In the past, I’ve had harsh things to say about Stephen Brady and Roman Catholic Faithful. Much of my criticism of Mr. Brady was a knee-jerk response to his criticism of church prelates.
The sexual abuse crisis wasn’t a 1960s inspired crisis of unfaithfulness and liberalism, but a crisis rooted in sins by priests (sins that have been condemned by some spiritual writers for hundreds of years, as in the writings of St. Peter Damian and in the Celtic penitentials) and in a clericalist culture, grounded in pride, in which any criticism of the Church or its leaders is itself a sign that the person should not be heeded. Though not a cleric, I had adopted the attitudes of that clericalist culture.
Also, I heard Stephen Brady in Santa Barbara about ten years ago, and in that meeting it was suggested that maybe Jesus doesn’t show up in the Eucharist if it is celebrated by a sinful priest. That’s the heresy of Donatism. That, too, was a red flag for me. Now, in fairness to Mr. Brady, I must acknowledge that he has not elaborated on this point. I had found one other comment in another of his newsletters about that time, but that is all. So I’m going to cut him some slack, understanding that this comment came from his frustration of years of trying to raise concern through proper channels and getting the run around.
The bottom line for me is that I must acknowledge the valuable service Mr. Brady has done in “connecting the dots” in the sexual abuse crisis, and in exposing some of the networks protecting homosexual clergy and in calling to account key figures, such as Bishop Reginald Cawcutt of South Africa and Bishop Daniel Ryan of Springfield, Illinois.
For a survey of some of RCF’s work prior to the year 2000–before the issue hit the national spotlight in 2002–see this issue of their newsletter, AMDG. And see this article which provides insight into Brady’s frustration at the lack of concern showed by church hierarchy to their revelations. Another profile.
Do Christians have a right to complain to their pastors about personal and theological aberrations–and to receive a response?