Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Arrow and Rock

Quoth a Catholic Bishop in the Irish Times:

"The moment of history we live through in Ireland at present is certainly a testing one for the church and for all of us," he said. "Attacked from the outside by the arrows of a secular and godless culture, rocked from the inside by the sins and crimes of priests and consecrated people, we all feel the temptation to lose confidence."
We atheists should be heartened to know we serve as part of the "godless culture" the bishop can so readily blame for whatever happens to be wrong -- it's nice to be useful. Still, the first indication that the moment in history is not being too terribly unkind to you, all things considered, is getting your complaints and blame-castings quoted verbatim in a leading national newspaper.

A further indicator that the "attacks" are not leaving you quite so very "rocked" as you might be is that you're still able to sit back calmly and counterpoise the criticisms of shielding child rapists with the infamies of the rapes you've shielded.

As on-the-one-hand-on-the-other-hand rock-and-a-hard-place dilemmas go in this world, I have heard of far worse. Consider, for example, the plight of children raped by priests: they face the "arrow" of remaining silent and allowing the abuse to continue, or the "rock" of accusing and denouncing the very people they've been told since birth constitute the anointed representatives of the ultimate power in the universe and the sole conduits to eternal salvation.

The put-upon bishop is right about one thing -- the moment in history strongly tempts me to lose confidence in the Catholic Church, not that I had much to lose before.


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