Showing posts with label Papal Shoes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Papal Shoes. Show all posts

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pope's UK Visit Has Been One Long Non-Apology Apology for the Cover-Up and Sexual Abuse of Children

     The first three days of Pope Benedict's controversial £19 million+ visit to the United Kingdom are over.  The big question continues to be when and if he will apologize for his participation in the cover-up of sexual abuse committed by priests.  But sticking to the role of politician rather than shepherd, Ben continues walk the familiar path of the non-apology apology.

     On his flight to the UK, Ben dodged questions about child rape without giving an all-out apology.  Southern California Public Radio reports:
     Speaking in Italian to reporters on board a flight to Scotland, the pope acknowledged that the church failed to act decisively or quickly enough to deal with cases of child rape and molestation by priests that have spanned decades and involved tens of thousands of victims.
     Benedict, who led the Vatican office that investigated child abuse claims during Pope John Paul II's papacy, said he was shocked and saddened on learning of the scope of the abuse partly because priests take vows to be Christ's voice upon ordination.
     "It's difficult to understand how a man who has said this could then fall into this perversion. It's a great sadness," Benedict said. "It's also sad that the authority of the church wasn't sufficiently vigilant, and not sufficiently quick or decisive to take necessary measures" to stop it.
     But, he didn't say "I'm sorry. I was a part of this failure to protect and respect our most vulnerable and innocent children. I acted out of self-preservation, pride, and malice.  I take responsibility for the wrongs I committed." 

     Instead and once again, the spineless pontiff "acknowledged" a general failure of some amorphous "church," but failed himself to take personal responsibility for his actions in shuffling and protecting pedophile priests.  As I learned in seminary, if there is no contrition there can be neither absolution nor reconciliation.

Above photo of papal shoes via Gaurdian.
Below photo of Pope in a bulletproof bubble via Telegraph
     In regards to Ben's statement about the difficulty of understanding how priests could possibly become abusers, he's living in a bulletproof bubble.  It's not difficult to understand, unless of course you don't understand the psychology of sexual predators and if you've lived your entire life in an organization that views priests as stand-ins for one's god.  

     Priests are men first.  They are human.  They are just as corruptible as any other person.  It's that simple.  But dressing priests up as divine media and protecting them within an organization that is anti-science and anti-reason blinds those within the church, like Ben, from seeing simple reality.

     Using his strongest language so far when discussing the child abuse scandal the pope said: "I express my deep sorrow to the innocent victims of these unspeakable crimes."
     But victims' representatives said his comments did not, in fact, add up to an apology.  Colm O'Gorman, from the Irish victim support group One in Four, said: "I feel deep sorrow about the suffering I see on the news, but there's an enormous difference between an expression of sorrow and an apology and acknowledgement of responsibility.  "The Vatican chooses its words very carefully and that so-called apology could have been written by lawyers. It has 'no liability' all over it."
     Peter Isely of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests asked: "Why, if the pope feels so much remorse, won't he take action? Showing remorse isn't leadership. Taking decisive action is leadership."
     Here's the homily from Ben's mass at Hyde Park today.  There is no mention of sexual abuse, the scandal, contrition, or responsibility for these acts.  There is only talk of how great and glorious the church is and the need for young people to dedicate their lives to serving the church's "culture of life."  As certain priests in my past use to rail on sinners: Out of sight, out of mind.

     Many gathered at Hyde Park in protest of Pope Ben and the Catholic Church's teachings that are supposed to promote "truth" and "life."  From the Guardian:
     Day three of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Britain and it was a day for protests and anti-papists under bright blue skies in central London. Around 10,000 people took to the capital's streets for a Protest the Pope rally and march against what the organisers called "papal intolerance" and to condemn the state funding of the visit.
     They came in red cardboard papal hats scrawled with the words "bigot" and "homophobe" and carrying placards, rainbow flags, pledges of atheism and balloons made of condoms. One giant banner showing the Pope carrying a swastika was later taken down after offending many of the protesters, who went as far as complaining to the police officers lining the route of the march to Downing Street.... [Wouldn't it be great if Americans were this intelligent in their protests?]
     The protest organiser Peter Tatchell told the Observer the event was held both to send a message to the Pope that child abusers had to be brought to account and to call on the British government not to tolerate the Pope's "harsh, intolerant views on women's rights, on gay equality and on the use of condoms which is so vital to stopping the spread of the HIV virus".
     If the pope's key message during his visit has been to warn against atheism and secularism, then this rally was the chance of those with those views to present their view of Benedict. "An enemy of humanity" was the unminced words of prominent atheist Richard Dawkins, who gave a strong speech to the rally on its arrival at Downing Street.
     Comedian Al Murray also figured among the crowd. He said: "Like a lot of people I am a perplexed that it is a state visit. The pope's opposition to condoms kills people. It is all very well him lecturing us on morals, but he should look at his own organisation's view."
     What will tomorrow's itinerary in Birmingham bring?  We can only assume more of the same.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Pope Benedict in Portugal to Preach Economic and Sexual Morality...Seriously?

     On Tuesday, Pope Benedict XVI issued his "most direct words to date on abuse" while on a flight to Portugal.  He's not resigning.  There was no admit of personal participation, only more finger pointing, this time within the church.

     What has been overlooked are some of the reasons why Pope Benedict went to Portugal in the first place. The New York Times reports:
     The pope landed in Lisbon on Tuesday to begin a trip aimed at underscoring several themes of his papacy: the threat posed by secularism in Europe, the tension between faith and reason, and the role of ethics in economics.  Markets are jittery about Portugal’s prospects of bringing its debt and deficit under control. En route to Lisbon, Benedict told reporters that the financial crisis and the threat to the euro were opportunities to reintroduce a “moral dimension” to economics.
     Pope Ben has no credibility when it comes to preaching a "moral dimension" to economics, after  both he and John Paul II allowed the serial pedophile rapist Father Marcial Maciel Degollado access to children, because Maciel's Legionaries of Christ, now worth an estimated $35 billion, were bringing in the cash.  Where's the moral dimension of that economic decision?  And what of the "moral dimension" of the church's economic decision to block any law that extends the statute of limitations for child-victims of rape, assault, and sexual abuse by priests?

     Oh, but there's more.  The Times reports:
     Benedict is also expected to emphasize the church’s stance on social issues. A largely Catholic country, Portugal legalized abortion in 2007 and its Socialist majority Parliament approved a bill to legalize same-sex marriage earlier this year, which the president of Portugal has not yet signed into law.


      When it comes to sexual and economic morality, the Catholic church has historically shown that it is bankrupt.  It's time for the leaders of world's nations to quit giving credence and diplomatic immunity to Pope Benedict, a "divinely appointed" despot of a medieval, money-making, and  walled museum that claims to be a nation state.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Sexual Abuse, Myths, Gay Scapegoats, and the Pope's Ruby Slippers

     One myth that is repeatedly voiced by conservative Catholics, like Bill Donahue of the Catholic League, is that the clergy-perpetrated sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church is the fault of homosexuals.

     For the present discussion, the important point is that many child molesters cannot be meaningfully described as homosexuals, heterosexuals, or bisexuals (in the usual sense of those terms) because they are not really capable of a relationship with an adult man or woman. Instead of gender, their sexual attractions are based primarily on age. These individuals – who are often characterized as fixated – are attracted to children, not to men or women.
      A report commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops found that 4 percent of all American priests who served between 1950 and 2002 had allegations of sexual abuse substantiated against them.
     Instead of branding healthy and mature homosexuals the scapegoats of the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, maybe the Vatican should put its efforts into exploring what in priestly formation and/or life results in the sexual fixation of 4 percent of priests on minors.  What forms these priests to be incapable of  intimate relationships with adult males or females?

     Here are additional startling facts from the Reuters article that should have the pope quaking in his ruby slippers:
     Four lawsuits are pending in Milwaukee, and the diocese has put its headquarters, the Cousins Center, up for sale to help pay $27 million in settlement costs that have threatened to bankrupt the diocese.
     The cost to U.S. Catholic dioceses over the past five years of settling U.S. sex abuse cases involving priests totaled $1.97 billion, according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University in Washington.
     Meanwhile, the Milwaukee diocese has seen its congregations shrink by 5 percent over the past two years to fewer than 644,000 parishioners.
     Overall, there are 65 million U.S. Catholics, a population stabilized by an influx of Latino immigrants. About 22 percent of U.S. adults claim to be Catholic.
     But one in 10 U.S. adults are former Catholics, and those leaving the church outnumber converts by four-to-one, according to a study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.  "There is no other religious group we've looked at where we see that kind of ratio of people leaving versus people joining," said Pew research fellow Greg Smith.
     Move on Catholics, to a world beyond the denial and the abuse.

Postscript:

The Papal Shoes, via Wikipedia:
     Pope Benedict XVI restored the use of the red papal shoes, which are provided by his personal cobbler in Rome. In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI also restored the use of the white damask silk Paschal mozzetta, which was previously worn with white silk slippers.
     The Papal shoes are the red leather outdoor shoes worn by the Pope. They should not be confused with the indoor papal slippers or the Episcopal sandals, which are the liturgical footwear proper to all Latin Rite bishops.  As did many noblemen, the Pope wore slippers (pantofole) inside his residences and leather shoes outside. The indoor papal slippers were made of red velvet or silk and were heavily decorated in gold braid, with a gold cross in the middle.