Monday, March 22, 2010

It's About Accountability and Responsibility

Ironically, in spite of the headline, I'm not going to be talking about Stephen Harper and his band of twits. This is about the seemingly endless sex abuse scandal that continues to rock the Roman Catholic Church ... and Michael Coren's utter misunderstanding of the situation.

It’s Saturday, so it must be time for yet another attack on the Roman Catholic Church — this time involving lies about the Pope, his brother and, before long, his auntie Freda and his pet cat Hans.

Logical thinking and balanced thought were eliminated from this subject long ago. It’s church-bashing time and why bother about poverty and war when you can pretend that Catholicism is to blame for everything.

Of course - the nitwit picks up on the role that the current Pope has apparently played in one diocese, and conveniently ignores the fact that what's coming out now shows us a picture of an organization that has actively and systemically enabled pedophiles in its midst.

Yet if we are to believe the media, abuse is almost exclusively Catholic and — here we go again — all because of celibacy and an all-male clergy.

Complete trash-talk of course. A failed priest says no more about Catholicism than a failed Canadian says about Canada.

Nice straw man argument there, Michael. Care to try again? I don't think people really care what vows a priest takes. While personally I find the notion of a celibate priesthood a bit ridiculous, that's really an internal matter as it has little or no effect on the parishoners whether the priest is married or not.

While sexual abuse is obviously grotesque, the number of occurrences in the Catholic Church is neither higher nor lower than any other denomination or religion and the same as those in education, sports and any other institution that involves a power dynamic between adults and youth.

Again, Coren completely misses the boat. In those other "institutions", the abuser and their enablers are subject to criminal prosecution, and rightly so. The issue here is that the Catholic Church has tried to not only set itself apart from the laws in so many lands, but has actively attempted to protect its clergy from prosecution - not just once, but repeatedly.

Worse, from an optics point of view, is that the current Pope's name appears repeatedly in this history - including renewing or re-approving the original protocol the church came up with to conceal child molesters in its midst.

People are looking for something here - it's called accountability. The rot in the clergy has been percolating to the top, and today the people who are implicated are very highly placed in the church hierarchy. These are people whose acts and actions attempted to protect the abusers, but coerced the abused into 'vows of silence' and generally tried to place the clergy outside the laws of the land.

If a hockey coach abuses his players, he goes to trial. If his leadership moves him around to conceal his tracks, they too are culpable for their acts. Why should a member of the clergy be any different simply because they are part of the Catholic Church?

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