An Epistle

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:

  1. Apologise.
  2. Make reparation.
  3. CHANGE THE WAY YOU DO THINGS (get rid of the ludicrous idea that priests and bishops must be celibate)
  4. Apologise again.
  5. Really mean it.
  6. Ask for forgiveness.
  7. Be sincere.

M’kay?

Yours,

cenobyte

  9 comments for “An Epistle

  1. Mrgd2u
    8 April 2010 at 1:31 pm

    These things do not happen because of organized religion…

    But said organized religion enabled it to happen, allowed it to continue despite it coming to light, paid for legal aid to defend those accused… etc…etc…

    Without the structure around them to protect them these guys may not have gotten away with it as long. That said it is not as if this is the only place where those who prey on the young have found opportunity to do so.

    Part of my feelings on this are likely related to my belief that organized religion is approximately equal to organized crime. I do completely agree with almost everything else that you say. I think a step that you missed in your list was:
    1.) Fire anyone that does it and assist in their prosecution.

    I will leave it at that, not wanting to begin my usual anti-church ranting.

  2. Stark Raving Dad
    8 April 2010 at 4:54 pm

    Here here.

    That is all.

  3. 9 April 2010 at 7:36 am

    Organised *anything* allows it to happen. The military is no different. Private schools are no different. All I meant with that line is that it’s wrong to blame Christianity for the sinful and wrong acts of people employed by her church.

  4. 9 April 2010 at 12:58 pm

    Why? Why can’t I blame christianity for the attrocities that its members commit while representing their faith? Why can’t I blame christianity for the murder of women accused of being witches? Why can’t I blame christianity for the crusades? Why can’t I blame christianity for the rash of sexual criminals who represent them? Why?

    • 9 April 2010 at 1:11 pm

      Because it was not the Christian faith that did those things. I’ve said this before, and I guess it’s important that I say it again, it was PEOPLE who committed those atrocities. God didn’t do it, and neither did Christ or Allah or tree spirits or the devil. PEOPLE did those things.

      Christ never once said, “thou shalt burn witches”; in fact, he stopped the murder of a whore and told those present to stop: “let he who is without sin cast the first stone”, he said, and then everyone walked away looking sheepish.

      Christ never once said, “thou shalt kill the infidels who do not believe in me”. That was the decision of corrupt, sinful people doing terrible things that had NOTHING TO DO WITH CHRIST, nor with God.

      Christ never once said, “thou shalt put thine penis into a young boy’s mouth”. In fact, Christ never once insisted that those who follow and promote His teachings should be celibate.

      Atheists don’t do bad things because they don’t believe in God. If atheists do bad things, it’s because they’re broken and are doing bad things. If Jews do bad things, it’s because they’re broken and are doing bad things; it’s not because they’re Jews. If wiccans do bad things, it’s because they’re broken and are doing bad things, not because they are wiccans.

      It’s short-sighted and ridiculous to blame the Christian faith for the bad things perpetrated by people who are part of the church. Sure, rail all you want against corrupt *institutions*, but you don’t get to tell people that faith is evil and the root of sexual abuse, murder, and rape just because a) you don’t believe in it or b) PEOPLE did bad things and claimed it was the will of God. If they claim to do the will of God, the best thing for you to do is to find out all you can about whether or not it WAS the will of God, and the only way you can do that is by either studying liturgy and theology and history, or by having some kind of weird mystical connexion to the divine that doesn’t include angel card readings.

      We have faith that the teachings of the prophets of God steer us in a certain direction, and when our faith is challenged by evil, we should stand up against it, not blame our faith for the existence of evil. That’s just silly.

  5. Mrgd2u
    9 April 2010 at 1:58 pm

    Yes this is the difference between religion and Religion.

    Whether you can so easily separate the two is a bit of a stickier issue. It is all fine-and-dandy to say that those who abuse the structure of an Organized Religion to promote whatever abuse do not do so with the true religion in mind. Except that in their mind they are merely interpreting their faith their way. So big “C” Catholics (say an archbishop or da Pope) believe their structure IS the church and as such IS Christianity (all the other Christians being misguided and wrong). As such, by defending the honour of said institution they are protecting the religion itself. No matter what the cost. This is always the case with all fundamentalists, no matter how radical.

    From a rational position it is easy to dismiss these beliefs as self-serving and venal… But rationality is no friend of religion in any guise.

    I also think that without Religion to justify them, these crazies would still find a way to do their thing, that is what crazy people do. Humanity (huWomanity) needs no devil to commit evil, just as it needs no heaven to provoke virtue.

  6. Viper Pilot
    13 April 2010 at 4:52 am

    You left out:

    8. Go to jail.

    • 15 April 2010 at 8:13 pm

      Yes. Yes, I did leave that out. If only there was a huge, wealthy, corrupt bureaucracy that would cover that mistake up for me….

      anyone? Anyone?

      Damn it.

  7. shaedofblue
    16 April 2010 at 1:42 pm

    There is one problematic part of your argument.
    What is actually wrong with celibacy being required for a voluntary position where having a family would compromise one’s ability to do one’s job?
    As far as I know, people aren’t being forced into seminaries.

    The problem is not celibacy, but that people not suited for it are not screened out.

    Besides, it is not like married people never abuse kids.

i make squee noises when you tell me stuff.

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