Friday, June 11, 2010

The Work of the Devil?

In a statement that is as bad as Bertone calling the accusations of child-molestation "petty gossip," Pope Benedict has now blamed the revelation of child abuse by priests on the devil. Not the fact that it happened in the first place, mind you, but the fact that it came to light this year. Ugh:
It was to be expected that this new radiance of the priesthood would not be pleasing to the "enemy"; he would have rather preferred to see it disappear, so that God would ultimately be driven out of the world. And so it happened that, in this very year of joy for the sacrament of the priesthood, the sins of priests came to light – particularly the abuse of the little ones
Now, maybe this was just poor phrasing. The sins of the priests are certainly part of the devil's work...but the fact that they "came to light" is a good thing! At the very least, the statement seems self-serving. As if these revelations really were just petty gossip designed by enemies to spoil their self-congratulatory year of patting themselves on the back.

No, this year was marred irrevocably. And it deserved to be as the clericalist system is broken, and it structurally enabled the abuse of tens of thousands of children. As a reader said I was discussing this with, "it's not successful just because we say it was, just because the theology demands it."

The whole year was a bad idea in the first place; no government on earth would dare declare a Year of the Politician, and we've seen what happened recently to companies which exalt their executives or employees over the customers whom they exist to serve in the first place.

The Pope also seems to still be viewing this crisis through the lens of sin and spirituality rather than crime and pathology. This statement shows a naive understanding of pedophilia, for instance:
We too insistently beg forgiveness from God and from the persons involved, while promising to do everything possible to ensure that such abuse will never occur again; and that in admitting men to priestly ministry and in their formation we will do everything we can to weigh the authenticity of their vocation and make every effort to accompany priests along their journey, so that the Lord will protect them and watch over them in troubled situations and amid life’s dangers.
I don't think "accompanying priests along their journey" is going to stop child molestation, as if abuse is just a temptation priests succumb to when they don't have enough social support. It's not the priests who need to be "protected"'s the victims! Amid life's dangers?! What "dangers"? The enticing presence of young flesh? This is absurd! It seems to cast the victimizers as victims. And, by the way, I don't think people really care whether these men's "vocations" are "authentic" as much we care that predators and other warped psyches aren't getting in (which implies a very different emphasis of criteria: more concrete and practical, if less spiritual).

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