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?

2 thoughts on “RCF

  1. Concerning your closing question:

    907 In accord with the knowledge, competence, and preeminence which they possess, [lay people] have the right and even at times a duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church, and they have a right to make their opinion known to the other Christian faithful, with due regard to the integrity of faith and morals and reverence toward their pastors, and with consideration for the common good and the dignity of persons. (From the CCC)

    Of course, this only answers the first part of your question. Perhaps something in canon law answers the second. I suggest you contact a canon lawyer like Ed Peters of IN THE LIGHT OF THE LAW blog.

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