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GLASGOW, Scotland, September 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A number of Scottish bishops agree that there should be an investigation following last month’s explosive testimony of Vatican whistleblower Archbishop Viganò.
Bishop John Keenan of the Diocese of Paisley, echoing the thoughts of U.S. Bishop Robert Barron, released a message on August 31 saying that the abuse crisis is clearly diabolical.
“It is clearly diabolical in origin – a masterpiece of the Devil to undermine every aspect of the Church’s evangelising mission,” he wrote.
Keenan stated that the focus must be on the victims and what they have suffered. However, he called for a lay-led investigation into the McCarrick scandal:
“We must petition the Vatican for a lay-led investigation into who knew what about the McCarrick affair,” he wrote. “Archbishop Viganò’s testimony is valuable, but only one piece of the jigsaw. The Vatican must authorise the opening of all relevant files and correspondence.”
While admitting that homosexuality is an aspect of the clerical sexual abuse crisis, the Bishop of Paisley, echoing talking points of pro-LGBT Jesuit priest James Martin, said that this was not an “excuse” to “conduct a witch-hunt against priests who experience same sex attraction.”
“The causes of sexual abuse are complex and can’t be reduced to any one thing,” he wrote. “Clericalism is certainly a factor, but also homosexuality, since 80% of cases involve male-male abuse. However, this is not an excuse to conduct a witch-hunt against priests who experience same sex attraction, many of whom are good men.”
Bishop Joseph Toal of the Diocese of Motherwell, which is south-east of Glasgow, told the Scottish Catholic Observer when he returned from the World Meeting of Families in Dublin that Viganò’s statement needed to be addressed.
“With last week’s statement from [Archbishop Viganò] regarding an accusation of cover-ups it’s hard to know what is going on,” he said. “It’s a huge issue that needs to be tackled and it appears to be going deeper into the Vatican.
“In Ireland last week there were calls for the Vatican to open up files relating to historical abuse and perhaps that is now a legitimate question.”
The Scottish Catholic Observer also reported remarks made by Bishop Stephen Robson of the Diocese of Dunkeld, whose cathedral is in Dundee. Speaking at the September 2 national pilgrimage to Carfin, Robson suggested that the Church is undergoing a kind of death so as to be born again.
“The fathers of the Church tell us that the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians, the beginning of new life and John in today’s Gospel tells us that the seed must die if it is to bring new life, and maybe that is the key to the truth that helps us make sense of the mess and the disturbances that the Church finds herself in today,” he said.
“The seed must die, the boil must be lanced, the sickness must pass into healing, and then perhaps the light can come shining out of the darkness,” he continued. “Maybe the Church as we know it now, as we’ve known it over the past few years in our lifetimes, must die to rise again, to be reborn.”
Scotland suffered its own sexual abuse crisis in 2013 when the late Cardinal Keith O’Brien, then Archbishop of St. Andrews-Edinburgh, was anonymously but publicly accused of sexual misconduct with priests and a seminarian.
Expected to retire within weeks, the Cardinal resigned within days, apparently at the behest of Benedict XVI. The Cardinal later admitted to misconduct, saying “there have been times that my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal”. He then left Scotland to live a life of prayer and penance in England and died in March 2018.
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