Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Joanna Moorhead in The Guardian on Pope's Letter re: Sexual Crimes of Clergy and Cover-up by Church Officials — "[H]ow Dare You Ask Ordinary Catholics Like Me to Atone?"

[H]ow dare you ask ordinary Catholics like me to atone for the sins of these heinous clerics? How dare you call on us to repent for their sins? 
The truth about the Catholic church is that it is not fit for purpose, and it has not been fit for purpose for many years. There was a brief attempt, in the 1960s during the second Vatican council, at reevaluation – and then slam! The door was closed. It's been run by a self-serving group of misogynistic men for far too long, and now we know they have a shocking number of paedophiles in their ranks. Radical new thinking is called for: those priests in Rome need to look up to the heavens and take in a very big swathe of blue sky. 
The biggest horror about asking "the people of God" to repent is this: the church has failed, and failed, and failed again to ask "the people of God" to help it run the institution. It has been all too ready and willing to issue orders to the rest of us – and the miracle is that there are still some Catholic lay people who actually continue to keep some of those orders. Many priests by contrast, as we now know, not only flout the rules but flout them in the worst way possible, by ruining the lives of the most precious people in their midst. 
The Catholic church has failed, horribly, to include the very people who could have helped it be a better organisation: its "faithful." Democracy is dismissed, frowned on, ignored: 50 years ago this year we had a document called Humanae Vitae, that forbade the use of contraception. When the vast majority of western Catholics, in a display of practical democracy, decided to ignore it (the moral position, in mine and many others' view) it simply buried its head in the sand and said we were wrong. When people like me campaigned and argued for women to be admitted to the priesthood (I am talking about 30 years ago – there are no women who would want to join their ranks now) they told us to be quiet; indeed, debate on the subject was totally shut down by Pope John Paul II. Priests were told not to engage with us on it: I tried it out on a number of occasions, but conversations were brought to an abrupt end. 
So it is rich indeed that the pope's answer to the current troubles is to ask the people to atone for them. He needs to think hard and come up with something very different from all this talk, and indeed from all these meetings with the victims of abuse (we will see that happening again this coming weekend, when he visits Ireland).

And the very same people who slammed the door of Vatican II closed — Saint John Paul the Great and Benedict XVI — gave us Cardinals McCarrick and Wuerl, while mounting ugly attacks on LGBT people and trying to blame the abuse situation on gay priests. Though homophobic right-wing Catholics now want to blame Francis' ostensibly gay-friendly outlook for the problems, and want to make him responsible for McCarrick and Wuerl, who were made cardinals by Saint John Paul the Great and Benedict. The same popes who slammed the door on Vatican II and its reforms….

The drawing of a man scratching his head is from The Evening Ledger, Philadelphia, 4 May 1916, and has been uploaded to Wikimedia by Open Clip Art Library user Johnny Automatic.

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