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Catholic Church overdue losing its habit of treating congregants like children or sheep

Posted by John T. Reed on

The lieutenant and the Jesuit

When I was a junior Army officer and my cousin was a Jesuit priest, we got into a discussion at one of my mom’s extended family back-yard barbecues. I was telling him how being in the Army felt like being in the Soviet Union. He said the same was true about the Catholic Church citing them talking out of both sides of their mouths on whether Catholic schools should get federal money (they said they should) and should be told what to do by the federal government (they said they should not).

My cousin the Jesuit was sent to Fordham Law School by the Jesuits and had to argue in court for the church.

He later left the priesthood and married his Notre Dame girlfriend who left the convent to marry him. I left the Army.

The priesthood ain’t the Boy Scouts

I had no idea about the priest sex stuff until it hit the news in recent decades. But even as a kid in St. Anne’s elementary school I could see inarguable contradictions and conflicts. 

The Catechism was in total conflict with the way some things were treated in the Constitution. It’s first question was “What is the one true church?” and the prescribed required answer was, “The Catholic Church.” I’ll be the judge of that is my current response to that. As a little kid, mine was not to reason why, mine was but to recite what I was told or spend eternity in hell.

The First Amendment says the Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of a religion.

I side with the Constitution. The Catholic Church, and the rest of them, are entitled to try to recruit believers, but not to compel anyone to do or believe anything.

Big on gold

I also saw that the Catholic church was first and foremost money hungry. When I was in high school, every single sermon was bitching about the congregation not donating enough money. They published how much everyone gave in a church newsletter to try to pressure people like my food stamps-eligible mom to give more. (She never applied for the stamps out of the embarrassment of using them in the supermarket. But the church would not let her avoid the embarrassment of having her weekly donations outed.)

Inquisitions and crusades

When it could get away with it in the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church was just another brutal Eastern Hemisphere dictatorship. The recent cover-ups of the pedophilia are a vestige of the thousand years of dictatorship habits. 

The Prostestant churches are bottom up, not top down. They have no infallible popes dictating religious orthodoxy or assigning pastors. That is apparently why the protestants split off from the Catholics. 

Seen and contributing, not heard

The top-down monarchy-like Catholic Church does not have a complaint department or a suggestion box next to the offerings box. The Catholic Congregation is to be seen, not heard, like children. Not for no reason are the congregants required to call the priests “father.” 

Another metaphor is the Catholic clergy as shepherds of a flock of sheep. The Pope carries a shepherd’s staff. Shepherds do not poll the sheep about where to go next. Of course, in the context of pedophilia, the shepherd metaphor has a whole other very unfortunate connotation.

So I was surprised to learn that so many priests were pedophiles, but I am less surprised to learn that the church covered it up and allowed it to continue or that the most Communist pope—the current guy—thinks he can stonewall outside inquiries into the matter. 

Prosecute the Church pedophiles and those who protect them

Yes, we have separation of church and state. But we also have laws against child rape, and those trump separation of church and state. Grand juries and prosecutors need to obtain warrants to enter the sanctuary of the Catholic Church when they have probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed. The priests who appear to have broken the law need to be investigated, prosecuted, and when convicted, punished. The secular DOJ and state law enforcement authorities should not hesitate for one second in any of these cases nor trust the Catholic Church to see that justice is done.

The behavior of the Pope and his inner circle remind me of Nixon and Haldeman and all that. I foresee a new book and movie titled All the Pope’s Men.

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