Catholicism at Carnal Crossroads

Perhaps the mother of all confusions, contradictions, cover-ups and concupiscence is being played out in the Roman Catholic Church, occasioned in the last two decades or so by the constant stream of information regarding the pedophilia and homosexuality present in the priesthood. It’s gotten to the point that even the pope and his second-in-command, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, are not on the same page, odd because one would never expect the second banana to say anything not approved by the main man.

Bertone stated recently that homosexuality is a pathology [defined as something abnormal: the structural and functional deviations from the normal that constitute disease or characterize a particular disease] and linked it to pedophilia. With regard to the former, at least the U.S. military establishment agrees, classifying homosexuality as a mental disorder. The latter certainly is a mental disorder, though the Cardinal may or may not be right about the linkage.

The pope’s spokesman, Rev. Federico Lombardi, was quick to “explain” what Bertone meant, though Bertone’s remark was straightforward enough. Lombardi answered with this: "Church authorities do not believe they are competent to make general affirmations about specifically psychological or medical issues." Did Lombardi mean that Holy Scripture does not address issues that involve both body and mind? If so, what issues would Holy Writ address…just those of the trees and the grass, maybe?

To stir the pot even more, Pope Benedict XVI aimed this message directly at the church in a mass on 15 April, to wit, that it was necessary for Christians to repent in light of “the attacks of the world, which speaks to us of our sins.” Whose sins and precisely what sins? And how has the “world” attacked the church, as well as for what reason?

Is it fair to say that the pope and perhaps most of the church’s head honchos just don’t get it? Do they consider the church as victim or as sinner or do they have any idea what they believe? Bertone, going far out on a limb, indicated that he “gets it,” at least to the point that there’s a serious mental sickness in the priesthood that eventuates in the biological violation among priests of their respective bodies and, of course, collectively against the young, the most vulnerable.

Does the pope blame the whole church for whatever “sins” he has in mind? If so, he’s blaming the church that has been fashioned by him and the priesthood, another way of condemning the church fathers for doing such a poor job that the church itself is full of sin. After all, don’t the priests listen to “confession” and in so doing understand the problems and issues they need to address and hopefully resolve?

Perhaps the latest shoe to drop in the worldwide scandal was the recent “outing” of a letter written in 2001 by a top cardinal, Dario Castrillon Hoyos (retired last year), to a French bishop complimenting him for doing three months in jail rather than report a pedophile-priest to the civil authorities, thus putting a child-molester’s interests above those of the innocent. When people like Hoyos are running the church, is it any wonder that the pope sees sin somewhere? Question: Is the pope looking in the wrong places?

Beginning with the teaching to Catholics that the pope is infallible (though there’s doubt that most congregants accept that), parishioners are at least conditioned to look to the pope’s extension – priests and bishops – as absolutely right, no matter the subject. As a result, children abused by priests or other church leaders and told that such abuse is spiritually correct and not to be divulged to anyone, including parents, grow to adulthood wallowing in the realization that something they instinctively knew as bad had happened to them and was still happening to others.

Finally, these victims have been speaking out; however, church leaders, instead of sensibly approaching the problem, have “circled the wagons” and thus lost credibility, not to mention continuing the problem through transfers of priests, for instance, who continue to violate others. Amazingly, church fathers continue in this inordinate blindness to reality even in the face of paying out tens of millions of dollars to those who have finally broken their silence. This indicates an arrogance/elitism that defies logic…the absolute opposite of the humility of Jesus Christ.

In 2005, Cardinal Bertone, acting for the pope in the name of the Congregation for Catholic Education, sent out a letter including this: “in accord with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, believes it necessary to state clearly that the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practise homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called 'gay culture'." In light of this, one suspects that there would not have been at least in the last five years any homosexual admitted to seminary…so why did Bertone bring this up?

One has only to place this subject in his search engine to find out why Bertone brought it up. Until the church cleans up its act, as Bertone understands, pedophiles will prey on children/youths and perversion, including homosexuality, will mark and damn its leadership. The cult of the perverse could only advance in the Catholic chain-of-command from seminary to Rome. It needs to be beheaded.