Friday, April 2, 2010

Pope to Abuse Victims: Go to Hell

It is time to call for a worldwide boycott of the Roman Catholic Church. The church will never listen to us; they never have and never will. The only thing that will work is a world wide boycott calling for a new pope and the change we have wanted to see in our church for decades now. — Jon Melaver, Campbell, Calif.  
The recent developments have actually caused me to strengthen my religion as I believe it is under attack. While the actions of these priests and supervisors are deplorable and should be punished by the law, these priests represent a very small percentage of all Catholic priests throughout the world. ... I, along with most Catholics I'm sure, will not waiver from our faith or religion. — Mike Lopez, Santa Maria, Calif.  

Not only has Pope Benedict, through his lawyers, of course, informed the world that his responsibility for child abuse by priests is exactly squat, he now claims that as a head of state, he has no legal responsibility to offer testimony even if it is necessary. He remained silent on the question of his moral responsibility, which apparently doesn't come into play when you're the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church. I suppose he thinks that he is rendering unto Caesar, but it's a mighty convenient rendering.

It is now years into this malignancy, and the church hierarchy still has a tin ear when it comes how rank-and-file Catholics perceive its response. It's worse than a tin ear -- more like a tin mine or a tin planet. It is comforting, I am certain, for Catholics like Mr. Lopez to rest their faith on the narrow truth that the number of abusive priests is relatively small and that there are many decent priests more appreciated by their congregations that the higher-ups. But the fact of abuse has not angered the faithful anywhere near as much as the decades-long coverup, the practice of shuffling priests known to be child molesters off to unsuspecting parishes, and the legalistic response by the hierarchy once the rock was turned over to reveal this poisonous reptile.

Millions of Catholics confronted an unthinkable reality: They could not trust their own church to act in their best interests. For millenia, the church preached that sincerely admitting to one's sins, seeking forgiveness, and doing penance was a prerequisite to salvation. As the scandal developed, it became clear that droves of bishops and cardinals -- fat abbots, in Robin Hood's day -- had acted out of a supreme desire to cover their butts. Bishops and cardinals worried more about the financial status of their precious domains than truth and justice. At first, Benedict's predecessor seemed disinterested, and then stuck his head out his hole to allow that there might be a problem here before disappearing from view. Given that the hierarchy was unwilling to admit its responsibility and do penance, why should anyone else?

From the very beginning, there was a way to handle this. Pope John Paul could have appointed an investigatory body comprised of independent clergy (i.e., ones he didn't like), Catholic lay people, and prominent non-Catholics. This body would have had his full and ongoing support to take the investigation where it led and to determine restitution, dioscesan bankruptcies be damned. It should have had the authority to recommend resignations and to release the names. Now, this panel was never going to be appointed -- nor will it -- because the pope, the cardinals, and the bishops value one thing above all others: Their authority. To them, authority easily trumps such trivial matters as honesty, justice, and remorse. Preserving authority is worth a world of disillusion and the exploited faith of millions Catholics...

And it's time, time, time, where history puts a saint in every dream...

ESPN's Jayson Stark, a self-admitted Philadelphian, goes out on a limb and picks the Phillies to beat the Red Sox in the World Series. You can't blame Stark, though: Baseball has reached the point of the NBA, where there are only a handful of legitimate claimants to the throne...

The good, peace-loving people at Second Amendment March have planned their March on Washington for April 19, the anniversary of Lexington and Concord. April 19 also happens to be the anniversary of the tragedies at Oklahoma City and Waco...

Or was Oklahoma City a tragedy? Sean Hannity doesn't think so, and neither does his audience:


Rushbo must have clicked the box marked "D***head":


Today would be Marvin Gaye's 71st birthday. His father shot Marvin to death 26 years ago yesterday. Stick with this video of live performance of "Let's Get It On". You won't be disappointed!

14 comments:

Roy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Hayes said...

I have never been a fan of the Catholic hierarchy & have never believed they had any kind of moral standing for many of their pronouncements, especially pronouncements concerning sexual issues, whether those involved birth control/abortion/orientation--of course the ban on any form of birth control simultaneous with a ban on abortion is simply madness based on a rather medieval understanding of physiology. But whatever amount of authority they had in such matters is completely gone as far as I'm concerned at this point--as this scandal continues to unfold I'm reminded of Jesus' parable aboput the mote & the beam--you notice the mote in your neighbor's eye but not the beam in your own. To me, that's the Catholic power structure in a nutshell.

On another note: Marvin Gaye was--is--one of the very greatest R&B singers! Thanks for the memorial.;

K. said...

I was privileged to see Marvin's last tour. For his encore, he strolled on-stage in a gold lame bathrobe and commenced an endless version of "Sexual Healing." He took off the robe at one point to reveal silk p.j.s, then removed the top then...let's just say he was wearing a tiger-striped thong.

Anyway, absolutely in a class by himself. The first Motown act to insist on writing and producing his own material, which paid off right away with What's Going On, a desert island disc if there ever was one.

John, Garry Wills wrote a pretty convincing book about the papal obsession with authority and how it cripples the church. I share your issues, and wound up having a significant problem with the church's position on intellectual freedom, the gist of which is that Rome thinks it dangerous.

Sylvia K said...

As an ex Catholic, who left the church long before all of this became publicized, I so totally agree that it is disgusting and that it isn't going to change as long as the Pope and his Bishops have their say! And I loved Marvin Gaye! He was great! Thanks for the memories! Have a great weekend, K!

Sylvia

K. said...

Thanks, Sylvia.

It is just plain repellent. That they haven't figured just how damaged the good are only shows how remote and aloof the hierarchy has become.

nursemyra said...

Marvin - I'm disappointed, I wanted the shirt off completely. But I'm not interested in an animal print g string

tnlib said...

I've always had issues with the Good Ole Boy's Club. This is by far the most hienous crime of all - other than not protecting the Jews in WWII.

Loved Gaye. Wish he'd had the opportunity to perform the gold lame routine before the Pope.

K. said...

NM: Oh, I think you would have been interested! The overall package was definitely appreciated.

tnlib: Catholicism has been a part of my life since I was born, even though I'm no longer a believer. For the longest time, I was content to dissent with the knowledge that I was part of a significant strain of progressive Catholicism. Then I began to grasp the extent of the contempt in which Rome held American Catholics and our quaint notions of freedom of speech and thought. It all went downhill from there...

The Kid In The Front Row said...

You write really good commentary - great work.

K. said...

Thanks, Kid! I very much enjoyed your blog entry today. I reminded me of me!

TaraDharma said...

I know two people (adults now) who were sexually abused by priests back in the 1970s. I wish Catholics would support a boycott of the church, but I don't think it's going to happen.

Sean Hannity is a pig, groveling in the stink and the mud for ratings. That's what really gets me going: all these hate mongers are making big money off their hate speech. If only we could get a boycott of their shows going! That would include MSNBC - they should stop reporting on FOX entirely.

Barry and Barbara Knister said...

If it's possible to be a lapsed Presbyterian, that's what I am. Because of divorce, my wife Barbara was no longer welcome in the Catholic church, and responded accordingly. And a friend whose wife died after years of illness is contemplating marrying again. The woman has been married twice before, so as a Catholic, my friend went to see his priest. No problem, the priest told him. Since both the woman's previous marriages were to protestants, neither of them count (and presumably the children from those unions don't either). This kind of malarkey will make any adult who isn't a stone-freak true believer roll his eyes.
Even so, I don't take satisfaction at what's happening in the Catholic church. There have been many crises it faced in the past, but this is different, because of electronic media. I'm afraid there's no other way of thinking about the awful truth, except in terms of chickens coming home to roost.

K. said...

On the other side of the divorce coin, if you find the right priest, he'll have the previous marriages annulled and everything is copacetic. It's definitely crazy.

I've been reading some histories of the Reconstruction Era. It's occurred to me more than once how different things would have been with television, the internet, photography, and cell phones. With the exception of John XXIII's papacy, the church has long feared and resisted modernity, a force that cannot be defeated in the long run. Its ignorance of the power of electronic media is catching up with it.

Barry and Barbara Knister said...

Yes, annulment in my view is analogous to the sale of indulgences before the Reformation. At the highest point of abuse, it was possible to "pay in advance" for sins you were planning to commit. Here, having married someone you no longer wish to be married to, for a "fee" you manage to have the union voided.
You're right, of course, about how instant communications and images make concealment and delay much less workable for the Church.