Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bootless Cries

As Pope Ratzinger continues bleating and wailing while walking past growing piles of damning evidence against the institution he leads, Johan Hari asks 'why?', and Andrew Sullivan replies with a version of 'why not?':

I'm religious. I demand to be protected from no debate.
It's delightful that Sullivan is religious and demands to be protected from no debates. Really it is. It's difficult to stress how delightful it is. Really, it's super -- the bee's knees. Sullivan continues:
And many of us who believe are indeed saying - and have been saying for a long, long time - that using religious authority to cover up child abuse is evil, insupportable, corrupt and wrong. But if the church hierarchy does not understand this, if it does not instigate root and branch reform, if it uses this occasion to double down further, then it will deserve the secular assault that will come.
Hmm. A "secular assault" sounds pretty rough, but as rough as it sounds, it sounds even more vague. As in: what is a "secular assault" in the present context? The force of Hari's complaint is that, under any imaginable circumstance where an organization's principal condoned, abetted, or (at best) lazily neglected charges that the organization's agents raped and abused children on a massive scale, the "assault" would take the form of legal action: prosecutors would bring charges, cease and desist orders would be promulgated, premises would be barred, inquests would be undertaken, records would be seized, persons of interest would be detained for questioning, and so on. Or so we would hope.

We would so hope, wouldn't we? We the civilized people of the world would tend to favor that sort of "secular assault"? We could instead pursue a well-tried alternative form of "secular assault," that of allowing an angry mob to do what angry mobs do when formed to rise up against child rapists. The disadvantages of this alternative are, I trust, equally well-tried and well-known by now.

Sullivan continues:
I fear the Church's hierarchy is as over now as the Soviet hierarchy was in the 1980s. But, unlike the lie of Communism, the truth of the Gospels remains. So when will we Catholics have our velvet revolution? When will we finally stand up and deliver our church from the evil that now controls it? And when will this farce of an establishment finally crumble into the dust it deserves?
And thus we end on the same question with which we began -- in which a faithful servant of Mother Church troubles deaf heaven with his bootless cries, perfectly willing to rend his garment pitifully and in public, but unsure of what more he could possibly do or say.

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