In Defense of the Catholic Church

I’ve been keep­ing a leery weath­er eye on the cur­rent in­car­na­tion of the chron­ic Catholic priest sex abuse scan­dal. It dis­gusts me.

If you are Catholic and you have in­formed your­self about this cur­rent batch of priest­ly rape and tor­ture of chil­dren and you ig­nore it, equiv­o­cate, ra­tio­nal­ize, or oth­er­wise at­tempt to de­fend or mit­i­gate the ac­tions of the priest­ly rapists and tor­tur­ers of chil­dren, the church hierarchy’s re­spon­se and ac­tions re­gard­ing those priest­ly rapists and tor­tur­ers, or the re­spon­si­bil­i­ty of any cler­gy or laity who has known the slight­est bit about the priest­ly rape and tor­ture of chil­dren, up to and in­clud­ing the Pope, you are an ac­com­plice to the priest­ly rape and tor­ture of chil­dren who are mem­bers of the very fam­i­ly you claim to be­long to.

If you are Catholic and you have in­formed your­self about this cur­rent batch of priest­ly rape and tor­ture of chil­dren (some of which has been per­pe­trat­ed by priests for longer than I have been alive), and you wish to hold on to some mod­icum of re­spect for your­self, you must:

  • Examine your con­science, es­pe­cial­ly if you feel in­clined to equiv­o­cate, ra­tio­nal­ize or oth­er­wise at­tempt to de­fend any­thing hav­ing to do with the priest­ly rape and tor­ture of chil­dren;
  • Hold the per­pe­tra­tors of the­se crimes, and the in­sti­tu­tion that has en­abled their sin ful­ly ac­count­able for their ac­tions, in the courts of law, with pris­on sen­tences, and do all that you can to make sure that they are held ful­ly ac­count­able by so­ci­ety;
  • Repent for the sins of the Body you be­long to;
  • Take a penance. The Church Itself should take on a penance, dis­clos­ing all in­for­ma­tion it has re­lat­ed to the priest­ly rape and tor­ture of chil­dren, and chang­ing its poli­cies, pro­ce­dures and cul­ture of non-re­spon­si­bil­i­ty and se­cre­cy to some­thing a bit more hum­ble and Christ-like.
  • Then, af­ter all this has been ac­com­plished, hope for for­give­ness.

I want to hear no ar­gu­ments about how un­fair the me­dia or any­one else is treat­ing the Catholic Church. I want to hear no ar­gu­ments about how the Pope isn’t re­spon­si­ble, or any dis­agree­ment re­gard­ing pos­si­ble rea­sons why the in­sti­tu­tion that has en­abled the priest­ly rape and tor­ture of chil­dren is be­ing tar­get­ed. I want to hear no mis­di­rec­tion of blame, no calls for me to ex­plain how I can feel right­eous enough to make the­se claims when I’m a sin­ner my­self. My po­si­tion is unas­sail­able. I have the moral high ground here. There are very few, if any moral grounds low­er than the rape and tor­ture of chil­dren.

If you do any of the­se things, you are en­abling the con­tin­u­ing, chron­ic and de­praved cul­ture that cur­rent­ly pro­tects those priests who rape and tor­ture chil­dren.

There is and can be no de­fense for the priest­ly rape and tor­ture of chil­dren, ever.

What do all Catholics, but es­pe­cial­ly Church Itself need from the rest of the world? Attempts at em­pa­thy, prayer, and the hands of jus­tice, both scale and sword.

UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan is a lit­tle bit nicer about it.

2 thoughts on “In Defense of the Catholic Church

  1. Shalom Adam,

    Thank you for the link.

    I can­not help but draw a com­par­ison be­tween Pope Benedict and President Nixon dur­ing Watergate.

    Every day that he re­mains pope on­ly does more dam­age to the Catholic Church. At some point the Pope must come to grips with this and re­sign.

    B’shalom,

    Jeff

  2. I’ll just have to trust you on that one. Watergate was well be­fore my time. 

    I don’t think it is just Pope Benedict XVI who is dam­ag­ing the Church. I see your point though, since he’s in charge, but I think the Vatican is in­ca­pable of do­ing the right thing. The Pope is an old man who is the ul­ti­mate au­thor­i­ty in a 2000 year-old in­sti­tu­tion. In that con­text he is per­ceived as be­ing on­ly ac­count­able to God, not his flock. Which is a big prob­lem.

    What is most im­por­tant, how­ev­er, and what I think keeps get­ting lost in all the dis­cus­sion about po­lit­i­cal, spir­i­tu­al and PR com­pli­ca­tions is the fact that chil­dren are be­ing raped and tor­tured. That is what must be kept in mind. Anything else is just chang­ing the sub­ject.

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