No Room at the Table For Orthodox Catholics From CNN's Kyra Phillips
The CNN anchor led the 9 am Eastern hour with "a new promise from the Pope- that's it, I've had enough. Just a few days ago, he teared up while talking to abuse victims in Malta, told them he'd do something about it. Pope Benedict is going public, telling a crowd in St. Peter's Square that the Vatican is going to start taking action against pedophile priests." She then introduced her guests, Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, and Dan Bartley, president of Voice of the Faithful.
As I noted in my March 26 NewsBusters item on their previous appearance on CNN, DeBernardo's organization endorses same-sex "marriage," while Voice of the Faithful has pushed for end to priestly celibacy and endorsed liberal dissenting theologians such as Rev. Charles Curran. The third guest from the earlier segment, Reverend Serene Jones of the Union Theological Seminary, didn't appear this time.
Phillips first turned to DeBernado: "You know, we've heard the 'I'm sorry.' We've seen the Pope talk to the victims. His name has even been tossed into the mix of leaders who turned a blind eye. You know, is it just too little too late? I mean, does this even matter at this point, what he's saying?" The New Ways executive director replied, "I think it's good that the Pope has addressed the issue publicly, which he hasn't done in a long time, but I think that still a lot more needs to be done. The real problem, the real cause of this scandal was not just the pedophile priests, but the silence and the complicity of bishops in moving and supporting pedophile priests." Bartley then expressed his agreement with his fellow guest.
After replaying a clip of Massachusetts Catholic priest Father James Scahill, who called for Benedict XVI's resignation, the anchor asked DeBernardo for his take: "Francis, that's never happened before- a Pope stepping down? Is that even a reality? Could that happen? Is that what needs to happen, in order to really see a change on this issue?"
The executive director hinted to his radical and egalitarian vision for the Catholic Church in his answer:
DEBERNARDO: I don't think that just the Pope stepping down will solve the problem. I think that what's needed is a third Vatican council, a calling together of all the bishops, and truly all the people of God in the Church- the lay people, the nuns, the priests, because what we need in the Catholic Church to solve this problem, and on other issues, is a reform of the way decisions are made, because this scandal has proven that the Vatican bureaucracy does not know how to handle decision-making.Note the key phrase "on other issues." In his view, the Catholic hierarchy should abdicate their apostolic authority and let the heterodox reinvent the Church according to their revolutionary vision.
Later in the segment, Phillips asked both of her guests about how both civil and Church authorities should deal with those accused of child sex abuse in the future, and she seemed to not get DeBernardo's initial answer about dealing with suspects on a case-by-case basis:
PHILLIPS: How do you balance zero tolerance, a policy of zero tolerance for sex crimes within the Church, versus the Church philosophy of forgiveness and redemption?
BARTLEY: Well, as Christians and Catholics, we always have to- you know, have that delicate balance, but in the case of abuse of children, and in this case, the cover-up of that abuse, there should be no tolerance. There can be no tolerance.
PHILLIPS: And Francis- you know, if you look at- let's go outside the Church, but if you look at crimes against children, if you look at sex crimes and how many of these individuals have been repeat offenders and then the kids end up being killed and buried in the backyard. I mean, just now- just today, we're talking about a law in California- a family is coming forward with some lawmakers and pushing for- you molest a child once, you are put away for life. That's it- no tolerance at all for that; no second or third chances. Can you do that within a church structure?
DEBERNARDO: I think that these cases have to be judged on a case-by-case basis. I don't think that there's a one-size-fits-all answer to pedophilia, to-
PHILLIPS: But are there some instances where molesting is okay? How can you take a case-by-case basis? You molest a child, you should- there should be no tolerance for that.
DEBERNARDO: Right. There should be zero tolerance for- they should be brought up on accountability, but how a person is- the punishment that they receive should be determined by the circumstances of the case, and the possibility for reformation should be determined by medical and pastoral people. So I don't think that- again, I don't think that a one-size- fits-all answer solves the problem. I think it will just exacerbate problems.
PHILLIPS: Francis and Dan, appreciate-
PHILLIPS: Thank you. We've got to leave it there, Francis. Thank you so much. Obviously, we'll continue to follow this story and all the developments that happen from the Vatican. Francis DeBernardo and Dan Bartley- appreciate it.