The Pope Did What?! August 12, 2010

The Pope Did What?!

In December of 2009, Bishops Raymond Field and Eamonn Walsh resigned from their positions. They didn’t molest little children themselves, but they never pursued allegations of sexual abuse. So they were complicit in the Catholic Church sex scandal

Anyway, they’re gone, so good riddance, right?

“Following the presentation of their resignations to Pope Benedict, it has been decided that Bishop Eamonn Walsh and Bishop Raymond Field will remain as auxiliary bishops,” Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said in a letter to priests of the Archdiocese reported in The Irish Catholic.

Wait… what?! The Pope rejected their resignations and gave them new jobs!

Why the hell would the Vatican do that?

Paddy Agnew explains it this way:

This reluctance [to accept resignations] is at least twofold. First, there is nothing the Holy See would like less than to be seen to be dismissing bishops, solely in response to pressure from the media and public opinion. Secondly, senior Vatican figures are concerned about a possible “domino effect” for the Irish hierarchy. In other words, there may still be many Irish bishops with “mishandling/bureaucratic”, sex abuse skeletons still in the cupboard who would also have to resign.

To a certain extent, say observers, the Vatican has opted to differentiate between sins of omission and sins of commission in relation to the clerical sex abuse scandal.

Mark Silk puts it a little more bluntly:

… if all bishops who covered up clerical sexual abuse were permitted to resign, the episcopal ranks would be decimated. And then where would the church be? But of course, no one in the hierarchy can say that publicly. So the decision is announced in the quietest way possible, with no explanation offered. For the good of the church.

Tell me again why people belong to this pedophile-supporting organization…?

(Thanks to Jenna for the link)

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Roxane

    Decimation seems like the least they can do, under the circumstances.

  • flawedprefect

    why for the purity bricks of course!

  • Two words: Cognitive Dissonance.

  • The Pope should just announce that he had a vision that God told him that all the people perpetrating or covering up the sex abuse should be forgiven and allowed to continue in their positions. (pun intended). then all the good Catholics could get back to business as usual. The non-Catholics would yell and scream for a while, but hey. Catholics are Catholics. They have been doing this kind of stuff of 2000 years. They are the one true church. Who are the non-Catholics to criticize?

  • Hitch

    As I understand it the church has a really hard time attracting people to enter the clergy. Number of available priests has been declining all around.

    No apology but certainly part of the reason.

  • Josh BA

    People belong to that organization because they are either:
    A) Okay with covering for child rapists
    B) Not okay with covering for child rapists but see it as a lesser evil to lower church power
    C) Too ignorant or blind to see what is happening
    D) Evil and selfish enough to stick with an evil organization in order to be sure they stick with the people who they believe will win in the end (i.e. they think they need to be Catholic to go to heaven).

    From my point of view, the only people who are even remotely excusable are the people from group C. The problem with that is that I find it extremely hard to believe that are many, if any, who legitimately belong in that group.

  • LS

    As loathe as I am to defend the catholic church, I think it’s important to take into consideration that, according to Catholic dogma, you can’t “resign” from the clergy, in the sense that we as secularists understand it. As I recall, part of becoming a priest is presiding over mass at least once a week for the rest of your life, no matter what.

    There is no “retirement,” in the sense that we mean the word. Even priests who leave the church and openly denounce it are still priests.

    Becoming a priest is kind of like a metaphysical tattoo for Catholics.

  • As I recall, part of becoming a priest is presiding over mass at least once a week for the rest of your life, no matter what.

    At least once a day, not week. Even if that means mass with no one but the priest.

  • Dan W

    It’s official, Pope Palpatine’s an evil bastard.

  • ThilinaB

    That’s still short of what the pope actually wants to do; to once and for all correct the mistake his predecessors made several thousand years ago of leaving out the thing about how god wants children to be abused by the clergy.

    I’d give it a few more years till the new bible come out with the new commandment.

  • LS

    It’s official, Pope Palpatine’s an evil bastard.

    I thought it was official when we started calling him “Pope Palpatine.”

  • i know several (truly) ex priests and nuns. two of them are even opposite married! it’s not that hard to quit the church. what is hard is finding a job, as an ex-pedophile excuser. i’m sorry but what is the point of all this drama? it seems like a lot of bullshit to me. worried about leaving the gravy train, eh priests? i guess i can understand why.

    you don’t ask your boss for permission to quit, you just do it when you’ve had enough. maybe these two would’ve been happier if the pope had just written them a check and said “be quiet” like they have done for so many victims of church abuse.

  • Chris

    “Tell me again why people belong to this pedophile-supporting organization…?”

    Probably for the same reason that people find it difficult to escape an abusive relationship. It’s about emotional control – something the Catholic church has had centuries to refine.

  • Moi

    I was raised Catholic, and the rest of my family still is. I’ve talked to my parents about this, and from what I understand they see the Vatican as completely separate from their own faith. What they do on Sunday is personal, based on their individual beliefs and their entire family’s culture.

    My parents, and many other Catholics, disagree with the Vatican and a number of issues. My uncle, who is a Catholic priest himself, believes the pope should be in jail.

    I’m not saying this excuses belonging to such a corrupt organization, since pedophilia scandal was one of the main reasons that led me to completely leave the church. But I hear this question all the time, about how Catholics can remain Catholic, and to the best of my knowledge that’s what their answer is.

  • A far more important point in this affair is that the pope has basically presented a slap in the face to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin – the archbishop of Dublin.

    To be fair to the man, Dr Martin, is about the only hope the Catholic church has of surviving in Ireland. In many of his statements it is evident that he recognizes the reality of the situation and is keen to do something about it. For instance, he used the term “Dark Forces” to describe the obstinacy of the hierarchy towards the abuse scandal (and was severely rebuked for it).

    However, I still believe that, after he dies, Joey “The Pope” Ratzinger will be made the patron saint of Secularism, because no one is doing more to promote that cause.

  • Benny the Poop, Disney couldn’t do as good a job of creating an evil villain.

  • cassiek

    One of my dear friends is a former Catholic priest who is now Wiccan and married to another man (1st gay marriage I attended.) His experience as a priest left him with a nasty case of PTSD and a deep distrust of organized religion. He is the most honest and intelligent person I know, and could no longer stomach the hypocrisy and deceit practiced by the church.

  • Nicole

    I’d be interested to know the two retiree’s reactions to the Pope’s announcement.

  • muggle

    I’m just trying to wrap my mind around the whole concept of I tried to quit my job and my boss won’t let me. That’s when you tell the boss to stick it and leave anyway.

    Wasting no sympathy on these two, however. The time to tell the boss to stick it would have been when you were first asked to cover up child rape. Not years later when you were called out on doing so.

    Scumbags. All three of them.

  • Twin-Skies


    I’m sure there are plenty of willing followers where the guilty party are going.

  • Jeff

    The Pope rejected their resignations and gave them new jobs!

    He did the same with Cardinal Bernard Law as well:

    He’s now three years past their “official” retirement age or 75, with no sign of stepping down from any of his various positions.

    It’s how they roll.

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