I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ. –Mahatma Ghandi
Out of deference to friends and colleagues who are Catholic, and because my grandmother and mother instilled in me early on to “not touch God’s anointed” regardless of how abhorrent their actions, I have resisted criticizing the Catholic Church. However, at this time I find that I cannot remain idly silent.
When the first allegations of priest misconduct and child molestations surfaced, I thought, as perhaps many did, that these events, though seemingly widespread, were somehow simply aberrations, and that once the Church owned up to its malfeasance and issued the requisite mea culpas, the Church would then work to prevent the reoccurrence of such horrific events.
However, as other allegations within the
For years, for decades, those charged with attending to the needs of the most helpless and the most vulnerable—the very “shepherds” of the flock—have used the authority of their office as tools, as fulcrums to gain the requisite leverage so that they might act upon, and continue to act upon, their basest desires.
We have no idea how long this has been going on. We have no idea how widespread the problem is or how many lives have been touched by it. But what we can state for sure is that there is any number of people who have been irreparably wounded, physically and psychologically, by the actions of persons claiming to be representatives of God.
But if the actions of the priests involved are not detestable enough, the actions (or inaction) of the Church in dealing with the whole scandal just magnifies the whole despicable affair one hundred fold. The Church’s response, in the main, has been to circle the wagons and push back against those condemning the Church’s action as well as those working to get the story out.
And the responses of Church spokespersons are just ludicrous and even more enraging. Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, tries to downplay the actions of a priest charged with molesting over 200 deaf boys by stating first that because the boys were post-pubescent, the priest in question was not really a pedophile.
Furthermore, Donohue states that the problem in the Catholic Church is a homosexual problem and not a pedophile problem. Listen as he attempts to make this ludicrous argument:
So, homosexuality is the problem, huh? So, the gays are to blame? That’s complete BS. It’s an attempt to obfuscate the issue by directing attention and energies elsewhere.
I am no theologian, but I do have what I think to be well reasoned response to the crisis. First and foremost, the problem arises when man attempts to apotheosize themselves, elevate themselves to the stature of God, or, at the very least, claim themselves to be God’s spokesperson here on earth.
Secondly, I believe the Church needs to go back and revisit and revise its teachings. Could it be these priests have turned to pedophilia simply because of Church teachings. Could it be this inclination toward pedophilia grows out of the unnatural and forced state of celibacy? Sex and intimate closeness with another constitutes one of the most basic human needs. And to deny this need, these needs, then forces those repressed needs and urges to irrupt as perversity.
As time marches on, as the world changes and human beings evolve, it stands to reason that one thousand year old edicts and laws not longer suffice, and most be thought through from a place of reason as opposed to a place of religious fervor.
But whatever the Churches continued response, the first thing the Church needs to do is tell the truth. It needs to cease attempting to protect persons and personages high in the Church hierarchy; it needs to cease attempting to protect the Church. And it needs to begin thinking first and foremost about the lives and the souls of the people on whose behalf it claims to intercede.