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.