Anyone who’s interested in losing his lunch should read the…blog entry by New York archbishop Timothy Dolan in defense of Pope Benedict; the archbishop’s incredibly pompous and self-pitying rant is some of the most depraved horseshit I’ve ever seen on the internet, which is saying a lot. One expects professional slimeballs like the public relations department of Goldman Sachs to pull out the “Well, we weren’t the only thieves!” argument when accused of financial malfeasance. But I almost couldn’t believe my eyes as I read through Dolan’s retort and it dawned on me that he was actually going to use the “We weren’t the only child molesters!” excuse. Dolan must have very roomy man-robes, because it seems to me you’d need a set of balls like two moons of Jupiter to say such a thing in public and expect it to fly. But this is exactly what Dolan does; he bases his entire defense of the Church on the idea that others are equally culpable.
I could sum up what I’m about to get off my chest in less than one paragraph. In a sense, I’d be parroting Matt Taibbi’s argument, which is that the Catholic Church is a criminal enterprise. Really…I could leave this right there and know that I’ve made my point, but the reality is much more complicated and much sadder. How can an institution that so many millions the world over have placed their faith in become so corrupt, so venal, and thoroughly criminal? How can an institution that calls itself a “church”, that purports to be governed by the teachings of Jesus Christ, have evolved into a cabal of human monsters dedicated primarily to their own covert sexual gratification, self-aggrandizement, and self-preservation? The amazing thing is that the Catholic Church has been getting away with something close to murder (and in some cases actual murder) for close to 2000 years. This sort of corruption is not exactly a new thing for the Church…and that’s exactly the problem.
Somehow, the Vatican has managed to convinced millions of faithful Catholics of the infallibility of the Pope and the inviolability of Church teachings. In so doing, it has created an environment in which everyone save for those ordained to minister to the flock is held accountable. Even worse are the (growing by the day) revelations that the Church…apparently up to and including Pope Benedict XVI…has been a haven for pedophiles, sexual predators, and those who would provide them cover. Generations of parishioners have grown to adulthood carrying the stain of abuse on their souls. Even if some may have gone to their priests in an effort to tell someone in authority what was happening, far too many in authority were engaged in a Church-wide cover-up. Victims may have been talking, but no one seems to have been listening.
Nothing that can be done today can give back what so many abusers in vestments took from the innocent over the years. There are those, however, who have decided that the time has come to hit the Catholic Church in the only place that will get the Vatican’s attention- their pocketbook. This would be people like Jeff Anderson, who has become a one-man crusade (pun very much intended) against a corrupt and surpassingly evil religious organization that’s as much about the teachings of Jesus Christ as I am about moving back to Texas and becoming a Republican.
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Jeff Anderson has filed thousands of lawsuits alleging sex abuse by priests and won tens of millions of dollars for his clients, but he has had a bigger goal in mind for nearly two decades. He wants to bring his career-long legal crusade against misconduct in the Roman Catholic Church right to the top. He would love to question Pope Benedict XVI himself under oath…. [D]ocuments, which became publicly known in the past week after Anderson shared them with The New York Times, show that a Vatican office led by the pope, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, halted a church trial against a Wisconsin priest accused of molesting some 200 boys at a school for the deaf.
IF Pope Benny intervened to protect a pedophile priest, and it certainly appears that he did, he needs to resign. NOW. I understand that, in diplomatic terms, the Pope is considered to be a head of state. As such, he’s beyond the reach of most conventional legal means of seeking remedy. Nonetheless, it appears that Catholics are finally beginning to wake up to the reality that the leadership of their Church, up to and including the Pope, have knowingly coddled sexual predators for generations. This means that children the world over have had their innocence stolen by the very men they expected to protect them. Somehow, justice needs to be achieved, and if the predators and their protectors are beyond reach, the wealth accumulated by the Catholic Church appears not to be.
Over the course of its history, the Catholic Church has amassed a nest egg that is almost beyond comprehension. Between endowments, investments, Church property, and the Vatican itself, the Church is wealthier than many countries…and therein lies both the problem and the Church’s vulnerability. If lawyers like Anderson have their way, they will bring the Church to it’s knees by separating them from their wealth. The underlying message is that no one, not even the largest, wealthiest, and most evil and politically powerful church in the world is above the law.
It’s time the Catholic Church was called to account for its leadership being responsible for protecting so many sexual predators for so long. No amount of money will restore the lost innocence of so many thousands of those who trusted their priests with their spiritual well-being, but it will represent a recognition that what happened was wrong. The only way to get the attention of the Vatican is to threaten their financial well-being. Perhaps once their financial empire has been reduced to a couple of crack houses in Hoboken, the Church will finally get serious about purging itself of sexual predators AND those who would shield them from prosecution.
In addition to this, the Pope needs to resign. YESTERDAY. Memo to Pope Benny: You cannot be part of the solution if you’ve been part of the problem. Do the right thing. Resign. Now. And hope that your parishioners will find it within themselves to forgive your black, Prada-wearing soul. I’m not sure I could, but thankfully I’m not Catholic. We it up to me, you’d spend your remaining days in a Turkish prison.