Wednesday, March 31, 2010

You Can't....

...expect to share in the credit for good things in which you were only indirectly involved, but then expect to avoid the blame of bad things even if you were only indirectly involved. Either it happening on your watch means something, or it doesn't, for both better and worse.

You can't have it both ways.

I say this in response to this quote in this article:
"This is not some multinational company where the chief executive is expected to take responsibility," Lombardi said. "The pope is not personally directing the actions of priests around the world."
Then the Vatican shouldn't get any credit for any of the good things either. If you want to share the credit by proxy, you also have to share the blame.

Another point from the article which shows they don't really understand:
"I can still very clearly remember the moment when Cardinal Ratzinger sadly told me that the other camp had asserted itself," Schoenborn told Austria's ORF Television. "To accuse him of being someone who covers things up -- having known the pope for many years -- I can say that is certainly not true."
I'm not accusing him of that, though. No one is saying the Pope was personally involved in any molestation. Some people are indeed saying he was involved in cover-up. But for most of us, it's not even that. It's that, when that "other camp" won...he didn't do all he could. He just sort of resigned himself to it.

He had a reasonably high profile. When something like this happens, you go to the media! You tell the world about how the other camp, the camp in favor of cover ups, was winning. You expose them to public shame and therefore force the previous Pope to take your side.

When it comes to protecting children from child molesters, that has to come before any ideas of deference or "protocol" or discretion or "keeping it all in the family." You make a scene, you throw a fit until the other camp isn't winning anymore, for the sake of the children!!!

You go to the papers and expose it! You storm in there and withstand Peter to his face. You scream at him, at the top of your lungs, shake him by the collar, screaming "Listen, you Parkinsonsy old Pole! Children are being sexually molested!!! And if you keep siding with pervert freaks like Maciel and all these people who want to cover it up, I'm going to resign and go to the media with everything I know!!!"

You don't just take it as if it were the loss of a piece in some abstract game of intra-Curial chess. You don't just get "sad" about it: you get angry! You raise hell! You don't just "lose" a battle of that magnitude and then move on. You fight to the death! For the children.

But he didn't. And I think that's the secrecy that's so bad; even when he disagreed, he wouldn't dare go over John Paul's head (ie, directly to the public) or call out the other camp publicly. The twisted code of clerical honor prevented that to the degree that I'm sure the idea never even occurred to him. The same blind-spot for giving other clerics the benefit of the doubt that caused John Paul to side with the "other camp" is the same one that made it constitutionally impossible for Ratzinger to fight tooth-and-nail in the heavy handed fashion that is called for in such a situation, as almost any parent would do.

This Pope has shown himself time and time again to be a brilliant man with the best of intentions...who just totally lacks the balls to act decisively on his own better judgment about things, to put his fist down. We need a leader, not someone who merely has good ideas and good words but who is too dithering and afraid to rock the boat or step on toes and actually take action or think outside the box. He completely lacks the courage of his convictions. It's funny how the hierarchy harps so much on sins against Chastity, but then doesn't say anything about sins against Fortitude. You may catch more flies with honey than with vinegar...but why are we trying to attract flies in the first place? I think flies are a nuisance, shouldn't we be trying to drive them away?

I'm seriously worried, because even when admitting "missteps," these bishops (including the Pope) always are defensive, always try to pass some of the blame, always make an excuse. And you can't truly repent until you take full responsibility for the gravity of your actions, whether you were directly involved or merely negligent or cowardly in your response. Remember, the ninth way to be an accessory to someone else's sin is silence. If they don't take full responsibility for what has happened, then they will burn in hell right alongside the priests who actually molested the children. And that scares me, not just because I don't want to see anyone in hell, but because if they are so brazen and cavalier about the fate of their own immortal souls, then how much can they really care about ours?? It makes them seem like total sociopaths.

1 comment:

sortacatholic said...

I was meditating on the Holy Cross Preface during the Maundy Thursday Mass today.

He who conquered by the cross was also conquered by the cross.

Christians know that the crosses we bear have already been resolved by Christ's destruction of death. Holy Mass would be absurd if Christ did not suffer and conquer suffering. Why would we kneel at Calvary every day if our suffering were meaningless?

The world thirsts for vindication, not salvation. Vindication (in the form of trials, reparation, conviction, etc.) never removes the Cross. I am reminded of those who gather outside prisons during the execution of an inmate. They holler and hoot when the confirmation of death is handed down. Are the victimized sated by execution? Can the illusion of human "victory" really replace the divine Victory?

The Vatican, and the Holy Office in particular, failed to act justly, not vindictively. The hierarchical sin is this: failure to prevent further abuse by cooperating with civil justice. Prelates who have covered up crimes bear the cross inherent to their own judgments. No prelate should countenance any suggestion that their lack of vindictive feeling demonstrates a lack of desire for justice.

However those who contend that the institutional Church should be weakened because of the failures of hierarchs have no concept of cross or suffering. They don't know that so long as there is Mass both the burden of our crosses and the triumph of Calvary are simultaneously present. Even though Pope Benedict has failed personally, his abdication would be irrelevant: he is still the visible head of the Church that provides grace to believers. The Mass will always be a scandal for those who rely on vindictive behavior to quell the suffering of crosses.