Monday, June 11, 2007

CATHOLIC BISHOPS BOMBED

Well, metaphorically speaking. The avant-garde paper “National Catholic Reporter” reports on a recent meeting of the Catholic bishops discussing “accountability” in the “sex abuse crisis” (“CTSA: Accountability and the Sex Abuse Crisis”, http://www.ncrcafe.org)/.

The NCR is interesting. It’s a classic instance of the fact that the Catholic Church in this country was low-hanging fruit not only to the government (that didn’t want a repeat of the ‘anti-nuclear’ movement of the 1980s in the run-up to Iraq) and the Fundamentalists (who were looking to succeed to the Catholic Church’s position of public moral authority).

But also within the Church there were many balkanized factions that were mightily exercised that Church affairs were not going their way. Thus the ‘traditionalists’ were mad at just about every development since and including Vatican 2 (the worldwide Church Council that ended, incidentally, in that gravid Year of Grace 1965). And the ‘liberals’ (divided between the ‘social justice’ advocates of the 1960s and the Theory-whacked feminist-influenced ‘women’s ordination’ revolutionaries who got started in the later 1970s, and who had made common cause with the sorta ‘American’ Church-is-a-democracy bunch).

Like France in the 1930s, there was nobody who was going to lift a finger to save the polity, and indeed the various factions were all angling to take it down – at least a peg or two or six.

The article is going to run the same game-plan that has become as Scripted as Socialist Realism this past half-decade (during which time the moral catastrophe of Iraq sorta slipped by under the moral radar as if by inadvertence). The bishops had embraced “clericalist attitudes” (in Stalin’s day, if your name appeared in print attached to the term “attitude” you could pretty well figure it was time to put your affairs in order; if somebody’s name you knew so appeared, you knew it was time to take them off your Christmas-card list and burn any cards you ever had gotten from them).

As one Catholic university professor put it, “ecclesiological failures of collegiality and synodality bear wicked fruit in practice”. Thus since individual bishops tried to deal with matters without dragging other bishops into it and since individual bishops didn’t feel accountable to their own diocesan church polity (they didn't put the news in parish bulletins, after all), then the sex-abuse crisis – such as it was and is – kept on going.

He has a point. If the bishops had gotten their act together and spackled up their collective courage, they might have found it within themselves to take a stand, both against those apparently few priests who really did some bad things and against the assorted Advocacies whose plan was to make it look like the Church was nothing but a legal-cover, a racket, organized for the purpose of ravishing children. An apparently Pulitzer-level vision that is as old as the Reformation and as recent as Hitler (Goebbels had tried to arrest an entire religious Order on child-molestation charges in Bavaria, where long-rooted Catholicism was withstanding the Nazi programme) and as American as the Nativist movements of the early 19th century. Such insight. Such progress.

As an example of the “clerical mindset” the professor and a nun who is a canon lawyer put forth the case of a former Milwaukee archbishop who quietly paid $450K to settle a sex abuse allegation in secret. Has it escaped the lawyer’s mind that in a situation where a public mania is roaring along; and where fundamental principles of jurisprudence themselves were being ripped out and tossed aside like old furniture; and where the media is fanning the presumption of guilt because it had already embraced the Victimist insistence that any ‘claim’ to be a victim must be taken at face value as irrefutable proof of victimization; and where any effort to examine the validity of a claim was considered not only proof of guilt but a further criminal insensitivity to the victim’s feelings … that in a situation like that no prudent lawyer would dare let a client actually defend himself in public forum?

The bishops are taken to task for presuming that their flocks were “not worthy to be treated as adults”. In the next sentence the said flocks are taken to task for allowing themselves to function “catechetically as infants” (which translates to: the faithful were not embracing the avant-garde thinking that considered their Church polity to be gravely out-of-whack). To a vanguard elite, everybody else is immature; they ‘just don’t get it’. But this is still America; Lenin’s solution (shooting them) and Stalin’s solution (putting them on public display in show-trials and then shooting them) still won’t work here. Well ... the show trials will work ... but not the shooting; it will be left to other more morally-advanced inmates to finish the job.

Of course $450K seems a small amount as these things go. But then again, the abuse might have been a single pat on the head, or – what the hey? – the behind. Or it might have been nothing at all, which nowadays is simply ‘proof’ that the perpetrator was diabolically clever in covering his tracks. Or, yes, it might have been sustained and repeated rape … but there appear to be very few of those cases when you actually start checking the facts and doing the math.

The professor and the canon lawyer have a couple-three recommendations. They propose, piously, that the bishops be relieved of their administrative duties so that they can be more pastorally involved with their flocks and their (presumably sex-addled … and male) priests. This, by the by, would open up “ways for women to participate more fully in governance in decision-making". Ah – there it is. Nor would it be enough that the massive educational presence of Catholic nuns for a century had exercised a profound influence on Catholic – and American – thought and practice. No. A ‘woman’ has to have a bigger office, preferably a corner one. Look at how much better the State Department runs now; look at how well the Attorney-General’s office ran under Janet Reno. And what on earth does one do with Margaret Thatcher? University presidencies are better venues for the revolution: nobody knows what the hell is going on in them nowadays anyway.

There should be “reform” in the selection of bishops as well, the nun thinks. Well, yes there should. The second half of John Paul II’s reign was notable for much the same mistake that the Bushies have been making: the Boss wanted guys who were ‘strong’ on doctrine. And as is now seen with the Bushies, folks who are ‘loyal’ and ‘strong on the issues’ aren’t necessarily ‘strong’ adults.

And an unripened episcopacy, dressed in the shallow authority of public pronouncements of loyalty, proved a disaster as the country slid down the easy slope to “the Dark Side” – to borrow a phrase from Darth Cheney – and the Fundies sought to become the new moral power in the country. The sex-abuse crisis was simply the vehicle for demoralizing, distracting, and displacing them, all those unseasoned bishops, skilled only at playing a part. And as the war-drums were set-up in the national temple, the bishops abandoned their own Pope – old JP the Two – and raised their arms in salute to the national will, demoting their war-opposing Pope to just another “foreign diplomat”.

Such priestly crimes as were committed need to be dealt with. But there are probably a lot fewer of them than the PR organs of the Advocacies have asserted. And meanwhile, something slouches toward Us to be born – had indeed already taken up residence among Us. It is a moral debauchery, a spiritual immaturity that threatens to contaminate Our integrity as The People and through Our contamination the peace of the world. By way of example, We now stand informed that The Leader has authorized the 'disappearance' of children, as young as 7 or 9, in order to force their parents to surrender as terrorists (see Glenn Greenwald, "New Disappearance Revelations", www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2007/06/08/disappearances/print.html). And it's priests patting altar boys' bums that are the marquis problem in this country?

We have strained out the mote and missed the beam. We’ll need to try harder. Even more than the bishops.

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1 Comments:

Blogger David said...

I went down the rabbit hole in pursuit of Glen Greenwald's "New Disappearance Revelations". The story gets better and better.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports the abduction of two sons of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed ages 7 and 9 in 2002. Credible reports say their Pakistani guards denied them food and water and tortured the children by placement of insects 'and other creatures' on their bodies in order to develop information on the location of their father.

After the latter was captured, his sons were turned over to the tender mercies of the US CIA which was quick to state that the children were being handled 'with kid gloves' under the supervision of 'child psychologists' in the Agency's employ.

Psychologists were also used to calculate how the capture of his children could best be deployed against Kahlid Mohammed during his interrogations. Promises of their return to Pakistan may have been a factor in his decision to cooperate with his own torturers. His testimony shows an awareness that the CIA had his kids and that they had been tortured. It is now five years later and the children are, apparently, nowhere to be found.

This kind of thing (and worse) has been going on for a long time. The wife and children of Ayman al Zawahiri were luckier. They were killed in a bomb attack on their home.

All this is being done in our name and underwritten by funds we provide.

Those who have a hard time dealing with the fact that the Dems have funneled $140 million in pork to religious right groups for 'bogus abstinence only' programming, can contemplate all the flights by Blackwater Airlines in service of a child torture regime worse than any repertoire dreamed-up in the Satanist Daycare Terror investigations of the Eighties.

4:41 AM  

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