Friday, November 11, 2011

Colleen Baker on Insanity of Contemporary Catholicism: Paterno Held Accountable, but Benedict?

A powerful post by Colleen Baker right now at her Enlightened Catholicism blog (among many stellar posts recently) about just how insane things seem to have gotten in and with the Catholic church at this moment in history--insanity crystallized for many of us by the decision (which now seems a done deal) to elevate Mr. Lori of Bridgeport to the vacant archbishop's seat in Baltimore.  Colleen compares the response to the Paterno story to the response to revelations that the top leaders of the Catholic church have shielded authority figures abusing minors, and she finds the free pass long given to the latter insane: 

I was thinking about Coach Joe Paterno.  About how everyone and their Nitanny Lion is calling for his resignation over the Sandusky affair.  And they probably should, but  then I think about the other 84 year old man across the Atlantic Ocean. The one who doesn't coach a football team.  The one who heads Roman Catholicism, and I think about the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of sexual predators he failed to investigate with any sense of alacrity, and I wonder why it is that some of the same voices who are so indignant about the one transgression of the football coach have given the other man pass after pass after pass. I think that's insane.

And she's right.  Insanity seems to me a good way to frame many of the decisions now being made by the Catholic church at an institutional level, by its top leaders.  No organization that wants to have a viable future circles the wagons as the current hierarchy has done for some years now, shutting down productive conversations about how to apply its core teachings to the world around it, elevating ethically insensitive and intellectually stolid company yes-men to its highest leadership positions, squelching its creative thinkers and prophetic seers, deliberately driving away in droves the members of its community most equipped to communicate its message to the culture at large.  

This behavior is certifiably insane.

(For an earlier posting of Colleen's noting the parallels between the Paterno story and that of the Catholic hierarchy, see here.)

The graphic shows the steeple and cross being set on place at the Suzanne Pohland Paterno Catholic Faith Student Center at Penn State in August 2011.  Joe Paterno and wife Suzanne were honorary chairs for the capital campaign for the construction of this facility by the Roman Catholic diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.

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