Sunday, April 29, 2012

Bishops Play Church Queens

I realize I write about the rank hypocrisy of the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy frequently - perhaps too frequently for some.  Yet today, the Catholic bishops are among the most unrelenting foes of LGBT equality - now couching their opposition as championing "religious liberty."  Meanwhile, they display their utter moral bankruptcy almost daily in the way in which they continue to put the protection of child rapists ahead of the safety of children and youths and resist paying reparations to past sexual abuse victims.  Indeed, the bishops' opposition to Paul Ryan's anti-poor budget seems more of a fluke than what ought to be standard policy for those who claim to follow Christ's Gospel message.  Given this reality, Maureen Dowd in the New York Times takes the bitter old men in dresses to task for the crack down on the insufficiently homophobic American Catholic nuns.  Here are excerpts:

IT is an astonishing thing that historians will look back and puzzle over, that in the 21st century, American women were such hunted creatures.  Even as Republicans try to wrestle women into chastity belts, the Vatican is trying to muzzle American nuns. 

Who thinks it’s cool to bully nuns? While continuing to heal and educate, the community of sisters is aging and dying out because few younger women are willing to make such sacrifices for a church determined to bring women to heel.  Yet the nuns must be yanked into line by the crepuscular, medieval men who run the Catholic Church. 

“It’s not terribly unlike the days of yore when they singled out people in the rough days of the Inquisition,” said Kenneth Briggs, the author of “Double Crossed: Uncovering the Catholic Church’s Betrayal of American Nuns.” How can the church hierarchy be more offended by the nuns’ impassioned advocacy for the poor than by priests’ sordid pedophilia? 

It has become a habit for the church to go after women. A Worcester, Mass., bishop successfully fought to get a commencement speech invitation taken away from Vicki Kennedy, widow of Teddy Kennedy, because of her positions on some social issues. And an Indiana woman named Emily Herx has filed a lawsuit saying she was fired from her job teaching in a Catholic school and denounced as a “grave, immoral sinner” by the parish pastor after she used fertility treatments to try to get pregnant with her husband. 

The church leadership never recoiled in horror from pedophilia, yet it recoils in horror from outspoken nuns. .  .  .  .   the Philadelphia church leaders decided that the Rev. Thomas Smith was not sexually motivated when he made boys strip and be whipped playing Christ in a Passion play. Somehow they decided an altar boy who said he was raped by two priests and his fifth-grade teacher was not the one in need of protection. Instead of looking deep into its own heart and soul, the church is going after the women who are the heart and soul of parishes, schools and hospitals. 

Pope Benedict, who became known as “God’s Rottweiler” when he was the cardinal conducting the office’s loyalty tests, assigned Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle to crack down on the climate of “corporate dissent” among the poor nuns. When the nuns push for social justice, they’re put into stocks. Yet Archbishop Sartain has led a campaign in Washington to reverse the state’s newly enacted law allowing same-sex marriage, and he’s a church hero.

Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, a Catholic lobbying group slapped in the Vatican report, said .  .  .  .   Given the damage done by the pedophilia scandals, she said, “the church’s obsession, at times, with the sexual relationships is a serious problem.”

Church leaders behave like adolescent boys, blinded by sex. That’s the problem with inquisitors and censors: They become fascinated by what they deplore.  The pope needs what the rest of us got from nuns: a good rap across the knuckles. 

I intend to keep highlighting the truth about the Church hierarchy as long as it continues to tell lies and engender anti-gay hatred - and until those who enabled and protected sexual predators are seen for the foul individuals that they are in fact.

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