So I’m scrolling through The New York Times Saturday morning when, much to my horror, I read that Pope Benedict is again apologising to one more group of victims for having been sexually abused by priests when the adults were innocent children in the eyes of his church.
This time it’s in Ireland but the land of St. Paddy is simply another entry on a rapidly growing list of places where rampant sexual abuse was given a wink and a nod by the church hierarchy.
How many times does the Pope think he can get away with doing this and still have any moral standing in the world, let alone among Catholics?
It’s not that apologies aren’t needed and decades overdue, and goodness knows how many tens of millions of dollars have been deservedly paid by the church in compensation to its hapless victims. But come on! When an institution has a serious problem that keeps repeating itself in one part of the world after another, does it occur to anyone in the Vatican to ask, “Has anybody else wondered if we ought to be be doing stuff differently?”
It’s not enough that the supposedly celibate priests running the Catholic Church demand girls remain virgins until they get married, or men who’ve never had to support a family tell parishioners – from impoverished peasants in third world countries to working class Irish in Boston scraping by from paycheck to paycheck – to not use birth control.
It’s not enough that the Vatican is so wealthy its bank willingly laundered money for the Nazis and Fascists during the war and apparently did so willingly because it took a slice of vigerish for its Christian kindness, yet by not distributing that same wealth it allows followers in many parts of the world to starve to death or die because they don’t have clean water or access to medical care.
It’s positively obscene that a church supposedly devoted to the followings of Jesus, Peter, Paul and Mark – the modern world’s first community organizers for social justice and equality – excommunicates priests fighting for social justice in unjust parishes and nations, and sharply scolds those it doesn’t just boot out altogether.
For how long will the Pope and Tiger Woods and John Ensign and Mark Foley and scores of other hypocritical politicians, and damn near every celebrity, real and pretend, think they can keep saying “Whoops, sorry! Didn’t mean it.” to make all well with the world again?
Protestants aren’t much better and evangelicals are the worst. Damn near every one of the sex scandals in the US Congress over the past four or five years has involved a so-called “born again, evangelical, I found the true path” Christian fundamentalist. Some evangelical sects may speak in tongues but the tongues are forked.
Maybe this makes more sense to sociological anthropologists than it does to me. All I’m able to do is shake my head in angry disgust.