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The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.
--Cornelius Tacitus (c. 116 A.D.)

Wednesday, March 20, 2002
Further evidencethat the church is in deep doodoo (read them, please.) The writer's priest "pleaded with the parishioners to continue attending church, to continue believing."
2,000 Catholic priests have been formally accused.
As this writer put it:
"Let us be clear: Ultimately, this is not about individual criminal acts or individual failures in leadership. This is about the systematic corruption of an institution. This is about the church as a hierarchy and a whole betraying the faith and the faithful in the most serious fashion imaginable. It is about a massively powerful institution using its power to conceal and effectively perpetuate -- knowingly perpetuate -- crimes (and sins) of the most evil nature against the most innocent and vulnerable of the souls who trusted the church."

Either something changes, and fast, or the church is going to die.
-Just yesterday on CNN they covered a story about a huge internet kiddie pr0n ring. Of the 40 people arrested 2 were Catholic priests.

-Rather than face up to the fact that the Church as an institution has been criminally complicit they are trying to pin the blame on gays. Pope John Paul II's spokesman, Dr. Joaquin Navarro-Valls said: "People with these inclinations just cannot be ordained," he said, "This does not imply a final judgment on people with homosexuality, but you cannot be in this field." According to the New York Times "Dr. Navarro-Valls compared the situation of a gay man who becomes a priest to that of a gay man who marries a woman unaware of his orientation. Just as such a marriage can be annulled, considered invalid from the first, the ordination might similarly be invalid."

In response I can only quote the Catholic catechism, which states: The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. They do not choose their homosexual condition. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition. Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

As Andrew Sulivan says: "the root of the problem is male privilege and secrecy and hierarchy that distorts the psyches of the people running the Church and betrays the faithful who need and love it so much." I think only a formal papal apology and a transparent accounting of all accusations in the past 50 years is going to make this forgivable. Only when the church defrocks those who have committed such crimes, as well as those who have committed the equally heinous crimes of inaction and covering up, will people begin to trust again. Alas, the upper echelons in Rome are very ignorant of the accountability that Americans demand from our institutions. The church has never been good at admitting it was wrong. We may be witnessing the death throes of this huge byzantine institution (in the US at least, the third world puts up with more mistreatment, and the church as a charity holds a big carrot.) On the other hand this may be just the impetus required for a good old fashioned Schism, with the American church going one way and Rome another. That might be a good thing.
posted by Rachel 3/20/2002
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