Thursday, April 15, 2010

More Cringe-Inducing Sound Bites From the Catholic Church

I do not know who runs the Catholic Church's PR, but they need to be replaced immediately.  The Church is facing a massive, worldwide scandal involving the sexual molestation of children and all its leaders can do in the form of an apology is single out one country (because of a government report) and apologize to them with no disciplinary action taken against those involved.

But it would not be as bad if it were just this psuedo-apology.  Instead, the Church has done everything it can to make itself look like the victim.  Never mind the institutional sexual abuse of minors and the ensuing cover-ups; it is the Catholic Church that is the victim, according to its leaders.  They compared themselves to Jews during the Holocaust.  They said legitimate criticisms of the way they mishandled sexual abuse allegations was "petty gossip."  Now, in an effort to distract criticisms of its practices, they are blaming homosexuality on the unfathomable abuses.

The Vatican's second in command, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, made the remarks during a visit to Chile, saying
that homosexuality was a "pathology" and
"many psychologists and psychiatrists have shown that there is no link between celibacy and pedophilia, but many others have shown, I have recently been told, that there is a relationship between homosexuality and pedophilia."
Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi was quick to distance Bertone's statements from the Vatican.  The campaign to get people talking about anything other than what occurred on the Church's watch for the last few decades continues, however.  I'm sure a "debate" will pop up regarding the veracity of Cardinal Bertone's statements, but it's pointless to try to argue what is already fact: pedophilia has more to do with attraction to children in general than about sexual orientation regarding gender.

One thing that has been conspicuously absent from the Church's statements about sexual abuse has been a legitimate blanket apology; an acceptance of responsibility for what happened and a clear course of action to correct past wrongdoings and prevent future ones.  If the Church wants to remain viable in the next century, it needs to face its atrocities of the last one.  This involves facing its demons head on, admitting where it erred, and putting into place a comprehensive plan to ensure that something like this does not happen again.  Its leaders need to stop comparing themselves to Jewish victims of the Holocaust, they need to stop blaming pedophilia on priests who "caught the gay," and they need to stop discrediting those with legitimate allegations of the mishandling of sex abuse cases.  In other words, they need to do the right thing.

Photo - Cardinal Bertone, likely pontificating about nuggets of scientific wisdom (ABC News)

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