There are times when I am just amazed at the sheer stupidity of all this. On the one hand you have the Vatican spin machine trying to simultaneously say that all is well, nothing to see here, the Catholic Church is under attack or just ignore the man behind the curtain. On the other hand, everyday there is news of another child abused, another priest credibly accused or a bishop (even the Bishop of Rome) covering up some heinous criminal act to “protect the mother church”. Who are you going to believe, the Pope or the overwhelming evidence all over the world?
There has been so much material to read on claims and denials, pedophiles and protectors, victims and statutes of limitations in the past few months that I have had a hard time sorting through the sheer mass of information. In one way it is good that the flood gates are open, but the enormity of the crisis is just overwhelming.
The Church, in order to make this all go away, is dependent on the blind and absolute loyalty of the “faithful” sitting in the pews for each performance of the Sunday Morning Magic Show. Parishioners lament the horrible stories of abuse and yet they do little or nothing to hold their church accountable. I have seen more people justify staying in the pews because the “faith was ingrained in them from a young age”. Really?! People were indoctrinated as children to support a church that has long ago stopped being about faith, devotion, good works, forgiveness and grace should stick to it because they grew up with the “Faith”. What was it P.T. Barnum said about suckers?
Up until this point I have resisted the urge to question the faith of Catholics. I have tried to be respectful of those who are still active in the church. Some of these people pray for me. Some of them, pretty close in the family tree, are quick to tell me that I am “obsessed with this”. Funny how the people saying that know almost nothing about me, but they are instantly predisposed to telling me to come back to the “faith”, to let this all go and forgive all past transgressions. My translation of that is that these people want me to stop questioning an obviously flawed and seriously dangerous organization that can’t seem to grasp the ideas of protecting children, admitting past crimes, dealing with survivors with respect and compassion, and turning over credibly accused priests, when appropriate, to the legal system. The concept of truth has gone out of the equation. If you support the Catholic Church, you are complicit, willingly or not, in the continued attacks on survivors seeking an accounting for criminal activity that is no longer in dispute. The Catholic Church, from the Holy See to the little chapel at Notre Dame High School has lost any claim to moral authority. The laity needs to take control of the church and dismiss the hierarchy that has firmly established the codes of silence, intimidation and secrecy. If parishioners do nothing, they are passively supporting the status quo. They are allowing children to be targeted and they are allowing bishops to shield pedophile priests from prosecution. On a side note, they are using parishioner money to hide these monsters. Is that a good use of your contributions?
If you go back to the beginning of this blog you will find that my spouse very prophetically told me that once I starting digging into all of this I would be disappointed in people who I had trusted. Sad to say, she was right. Horribly, terribly, agonizingly right. I have also been told that I am throwing rocks at the church. The meaning of which is that none of this is healthy for me, it isn’t advancing me towards some sort of healing, resolution or resignation. I guess at this point I have decided I need to break some more stained glass windows before I am done. Maybe I will start with this one …