lørdag den 24. april 2010

O Catholic faith, how stable, how firm

I en tid, hvor der kan synes at blive blæst til storm mod Den katolske Kirke, kan de være godt at kigge tilbage på een af de mange perioder i Kirkens historie, hvor den blev blodigt forfulgt og dens religiøse og moralske autoritet totalt underminere og tvivlett. Franciskaneren, den hellige Fidelis, prædikede under reformationen mod den ny protestantiske lære i Svejts. Han blev dræbt som martyr for sin tro. Om ham og hans katolske tro sagde Pave Benedikt XIV senere:

“O Catholic faith, how stable, how firm you are, how well-rooted, how well-founded on a strong rock. Heaven and earth will pass away, but you can never perish. From the beginning the whole world has spoken against you, but you have triumphed mightily over all.

For this is the victory which overcomes the world, our faith; this is what has brought the most powerful kings under Christ’s rule and made peoples the servants of Christ.

What was it that made the holy apostles and martyrs undergo fierce struggles and terrible agonies, if not faith and above all faith in the resurrection?
What was it that has made hermits spurn pleasure, honour and wealth, and live a celibate life in solitude, if not living faith?

What is it that in these days causes true Christians to turn aside from what is easy and pleasant and undergo hardship and labour?

Living faith working through love – this is what leads men to put aside the goods of the present in the hope of those of the future, and to look to the future rather than to the present.”

fredag den 23. april 2010

Kirkeret meldepligt

Kirkens interne regler og kirkeretten hindrer ikke, at sager om overgreb overgives til politiet og/eller til de sociale myndigheder. Tværtimod! Som Guide to Understanding Basic Sexual Abuse Allegations slår fast:

"Civil law concerning reporting crimes to the appropriate authorities should always be followed."

onsdag den 21. april 2010

Skat i lerkar

I al ydmyghed og ærlighed må vi aldrig glemme, at vi som katolikker og som præster har skatten i lerkar. Cølibat eller ej, så er vi kun lerkar! Skrøbelige lerkar! Smukke udadtil måske, ja, men skrøbelige! Men som Kirke, som enkelt katolikker og som katolske præster har vi fået en stor skat betroet. Budskabet om Guds store kærlighed. Budskabet om tilgivelse og forsoning. Budskabet om håb og ny begyndelse. Skatten er der. Men lerkarene er så forfærdende skrøbelige. Og i værste tilfælde skærer andre sig noget så forfærdeligt på skårene.

Eller som Paulus skrev (2. Korr. 4): "Men denne skat har vi i lerkar, for at den overvældende kraft skal være Guds og ikke vores. I alt er vi trængt, men ikke stængt inde. Vi er tvivlrådige, men ikke fortvivlede. Vi forfølges, men lades ikke i stikken. Vi slås til jorden, men går ikke til grunde. Altid bærer vi den død, Jesus led, med i legemet, for at også Jesu liv kan komme til syne i vort legeme."

En vej ud af skandalerne - kloge råd fra en udenforstående

Artikel fra Time 1. april 2010 af Jeff Israely

A Vatican official — a Spanish priest — whom I like and respect told me that as he walked down the street this week, someone shouted "Porco!" ("Pig!") at him from a passing car. Other priests say they can no longer hug children in their parishes. This is just one of the unfortunate outcomes of the sex-abuse controversy that has enveloped the Roman Catholic Church.

I am convinced that the priest-sex-abuse issue is going to continue to be a major story — and it should be. Some supporters of Pope Benedict XVI note that sex abuse of children is by no means a problem afflicting only the Catholic Church and have alleged media bias in the coverage of the issue. In fact, the Vatican singled out the New York Times for such coverage. But most journalists and non-Catholics derive no satisfaction at all from seeing these events unfold. The horror at the victims' suffering drives the narrative. But this is also a tale of human failings — both moral and administrative — by some who may otherwise be decent people, causing grave damage to a worldwide church that does good and offers comfort to millions.
(See the Vatican's struggle for damage control.)

There is admittedly both confusion and mean-spiritedness in some corners of the press and the Web. But the Pope's own alleged managerial failings in the past make this a story that cannot be ignored on the front pages of newspapers. The historical fascination with the Pontifex Maximus means guaranteed media coverage in bad times and good. One need only recall both John Paul II's funeral and Benedict's 2008 U.S. trip to remember the positive media frenzy that accompanies whoever wears the shoes of the fisherman.

Benedict's defenders are mostly right that as a senior Vatican Cardinal, Joseph Ratzinger was ahead of his colleagues in Rome in responding to the crisis, and that as Pope, he has said and done the right things, including his unprecedented meeting with sex-abuse victims on that U.S. trip. But Benedict's leadership on the sex-abuse crisis — and beyond — now hinges on an earlier chapter in his career. In 1980, an admitted child-molester priest was transferred to the Munich archdiocese, which was then headed by Ratzinger. Though Church officials say the future Pope personally approved of his transfer to Munich for psychiatric counseling, they insist Ratzinger knew nothing of the green light for the abusive priest — who would eventually be convicted of other sex crimes — to return to his pastoral duties just weeks later.
(See Father H's story: a German pedophilic priest scandal.)

Whether or not the Vatican's version of the facts is entirely convincing, papal "plausible deniability" — as communicated by aides — is not the kind of leadership this crisis requires. What happened in Munich, with or without Ratzinger's direct knowledge, is exactly the sort of inbred administrative failing that propelled a similar scandal in Boston nine years ago, which the Pope himself referred to in his recent letter to the Irish faithful.

There is a public expectation in Western democracies for a full accounting. And it is a sentiment that faithful Catholics share especially because of their piety. Jordan Bonfante, who covered the Vatican for TIME during the late 1970s, has been a rabbinical guide as I, a secular Jew, have covered the same beat in more recent years. In a rare quiet moment in 2005 when we together covered the period between the death of John Paul II and the election of Benedict XVI, Bonfante, a practicing Catholic, told me what continues to draw him to his faith. "Catholicism has a great formula," he said. "It starts with the idea that we are all sinners who must try our best to be good. And when we fail, it gives us a way to repent and cleanse ourselves of our failures."

It seems clear to me, from what I know about both the media and Catholicism, that Benedict's experience in Munich actually affords the Pope a singular opportunity to truly begin the healing and renewal on this epochal crisis. But it requires that the Pope himself turn to that gesture that stands at the heart of Catholicism: penance.

How does he go about this? A Jesuit source of mine suggested that the Pope could have washed the feet of sex-abuse victims — instead of priests — at the traditional Holy Thursday rite at St. Peter's. Others have mentioned an encyclical on the crisis. But either would miss the point. Rather than state another mea culpa for the sins of the abusers, the Pope must simply and publicly seek forgiveness for himself — and other bishops — for what we might call the sins of ignorance and denial and administrative malfeasance that some critics say border on the criminal.

Some have incorrectly worried that personally confessing such shortcomings could undermine papal infallibility. But that doctrine refers only to the dogma of divine revelation. Others wonder if Church officials are worried about the effect of such a statement in opening up the Vatican to potential lawsuits. Well, if the lawyers are calling the shots on this, the Pope is in even worse shape than we thought.

It is in the interest of his Church and his papacy that Benedict take responsibility for what happened under his watch in Munich. One can only imagine the power of the Holy Father asking forgiveness for his own sins, however small compared with those of the main perpetrators, in what has largely been a decades-long failure of leadership. At that point, Benedict might just make his mark on Church history as the eternal guide for personal accountability. And when other cases come up — and they will — we in the media can start to talk about what has improved in combating sex abuse, what Benedict has gotten right and indeed the fact that these problems exist elsewhere.

But will Benedict do it? A few weeks after the white smoke had signaled the election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to be Pope Benedict XVI, I got a rather urgent call from my colleague Jordan. He was trying to get a better handle on his new spiritual leader and wanted to know what Benedict's stance had been on John Paul II's pleas back in 2000 for forgiveness of the Church's sins over the past millennia toward women, minorities and heretics. My sources, I told him, always said that Ratzinger had been skeptical about such public declarations, feeling they could stain the Church as a whole. "I see," Jordan said with clear disappointment.

Om kirkelig vielse af homoseksuelle

En tankevækkende - og 13 år senere - stadig højaktuel kommentar skrevet af Ulrik Høy i Weekendavisen 23. – 29. maj, 1997. Brugt med Weekendavisens tilladelse.


Det kan ikke undre, at landets biskopper fremkommer med en rapport, der siger ja til et velsignelsesritual for homoseksuelle. For 30 år siden kom der skred i den almindelige opfattelse af, hvad der seksuelt set var normalt eller unormalt, naturligt eller unaturligt. En sådan diskussion er ikke længere mulig. Efter den seksuelle revolution i 60erne og pornografiens frigivelse er der ingen forskel på de dele, ja somme vil hævde, at det unormale er nok så spændende variant af det normale, det naturlige måske den allerkedeligste udgave af det unaturlige.

I dag er der frit slag på alle hylderne. Nogen grundlæggende normalitet eller naturlighed findes ikke længere på det seksuelle område. Begge dele gik fløjten i de glade 60’ere, det var bare konventioner alt sammen, spændetrøje for det herligt frigjorte menneske.

De homoseksuelle har profiteret maksimalt på denne udvikling. Det er i virkeligheden fantastisk, at man kan opnå anerkendelse, ligestilling og registreret partnerskab på baggrund af noget, som trods alt kun er en seksuel forskel. Det er da positiv særbehandling, så det batter, men det siger unægtelig noget om samtidens fokusering på det seksuelle.

Er den seksuelle præference virkelig det afgørende ved menneskelivet? Sådan må man ræsonnere, når man ser biskoppernes imødekommende holdning overfor de homoseksuelle. Der er trods alt kun 1500 medlemmer af Landsforeningen for Bøsser og lesbiske, imponerende hvad de har opnået, men andre må have skubbet på, ellers var man ikke nået så langt. Hvilke andre? De heteroseksuelle – og de omfatter trods alt mere end 1500 personer.

Fællesnævneren hedder seksualitet, man kan sige, at den fælles forgabelse i seksualitetens betydning, og det hvad enten man tilhører majoriteten eller minoriteten. Seksualitet er trumf. ( … )

”Jeg foretrækker at kalde mig homofil, fordi jeg dermed giver til kende, at jeg elsker et menneske af samme køn. Jeg bryder mig ikke om ordet bøsse, fordi det dels betoner det krigeriske, dels det seksuelle, denne demonstrative tilstand af kronisk liderlighed”, sagde en dansk forfatter for 30 år siden. Det er et tankevækkende udsagn – jeg er homofil, ikke bøsse – som igen siger noget om det, der foregik bag kulisserne. For det var ordet ”bøsse”, der sejrede og med det en ny generation af ideologisk pågående, til tider utåleligt stoltserende unge mænd.

Bøsse eller homofil? Ved at kalde sig homofil fremhæver man kærligheden og det menneskelige og placerer det seksuelle i en mere underordnet position sammen med alt andet, arbejde, familie, slægt, venner, hobbies, sport og pjank. Vigtigt: Som erklæret homofil slipper man for at have det seksuelle i front. Man befries for det.

Det gør man ikke med glosen ”bøsse”. Tværtimod. Her belemres man med det seksuelle. Med betegnelsen ”bøsse” giver man til kende, at det bærende i identiteten er seksuelt betonet. Det seksuelle er i front sammen med det ideologisk-militante, der igen signalerer, at man til stadighed er en garde, parat til at forsvare sin identitet, den entydigt seksuelle.

Det siger noget om 60’ernes frigørelse, dvs. maniske fiksering på de seksuelle aspekter af tilværelsen, at folk med en i mine øje uinteressant seksuel disposition valgte at ophøje denne til det eneste saliggørende og underordne alle andre menneskelige sider samme tilbøjelighed. Det kalder jeg underkastelse, ikke frigørelse.

Eller kald det epokens vildt ensidige dyrkelse af det seksuelle eller kald det et knæfald for seksualiteten, knæfald i kirken, knæfald udenfor kirken, og troende og lidettroende kan såmænd tage hinanden i hånden. Ved at sige ja til velsignelse af seksuelle varianter er folkekirken omsider gået til bekendelse.

I kort begreb: Det tog kun 30 år at gøre sex til Gud, kirken latterlig og ægteskabet til nar."

tirsdag den 6. april 2010

Tom Kristensen og forargelsen

"... denne arvesynd lever stadigt og frodigt videre i de protestatiske lande, selvom de er delvis afkristnede. Det er evnen til at forarges. Stadig forstår vi delvis afkristnede protestanter os på at dømme, og vi dømmer altid de kristne strengere end os selv og altid katolikkerne strengest." Citat fra bogen "Italien" af Tom Kristensen, digter og forfatter til bogen "Hærværk".