'The Pinnacle of My Catholic Faith'

Those who attended the Pope's mass at Nationals Stadium are heading home.

Scott Fartini, a 33-year-old seminarian from Roanoke, said taking part in the papal mass was more than special. It's been a difficult few years, he said, with the beating the church has taken over the sex abuse scandal involving priests. The enthusiam surrouding the visit, however, provided an energy boost -- so much so he walked from the stadium to Union Station.

"It has got to be the pinnacle of my Catholic faith," Fartini said. "Just seeing all the people and how they have been treating the church. It's all about hope."

-- Hamil R. Harris

By David Marino-Nachison |  April 17, 2008; 12:43 PM ET
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Like Catholics across the United States I welcome Pope Benedict XVI as he visits Washington, D.C. and New York City later in the week. Benedict had a beautiful day in Washington to celebrate his 81st birthday as well.

The pain that so many victims of sexual abuse continue to endure throughout their lives is the pain that our Catholic Church should be considering first and foremost before the "enormous pain that your communities have suffered when clerics have betrayed their priestly obligations and duties by such gravely immoral behavior," as the pope spoke of in his words to the American bishops on Wednesday when he met with them at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

The continuing sex scandal was not just "sometimes very badly handled," it was very often and repeatedly handled very badly.

I consider it misleading to say that, "Now that the scale and gravity of the problem is more clearly understood you have been able to adopt more focused remedial and disciplinary measures and to promote a safe environment that gives greater protection to young people."

While the scale and gravity of the sexual abuse problem has been understood for years, the bishops formally or informally were part of a conspiracy that colluded in covering up the transgressions of rogue sexually abusive priests, including those abusing minors, moving them around their own dioceses, moving them to other dioceses and, in some cases, shipping them abroad to avoid arrest and prosecution. This is fact not opinion and is supported by a number of Grand Jury Reports.

In actuality, the bishops on the whole did not even obey the Canon Law of the Catholic Church regarding sexual transgressions let alone obey the individual state law in whose jurisdictions their dioceses resided. And while bishops, "have been able to adopt more focused remedial and disciplinary measures and to promote a safe environment that gives greater protection to young people," this does not provide justice for those who were abused in the past.

As far as the "shortage of priests' is concerned, one may ask is that really the case? Or has not God called many to ministry but in all truth God Eternal is frustrated by a patriarchal system that basically ignores about 53 percent of the population.

If one wants to get up-to-date on these important matters visit -



Posted by: SMPTURLISH | April 17, 2008 1:53 PM

"Doing Something" is more than making a speech. Sending these priests to jail would be a good start.

And then address the structural problems in the church that attract pedophiles to the priesthood.

There is nothing in the bible that mandates that priests be celibate. Read some history about how that evolved later in the church's life.

Posted by: Ombudsman | April 17, 2008 2:25 PM

Ombudsman wrote: "And then address the structural problems in the church that attract pedophiles to the priesthood."

I'm not sure that is the problem. While I agree preists should be allowed to marry, if only so they can have a life much closer to those of their "flock", the fact is that pedophiles are everywhere, in every walk of life. Most institutions have procedures for dealing with them when they are found. Schools for example are always vigilant due to the large number of children.

The structural problem here is not that the catholic church has more pedophiles necessarily, its that the church heiarchy made a conscious decision to cover up pedophilia when it was discovered and continued to expose children to the known pedophiles. That is and has always been the issue, not whether there are more or less pedophiles here or there. The structure that needs to be attended to is the church heiarchy and its willingness to cover up crimes of priests and move pedophile priests to other churches in order to save the church from humility. That is what this pope has not acknowleged nor apologised for. Nor have I heard whether any reforms were put in place to prevent the church management from repeating their behavior. That is what people want to hear.

Like Abu Graib, it was not just a few bad apples that made the problem, it was management from the top down that allowed the behavior to continue and covered up what it found instead of reporting it. Until I hear things have changed my daughter will never set foot in a Catholic church without me. Paranoid? No, the priest in the parish I grew up in was found to be a pedophile though I never knew it. He was moved, though we of course never knew why. He was finally caught 30 years later at another parish and served time, and at that time one of my fellow students came forward to report what happened to him that long time ago. One only wonders what that priest did during those 30 years while under the protection of the church.

And maybe the problem is that their are more pedophiles among priests if for no other reason that it was a known occupation from which to practice their dispicable behavior and be protected by the boss. Either way, reform needs to be done in parish and church management, not by blaming the bad apples.

Posted by: Fate | April 17, 2008 2:52 PM

True...there is nothing in the bible that "mandates" celibacy, but as both Christ and St. Paul emphasized, celibacy is preferable, but not all can accept it.

Christ, in Matthew 19:10-12 clearly says after being asked by his disciples:
"If that is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry."

"He answered, "Not all can accept [this] word, but only those to whom that is granted. Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have RENOUNCED MARRAIGE FOR THE SAKE OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. Whoever CAN accept this OUGHT TO accept it."

1 Cor 7:6-9
"This I say by way of concession, however, not as a command. Indeed, I wish everyone to be as I am, but each has a particular gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. Now to the unmarried and to widows, I say: it is a good thing for them to remain as they are, as I do, but if they cannot exercise self-control they should marry, for it is better to marry than to be on fire."

Paul even goes on to make a case for preferring celibacy to marriage 1 Cor 7:27-34): "Are you free from a wife? Do not seek marriage...those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that... The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; but the married man is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried woman or girl is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please her husband. HE WHO MARRIES DOES WELL, AND HE WHO REFRAINS FROM MARRAIGE WILL DO BETTER" (7:38).

In Truth,

Posted by: Matthew | April 17, 2008 3:10 PM

Please refer to the crime committed by Catholic priests what the indictments did: child molestation, not sexual abuse.

Posted by: tanaS | April 17, 2008 5:01 PM

There are two main issues I have with my Church and the previous Pope over the shameful abuse heaped on defenceless students by some members of the Catholic clergy.
1. The coverups. Bishops who moved priests to another parish or even diocese, instead of pulling them out of the system, once they became aware of their behaviour.
Were they acting under orders from Rome ? It would appear so.
2.Why weren't these priests handed over to the police, and if found guilty then excommunicated from the Church ?

Posted by: Mary Tovey | April 18, 2008 2:52 AM

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