Monsignor Harry J. Byrne, JCD * * * Comment/

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Location: 3103 Arlington Avenue,, Bronx, NY 10463, United States

August 19, 2008


My two previous postings, DISHONORING MY REGIMENT and MAKE THE DALLAS CHARTER FAIR brought out the largest numbers of comments on my blog postings. The first dealt with the failure of B16, JPII, and many bishops to understand the evil of child abuse, a failure that led to acceptance of the secret reassigning of abusing priests. Such transfers kept the miscreants within the ranks, exponentially multiplying damage to children and corrupting the presbyterite by their presence.

Cheers were loud and abundant in response to this blog post. There was praise for the blog "calling it as it is". Many other comments showed a deep-seated anger, a "towering inferno" of rejection of the whole institution, allowing no distinction of rank: pope, bishops, priests were equally excoriated in some comments, popes and bishops for failures in governance; priests by failure to report what they, according to the critics, must have known. "How dare you", some comments read, "worry about your honor when your entire institution, showing no concern for violated children, is guilty?" One comment put it that there should be no concern about honor of the regiment and its members because it was Jesus that was dishonored. Reference was made to the millstone mentioned by Jesus.

MAKE THE DALLAS CHARTER FAIR elicited many "hurrahs" and"alleluias". There was praise that important items were publicized, viz. that the bishop was simultaneosly arresting officer, prosecutor, judge, and appellent bench and that the Charter allowed no distinction among the different degrees of sexual offenses. But negative criticism of the posting was also abundant. Many comments held that, when it was necessary to choose between danger to children and protection against false allegations, one must chose to protect the children. One could respond that one goal does not exclude the other. Both can be successfully achieved. Most negative comments opposed the blog's support for statutes of limitations, both canonical and civil. Several urged the modifying of such statutes in the civil jurisdiction.

The blog was correctly criticized for opposing notification of the disrict attorney where a statute of limitations precluded prosecution. That judgment belongs to the DA. Such notification can also
uncover additional allegations, as it has in a recent incident.

Responses to these two blog postings came from laity and clergy, survivors of abuse, individuals deeply angered, proponents for lay involvement in decision making, and some who have left the Church because of the abuse crisis. A number of responders forwarded these two blog postings to other web sites. Among the positive responders were a former President of Georgetown University, Jason Berry, noted for his book on the crisis, and several other writers. Negative critics manifested a depth of anger and loss of trust and confidence in Church authorities. Positive critics urged a revisiting of the Dallas Charter and instituting appropriate amendments, especially as to the conflicting roles of the bishop as cop, district attorney, judge, and appeals court.


Blogger IronKnee said...

I didn't comment on either of your previous two posts because I agreed with them completely. One thing that concerns me is the notion that punishment of offending priests somehow equals "protection" of children. Punishment only serves to satisfy our all-too-human desire for revenge. The situation is infinitely more complex than either the Dallas charter or the debate about statutes of limitation make it out to be. Protection means prevention, and punishing somebody twenty or more years after an offense doesn't protect anybody.

Another concern I have is protection of the Church. I don't mean the Church's reputation. I mean the Church that is desperate for the sacraments and that is deprived of the sacraments every time a priest is suspended or laicized. It would be revealing, I think, to determine the number of parishes and chaplaincies that have been closed as a direct result of the suspension of priests because of sexual abuse.

August 20, 2008 at 10:23 AM  
Blogger Tom said...

ironknee has the cart before the horse, how many vocations have been lost due to sexual abuse? Not just the poor soul who was abused but his brothers, cousins and friends who became disillusioned with church and turn a deaf ear to God's call. And the next generation and so on.
How many avoided seminaries the had a homosexual sub-culture and questionable theology? How many diocese's have no priest to ordain or only one or two even though they have hundreds of thousands of "registered" members? I see a clear link between sexual abuse and the lack of vocations.

Canon law, civil law, natural law and common sense were violated by our bishops by covering up the abuse. It seams the only justice they will ever see is Divine justice.

August 28, 2008 at 10:35 PM  

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