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Monday, June 30, 2008

The American Episcopacy: Affable Idiots Encouraged to Apply

Richmond Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo

When did the Church institute affirmative action to encourage affable idiots in the American Episcopacy?

The Catholic Bishop of Richmond, Virginia, was given advance notice that his own charitable arm, Commonwealth Catholic Charities of Richmond, had signed consent forms and was about to help a Guatemalan girl, a foster care client of his agency, obtain an abortion. The bishop would have us believe that there was nothing that neither he, nor the Catholic Charities Executive Director could do to stop the abortion that their own staff had authorized.

The typical diocesan bishop oversees a huge network of parishes, schools, youth and seniors programs, hospitals, colleges, clinics, social welfare programs, stock and real estate portfolios, and cemeteries, and yet we are asked to believe that Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo could not intervene with his own staff to save a life. And if he is unable to intervene to save a life, what confidence should any parent have that he could/would intervene to prevent their child from being sexually molested by his clergy or staff?

If a bishop is this ineffective, how is he allowed to remain in office? How is it that no matter how grievous the moral lapses and shocking the scandal, a bishop never resigns in disgrace or is censured by his fellow bishops? Even the U. S. Congress censures errant colleagues and has expelled Members of Congress from time to time.

Is such a bishop even eligible to remain in office? The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:
"Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. 'A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae' by the very commission of the offense, and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law."
Given this teaching, is the Bishop of Richmond even a Catholic in good standing?

Governor Frank Keating, who had the opportunity to see the American hierarchy close up as Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' National Review Board, likened them to the Mafia. He said:
To resist Grand Jury subpoenas, to suppress the names of offending clerics, to deny, to obfuscate, to explain away; that is the model of a criminal organization, not my Church."
And yet these same bishops have the audacity to lecture Congress on social justice issues, foreign affairs, tax and budget policy.

If the hierarchy in the United States and Rome is incapable of ridding itself of these rogues and charlatans, then American Catholics need to refuse them funding and force their resignations, as the Catholics of Boston did with Cardinal Law. The faithful have a right to holy bishops. As followers of Christ they have a responsibility to do all in their power to ensure a Church worthy of its founder.

Bishop knew of abortion plan

Told 'there was nothing he could do'

From The Washington Times

By Julia Duin

The Roman Catholic bishop of Richmond was told that a diocesan charity planned to help a teenage foster child get an abortion in January and did not try to prevent the procedure.

Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo "was told erroneously that everything was in place and there was nothing he could do to stop it," said Steve Neill, Bishop DiLorenzo's communications officer. "He is very apologetic about the whole episode.

"It is very awkward, it is very embarrassing. A human life was taken. He certainly has not taken it lightly in any way. He is clearly opposed to abortion."

Mr. Neill said the bishop was informed Jan. 17, the day before an abortion was performed on the 16-year-old Guatemalan girl, who was a foster care client of Commonwealth Catholic Charities of Richmond (CCR), a group incorporated under the diocese.

CCR Executive Director Joanne Nattrass also knew about the planned abortion, Mr. Neill said.

"The director was very upset about it and it clearly went against all she stood for as a director of Catholic Charities," he said.

After The Washington Times revealed the abortion on June 18, Ms. Nattrass released a statement on June 19 saying the incident was "contrary to basic teachings of the Catholic Church."

Federal authorities are investigating CCR because the girl was a ward of the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement in the Department of Health and Human Services. HHS had contracted with CCR to take care of the girl, whose parents are not in the country.

Ms. Nattrass wrote that neither CCR nor diocesan funds paid for the abortion but did not say who did. Federal law forbids any federal funds to be used.

Ms. Nattrass' statement also said a CCR staff member signed the consent form necessary for a minor to have an abortion, even though Virginia law mandates parental consent for anyone younger than 18.

Martin Tucker, a spokesman for the Virginia attorney general's office, would not say whether a state investigation is under way.

After HHS officials learned of the abortion, they complained about the incident on April 23 to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), a parent agency to Catholic Charities. Richmond Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo has reasserted his opposition to abortion.

Bill Etherington, an attorney for the diocese and CCR, said Bishop DiLorenzo was given bad information about whether the abortion could be prevented, but didn't elaborate as to how.

"He was told it could not be stopped," Mr. Etherington said. "It was erroneous information. He didn't have to sign off on it. He was not personally involved."

He added, without elaborating, that the underage abortion did not violate state law.

After learning of the federal investigation, Bishop DiLorenzo and two other bishops issued an April 29 letter to the nation's 350 Catholic bishops detailing the botched management decisions that led to the abortion.

"He wrote the letter with the intent that word was going to get out and they should be notified of the circumstances," Mr. Neill said.

Four CCR employees were fired over the incident, and one USCCB official who worked with its office of Migration and Refugee Services was suspended.

"They were so caught up with the plight of the young girl who already had a child," Mr. Neill said. "She was not a Catholic. She got pregnant by her boyfriend, and she was determined not to have the baby."

The unnamed girl had been implanted with a contraceptive device provided by CCR two months earlier, according to the April 29 letter. Catholic doctrine condemns deliberate abortion and the use of contraception as mortal sins. Those who obtain an abortion or help someone else to do so can be excommunicated.

In this case, it was a volunteer, not CCR staff, who drove the girl to the abortion clinic, Mr. Neill said. CCR staff will be having "ongoing formation and education" regarding church teaching on the matter, he added.

The USCCB has refused to comment. A spokeswoman said the matter was a "personnel issue."


Anonymous said...

Upon reflection...does not the New Testament have a precedent of an innocent life being sacrificed by the high priest due to "mythinformation," administrative, and political expediency. Seems like the post event spin shows that his Prominence had many faithful sycophants in Richmond to help him "wash his hands" off this PR mess (God forbid that Christians with respect for life should think twice of their donations to CCR!).

Anonymous said...

This is a sad case indeed. May such abortions be prevented in the future.