Southern Religion

Disfellowship churches which through silence foster and compound sex abuse by clergy

Christa Brown points to the applicable passage in the Baptist Faith and Message:

We should work to provide for the orphaned, the needy, the abused, the aged, the helpless, and the sick.

There can be denominational consequences, after all? That does not mean it is acceptable to fail to support the victims of abuse in your own church, or silently send abusive pastors along to other churches, does it? Or is the passage merely advisory so that continued negligence is acceptable?

March 20, 2010 Posted by | SBC | , , , , | Comments Off on Disfellowship churches which through silence foster and compound sex abuse by clergy

Health reform looks optimistic

Pro-life may win and health reform pass, thanks in no small part to the Women Religious (Catholic nuns), the Catholic Health Association and others who broke with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Perhaps their faith should have been prediction enough. Looking back, though, Nate Silver was very optimistic at midweek.

In the first minutes of this day, the Washington Post and others reported House member shifts into the “yes” column. Similarly, Talking Points Memo, which does this sort of thing very well, found a late change in momentum toward passage as votes changed, one after another, to “yes.”

Statements like this by Rep. Dale E. Kildee, an anti-abortion Democrat from Michigan after he decided to support the Senate bill, presaged it all:

I will be 81 years old in September. Certainly at this point in my life, I’m not going to change my mind and support abortion, and I’m not going to risk my eternal salvation.

The nature and strategies of the opposition matter too. Like the Southern Baptist Convention’s chief political operative, Richard Land, who again weighed in against health reform. He sent a variation on his earlier error-ridden proclamation in a letter to Republican leaders, and given his gift for sowing confusion about what he means, gave them nothing like a counterbalance for the emergent support.

March 20, 2010 Posted by | Politics, Religion, SBC | | Comments Off on Health reform looks optimistic

Who once believed the clerical sexual abuse crisis was an anti-Catholic media campaign?

Before he became Pope Benedict XVI, there was a time when Ratzinger saw the sexual abuse crisis as an anti-Catholic media campaign. John L. Allen Jr. of the National Catholic Reporter wrote this week:

Ratzinger’s attitude toward the crisis at the time can perhaps best be gauged from comments he made on November 30, 2002, during an appearance in Murcia, Spain, at a conference organized by the Catholic University of St. Anthony. During a Q&A session after his talk, Ratzinger was asked: “This past year has been difficult for Catholics, given the space dedicated by the media to scandals attributed to priests. There is talk of a campaign against the church. What do you think?

“This was Ratzinger’s reply:

In the church, priests are also sinners. But I am personally convinced that the constant presence in the press of the sins of Catholic priests, especially in the United States, is a planned campaign, as the percentage of these offenses among priests is not higher than in other categories, and perhaps it is even lower. In the United States, there is constant news on this topic, but less than one percent of priests are guilty of acts of this type. The constant presence of these news items does not correspond to the objectivity of the information or to the statistical objectivity of the facts. Therefore, one comes to the conclusion that it is intentional, manipulated, that there is a desire to discredit the church.

Making Ratzinger’s defensive tone all the more striking, his comments came after a summit between Vatican officials and American cardinals, as well as officers of the bishops’ conference, in April 2002 to discuss the American crisis, a meeting in which Ratzinger participated.

For the record, in claiming “less than one percent” of priests were guilty, Ratzinger was relying on an analysis by writer Philip Jenkins, published in the mid-1990s, of the Chicago archdiocese. In the end, the U.S. bishops’ own study concluded that accusations have been lodged against 4.3 percent of diocesan priests over the last 50 years, and some critics regard even that total as under-reported.

Of course he changed his mind, Allen explains. Read the entire piece here.

March 20, 2010 Posted by | Catholic, Pope Benedict XVI | , | Comments Off on Who once believed the clerical sexual abuse crisis was an anti-Catholic media campaign?