The current unease in the worldwide Church Militant is not confined to any single tendenz. The Australian Archbishop Coleridge spoke for many when he said that, while PF's letter on clerical child abuse was good, action was needed. So-called liberals (Tina Beattie) and so-called conservatives (Bishop Egan) have expressed a desire for lay involvement in the solution of a problem which has, disastrously, impinged horribly upon the laity. Clergy invited to perticipate in any contemplated initiatives could profitably be married clergy drawn from the sui iuris Oriental Churches and the Ordinariates.
The Holy See has a dismal record in this area. One thinks of the support given to a multiple abuser during the Legionaries of Christ fiasco under S John Paul II; and the multiple mistakes made under PF's watch. The Curia is under a cloud, suspected of itself having a strong, perhaps dominant, homosexual element. The Episcopate's record has been lamentable or worse ... Successors of the Apostles, indeed.
Bishop Egan's suggestion of a Lay Congress followed by an Extraordinary Synpod is a good one. At the moment, we are anticipating an Ordinary Synod which, according to rumour and expectation, is being fixed up so that a married presbyterate can be brought into being in Latin America ... a move which seems to receive rather more support from Germans than it does from Latin Americans. Whispers abound that a 'gentler' elaboration of the Church's teaching about homosexuality may be promoted. We shall doubtless behold all the usual phenomena which accompany a PF synod, including bullying and ruthless manipulation, in order to secure the results which PF and his cronies desire. Perhaps the pages of the Catechism will be further amended so as to include more of what PF picturesquely calls caca.
Meanwhile, somebody is fiddling while Rome ... quinimmo much of the Catholic World ... is burning. Do I need to discuss with you the re-arrangement of the deckchairs on the Titanic?
Everybody outside a charmed Inner Circle can see that the clerical sexual abuse scandal is what actually demands decisive and immediate action. The worms in the bowels of the dogs in the street know it. Vatican II, like Lateran V, dealt with insignificant questions while totally unaware of the real problems which were beginning to show themselves. Is it really essential for us to make the same mistakes all over again?
In a sane Church, the planned synod would be put on hold, and the pressing crisis would be faced. There might be surprising practical agreements between liberals and traditionalists.
However, one new problem is arising, or, at least, moving into prominence. The PF faction in the Church hopes to detach the question of abuse from the matter of homosexuality, to define the problem as 'clericalism', and to use this presupposition to belabour traditional concepts of priesthood. The Traditional faction believes that most of the problem is one of ephebophile clergy who are homosexual.
We have heard little from Africa. How much experience do the Churches of that continent have of paedophilia, ephebophilia, or homosexuality? If the fundamental answer to that question were to be anything like "Not nearly as much as the First World does", might it not be a good thing if the next Pope, after the removal of the current blustering but ineffective occupant of the Roman See, were to charge a high-powered Commission of African experts in appropriate fields to survey the failed Churches of the Enlightenment countries, so as to produce an analysis which could form the basis of renewal?
That's what I would do! The Commission could be idiomatically called 'the Revenge', short for 'Africa's Revenge upon Walter Kasper'.