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25 January 2017 Changing the Conversation (170509) Celebrating More Than 50 Years (170509) Conscience-Based Moral Judgments (170509) Dignitaries Humanae (170509) False Views on Jesus' Views on Divorce (170509) Mission and Human Rights (170509) Jesus and the Ordination of Women (170516) 29 May 2017 How much of Church Doctrine do we really believe? (170602) Trump Pulls Out of Paris Agreement (170602) 05 June 2017 Thoughts on Religious Vocations: An Open Letter to Pope Francis (170605) I can't get the institutional church out of my system (170618) 25 June 2017 Just War? Enough Already (170703) What would Teilhard say? Evolve or be annihilated (170710) Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (170719) Religion's Wax Nose (170726) American Civil Religion (170731) A Heresy of the Times (170807) Cardinal Calls for Global Church (170818) The Price of Being a Prophet (170821) The Implosion of the Roman Catholic Church (170902) Reflection on Racism in America (170913) Who am I? Where am I going? (170918) One Priest's Hopes for the Mass Translation (170925) The Edge of the Inside (171002) Selective Christianity (171016) Theology at the Cutting Edge: Healing the Political and Social Divide in America (171016) Resisting Islamophobia Is The Catholic Thing To Do. (171023) It Started With a Letter to the Archbishop (171030) Why Do We Still Tolerate Mass Stipends? (171106) Their Cross to Bear: Catholic Women Told to Forgive (171113) Papal loyalists become dissidents (171120) Echoes of Theocracy (171127) Will Pope Francis Remove the 'Warning'? (171204) Gumbleton on Nuclear Deterrence (171211) The Scandal of the 2011 Missal (171218)
ARCC News 2018
Prophets of a Future Not Our Own (20180101) 2018: Time to Become Ultra-Human? (20180118) Time for a Bonfire of Their Vanities? (20180122) Until All Are Welcome My House, My Rules: 3 Women "Rejected" (20180208) Policing the Communion Line (20180205) A Time to Judge (20180212) Mary McAleese Being Banned is Embarrassing (20180219) Correct, Don't Complicate Excommunication (20180226) Catholic Tradition, Labour, and Organizing Workers (20180305) Misogyny in the Vatican (20180312) The Unofficial Saint of the Internet (20180318) Francis Invites Change, But We Are the Change (20180325) Rediscovering the Role of Mary Magdalene as Apostle of the Apostles (20180401) Synodality and its Perils (20180409) Get rid of the clergy - But keep Holy Orders (20180415) Renewing the Program of Priestly Formation (20180429) Male and Female, in the image and likeness of God (20180506) Wedding Bans: Why Do Parishes Turn Young Couples Away? (20180513) Christian Humanism, the Path to the Divine (20180520) Mary - Prophet and Priest (20180527) A Wake-Up Call to Liberal Theologians (20160603) Canonization is right for Oscar Romero (20180610) Could the Church take a risk? (20180618) AJC expresses "Profound Concern" over beatification (20180624) The Bible's #MeToo Problem (20180701) 'Humanae Vitae' and the census fidelium (20180715) The Catholic Church wasn't always so against contraception (20180722) 50 years later, scientist's findings on birth control... (20180729) #MeToo, Your Excellency The Catholic Church needs a way to deal with bad bishops (20180812) The Catholic Church is tempted by power and obsessed with sex (20180819) Real change against abuse... (20180826) Pope Francis is facing a crisis of justice (20180829) Catholics Are Facing a Very Real Emergency (20180902) Truth and its violent consequences (20180909) The Third Millennial Catholic Reformation (20180917) Reality in an Historical-Critical Perspective (20180923) Both Prudential & Indisputable (20180930) Catholic Crossroads and Catholic Conflict (20181007) Schism or Evolution? (20181015) Theology: Stones or Bread? (20181028) White Christian America (20181102) Stone Throwing. Or Not. (20181104) Young People, Hope for the Church(es) (20181112) Who Represents the Laity? (20181118) Open Letter to the US Catholic Bishops: It's Over (20181125) From Collegiality to Synodality (20181203) The Birth of the Messiah (20181217) A Non-traditional Blessing for 2019 (20181231)
ARCC News 2019 Changing Power Relationships


#MeToo, Your Excellency

#MeToo, Your Excellency


Contemporary Catholic Belief and Action


#MeToo, Your Excellency

It's time for the church worldwide to face up to abuse of power by bishops
Phyllis Zagano

Can we face the heartbreaking facts? It is time for #MeToo in the Catholic Church. There is too much abusive behavior by - or ignored by - Catholic bishops.
Washington, D.C.'s former archbishop, Cardinal Theodore ("Uncle Ted") McCarrick, reportedly was overly fond of his seminarians, and was finally punished for abusing a minor 47 years ago. Everybody knew. Nobody did anything.
Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar (near the border with Pakistan) is accused of rape. Accused by a woman religious. There seem to be 18 other sisters with similar stories about Mulakkal and a lawsuit against the cardinal who did not respond to the allegations. Why?
Moreover, who's next?
It's time for the church worldwide to face up to abuse of power by bishops, especially but not only the physical and emotional abuse whispered about in seminaries, chanceries and gay bars. In the U.S., the famous (infamous?) 2002 "Dallas Charter" is all about priests, deacons and minors. Bishops are not under the charter's jurisdiction. Yet the root of this problem is at the top, not the bottom.
The problem is endemic, and the problem is real.
The website lists some 60 secular and religious bishops accused of sexual abuse of minors and 28 more of abusing adults. They are from every country you can think of, from Argentina to Wales. Some are dead, some are laicized. Some may be innocent. Few are in jail or ever have been.
The worst part? It's not only sex abuse.
Begin with priests and bishops. Just about any priest will tell you the Roman collar is a dog collar that bishops can and often will use as a choker. Do what he says or get lost. Be nice, bend to his will, and suddenly you are a monsignor heading a rich parish. Sometimes it's about talent; sometimes it's about cooperating and being a team player; sometimes it is pure abuse of power. In too many cases, warped sexual dynamics are in play.
When actual sex is involved, the bishop's playboy becomes his secretary, or lives in the household, or is otherwise somehow always around. These are Catholic bishops we are talking about. Archbishops. Cardinals.
Yet no one wants to talk about it. No one wants to say anything because they fear the bishop's power. And it's not just clerics whose cries are muffled. It's the lay chancery employees and religious sisters who need their jobs to support families or communities. Bishops can ruin your life and many have done so, in more ways than one.
Complaints too often go nowhere.
The people free to complain do not depend on the church, but even so, when they bring their case against Father Problem, no matter how detailed and accurate, their letters still end up in chancery wastebaskets. So, they close their checkbooks and leave. Soon, another parish merger - "due to falling membership" - moves the problem along toward his diocesan-funded retirement.
It's not just sexual misbehavior. Bishops around the world oversee abusive pastors and priests and ignore the realities of the situations. Whether it is a do-nothing narcissist administrator, a chair-throwing priest with anger management issues, or a spendthrift pastor whose favorite indoor sport is emptying the bank account, bishops ignore complaints, especially from women.
I rather do not know what to say. The rot at the top has sealed this simmering volcano long enough. Abuse of power has both nothing and everything to do with the Gospel. There are plenty of diocesan swamps and more than enough alligators to go around. Someone needs to bring to task the bishops who abuse their positions and people by ignoring complaints and/or preying on those within their power.
Only then can the whole people of God - laypeople, clerics and future clerics - know they belong to a wholesome church. Only then.
Phyllis Zagano is senior research associate-in-residence at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. Her books include Women Deacons: Past, Present, Future and Holy Saturday: An Argument for the Restoration of the Female Diaconate in the Catholic Church.
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