Before anybody thinks I have any delusions of grandeur, I am well aware that neither the Vicar of Christ, Benedict XVI, nor the Catholic Church needs my 2c defence, but as somebody who has always been quite outspoken about my Church, I would like to go on record with regards to the latest revelations of paedophilia that have been reported so shrilly in blanket coverage by the media lately.
Firstly, the hypocrisy of a media portraying itself as an outraged neutral reporter of the latest scandals is quite ironic: they are the self same media who have virtually canonised the deviant and arguably the most famous paedophile in history, Alfred Kinsey.
Secondly, the figures have been grossly overstated by typical media-speak: 'it has been reported', 'studies show', 'it is expected that revelations will reveal', all evidence of hyperbole and / or exaggeration so typical of sensationalist gossip tabloids uninhibited by evidence that allows mere accusations to be portrayed as gospel. The problem is also that the media itself has no moral ground from which to preach on this as they do not hold the inviolability of the human person as sacrosanct anyway and are all (bar a very few) almost universally in favour of abortion and infanticide (partial birth). So those in glass houses...
Should the Church have reacted differently in a number of cases? Absolutely. Any alleged criminal act should be investigated by the criminal justice system. Period. Those who have committed these evil acts, should suffer the harshest judicial penalties and we should not be squeamish with regards to castration, chemical or otherwise - much as gaol removes from a person the right to their freedom because it has been abused, so I would hold that an argument could be made that those that abuse or violate another persons right to bodily inviolability, have forfeited the freedom or right to the gift of their sexuality. This applies equally to common rapists.
The fact is that less than 1 percent of all priests have been accused - let alone convicted of child abuse. Does it make any single case less objectionable and evil? No, but it helps us maintain some sort of reasonable perspective on the whole thing.
The frenzied media is hysterical that the
Priests should be held to a higher standard than rest of the faithful and humanity, as their vocation as leaders and the trust that is placed in them is immense and so at the Judgement the Bible reflects that they, as elders, will be judged more harshly than the rest of us.
This whole tragedy again reveals though the misplaced - understandable perhaps - but nevertheless misplaced and unrealistic view of clergy and pastors in general. They say people will leave the church in droves because of this? Maybe the immature. On one level this is no different from those that left the Christian faith when Bakker and Swaggart were found wanting and all of us know of many other local examples of scandal etc. by those entrusted to lead us. Somebody once remarked to me that the 'problem' was that we have had too many holy popes and I now know what he meant. It is a blessing to be sure to have been led by the likes of JPII, but our model is ultimately Christ. I am loathe to quote him, but just this once, to paraphrase the theologian Hans Kung: ‘I believe. Not in the Bible, but in the one to whom the Bible bears witness; not in the Tradition, but in the one whom the Tradition hands down; not in the Church, but in the one whom the Church proclaims.’
Or even, since I am being all ecumenical and inclusive, the Zen proverb:
Do not confuse the finger pointing at the moon for the moon itself.