Friday, April 09, 2010

Fisking Dowd

Every week, I sit down and make myself comfy to do a lot of reading at the piano teacher's house. Three kids at 30 minutes each gives me a lot of time to read. Sometimes I get to read Maureen Dowd's column in my local newspaper, although most of the time I go to read it on line. After all, the comments are REALLY the most interesting part of the Maureen Dowd experience, and that's only available online. Nonetheless I read it this week and kept wishing I had a lap top and wi fi to respond to all of her points. I haven't done a good Fisking in a while, and if ever a column deserved it -this week's Dowd does!


So here goes:

I’m a Catholic woman who makes a living being adversarial. We have a pope who has instructed Catholic women not to be adversarial.


It’s a conundrum.
Call me skeptical, but somehow I don't think Ms. Dowd is losing a lot of sleep worrying about not being on the same page as the Pope. After all, she's made a lot of money being adversarial, especially towards the Pope and the church.  From this scandal alone she has managed to crank out four columns.  Which is a good thing because she was getting some heat for being such a cheerleader for Obamacare.



I’ve been wondering, given the vitriolic reaction of the New York archbishop to my column defending nuns and the dismissive reaction of the Vatican to my column denouncing the church’s response to the pedophilia scandal, if they are able to take a woman’s voice seriously.
 Laugh out loud moment here!  First off, the New York Times declined to publish the archbishop's column.   last fall.  I guess it leaves the "fair and balanced" stuff to Fox news. The bishop speaks for himself on his own blog here. 

Secondly, is the Vatican supposed to have a reaction to her weekly column? I think she's also drawing the wrong conclusion here. It's not "a woman's voice" that isn't being taken seriously, it's HER voice in particular. After years of dissent, the Vatican, the archbishop and  all of her readers get it - Maureen has issues with the church.  This is yet another column where Maureen Dowd blasts the Catholic church. It's not exactly surprising and note worthy.  It's status quo.

 
Some, like Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, seem to think women are trying to undermine the church because of abortion and women’s ordination.
I really bristle when Dowd talks as if she is speaking for ALL women, or ALL CATHOLIC women. She doesn't speak for me, and as a rule I usually agree with Bill Donohue.


I thought they might respond better to a male Dowd.
My brother Kevin is conservative and devout — his hobby is collecting crèches — and has raised three good Catholic sons. When I asked him to share his thoughts on the scandal, I learned, shockingly, that we agreed on some things. He wrote the following:
“In pedophilia, the church has unleashed upon itself a plague that threatens its very future, and yet it remains in a curious state of denial. The church I grew up in was black and white, no grays. That’s why my father, an Irish immigrant, liked it so much. The chaplain of the Police and Fire departments told me once ‘Your father was a fierce Catholic, very fierce.’
I think all labels aside, most Catholic people agree that the pedophilia scandal (it's really ephebophilia but whatever) hasn't been good for the Catholic church. Anyone who has lived in the United States and been active in parish life would take issue with the church being in a state of denial!  In my diocese anyone working with children had to take classes, have background checks and get finger printed!  We've gone above and beyond in keeping kids safe. So I'm not getting this "state of denial" nor have I seen it.  I'll refer you to the original column for Dowd's own first-hand experience with a questionable priest and other priest bashing.

In his book, ‘Goodbye! Good Men,’ author Michael Rose writes that the liberalized rules set up a takeover of seminaries by homosexuals.
I've read that book and have it in my library. It's well documented.  Curiously, Kevin Dowd's on anecdote would tend to support the book's premise.


Vatican II liberalized rules but left the most outdated one: celibacy. That vow was put in place originally because the church did not want heirs making claims on money and land. But it ended up shrinking the priest pool and producing the wrong kind of candidates — drawing men confused about their sexuality who put our children in harm’s way.
At this point I was a little unclear about which Dowd was still writing this piece but  I have a couple of points.

*The history seems off. The discipline of celibacy was in place centuries ago. The shrinking of the priest pool happened more within the last 40 years.
* The documentation shows that the wrong candidates were accepted into the seminary based on more liberal agendas.
*I don't think young teenagers like to be called "children."

The church is dying from a thousand cuts. Its cover-up has cost a fortune and been a betrayal worthy of Judas. The money spent came from social programs, Catholic schools and the poor. This should be a sin that cries to heaven for vengeance. I asked a friend of mine recently what he would do if his child was molested after the church knew. ‘I would probably kill someone,’ he replied.
The very nature of sin is that it hurts others, ourselves, and our relationship with God. And yet in my diocese I have seen good come out of it.  Our protections for children are stronger and adults are more aware. And if the two young priests  serving my parish are any indication, our seminary is educating and ordaining priests that love and serve the Lord and preserve and pass on the teachings of the Catholic church while living as true disciples of Christ.


We must reassess. Married priests and laypeople giving the sacraments are not going to destroy the church. Based on what we have seen the last 10 years, they would be a bargain. It is time to go back to the disciplines that the church was founded on and remind our seminaries and universities what they are. (Georgetown University agreeing to cover religious symbols on stage to get President Obama to speak was not exactly fierce.)
I'm not sure what this paragraph means although I get that Dowd supports married priests.  I don't think being married is what determines whether or not a man will commit abuse.  Hasn't she ever watched Dateline? 

Come to think of it, most of the predators on Dateline were laypeople too.

As for the part about "reminding seminaries and universities about the disciplines that the founded the church" - the church already started that with the Mandatum.   As far as I can tell Georgetown University never signed it.





The storm within the church strikes at what every Catholic fears most. We take our religion on faith. How can we maintain that faith when our leaders are unworthy of it?”
The answer to that is very easy. Our faith is in Jesus Christ not in our leaders, regardless of how worthy or unworthy they are. And that is why the church will go on, and the faithful will continue in faith, hope, charity and love - despite the scandal, despite the dissent, and even despite the Maureen Dowds of the world. 









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