Tomorrow’s Catholics

"The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” Though William Faulkner did not have the Catholic sexual-abuse crisis in mind when he wrote these words, they do throw light on the conflicting responses to the scandals of the past year. While most commentators agree that there really are two scandals—clerical sexual abuse itself and the subsequent episcopal dereliction—they differ on their diagnoses of both the causes and the appropriate remedies. Some attribute the crisis in part to a centuries-old repressive sexual ethic, while others indict the church’s ambiguous and permissive moral teaching of recent decades.


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