Monday, April 24, 2006

Condoms for AIDS victims?

When it comes to the secular press covering the Vatican, they are simply not to be trusted for accuracy or truthfulness. The latest case in point: AIDS victims and condoms. Reuters and other agencies are reporting on an interview of Cardinal Javier Lozano Baragan with La Repubblica. According to a report from Deutsche Presse-Agentur, found on Monsters & Critics,

"The Vatican is expected to permit the use of condoms for AIDS patients, according to an interview with a high-ranking cardinal published Sunday.

The Vatican is currently working on a document on the subject that would be published soon, Vatican 'Health Minister' Javier Lozano Baragan said in an interview with the Italian daily La Repubblica.

The Roman Catholic Church has up till now strictly prohibited the use of condoms even in marriage for AIDS patients and HIV-infected people.

Observers in Rome suggest that a Curial cardinal such as Baragan could only make a statement on a such a sensitive theme when it had been first agreed upon with Pope Benedict XVI.

'It is a very difficult and delicate topic,' said Baragan, considered a close confidant of the pope. 'It was Benedict who demanded an examination of this special question of the use of condoms by AIDS patients.'

However the cardinal did not provide details on the Vatican's new rules. (emphasis mine in both cases)

So the Vatican is working on a document that is supposed to allow condoms for AIDS victims, but the cardinal who said this did not provide any details on the document. In other words, it appears that at least Deutsche Presse-Agentur is setting the Vatican up. If the document allows for the use of condoms by AIDS patients, then all is well. If not, though, the people who read this "news" report will get all up in arms about the new document as happened in 1968 with Humanae vitae.

What appears to be a much more accurate report came from (of all places) Reuters.
The Vatican will soon publish a statement on the use of condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS, an issue highlighted by a call from a leading cardinal to ease its ban on them, a Catholic Church official said.

Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, the head of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, declined to reveal the contents of the document in an interview published in Sunday's la Repubblica newspaper, but said Pope Benedict had asked his department to study the issue.
If Reuters was this smart all the time, they'd be trustworthy. Unfortunately, that's not the case and one has to be suspicious whenever reading secular coverage of the Catholic Church.

Monday, April 17, 2006

EIFWAIL as psychologically easier myth debunked

This month's issue of Ethics & Medics from the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia has an article from one Dr. Susan Marie Meidl at the Hannibal Clinic in Hannibal, Missouri, entitled, "EIFWAIL and Psychological Distress."

Dr. Meidl looked through the literature to find what she could that would support the theory that inducing labor early in cases where the child in utero has fatal anomalies (such as anencephaly) will relieve the psychological pressure that is on the mother. This theory is what operates in hospitals like Providence Alaska, as I documented back in March of 2004. However, Dr. Meidl found no support for that theory. "Surprisingly," she writes, "the assertion that EIFWAIL relieves maternal emotional suffering is not supported in the medical literature."

Dr. Meidl then cites seven studies on the subject from distinguished journals like the British Medical Journal and Obstetrics and Gynecology. Here's her straightforward conclusion: "In sum, the above studies did not show a psychological benefit or reduction of grief in women who chose pregnancy termination compared with those who suffered [the] stillbirth or perinatal death of their infant."

Any questions? How about what should be done? Good question! And here's the good doctor's answer:

"Perinatal hospice has been presented as an alternative to EIFWAIL...Infants with abnormalities incompatible with postnatal life should receive appropriate palliative care, and their mothers should receive medical, psychological, and other supportive care. Perinatal care should allow parents and children to bond and should facilitate a normal grieving process." In other words, perinatal hospice along the lines of what Dr. Byron Calhoun has established.

I don't think it could be any clearer. Any Catholic hospital that still engages in such a heinous practice with such deceptive pablum as doing it for the mother's "psychological health" should be stripped of its Catholic identity and revealed for what it is -- a murdering facility. And any bishop who does not censure such a place and order it to cease and desist such a practice is in league with it.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Why priests should always wear their collars

It's amazing what wearing a clerical collar can do.

I'm reminded of the story of the night watchman who was shot at and the New Testament in his shirt pocket stopped the bullet.
Man attacks Caribbean archbishop outside St Lucia church
Saturday, April 15, 2006

CASTRIES, St Lucia (AP) - A man with a knife attacked the eastern Caribbean's Roman Catholic archbishop outside the cathedral in the St Lucian capital, slashing his clerical collar but not causing any injury, police and church officials said.

Archbishop Kelvin Felix was speaking with a parishioner outside the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception after Mass on Wednesday evening when the man grabbed him from behind and began slashing at his throat.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Servus servorum Dei

Now that Father Thomas Reese, SJ, has had his hand slapped by Rome, John Allen has become the most sought-after commentator on the Catholic Church in the secular media. Mr. Allen is, of course, the Rome correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter.

I generally respect his point of view despite his employer. Unlike the rest of those who write in the NC Rag, Mr. Allen is fair and balanced and usually quite accurate in his reporting.

"Usually" is the key operative here. His column in the Los Angeles Times today talking about Pope Benedict dropping the title "Patriarch of the West" contained this statement:
In many ways, the Vatican retains the trappings of a royal court, which means there's a whole series of lofty-sounding titles attached to the pope: "successor of Peter," for instance, because the pope is considered to stand in the place of St. Peter as Christ's designated leader of the church. The pope is also known as the "prince of apostles." Not to mention "bishop of Rome," "servant of the servants of God" (a title added by Pope Paul VI in the 1960s to stress humility) and so on. (my emphasis)
Hmm, that last one that I italicized is an interesting one. I had the impression that it was a much older title than the 1960's, and sure enough, the 1916 Catholic Encyclopedia provides our answer, from the article entitled, "Servus servorum Dei" (Servant of the Servants of God, for all you non-Latinophiles):
A title given by the popes to themselves in documents of note. Gregory the Great was the first to use it extensively, and he was imitated by his successors, though not invariably till the ninth century.
Ah yes, we moderns are the ones who stress humility, unlike those haughty, rude and power-mongering Middle Ages popes. It's a good thing that stereotype isn't supported by the facts.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Arguing with the left

I don't know if you've ever attempted dialoging with someone who claims to be a liberal, but it can be a very frustrating experience.

Not long after I became editor of what was then the Times Review, now The Catholic Times, the newspaper of the Diocese of La Crosse, one of the regular columnists submitted her column for publication. I read through it and it had an interesting beginning. She was meditating on the fact that in older houses, the most worn part of the floor is in the kitchen and that in churches, the most worn part of the floor is the center aisle where we receive Communion. This isn't something I would normally connect and there was potential here for something really good.

But then she veered off-course. She started talking about the "altar-table" and the First Communicants who were going to be "confirmed in their holiness" by the reception of the Eucharist. "Hmmm," thought I. "Where in the tradition is the altar referred to as the 'altar-table' and since when did the Eucharist confirm our holiness and not confer holiness to those of us who are desperately in need of it (which is all of us)?"

So I wrote to her asking her to support what she was saying. Where in the tradition or where in the documents is the altar called an 'altar-table'? Where in the tradition or where in the documents is it stated that the Eucharist confirms our holiness? The letter was quite polite and I was asking in genuine curiosity because she had a Master's in theology and I figured she had read something somewhere that gave that information.

The letter she wrote back, if memory serves me correctly, was rather terse: "I believe that at this time, it is best for me to move on," or something along that line. Fine. But that didn't answer any of the questions I asked with sincerity.

Assuredly it's not only people on the "left" who have this problem. There are those who will say, "The Bible says, I believe it and that settles it." But at least they are going back to a time-tested source. The problem with the left is that many of its typical ideological adherents are proposing all sorts of novel ideas without any indication that this novelty has support in the human tradition.

We humans cannot simply make up something out of thin air and expect that it's going to serve humanity well. There are reasons we do things and reasons we don't do things. We marry one man to one woman because millennia of human experience have shown that to be the best way for us to continue our existence on this planet and to build our society. We don't allow men to have sexual relations with men or women with women because human experience has shown that it can't produce children and it's not stable.

This is what is so difficult about trying to have a discussion of any substance with someone of this mindset. They make up the rules as they go and if you don't play along, then you can forget about discussing why they're doing or saying what they're doing or saying. So when you get down to the brass tacks, they're assuming an awful lot of power -- not unlike the power God has, which is not a good place to be.

Praying for China

Pope Benedict is quite serious about China. Here's his prayer intention for missions this month: "That the Church in China may carry out its evangelizing mission serenely and in full freedom."

In other words, the Holy Father is intervening in China's internal affairs. Obviously, it's not a direct intervention, but it's a very effective one, because what are the Chinese going to do -- object? "No, you can't have your people pray for us. If you don't withdraw your statement, we're going to withdraw our ambassador. Oh, wait...we don't have an ambassador. We're going to arrest and torture more bishops, priests and laity."

That may not be too far off the mark. If that happens and we are praying for China, especially in these last days of Lent, then the blood of the martyrs will bring forth even more fruit there.

Who says prayer doesn't change things? Even the simple act of publicly asking for prayer changes things. That's the wonderful thing about asking publicly for prayer for obstinantly difficult people -- they can't do anything about it. It would be futile for them to object and they know it.

The China Post, a Taiwanese paper, had an editorial asking, "Holy See to convert PRC?" Unfortunately, the secular press don't pay attention to the Pope's prayer intentions, so they didn't see that that is precisely what the Pope hopes to do.

The Judas document's irrelevancy

The headlines about the so-called Gospel of Judas are all reading something like what appeared in the Atlanta Journal Constitution: "Ancient manuscript tells relationship between Jesus and Judas" And the subhed reads: "Document says betrayal came at Jesus' request."

Give me a break. A document that was composed at least 150 years after the Resurrection is going to bring to light the proper relationship between Jesus and Judas. Right. Isn't that a little like saying my writing a fictional story in 2006 that slavery in the South in 1856 wasn't really so bad is going to be helpful to scholars in 3706 to find out about that horrifying institution?

Why the secular press are so gullible is something I'll never be able to figure out.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Bishop Vasa gets "SNAPped"

Bishop Robert Vasa of Baker, Ore., is known as a straight-shooter. He's not one to mince words and he has, at times, tweaked the USCCB's policies on aspects of the sex abuse crisis. So when he decided to bring in a priest from the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston who had been accused of sexual abuse and to give him his own parish, I was not surprised.

SNAP, however -- and predictably -- wasn't happy.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) issued a statement protesting the assignment of the Rev. Richard Edelin to St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church in John Day.
The statement disclosed that Edelin was accused of sexually abusing a teenage girl in Houston in the early 1980s. It also said that the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston paid $5,000 to the accuser in 1996 and issued an apology.
A church review board cleared Edelin to return to the ministry, but David Clohessy, national director of the network, defended the decision to draw public attention to the accusation.
"If we have to err, we have to err on the side of children's safety," Clohessy said.

The accusation, however, was never substantiated -- not by the diocese, not by the diocesan review board, not by the police. The review board in Baker also reviewed his case and found nothing to be alarmed about. So, according to Clohessy, if a priest is accused, he is automatically guilty.

Wait, scratch that. "We're not presuming he's guilty. We're simply saying that Catholics need to know and deserve to know his past."

Oh, O.K., I get it now. If Mr. Clohessy's past includes an accusation of theft, rape or murder that wasn't true, he would want that to be known to every potential employer and neighbor he has, right? I thought not.

Bishop Vasa pointed this out: "Article five of the Charter states: 'When an allegation has proved to be unfounded, every step will be taken to restore the good name of the priest or deacon.'" Apparently, though, that part of the Charter doesn't have to be taken as seriously as the other parts.

I recently wrote an e-mail to Mr. Clohessy and Barbara Blaine asking them to change the status they had given to Bishop Paul Dudley on the (false) accusation against him in their tally of bishops who have been accused of abuse. The original entry made it appear as if he had resigned under pressure from the accusation, when in fact he had resigned long before the accusation because of age, besides the fact that he was cleared of the charges. Fortunately, they took it seriously and made the change to reflect that he had been cleared of charges.

Whether or not they truly believe that he was never guilty in the first place is another issue.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Benedict the Nice Guy

Pretty much all the coverage about Pope Benedict XVI is almost fauning as they trip over themselves to say that "God's Rottweiler" is really a nice guy and he hasn't done anything really, well, conservative. (The exception to this is the gay press, which is excoriating him as a gay-hater.) And isn't it amazing that his first encyclical was on love, even on erotic love?

Sorry, but this is simply stupid. None of these people who are reporting on him now ever took the time to read what he had to say before he was elected pope. If they had, they would have known that he is and always has been a nice guy. None of the "conservatives" whose opinion was sought by the press ever thought of him as anything but a most gracious gentleman and they knew his style -- consultation with everyone who has expertise on a matter and then make a decision. That is obviously not the Rottweiler of their imaginings.

Those who say he really hasn't said anything "conservative" haven't read him closely. His audiences have clearly stated the truth of the Catholic faith. His addresses have clearly stated what the Church teaches and what she doesn't. As Father Fessio observed, there are logical consequences to what he said in Deus caritas est.

As for those conservatives who are upset that he hasn't done anything quickly enough, they need to cool their jets. Being pope isn't easy and it takes time to effect changes.

Mormonism thriving in heavily Catholic US Northeast

This Reuters report quotes people saying that the Catholic clergy scandal is driving them to become Mormon. Stupid them. Obviously the scandal is but one symptom of a very serious problem in the Northeast -- a lack of true formation.

Get this line: "But doctrinal similarities with Catholicism could account for some of the expansion, Shipps said."

Ah yes, I remember those doctrinal similarities -- they're so similar that Rome recently said that Mormon baptism is completely invalid. This is something certain dioceses in the U.S. had been asking the Vatican to say for years so that annulment processes could be made easier. But more than that, those who live with them know that what they teach and what the Church teaches is diametrically opposed. Just as three small examples -- Mormonism teaches many gods, no hell and salvation by good works. Catholicism teaches one God in Three Divine Persons, heaven and hell, and salvation through the grace of God.

The bishops of the Northeast will need to get their collective acts together and strike back. Not by any kind of harsh rhetoric, but by evangelization. Closing parishes because Catholics are moving out of particular areas is not the brighest move they could make. What is bright is bringing a serious evangelization effort to those areas which the old ethnic Catholics have left so that those who took their place have the chance to hear the Gospel as well. "There is no other name given in heaven or on earth by which we may be saved." So, Excellencies all, evangelize away.

The truth is sharper than a two-edged sword

I am all for caring for immigrants, legal and illegal. Jesus' command is clear and if believers do not obey it, we are worse than unbelievers. (As an aside -- there's a whole understanding of the parable of the last judgment that has been lost on many people -- the parable is speaking about non-believers, not believers. "The least of my brethren," which most people understand to be humanity in general (and that's a perfectly valid understanding) is actually a term for believers. So the things Jesus lists for how people should treat others are the bare minimum for Christians to do. If we aren't doing those things, then we have no right in claiming the title of Christian.)

And the point the bishops are raising is perfectly valid and the article link above which extols them for doing so is correct. However, this is actually a fairly easy thing to do. Immigrants are people outside the womb. The mainstream press are all in support of what these bishops are saying. So when Cardinal Mahoney says he will tell his priests to disobey any law that would require them to ignore the needs of some who is not in our country, the MSM love it.

But should any bishop rebuke a politician for supporting abortion or embryonic stem cell research, then that bishop has stepped over the line. So it is much more difficult for a bishop to say anything about sexual and reproductive matters than it is on immigration matters.

Contrary to Bill O'Reilly, et al., the Church is not for the illegal immigrant because of declining membership. On the contrary, we're gaining members and can't keep up with them with the shortage of priests. Actually, it is more likely that the mainstream media want the illegals here because the general population is not reproducing itself. Without immigration, our population growth would be in the negative. Without immigration, the Democratic party and its MSM cronies would find itself facing what is called the Roe effect -- the fact that "liberals" are not so liberal-minded when it comes to reproducing themselves and are contracepting and aborting themselves out of existence. Without an influx of immigrants, who generally vote Democratic, there would be no future for that party. And without people, life's a pretty dull party.

The litany of saints affects the soul

This is an interesting article and is quite unlike the tone the Post-Dispatch generally takes when it comes the Catholic faith. Obviously, listening to the litany of saints as he was reviewing John Paul's funeral had some kind of effect on Mr. Townsend's soul. Let's hope there will be some sort of change in many people's hearts.

Christianity evolving?

Yesterday, John Spong, the infamous Episcopalean claimant to the title of bishop, was scheduled to speak in Nashville, according to The Tenessean. The article was kind of all over the place, as is often the case when talking with someone who is not rooted firmly in the truth, so this posting is kind of all over the place as well.

While John Shelby Spong makes claims to being a Christian, it is clear that he is embracing an interpretation of the faith that doesn't square with the truth.

"Spong calls for a global 'New Reformation,' mixing old rationalism and new mysticism. Theism is dead, he says. Find new ways to speak of God. Shed religion's miracles, seek truth, give Christianity the chance 'to be the song of the universe, sung by those who have come of age.'

This "those who have come of age" is the epitome of the spirit of our age. "We are adults," the cry goes, "and we don't need anyone to tell us what to do. We can find our own way -- in fact, we can make our own way to eternal happiness." Besides the fact that goes directly contrary to what Jesus said, "Let the children come to me, for it is to just such as these that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs," and "Unless you become like a little child, you cannot enter the Kingdom of God," it also displays an arrogance on the order of that of the devil -- "No, God knows that if you eat of this, you will be like gods yourselves knowing good and evil."

This quote is most telling: "I couldn't be more excited about the future of the Christian faith," he declares, "but it will be a different faith." In other words, it won't be Christianity anymore. So why the secular press continue to call him a Christian is beyond me -- except for the fact that they don't, as the blog says, "get religion."

"A huge group goes underrepresented," The Tennesean's reporter writes, "moderates who reject literalism but who haven't given up on the Bible's strange power to energize their lives. They're alert to the Golden Rule, the prophets, and, yes, Jesus' resurrection. Who speaks for them? Neither left nor right." Then they should go to the Catholic Church which is simply true, neither left nor right.

"Truth will never destroy God," Spong says. "It might destroy my image of God, but not God." This is true -- but the truth could destroy all the false images of God in which John Spong and his followers have placed their trust. And if they have placed too much of themselves in their falsehoods, the truth could end up destroying them.

A litany for bishops

We need serious prayer for our shepherds. In my family, after we pray the Rosary we have a litany of saints invoking those who are our patrons and others to whom we are particularly close. One of them is St. John Fisher, whom we invoke for bishops. After reading about the extraordinary life of St. Hugh of Grenoble (see my previous post), my wife thought that perhaps we should invoke him for bishops. "Someone should devise a litany of bishops for bishops," I replied. And my wife logically said, “Why don’t you do it?” Thank God for wives, right?

I pretend no claim to greater holiness for composing this. I pretend no claim to efficacy for this prayer. It is merely an effort to provide some sort of ordered prayer for our shepherds who are in desperate need of it, based on a tried and true formula. The saintly bishops invoked here are those on the General Roman Calendar as well as a couple who are not listed there. Permission is granted to use this freely and without attribution, but if anyone has or knows of anything better, please let me know.

Litany for Bishops

Lord, have mercy on us Christ, have mercy on us
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us Christ, graciously hear us.
God our Father,
who promised us shepherds after your own heart, Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Good Shepherd of the world...
God the Holy Spirit, poured out upon the Apostles.....
Holy Trinity, one God....
St. Peter and St. Paul pray for us
St. Andrew
St. James the Greater
St. John
St. Philip
St. Bartholomew
St. Thomas
St. Matthew
St. James the Less
St. Jude
St. Simon
St. Matthias
St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory of Nanzianzus
St. Francis de Sales
St. Timothy and St. Titus
St. Methodius
St. Patrick
St. Athanasius
St. Boniface
St. Irenaeus
St. Bonaventure
St. Alphonsus Ligouri
St. Augustine
St. John Chrysostom
St. Cyprian
St. Ignatius of Antioch
St. Martin of Tours
St. Josaphat
St. Ambrose
St. John Neumann
St. Hilary
St. Blase
St. Ansgar
St. Peter Damian
St. Polycarp
St. Cyril of Jerusalem
St. Turibius de Mongrovejo
St. Isidore
St. Anselm
St. Adalbert
St. Augustine of Canterbury
St. Norbert
St. Paulinus of Nola
St. John Fisher
St. Cyril of Alexandria
St. Apollinarius
St. Peter Chrysologus
St. Eusebius of Vercelli
St. Robert Bellarmine
St. Januarius
St. Anthony Claret
St. Charles Borromeo
St. Albert the Great
St. Nicholas
St. Thomas Becket
St. Hugh of Grenoble
St. William of Bourges
St. Cuthbert
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world Spare us, O Lord
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world Graciously hear us, O Lord
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world Have mercy on us.

V. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, leading us to new and everlasting life,
R. Help our bishops to be holy and faithful to you.

Let us pray.

Merciful Father,
You have promised to give us shepherds after your own heart (Jer. 3:15). Help our bishops, whom you have anointed with the Holy Spirit to be successors of the Apostles, to teach the truth of your Son, Jesus Christ, in charity and fidelity to all entrusted to their care. May they always put the care of their flock before their own needs, even to the point of shedding their blood, in order that we may learn and live the truth that leads to eternal life. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Now that's a bishop

Today is the feast day (not on the general Roman calendar) of St. Hugh of Grenoble (France, †1132), a bishop for 52 years between the 11th and 12th centuries. This was no office he sought and in fact left his office vacant for a year to seek the peace of the monastic life at Cluny. He only went back after a direct order came from the Pope. Later, he would go on retreat at the monastery of St. Bruno in Chartruese (to whom he gave permission to start the monastery) and St. Bruno would have to tell him to back to the office.

What is remarkable about him is what he did in his diocese. When he got there, according to Butler's Lives of the Saints, "The gravest sins were committed without shame -- simony and usury were rampant, the clergy openly flouted the obligation to celibacy, the people were uninstructed, laymen had seized church property and the see was almost penniless."

Sound familiar? What did St. Hugh do about it? He didn't declare bankruptcy, he didn't call for dialogue, he didn't say the people shouldn't learn the truths of the faith under the guise of feel-good renewal programs. According to Butler's, "For two years he laboured unremittingly to redress abuses by preaching, by denunciations, by rigorous fasts and by constant prayer."

The last two actions particularly intrigued me. There is a story of St. Patrick going up onto the mountain now called Croagh Patrick in order to spend 40 days in fast and prayer for the people of Ireland. Not long after he started, he was tormented by demons in the shape of birds flocking around the opening of his little cave, so much so that they completely blocked out the light. After many prayers and entreaties which were unavailing, he took the bell he always carried and started ringing it. The demons started scattering and finally he threw the bell into their midst and the birds threw themselves into the sea.

But that was only the beginning. He conversed regularly with an angel because his petitions to God were five-fold:
  • that many souls would be free from the pains of purgatory through his intercession;
  • that whoever, in a spirit of penance, recited the hymn he composed that we call St. Patrick’s Breastplate, before death would go to heaven;
  • that the barbarians would never obtain sway in the Church in Ireland;
  • that seven years before the Day of Judgement, the sea would spread over Ireland to save its people from the temptations and terrors of the Antichrist;
  • and finally, that Patrick himself should be able to judge the whole Irish race on the last day.
The angel would say to Patrick something along the lines of, "OK, OK, we give in on this point -- now give up the fast." But, like Abraham negotiating with God over the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah, Patrick persisted on all points and won.

The stand Bishop Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Neb., took against the National Review Board is, in a sense, bracing, even though, as Ed Peters rightly points out, he's wrong. There is also the fact that he was extraordinarily uncharitable and arrogant -- attitudes totally unbecoming of someone in the office of bishop, especially one who calls himself orthodox. But what we don't hear from any of our bishops, most of whom appear to be quite well-fed and living in rather comfortable quarters, is that they are fasting, praying and doing penance in intense ways for their flocks. We do not hear exhortations to fast and prayer from them for the crisis which now engulfs the Church in our country. We do not hear sermons like those of St. Hugh's during which "it was not unusual to see the whole congregation in tears, whilst individuals would be moved to make public confession on the spot." Nor do we hear of bishops who will sell chalices and precious stones in order to feed the hungry.

Perhaps it falls on us laity to do some intense fasting, prayer and penance for our bishops. What we have is not simply a crisis of clerical misconduct; what we have is, as then-Cardinal Ratzinger said, "a crisis of saints." And that crisis isn't going to be relieved by mere name-calling or even preaching and denunciations. As Jesus Himself said, "This kind can only be driven out by prayer and fasting."