Sunday, February 24, 2013

Really? This is your answer to the world? Sigh.

Much has been written about the sexual abuse scandal roiling through the Catholic Church.  I've written about it here.   I've even noted that other organizations have been plagued by similar problems.

But there are two things that distinguish between an organization that nobody blames for an instance of sexual abuse of a child and one which deserves the full condemnation and blame that can ever be heaped upon it.


No, they don't understand.

My main problem lately with the RCC has been just that.  The failure of the RCC to fully, completely and transparently deal with the fact that pedophile priests within their ranks (not by far all priests, mind you) have not only been active, but have been protected by the hierarchy over the years, being moved from parish to parish to avoid discovery, not only by their parishioners, but by local law enforcement.

The fact of the existence of these actions is bad enough, but to date, the poster "child" for this entire scandal is Cardinal Mahoney of LA, now retired, and also recently removed from all pastoral and administrative duties, even in retirement, after the full brunt of documents were revealed in the current lawsuit over the scandal.

But I am here to reveal to you what was merely hinted at yesterday on the ABC Evening News regarding Mahoney's blog.

He starts out bravely.

One very insightful and powerful Address has sustained me over these past difficult years as all of us in the Church had to face the fact that Catholic clergy sexually abused children and young people. 
Entitled On Carrying A Scandal Biblically it was first delivered in late 2002 by Father Ronald Rolheiser, O.M.I., in Canada.  The Address was edited into an article, and is readily available on his website.
 Sure, even Cardinals under fire need some form of support, and there's a lot of places online where one can find inspiring things to sustain oneself in times of mental hardship.

But, keep reading:
There is nothing else in print which has so captivated my heart and soul, and served as the basis for countless meditations and reflections.  I recommend it to anyone who is searching for a truly counter-cultural approach at dealing with this terrible sinfulness which has overwhelmed all of us in the Church.
"Counter-cultural" approach?  Hmm.  Go on.
You will never find the Rolheiser approach even mentioned in any news media, since it is not about condemning others, but about how disciples of Jesus are called to carry and live out a terrible scandal day by day. 
He calls our suffering what it really is:  painful and public humiliation, which is spiritually a grace-opportunity. 
 Wait, hold it. Here, we begin to see the real problem, as illustrated by Captain Sparrow.  This isn't about you, Mahoney or your "suffering" upon being exposed as a law breaker.  This about your criminal actions in protecting other criminals.  This is about ending your criminal activities.  This is about you and your fellow bishops, archbishops and cardinals admitting your past actions and officially, publicly and finally, for all time, ending your organization's criminal activities in supporting these pedophiles and their heinous activities and hiding them from public view.

But, wait, read on!  There is more that fully exposes the real attitude problem.

I have tried to live out--poorly and inadequately far too often--his two implications of humiliation:
  1. the acceptance of being scapegoated, pointing out the necessary connection between humiliation and redemption;
  2. this scandal is putting us, the clergy and the church, where we belong--with the excluded ones; Jesus was painted with the same brush as the two thieves crucified with him.
 No.  Full stop.  Nobody is being scapegoated.  You, cardinal Mahoney, the entire Church Hierarchy, all the way to the Pope are being blamed because you not only failed to stop the abuse, but under the full authority of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith over Ratzinger's signature, hid the abuse,  and moved the offending priests to both avoid public exposure and prevent the arrest and prosecution of those offending priests.  You did it, not as"bad" individuals, or as men failing your god, but you did it in full understanding of the criminality of your actions and the actions you were protecting, and you did it using the full authority of your organization's hierarchical power, as delegated from the Pope, your absolute monarch.  You did it, arrogantly asserting that your church and all of its priestly hierarchy are above secular law, all over the world!

You are astoundingly presumptuous and arrogant by even suggesting that this puts you in league with your founding figure's travails - your church teaches that he was innocent and without blame!  You, yourself have probably pointed this out thousands of times in preaching to your flocks over the decades of your ministry!  How in the world can you, of all people, have the presumption to compare your current situation, accused of felonious, criminal activity with that of your innocently proclaimed god!

That's not all.
"Jesus models this for us.  He took in hatred, held it, transformed it, and gave back love; he took in bitterness, held it, transformed it, and gave back graciousness; he took in curses, held them, transformed them, and gave back blessing; he took in betrayal, held it, transformed it, and gave back forgiveness."  That's what it means to ponder biblically.
What a pile of crap.  I'm sorry for the blunt language, but that is the best way I can find to describe this tripe.

There is no forgiveness possible for a man, or an organization, which has the chutzpah to compare themselves and their "suffering" by public humiliation in the exposure of their criminality with the proclaimed innocence of their god and the story of his humiliation and crucifixion.  There is no comparison, and any person who accepts his words without utter disgust and contempt either isn't thinking very deeply or at some level has to condone the RCC's actions fully and completely.

The depths to which these people have fallen is astonishing, and the fact that more Catholics haven't risen up and made their disgust and anger known is frankly a puzzle to the rest of the world.

These people no longer represent their god.  These people can no longer claim the moral right or the standing to preach to the rest of us about how innocent and pure their crucified god is supposed to be.

If that god were real, he would denounce these monsters.  He would clean the world of the stain that organization represents upon his church and his reputation.  If he were real, his very hand would wipe them from the face of the earth.

Somehow I just don't see that happening.

1 comment:

Oldfart said...

An excellent piece of writing....