Monday, January 28, 2013

Keep the faith

"No member of the Roman Catholic hierarchy fought longer and more energetically than Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles to conceal the decades-long scandal involving the rape and intimidation of children by rogue priests." [Cardinal Mahony and the Truth].

That is pretty much all you need to know. It is a short New York Times editorial arguably reflecting the exasperation that must be felt in the media that actually seems to care that the Catholic Church abused children for decades and the hierarchy did nothing to protect them. "Instead, he [Cardinal Mahony] invoked a nonexistent church privilege to hide miscreant clergy and shield the church and his own reputation."

If you have been in the traditional Catholic Church you have seen the many images and themes that promote the Church and Jesus Christ as protectors of children. Such irony.

And the Catholic priests, direct representatives of Jesus Christ, are not always just ordinary pedophiles - they specialize. The good Cardinal "hid" one priest "specializing in the rape of Latino immigrant children and [had] threatened at least one boy with deportation if he complained."

I am painting with a broad brush, but it is the Church that provided it. I grew up in a relatively small city and was educated by nuns with priests often giving the religious instruction. I was an altar boy and full participant in the church. I know of no sexual impropriety by the priests. But my experience is not the basis for denial.

These incidents of sexual abuse of Catholic children by Catholic priests are factual and are not isolated to any one parish or country. It seems that the more Catholic the country, and even the area of the country, is the more likely the abuse.

But, thanks to the efforts by those in the Church hierarchy, like the good Cardinal Mahony, we will never know just how many children were abused and how many had their lives destroyed. And the good Cardinal was not acting alone. He was aided and abetted by his aide Monsignor Curry who the NY Times notes was able "to advance up the hierarchical ladder [but] would seem to merit instant removal from his current post as auxiliary bishop for Santa Barbara."

The number of criminal prosecutions is not an adequate measure because children are unlikely to know that they have been a victim, and if they do, coming forward as a child is not a choice for them to make. And neither are the number of civil lawsuits an indicator. The now adult that has gone on to establish a life is not likely to come forward and admit being abused - not an easy decision especially it has been hidden in the dark recesses of the mind.

Guardian UK 2010 article notes: "This [pedophilia] is vile, but whether it is more vile than the record of any other profession is not obvious. The concentration on boys makes the Catholic pattern of abuse stand out; what makes it so shocking is that parents trusted their children with priests."

Odd that there is an attempt to compare priesthood as if it is some profession that its membership can be compared to other professions. Thus, arguably, the sting is taken away by pedophilia that is no worse in the priesthood than in other professions, e.g., attorneys. It is a fallacious argument ignoring that the priesthood differs in that children are entrusted to the priests who hold themselves out as a surrogate Christ.

The Guardian UK author comes to an indefensible conclusion: "I think that objectively your child is less likely to be abused by a Catholic or Anglican priest in the west today than by the members of almost any other profession."  Maybe that should be a disclaimer posted at the entrance to the church.

Children were mere consumables for the pedophile priests who had carte blanche access to them while the hierarchy looked elsewhere seeking to avoid discovery and criminal prosecution. How was a parent to know which priest was the pedophile? The teacher priest? The priest baptizing the children? The priest admonishing you for your sins from the pulpit? The priest exercising moral authority to dictate how you should live your life? The priest who hears your confession and forgives for your sin of masturbation?

Odd isn't it? A belief that a priest that can forgive you your sins as if he was Jesus Christ - yet suffer no retribution from that same God for sexually abusing God's children.

In most of the reported cases, the hierarchy (someone in the chain of command) knew. It is a morally corrupt organization that doesn't protect the children that parents entrusted to their care. And since these are children entrusted to them by God - they are God's children - it is especially egregious.

The Catholic Church offered their children as a sacrifice to evil.