Tuesday, March 16, 2010
When I learned in the 1980s, that priests abused children (even here in OurTown) I was shocked and horrified. My career, to the extent it meant anything has been a cry of outrage over these crimes. When I discovered that my church systematically obstructed justice, covered-up the crimes, and lied about it--I was furious. The problem is, the situation has not improved and the news from Ireland and Germany means that the claims made by church apologists back in the late 1990s and early 2000s to the effect that the child sex abuse was uniquely an American problem is a big lie. Just one of many that Chruch leadership have advanced in the wake of wave after wave of discovery.
The current claim is that the Church's tradition of Celibacy plays no role in the abuse of children--this is patently ridiculous. While Celibacy does not cause child abuse, men who seek the vocation of priest and who are willing to become celebate are often deeply sexually and emotionally immature individuals who are repressing natural sexual impulses that manifest in destructive and harmful behaviors that undermine the priestly vows. It's crazy--and while it may make sense to have Orders devoted to maintaining the tradition of celebacy, the Church is kidding itself when it continues to insist that the requirement of celebate priests plays no role in the continuing scandals of priest and ses.
Now the child sex abuse scandal is closing in on the former-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, also known as the pope. Here's one of the major problems as a public relations matter, the Pope is the successor, by tradition, to Peter the apostle of Christ. In turn each of the Bishops and each priest is speaking to the congregation of the faithful as a representative of Christ on earth. The Church intends for us, in fact we are taught in our catechism, and by Canon law to listen to the directions of our priests and understand that they are speaking for our Lord, Jesus Christ. The great irony, is that this understanding, this mandate underlies the very cover-up. The perception that the crimes of priests undermine their authority to consecrate the host, motivated the heirarchy of your diocesan authorities and Orders in concealing the transgressions by priests. This corruption is what continues to haunt the Church and now our papacy.
Here at Bad Lawyer, I personally am grateful to the Church for the sacrament of confession and the absolution granted me as a sacrament of my faith. It's is time fro the Church to give up the lies, dodges, and corruption. Whatever steps are necessary to clean the "filth" as Pope Benedict called it, are the steps the Church must take to turn itself inside out and be redeemed in this temporal world.
The great English writer, Graham Greene was a convert to Catholicism and one of his most powerful novels, The Power and the Glory (1940) dealth with a corrupted and alcoholic priest in the 1930s when the revolutionary government of Mexico was rounding up and killing Roman Catholic priests. The point of the novel was that faith transcends the temporal corruption of any given priest, and even in that evil time there was hope, good, and faith that animates and lights the dark. I believe my Church can change, it's time for it to abandon its snail's pace.
That's my faith. I still believe, because the Church can still imbue the world with good and hope.