Honestly, do you think the Archdiocese of Sydney could scream it out any louder with that kind of offset, in color, bold print of their policy? Anyway…
I apologize for the paraphrase in the title of this post. Here is the full comment of the great Father Gordon MacRae (about) of These Stone Walls sent via email about a recent HSH post on the Archdiocese of Sydney refusing to help accused priests with legal costs:
The position of the Archdiocese of Sydney is more than sad. It is alarming. It is alarming because, like all things American, America’s treatment of its priests is now spreading throughout the English speaking world. The policy the Archbishop of Sydney is announcing has been the unwritten policy for most US bishops since the mid-1980s.
If a bishop is accused, his diocese will spend millions to protect his rights. The case of Cardinal Bernardine was a case in point. If a priest is accused, he is cut off and on his own for both civil, criminal, and even canonical representation.
A prison guard once asked me how the Church helped defend me. I told him that the Church did not help defend me at all, that I was discarded and entirely on my own. He said that if this happened to prison guards, no sane man would ever become a prison guard because they are accused all the time.
At the time I was accused, priests of my diocese earned about $600 per month. No American priest can afford adequate protection of his rights.
It is one of the sins of our Church, and we owe it to the Church to bring it into the open and subject it to the light of grace.
Thank you, Father Gordon, for helping our (Arch)Bishops to hear this message about bringing such a sin of lack of due process for priests into the open so as to subject it to the light of grace. Your comment bears the stamp of the wonderful irony that is always but always employed by our High Priest, Jesus Christ, not only throughout the Gospels, but, for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear and minds to think with and hearts to love, also in a continuously constant manner in our own day.
I fully expect such a call to our bishops for repentance and reform will at first meet with disgruntlement because of sycophancy given to policies such as those of their National Catholic Risk Retention Group (which really needs some truckloads of ex-lax® brand relief for such retention, for what they do in ensuring that no priests receive due process is just a load of fertilizer).
When I spent some years teaching in seminaries in Australia, including Good Shepherd Seminary of the Archdiocese of Sydney, I was struck by the lockstep sycophancy of the Australians concerning any and all things American, with no discernment whatsoever. If the Americans hate their priests, Australians will do the same with their own priests, with unthinking glee. And, of course, if the head of the Episcopal Conference, Member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal George Pell, stomps on the rights of priests, you can bet that most all others of the Australian Episcopal Conference will follow like lemmings, wanting to be nice.
I would have thought that Cardinal Pell would have known better than this, for he also had an experience of being accused. I remember that there was an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese actually working against him at the time, wanting to ensure in any way possible that the Archbishop would lose his case. And if that is possible among the bishops themselves, what do you think will happen when a bishop has a mere priest with no resources to stomp on? Let’s get real, shall we? How about some justice, some due process also for lowly priests?
Also, again, just to say, this is, in fact, more than just English speaking countries. The Holy See is collecting such policies from around the world so as to produce a policy for the entire Church Universal, which, if recent indications from the CDF are any indication, that will mean that there will be untold numbers of accusations made against priests right around the world in times to come. Ensuring no due process for priests means no more priests. Jesus does not think that His priests are so expendible, and those who so very easily betray priests, it seems to me, will have to answer to Jesus for this slitting of the throats of priests. Did I call this The Judas Crisis?
[Judas gives the kiss of death to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane]
Did I say, “annihilation of nations”? …
[Fatima children after the vision of hell.]