People use the word shocked for things that are actually not that shocking. This is not one of those instances.
A scandal has been brewing in the Diocese of Richmond over Catholic Charities Richmond assisting an underage woman to procure an abortion going so far as to sign the consent forms for the death. We have held off on calling for the action against the Bishop (naively it turns out) because we did not understand the level of his culpability. While a Bishop certainly sets the tone for the diocese (Can you imagine something like this happening under Bishop Bruskewitz in Nebraska?), we had hoped that this happened because the Bishop is just an extraordinarily bad administrator who had no idea what is going on under his nose. Those hopes have now been dashed. The Bishop knew in advance of the plan, and did NOTHING.
[Washington Times] The Roman Catholic bishop of Richmond was told that a diocesan charity planned to help a teenage foster child get an abortion in January and did not try to prevent the procedure.
Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo “was told erroneously that everything was in place and there was nothing he could do to stop it,” said Steve Neill, Bishop DiLorenzo’s communications officer. “He is very apologetic about the whole episode.
“It is very awkward, it is very embarrassing. A human life was taken. He certainly has not taken it lightly in any way. He is clearly opposed to abortion.”
Bill Etherington, an attorney for the diocese and CCR, said Bishop DiLorenzo was given bad information about whether the abortion could be prevented, but didn’t elaborate as to how.
“He was told it could not be stopped,” Mr. Etherington said. “It was erroneous information. He didn’t have to sign off on it. He was not personally involved.”
He added, without elaborating, that the underage abortion did not violate state law.
Embarrassing? Did not violate state law? Erroneous information? Did everything he could do?
This is murder we are talking about! The monstrosity of this scandal is beyond words. The attitude of the Bishop and his lawyers only serve to compound the scandal.
For the good of all the faithful in Richmond and the Church as a whole, Bishop DiLorenzo should resign. Immediately.
July 1, 2008 at 12:51 am
A thorough and objective investigation needs to take place and can without the bishop tendering his resignation. The proper authorities should do so, whether that be from Rome or the U. S.
David, but there are a great many details still missing here in the reporting. It’s difficult, from the articles I could find, to get a complete time line of events; to learn exactly what “erroneous information” the bishop received, and from whom, that made him think there was nothing he could do, etc… There’s also the question of how objective and thorough are the reporters.
Perhaps it’s all the real life crime and trial shows on TV these days that convinces people that they’re empowered to try and convict people via what they read in newspapers or watch on TV, regardless of how reliable those sources are, or how incomplete or selective are the details they provide.
I’m not willing to presume such authority. If a proper investigation finds that the bishop knowingly and willfully allowed an abortion to take place under his auspices, an abortion he had the power to prevent, then he should resign or, perhaps more properly, be removed from office.
Bob’s final answer.
July 1, 2008 at 1:17 am
“David, but there are a great many details still missing here in the reporting…”
…yes, yes, we know, and for the umpteenth time, there is enough that IS known to be cause for great scandal. I’ve never accused the bishop of enabling the abortion. I said the incident of occurred on his watch. That is also known.
MY final answer!!!
July 1, 2008 at 1:27 am
To put it another way (as if we haven’t done enough already), if the ONLY news of this incident I had was the bishop’s letter (which I’ve posted so nobody misses it), the admission contained in that letter BY ITSELF (!!!!) would be sufficient cause for great scandal.
July 1, 2008 at 3:35 am
Please don’t shout.
This is a great tragedy. That there has been scandal, at least in the modern use of that word, no one is arguing. Scandal caused by the CCR workers, of course. Whether enough is known, even from the bishop’s letter, to determine that it is Bishop DiLorenzo who is the cause of that scandal is a determination I’m not willing to make yet. Obviously you are. Perhaps we can simply disagree on that. You are satisfied that the bishop’s letter is sufficient to tag the scandal on him. I’m satisfied that the bishop’s letter shows his willingness to accept responsibility for a great wrong committed under his watch. We can certainly agree that a serious shake-up needs to be done in how the Diocese of Richmond is run, and that the bishop, depending on how long he’s been there (I don’t know), is responsible for allowing an atmosphere to exist that made it possible for such a horror to happen. How proximately responsible that makes him for the actual abortion I’ll leave to his confessor.
As to whether or not he should resign, or even tender his resignation, I’ll wait until a formal investigation by the proper authorities determines the depth of his involvement. I’ll not try a man through the newspapers.
July 1, 2008 at 12:44 pm
Our bishop is being undermined all over the diocese. We were scheduled to have a mandatory NFP class and classes on Theology of the Body for all engaged couples. It’s not going to happen now, even after the entire program was not only developed and training was set to begin (for instructors) this Fall, but it had also been announced in the diocesan newspaper. Too much resistance on it, so now it won’t be happening at all.
I can’t speak for His Excellency’s staff, but I can tell you that there was definitely a widespread protest over this particular program – enough to have the whole thing scrapped and left up to “the pastor’s decision” as to whether or not couples would have any training in Theology of the Body or NFP. It’s a big demand on the couple, you know, for them to attend a few classes in preparation for marriage.
July 1, 2008 at 1:11 pm
I’m unsubscribing from this conversation. I can live with people disagreeing with me. I cannot live with people who are so enraptured with what they have to say, that their responses ignore whatever you’re saying to them (which is not the same thing as disagreeing). They can start their own blog, and talk to themselves all they want.
Of course, I’m not mentioning any names…
July 1, 2008 at 1:17 pm
Lets see, what would I have done in his position…
handler : ” Bishop there’s an abortion thats about to happen and there’s nothing that we can do to stop it, by the way you need to sign these papers so we can go ahead with it.”
me as Bishop : “no I’m not signing anything, bring me the girl, and by the way you’re fired…”
July 1, 2008 at 3:59 pm
You certainly shouldn’t feel obliged to engage in conversation with those you feel are ignoring what you say.
I certainly don’t feel obliged to engage in conversation with those who insult me and falsely accuse me of ignoring what they’re saying because they can’t handle the fact that an intelligent person continues to disagree with them despite their attempts to strengthen weak arguments by shouting them.
I suppose I should have been more astute in knowing I was wasting my time with you. I’ll move on from CMR to other blogs, so feel free to continue this and other conversations in the comfort of knowing that I won’t make that mistake again.
July 1, 2008 at 9:38 pm
I certainly am sorry to hear that the Bishop was undermined by the holdovers from his predecessor.
It is a very tough thing to be Bishop among wolves.
I pray for Bishop di Lorenzo’s fruitful penance and ongoing sanctification.
I pray that he will resign by sundown.
July 1, 2008 at 11:33 pm
I am praying for Bishop di Lorenzo in this very difficult period. However, I believe that we should give the Bishop the benefit of the doubt. The issue here is with Catholic Charities. Many of us have been aware for a long time that Catholic Charities is oftentimes not a friendly place for Catholic orthodoxy. We cannot know fully what the bishop was thinking, but I am certain that if he believed he could have stopped the abortion, he would have. Anyways, most people whom I have encountered working for Catholic Charities would be unmoved by threats of excommunication.
July 2, 2008 at 11:28 pm
Without life you have nothing…
Resignation is the only acceptable option.
July 3, 2008 at 5:41 pm
As joe said, “Without life you have nothing…”
Disregarding the sanctity of human life by allowing an abortion to happen is horrible. For a Bishop, who has always been actively pro-life, to disregard this is even more horrible.
May the Lord have mercy.
July 4, 2008 at 1:42 pm
Just in case anyone missed this:
Bishop DiLorenzo Forbade Charity’s Assistance in Girl’s Abortion, Diocese Says