Friday, May 21, 2010

Bishop Takes a Stand and ... Well, You Know the Routine

"As a debate involving the Catholic Church (either a discussion about the Church specifically, or a discussion in which the Church is taking a position) grows longer, the probability of someone mentioning the sex scandal approaches one."
~ Anderson's Law

Readers of this blog know that I have an oft-discussed rhetorical pet peave regarding invocations of the priest sex-abuse scandal in an ad hominem effort to shut down debate and call into question the moral authority of the Church whenever the Church or one of her Bishops takes a stand on an issue.

Matthew Archbold provides a recent example of the phenomenon in this post about a priest going on NPR to attack Bishop Thomas Olmsted after the Bishop confirmed that Sister Margaret McBride of Phoenix's Saint Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center had automatically excommunicated herself, latae sententiae, after approving an abortion:
The Church's sexual abuse scandal is the "blame Bush" of Catholicism. Anything that goes wrong anywhere that has even the remotest connection to Catholicism can be explained by or blamed on the sex abuse scandal.

It's reflexive now. Liberal Catholics can't say anything about the Church without bringing up the sex abuse scandal. Whether it's a conversation about altar rails, mass times, abortion, vestments, or gay marriage liberal Catholics will instinctively raise the specter of the abuse scandal as if the very existence of sin in the Church is evidence that they're right.

A priest who's made quite a name for himself by attacking the Church every chance he gets is now attacking the Church for the excommunication of Sister Margaret McBride who approved of an abortion being performed on a woman whose life was in danger. The media is, of course, making this the most famous excommunication since Theodosius'. The Rev. Thomas Doyle is joining in the bashfest on National Public Radio by calling out Bishop Thomas Olmsted.

He said Sister McBride shouldn't be excommunicated because of...(wait for it) the sex abuse scandal...

Of course, we know that it's not just leftists opposed to the Church's teachings that engage in this line of attack. Bring up the Bishops' views on immigration reform, and you're just as likely to see Catholics on the right dragging up the scandal in an effort to diminish the teaching voice of the Bishops.

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
If You Want to Experience Bishop Hatred from the Right That Rivals Anything You Might See on the Left ...

Newsweek Bigot: "When Bishops Play Politics"

Noted Loser Bob Shrum Crawls Out from Under Rock, Invokes Anderson's Law

President Goes to War Against Marriage and the Catholic Church: How Will the Bishops Respond?

A Personal Message from Bishop Blair

Vaguely Familiar

TIME: "Is Liberal Catholicism Dead?" [UPDATED]

"Godwin's Law" for Sex Scandal Revisited

A Version of Godwin's Law for the Sex Scandals

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