Christianity Part 3: the Pope fails yes or no test with a maybe

So. This is a follow up to the post I wrote on what I believed the Catholic Church was doing right (putting a stake in the ground for what they unequivocally stand for).

This one points out where I believe the Pope had an opportunity to continue down the right path to re-identifying the Catholic Church (and Christianity because while not everyone is going to want to hear it but if the Catholic Church missteps all of Christianity missteps). The Pope took a yes or no test and answered ‘maybe’ to a dismayed (and disappointed) world.

yes no maybe

While the Irish child abuse situation is the current focus we need to accept that the church is guilty of a systemic failure over child abuse within its ranks (beyond a shadow of a doubt). While I would imagine the sheer number of child abuse situations throughout the system and over the years is probably a miniscule percentage each ‘event’ is a huge example of everything the church (and Christianity) abhors and deserved a disproportionate response.

It is also certain that the recent letter published from the pope to Catholics in Ireland, apologizing for the scandal, is pitifully inadequate.

Inadequate because the abuse deserved a disproportionate response. A response that would have unequivocally shown that the Pope, and the church, find such actions unacceptable at any time and any place.

Usually, when old and powerful institutions are found guilty of some systemic failure, the stock response is to promise reform. To be honest, I don’t want to hear about reform. Reform turns out to be “words” and I believe I want “actions.”

But it seems that is not the way of the Catholic Church whose secretive methods make changes slowly, oh, and rarely. But. Once again. I have already see signs of change within the church (that was my last post).

But. In this situation I want action.

I truly believe it is this contradiction (knowing they did wrong but not doing anything visible about it) that explains why the church has been trying, and failing, to put the abuse crisis behind it for well over a decade now. These horrific offenses to children, and the failure of the church to take any real steps to stop them, has re-emerged again to haunt another Pope (and the church … and Christianity).

It is a fact the abuse is more heinous because it took place within the Catholic Church construct. The church may not want to accept that but they better do so soon. When a priest uses a child as a sexual object he is attacking a precious human being and maiming their personality for life – spiritually and personally.

This represents not only a crime against humanity but also shows the most complete failure to understand the principles of Christianity.

The Church “employee” who takes it upon himself to commit such a crime cannot possibly fulfill the role of a priest and must be fired, without forgiveness, on the spot. Because to have taken that action he never was a priest for he never understood Christianity. Unfortunately, the failure of the hierarchy to understand this seems to make them unfit for their roles too (hence the reason i am kinda pissed at the Pope).

So. Catholic Church. Heads up. Here is what I would do.

Once again I am going to compare the church to a business and suggest how to close off the issues and move on (because for all my gripes with the Catholic Church they do seem to be trying to get their shit together). Oh. And once again I am going to probably suggest something seemingly unreasonable.

The problem the Catholic Church is facing in reality has nothing to do with current actions but rather past actions. Those past actions probably represent less than 1% of all their actions but that less than 1% is heinous in reality and so exponential it haunts them as an organization enough to wipe out all the good they do.pope test

So.  Action. Decisive action. That is how they get past this situation:

  1. Those that were part of the acts are out. Goodbye. No forgiveness. While Catholicism is all about forgiveness the actual members must be to higher standards. Sorry. We don’t forgive those who should act to higher standards.
  1. Those that were aware but did nothing. Out. You had a chance to maintain higher standards but didn’t. In this case not speaking out or inaction is as heinous as the actual act. Your inaction doesn’t show any leadership qualities necessary to lead an organization through this as well as it shows a lack of understanding of Christianity “right versus wrong.” Goodbye.
  1. Those that were aware and did something (maybe not publicly but within organization attempted to right the wrong). You stay. We (as public) need to understand there are shades of grey. Not all businesses share their dirty laundry with the public. I don’t care how you deal with it as long as you deal with it (although I do believe publicly would help you out a lot … and Christianity as a whole).
  1. Victims. Gosh. I don’t know. How can you ever make something like this right?  Will someone ever accept just an apology from the “boss” (the pope)?  Once again. Heck. I don’t know. Child abuse is a crime. Abusers should be prosecuted. Employer fires them. What more can be done? Just make sure you take care of them as much as possible so they can live productive lives.
  1. Victims Part 2. The church needs to stop the past bleeding to be able to move on. To steal an idea from the IRS. Okay victims. Now or never. Speak up within the next 6 months privately or publicly or forever hold your peace. We will deal with it. We want to know the truth. And this will help us understand the extent of the truth. But. The past is the past. We have dealt with the organization moving forward. We accept we made some unforgivable things in the past but we need to move forward.

That’s what I would do.

A letter of apology? You may as well throw it away. That’s its value.

If the Pope (and the church … and Christianity) wants to pass the test, give me some action.

And I want the action to appear to be disproportionate (if it can ever be so with a crime against a child).

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Written by Bruce