Sunday, July 07, 2013

The Church’s Monstrous Shepherds

Some question why I so frequently slam the Roman Catholic Church.  There are several, not the least is the anger I still harbor for the institution that caused so much self-hate and so many years of needless unhappiness.  The largest reason is that the Church hierarchy continues to disseminate the same anti-gay lies and propaganda that harmed so many years of my life and in the process harms thousands and thousands of young gays as well as older gays who cannot let go of the brainwashing they received growing up.  Few things can screw one up psychologically and emotionally than being raised a Roman Catholic,  Perhaps the second reason I have such contempt for the Church is the utter hypocrisy of the Church leadership which shows no signs of changing under Pope Francis.  Hundreds of thousands of crimes against children covered up and predators protected - all by those who put on false shows of piety and demand respect and deference.  Frank Bruni has a column in the New York Times that looks at the sins of the Church hierarchy.  Here are excerpts:

BOSTON, Philadelphia, Los Angeles. The archdioceses change but the overarching story line doesn’t, and last week Milwaukee had a turn in the spotlight, with the release of roughly 6,000 pages of records detailing decades of child sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests there, a sweeping, searing encyclopedia of crime and insufficient punishment

But the words I keep marveling at aren’t from that wretched trove. They’re from an open letter that Jerome Listecki, the archbishop of Milwaukee, wrote to Catholics just before the documents came out.   “Prepare to be shocked,” he said. What a quaint warning, and what a clueless one. 

Quaint because at this grim point in 2013, a quarter-century since child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church first captured serious public attention, few if any Catholics are still surprised by a priest’s predations. 

Clueless because Listecki was referring to the rapes and molestations themselves, not to what has ultimately eroded many Catholics’ faith and what continues to be even more galling than the evil that a man — any man, including one in a cassock or collar — can do. I mean the evil that an entire institution can do, though it supposedly dedicates itself to good.

The Milwaukee documents underscore this, especially in the person of Cardinal Timothy Dolan, now the archbishop of New York, previously the archbishop of Milwaukee from 2002 to 2009 and thus one of the characters in the story that the documents tell. Last week’s headlines rightly focused on his part, because he typifies the slippery ways of too many Catholic leaders.

[Dolan's] his letter contradicts his strenuous insistence before its emergence that he never sought to shield church funds. He did precisely that, no matter the nuances of the motivation. 

Dolan has quibbled disingenuously over whether the $20,000 given to each abusive priest in Milwaukee who agreed to be defrocked can be characterized as a payoff, and he has blasted the main national group representing victims of priests as having “no credibility whatsoever.” Some of the group’s members have surely engaged in crude, provocative tactics, but let’s have a reality check: the group exists because of widespread crimes and a persistent cover-up in the church, because child after child was raped and priest after priest evaded accountability.

That’s what church leaders and church defenders who routinely question the amount of attention lavished on the church’s child sexual abuse crisis still don’t fully get. 

[O]ver the last few decades we’ve watched an organization that claims a special moral authority in the world pursue many of the same legal and public-relations strategies — shuttling around money, looking for loopholes, tarring accusers, massaging the truth — that are employed by organizations devoted to nothing more than the bottom line. 

[B]y last week the only shocker left was that some Catholic leaders don’t grasp its greatest component: their evasions and machinations.  

1 comment:

Terry Cramer said...

AMEN! I am an ex-Catholic priest. I echo your sentiments with a resounding AMEN!

You said exactly what has been on my mind in recent days.

Your story of growing up in this evil institution is very like my own.

Your blog is one of my daily reads!

Thank you.

PS My partner and I love the daily hotties!