Friday, April 9, 2010

Get your act together and repent already, hierarchy.

Read this: Documents Show Future Pope Stalled Pedophile Case, AP via NPR, also on the BBC.

So let me get this straight. The pedophile priest wanted to leave the priesthood. The pedophile priest's bishop agreed and sent the request for defrocking to the Vatican. Then the Vatican, through Cardinal Ratzinger, stalled on defrocking him, citing "the good of the universal church." Even after pedophile's removal from the church, he continued to molest children as a lay youth minister. And now he lives in Walnut Creek.

Are you kidding me?

Fr. James Martin, SJ (see? I told you I like them Jesuits!), wrote a wonderful opinion piece on Good Friday, published on NPR, entitled "This Easter, A Priest Prays For The Church's Rebirth." Do read the whole thing, but here's a handy excerpt:

Good Friday, though, reminds us that Jesus went to his crucifixion freely and surrendered his life for something greater, which came on Easter Sunday. This profound image may help the Catholic Church meditate on what it is invited to do. But that means that something has to die.

What needs to die is a clerical culture that fostered power, privilege and secrecy. An attitude that placed a priest's reputation above a child's welfare. A mindset in which investigations of dissident theologians and American Catholic sisters were more swiftly prosecuted than investigations of abusive priests. What needs to die is a certain pride. All this needs to be surrendered freely.

[. . .]

If we can let those old habits die, the church can be reborn as well. It can be a church more willing to confess its sins, more willing to seek forgiveness, more willing to do penance. Simple, humble, poor — like Jesus.

Amen to that, Fr. Martin! The sketchy secrecy needs to die.

Now, for a hardcore Jew following ~600 commandments (mitzvot, or good deeds), for any given moment, there's an opportunity to do something right. Conversely, Catholic guilt is that nagging feeling that whatever you're doing, you're probably doing something wrong.

Let's simplify all those commandments to the Great Commandment, as did Rabbi Hillel and Jesus: love God with all your heart, all your mind, and all your soul; and love your neighbor as yourself. If the actions of the church hierarchy do not fall in line with the Great Commandment, then there's obviously something wrong.

Come on, now. Do we need a flowchart? When will that Catholic guilt kick in?

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