Catholicism, officially morally bankrupt
How morally bankrupt does a religion have to be to fight legislation that removes statutes of limitations on childhood sexual abuse crimes? Well, the Catholic Church is that bankrupt as it fought Florida legislators who were trying to remove the statute of limitations on childhood sexual abuse. Some choice quotes from Mike McCarron, a lobbyist for the Catholic Conference:
“You don’t want to look as if you don’t care about children,” he said. “We do care deeply about children.” McCarron said the scandal is “the foremost concern” for the church, as demonstrated by the Vatican’s recent actions. “You can look at what the church has done to protect children,” he said.
Um, right? What, exactly, has the Catholic Church done to protect children? Oh, right, fight legislation to help children.
“There will be instances where the institution is not aware of any abuse, and they will have to defend it anyway,” McCarron said.
Oh, you mean on the rare occasion when the Catholic Church hasn’t tried to cover up the abuse, you don’t want to be responsible for creating an environment that is conducive to abuse?
Does anyone else think that the few statements Pope Benedict has made on this basically suggest that the Catholic Church doesn’t really care about this and that they just want to make it go away?
I find the behavior of the Catholic Church unacceptable and immoral. But, similarly the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has taken immoral public stands that seem to benefit no one, and actually hurt a minority population. Obvious cases in point include the Prop 8 debacle in California and a decade of fighting against civil marriage rights for gays and lesbians before that, fighting against civil rights for blacks in the 60s and 70s, and opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment.
Centralized power in the hands of religious leaders who themselves are worshiped by their followers, has proven itself a dangerous thing many times over. This is not the first major issue for the Catholic Church, there have been many cases of corrupt and immoral leadership issues, over the centuries and centuries of cover-ups, often with the compliance of government officials. The fact that government officials are now more willing to investigate these matters is encouraging.
It really isn’t surprising that the Catholic Church takes this position (or the LDS Church with similar situations). The first order of the church is to protect the faith (or testimony) of the members, and to bring the unsaved into the folds of salvation (or exaltation re LDS). Therefore, it is better for one man to die (or one child, figuratively speaking, to suffer) rather than an entire nation to perish. It rally is heart warming, don’t you think, to observe the efforts Church leaders go to to protect their members from doubt, by protecting the Church’s image.
As choice as those quotes are, I think this sermon may be worse:
As I noted here, this instance of trying to turn the perpetrators into victims reminded me quite a bit of a certain talk by Elder Oakes (claiming that the anti-Mormon backlash after California voters overturned gay marriage last fall is similar to the intimidation of Southern blacks during the civil rights movement).
Though the Catholic version of this disgusting rhetorical game may be an order of magnitude worse than the CoJCoL-dS version…