Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Overwhelmed Down Under

Fr. Z has linked to my blog post The Precision of Abuse - Liturgical and Otherwise.

One of the commenters at Fr. Z's blog is Phillipa Martyr who has written Reaping the Whirlwind, a look at the connection between Liturgical Abuse and Sexual Abuse in the Church.  The entire article is worth the read.   I'm going to give some of the best excerpts below.

She writes, that when confronted with the deliberate destruction of the Church in Australia in the 1970's (my emphasis) ...

So we began the process of making formal complaints to relevant Church authorities about what was going on in our parishes and in my school. We were not the only ones complaining, but we were strongly encouraged to believe that this was the case—that we were the lunatic fringe, the odd-bods, the crazy ones. Everyone else was happy, so why weren’t we?
It is clear now ... that the techniques used to silence those who complained about sexual abuse were identical to those used to silence those who complained about liturgical and doctrinal abuse.
The problem of sexual abuse is not new in the Catholic Church; it is not new anywhere, but its neglect has historically been reprehensible. For centuries Catholics as individuals and groups have also been trying to do something about it, usually in the face of episcopal lassitude—if you want an eleventh-century version, try St Peter Damian’s Letter 31 on the subject. According to the Sisters of St Joseph, complaints about a local priest abusing children were also the reason Bishop Laurence Shiel excommunicated the complainant, now St Mary MacKillop, in 1871.
Even Pope Pius X—who introduced the oath [against modernism] —is said to have concluded that he had not destroyed Modernism, but had simply driven it underground.
The best proof that he was right is in the impact of the Council itself. John XXIII’s greatest gift to the Church—whether he intended it or not—was that he got these men to break cover. Every crypto-Modernist in the Catholic Church who had up till then been wearing the uniform and playing dumb could now emerge triumphant in the light, speaking openly and freely; publicly dissenting, challenging and thriving. It was the Catholic equivalent of the Hundred Flowers Movement, but without any purges immediately afterwards: such a huge tide of dissent could not have simply formed overnight.  ...  I want to advance the hypothesis that the Church in Australia fell into chaos after the Council not because of changes to the liturgy ... but because it was already rotten from the inside

Read more here.   Martyr concludes with this ...

But there are blessings buried here. The exposure of the sexual abuse scandal both in the Church and in secular organisations has made ordinary people much more alert to it, and its victims less isolated and stigmatized. Doctrinal dissent in high places has also forced a lot of ordinary Catholics in Australia and elsewhere to learn their faith well enough to defend it against their parish priest, Catholic school principal or local bishop. Sadly, thousands chose not to, and decided instead that the new low-calorie Catholicism—child-proof, affluent and socially indistinguishable from mild agnosticism—suited them better.

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