Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Priests And Bishops Fall

There goes another one.

The bishop of Belgium has called it quits, leaving his office after admitting that he failed to protect innocent children from pedophile priests.

In Vatican City, Monsignor Charles Scicluna is being asked to explain himself. When he was given evidence of a priest's disturbing activities, he handed back the documents and told the accuser to go away. Nothing to see here. Go back to your homes.

Nine months later, the priest was arrested, having managed to molest a few more boys before the police nabbed him.

As for the Monsignor, his excuse is so sound, so tightly wrapped in legal advice. The documents brought to him by the complainant weren't signed. There was nothing he could do. The officials who run the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith can't be expected to actually go out and investigate something without signed documents. 

Ireland has seen several of its bishops walk away from their offices, shamed by the evidence that has come out after decades of silence.

And still the Vatican digs in its red-shoed heels, insisting that the Holy Mother Church is being harmed by this explosion of outrage, and all of it trumped up by those bent on destroying the Catholic religion.

The priests who abused and the bishops who shuffled them from parish to parish did a fine job of destroying the Catholic faith on their own, actually. In Ireland, the Catholic Church is dying.

How many of the former inmates of Ireland's Magdalene laundries are regular church-goers today? How many of children once housed in industrial schools are flocking to the pews on Sunday?

Their numbers weren't signficant when no one would speak of the abuse, but as word has leaked out and become a flood, they aren't the only ones with something better to do on the weekend.

Catholics are horrified about what their trusted priests did, but they're even more horrified by the response from the bishops, the cardinals and the Pope himself. Like any CEO, those in charge of the multinational corporation that is the Catholic Church looked after the corporation and tried to cover up that which would hurt the business model.

As many other corporate boards have discovered, a cover-up often makes a bad situation worse. Until there's new management brought in, a fresh perspective, the abuse scandal will not quite go away because some bumbling exec in a Vatican office will keep making the same stupid blunders. 

You can continue to support the Vatican if you like, or you can make a donation to the Justice for Magdelenes cause. The ladies who were incarcerated for the crime of being pregnant outside of marriage, the crime of being poor, or the crime of being born to an unwed mother are fighting for some compensation after decades of slavery.

It's a question of who is more deserving of the help.

No comments: