dinsdag, oktober 21, 2014

Christian Catholicism: Pope Francis, Let’s Not Neglect Children at the Next Synod

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The Family Synod’s 190 celibate bishops, and the international media echo chamber generally, paid little attention recently to the need to reverse the Vatican’s failed “doctrines” and “rules” regarding the welfare and safety of children. Indeed, some of Pope Francis’ lawyers,  lobbyists and large donors, especially in the USA, are likely broadly smiling now.
Hopefully, the protection of children and the endorsement of artificial contraception by the Vatican will be center stage at the October 2015 Final Family Synod.
For two weeks, with barely another two weeks now to go before crucial US Senate elections on November 4, Francis’ media machine, with some help from Cardinals Dolan, Burke and some others from Africa, have managed to keep gay marriage and divorced Catholics issues front and center. Since the anti-gay voters in some US states could be the difference in some close Senate elections, getting these voters fired up and motivated to vote is quite important for the Vatican and its right wing billionaire buddies.

That many gay Catholics are unjustly and seriously harmed and hurt by these political games seems irrelevant to the Vatican and the US bishops, notwithstanding the large number of these clerics who are reportedly gay. See, for example

At the same time, the Vatican media spinners have seemingly endeavored with some success to keep the anti-contraception crusade and the priest child abuse scandal out of the press for a couple of weeks.
Media attention about these last two issues tend to bring out voters who are unattractive to the Vatican’s “low regulation/lower taxes” billionaire buddies.
The Vatican was able during the Synod in a very low keyed manner to reinforce its anti-artificial birth control “doctrine” and to beatify the “doctrine’s” main modern proponent, Pope Paul VI. Incidentally, Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe, hardly the most “prophetic” supporter of Pope Francis, was welcomed by Francis in Rome for Paul VI’s beatification, as is evident in the picture and report  here.

Presumably, in the next two weeks before the elections, the advocates for Obamacare’s contraception insurance mandate will now respond effectively and forcefully to preserve affordable access to contraception, especially for poorer US couples.
As an example, and a very significant one, of Francis’ strategy, the reported vote in the Synod Final Report was 167 votes in approval to 9 opposed.or almost 95% in favor, of paragraph 58 relating to contraception and Humanae Vitae. The Synod bishops indicated, in pertinent part, that  in this area it is necessary to give “… the reason for the beauty and truth of the unconditional openness to life …” and the need ” … to rediscover the message of the encyclical “Humanae Vitae …” . “
“{U}nconditional openness to life” = “No artificial contraception”, no?
It appears that in almost a half century, since Paul VI’s profoundly mistaken and harmful encyclical, the celibate Catholic hierarchy have learned almost nothing from Catholic couples about responsible family planning. So much for “infallibility” and “graduality”, it appears.
Approximately 95% of Catholic couples reportedly use artificial contraception in good conscience; yet, it appears that nearly 95% of celibate bishops think these couples are committing a mortal sin. Hello?
Of course, the couples, unlike Pope Francis and 95% of his bishops, are not desperately trying to preserve papal infallibility as the cornerstone of the current corrupt Vatican top down structure. If the Pill is moral, then two popes, Pius XI and Paul VI, were dead wrong, and popes are “fallible” like every other human being!
And of course, popes are fallible, and Francis and his bishops must know this, especially after this Synod fiasco with the pope and bishops all over the place theologically, depending on the day of the week and the changing factional alignments. As John Allen reported (10/20): “I don’t think he {Pope Francis} is much of a strategist,” one cardinal told Crux Sunday night. “I used to think there was a plan underneath the chaos … now I’m wondering if the chaos is the plan.” No, John, this is just a “mess”, the Jesuit pope’s preferred word for “chaos”, but it is an “infallible mess”, no?
The Synod has. in effect, dealt a fatal blow to the whole modern “doctrine” of the Magisterium. The 2015 Synod will either administer the “last rites” to the concept of an infallible Magisterium, or the Vatican Titanic will thereafter sink even faster.
For a sense of the outrage of many Catholics on the Synod’s evasive approach to the contraception ban, please consider perusing some of the more than 400 hundred comments, mostly negative, submitted recently in just a few days to the recent  superb article at the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) by Yale educated Jamie Manson, entitled, “Why isn’t anyone talking about the synod’s paragraphs on contraception?” 
Jamie Manson perceptively noted: “The synodal fathers seem insistent that natural family planning methods will remain the only form of contraception allowed to Catholic families and that all acts of sexual intimacy in marriage must be open to life. While in the U.S., many of us have the luxury of ignoring the church’s teaching on contraception, in many developing countries, the church’s position on birth control directly impacts the law of the land.”

“You would think we would understand this lesson after the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops almost single-handedly widened conscience exemptions on the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate. Apparently, it didn’t affect enough of us.”
“For the global poor, access to contraception can mean the difference between starvation and nourishment, poverty and stability, illness and health, death and life. Few issues are more crucial to the fate of poor families around the world.”
“It seems to be inherent in human nature: If an issue isn’t affecting us directly, it’s harder to become impassioned about it. Sometimes even the most well-meaning progressives can get caught up in their tight circle of concerns and cannot see beyond their own privilege. On the issue of contraception, that needs to change, especially as the Synod of Bishops on the family develops over the next two years. …”
Pope Francis in his Jesuit magazines’ interview last year noted:”We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible…  The teaching of the Church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the Church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.”
Likely facing pressure from worldwide media observers assembled at the Vatican to report on Family Synod issues, two weeks ago, Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s seemingly “do nothing advisory commission on minors” made its latest pitch at trying to appear serious. Now as “chief papal protector of children”, Boston’s O’Malley is supposedly addressing  the most important current Catholic family issue — clerical child sexual abuse, that the Family Synod obscenely ducked.

Hopefully, Pope Francis and his bishops will show more courage at next October’s Final Family Synod and adopt effective and transparent bishop accountability measures, if not before then. After all, it is almost three decades since the US Papal Nuncio’s canon lawyer, Fr. Thomas Doyle, O.P., recommended to the US bishops and also to the Vatican that they get the priest sexual abuse of children scandal under control.
While the Family Synod was garnering most media attention recently, new child abuse scandal stories continued to appear.
In the Dominican Republic, the pressure is continuing to build to prosecute Polish Archbishop Wesolowski there. 

In Minneapolis, the wheels of criminal justice, which turn slowly there, did turn with the prospect of criminal prosecutions of priests, including one priest case that reportedly may involve Archbishop Nienstedt in some capacity. See:  http://www.startribune.com/local/east/279581672.html  and
And former Minneapolis Archdiocesan official, Jennifer Haselberger, whose recent unprecedented  107-page affidavit was Archbishop Nienstedt’s worst nightmare come true, has continued to press to protect children there. She is also pressing both for Nienstedt’s removal, and for public disclosure of the confidential report about allegations of improper relationships that Niensted allegedly had with some seminarians and priests.. See her recent TV appearance, interview and reports here:
Predictably, Pope Francis’ advisory “abuse commission”, after almost a year (and over a year and a half of Francis’ papacy”),  has not yet even finalized completely its membership or operating rules or even set up a permanent office. Indeed, its lone abuse survivor member, Marie Collins recently indicated to AP that she had been frustrated with the slow pace of work on the commission.

AP’s forthright Rome reporter, Nicole Winfield, honestly observed recently that, while “Francis’ other expert commissions looking into Vatican finance and administration worked at a frenzied pace through 2014 and finished their projects in recent months, the sex abuse commission never seemed to get off the ground. It lacked organization, a clear mission statement, office space, funding and a full membership roster. …” Would that some other Vatican reporters had some of Winfield’s candor!
Winfield also noted that ” …O”Malley has pledged that the commission will develop “clear and effective protocols” to hold accountable bishops who covered up for abusive priests …”  O’Malley seems to have made similar pledges before with little to show for it, it appears.
As to Pope Francis’ new “papal protector of children”,  Cardinal Sean O’Malley, please see the recent detailed, and documented, information, from Anne Barrett Doyle, the excellent researcher at BishopAccountabillity.org, on Cardinal O’Malley’s poor history on child abuse prevention efforts, described in her “Six Ways Cardinal Sean O’Malley Has Mishandled the Abuse Crisis” at:
To date, after a well publicized announcement almost a year ago, O’Malley has mainly had only a few photo ops with Pope Francis and some perfunctory meetings of his inchoate priest child abuse commission, usually timed to deflect negative publicity from UN committee condemnations of the Vatican’s priest child abuse cover-ups and the like.
It seems quite clear that Pope Francis is intentionally pursuing effective child protection reform measures very slowly and almost secretly with this new advisory committee (A) headed by Cardinal Law’s successor, Cardinal O’Malley, who is experienced with “handling” abuse investigations confidentially and slowly, and (B) assisted now, as top assistant, by Cardinals Law’s, O’Malley’s  and Mueller’s predictable and pliable longtime canon lawyer, Fr. Robert Oliver.
For the current “big picture” on the Vatican’s continuing failures here, please see the recent report by Fr. Thomas P. Doyle, O.P., the world’s leading expert on curtailing priest child sexual abuse, at:

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