Thursday, March 29, 2012

"Just Call Me Excellency!"

[Note:  This is the first post in the blog Call Me Excellency, originally published September 2, 2011.  To continue reading the posts in order, from beginning to end (first to last), consult the post archive on the right-hand side of the page, and begin with the second post, published on September 9, 2011.]


is Excellency, Urbane Angelus, has graciously consented to accompany us on this blog as we address multiple issues in the religious world today. His Excellency is the Titular Archbishop of Atoll #7 in the Pacific Ocean. He will help by way of commentary and illustration of what it is like to inhabit an elevated position in the Roman Catholic hierarchy and on hierarchical interpretations of moral and doctrinal issues.


We begin with some of the problems for which we will seek causes. Having found the causes, the solutions will appear:

1.  A 2008 study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Policy found that adult Catholics in the United States who have exited the Catholic faith number 22.8 million. The study found that 68% of those raised as Catholics have stayed in the Church.

We ask: what could cause such an exodus?

2.  Over the past decade it was suggested at the United Nations that there should be one world religion. The Roman Catholic response by Cardinal Arinze amounted to “That’s fine, as long as the one is Roman Catholic.” Similar responses came from other world religions.

Twenty years ago, theologian Hans Kung wrote in his work “Global Responsibility” that the enmity between religions reaches into the political sphere and prevents people from coming together. “There will be no peace,” he said, “until there is peace between religions.” He proposed that the way to achieve that peace would be for those religions to come together and reach an agreement on a common or shared ethic.

We ask: why don’t they come together? Doesn’t the basis of a common ethic already exist in the shared belief in the golden rule: love your neighbor as you love yourself?

We ask: where are the bishops in the peace effort?

3.  In this century the time bomb of clergy sexual abuse exploded with nuclear force. Subsequent investigations have revealed the worldwide extent of the abuse. They also revealed the behavior of bishops in their handling of priest abusers and the scandal. Bishops routinely stonewalled victims and the victims’ parents. They used attorneys to play hardball with victims. They used the common lie that “this was the first complaint ever received against Father Pedophile.” They transferred pedophile priests from parish to parish, diocese to diocese, where other children awaited the horror to come.

We soon heard a litany of excuses from the bishops as they pointed the hierarchical finger: they said gays were responsible so they mounted a campaign against gays saying they should not be ordained; they said that children can be very seductive tempters and temptresses. It was the children’s fault. The abusers were the real victims; they implied that the victims want the money that would otherwise go to the poor, as if it’s okay to work an injustice on one group as long as charity prevails for another group.

We ask: What explains this behavior of the bishops? And why did the recent John Jay College of Criminal Justice study (commissioned by the bishops) fail to detail the bishops’ own behavior in the scandal?

4.  A number of issues have emerged that illustrate a growing dissidence between the Catholic laity and the hierarchy: the role of the laity, sexual morality, the rights and place of women, married and women priests, contraception, and divorce – to name only the more apparent.

We will begin to tackle all of the above in the next and subsequent issues. We believe that the ultimate answer lies with the clerical culture at the episcopal level, and we will begin with a history of that culture’s development. We plan to publish weekly – given the availability of Archbishop Angelus. Thanks for visiting. We hope you will follow us as we progress. 

See also:  
Sex, Priests, and Secret Codes: The Catholic Church's 2,000 Year Paper Trail of Sexual Abuse 
Sex, Priests and Secret Codes by Doyle, Sipe and Hall

Purple Culture

The Purple Culture by Stephen Boehrer

Global Responsibility: In Search of a New World Ethic
Global Responsibility: In Search of a New World Ethic by Hans Kung

Friday, March 9, 2012

Just Call Me Eminence

e have good news today and we have bad news. The good news is that our esteemed guide through this journey of understanding the purple culture and its legacy has been elevated to the rank of Cardinal. He is now a Prince of the Church and holds the diplomatic status just below a crown prince of the realm. He is now a member of the College of Cardinals, a more exclusive and illustrious club than even that of bishops and archbishops.
The news that brings sadness to us is the very same news. The Cardinal will now have to spend all of his time and energy in his new duties, those as titular Patriarch of Atlantis and Ordinary of all fishing ships at sea. He will travel an exhausting schedule around the seas and oceans of the world blessing all fishing craft: ships, trawlers, fishing boats of all kinds and sizes, runabouts, canoes and paddleboats. His blessing will also be in demand by fishing skippers for the various baits they use.

We, of course, will miss His Eminence for his insightful commentary-in-depth. Without his presence this blog can no longer compete for readership with the multitude of other blogs. So we will cease publication with this issue. We are grateful to His Eminence for his acute analyses and commentary, and wish him “Happy Sailing.”
There is a slim chance that we will see the Cardinal again. If he is given the license to give his blessings from Rome in the manner of the papal “Urbe et Orbe” blessing given by the Pope to the whole world on Easter Sunday, it might leave him with time for additional commentary. We will just have to wait and see.
Thank you all for your patronage.