As a recovering Catholic (I am no longer practicing, but
still have a lot of guilt), I am appalled at Pope John Paul II’s
inability to confront the problem honestly and with conviction.
He needed to be much clearer, and firmer to recover the trust of
his flock. Even though he acknowledged that pedophilia is a
crime (how can’t he), he fell far short of remedying the
problem. He fails to admit, what every person working with
pedophiles already knows -- that pedophilia is the crime with the
highest recidivism rate; once a pedophile, always a pedophile.
Even most pedophiles would admit to this distressing statement.
The pope must take a firmer stand to assure the world that
this type of thing does not keep happening. Even Cardinal George
from Chicago said that he wasn’t sure what the pope’s stand
on zero-tolerance is. How can any policy be anything short of
zero-tolerance? Even though he says "there is no place in
the priesthood for those who would harm the young" he also
says that these perverts (not his words) need to be given
another chance. He needs to take his head out of the bible for
one instant in order to get a fresh breath of reality. I do not
believe that "Christian conversion" can work miracles
strong enough to promote "extraordinary change." And
most pedophiles do not think it is possible either.
It is time the pope protects children and makes a stand
against abuse. He needs to start caring more about protecting
people rather than protecting the Church’s reputation. He says
to the victims, "…I express my profound sense of
solidarity and concern." He puts "solidarity"
before "concern" which shows that he is more concerned
about his flock staying with him, than their safety. This
meeting was more about saving their asses than trying to ensure
this problem never happens again. Are they more concerned about
the abuse, or about the whole world finding out about it?
When will the Catholic Church acknowledge that their priests
and cardinals are men of flesh, and just like politicians,
cannot be held to a higher standard? It is certain that the
pedophile has committed a crime, and it is equally certain that
Cardinal Law is guilty of extremely bad judgment. Surely this judgment
was so awful that he should not be trusted with the
welfare of anyone’s children. Did he commit a crime? That is
not sure unless he aided, abetted, or encouraged such behavior.
However, the Church should acknowledge the severity of Cardinal
Law’s actions and set an example by forcing him to step down.
There is no excuse for knowingly putting our children in harms
way. It is unconscionable. Law is not above the law. The
Catholic Church must enter the twenty-first century and consider
progressive ideas like allowing priests to marry and
acknowledging that being gay is not a crime. Although this doesn’t
sound like a great alternative to the Catholic problem, does
extinction sound better?
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