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10 May 2002

Does anybody else feel that if Jesus were to walk among Catholic churches today, he'd be overturning tables and yelling about hypocrites?

The Catholic clergy don't hold the copyright on sexual misconduct by those in authority, but what makes this hydra-headed scandal so disgusting is that the further into it we get, the more we discover the depth and breadth of the coverup.

Cardinal Law himself seems to have been reading the Bill Clinton book on "Depositions for Dummies." Even stretching suspension of disbelief to its ultimate degree, if we try real hard to believe that the man in charge of one of the largest dioceses in the country didn't know anything about the actions of pedophiles under his jurisdiction and that he left all the decisions to his underlings and assumed that it was all being handled properly, the man should be fired for total incompetence. At the very least, the "good Cardinal" was so insensitive to the effect on the molested children and adolescents that he didn't care in the least to follow up, to offer assistance to the abused, or to make sure that the offending priests were no longer in positions where they would have access to children. That's just plain bad management. (I'll bet if you were to ask him about property holdings or financial status for the years in question, he could tell you to the penny what the Boston Diocese had. One does have to have one's priorities.)

This situation, unfortunately, has the potential of turning into a witchhunt for homosexual priests. On the one hand, the church hierarchy assures us that it's only something like 1% of the priests in the country who have been accused of pedophilia, yet it's been speculated that nearly 50% of the priests in the country are gay, so does it make sense that the church promise the faithful that they will rid the clergy of gay priests?

(If there is anything "positive" to come from this decision, it was spoken by the bigoted Cardinal Bevilaqua, who is quoted as saying:

We feel that a person who is homosexually oriented is not a suitable candidate for the priesthood, even if he has never committed any homosexual act... . There's an obligation of celibacy in every priest. There's a difference between a heterosexual candidate, what his choice of celibacy is, and that of a homosexual celibate. When a heterosexual celibate chooses to become a celibate in the priesthood, he's taking on a good - that is, his own desire to become a priest - and he's giving up a very good thing, and that is a family and children that could follow. That would not be true of a homosexually oriented candidate. He may be choosing the good, but... he's giving up what the church considers an aberration, a moral evil.

While I find this statement extremely disturbing, it seems to say that the "good" Cardinal believes that homosexuality is inborn, not a choice, since he seems to be implying that homosexuality is something apart from actual homosexual acts.)

My views on the Boy Scouts are no secret and I have ranted here many times about the bigoted policies of the BSA in refusing membership to gay scouts and refusing to allow gay men to be Scout leaders. As much as I am disgusted by that policy, at least the BSA is taking what it feels to be a necesssary stand, rightly or wrongly, to protect the boys. I see none of this concern in the actions of the Catholic hierarchy, which seems only to be concerned with protecting it's backside, and showing little regard for those who have been the victims of the sexploits of priests.

A recent Associated Press story tells of pedophile priests who were ordered to join the Army to get them away from their parishes (who then went on to molest Army children).

Church officials also helped persuade victims of child sexual abuse by military priests not to press charges in at least two of eight cases, according to testimony reviewed by The Associated Press.  [emphasis mine]

The coverup goes to the highest echalons of the church hierarchy.  ABC news reported

A trusted ally of Pope John Paul II has been accused of sexually abusing boys a half-century ago at an elite seminary for the Catholic Church.

The alleged victims say the Vatican knew of the allegations against Father Marcial Maciel and chose not to pursue them

In fact, the pope has continued to praise 82-year-old Maciel, a Mexico native, as an effective leader of Catholic youth, despite detailed allegations sent to the Vatican four years ago saying the man was also a long-time pedophile.

Is it any wonder that the pontiff himself was so wimpy in his condemnation of pedophile priests. Oh sure, he gave public lip service to is disapproval, but where was the rage? Where was the concern for the chidren? Maybe he found it difficult to sound convincing when he knew he was harboring a pedophile under his own gold-gilt roof.

(For more information and books about priestly pedophilia check  this article by Gary Wills.)

While the church backpedals and makes excuses and promises to get rid of gay priests, the people who seem to have faded into the background are the girls who have been molested by presumably quite straight priests. It's easier to point the finger at all gay priests than to admit that pedophilia has nothing to do with sexual orientation. This morning on The Today Show was a woman who is trying to find out which of the 7 priests who had sex with her is the father of her child. Her attorney explained that all 7 priests had been relocated out of the country, and were unable to be tested.

These are the men who have told women that they will go to hell unless they agree to have as many children as "God chooses to send them," who feel that women are unfit to be priests, who make moral pronouncements on how all of the followers live their lives, while all the while they are hiding their own black secrets and, if Cardinal Law's deposition responses are to be examined, probably twisting the truth to paint themselves in an innocent light.

Somehow I just find it hard to believe that this is what Jesus had in mind for the leaders of his church.

Quote of the Day

Someday, maybe, there will exist a well-informed, well-considered, and yet fervent public conviction that the most deadly of all possible sins is the mutilation of a child's spirit."

~ Erik Erikson

Photo of the Day

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I cannot tell a lie--Peggy took this picture; I had hoped to put in a picture taken with my new camera, but as of this writing it hasn't arrived, so I'm borrowing from Peggy.

(This is her dog, Chippa)

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