Sunday, June 19, 2011

I KNOW PREJUDICE WHEN I SEE IT




My family moved from Naples, Italy to Atlanta, Georgia in 1957. The first time I saw prejudice was on the city bus. My mother and I took the bus that stopped behind our apartment downtown several times a week. The blacks had to sit at the back of the bus, whites up front.

When we moved to Augusta in 1960, I learned how to read and I would ask my father why there was a "whites only" sign on the laundromat near our home, at water fountains, restaurants and bathrooms. He told me white people were afraid of blacks.

What was this fear? Prejudice is built on fear and paranoia. Whites feared black's sexuality, size, color and culture. Whites fear their southern slang, excitability and emotions. Whites fear their criminal records, after all the prisons were filled with a disproportionate number of blacks convicted of rape, theft and murder. Whites feared their lifestyle and poverty.

While we haven't come far enough, we've come a long way baby, but a new prejudice is developing and is starting to entrench itself in the Church and outside of the Church and it is a prejudice against priests out of a fear of priests, their lifestyle, their sexuality and the fact that a small percentage of them have committed mortal sins and crimes against children and a culture of so-called clericalism that has allowed for it.

Now those who fear priests are taking matters into their own hands and developing a new form of lynching not directed at the perceived crimes of blacks but toward priests. It is a high tech form of lynching and those who promote it are like the racists of the south that I describe above. The problem, like with all racism, is that they think they are actually doing good. Read on:

Sunday June 19, 2011
VICTIMS' GROUPS OPPOSE RIGHTS FOR PRIESTS


Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on the three most prominent so-called victims' groups:

BishopAccountability, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) and the National Survivors Advocates Coalition (NSAC) are so consumed with their agenda that they are ready to throw the constitutional rights of accused priests overboard.

Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz expressed his concerns this week that unscrupulous lawyers may try to plunder the bishops' conference for making commitments on how best to handle accused priests. For merely raising this concern, SNAP urged Catholics in his diocese to stop making contributions. Last month, when a case against the Louisville diocese was thrown out, SNAP lashed out at the judge for dismissing it on the basis of a technicality. The technicality? The First Amendment.

BishopAccountability said this week that priests should be removed from ministry before the accusation is investigated. Similarly, SNAP said this week, "We strongly and repeatedly beg people to call authorities—police and prosecutors—with any information or suspicions no matter how small or seemingly insufficient." Here's a good one: after typing "rights of priests" in the search engine of NSAC, the first article to appear calls for the suspension of rights for accused priests.

When an innocent Jesuit priest was recently nominated to be the House Chaplain, both SNAP and NSAC opposed him simply because some accused priests belong to his religious order.

BishopAccountability openly admits that it does not verify allegations made against priests before listing information on its website. That includes Father Charles Murphy, who died last weekend after being victimized by two bogus lawsuits against him that went nowhere. Worse, after NSAC ripped a columnist who pointed out what a travesty the Murphy case is, it concluded, "Perhaps Rev. Murphy was an innocent man, poorly treated." It just doesn't get much lower than this.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is prejudice, but that is life. This is not new. If some one likes you, you can do no wrong. If someone dislikes you, you can do nothing right. These people are simply looking for excuses to have their prejudices. It is not good enough, however, to desire the same rights as anyone else. The difference is the higher standard priests hold themselves to. Living up to them means NOT being one of the group and living in a manner that will set you apart. The main hook these people have to attack priests is the priests on incredibly high ethical standards. You will notice that these people won't attack NAMBLA or any of its supporters in congress. Their perverted standards allow for consistency in behaviour even if it wrong. It is a waste of time to worry about fairness. It is more important that we live so that their claims are wrong, and obviously so, so that they will have to claim their own bigotry. Then people will have to chose.

rcg

Robert Kumpel said...

I once thought the people at SNAP were to be commended for their defense of victims of abuse, but after nearly 10 years of watching this play out in the press, I don't trust them. SNAP has a near-obsession with discrediting the Catholic priesthood and denouncing every single bishop as an accessory to abuse. I can't think of ONE bishop in the United States that SNAP doesn't condemn.

And Bruskewitz is right about the attorneys as well. The first rule of lawsuits is that the attorneys always get paid and they see a tremendous cash cow in the various dioceses that they've dragged into court all over the country. They have no consideration of the good people who sacrificed to build beautiful parish churches--they just want them sold, so they can collect their settlements. They have a vested interest in painting all priests as abusers so they can keep this canard going and continue to collect.

I am not saying that there are not priests and bishops who are complicit in abuses that are a disgrace and embarrassment. I AM saying that those who are guilty and complicit are not the majority and groups like SNAP and the courtroom shark patrol would have us believe that the ordained priesthood is a hopeless criminal organization that must be brought down like the mafia.

If the money really means that much to them, they'd be far more successful in going after public school districts instead of dioceses. The number of abusers they'd find would make the the priestly abusers look like a mere blip on the radar screen.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this.

We are dealing with an abusing priest in our diocese right now (he admitted his abuse) & our Bishop has allowed SNAP to have 'free reign' in the situation. Though I am committed to this priest receiving fair & just penalties for his actions, it has been disturbing watching SNAP's actions.

As a faithful Catholic,it seems to me that our Diocese has completely stepped aside (out of fear of being sued, perhaps)& has allowed this priest to be crucified in the civil courts. His case is ongoing front page news in our small southern predominately Protestant community & has truly damaged our small Catholic community in many ways.

I certainly do not in any way condone what has happened & defend the right of the victim to come forward & seek 'justice'.

That being said, I am dismayed to see how quickly my Diocese has dropped this priest like a hot potato & wonder about the words I hear at Ordinations:"you are now a priest for life".

When a man has given all to his call & has obviously done grave wrong, does that also mean that we simply turn him over to civil courts & our faith in the office of the priesthood no longer counts for anything?

I am distressed by what we have & are continuing to experience in our current situation. Our Diocese, having wiped its proverbial hands of the situation has been silent & therefore not only is this priest been left to hang in civil courts for his deeds, but those indirectly affected by his actions (we his parishioners & extended church family)are also left hanging with him.

The very sad thing to me is that I do not see how 'civil justice' will bring a true resolution to this issue. The victim will have his day in court & the 'former priest' will be convicted, but where is Jesus in all of this? I am looking, but I do not see Him & as I listen to SNAP, I do not see Him there either...

Just my thoughts as we face this on a very personal scale... -pgal

Anonymous said...

The face of prejudice can often be found in the mirror.

pinanv525 said...

Anon...and a cliche a day keeps the doctor away...

Anonymous said...

PIN. The doctor wasn't the target but rather some who are prejudiced but practice it so well themselves. Perhaps an honest look in the mirror might reduce their number.

pinanv525 said...

Nah, a look in the mirror will only convince them how right they are. Besides, everyone is prejudiced in one way or another. The issue is how you deal with it in your self-understanding. The ones who self-righteously believe they are free from prejudice are the ones that are the most dangerous...like libs in this country. For all of their pretense, they are some of the most bigoted, hostile, and hateful people on earth.