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Fallout from Clergy Sexual Abuse and Cover-up (Mon Jan 15, 2007 8:46 am)

The loss of credibility by our Church leaders over the clergy sex abuse and financial dealings casts doubt on what they say and even taints their good works. By their silence and cover-up they have lost our trust. What makes this particularly distressful is that they seem relatively unchanged by it. "This too, shall pass", seems to be their philosophical response. Even their words of sorrow are suspect because there is no evidence of repentance or change. It is business as usual.

The fall-out from these catastrophic events is yet to be fully understood. More and more we must now trust the voice of our own conscience together with the common sense of the community BEFORE we defer to those who claim spiritual authority. We have learned from sad experience that they are flawed, especially when it comes to sex and money. We know it, they know it, and the whole world knows it.

The truths of our faith remain the same. The Creed we profess has not changed. The Church remains. But those in whom we trusted to guide us have demonstrated their humanity. Forgive them? Certainly, just as we seek forgiveness for our own humanness. But can we trust their judgments? Experience dictates otherwise. Consider the range of decisions rendered by our all-too-male-celibate guides and ponder how their answers may have been tainted by their humanity. The Catholic sensus fidelium differs from their teachings on many issues. Answers based on lived faith and experience of the community and the growing understanding of our Christian traditions are better ways of knowing and living God's will for us. We will always have leaders and experts with us, but faith in the Christian community, as a good and Spirit-filled guide, has been restored to its primacy. As it was from the beginning, our Church leaders are to give priority to the Spirit-filled voice of the community over their own personal views (not like Paul VI in Humanae Vitae) before they open their mouth to teach. This is probably the best fallout (and most feared by Rome), and could be consider as a special gift of the Spirit to help us heal.

Other voices

Another Voice

Questions From a Ewe

Challenges Facing Catholicism
(Bishop Geoffrey Robinson in converation with Dr Ingrid Shafer)

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