Wednesday, April 7, 2010

When did distinguishing the wolves from the shepherds become difficult?: The Catholic Church needs to clean up its mess

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 United States and abroad become known, it becomes painfully clear that these instances of child sexual abuse are not simply aberrations, but part of an ongoing pattern of behavior. Would it be too strong for me to say that his pedophilic behavior is endemic in the culture of the Catholic priesthood?

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.


md20737 said...

I agree 100% with everything you stated.

The Catholic church is much more than just a church, and a bunch of christians. The Vatican is also a bank, a government, a city, and can be an army its billions strong.

It also claims its leader and itself to be "infalable". I still fail to see how people can recognize them and their activities as spriritual and godly like. If you look at the set up of the hierachry of the church its very similiar to that of a military or political setup.

My personal opinion of Catholicism is that is very cult like, probably the most widely accepted cult ever. Communion is a reenactment of blood and sacrifice, something often found in ancient civilization and mystery religions. The ceremonial type robes they wear are very dramatic. I went to church in baptist, protestant like and only the head of church and his wife was fresh to death. But each Catholic position has its own uniform. Catholics need to clean up and people should wake up.

Great Post.

Anna Renee said...

Hey MRR! My son and I were having a conversation about this--we concluded that it appears that the priests knew something that the rest of us didn't know. It seems that these priests may already have been pedophiles in their hearts when they approached the idea of becoming priests, maybe knowing that it was the culture and it was acceptable. There are so many of them it seems!
Or maybe they were steered in this direction because of their celibacy, a kind of "dont ask, dont tell" code within the ranks.
In gangs the head has the power to make the ranks conform to the code of the group. Maybe pedophilia is the code of the group. In any event, satan is in full effect in the Catholic church. Im not disparing the catholic people, tho.

Denisha said...

It's the same as of their best. The church no longer exists. Man is now the God of the land. And forced celibacy is likely one of the problems in this big mess.

Related Posts with Thumbnails