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If you are visiting my blog, expecting to see 'Toward a Progressive Catholic Church,' I have changed my title to reflect my wide assortment of interests. Having retired from my secular job, I hope to devote the rest of my life to my hobbies, ministries and perhaps a part-time job that makes good use of my communications skills. This blog will be designed to address my multi-faceted interests.

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Location: Rochester, New York, United States

I have an M.A. in Theology and an M.Div (Master of Divinity) from St. Bernard's School of Theology and Ministry. I am currently a media consultant and promoter of classical music. I am also certified as an officiant by the Federation of Christian Ministries for baptisms, weddings and funerals and minister independently of the Rochester Diocese. My life has encompassed many interesting paths: broadcasting, free-lance writing, video-production, music, ministry and a secular job in government. In addition to this blog, I have a YouTube site at and I have a Facebook page.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Cardinals' Oath of Secrecy

Dear Blog Visitors:

It appears that the lid of the Vatican box of secrets has been opened. When the Boston Globe was the first major publication to reveal the full scope of the sexual abuse crisis in the United States (2002), there was a mistaken impression that this was a problem unique to America. We now know this is not the case, because of international revelations that have come full circle in the past week.

It is safe to say that we have only begun to experience the tip of the iceberg. In addition to the United States, the Vatican has reluctantly admitted to far-reaching abuse cases that encompass all expanses of Europe and third world countries.

I was very pleased to learn yesterday that members of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in Austria are beginning to raise a question I raised in a video I made yesterday. Namely, Austrian bishops are now wondering if the policy of mandatory priestly celibacy has contributed to the sexual abuse crisis.

All Roman Catholic cardinals need to admit to a certain degree of guilt when it comes to conspiracies and cover-ups involving the sexual abuse crisis. Let us take a look at the oath they are required to take upon assuming their duties:

“I (name and surname), Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, promise and swear to be faithful henceforth and forever, while I live, to Christ and his Gospel, being constantly obedient to the Holy Roman Apostolic Church, to Blessed Peter in the person of the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI, and of his canonically elected Successors; to maintain communion with the Catholic Church always, in word and deed: NOT TO REVEAL TO ANY ONE WHAT IS CONFIDED TO ME IN SECRET, NOR TO DIVULGE WHAT MAY BRING HARM OR DISHONOR TO HOLY CHURCH; to carry out with great diligence and faithfulness those tasks to which I am called by my service to the Church, in accord with the norms of the law. So help me Almighty God.”

Please notice the words in capital letters. These capitalized words are largely responsible for the mess the Roman Catholic Church now finds itself in.

I would like to close by providing an article from the New York Times (published yesterday) that addresses the resolve of Austrian bishops to look at the role mandatory celibacy may have played in the sexual abuse crisis:

Austrian Priests Suggest Celibacy May Be a Problem
New York Times
March 13, 2010

On Thursday two senior Catholics in Austria, where reports of the sexual abuse of children by priests and nuns have been in the news, suggested that the role of priestly celibacy may need to be discussed as Catholics seek to understand and end scandals that have erupted across Europe and in the United States in recent years.

The Archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Schönborn, wrote in an article for a Catholic magazine that it was time for the Church to undertake an “unflinching examination” of what might be at the root of the problem of celibate clerics sexually abusing children.

As The Guardian’s religious affairs correspondent, Riazat Butt, explained on Thursday, Archbishop Schönborn wrote that the discussion should “include the issue of priest training, as well as the question of what happened in the so-called sexual revolution,” as well as “the issue of priest celibacy and the issue of personality development. It requires a great deal of honesty, both on the part of the church and of society as a whole.”

On Thursday night, Archbishop Alois Kothgasser of Salzburg told Austrian television, “In the Church’s current situation, the question must be asked whether celibacy is an appropriate way of life for priests and an appropriate way of life for believers.”

As Reuters reports, “There have been daily reports of child sexual abuse in Austrian Catholic institutions since the arch-abbot of Salzburg’s St. Peter’s monastery quit Monday after admitting to sexually abusing a boy 40 years ago.”

On Friday, The Telegraph added, “Salzburg church officials revealed that a man said he was abused by a nun while a child – the first such accusation amid widening allegations of sexual misdeeds leveled against Austria’s Roman Catholic church.”

Neither of the Austrian archbishops directly suggested ending celibacy. In fact Archbishop Schönborn said on Friday that he was not saying that celibacy caused pedophilia. “If celibacy were the reason for sexual abuse,” he said, “there wouldn’t be any abuse in the rest of society.”

As this video report from France 24 explains, sex scandals have also affected the Catholic Church in Germany recently:
Pope Benedict XVI met with Germany’s highest-ranking Roman Catholic leader Friday at the Vatican to discuss allegations that priests in the pope’s native country sexually abused children for decades, as my colleagues Nicholas Kulish and Rachel Donadio report.

As Reuters reported, another leading German Catholic, Bishop Hans-Jochen Jaschk of Hamburg, told German Radio on Friday: “The celibate lifestyle can attract people who have an abnormal sexuality and cannot integrate sexuality into their lives. That’s when a dangerous situation can arise.” Bishop Jaschk added, “Just because one doesn’t live out one’s sexuality doesn’t mean it’s been turned off.”

Despite all these calls for a discussion of the issue, Pope Benedict defended “the value of sacred celibacy” in remarks on Friday and said that the ancient rule would not be changed because of “passing cultural fashions.”

Copyright 2010 The New York Times Company


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