The Roman Catholic Church has, the reader may well be aware, found itself in a bit of a bother. The Church has discovered, much to its chagrin, that covering up sexual assaults against children is not the done thing. More so when those clergy known to engage in such acts are shunted around from parish to parish, only to continue in such acts.
Rightfully, the Church has been much criticised for this approach of the past many decades. Finally forced to acknowledge the practice, rather than be contrite and atone for such a practice — as the Church expects of its Faithful in the Sacrament of Penance (ie, Confession) — the Church instead is engaging in its own critique of its criticisers.
And in seeking to defend itself from criticism, members of the Church are going to rather incredulous lengths. One such
is from Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher to the Papal Household. In his address to the Papal Household, Father Cantalamessa read from a letter he had received from an unnamed Jewish friend. In this letter, the Jewish friend reflected on the current troubles of the Church.
Wrote this friend, “The use of stereotypes, the passing from personal responsibility and guilt to a collective guilt remind me of the more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism.”
It is quite a claim, and one wonders what to make of it. Are we to understand that the critiquing of the Roman Catholic Church is a kind of pogrom, or even a holocaust? Is it akin to the restrictions placed on Jews in centuries past, with Catholics being restricted in their movement, their occupations, or ordered into ghettos? Are Catholics, as a whole, being held responsible for the abuses of trust by the clergy upon their own parishioners as Jews, as a whole, were (and still are by some) held responsible for killing of Jesus of Nazareth?
What is occurring is an outcry of astonishment, a lament of the failure of the Church hierarchy to minister1
to the people it is supposed to serve. Rather than place the interests of its congregants to the fore, the Church hierarchy placed its own interests first.
It is the actions of the Church that condemns the Church. It is the Church that has committed, according to its own proscriptions, Sin: Lust
by the various clergy who have sexually assaulted children in their care; Pride
by the hierarchy. It is incumbent upon the clergy, low and high, to account for their actions. The Sacrament of Penance may be a private affair, between oneself and one's God, through the intermediary of the priest, but if the Catholic Church wishes to have credibility with the public, both members of the Church and those not, it must engage in public acts of penance. Trying to deflect the issue by critiquing its critics, by attempting to stifle admonitions with allusions to such being like anti-Semitism, is not to be contrite for one's failings.
It is insolence, impertinence, and incredible.
1. It is to be noted that minister means "to serve".Crossposted
on my blog, Holocene Hominoid.