Friday, April 16, 2010

Of Course He Did Wrong

Source: Catholic Culture : Latest Headlines : Vatican cardinal praised French bishop for not reporting abusive priest to police

There are reports breaking over Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos praising a bishop in a letter for not turning over an abusive priest to authorities.  The priest was eventually sentenced (in 2000) to 18 years in prison.  The Bishop was given a three month sentence (suspended) for not reporting the event.

I have no doubt that some people will point to this event as "proving" the Church covered things up.  This would be false.  It seems Castrillón Hoyos wrote this (in 2001) on his own, in response to the news that the bishop received a suspended sentence from the state.

How do I justify Castrillón Hoyos?

I don't.  It's condemnable.  But he acted on his own, not as a part official Church policy.  So any attempts to link him to the Pope are groundless.

It's also false to link Castrillón Hoyos to covering up.  This letter was written after the priest was convicted.  Let's not misrepresent the situation.  What he did wrong was to call the wrongful acts of a bishop "good."  Yes, it is scandalous, and a black mark which will stand against whatever good he has done in his service to the Church.

However, he left his position in 2006, and retired in 2009, (before this story came to light).  So removing him from office is a moot point here.  Otherwise I would call for his resignation.

I don't know the context for his writing this letter, but it seems that, at the most charitable, he had grossly misplaced his loyalties and grossly misunderstood the situation.

However, let's keep this in perspective.  This doesn't provide any proof of the Magisterium covering up abuse, and indeed the 2001 laws strongly urged by the current Pope, did require all cases be sent to the CDF (which was not the case at the time of this incident).

So when the enemies of the Church wait eagerly for us to defend Castrillón Hoyos so they can attack us, they wait in vain.  Castrillón Hoyos did a terrible wrong in calling the bishop's action right.

However it would also be a terrible wrong to label his actions as an official action of the Church.

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