Dallas Catholic Diocese Blasted over Announcement of Allegations against Another Former Priest

By David Tarrant
Morning News
July 5, 2019

Is true and sweeping reform possible under the current government structure of the church? I think not. After all, the first revelation of the spate of crimes took place in 1985, thirty-five years ago. The essential facts were set before the American bishops at the time and they declined to accept the report. They would not discuss the matter. In the Dallas charter of 2002 bishops pointed their reform efforts at priests and ignored their own crimes. For any ordained church leader, low or high, to even suggest a change in clerical authority itself is to make himself a parish. The structure has been many times made a matter of dogma, including at Vatican II. Yet the damage hasn’t ceased and that is the failure of church leaders. The Vatican’s “cone of silence” squashed even the question of any limit to ordained leadership, not to mention serious public discussion of it.

Lack of support

Despite an occasional effort, bishops have been unable or unwilling to provide communal support for priests that might sustain their efforts at moral probity and deep spiritual life. Some of this may rest on the lack of spiritual depth and maturity on the part of bishops themselves. It would seem that they do not regard themselves as ministering to priests in spite of official Church rhetoric. Priests have very little if any spiritual community, especially with their bishops. In my own experience in the priesthood I had a five minute discussion with bishops only twice in nineteen years, once to ask for a transfer from a parish (1964) and once when I was resigning (1979), and never with anyone one of the dozen New York auxiliary bishops. When I was desperate at the end of a fifteen year wrestling with celibacy I had to turn to a Jesuit spiritual director for council. I never got the impression that any New York bishop was interested in helping priests.

The tragedy of clerical life is not American alone, but is shared by the Irish church as well, and the churches in Canada, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, Chili and probably the churches worldwide, over the same sins of priests and the same episcopal irresponsibility. The problems are systemic.[1] They must be met systemically.








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