Letter to the Editor:
Lords of the Rings

Naples Daily News [Naples FL]
May 20, 2004

Our Roman Catholic bishops have wandered into quicksand and seem to be sinking deeper with every move they make.

Their recent decision to reject the recommendation of the lay National Review Board to continue without delay the auditing of diocesan compliance with sex-abuse policy standards is their latest foolish move and deeper down they go as their ever-more-enlightened constituency looks on. Instead, the bishops will meet in yet another secret session and try to figure out how to dig their way out of the hole.

Four members of the NRB, including "disappointed" chairwoman and judge Anne Burke, have just resigned. Its former chairman, Gov. Frank Keating, resigned abruptly last year while expressing far more than mere disappointment. The bishops say the problem is that the panel which they created has misunderstood its charter. Translation: The NRB is made up of laypersons and, therefore, any initiatives or recommendations it may take to save the church and its leaders are not to be respected. As we know, lifelines offered by many other lay organizations have similarly been rejected. In other words, any form of assertive behavior by the Catholic laity in response to crisis in the church is strictly forbidden even when initiated by highly qualified individuals with exceptional expertise and experience in the areas being addressed.

Their excellencies ought to try to muster a little humility and welcome from the laity the assistance they so desperately need before the weight of their rings pulls them completely under.

Ted Blount/Bonita Springs

VOTF - SW Florida