I am not a Catholic. I don’t think that precludes me from having any insight into the Catholic church though. As a Protestant having sent two daughters through six years each of Catholic school, and engaged in a total of nine years worth of commensurate reading and discussions, I have learned more than the average non-Catholic typically knows about that religion.
That being said, I just don’t get the way the Catholic Church is handling sexual abuse committed by priests. Or rather failing to handle it. I just don’t get it.
I don’t get why the current Pope wouldn’t defrock a priest who committed repeated acts of sodomy on young boys. I don’t get his rationale. Call me confused; it seems to me that the abuse of a child mandates a millstone around the neck approach if anything does.
But I’m not a Catholic, so maybe there’s some mysterious intangible element to the priesthood that innately absolves them of responsibility for in-your-face repeated sins.
When I read stories like this in the Onion,
VATICAN CITY—Calling the behavior shameful, sinful, and much more frequent than the Vatican was comfortable with, Pope Benedict XVI vowed this week to bring the widespread pedophilia within the Roman Catholic Church down to a more manageable level.
Addressing thousands gathered at St. Peter’s Square on Easter Sunday, the pontiff offered his “most humble apologies” to abuse victims, and pledged to reduce the total number of molestations by 60 percent over the next five years.
and I see videos like this on YouTube,
I figure there is a clear reason this kind of satire is being directed at the Church, and it’s because the Church is failing to deal adequately with a profoundly disturbing problem. It seems to me that the Catholic Church has reached the point where Jonathan Swift would be saying, if you don’t want to deal with the problem of starvation in a rational manner, perhaps you ought to consider eating the babies. Or in this case, using “Priest Off.”
There simply is no excuse for this. It’s right up there with the historic abuses of the Catholic Church. At least when they sold indulgences, people weren’t literally getting screwed.
There are a number of deeply faithful Catholic bloggers out there, and I have been wondering what they made of this situation. How are they dealing with the abject failure of their leadership to protect children?
Allison at Why I am Catholic reminds us that the Church needs prayer.
And Greg at the Deacon’s Bench points out that statistically priests probably don’t commit sexual abuse of children more than any other segment of the population.
I’m not a Catholic. I don’t have the same veneration for the Pope or any Church leader below him that a Catholic does. I don’t particularly blame him, nor do I absolve him; I figure every human being is responsible for their own sins. I do know though that this entire situation, including the way Catholics are responding to it, doesn’t make me want to become a Catholic.
If I was a Catholic, I’d be demanding action. After all, it is their Church.