dolan's Desk with regard to the question of what to recommend to the Pope about the careerist who sits in the bishop's chair in Buffalo, New York.

"This will finish me as bishop" Malone is quoted as saying of the result of his inaction and harboring of evil priests in Buffalo.   What an unworthy sentiment!  What greater evidence can there be of careerist ambition driven failure as a pastor of souls.

Dolan is a mystery to me.  I have seen him on "Fox and Friends," sprawled in a chair actinng the role of a basic New York City street guy.  He does not inspire me with the vision of a spiritual guide for all those souls spread across his province.

Is Dolan called now to decide about another careerist cleric when he may not be much different?  We will see,  pl


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12 Responses to “Will bishops at last be held to account in abuse cases? We’re about to find out.” Washpost editorial

  1. prawnik says:

    FWIW, Rod Dreher on The American Conservative has some interesting articles on these and other characters.

  2. Keith Harbaugh says:

    The WaPo editorial board wrote (emphasis added):

    Now Mr. Malone, ensnared in scandals and buffeted by allegations that he has covered up for priests accused of sexual abuse, has become a test case of whether bishops, who report only to the pope, will at last become accountable under a new policy adopted by Pope Francis last spring.

    The wording of that statement, and many, many others like it that have appeared over the years in the Post, remind me of the strategies advocated and discussed by the large cohort of student radicals at Brandeis Univ. circa 1970, where I was then a graduate student.
    Many of such students evidently spent a good part of their time plotting about how to bring about “the revolution” they felt was necessary to transform society into a more Marxist-friendly nature,
    writing about, and evidently thinking about, devising strategies to “Smash the establishment” (sometimes more explicitly stated as “Smash the WASP establishment”) and in general expressing their loathing for what they called “the bourgeoisie. I never could figure out why “the bourgeoisie” were so bad, I had always thought that was just a description for middle-class people with middle-class values. Anyhow, at Brandeis “bourgeoisie” seemed to be universally accepted as an epithet.
    Anyhow, one strategy that was advocated was

    Seize control of the media, then frame the issues so that only one outcome is possible, or at least reasonable.

    Whether by coincidence or not (I think not) that so accurately describes how WaPo has framed issue after issue, only showing one side of the issue.
    Other notable examples, beyond the familiar foreign policy issues, include WaPo‘s utterly slanted treatment of such social issues as homosexuals (serving as a mouthpiece for the Palm Center, while utterly ignoring Elaine Donnelly and her Center for Military Readiness) and women in the military, gender insanity (which to WaPo is strictly an issue of “human rights”), and their general attack on so much of what was generally considered required to have a successful society (i.e., “bourgeoisie values”): a notable example is this, which blatantly ignores the fact that teenage boys are going to be affected by how their distaff students dress, and the boys shouldn’t be blamed or pathologized for that.
    All of this is just intended to show how WaPo frames issues.
    As to the Catholic church and sexual abuse, I can’t help but wonder two things:
    1. If the situation has been really so bad, why wasn’t this written about more earlier? Or maybe it was, and I just didn’t notice it.
    2. Let’s not ignore the good things the Catholic Church has done, and I say not as a Catholic but as a person with Presbyterian background.

  3. Dave Schuler says:

    I am a Catholic. My ancestors have been Catholics for a millennium, at least according to extant church records. I haven’t looked at my state of mind as despair but as an ongoing crisis of faith.
    That state of mind has had many assaults in recent years including the premature canonization of Pope John Paul II. He was responsible for allowing the situation in which we find ourselves to happen.
    I know that believing that priests must be in a state of grace for sacraments they perform to be valid is heretical (Donatism). I don’t think it’s heretical to suggest that the actions of our bishops calls into question their magisterium.

  4. Diana C says:

    I am sorry for your sense of despair. I am not a member of the Catholic Church, but I do remember that as a Protestant, we did say in the third paragraph of the Apostles Creed: “I believe in the one holy catholic and apostolic church.” We were taught that the word “catholic” meant “universal.” Now we say “I believe in the one Holy Universal Christian Church…”
    As an English literature major, I learned as much about the history of Christianity as I did about the history of literature. Our Western literature can’t really be understood without understanding the history of Christianity, since Western writers from all centuries had to address in some way the Christian beliefs, and especially the beliefs that were most discussed during the time periods of the authors.
    At the beginning of my career in the early 70’s, I could teach literature and address and discuss those Christian ideas in the required literature of our curriculum. No one ever questioned me for doing that.
    And, quite frankly, I never gave up doing that. But toward the end of my career, I became discouraged because so many of the allusions to Biblical stories or characters were not at all familiar to the students.
    So, I am despairing the secularization of our culture. I despair the rash of protests against many old Christian monuments, the protests against Nativity scenes on government property or if crosses are erected somewhere on public land. Don’t get me started on my feelings about the protests against the Ten Commandment displays.
    I do understand the importance of the separation of Church and State. But I also do understand the way the Christian Religion in some of its various forms was responsible for the principles that are the framework of our government.
    I am almost in despair because of the crazy turn toward socialism in many of our young people and in our college professors. (I fight off despair by remembering the stupidity of many in my generations who were all about sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Many of those people have “grown up,” so to speak. I keep hearing in my mind Marx’s statement that “religion is the opiate of the masses.” I shudder that many young people accept that as true.
    I am happy that I live in a pretty conservative community. I am happy that the church I attend, which is the same one I was confirmed in as a 14=year-old, still holds to the Christian beliefs I was taught as a young person. I am happy to know that our two pastors teach the same doctrine that I learned before. And I know that if they don’t also live in alignment with that doctrine, they won’t last in the church. They answer to the congregation. (We are an Evangelical Congregational Church. I do understand your reaction to Dolan’s appearance on Fox and Friends. I don’t like it when famous Prostetant leaders become too cozy with politicians, though I do like it if a politician admits to being Christian.)
    I wonder if, as you may have suggested, the “deep state” of the Catholic Church in the U.S. has been corrupted in a similar way as the deep state of the U.S. government.
    I am sorry for your sense of despair. There is so much that is beautiful and inspiring in the traditions and practices and structures of the Roman Catholic Church. Church leaders should not take on the taint of so many secular leaders. I do know that the Catholic Church has over the many centuries of its existence weathered some of these “storms” that arise because of the incursion of many secular ideas and practices. It will, I believe, survive and continue as an important voice for righteousness.

  5. turcopolier says:

    As cradle Catholics we were trained and conditioned from a very young age to see priests as holy men who would not do such things. People who were sinned against often blamed themselves and their parents would in almost all cases have rejected their claims of abuse and blamed them as well. combine that with a clerical conspiracy of silence and you should understand why it too so long for this to become widely public.

  6. Cortes says:

    I was a cradle Catholic, Colonel, and have relatives who vie for the greatest number of celebrants at weddings and funerals. But in real world Catholicism, like in rural areas of Europe, people didn’t and don’t feel comfortable dealing with priests who had or have no identifiable woman. Why take the risk of incidents with wives, unmarried sisters or children of exposure to sexual predators?
    The need is for married priests. Married male priests. There’s a superabundance of milquetoast female “priests” in minor denominations to satisfy everyone.

  7. Bobo says:

    This abuse of young children has been going on for the past 50+ years and we have publically known it for the past 30 years or so. The abuse whether physical, emotional or administratively overlooked has driven many from the church while leaving those remaining skeptical of their clergy and administrators. We all have differing views but also spiritual needs to fulfill. Cardinals such as Dolan have a job to do and now seeing this problem again on the front pages says he has not done his job. Clean House they were told and most did but the house needs a further cleaning before the time to re-build arrives which I believe has already passed, but then, my hope is that it has not.
    My 12 years as an altar boy was rewarding, spiritually nourishing and an education that could not be bought in today’s world. But the men I served were either imbibing too much, chasing women or down right honest men trying with their best efforts to bring the word of our Lord to their flock.
    Their is a future but should Malone wind up in a church in Rome the heavens will open and a swift hand will clean it all.

  8. turcopolier says:

    Cortes American Catholics were more trusting.

  9. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Col Lang:
    “He who has no Hope is not with Me.”
    Imam Ali

  10. anon says:

    Cardinal george pell is now in jail with his appeal on the way to the high court having failed one appeal.This is a man who did nothing to prevent his colleagues abusing children.He is an enabler and has himself been accused of sex crimes.I am no lawyer but this crap sounds like subversion of a nations law to suit a cardinal.Read the article below for yourself

  11. Morongobill says:

    Perhaps the Bishop should step down and enter a monastery or serve as a priest out in the backwaters.

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