Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Gilded Bishopric

Bishop's Digs,
courtesy of the BBC
Something stinks in Limburg, Germany, and for once, it is not the cheese, it’s the church.

As of this week, the Bishop has been given a time out.  No more chapel with a heated roof; no more $500,000 walk in closets (those must be SOME closets), no more lolling in his $20,000 bath tub with a $6,000 faucet.  No sitting around his $34,000 conference table, with his feet up.  I can respect that historic restoration is more expensive than straight up construction; but that isn’t part of historic restoration.

Previously the rebuild/remodel was 10 times over the original budget, at the equivalent in euros of $42 million.

That’s old news; that was last week.  The new total is expected to come in around – and possibly above – $55 million U.S.

The pious poverty pope is not amused.   Boooo diddly hoo.

We’re still waiting however for the Roman Catholic establishment /hierarchy to start paying the victims, instead of the perpetrators, for the damages done by their priests — their ‘employees’.  This is fascinating, since the pope has no problems summoning his bishops, and suspending or removing them, and punishing them by such suspension, but yet the church insists that priests, who are every bit a part of the same international organization of clergy are not considered ‘employees’.
The Roman Catholic Church cannot be considered the employer of priests and thus cannot be held accountable for their actions, criminal or otherwise, an Oregon federal court has ruled in a landmark decision.
The decision by U.S. District Court Judge Michael Mosman concerned a case first filed in 2002 by a man in Seattle identified as John V. Doe who claimed that the late Rev. Andrew Ronan molested him repeatedly in the late 1960s. The man’s lawyers tried to prove that the Vatican should be held liable for the actions of Roman and all priests, but Judge Mosman ruled against such a standpoint.
“There are no facts to create a true employment relationship between Ronan and the Holy See,” Mosman explained in Monday’s decision.”Catholic officials want to have their cake and eat it too – sometimes admitting the church is a rigid, top-down monarchy and sometimes claiming it’s radically decentralized. The truth is that the Vatican oversees the church worldwide, insisting on secrecy in child sex cases and stopping or delaying the defrocking of pedophile priests,” remarked David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP.
“This ruling runs counter to the encouraging, long-term trend of more secular officials holding more church officials more responsible for the devastation to children by pedophile priests and callous bishops,” Clohessy countered.
The SNAP director added, “We’re glad an appeal is planned and we hope that courts will begin to acknowledge the reality that the Catholic abuse and concealment scandal starts at the very top.”
So, apparently, when parishioners and other donors give money to the church, to their LOCAL church, the pope and the whole Vatican hierarchy has control over that, and over the cardinals, monsignors, archbishops and bishops, and of course over the conduct of nuns and priests.   It’s only when there is a question of liability that they deny their clergy.  The Bishopric of St. Peter, exercising the apostolic authority of St. Peter,  is not so very different than the three-fold denier of Christ for whom he is named.   The last pope, the prior pope’s ‘Rottweiler’ had a terrible record in terms of response to pedophile priests.  That was excused when he was elevated to the papacy, on the pretext that he was under orders.  Since when does that excuse such conduct?  I would say never.

Even with the truly wonderful humility of Pope Francis, there is an inherent rot in the church, a similar rot that was present in the days of the reformation.  Coincidentally, it is gaining attention once again in Germany.  That rot is reflected in the Minnesota Archibishop Nienstedt, refusing to provide his files to the police to review instead of a private company, who is aid by the church, therefore, not a trustworthy or  independent entity, but refusing to take full responsibility or to provide full and appropriate transparency.  There is an inherent arrogance to this world wide clergy, a defective and deficient hierarchy.   Repairing the problems begins with cooperation with criminal authority, with full transparency, and with full financial accountability, and with full taking of responsibility at every level — let that begin with Nienstedt HERE. Now.  Or let them forfeit their tax exempt status.

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