Thinking about the recent meeting of forty conservatives and a handful of bishops and reading the reactions of various bloggers I will add my two cents. The appointment of Leon Panetta along with several others to the Bishops lay review board stuck in my craw at the time, but this is not even close to what the real issue should have been. It wouldn’t have mattered if every person on it was a faithful Catholic in all respects. This board should never have created in the first place. There is the old joke that an elephant is a horse designed by a committee
In circumstances such as these appointing a committee can be just a way of saying you did something without actually having to make a hard decision and do something. I believe my opinion has been born out by the history of this review board. They sent out questionnaires and then some diocese didn’t return them, and then Gov. Keating resigned after making some un-prudential comments. Did we really need a review board in the first place to get to the root of the scandals? Were not some of the factors that lead to this readily apparent by anyone who really looked at them?
We basically had two break downs in the scandals. One that some priests broke their vow and two that some bishops did not take prudential action to eliminate the possibility of further abuse. There is no way we can screen out all potential abusers at the seminary and in this toxic culture we do need to ensure that everybody at least gets an immunization shot of healthy orthodox teachings to help protect themselves from the culture of death. So just from a church management point of view we need to ensure that seminarians are properly catechized, any priestly dissent is dealt with, and when alleged abuse occurs that it is properly investigated and if abuse had occurred it is dealt with.
None of this required a lay board that sends out questionnaires, but it does require at least for bishops to act like bishops. As lay people we can do much to encourage and support our bishops, especially starting with prayer. We can also as Catholics keep some bishops from appointing pro-abortion politicians to posts or have them as speakers by keeping them from ever being elected in the first place.
We can look at the example of the Exodus and see that instead of trusting in God’s promise they appointed a scouting party (committee) to first check out the promise land and to give a report. When this committee lead by Joshua reported on what they found and about the Anakim living there, they saw it as a GIANT problem and instead of dealing with it they wandered in the wilderness for another forty years until that disobedient generation had passed away. I just wonder if we are going to have to wait for this disobedient generation to pass away before we start to make the hard decisions?