Friday, April 30, 2010

Memoir: Absurd Long Before The Current Scandals

It's gotten to the point where you can't separate the reality from the satire. Let me offer some quotes:
By 1993, the seriousness of child sexual abuse allegations against a Pembroke priest who had been elevated to the Vatican was such that Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic wouldn’t let him near his Toronto diocese. But not serious enough for the then-archbishop of Toronto, five fellow Ontario bishops and the Vatican’s representative in Ottawa to go to police. (The Toronto Star - 9 Apr 2010)
The head of the influential Catholic League says that the priest who allegedly sexually abused 200 deaf boys in Wisconsin did not engage in pedophilia because 'the vast majority of the victims [were] post-pubescent." Bill Donohue made the argument during a raucous debate onLarry King Live Tuesday night, during which he repeatedly pointed the finger to homosexuality -- rather than pedophilia -- as the cause of the church's sex abuse problems. (The Raw Story - 31 Mar 2010)
If you are an 81 year old Italian bishop of a certain persuasion, the anti everything kind, then the reasons for the recent attacks on the Pope over the pedophilia scandal are obvious; they are a 'Jewish led plot'. (Sky News - 12 Apr 2010)
A Vatican cardinal in charge of clergy around the world congratulated a French bishop in a 2001 letter for not denouncing a sexually abusive priest to the police, according to a French website on Thursday. (Reuters - 15 Apr 2010)
Easter Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Square, the Catholic church's most joyous celebration, began with a senior cardinal defending Pope Benedict XVI from what he called "petty gossip" and hailing him for "unfailing" leadership and courage. But the pontiff himself ignored accusations that he perpetuated a climate of cover-up for pedophile priests, even as sex abuse scandals threatened to overshadow his papacy. (USA Today - 4 Apr 2010)
Calling the behavior shameful, sinful, and much more frequent than the Vatican was comfortable with, Pope Benedict XVI vowed this week to bring the widespread pedophilia within the Roman Catholic Church down to a more manageable level. (The Onion - 5 Apr 2010)
Calling forgiveness "one of the highest virtues taught to us by Jesus," Pope John Paul II issued a papal decree Monday absolving priest-molested children of all sin. (The Onion - 22 May 2002)
Long before this particular scandal broke people have come up with very basic questions about religion and especially about organized religion and the institutions of organized religion. There are a slew of books on those topics at the moment.

The questions aren't new. They've been asked before. Many times.

The questions and criticisms weren't answered then and they aren't being answered now. Case in point Why I Am An Agnostic from 1896 by Robert G. Ingersoll. For a book that is over one hundred years old it is still remarkably timely and powerful. (If you want to read this on your eBook reader you can get a version in every major eBook format from In the book he explores how his view of religion evolved over time. Consider it the memoir of someone who looked deeper into religion and belief and wrote about what he found.

You don't need the latest scandal to see the underlying absurdity. The questions have been around for a long time. The scandal just makes it easier to re-ask the underlying questions.

Somehow I don't think we'll get any new answers.

1 comment:

Lene Andersen said...

It's truly astounding how The Onion's quotes look completely like the real deal.

I could write an enraged screed against the Catholic Church's admin section, but instead, I'll send you to a link I posted today: For a view of the good side of Catholicism.