It is a complete disgrace that the Roman Catholic Church has had to settle more than one hundred cases involving clergy sex abuse by paying out more than half a billion dollars in Los Angeles. The victims of these heinous crimes deserve more than the money that they will get and the Roman Catholic Church’s dirty little secret is out— at least for the moment.
But imagine if the church had not needed to settle. Imagine, if you will, a world where instead of paying out money because the Roman Catholic Church was complicit in the commission of child abuse, the church could have directed that money to charity. Imagine what $600 million would do for the sick, the poor and the elderly in Los Angeles? Covering up for priests is obviously a higher priority than caring for the most vulnerable in our society. I guess that makes sense since the pedophile priests seem to prey on the most vulnerable in our society.
In Boston Bernard Cardinal Law resigned because of the cover up in 2002. Roger Cardinal Mahony is getting out of trouble for his role in the cover up by paying more than $1.3 million per victim. The settlement effectively stopped the possibility of him having to take the witness stand and admitting his complicity in covering up child abuse.
Pope Benedict XVI’s record on sex abuse cases, including when he was Cardinal Josef Ratzinger -a Cardinal and the Prelate of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF, the successor to the Roman Inquisition)- is “interesting”- to say the least. Unlike on some issues, like violence in the “evil and inhuman” Islam where the pope has become a blunt lightening rod, the pope has remained subtle with regard to his changes in policies, if any, regarding clergy sexual abuse.
Benedict XVI wrote the infamous exhortation that allegations of clergy sexual abuse must be kept secret upon pain of excommunication, though in his defense, first, this was when he was the cardinal in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and this was a logical extension of Pope John Paul II’s extensive history of denial and secrecy, and second, the imposed secrecy only surrounds the Church’s internal investigation, and separate charges may be filed with the police by the victims.
The Catholic bishops of the United States overwhelmingly approved documents in November 2006 at a meeting of US Bishops exhorting Catholics to refrain from using artificial birth control, describing gay sex as immoral, and saying that anyone who disagrees with key church teachings should not take Communion. What about those celebrating the Communion?
“To be a Catholic is a challenge, and to be a Catholic requires a certain choice, and these are the choices that are consistent with the Gospel of Jesus,” the chairman of the bishops’ doctrine committee, Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli of Paterson, N.J., said during a press conference at the November 2006 meeting.
Challenging? I would say so! It must be quite a challenge to wonder if the priest consecrating the host at your sacrament molested a child that morning.
Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kan., also speaking at the press conference, said: “As teachers, we have an obligation to teach, not just about the things people agree with, but the difficult things as well. . . . We have a responsibility to try and help our people understand things that, because of the culture being hostile, aren’t easily accessible to them.” Have you ever heard such bilge water polluted with hypocrisy?
What disturbs me the most is the free ride that most Roman Catholics are giving the Church hierarchy. During a television interview I heard a parishioner leaving a church in Los Angeles say that now the victims need to put this experience behind them. And the Boston Globe quoted another good Catholic- “I wish it would go away. Really, I do wish it would go away,” said Claire Hogan, 64, as she emerged from Sunday Mass at 136-year-old Saint Columbkille’s Church in Boston’s Brighton neighborhood.
The hypocrisy and the shame of the Catholic Church makes me sick to my stomach. What shakes my soul are the Catholics who consider being gay and birth control to be mortal sins and who would rather see millions die in Africa rather than provide condoms but just want this “icky priest thing” to go away. I am sure that $600 million will make a lot of it go away. Too bad we can’t say the same thing about taking care of poverty and disease.