Chickens, Roost

     Count me as one of the people who has absolutely no problem watching the Catholic Church squirm under the weight of a monster of its own creation.
     Not that I wake up every morning particularly caring what the church does, or how it conducts its business, but if someone is going to bring up the topic I’m game for a discussion.
     Here we have a religious group that has the arrogance to declare that one person is god’s representative on earth, or that presumes to declare that it alone knows how to condone for sinning. I always thought that was God’s call.
     Worse than that though, it’s a religious group that is lashing out after it got caught orchestrating a multi-continent cover-up of sexual abuse. Of children.
     First off, as far as I’m concerned the Catholic Church has lost all credibility to discuss morality. How could anyone take it seriously?
     Okay, so the church opposes abortion. Is that a stand based on Biblical teaching? The cynic in me thinks it’s just an organizational policy to keep the victim pond stocked. It also opposes the death penalty. Taken together, these two beliefs seem to indicate the church values life above everything else.
     So it promotes life. But by its own actions it has shown that it doesn’t value life. How can you say it values life when it allowed thousands of its own priests to repeatedly and viciously molest the most vulnerable members of society? When it destroys the lives it has been entrusted to steward?
     The church has been acting about as predictably as one might expect, namely hiding behind its status as a foreign sovereign to hide the pope from having to answer any questions about his own actions. The church has tried to argue that it’s no different than other religions when it comes to sexual abuse (an argument I firmly agree with, but very few other religions have such a rigid hierarchy, and such a hierarchy invites increased scrutiny).
     Reverend Raniero Cantalamessa gave a sermon on Good Friday in St. Peter’s Basilica, in front of the pope, likening the new firestorm of criticism to anti-Semitism. Specifically, Rev. Cantalamessa declared that “the use of stereotypes, the passing from personal responsibility and guilt to a collective guilt remind me of the more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism.”
     Excuse me, I didn’t realize Catholics were being systematically gassed and shot. You’d think that would be front page news around the globe but funny enough, I hadn’t heard anything about it. Good timing too: wait until the most holy day of your calendar and then tick off an entire religion you’ve never really gotten along with by devaluing the Holocaust.
     It’s not so much the fact that the church has had in the past and continues to have pedophiles hiding behind the cloth. The problem is the fact that for decades the church protected these monsters when they should have been calling the police. Last I checked there are criminal statutes for sexual abuse that are separate, distinct, and in fact superior to canonical law.
     Ideally the federal government would revoke its recognition of Vatican City as a foreign sovereign and the church would be charged with some RICO violations. That will never happen of course, but it’s what the church deserves.
     I don’t have any sympathy for sexual predators, and if it was possible I’d have even less sympathy for those who protect them. Just because someone wears a clerical collar isn’t going to change that belief.

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