Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Catholic Officials' Blame Game: Who's Up Next?

So much comes out so quickly these days in the Catholic church’s crisis story, that it’s hard to keep up.  Here’s a selection of recent articles that, in my view, make thought-provoking comments.

One of the reasons it’s difficult to keep up is, of course, that the Catholic hierarchy’s blame game chooses ever-shifting targets as church officials (and the gallant lads who defend them) seek desperately to shift attention away from themselves.  And from the evil game they have played for far too now: protecting priests molesting children while ignoring (and even blaming) children who have been abused.

I predicted this despicable target-of-the-day game back in mid-March (here and here).  As Kathy Hughes noted in a reply to my posting yesterday about the pope’s gallant lads with their new penchant for parsing dicastery Latin, the Jews were the target du jour this past weekend. 

Retired Italian bishop Giacomo Babini revealed Friday that those wily old “eternal enemies” of the church are at work behind the scenes stirring the pot of the abuse story, which is, don’t you see, “primarly a Zionist attack.”  Then adding perfidy to his infamy, the good bishop went on to propose that the Jews somehow “provoked” the criminal fury of the Nazis by, well, existing.  And doing what we all know they do so well: grabbing money—an astonishing claim for a Catholic bishop to make just at present, as new information comes to light about how Marcial Maciel built his evil empire right inside the Vatican with lavish palm-greasing (on that, more in a moment).

As John Allen, who knows the Vatican from the inside as few other layfolks do, was already reporting in 2002, infamous rumors about a Jewish conspiracy began rattling around Rome from the moment the U.S. abuse stories began to break.  As Allen notes, turn off the tape recorders in Vatican interviews and it all starts pouring out, the old poison that many of us had hoped the church had repented of forever following Vatican II: the Jews control the media.  The Jews have a powerful and aggressive political lobby.  The Jews intend always to strike at the roots of the church.

And Jew-baiting links to gay-bashing as a predictable reflexive response whenever the Vatican is caught with its pants down, as it were, and/or with its fists full of money from con men seeking particular favors.  The same Bishop Babini who now reminds us to beware of our wily “eternal enemies” the Jews, who brought the Holocaust on themselves,* has also told the media that gays ought not to be permitted to receive communion or Christian burial.

So it’s not surprising that in a matter of days, Catholic officials have gone from Jew-baiting to gay-bashing, with the remarks of the pope’s second in command, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, on which I reported last evening.  For an interesting discussion of Bertone’s claims, see the current thread discussing Grant Gallicho’s latest posting at Commonweal blog. 

As the statement I excerpted from Colm O’Gorman last evening notes, it will take people of integrity within the church to answer “such hateful claptrap.”  But as some of the views being aired on the Commonweal blog demonstrate, integrity, healing, or acceptance and inclusion of gay folks is not where some Catholics—including some Catholic layfolks—intend to go. 

So kudos to those who do stand up and call the bluff of their brothers and sisters who keep gay-bashing in the name of Christ: as the indefatigable Carolyn Disco says to these church officials and their lay supporters in the Commonweal thread to which I’ve just linked, “Dig, baby, dig, just keep digging that hole.”

In conclusion, a light-hearted but instructive peek at Salon at groups Catholic officials have sought to blame in this current go-round about the abuse situation.

Who’s your favorite target in Mary Elizabeth Williams’s slide-show?  I have to admit, I’m smitten by the secular Easter card.  It certainly does look dark and threatening.

* As an astute reader, dtedac, noted yesterday in response to my posting about Benedict’s recent defenders, Babino’s remarks last Friday are all the more despicable when one notes that they occurred right before the day of remembrance of the Holocaust, Yom Ha-Shoah.  That Jewish liturgical remembrance was yesterday.