Sunday, July 24, 2011

Maureen Dowd on the Cracking of Mythologies: Rupert Murdoch and the Vatican

They call her every name in the book.  They jut their haughty snoots to the heavens and say she can't--gasp!--write good English.

But that doesn't stop Maureen Dowd from getting into the face of the Catholic old boys' club.  Over and over again.  

She does so again today by comparing the crumbling of the Murdoch idol with the tumbling of his Roman counterpart.  As she notes, Garry O'Sullivan, editor of The Irish Catholic, welcomed Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny's recent scathing denunciation of the Vatican cover-up of cases of sexual abuse of children by noting, "The mighty have fallen from their thrones."  O'Sullivan is quoting Mary's prayer of hope and joy, the Magnificat.

Dowd's conclusion:

In Britain and in Ireland, two dictatorial institutions that once dominated with fearsome power are crumbling, brought low by highhanded cultures inured even to crimes against children.

A large part of the strategy of the Vatican and Rupert Murdoch in acquiring power was to create an aura of invincibility, a hallowed mystique. But those mythologies are cracking, and people are no longer afraid to confront these empires’ corrupt practices and vast cover-ups.

It is stirring to watch people who have long been cowed finally speaking up, shedding their fear of the authoritarian men at the top who owed their power to the awe of the people.

As I said a month ago, when Maureen Dowd writes in this vein, the old boys quiver and shake with indignation.  Because Dowd is a woman.  An uppity woman speaking truth to power.  The ultimate threat to the Catholic old boys' club.

For my part, I say, Let them fume and choke on the toast and marmalade that the women who cook for them and clean their houses serve them as they read Dowd's column today.  It's way, way past time for the elite, disdainful old boys' club that rules the Catholic church to listen to the Magnificat we all pray every day--a prayer of a holy woman--as it calls for the mighty to be toppled from their thrones and the lowly lifted up.

And as I read Dowd's analysis, I am not forgetting something Colleen Baker pointed out in a comment here several days ago: in 1998, Pope John Paul II made Rupert Murdoch (who is not Catholic) a papal knight, a Knight Commander of St. Gregory.  The award is bestowed on those of "unblemished character."  It is widely thought Murdoch was given this distinction because of $$$$, because of his and his wife's large donations to Catholic causes.  And what is happening to him now in England is re-igniting debate about whether the Vatican should bestow honors like this solely because of $$$$$.

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