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'The World [REDACTED]'

The June 16 episode of The World Over starring Raymond Arroyo featured an interview with Robert Bennett, one of the original members of the USCCB National Review Board (2002-04). The two discussed the bishops' revisions to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The whole interview is worth watching (it begins at minute 8:45).

The Charter was not -- pace Catholic News Service -- extensively revised. Instead, the USCCB simply changed the document to conform to recent Vatican instructions, so that the possession of child pornography and the sexual abuse of adults with mental disabilities are now considered no different from abusing a minor.The revised Charter also obliges bishops to report allegations against bishops to the papal nuncio as well as to civil authorities. Not meaningless revisions, but hardly responsive to news out of Philadelphia, Kansas City, and Gallup, New Mexico -- where it was revealed that the bishop has never met with his review board. (I offered some suggestions for the bishops and the National Review Board here.)

Bennett is right to point out that, while "zero tolerance" is a blunt instrument, it was adopted because the bishops "lost credibility on this issue." He cites Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska, who has never complied with the Charter, and continues to refuse audits of abuse allegations in his diocese. Bennett calls that "arrogant" and "outrageous." Also outrageous is the failure of bishops to fraternally correct Bruskewitz in a public venue.At the USCCB meeting, Bruskewitz submitted twenty-eight amendments to the revision of the Charter. None was accepted. (Bishop Blase Cupich, chair of the Committee for Child and Youth Protection, explained that his committee would accept only those amendments that strengthened the Charter.) Bruskewitz said: "It is fundamentally dishonest to tell the faithful and the general public that the USCCB has any authority whatsoever to bind dioceses...to obey the charter. The more commitments, the more grounds for lawsuits." Emcee Arroyo thinks that makes some sense.It does not. First, as noted by Bennett -- an accomplished lawyer -- the idea that the Charter exposes the bishops to lawsuits is "nonsense." Second, no one is lying to anyone about the authority of the USCCB. No bishop has ever given the impression that the conference has governing authority over U.S. bishops. Rather, what seems fundamentally dishonest to the faithful is a bishop who says he's committed to protecting kids from abusive priests but can't manage to forward obviously worrying allegations to his review board.Near the end of the interview as it was originally broadcast, while discussing the screening of seminarians, Bennett made a startling admission. Acknowledging that Arroyo would probably get letters from viewers, Bennett said that he supports women's ordination. "You'll get a letter from me!" a visibly shaken Arroyo replied.Not that you'll see that exchange in the YouTube video above. Apparently EWTN purged it from the online video.(You can see some editing oddities at 26:32 and 27:22.)I know this because a colleague caught the episode when it first aired. Did EWTN deem the material too scandalous for its sensitive viewers? Or does the network have a policy against broadcasting the words "support women's ordination" unless they're preceded by "do not" or followed by "at your soul's peril"? Last time I consulted an atlas, it is clear that EWTN is operating in Alabama, in the United States of America -- not in China or North Korea.

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Grant Gallicho is an associate editor of Commonweal. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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Thanks - would have missed the original broadcast and now EWTN's revision. Note - they don't tell the viewer about the cut and paste job on Bennett's statements. My guess is that Bennett will never be invited back again.Do like your reference to earlier statements using the China/North Korea "illusion" of Arroyo and company or was it Lord Donohue at the Catholic League on EWTN?

You conclude with some strong criticism of EWTN, but is it not of note that Mr. Bennett - a severe critic of the bishops' response to the sexual abuse cases - was invited on to this EWTN show?"Vatican instructions, so that the possession of child pornography and the sexual abuse of adults with mental disabilities are now considered no different from abusing a minor."In other words, at the time Bp Finn was dealing with his child pornography priest, the official instructions for his handling of the case involved it NOT being treated the same as abusing a minor.

Mark - that is not correct. It was part of the operating principles and it was covered by the Dallas Charter's requirement that bishops must report all criminal activity. Child pornography is handled differently by each state and that is why the Dallas Charter needed to be revised.Finn had an obligation to report per state law and following the Dallas Charter guidelines. He also should have reported this to his board and he had additional reporting obligations per his 2008 abuse settlement.Sorry, Finn's oversight is sorely lacking and his incompetence in terms of his decision making is alarming, at best.

Thanks for clarification, Bill. Without knowing the full context of the revision, I probably should have placed a question mark at the end of my statement. Hope it is clear why it seemed to me to support Bp Finn's action without that context.

The nuances are always important especially when it comes to bishops. Power, power and power. It is not so much the fact that they need not listen to the review board. They sabatoge it. Arroyo shows the hack he is when he made sure to state, in the piece erased, that Bennett would get a letter from him for supporting women's ordination. The fact that the bishops will not correct a bishop who goes against the entire group shows that they respect power more than justice. Bennett's opinion of women's ordination is to my mind due to the influence of his daughters. This is the reason that many married men who are very conservative support women's ordination---the spousal influence. This is the reason that the RCC will no doubt approve it.The stricter standards in reviewing candidates for the clergy is commendable. It should be noted that those standards were relaxed after the mass exodus after the 60's onward. The most significant nuance perhaps is that the bishops are involved in procedures to prevent abuse, abortion 24/7, SSMarriage increasingly, and of course, restoring the original Latin, (not the original language of Christians) back to the liturgy. They remain housed and dined in opulence and their constant companions the super rich. All procedures, opulence and little Spirit. No wonder the people are angry.

You had my attention until the ridiculous statement that EWTN must be located in China because it edited the comments of someone they kindly invited on to speak on one subject who discourteously threw a verbal grenade he must have known would be unwelcome. Are you really suggesting they have an obligation to immortalize his unrequested doctrinal opinion?One of the reasons liberal organs can be so easily dismissed is such hysterical comparisons ala "Bush is Hitler." You've managed to top the political left with your ecclesiastical version.

Bruce b,It was a joke -- in reference to Archbishop Dolan's widely reported comment about the same-sex-marriage bill in New York: "Last time I consulted an atlas, it is clear we are living in New York, in the United States of America not in China or North Korea." The point is that, whatever you think about same-sex marriage, the process by which that issue will be decided in New York bears much less resemblance to the practices of the North Korean government than EWTN's decision to doctor the tape of "The World Over" so that there's no record of an "unrequested" disagreement.

Sorry, Matthew, your logic is faulty. Dolan compared two states acting in an authoritarian manner to prevent the exercise of religious freedom. To that both Gallicho, and now you, compared a private entity (EWTN) exercising that freedom. And, it has everything to do with what you think about same-sex marriage. When liberals can't win on the merits they demagogue; when they can't win by demagoguery, they impose.

Bruce writes: "Sorry, Matthew, your logic is faulty. Dolan compared two states acting in an authoritarian manner to prevent the exercise of religious freedom." This is wrong twice. The state of New York has not acted to prevent the exercise of religious freedom -- indeed, it is clear the same-sex marriage bill could not pass without robust religious-freedom protections. Second, the state is not acting in an authoritarian manner; it is acting democratically by putting the question to a vote in two legislative bodies consisting of elected representatives. A law cannot be described as authoritarian simply because you disagree with it.Bruce continues: "And, it has everything to do with what you think about same-sex marriage." No, Bruce, really, it doesn't. I'm opposed to same-sex marriage and I found the archbishop's analogy silly. It does not clarify the issue, and it will not persuade anyone. It just provides ammunition to people who think there's nothing behind the church's position except bigotry and hysterical rhetoric -- people like Maureen Dowd, for example. Not surprisingly, the archbishop's comment showed up in her Sunday column on the subject.Bruce concludes: "When liberals can't win on the merits they demagogue; when they can't win by demagoguery, they impose." When a majority of democratically elected lawmakers extend a right to a previously excluded minority, they aren't imposing anything. Feel free to disagree with the majority (I do it all time), but don't call it authoritarian. That's demagoguery.Finally, EWTN is free to bowdlerize its own programming. No one here would suggest otherwise. But when its news program, "The World Over," silently cuts out the "unrequested doctrinal opinion" of one of its guests, it is doing journalism the way it is done in totalitarian societies, where any sign of dissent is quickly scrubbed from the record for the viewer's safety.

I think an example of good reporting is in Phily Magazine: "Catholics in Crisis" about Philadelphia and abuse there.I'm not sure aout EWTN as totalitarian but it will always try to put a best face on the party line Church -and for that, not worth the usual.

"EWTN is operating in Alabama, in the United States of America not in China or North Korea."And the difference is what exactly??? At least for "Mother" (odd use of that title) Angelica's part of Alabama?

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