Monday, May 17, 2010

The Caseload Continues....

While the bulk of Stateside chatter this Monday's been focused on the New York Times' year-in-the-making "hit" that wasn't on the archbishop of New York, what's arguably the more potent story has emerged from Australia, where decades-old claims of negligence against now-Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide have seen the chair of the Oz bench placed under police investigation.

Closer to home, meanwhile, his 2002 cri de coeur for action having impressively made the rounds since its release last month, David Spotanski -- the Belleville chancellor whose impassioned 10-page memo to the then-president of the US bishops helped hone Wilton Gregory's acclaimed response to the scandals' Stateside outbreak -- has returned to the fray in an extended interview with BustedHalo's Bill McGarvey.

Asked why he consented to the text's release now after years of quietly sharing it around, the father of three observed that "it’s important on occasion to remind ourselves that the only affiliation that’s required to speak up in this church is baptism. From that moment forward we are full-fledged members with a God-given right and a God-driven obligation to help fix what’s wrong in our church and in the world."

"If there’s any lesson we in the church should have learned by now, but still seem to struggle with," Spotanski said, "it’s that disclosure is always better than discovery." (Emphases original.)

He went on:
"I was asked recently what advice I’d give the bishops today, and these three things came to mind immediately:
  • We have to stop making rules without consequences.
  • We have to stop patting ourselves on the back for quickly enacting policies our people reasonably presumed had been in place for 2,000 years.
  • We have to stop comparing our crisis-driven responses to those of secular institutions for which we were all taught the Church would be our secure, God-given sanctuary when those worldly institutions inevitably failed us.
I would add to that a renewed sense of urgency. I closed my 2002 memorandum this way: “More than anything else, Christ’s Church should be about preserving and promoting innocence, not accelerating its ruin. Pardon the platitude, but it’s time we stopped protecting our past and did something to fortify our future.” We don’t have the luxury of “thinking in centuries” any longer, and we’re running out of second chances."