Dear Poop Pope:
Hi. You don’t know me, and you don’t consider me big-cee Catholic (because you don’t recognise any of the five catholic churches other than the Roman Catholic church), so I guess that means that you’ll probably just ignore whatever I have to say, but I thought I’d write anyway.
I haven’t studied patristics and theology and church history and classics and liturgical…um…studies as much as you have, and I’ve never been ordained as a deacon much less a bishop. You may be able to ascertain that I’m also not a cardinal. Owing to the fact that I am neither Roman Catholic, nor am I male. So I don’t know as much about Church Stuff as you do, and I’m cool with that. Just thought I’d admit that up front and all so this doesn’t get in to some kind of “well according to Aquinas…” malarky. Not that Aquinas is malarky, you understand, but rather, it doesn’t really matter what Aquinas or Clement or Tertullian or Augustine or anybody said.
Look, here’s the thing.
When somebody says that someone who worked for you did something Really Wrong (like, oh, say, a thousand or so German Catholics reporting abuse at the hands of priests or bishops in your employ, or, say, child abuse in Irish Catholic institutions, or maybe something like what happened in Residential schools all over Canada), there’s a Right Thing to do, and there’s a Wrong Thing to do.
The Wrong Thing to do is to a) claim that it never happened; b) call the people who were harmed liars; c) hope that it will go away; d) do nothing but pray for guidance (not that there’s anything WRONG with praying for guidance, but if it’s the ONLY thing you do, it’s Not Helpful); e) send letters all over the place that claim the reason why this kind of thing happens is because priests and bishops are not trained well enough.
What kind of training do you need in order to know that sexually abusing children and beating them is Bad? And Wrong? Is there now a course in Seminary called “Rape and Abuse are Sins”? What kind of screening is being done now? Is there an intake interview where the Father Superior asks, “what do you think of celibacy”, and if the respondent says, “WOW, COOL!”, they get turfed?
The *PROBLEM*, Pope, is that enforced celibacy is wrong. The PROBLEM, Pope, is that *obedience* is not as important as *humanity*. The PROBLEM, Pope, is that people in your employ did terrible things to children, and that makes you, as their employer, at least partially responsible. Even if you didn’t know about it, which I strongly doubt. I might be willing to believe that you chose not to believe it.
Look, I don’t even want to bring religion in to this, because what these men did had absolutely nothing to do with religion. It really pisses me off when people claim that it’s the fault of organised religion that “these things happen”. These crimes happen because people make horrible decisions. People who have left any pretense of religion far, far behind.
Anyway, here’s my advice, for what it’s worth:
- Make reparation.
- CHANGE THE WAY YOU DO THINGS (get rid of the ludicrous idea that priests and bishops must be celibate)
- Apologise again.
- Really mean it.
- Ask for forgiveness.
- Be sincere.