WITH visiting American bishops led by New York Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan as his audience, Pope Benedict XVI praised “honest efforts” by the Catholic Church in confronting the priestly sex abuse scandal which he said has become a “scourge” at every level of society.

The Pope’s comment may be unintended but it came at a time when assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky at Penn State University was embroiled in a sex scandal involving boys under his charge and that led to the resignation of legendary Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno.

In a manner of speaking, the Holy Father was saying, “see, even in your country, the sex scandal is not confined to the clergy, to which we are responding with all our might.”

After the Penn State scandal, Syracuse University was embroiled in its own sex scandal after the Orangemen team assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine was denounced for sexually assaulting young boys under his care.

At the papal audience at the Vatican, the Pope said the Church was dealing with the problem with transparency and he said the rest of society should do as well.

Archbishop Dolan went to the Vatican as head of the U.S. delegation of New York state current and retired bishops for their “ad lumnina” visits, or consultation on church affairs.

The archbishop was away when the “Simbang Gabi” uproar polarized the local Filipino Catholic community over the sudden decision of the archdiocese to stop the Christmas night masses held at the Philippine Consulate every December.

Was this not-too-bright idea to stamp out this longstanding Christmas tradition really his own or someone else’s?

Perhaps he was persuaded by someone who has his own agenda other than clamping down on this tradition on the ground that the venue is not a sacred place and therefore unfit for a religious rite.

That someone, it seems, does not have the interest of the community at large at heart.

At this season of grace and goodwill, there is no place for selfishness, personal glory or flamboyance.

That’s why we could not believe that a man of the cloth, for instance, could be such a killjoy.

In addition, he’s not doing the good archbishop a favor by alienating vibrant members of the New York Catholic ministry.

At this time, the Church needs more friends, not enemies, even silent ones.

The Church has enough problems aside from the Consulate hosting a simple Simbang Gabi at a “non-sacred” place.

It’s our Christmas wish that Archbishop Dolan reconsider his no-Masses decision.


A rabidly Catholic country has ruptured its time-tested relations with the Vatican, over sexual abuse and cover-ups by Church officials in Ireland through 2009.

The Irish awe and reverence for the Vatican has given way to Irish rage and disgust.

Even in the home country, Filipino Catholics who have obeyed Church teachings with eyes closed for generations are now in ferment.

They support a legislation allowing women access to reproductive health measures that the hierarchy calls virtual abortion, which is up to now outlawed in the Philippines.

There is a quiet movement to legalize divorce but you can bet the farm that it won’t see the light of day.

Vatican’s relation with Ireland went down the hill after that country legalized divorce in 1995, but though it still forbids abortion.

Today, Irish-Vatican ties are ice cold. Both sides have withdrawn their respective ambassadors.

In an unprecedented turn, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny criticized the Church in such terms that deeply angered the Vatican.

Here’s what he told the Irish Parliament, as reported by The New York Times:

“For the first time in Ireland, a report into child sexual abuse exposed an attempt  by the Holy See to frustrate an inquiry into a sovereign and democratic republic as little as three years ago, not three decades,” the Premier said, referring to the Cloyne Report which investigated alleged sex abuses in southern Ireland.

Having this in mind, and the recent sex abuse scandals in U.S. sportsdom, Pope Benedict XVI vowed to combat this problem that has shaken the foundation of a revered institution.

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Add comment

Security code

Latest comments