Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Is It Time To Canonize A Pedophile Priest?

The Pope is off in the States canonizing a missionary because the Hispanics need one of their own. That's the usual line of thought that goes into the process. Sainthood is a sort of gift to be bestowed on special interest groups, not unlike your local politicians finding the funds to construct a new roadway that the local people have been clamoring for because the voters up there in Roscommon got one and where's our piece of the pie?

So His Holiness has decided that there's no need for the requisite proof of two miracles to advance Junipero Serra to sainthood because the Latinos need to be thrown a religious bone.

As for the native population that was decimated by Father Serra and his merry band, well, they aren't such hard-core Catholics as all that. And they certainly are not as large a special interest group as the Mexican-Americans.

Besides, this canonization is all about recognizing past sins so that we can all move beyond them and seek forgiveness. Never forget, and never repeat. Saint Junipero Serra will become the patron saint of brutal conquerors who have long needed such heavenly hands to hold.

If it's all about recognizing past sins so that they will not be repeated, isn't it about time that Father Brendan Smyth was fast-tracked?

Don't the pedophiles need a patron saint of their own as well?

Junipero Serra converted native peoples whether they liked it or not, and in the process he brought along all sorts of new diseases that devastated the population. Instilling Catholicism required the removal of native culture, which the descendants of those tribes don't appreciate to this day. So by making him a saint, the Pope is saying to Americans, look at how poorly your ancestors treated people and look at how poorly you treat Hispanics today. At least that is the opinion of Steven Hackel, who wrote a biography of the missionary.

Except that Junipero Serra migrated to California from Mexico and then abused the locals, so if the Pope is trying to send the Yanks a message about their attitude to illegal immigrants, he has gone far off-track. Looking at the history, the story of Father Serra pretty much reinforces the message of those who want a big wall built to keep the Mexicans out.
If we're canonizing sinners to atone for the sin, you can't top Fr. Brendan Smyth for the crime of child abuse

At any rate, this canonization is all about atoning for sin by making the sinner a saint. The Catholic Church is supposed to be atoning for the sins of its pedophile clergy, right? So it stands to reason that Brendan Smyth should be beatified at once and canonized in the morning.

He may have been the most prolific pedophile in the clergy, abusing hundreds of children by his own count. He was moved from place to place as his abuse became known in the parish where he was posted, as the Church fought valiantly to cover up the crimes with obfuscation and guilt and the occasional bribe. The history of those days is grim, and the pain is still resonating.

Let's really get serious about examining the sins of the pedophiles within the Catholic Church, and at the same time give the clergy one of their own to serve as an example of a great sinner who still, despite his proclivities, managed to say the Mass and baptize the babies and marry the happy couples while preaching against sins like fornication.

If it's good enough for Junipero Serra, why can't the Irish clergy get a small slice of the sinner's pie?

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