Let Us Prey: Argument
After cross-posting my take on the Catholic Church pedophile scandal and the LA Archdiocese, I got a pretty good argument from Mark. I made some minor spelling corrections for clarity and hope our ongoing conversation will help others better understand our arguments. I thank Mark for his challenging response. You’ll find Mark’s unedited comments (and others) here. CB
Mark: Oy, where to start… really, you should stick to the politics.
Ex-Liberal: I thought I was…
Mark: You sound intelligent, well-informed, and like someone worth reading. Nice links to New Advent. Great site for explaining all things Catholic. Not total explanations, but good info. It’s a shame the one on confession doesn’t use the term “sacramental confession”. You might have picked up then that Mahony’s confession wasn’t sacramental, but secular, p.r.-related even, and so it doesn’t have to hit all, or even any, of the requirements that a sacramental confession does.
Ex-Liberal: Child rape is not a Catholic thing and, at the very least, I think that after 75 years the world’s billion or so Catholics deserve something more than PR.
Mark: As for what he has said to his own confessor, well, that’s between the two of them and God.
Ex-Liberal: Having spent more than half of my life in public service, I’ve found that organizations that conspire to aid and abet the serial rape of thousands of children while defrauding their parents under the guise of salvation requires something more than a quiet conversation with other pedophiles or accessories – you know, something more terrestrial: Otherwise there would be no use for our planet’s criminal justice systems. Organizations have a compelling reason to remove cops and teachers who are caught doing these kinds of things just as societies have compelling reasons to sack organizations that prey on them. Bad cops and teachers must find other professions. Shuffling parishes is not a coherent response for priests who rape children. Why can’t we hold responsible those who hold themselves as the direct conduit to salvation? After all, these guys aren’t roofers.
Mark: Since you’re about as worthless a scum as Mahony to God’s eyes, it’s kinda useless pointing out the Cardinal’s faults, endless as they are.
Ex-Liberal: Well, the Catholic Church describes grave sins as those who are committed willfully, deliberately, and repeatedly. Yes, I’m a sinner but your allusion to casting the first stone is not a legitimate defense for repeatedly reassigning pedophiles to unknowing and trusting congregations of parents and children. The Bible makes those distinctions in both the Old and New Testaments. I’m a sinner, but I don’t manage an organization that preys on my own clients. I haven’t conducted 75 years of conspiracy to rape children, nor have I defrauded parishioners to pay off the children who complain about it.
Mark: The 75 years of molestation and rape don’t belong to the archdiocese or the Church (and really, couldn’t you go back about 2000 years?) any more than the holocaust is the sin of country of Germany or the crucifixion of Christ is Judism’s fault (and precious few actual Jews (and Romans), all of whom have been dead only slightly less than the risen Christ has been alive).
Ex-Liberal: Really? Then if the Roman Catholic Church was not at fault in these serial crimes, do we blame the children, their parents, or who? I made it clear that I accepted that molesters exist throughout the world in every known occupation. The distinction lies with the organized practice of molestation, the facilitation of it, and the deliberate and premeditated practice of it. They were at least as accidental as Hitler was of killing Jews. And this is not a Judeo-Christian issue – it’s a global one that goes beyond the microcosm of Christianity.
Mark: “The Church’s pathology…” What, did I miss some teaching somewhere in the catechism that priests where suppose to molest children, as well as the sudden revelation that priests no longer could molest them? The pedophilia and molestation was obviously against all doctrine, teaching, revelation, etc of the Church. How various dioceses and bishops handled these priests was horrific, but unfortunately also medical thinking when most of the bishops went through any kind of training or set up training/policies for their peers. Like any hierarchy, change is a bitch for a diocese without an incredible presence at its head. Heck, it’s a bitch even then. And unfortunately most bishops (and priests, and parishioners, and anyone else) aren’t that incredible.
Ex-Liberal: Again, I’m not upset that a molester or two got into the Church. I’m upset that a no-brainer series of crimes against nature would be the Church’s most challenging conundrum. You don’t need a degree in theology to know that keeping known rapists around children is bad. You don’t need an MBA to understand how employees who use your business to victimize your client-base don’t really belong in your organization. And if barbers and circuses can figure this one out, why can’t the learned management of Christianity figure it out? If raping children isn’t enough to get oneself expelled from a Catholic parish, what does?
Mark: So now, for you, the solution is too much for the courts? You want to sic mobs on priests, Mahony, and churches?
Ex-Liberal: No, I said that no-brainers like this deserve the patience of angry mobs (not a lot). How much deliberation does one need to accept that the deliberate, calculated, and prolonged serial rape of children should not be tolerated? Heck, John Gotti didn’t do as much harm to people and yet he went to prison for life. As a result, his criminal organization was sacked. Why do we hold the Catholic Church to a lesser standard? And if your argument is that the Church did a lot of good, I could argue that on a smaller scale, Gotti probably donated to good causes and even confessed his sins to a priest on occasion. Comparative scales should not establish merit or the value of crime any more than we should celebrate the virtue of a serial rapist who committed 50 rapes over someone else who committed 52. The crime is the same, regardless of the comparisons. Let’s not split hairs over how much a rapist donated to the poor or whether one rapist preferred eight-year-old boys over eleven-year-old girls. I’d rather not engage in these kinds of arguments.
Mark: You want to conduct medical experiments on them? And for someone who pissed and moaned at Mahony’s euphemisms, “medical experiments” is pretty cowardly when you want to say that you want Mahony and the pedophiles tortured to the point of death, and then healed enough to be tortured again.
Ex-Liberal: Many convicts volunteer themselves for medical experiments today. I’m not talking about administration of punishment, but of what is deserved – unless you think that the Church’s decision to allow known pedophiles to continually rape children doesn’t merit life sentences at hard labor. My discussion isn’t about the vast array of torture. That’s also another topic.
Mark: You don’t want the diocese to pay off the victims with a certain amount of money, so you want to strip the Church of all assests, which I’m guessing have a certain value, and do what with them?
Ex-Liberal: There are MANY charitable organizations throughout the world that have a record of safely delivering aid and support to the planet’s needy. Those monies would serve the planet much better than spreading it around the lawyers who are enriching themselves with parishioner funds as they further victimize their prey. I think the Catholic Church has proven itself as capable as the UN – another organization that has outlived its usefulness. (Please hold your UN arguments for another day – you get what I’m saying.)
Mark: Give them to the victims…I would call that paying them off. You just change them from street corner whores to high priced call girls.
Ex-Liberal: And call boys - which is what the Church has been doing for 75 years – something the Church would probably describe as “the cost of doing business.”
Mark: Or maybe you want to keep the cash? No, that’s just stupid.
Ex-Liberal: We finally agree. Yes, there are others more qualified than I.
Mark: Heal the sick, clothe the naked, feed the hungry? Then what? That’s the same whine people have had Lawrence got himself barbequed by Nero, I think it was, during one of the early Roman persecutions, anyway.
Ex-Liberal: Maybe the excess funds can be transferred to the Christian Children’s Fund or the Peace Corps. Both have high standards and proven track records without the organized and sustained rape of children. It might not be the answer, but it’s a start.
Mark: “My remarks should not shock or challenge those who did not participate in these crimes against humanity.” Well, since you attack the Church more than any person, why shouldn’t I be shocked or challenged. Point that finger of yours at the ones who committed the crimes. Keep it at me, or worse, my Mother, and I’ll bite it off.
Ex-Liberal: I’m upset with the entire management of the organization. Their flock is not to blame. But if the Catholic Church liquidated their assets tomorrow, what difference would those assets have on the confidence, love, and faith in their God? What difference would it make to a God-fearing priest who ministers to his flock? I met Mother Teresa many times (I even sat next to Cardinal Mahony at dinner once). Mother Teresa’s relationship with God didn’t depend on the riches held by the Catholic Church. To the devout, assets are irrelevant – unless they’re used to perpetuate crimes or are directed against those already victimized. And I’m not calling for the strong-armed ransacking of the Catholic Church the way the Federal Government grabbed the assets of Enron, WorldCom, or even an invasion of the Vatican. What I’m saying is that the right thing to do is for the Catholic Church to stop resisting the investigations, admit all of their acts against humanity, and surrender all assets that can be directed against their victims. It’s something that good Christians should do themselves – regardless of what’s deserved.
Mark: “For priests who accept celibacy and poverty, assets are as irrelevant…” Not all priests make vows to poverty, which kinda nullifies whatever you have to say about their assets. Did they break their vow of celibacy? Technically I guess. The same way rapists technically have sexual intercourse. But I’m thinking that this goes wa-a-a-a-y beyond celibacy. If priests were sleeping around with adults, would you be blogging about it?
Ex-Liberal: If priests were sleeping around consenting adults, I’d write about something else. That many engage in heterosexual or homosexual sex is likely as well. It’s that niggling thing we call consent that makes the difference. Child rape is unlawful in most countries because we assume that children are not capable of providing knowledgeable consent. Fraud, abetting and conspiracy are also serious crimes. The Church goes further by calling child rape a “crime against nature” – right up there with genocide.
Mark: “It represents nothing more than a start-over that allows the truly faithful to continue in their ministry unfettered and pure…” I’m sorry, but when did you assume the throne of judgment? Who are you to say this one faithful and pure, that one is evil?
Ex-Liberal: I’m only a parent and a public servant, but I don’t need much more of an education to understand what monsters are. Again, I’m not as upset with the molesters as I am a Church Administration that placed known rapists with vulnerable children. God will judge the rapists, but to protect God-given and inalienable rights, society must guard against corrupt organizations. A church doesn’t die and it does not face a Creator for judgment. Society has a legitimate reason to monitor, question, and tear down criminal organizations through their criminal justice systems. And anytime criminal organizations control huge assets, politicians can be bought off as easily as UN diplomats. Gotti’s mistake was that he finally provoked a prosecutor who couldn’t be bought off.
Mark: Oh, and for the ‘costumes,’ do a little research. The basic outfit comes from working man clothes (i.e. the poor!) during an earlier period of the Church, or from Judism (our older brothers in faith), or from pretty heavy symbology and spiritualism. [And before you bring it up, no, not paganism.
Ex-Liberal: Oh puleeze… My point was that pedophiles can dress in anything. Vestments that are worn by pedophiles are no longer vestments – they’re costumes.
Mark: From the bible, like being a soldier of Christ girding oneself for battle against Satan: “No pass can be assigned for those who exploit the poor, or who defraud the workingman of his wages.” Senator Boxer, is that you?
Ex-Liberal: Have you exhausted weak arguments?
Mark: Jesus ransacked the Temple? I learned he cleansed it, but ransacked?
Ex-Liberal: Contemporary Christians call it cleansing. I suspect that the Rabbis who lorded over the Temple Jesus trashed called it something else. Kinda like whether LA endured a riot or insurrection in 1992. Regardless, you’re splitting hairs.
Mark: I don’t know, ransack has a lot of connotations I wouldn’t associate with the Son of God. “The Church’s assets cannot be legitimately protected, for they are the coveted wages of their mostly poor and middle class congregations…” wow, are you channeling Jack Chick? Ya think most of the congregations are poor and middle class ’cause most people are poor and middle class? You ever seen stats on how much Catholics give? It’s usually about 3% of their net income, and it’s only that high because of the high-rollers writing 3 and 4 digit checks each week.
Ex-Liberal: Yes, serious absolution comes with a serious price.
Mark: “Coveted wages,” heh, that’s funny. “faithful members who hoped their goodness…” back on that throne, huh? Well, I guess I shouldn’t complain. Usually Catholics are portrayed as superstitious oafs who couldn’t form a coherent thought unless the anti-Christ pope and his evil minion-priests put it there.
Ex-Liberal: I’m either very slow or you’re starting to ramble.
Mark: “Like any other criminal enterprise, the Church is not fit to control assets that can be directed to further exploit and silence existing and future victims.” Criminal enterprise? The Church? I’m sorry, how do you figure? Because of the pedophiles? The jack asses above them who thought they could be treated and then put back in the ministry? That hardly makes the Church a criminal enterprise. I don’t know of any negligence rising above the diocesan level, or any criminal activity above the parish level. Then take it out to a world-wide organization, encompassing 1 billion people, and that accusation sounds ludicrous. Tone down the hyperbole. It isn’t helping your case.
Ex-Liberal: So Ken Lay wasn’t really supposed to know what his CFOs were doing? Ken’s minions only did it for a few years – the Catholic Church did it for at least 75 years against at least thousands of children.
Mark: “This cleansing is long overdue.” The cleansing will come when the Father is good and ready. Yes, He’ll break out a whip on the Church, or more accurately, on visible members of the Church. But He’ll do that to everyone. The Church itself was, is, and forever will Holy. That’s one of the four signs of the Church (One, Catholic (universal), Apostolic are the others). It’s the members of the Church that suck. If you want to trash Mahony, go ahead. He sucks as a bishop and I wouldn’t make any bets on him as far as being a good Christian. The only decent thing I can think of concerning his episcopacy is he is proof that the Catholic Church is indeed guided by the Holy Spirit. Hear me out.
Ex-Liberal: I am…
Mark: As bad as Mahony is, the Church has had lots worse as popes, bishops, priests, deacons, religious, and laymen. If Mahony and that group can’t destroy the Church, then it has to be protected by God. There is no other explanation. No other institution could have survived 2000 years with as lousy a group of people running unless it had divine intervention.
Ex-Liberal: Again, you confuse the Church with its assets. Heck, if they came clean, liquidated their assets and started anew I might also join them to help rebuild what their cancerous management has necrotized. Maybe our voices will become a small part of that renewal and rebirth. I’ll pray on it. Again, thank you for a good argument!***
Posted: October 20th, 2005 under Uncategorized.
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