Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Few Sober Statistics in a Heated Conversation...

The sad specter of clergy sexual abuse is once again rearing its ugly head, this time affecting Europe as well as the USA. As you would expect, it is garnering its fair share of attention here as well as in the media in general. I thought it appropriate to direct your attention to a recent article pointed out by one of my professors from a respected academic at Penn State. While it is a bit dated now (originally published in 2002), I think it is still quite relevant in putting the most recent headlines in their proper perspective. I have included a link to it in hopes that it may contribute to a fuller, more informed discussion of this difficult and painful topic. It can be accessed HERE. Click HERE for a well written reflection on this topic (I include the full text below).

From Blog of Fr. D Longenecker:
Monday, March 22, 2010
The Myth of Pedophile Priests

As more pedophile priest scandals blow up across Europe we should be ashamed of the offenders and those who sheltered them and oppressed the victims. The guilty should be weeded out, removed from office and handed over to the civil authorities where they are guilty of crimes. Systems to avoid abuse must be established and rigorously maintained, and victims should be justly compensated for their suffering.

However, Penn State professor Philip Jenkins (who is not a Catholic) has written the most objective book on the subject, and he summarizes his arguments in this excellent article. In light of his work, we should remember some basic facts and principles:

- Priestly celibacy is not the issue - married men are more likely to abuse children than unmarried

- Most child abuse takes place within the home.

- All religious groups have pedophile scandals, and the Catholics (while the largest religious group) are at the bottom of the list statistically.

- Child abuse is prevalent in all areas of society: schools, youth organizations, sports, etc.

- Statistically, of all the professions, Christian clergy are least likely to offend. Doctors, Farmers and Teachers are the professions most likely to abuse children--not clergy.

- Among clergy offenders Catholic priests are least likely to offend.

- Catholic cases of pedophilia make more headlines because of anti Catholic prejudice and because the Catholic Church is bigger and more lucractive to sue.

- Pedophilia and Euphebophilia are different problems. The former is sexual attraction to pre-pubescent children. The latter is attraction to teenagers. Most cases branded 'pedophila' are actually 'euphebophila.'

- Most of the cases of euphebophilia are homosexual in nature, however the politically correct do not want this problem to be associated with homosexuality.

- The number of Catholic priests guilty of pedophilia is very small.

- What we now call 'cover up' was often done in a different cultural context, when the problem was not fully understood and when all establishment organizations hushed scandals. They did so for what seemed good reasons at the time: protection of the victims and their families, opportunity for rehabilitation of the offender, the avoidance of scandal to others. It is unfair to judge events thirty years ago by today's standards.

- When lawsuits are looming people smell money. We must be wary of false accusations.

- The accused must be entitled to a fair hearing. The church should insist on hard proof of the abuse, and for the sake of justice, ensure that the innocent are not prosecuted.

- When guilt is established the offender must be punished, not sheltered.

- Distinctions must be made between types of abuse. Some offenses are worse than others. Verbal abuse or corporal punishment during a time when that was acceptable, while lamentable, is not the same as sexual abuse or extreme physical abuse.

- Sexual abuse of an adult, or a sexually experienced older teenager is wrong, and damaging, and should be punished, but it is not the same as the sexual abuse of a younger, innocent child.

- Number of offenses must be considered. One lapse is not of the same seriousness as repeated, persistent and premeditated offenses.

I am in no way wishing to be soft of pedophiles and those who covered for them, however justice and truth demand an objective analysis of the facts.

Monday, March 29, 2010

New Blog Added to List...

Just finishing paper #3 of the semester (praised be...). Came across a new blog to add to the list at the right-hand side of the page. It's in Italian, but we should be able to make most of it out. Click HERE

RINASCIMENTO SACRO: Blog del Movimento Liturgico Benedettiano

Friday, March 26, 2010

WOW! The Acta Online!

Wow! Did you hear my jaw hit the floor? It was just brought to my attention that the ENTIRE Acta Sanctae Sedis / Apostolicae Sedis is available ONLINE! WOW! For a canon lawyer, this is VERY exciting (notice the profuse use of all caps)! Not only is it online, it's in PDF form and fully searchable! This is the entire published texts of the two "Actae" from 1865-2007. Click HERE I'm including a permanent link to this one on the side-bar!

Rome Pics...

I'm slowly collecting various pictures from the recent visit to Rome with my class here at CUA. I have begun posting them in a Picasa album, located: HERE.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


A very well-made point that I couldn't agree with more. Particularly welcome in this, our age of social/cultural/political division where differing opinions can not be discussed politely. Click HERE.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Today's Visit...

The Justice was kind enough to offer an invitation to the Court as his personal guest today. Attended the oral arguments, which was followed by lunch in his chambers. It provided the opportunity to discuss a paper I have written this semester on the Court's jurisprudence in First Amendment cases (of which, a case he wrote the majority opinion for was a substantial part - Employment Division of Oregon v. Smith, 1990).

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Some Lenten-Themed Music...

Some Lenten-Inspired music for your listening enjoyment. Tomorrow is the Fifth Sunday of Lent (Passion Sunday in the EF). Easter is quickly approaching...


Although I have an entire year more of studies to go, I'm beginning to gather resources and to work on my thesis for the JCL. I have settled on a topic: "Canons 1246-1248: A Study of the Historical and Juridical Development of the Sunday Obligation." With the help of a friend and doctoral student, I came across a fantastic resource the other day which is going to help tremendously with the historical piece of my thesis. I was even able to order it online. It was published just a few months ago and will be saving me an immense amount of time having to go and translate many many pages of Latin from the various collections of source documents. This is volume one of a four volume set giving English translations of all the pertinent liturgical sources from various councils and authors of the first six centuries of Christianity. Stuff from the "sub-apostolic era" through Justin Martyr, Ignatius of Antioch, the Didascalia, Innocent I, Gregory I, etc etc. I'm probably more excited about this than I should be...


Finally, after all these years, I get the recognition that I so richly deserve! I must confess, though, that I never thought it was going to come in the form of a fortune cookie... alas!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Roman Vestments...

Some recently-acquired liturgical vesture. Yes, I know there is a lot of lace here in these photos, so go ahead and post your comments and get it out of your systems (Joe S... ahem)! I attribute it to the Holy Father's rather frequent use of the "Roman Style" chasuble that you are beginning to see a return of the popularity of this style here and there. I have always gone back and forth over whether or not I liked this style vestment. The thing that always was a negative for me was that I do my shopping in the "husky priest" section, and about the only place in the past that you'd find this style vestment was as an antique. Well let's just say that they didn't make priests my size "back in the day." The result: the old vestments looked way undersized. With their return in popularity, they are now being made to fit a more modern size human. These come from Gammarelli.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Consecration of new FSSP chapel...

I was looking for this video, since I was unable to watch the live broadcast on EWTN a few weeks back. It is a video of the consecration of a chapel in the Extraordinary Form. Very interesting...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Ciao, Roma!

Just getting back to Washington this afternoon. The Rome visit is now over. It was a very worthwhile week of meetings with the dicasteries of the Holy See. Each meeting was informative, and helped to put a human face on the hierarchical structure of the Church. We were received warmly by each office, who took a genuine interest in us, our studies, and our future role as canon lawyers. Each office presented to us their main work and area of competency, with a focus on how we will most likely be interacting with them in the future. A highlight had to be the opportunity to meet with officials of the Apostolic Signatura and Roman Rota. We invited two of the American Rotal judges to dinner with us, which led to some interesting dinner-table conversation (some of which occured in Latin...). Here's some pics of the week:

Vesting for Mass at the Basilica of St. Mary Major:

Getting ready for our meeting with the Secretariat of State:

The room where the Holy Father greets state visitors to the Holy See:

The view overlooking St. Peter's Square from the balcony of the Secretariat of State:

The office of the papal master of ceremonies:

A hallway in the Apostolic palace:

What's on the other side of the door? The Sistine Chapel:

"Annuntio vobis gaudiam magnam!":

Monday, March 8, 2010

Hello Again...

Had a nice weekend in Rome. Concelebrated at the 10:30 Mass on Sunday morning, for which I was asked to read an intercession. Hopefully will have a pic to post of that from Dr. Marten's soon. Ate what was the best meal of my life at my favorite restaurant: Scarpone's. Absolutely incredible main dish of beef filleta with a cream sauce and porcini mushrooms... bellisimo!

We are half-way through our first day of visiting the dicasteries. Visited the CDW, Congregation for Clergy, and Congregation for the Causes of Saints this morning. Very interesting presentations, particularly from the Causes of Saints, who provided a lot of interesting insight into the process of beatification and canonization. Here's a few pics:

A beautiful sunset from the roof top of our hotel:

My favorite restaurant in the world, Scarpone's:

The best pasta dish in Rome, the "Fettucini Scarpone:"

Fr. Vince and I in the sacristy of St. Peter's before Sunday morning Mass:

Fr. Vince and Fr. Anthony in the square for yesterday's Angelus:

The Trevi fountain:

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Ciao from Roma!

Greetings from the eternal city! We landed safely yesterday morning. The trip began by taking a tour of the catacombs of San Sebastiano, Mass at St. Paul Outside the Walls, and dinner out. This morning: Mass at St. Peter's. Several of the guys got up early, fought the jet-lag and went to St. Peter's to celebrate our Masses before spending the free day in Rome. Fr. Jim and Fr. Chris and I are just returning to our "domus" after spending the day walking to the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, the Borgo, etc. etc. Here's some pics so far:

Our shuttle picking us up to go to Dulles airport for our flight to Italy:

Fr. Chris, showing the effects of a nine and a half hour flight as we land in Rome:

Fr. Vince points out: something is wrong with this sign "Toilets Souvenires:"

St. Peter's Square with Fr. Anthony and Fr. Martin:

"Dolce" and a "Cafe:"

Professor Martens in front of a portrayal he finds particularly inspiring:

My parishioners from Meade County who went on the pilgrimage two years ago will understand the significance of this picture:

That's all for now; stay tuned for more...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Viaggiare fa bene alla salute!

Leaving for "Roma" in a little bit. Thankfully, we have a direct flight from Washington to Rome, so no layovers. Saturday and the first part of Sunday are free time, then we hit the ground running on Monday morning. We have two or three visits to make each day from Monday through Friday at the various dicasteries. Will be trying to post some pictures periodically, provided I can find someplace that has internet access (I don't think our residence has any: the consequence of staying in a Carmelite monastery). Arrivederci, ciao!