Friday, February 23, 2018

Yesterday, Yes Means No re: Blessing Gay Couples; Today, Diametrically Opposed Statements about Papal Commission on Abuse: Why Does This Happen in Catholic Conversations?

Why is it that, when issues such as whether same-sex couples can be blessed by Catholic officials or how child abuse by clerics is handled by church officials are discussed in the Catholic church, the discusson immediately descends into he-said, she-said allegations in which yes becomes no?

The whole world (i.e., anyone with access to the Internet, who could click on the clip of the conversation) heard the president of the German Catholic bishops' conference, Cardinal Marx, use the word "yes" in response to a question recently about whether the Catholic church can bless same-sex couples. We're now being told by Cardinal Marx that yes means no — that he did not say what we heard: yes. 

The claim that yes means no began to be pushed immediately after Cardinal Marx's remarks were made available. It was pushed by the hard-right, hateful anti-LGBTQ wing of the Catholic church, with which many so-called "mainstream" religion journalists are joined at the hip.

And now this: yesterday, Catherine Bonnet, a French child psychiatrist who has been bumped from the papal abuse commission (which collapsed and has been reorganized by Pope Francis), was quoted by the journal Crux to say the following about what was wrong with the papal abuse commission: 

When [abuse victims] send letters, we do not answer them! Marie Collins found this point particularly unbearable.

Now today, Crux is publishing an article in which a newly appointed member of the papal abuse commission, Colonel Teresa Kettelkamp, rebuts what Bonnet says and states, 

The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors is meticulous in responding to all correspondence from victims. In fact, [projects manager and media coordinator] Emer [McCarthy] worked tirelessly with [former commission member] Marie Collins to develop a strong correspondence protocol, which was followed.

Again, the question I want to ask: why does this keep happening in Catholic discussions about important manners like this? Yesterday, yes meant yes. But today, we're informed that yes means no. 

When Scott Peck wrote his book People of the Lie, did he ever envisage, I wonder, that some religious groups can be characterized as people of the lie? That some religious bodies can become so addicted to lying that no one seems to care any longer whether the yes of those groups means yes, and their no means no?

The lesson some morally sensitive observers might take from stories like these is that some institutions — including ones that profess religious ideals and press moral values — can become so addicted to turning yes into no, so addicted to lying, that they have completely corrupted themselves. And therefore the only healthy and sane response of people seeking moral foundations is to distance themselves from such corrupt institutions, if they want to lead sound moral lives with solid moral foundations.

(It has long been reported, by the way, by survivors of clerical sexual abuse that, when they write letters to bishops or the Vatican to tell their stories of abuse, those letters are ignored — never answered. Church officials have long followed the advice of legal counsel to ignore such letters because answering them might place the church — and its assets — into a legally liable situation.)

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