Faith and Religion: Not All That Glitters…

George Orwell, Author (1903 - 1950)

     George Orwell, in the preface to his book “Animal Farm,” wrote this about liberty:

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. The common people still vaguely subscribe to that doctrine and act on it.”

     To that end, I thought it was high time that I addressed a topic that until now, I’ve been trying to avoid. You see, when I started The Cybersattva weblog, it was never my intention to attack or impugn a person’s religion or beliefs. Now that the blog has been up for awhile, I’ve had some cause to deviate from that policy where radical Islam is concerned, only because the actions of its adherents are in direct contradiction of basic human rights and liberties. Now, my focus turns towards the Holy See, and the Holy Roman Catholic Church.

     First, I’d like to convey a little something about myself. I am an extremely vocal proponent of Children’s Rights, and completely detest those that would abuse, molest, neglect or otherwise harm these most precious of life’s gifts that we’ve been given. When I see injustice done towards our children, I cannot…will not remain quiet.

Catholic Pope Benedict XVI

     Lately, we have borne witness to several revelations (no pun intended) of child abuse by Catholic Church clergy. Compounding this problem is the manner in which higher elements of the church have handled cases of abuse they were made aware of. In defense of the HRCC heirarchy, I’m sure that there are far more honest priests than dishonest ones. This does not however, lend anything to the sad state of affairs that the church, all the way up to the Holy See, finds themselves in. Quite the contrary, everything that the Bishoprics and higher offices have done in response to the actions of pedophilic priests seems on the face of it, designed and / or purposed to hide this most hideous of transgressions.

     Since the church fancies referring to itself as the “body of Christ,” then let’s deal with this subject in those terms for a sentence or two. This is indeed a viral infection, eating away at parts of the so-called “body.” What does the body do when presented with an infection? It takes the infection into the lymph nodes, and “reads” it. The lymphatic system then creates antibodies, which go out and attack the virus. In the “body of Christ,” what has actually been happening is that certain parts of the “body” have been harboring the virus, and then moving it around to other parts of the “body,” effectively playing a sort of “shell game.” What happens to the human body when this happens?

     How else can we (I’m writing from the perspective of a non-Catholic here) look at this problem? From a Democratic view, the situation is an epic fail. While priests, bishops, cardinals and the Pope waffle around with this, the laypeople continue to attend services every Sunday, go to confession and maintain the norm, instead of what they should be doing; calling a “cease-fire” on the range. When calling a cease-fire, everything stops. No weapons are fired, every weapon gets unloaded and cleared, and there’s a top-down examination of procedure before anything is allowed to proceed. I for one don’t see this happening inside the Catholic church. Maybe it’s time that it should.

     Historically, far-reaching institutions headquartered in Rome seem to have always had issues with “doing the right thing” morally. Roman emperors such as Claudius and Tiberius often took “carnal liberties” with innocents, in amongst a plethora of other human injustices. Since its inception, the Catholic church has also had trouble in this area, right up to the office of the Pope himself. Pope John X had affairs with both a woman and her daughter. (Theodora and Morozia, respectively.) Pope Alexander VI (born Roderic Borja) presided over one of the most lascivious eras in the papacy.

     The main thing that I personally have a problem with, besides the fact that the vast majority of Catholic laypeople have absolutely no cojones to stand up against the injustices of the pontificate, is the fact that every time a priest or bishop gets caught with their “hand in the cookie jar,” they deny and avoid, instead of taking the onus. Aren’t these men supposed to be leaders? Aren’t these people supposed to be upstanding, men whose watchwords include “accountability?”

     The encouraging thing is that lately, more and more people are speaking out. More of these crimes are being reported, and more pedophilic priests and bishops find themselves moving from the “cell” of their rectory to one that measures 8×10 and has bars.

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