Friday, June 11, 2010

Pope Concludes Year for Priests by Demanding Forgiveness, Admitting No Personal Wrongdoing, and Focusing Inward

     The Catholic Church's "Year for Priests" came to close at a mass celebrated by Pope Benedict, the Enabler, earlier today at the Vatican. As anticipated, the pope mentioned "the abuse of little ones" and promised "to do everything possible to ensure that such abuse will never occur again."

     However, he offered no plan other than more of the same:  prayers to his god and promises to weed abusers out of the seminaries (a.k.a. in Vatican-speak, get rid of the gays).

     He took no personal responsibility for his role in covering-up and mishandling abusive priests and bishops that enabled pedophile-priests to rape and assault children.

     Focusing on his own needs and the needs of the abusive clerics and bishops instead of the victims, benevolent Ben begged "the persons involved," meaning those raped, abused, and bullied by priests and bishops in their god's name, to forgive the church. 

     Because nothing says pastoral care like demanding the forgiveness of those who've been abused and raped.

     “We, too, insistently beg forgiveness from God and from the persons involved, while promising to do everything possible to ensure that such abuse will never occur again,” Benedict told thousands of priests and faithful gathered in Saint Peter’s Square for celebrations marking the end of the Vatican’s Year of the Priest.
     The pope’s remarks did not substantively go beyond what he had already said in a letter to Irish Catholics in March and in a private meeting with victims of sex abuse on Malta in April, but it was the first time Benedict had mentioned the crisis from Saint Peter’s Basilica, the heart of the church itself, and on an occasion focused on priests.
     “In this very year of joy for the sacrament of the priesthood, the sins of priests came to light — particularly the abuse of the little ones,” the pope said.
     He added, “In admitting men to priestly ministry and in their formation we will do everything we can to weigh the authenticity of their vocation and make every effort to accompany priests along their journey, so that the Lord will protect them and watch over them in troubled situations and amid life’s dangers.” The pope did not mention any specific actions the church was planning to take to combat abuse, as some had hoped, and victims’ groups said Benedict’s remarks did not go far enough.

     My other favorite moments came when Ben used the biblical cliche of the priest being a shepherd and using his rod and staff to guide the vulnerable, stupid flock to their god (Psalm 23).  He mixes his psalms and then quotes Fr. Mustache's favorite, Psalm 139, speaking of "the 'darkest valley' through which the Lord leads" his followers. Who better to understand a priest's use of his rod and staff and Jesus' dark valley than those raped by priests? 

     Nothing says "god loves you and is always with you" like having a priest's rod ripping up one's childhood and adolescent "dark valley."  

     Ben returned to Psalm 23's rod/staff imagery, and speaks of the use of the rod to fight and punish heretics to lead them back to the correct path of the church. Yes, priests should use violence to keep their stupid flock in order. It worked for Georg

     It's a historical fact that shepherds used their rods to break the legs of their wandering sheep to prevent them from getting away. What a loving image and how respectful of free will! (I once had a classmate in seminary get scolded for talking about this violent image during a homily.  A shepherd breaking his lambs' legs to control them roving was off limits, but a father slaughtering his innocent son on tree was beautiful.)

     Continuing with the Psalm 23 imagery, Ben focused on the anointing of one's head with oil and relates it to the eating of Jesus body and blood at the Mass, in which the priest stands in the person of Jesus. What is more sexual than rubbing oil all over one's head and talking of eating someone's body?

     The conclusion of Ben's grand homily to close the Year for Priests and address the sexual abuse/rape scandal in the church was an inward focus on his own needs and the needs of his priests:
     Give us life, make us live from you as our source, and grant that we too may be sources, wellsprings capable of bestowing the water of life in our time. We thank you for the grace of the priestly ministry. Lord bless us, and bless all those who in our time are thirsty and continue to seek. Amen.
     It's all about Ben. It's all about the priests and their wellsprings.  I think they've sprayed enough.

     I'd like to declare this coming year "The Year for Those Fucked by the Church," but it seems that Pope Ben, self-serving bishops, and pedophile priests celebrate that one every year.

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