August 18, 2018

OUT OF DENIAL:

Rod Was Right and I Was Wrong (AUSTIN RUSE, 8/17/18, Crisis)

Then 2002 came, and Rod started reporting on the priest sex scandal. Many of us thought Rod was going too far, going off the deep end, pulling out his hair. Like many others, I just could not believe some of the things we were hearing. What's more, I instinctively thought that the bishops were doing, if not the right thing, then the thing that made sense given who they felt they had to listen to: insurance companies, lawyers, and psychologists.

I just could not believe that Cardinal Law, for instance, was the bad guy. I just could not believe that such a friend to the pro-life movement was an enemy. I thought this was almost certainly the devil's way of ridding us of such a valuable ally.

I believed the bishops had to protect the Church, that the lawyers were probably right to offer compensation to victims and require them to keep quiet so as not to scandalize the faithful.

What's more, they were following the best "scientific" advice from psychologists, that these men could go into counseling and be "cured" such that they could enter ministry again, at least away from young people. A few years after 2002, I was with one of the most celebrated psychiatrists in the country, one who is Catholic and outspokenly pro-life [not Paul McHugh] and I asked him if his profession held that pedophilia could be cured. He said yes.

I thought the media was ginning up what was a scandal, to be sure, but one that was small, localized, and now blessedly over. And Rod was banging out story after story bringing down the Church. I thought he was overemotional. He was making things worse.

I recall perhaps the last time I was with Rod. It was at some conference years ago, still in the shadow of '02. I don't remember where. We sat at a table along with Robert Royal and David Mills, and we talked about this issue. I don't remember the exact conversation, but it was strained. There was already an estrangement over this issue and what he was doing. At that time, as we have come to know, Rod was under severe pressure from influential Catholic laymen and from important bishops to lay off. Father Neuhaus actually yelled at him. You are hurting the Church, they told him. This will blow over. This is being handled. Handled. Yes.



Posted by at August 18, 2018 4:00 AM

  

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