Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Archbishop Carlson and Irony

One of the ironies of this situation is that when Robert Carlson was auxiliary bishop of St. Paul, he was actually trying to raise some warning flags about the case in question.

Had he been more forthcoming in his recent deposition, things would have gone better.  A commenter on Fr. Z's blog notes ...

Archbishop Carlson reminds me of former Bishop of South Bend D’Arcy. They both consistently said that abuser priests should not be transferred while they were auxilliary bishops, had that advice rejected by the bishops above them, and eventually took over dioceses of their own ... 
The difference is that D’Arcy admitted that he had given his bishop (Law) good advice, only to see it ignored. People widely praised D’Arcy for his candor. If Carlson had been equally candid – and he surely could have been – he would be praised in the press right now, not vilified.

But here's the greatest irony in the whole situation.

All sinners in or out of the Church are either judged or excused by the light of Christ.

Whether you hate the Church or love it, it's only by the standards of the Catholic Church, which is to say, by the life and teaching of Jesus Christ, that you can evaluate the behavior of members of the Church itself.  It is only by the light that shines in the darkness that you or anyone is able to judge the morality of any behavior.  It is only by the light of Christ that pulling a Mark McGwire during a criminal deposition is shown to be cowardly and craven, especially one concerning the suffering of innocent victims.  It is only by the light of Christ that enabling child molesters is shown to be morally despicable. The world does not tell us these things.  The world tells us to cover our asses and lie when it suits us.  The world tells us to do what we want with our private parts and to ignore any curbs on our behaior.  But the Spirit of Christ speaks in our hearts and He tells us something different.

By the same token, it is only by the light of Christ that we know that our priests and bishops are sinful men, as sinful as we are, sinners who have let the Church down again and again from the time of the Apostles Judas and Peter onward.  It is also by the light of Christ that we know that forgiving their sins is imperative, and also that in order to forgive any sin we must first acknowledge it and call it for what it is.

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