The Unaccountable Monstrousness of Catholic Bishops Report

Need further proof that it would take Dan Brown to unearth the Roman Catholic Church’s moral compass? Catholic bishops released their five-year study on clerical abuse yesterday and named what caused priests to abuse hundreds of children: the sexual revolution. In the therapeutic language of apology and faux concern that now passes for “justice” these days, the report portrays priests as the victims. It seems the poor pedophiles were ill prepared for the sexually frank and libertine ways of Flower Children. The report admits that the Church erred in not monitoring priests better during this sexually open time, but if you believe this load of whitened hogwash--and you should not--what happened was akin to round-eyed unsupervised children let loose in a candy shop: alas, some of them overindulged.

Let’s not mince words. This report is an abomination. If the Rapture does happen this weekend, no one associated it with it, the US Conference of Bishops, the Vatican, or BishopAccountability.org will be heavenly bound. Are we to applaud because the report oh-so-carefully did not blame homosexuality? Or should we laugh because it so definitely asserted that celibacy vows had nothing to do with the spike in gay priests and sexual abuse? Perhaps we should demand an investigation of the investigators. After all, most of the money for the $1.8 million study conducted by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice came from--you guessed it--Catholic organizations. What next, a major research project on the health benefits of tobacco underwritten by R.J. Reynolds? (Can we at least have a list of the John Jay researchers so we can make sure to toss their applications, should they apply for jobs at universiies with ethical standards?)

People of faith should react with outrage to this. It is, simply put, one of the most monstrous lies ever put forth in the name of religion. At least rightwing evangelicals have the grace to blame Satan when they get caught in sexual scandals. But hippies? Jesus, Mary, and the love beads! “Next up on The Jerry Springer Show--How the Merry Pranksters Primed Priestly Pedophilia.” I am reminded of Joseph Welch’s 1954 attack on Senator Joseph McCarthy when he blurted out, “Have you no sense of decency… at long last?” Later in the exchange an exasperated Welch turned away from McCarthy and said to him, “I will not discuss this with you further…. If there is a God in heaven, it will do neither you nor your cause any good. I will not discuss it further.”

That sums up how I feel about the Catholic Church these days. The Church continues to behave as if this is the Middle Ages and it can use its wealth and power to sweep scandal under a brocaded tapestry. But I note another thing here in my town--three of the city’s four Catholic churches are closing and being consolidated into one. Some parishioners call this tragic; I call it “justice.”

No comments: