Friday, April 2, 2010

That poor, persecuted Vatican on Good Friday

Regular blog readers might be surprised that I've been mostly silent on the recent trials and tribulations of the Vatican. I figured that the media has been doing plenty of coverage about the apparent silence and turning away of the Holy Father when he was made aware of priests' sexual abuse of children in his German archdiocese and later in the Vatican.

I have been trying my hardest not to "throw stones" and focus more on what I admire about Catholics (not the hierarchy) and be less negative.

Today, though, the shit seems to be hitting the fan and I can't help but comment. First, the the Oregonian reported that the Portland archbishop John Vlazny has cancelled his subscription and urged all priests to do the same. The cause for his ire? This editorial by syndicated columnist EJ Dionne, and this Jack Ohman cartoon:


And today in a Good Friday sermon, the pope's personal preacher (who knew that a pope had his own preacher??) likened the recent criticism of the pope and the Vatican to the anti-semitic persecution of the Jews, implying similarities with the Holocaust. How could the Vatican clergy be more clueless? The Holocaust? Yeah--the pope is about to be separated from his nearest and dearest and thrown into a gas oven. Shallow comparisons to the Holocaust, slavery, and rape always strike me as inflammatory and narcissistic.

I find it fascinating that the Church is defending itself by saying that they are being singled out for victimization, because the sexual abuse of children is "a horror that has cursed every culture, religion, organization, institution, school, agency and family in the world," according to New York archbishop Timothy Dolan, who quotes scholar Paul McHugh as saying “Nobody is doing more to address the tragedy of sexual abuse of minors than the Catholic Church.” Right.

I certainly agree that the sexual abuse of children is a tragedy that has cursed every culture, religion, etc. However. In what other institution do you find the perpetrators to be not only excused for their violent acts, but allowed to continue to to have contact with minors? In what other culture is this not only ignored, but even implicitly endorsed (because the abusive priests are not punished)? What other organization claims to be victimized and persecuted when society attempts to call it to account?

As I've written before, I love Catholics. I love the official church when it is committed to social justice. But it is horribly off on this one. And the grave is just getting deeper and deeper...

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