Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Vatican's Latest Salvo

This really burned me up:

The Vatican heatedly defended Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday, claiming accusations that he helped cover up the actions of pedophile priests are part of an anti-Catholic "hate" campaign targeting the pope for his opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage.
The deflection and wagon-circling among the Papal-azzi in Rome have now extended not just to putting up a flimsy defense against the indefensible, but have instead crossed the line into directly attacking the motives of those wanting to hold the untouchables accountable in some way for their egregious failures.

What burns me up about this recent turn is that it is both mean-spirited and consummately un-Christian. It imputes ugly motives to those who just want the Church to live its values and to be accountable for its failures.

Let me tell you what I think. Those who are the most critical of the way the Church has handled this whole scandal are those who feel the most betrayed by the Church that it loves. Those who raise the loudest voices of criticism and who are demanding accountability are those who are simply crushed at the damage this scandal has done to their faith in the moral and ethical leaders of the Church. Those who refuse to simply look away and bury their heads in the sand on the scandal are precisely those who have stuck their necks out the most in defense of the Church and the values it preaches.

The criticism being levied against the church and the desire to hold Church leaders accountable, even the Pope, for transgressions and failures of judgment that have led to damaged souls, violated bodies, and hurt psyches IS ROOTED IN LOVE, not "hate." It is the people who love their Church and their faith, and who, because of this love, feel all the more betrayed by the leaders who have damaged the Church and their faith, leaders who still refuse to accept any personal accountability for their role in inflicting such damage on the faith and Church that so many people love and want to save.

In fact, for many of us Catholics who look on this growing scandal and see this incredible turn towards vilifying its members, some of whom are also victims of the abuse, as hateful and vindictive people, well it's enough to make any person who expects loving pastoral guidance from Church leaders, even when faced with justifiable outrage and anger (not hate) over the scandal, feel completely abandoned and assaulted all over again. It is enough, in fact, to convert righteous anger and indignation INTO hate.

And to say it has anything to do with hate against the church's anti-abortion or anti-homosexuality stance is just sickening on its head. I wish the Vatican would tell that mother who so loved her faith that she decided to bring her unexpected teen pregnancy to term and to give birth to a boy, embracing all the consequences of that choice, instead of opting for abortion, a boy later violently raped or molested by a very representative of this "pro-life" church, that her outrage at such abuse is motivated by hatred for the church's position on abortion! It's absolutely sickening.

I know and love very good Catholic priests and brothers and nuns. I know and love many noble and committed Catholic lay people. Hell, I have a younger brother who IS a member of a Catholic religious order, and I have another brother who is actively studying for the Diaconate. And they are both some of the best, most generous, loving, and kindest people I or you will ever know. And my anger at the Church hierarchy for its current behavior is all the more compounded because I know the pain that this scandal has caused these good people of faith who are "guilty" by association -- people who have done nothing to warrant the pain of being associated in such a way to such a horrible scandal and failure of moral and pastoral leadership.

I cannot be a part of an institution whose leaders treat its own in such abominable ways. Rome has no claims on me anymore. I shake the dust off my sandals and move on. I will listen to the good Catholic priests and brothers and nuns and lay people that I know personally and respect. They will be my faith guide and inspiration -- not the Pope and not the Vatican.

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