Monday, March 29, 2010

The Pope a Target?

HH Pope Benedict XVI opened Holy Week with the Palm Sunday mass in St Peter's square in the Vatican but in all the news coverage His Holiness' actual religious message was overshadowed by continuing accusations of clerical abuse in Europe, particularly in Ireland and Germany. Is it not odd how all of this comes about just as such similar controversy had died down in the United States. One might think that if people were going to come forward with decades old claims they would be encouraged to do so when others are doing the same rather than waiting until it dies down on one continent only to flare up in another -so that the controversy never ends. But enough about that -that's for a religion blog somewhere to cover.

What has captured my attention in all of this is the calls for the Pope to "resign" (to be correct; abdicate) over these latest scandals. So far these have only come from what a Vichy French police captain would call the 'usual suspects'; secularists, enemies of the Church, the liberal media etc. However, what I find disturbing is that this is not a new suggestion. Readers will recall that when the late Pope John Paul II was near the end of his life and quite infirm there were calls from these same people (all sounding very sympathetic and concerned of course) that John Paul II abdicate as well. Now, they want Benedict XVI to abdicate because of accusations that the Church in Europe has a number of degenerate clerics.

Why is it that all of a sudden, no matter what the problem or situation the "answer" is always for the Pope to abdicate. Is it just me or does it seem like something that would have been absolutely unthinkable only a few years ago keeps being suggested as a 'proper response' to everything? Okay, fair warning, here is where the Mad Monarchist is going to head home to CrazyTown. Could it be that these anti-religion types are simply desperate for the Pope, this one, this last or a future one, to abdicate simply so that the precedent will be set? If such a thing were to happen it would, one could imagine, make it easier for a Pope to pushed aside or done away with.

We have already seen republicanism on the rise in Sweden, attemps on the life of the Dutch Royal Family, calls for the succession in Belgium to be changed, the Grand Duke of Luxembourg stripped of his role in government, bi-partisan opposition to the Spanish monarchy and the republicans in the UK admit that they are simply waiting for the Queen to go to her reward to make their move. The Pope, however, cannot be silenced or influenced and the attempt to kill John Paul II failed and now we have increased calls for abdication. So, if in the future the Pontiff (who is always difficult for the revolutionary crowd) is shuffled off the scene the reason can be given that he abdicated for some reason or another and it is 'no big deal' because abdication has been done before and is nothing out of the ordinary. Call me mad, call me paranoid (and medical opinion would be on your side) but I cannot help but wonder......


  1. No point not being paranoid - the shoe is simply on the other foot. In the same way that people who do not think climate variation has much or anything to do with human activity demanded the scalp of the Indian who heads the IPCC (and failed to get it) a few months back with all the rubbish coming out of the IPCC report, so these people are attempting to claim the scalp of the Pope, though on far more dubious grounds.

    Please see my post on this issue for more detail on said dubious grounds.

  2. Of course, you only hear about half the story. False allegations/accusations are equally as damaging.
    Why is it that you seldom hear about similiar abuse stories in Protestant churches?
    Finally child abuse is a society wide problem. Sounds obvious, but the way the media makes it, you'd be (mis)lead into thinking it's not.

  3. Beyond that, you never actually hear about what the Church does do (or what the national authorities don't). Case in point is Cardinal Law, who, though criticised by the prosecutor's office in Boston, was found to have no case to answer. The Church has since kept him out of trouble by giving him a desk job in Rome, with no one he can move around.

    The more streamlined ability to defrock priests has also gone unheard, and no one seems to care that these allegations have to actually be investigated and that if there isn't enough evidence to have a chance of securing a conviction, then prosecutors won't prosecute. The accussed may still be defrocked, but why is the Church burnt in this scandal when national prosecutors don't pursue the case?

    Elisa is also right - no single institution has a monopoly on these horrific acts. The reason you don't hear about it from the Protestant Churches or groups with no affiliation with religion is that the Catholic Church is fiercely independent and active in the West. That independence comes under fire (one wonders if the EU will honour the Lateran Treaty of 1928).

  4. One thing I've never understood about this is why "the Church" is involved at all. If a priest commits a crime don't go to the bishop -go to the police! Don't wait for him to be de-frocked, if there is evidence against him, arrest the perv! If you wait decades until the case is impossible to prove -sorry but that was your decision. I'm the same way with cases of spousal abuse. I think it's one of the most horrendous of crimes but if the woman does not report it or keeps going back to the guy I can't feel terribly sorry for you. Additionally, the Church is in a catch 22 on a lot of these cases as many, in fact most, at least in the US, were not really cases of pedophilia but of homosexuality. Yet, when the Church tries to screen out the fairies from the priesthood they are criticized for "discrimination".

  5. The Church is involved because Bishops have known of abuse, and merely shuffled the offending priests from one parish to another, thus enlargening the scandal, while attempting to preserve the Church's name. They should have referred the matter to police, but they didn't.

    Also, I have heard (though know not the veracity of it) that many were sworn to secrecy. Others were ignored. Thus, many did not come forward. Of course, there are also issues of shame within the victim that would be felt regardless (which is why some rapes go unreported).

    On the other hand, many of the cases that have been reported to the police were not pursued due to a lack of evidence. No one blames the police. For some reason, it's the Church's fault.

    Guess too many people are reading Dan Brown. Fortunately, so many people realise he did not do the research (despite his claims to the contrary) that it's become a trope in and of itself (Dan Browned: I also found Encyclopedia Browned:

    With regards to the Church being accused of discrimination - I've never heard of anyone accusing the Church of discrimination down here in Oz. Certainly, I'd never imagine anyone would be stupid enough to say "Oh my! The Church won't let this poor man in. I'm sure they have no reason." And they'd say it with such dripping sincerity...

    You'd almost wonder if they'd feel responsible if they put a paedophile in the priesthood. But we all know they wouldn't.

    As for the issue of homosexuality - homosexual paedophilia is probably the way to describe this, since many of the abused were boys. However, regardless of what you call it, it is still a mortal sin, and a heinous crime. The Church's more careful screening of priesthood candidates over the past few decades will hopefully pay off, as will the streamlined punishment of offenders.

    I think that Mark Twain really got it right (and I quoted him on my post on the matter) - If you don't read the MSM, you are uninformed. If you do read the MSM, you are misinformed.

    Thank God for the Internet!

    [PS - I'm writing as a Catholic myself. The Church is big enough to take criticism, and I'm not afraid of criticism, so long as it is reasoned and constructive]

  6. As I see it, it is the duty of the victim or the victim's family to go to the police not the bishop (though of course he should if he knows what is going on but the people should go to the cops before the bishop). I realize that is hard for some to do but I would think the abuse would be worse. Same goes for rape victims -if you don't report it you cannot expect justice; sorry but that's how it works.

    Other places might be different but in the US the majority of cases involved young adult males -post puberty males which is a homosexual problem and not a pedophilia problem. I also recall when then Cardinal Ratzinger announced new standards for the seminaries to weed out homosexuals there were complaints of discrimination (and it would be unfair for those going in who could control themselves I suppose). Since this was the majority of the cases it seemed common sense to me and also showed that allowing priests to marry would not really solve anything -unless of course they want to throw out the whole Bible and tradition stuff and go the way of the CofE with married lesbian priests but I cannot see that happening.

    Then again, no one and nothing is safe from the march of revolutionary values. As the old joke used to go; 'at the 3rd Vatican Council the Pope will bring his wife. At the 4th Vatican Council the Pope will bring her husband'. Uugghh...


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