Saturday, April 03, 2010

Saturday Spats

And they're off....

First up: Balto takes on Raniero....
Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien, Archbishop of Baltimore, issued the following statement in response to Father Raniero Cantalamessa’s Good Friday comments (fulltext) at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome:

Father Cantalamessa’s words on Good Friday, somehow linking the Catholic Church's sexual abuse scandal with anti-Semitism, were unfortunate and reprehensible. They pose harm to Catholic-Jewish relations in Baltimore and around the world and I personally denounce them.

Rightly upset and embarrassed as we are by the scandal we are enduring as Catholics, as frustrated as we are by the sometimes unfair coverage in certain elements of the press, nothing justifies this insensitive, harmful and regrettable comparison.

On behalf of the Catholic Church in Baltimore, I offer apologies to our friends in the Jewish community, to victims of clergy sexual abuse, and to anyone offended by Father Cantalamessa’s personal views.
For the record, the Holy See has likewise already distanced itself from the controversial comments made by the preacher of the Papal Household -- the traditional pulpiteer at the pontiff's Good Friday rites.

Across the Pond, meanwhile, it's Canterbury v. Dublin....
The Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, has said he is stunned by the remarks of the leader of the Anglican Church in England.

Dr Rowan Williams, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, earlier said the Catholic Church in Ireland was "suddenly losing all credibility" because of child sex abuse scandals, and that it was turning into a problem for Irish society as a whole.

Dr Martin said that in all of his years as Catholic Archbishop of Dublin - even in difficult times - he had rarely felt so personally discouraged as he did after hearing the comments of the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury.

In an interview with the BBC, Dr Rowan Williams described the clerical sex abuse scandals as a colossal trauma for Ireland in particular, and he said that the Catholic Church here is losing credibility as a result.

Speaking on the Marian Finucane programme on RTÉ Radio One, Dr Martin said he was stunned by the remarks and that they have done untold damage to the goodwill of a lot of Catholics in Ireland.

Dr Martin said he would be writing a letter to Dr Williams, and would publish the reply if necessary.
That said, today's biggest story in Ireland has everything and nothing to do with the "institutional church": the Isle made "legal history" yesterday as, for the first time, pubs opened for drink on Good Friday -- but only in Limerick.

SVILUPPO: In a late add-on to a print statement from Martin on Williams' comments, the Dublin curia reports thus:
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, this afternoon (Saturday) telephoned Archbishop Diarmuid Martin to express his deep sorrow and regret for difficulties which may have been created by remarks in a BBC interview concerning the credibility of the Catholic Church in Ireland. Archbishop Williams affirmed that nothing could have been farther from his intention than to offend or criticize the Irish Church.

Archbishop Martin also expresses his thanks to the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin and to the Church of Ireland Bishop of Meath for their supportive statements. These indicate the depth and the warmth of ecumenical relations in Ireland today. In his Easter night homily Archbishop Martin will once again recall the significance of the common baptism which Anglicans and Catholics share and the consequences of that fact for common ecumenical witness.
Martin's original statement read as follows:
The unequivocal and unqualified comment in a radio interview of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, that the Catholic Church in Ireland has “lost all credibility” has stunned me.

As Archbishop of Dublin, I have been more than forthright in addressing the failures of the Catholic Church in Ireland. I still shudder when I think of the harm that was caused to abused children. I recognise that their Church failed them.

But I also journey with those - especially parents and priests - who work day by day to renew the Catholic Church in this diocese and who are committed to staying with their Church and passing on the faith in wearying times.

Archbishop Williams’ comments will be for them immensely disheartening and will challenge their faith even further. Those working for renewal in the Catholic Church in Ireland did not need this comment on this Easter weekend and do not deserve it.

Only last Thursday I had spoken about the good ecumenical, pastoral and personal friendship that I share with the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin, John Neill, and I repeat that statement today.

But speaking frankly I have to say that in all my years as Archbishop of Dublin in difficult times I have rarely felt personally so discouraged as this morning when I woke to hear Archbishop William’s comments.