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Friday, April 02, 2010

I Apologize on Behalf of the Pope



Penitence was reluctantly offered from the outset when the litany of Roman Catholic Church sexual abuse scandals and cover ups were disclosed several years ago. As a practicing Roman Catholic, I am horrified to learn about the numbers of these criminal acts perpetrated by priests who should have been fired rather than protected by bishops around the world. Nonetheless, I am defending the overwhelming majority of priests who have never been involved in the scandals. Unfortunately, innocent priests and parishioners like me are suffering the consequences of the Vatican's mishandling of the entire scandal.

Today was the worst of it when the Vatican, on Good Friday, allowed a senior spokesperson to compare the criticism of the Roman Catholic Church's sexual abuse scandal to the Holocaust against the Jews. I apologize for this offensive comparison. This and other miscalculated statements are exposing the incompetence of Vatican officials. Rather than fixing the mess they've created, they are launching the Church into a communications abyss the likes of a magnetic black hole. Each church misstatement appears to propel the church into an abyss from which it may never recover its equilibrium.

Expressing inappropriate defensiveness rather than penitence raises the suspicion of guilt. It confirms the perception that practically all church officials, especially bishops, were guilty of the daunting sexual abuse cover up.

Perhaps the centuries old requirement of priesthood celibacy contributed to the sexual misconduct and criminal behavior of some unscrupulous priests. I believe the church should change this man made rule. Priest should be allowed to marry prior to ordination.

Modern research appears to confirms that celibacy is not the cause of criminal sexual behavior, but a change in the man made celibacy rule, in my opinion, would demonstrate a willingness to move forward. Right now, anything proactive would at least change the conversation.

Certainly one Roman Catholic woman like me will not change how the Church responds to the sexual abuse scandal. I cannot save the bishops of the world. But, I can apologize to everyone - Gentiles and Jews, for how the Vatican offensively compared the response to the sexual abuse scandal to the Holocaust.

I am sincerely sorry.

Response received from Susan from Maine: We’re all having a hard time with how the institution that sheltered the perpetrators has become the so-called victim of public criticism. What did the church expect? They need someone to manage their community relations…

Susan

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3 Comments:

Blogger Kait said...

I don't believe you needed to apologize for what the Vatican said. I am grateful, however, that you are willing. I think the whole hierarchy is abominable and should be reassessed for its legitimacy, but I would never blame you, a member of the wide family for the Pope's errors.

Bless you on Good Friday, and throughout the year.
k

6:06 PM  
Blogger The old scold said...

This is a great heartfelt post.

I don’t get the hang-up against married priests. The Church tolerates married priests in affiliated churches such as the Maronite rite in the Middle East and welcomes married Episcopal priests.

It is clearly a rule – and just a rule – that is causing great concern even among the faithful. A good PR move, if nothing else, would be to set up a commission to see if the rule continues to be valid in these times. That would get them cover through the present difficulties.

But as the post alludes, PR is not Rome’s great strength. It takes monolithic organizations a long time and many wakeup calls to bestir themselves.

9:13 AM  
Blogger The old scold said...

This is a great heartfelt post.

I don’t get the hang-up against married priests. The Church tolerates married priests in affiliated churches such as the Maronite rite in the Middle East and welcomes married Episcopal priests.

It is clearly a rule – and just a rule – that is causing great concern even among the faithful. A good PR move, if nothing else, would be to set up a commission to see if the rule continues to be valid in these times. That would get them cover through the present difficulties.

But as the post alludes, PR is not Rome’s great strength. It takes monolithic organizations a long time and many wakeup calls to bestir themselves.

9:15 AM  

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