Pope Must Address Sex Abuse During Visit
by Jeff Dinelli
Time Magazine has an article questioning whether or not Pope Benedict XVI will address the "priest sex abuse scandal," which blew up in the Catholic Church's face in 2001, during his U.S. visit this week. The Vatican has apparently stated that the issue will be discussed at least once, possibly during Saturday's morning mass at New York City's St. Patrick's Cathedral.
So far, this indication is glaringly insufficient. Saturday's mass will be attended by NYC Catholic clergy members. What about meeting with victims of abuse? Can his holiness squeeze that into his schedule? And save us any reminder of the Church having spent billions of dollars in compensatory damages to victims and their families. That doesn't cut it. Can you put a price on the horrific and disgusting ways all those children were introduced to sex by officials who were trusted by kids and parents alike?
In fact, "abuse" is a ridiculously stupid way to describe what has been going on in these hallowed institutions of learning. These children were routinely raped and tortured, the violators then aided and abetted by high Church officials simply transferring the guilty to other churches in attempts to escape charges. While examining what went on in cities around the nation, the mind reels considering what must have went on in centuries past when Catholicism was beyond reproach.
Personally, I don't know what anyone expected would happen when clergymen are forced into practicing celibacy and taught to state as an affirmation of faith that children are "imps of" or "limbs of" Satan. Frustrations often enough reveal themselves through unforgiveable beatings at Catholic schools, but when inhibitions really break down, and horror is unleashed, it is not unreasonable to wonder if the ghastly results are an outcome of an ideology which attempts to control its officials through edicts denying one's sexual instincts and the applicable organs of one's body. Thinking of this sort, and, some would argue, all religion, should have been eliminated back in the early centuries of our species.
Yes, the Pope needs to speak of these things during the week ahead, not only to clergymen, not only to the approximately 67 million Catholics in this country, but rather as the head of an enormous organization that has perpetuated unspeakable crimes against the most vulnerable of our society: our children. It matters not that he leads a religion, for despite what the many denominations may believe, they may be exempted from taxes, but they are not above the law.