"My Response to Benedict"
By Christopher Hitchens
Washington Post - 16.04.2008
Tuesday, Pope Benedict said he is "deeply ashamed" of the scandal and assured Catholics that seminaries will not tolerate pedophiles. "It is a great suffering for the Church in the United States, for the Church in general and for me personally that this could happen," Benedict told reporters. "If I read the stories of these victims, it is difficult for me to understand how it was possible that priests betrayed in this way their mission to give healing, to give love of God to these children."
In his response, the Pontiff has utterly mis-stated the nature of the clerical pedophilia scandal. The scandal is not the presence of pedophiles in the church, but the institutionalization of child-rape by the knowing protection and even promotion (by non-pedophiles) of those who are guilty of it. The most grievous offender in this respect is Cardinal Bernard Law, currently an honored figure at the Vatican. This expression of contempt for the victims makes the Pope himself a direct accomplice in the very atrocity that he affects to denounce.
Source: Washington Post Article
NOW SOME COMMENTS:
All of you Catholic Church defenders need to watch the Oscar-nominated documentary "Deliver Us From Evil" and then get back with the rest of us. Until then, you don't realize the evil that you're defending.
Benedict should feel ashamed about sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. He has other things to be ashamed of. In the official biography of Benedict it states:
“His youthful years were not easy. His faith and the education received at home prepared him for the harsh experience of those years during which the Nazi regime pursued a hostile attitude towards the Catholic Church. The young Joseph saw how some Nazis beat the Parish Priest before the celebration of Mass.
It was precisely during that complex situation that he discovered the beauty and truth of faith in Christ; fundamental for this was his family’s attitude, who always gave a clear witness of goodness and hope, rooted in a convinced attachment to the Church.
During the last months of the war he was enrolled in an auxiliary anti-aircraft corps.”
If he had true faith in Christ, why didn’t he follow Christ’s example? Thousands of Germans, including women, went into Nazi concentration camps rather than support Hitler and the war effort. They put their faith in Christ. Some died. Some survived. But, they were faithful. Individual Catholics stood up to Hitler; but the Catholic Church and the then pope supported Hitler. Shame on them all.
The pope says "it is difficult for me to understand how it was possible that priests betrayed in this way their mission to give healing, to give love of God to these children."
In other words, the only betrayal the pope is aware of is the betrayal of the CHURCH and its mission to instill its particular brand of superstition into the populace. Upon hearing about the rape of thousands of innocent little boys and girls, the pope's first response is to turn to the priests and say "you idiots, you let them get away!"
If there was any other organization that committed the acts of the RC church that organization would have been destroyed through the use of RICO and other statutes.
The church instead of protecting its children put them in harms way by re assigning criminal child rapists to new parishes with no notice to the new communities, even making them youth pastors. As someone who was brought up in the RC church I can not ever see myself ever going back to this religion which is nothing more than a criminal enterprise, with the morals of NAMBLA and the mafia combined.
Cardinal Law and his predecessor Mederios are the filth of the earth, they should be reviled throughout history.
Hitchens may be wrong about many things in this world, but the Pope's complicity in this matter is not one of them. During the time that someone (the Pope would have been good) should up and shouted about the immorality basic to this scandal all we heard were the voices of those Bishops who wanted to deny Sen. John Kerry at the communion rail. And oh how the Bishop in Lincoln, Nebraska (Brusky) fulminated about Sen. Kerry but said nothing about the pedofile priests--certainly neither Bruskowitz or the Pope said anything about Boston's Cardinal Law. These are sad events. . .a visit from the Pope doesn't change this unredressed transgressions.
Yes Hitchens is completely correct. After all, George Bush himself said, "you're either with us, or you're with the terrorists." And then he said, "anyone who harbors terrorists is equally guilty of terrorism and we won't distinguish betwee the two" (ok paraphrasing here but that's the gist of what he said). So if we are to believe Bush, and I'm not saying I do, but if we are to go along with his logic, rare as it may be, then that logic applies here too.
Hitchens is correct in saying that harboring the guilty makes one an accomplice. To allow Cardinal Law a high place in the Vatican after he spent years covering up abuse in his parish is a shame and smacks of hypocrisy. But we all know that the Catholic Church power structure is concerned with power, not with honesty. Power corrupts all, even (or perhaps especially) those who are in power in a religious organization.
We all agree that the clerical pedophilia scandal has left a horrendus mark on its victims, their families and their faith communities. The Church has responded to what was in deed true: their knowing protection of the clerics and their re-victimizing the victims.
One might say that Cardinal Law has been “promoted;” it is more the case that he has been exiled and brought low.
This has been a shameful period for the Church, His Holiness admits this shame. There will never be “closure” for the victims; there is no “moving on” from the experience. It leaves a sad legacy to future generations.
The Good News still must be proclaimed by the laity, the religious and clergy. The whole Church must continue its mission: He said to them, "Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.”
"I'm afraid this is true. It's not the seminaries' fault that the Pope's direct reports, the bishops, protected the abusers and tolerated the abuse by shuffling problem priests around.
Now, had the Pope made the same comments when the scandal first broke, I would give him the benefit of the doubt, figure maybe he's just still confused, and hope he would get up to speed soon on the problem.
But the scandal is now years in the open. The Pope has had plenty of time to get clear on the nature and scope of the problem.
So the Pope's comments cannot be excused. This is merely passing the buck. Since the Pope is clear head of his organization, the buck stops right at his desk. Pointing his finger at anyone else is ugly and wrong. With great power comes great responsibility.
It's time for him to stop passing the buck. A good first step would be to set an example with Bernard Law.
Either Law has no place in the Vatican, no position of responsibility and trust in the church, and no further right to represent the church in any way, or else the Pope is passing the buck. The Pope can't have it both ways.
And that is merely a first step. If the Pope cannot take the first step, nothing will change. As Jesus said, if I can't trust you in small things, I can't trust you in large things.
A good second step would be a message to all bishops that priests who abuse cannot be shuffled around and the matter hushed up. Bishops unclear on this should ask Law if the Pope is serious. Priests unclear on this should ask their Bishop. See how this second step would follow nicely from the first?
This is not rocket science. This is management 101.
And it turns out the Roman Catholic church is ideally set up for exactly this sort of management. There are clear lines of responsibility that go in a hierarchy directly to the top. There is exactly one man at the top, he's the Pope, and this gives him all the tools he needs to fix this problem.
So it also follows that the Pope cannot dodge responsibility here. It's his job and he has everything he needs to do it. If he doesn't do it, it's his failure and no one else's".