Friday, April 16, 2010

When Good Men Do Nothing

Now is the time for all good men to... stand up for what is right, and oppose what is wrong, while all the crowd goes mad, baying for blood.

Whose blood?  That of "a leering old villain in a frock".

I never thought to see the day when on the radio I would hear that most respondents to a survey agreed that the Pope should be arrested!  I felt sick.

The servant is no better than his Master; the crowd will always choose Barabbas.

We are in the midst of a moral panic; while priests by percentages both relative and absolute are less likely than other categories to abuse children, they (being different than other men) are the ones always singled out.  We seem to forget that a like, or even a larger percentage, of non-Catholic ministers, despite notoriously being married (and therefore "normal"), abuse children also; and that if one wanted to stamp out child abuse, one would rigorously guard minors against de facto partners and the like, who are the commonest and likeliest practitioners of such evils.

Is the sexual abuse of children by priests and religious a horror?  Of course.  Is it the case that the Church is rotten to the core, and deserving of every punishment for colluding in such crimes?  Of course not.  These crimes, dreadful though they are, are the acts of a repellent minority, acting clean contrary to every teaching of God and His Church.  It would be ludicrous as well as offensive to claim that the Pope (or his predecessors) ordered priests to commit wicked acts, or laughed evilheartedly at their commission.

From the outside, the Church appears monolithic: but in reality, authority is quite decentralized; indeed, since 1968 and all that, most laity and many priests have been anything but obedient to the teachings of the Church, and for priests it is only their bishop to whom they are answerable in all practical matters.  Bishops are the ones who ought bear blame for negligence in applying due process to accusations against their errant priests.

It was the naivete and in some cases the outright negligence of bishops that permitted a tiny minority of priests to get away with pedophile crimes.  Yet I know of not one bishop who has come before any secular court, let alone been justly punished for complicity in such offences.  Bishops have resigned for comprehensively stuffing up the administration of their dioceses in these matters, yes; good riddance to such shitten shepherds (as Chaucer would say); but it was not the entire episcopate that failed, no more than did the vast majority of the presbyterate.

Even now, more priests and religious keep their vows than do married couples: check out the divorce statistics!  People would like to believe that spooky men in cassocks are all child abusers - when step-fathers and other relatives are far more dangerous.

Given the neglect of canon law, not to mention adhesion to the traditional moral and doctrinal teachings of the Church by so many since Vatican II, while societal morals have extraordinarily loosened, it is easy to appreciate how sinful men turned from praying to preying, and escaped for a time the punishment they deserved.  The centrifugal tendencies in the Church since the Council are to blame for this, not the centre, whose authority has crumbled, and is only slowly being restored.

Furthermore, the crimes of sinful priests that have been successively uncovered and finally punished occurred decades ago: if Supreme Pontiffs are to be tasked with why such wickedness was not stamped out, then Paul VI and, ahem, even John Paul II would be the ones whose decisions need examining by an unbiassed investigation (I strongly suspect that it would be found that the crimes and mixups occurred at a lower level).

There have been vile Popes down the ages, scandalous sinners completely unworthily of their most holy office (which they defiled): men such as Alexander VI, the Borgia Pope, or the horrendous tenth and eleventh century Popes, John XII and Benedict IX.  But no one but an ignorant fool - or a malicious one - would rank the current Pope with them.

Attempts to drag up cases that are somehow associated with Benedict XVI, and to misreport them so as to make him appear culpable, are repellent and have been comprehensively rebutted.  The truth is clean contrary: Benedict is part of the solution, not the problem!

The media conspicuously has not reported the unfolding scandal about Fr Marcial Maciel, disgraced founder of the Legionaries of Christ, who turns out to have been a drug abuser, an abuser of seminarians,  the father of many children, and an expert at bribery: what a conman!  (See the NCR's exposé, parts 1 and 2.)  He died unrepentant in a horrible scene reminiscent of the death of Judas.  Yet the then Cardinal Ratzinger was unable to purge out this filth until he assumed the Petrine Throne as Benedict XVI.  He could not effect the needed tightening of Church discipline that he advocated until he gained the plenary power.  Since then, the Legionaries have been under investigation - ought not they (at least their senior leadership, who must have known something of the Founder's mendacity) be suppressed?

Yet we have that notorious arch-atheist Dawkins (whose attacks on religion betray his utter inability to comprehend this topic - however great he may be in his own field of study, his embarrassingly mediocre antireligious writings demonstrate that he is out of his field and out of his depth, betraying his lack of any philosophical training: I write as a B.Sc.(Hons) and a B.Theol.) now crying out that the Pope ought be arrested - arrested! - when he comes to visit Scotland and England later this year.

(This press release from Catholic legal organizations explains how wrongheaded, how detrimental to public order and safety, is this ridiculous proposal, bereft of any foundation in law or reason.)

A creature named Ellis has written what I can only protest, complain about and condemn as a hate-filled diatribe and incitement to violence against the Church in general, and priests and above all the Pope.  What an utter disgrace that the ABC should permit such hate speech!

It is evident that the secular elite, such as it is, is milking the scandal and, most inexcusably, using it as a pretext to attack him whose teachings they hate: Pope Benedict himself.  God preserve him!

Thus say the wicked:

"But let our strength be the law of justice: for that which is feeble, is found to be nothing worth.  Let us therefore lie in wait for the just, because he is not for our turn, and he is contrary to our doings, and upbraideth us with transgressions of the law, and divulgeth against us the sins of our way of life.  He boasteth that he hath the knowledge of God, and calleth himself the [vicar of the] son of God.  He is become a censurer of our thoughts.  He is grievous unto us, even to behold: for his life is not like other men's, and his ways are very different.  
"We are esteemed by him as triflers, and he abstaineth from our ways as from filthiness, and he preferreth the latter end of the just, and glorieth that he hath God for his father.  Let us see then if his words be true, and let us prove what shall happen to him, and we shall know what his end shall be.  For if he be the true [vicar of the] son of God, he will defend him, and will deliver him from the hands of his enemies.  Let us examine him by outrages and tortures, that we may know his meekness and try his patience.  Let us condemn him to a most shameful death: for there shall be respect had unto him by his words."
These things they thought, and were deceived: for their own malice blinded them. 
(Wisdom iii, 12-21)

Who are our age's real criminals, I wonder?  In centuries to come the abortion of hundreds of millions will be considered the irreparable stain upon our dark age.  Who are our very own genocidaires, openly going unpunished, nay, lauded?  With Nietzsche our Western civilization declares, "Evil, be thou my good".

I do fear that the rising tide of irrational hatred against the Church, priests and His Holiness will issue soon enough in violence.  When will the first church be vandalized or burnt down, the first innocent priest attacked?

I suspect that if Pope Benedict is assaulted or worse - which God avert! - his enemies would be delighted.

Anti-Catholic persecution is growing.  When will we wake up to the danger we are in?  We've been asleep, dumb dogs that will not bark, not living as witnesses to truth; as is notorious (and unsayable), followers of a certain other religion are not backward about protesting in a violent, literally un-christian manner, when their beliefs are attacked...

No wonder anti-Catholicism is the new anti-Semitism.

But in all this, good, being ever stronger than evil, will have the triumph.  Napoleon imprisoned the Pope and dreamt he would destroy the Church; who won?  Diocletian had a similar plan; he but sent countless martyr-saints to heaven.  St Sixtus II was dragged from the altar to his execution, but reigns with Christ in heaven, while his pagan foes went down to hell; Rome became Christian, and the old gods were abandoned.

It is no coincidence that the Devil prompted attacks upon the Church, raging in furious malice at the most holy season of Easter: but Christ defeated death at Easter, and His is the Victory.  It is for us to put our house in order, for the time of reckoning is with us.

As a friend once said, Catholics would be more faithful if the enemies of Christ "were burning priests on Bourke Street" (central Melbourne, leading up to Parliament House).

Perhaps we shall soon find out.


Terra said...

Well said Joshua (I've come out of my own hibernation to write on this topic as well).

Dawkins, the ABC et al are raging hypocrits - but at least we understand where they are coming from (and heading to!).

What is rather harder to take is the continued subversion from within, in the failure of many to defend the Pope, and the flock of pseudo-catholics using the opportunity to push the liberal agenda, or even praie the medias efforts to persecute the Pope.

Quasi Seminarian said...

Well written.

petamick said...

Amen, Joshua - AMEN !

Br. Bruno said...

Yes. I know. A Very Small Minority Of Priests are Abusers or Pedophiles. thankyou. But when you discover that someone very dear to you is one of their victims, all the statistical analyses don't help much.

Joshua said...

Of course, Br! Far be it from me that my article be read as if I dismiss the victims. Rather, I fear that they are being exploited further by those supposedly on their side.

Even one predatory priest is too many - but such evildoers are cunning and conceal themselves until they can accomplish their satanic plans, alas: would to God they were prevented from ever acting, but, as with all crime and all sin, we cannot stop every outrage from happening.

Having suffered very little in my life, I cannot imagine how hard it must be for the victims of terrible crimes. I can only pray that these horrors they have suffered will not drive them from the Lord by confusing their abusers with the Church at large and her true care and concern. The victims deserve special care, that they not feel that God has abandoned them: like Christ, they have endured a terrible torment, and cried, "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?"

Every abuser must be discovered, tried and punished, and no one would disagree; I was rather writing of how, to their shame, some who hate the Church are using this scandal as a pretext for their attacks. One evil does not justify another.

If the Pope really were guilty of the atrocities he is accused of, he should indeed resign and be punished; but the evidence does not support that claim of his guilt. He is part of the solution, not the problem.