The Pope, Take Two - Wrong!
CNN - Biography - Pope John Paul II - Photo Essay (courtesy catholicnet)
"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." Dorothy Parker
I said some nice things about the Pope earlier. He was by all accounts a well meaning, decent man and a dedicated leader, at least to those in the conservative mainstream.
But to many Catholics, to women seeking full equality in the Church, to the rest of us who live and think outside the traditional box, and to those who represent the future of us all ... ehhhhhhhh, not so much.
First, a reality check: the man was 84 years old. He was a member of my parents' generation -maybe yours too, or your grandparents- raised on Tradition with a capital T. It's tough to relinquish such a long held, rigid belief system, and many in their generation still react with disbelief and outrage as the rest of us attack that system when we know it to be wrong.
Let's look at two examples:
Birth Control: forbidden as a traditional religious precept when pregnancy was the only outcome. Okay for True Believers willing to have ten kids. But when AIDS, Hepatitis and other STD's changed the stakes and the result could be death or horrible disease for individuals and entire nations, the concept became dangerous, and wrong.
Women Priests: unacceptable in a historically patriarchal religion. Okay as a plausible excuse for hidebound purists, especially in a society holding lesser views of women's rights and abilities. But when women took on roles equal to men in government, business, medicine, the arts, the military, in every facet of everyday life ... why not in the Church? It's outdated, and wrong.
And now we get to the Big One, the Church's dirty little internecine secret that became an international scandal, the worst crime imaginable ... priests molesting children. There's nothing traditional about that, no doctrine to cling to, no excuse in Heaven or Earth to justify such evil behavior. It's a horror that should never be tolerated, much less forgiven. It's just plain WRONG.
Practice birth control, get a divorce, commit adultery and you can be excommunicated from your church for life. But use your powerful position of authority to prey on innocent children for your own sick sexual gratification, and hey, you get a lifetime pension and a nice apartment to live out your days ... plus you can still take Communion whenever you want. That's not only wrong, it's despicable.
Where was the Zero Tolerance? Where was the immediate and swift retribution? Where was the SHAME? And most importantly, where was The Pope?
Pope John Paul II faced and met some of mankind's greatest challenges with determination and piety during his reign. But when confronted with the highest and most fundamental test of a religious leader's obligation to God, to his flock, to humanity, he failed abysmally. He turned his back on children to protect the reputation of the Church.
That's so very wrong, it takes my breath away.