With the seeming regularity of rain in April [at least in Wisconsin], each day bring a new Pope-protected-a-child-molester story.
One Catholic columnist, the New York Times’ Maureen Dowd, has had enough. She wants children and adult victims protected. And she wants sexism eliminated.
Dowd, with her Menckenesque acid keyboard, has devoted her last five Times columns to excoriating the Pope. And rightly so.
The Pope is an criminal accessory to child rape, and should be spending his days trying to make these children and their families whole, and not dismissing child molestation as “petty gossip” spread by Jews in New York.
[By the way the journal Politics Daily, and the victims group SNAP, the Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests, deserve acclaim for their humanism, eloquence and compassion in the face of continuing stonewalling and lack of compassion from the Vatican.]
The Catholic Church remains a bigoted institution dedicated to the oppression of women, gays and child sexual abuse victims. Writes Dowd:
How could such spirited women, smart and successful on every other level, acquiesce in their own subordination [in Saudi Arabia]? I was puzzling over that one when it hit me: As a Catholic woman, I was doing the same thing.
I, too, belonged to an inbred and wealthy men’s club cloistered behind walls and disdaining modernity.
I, too, remained part of an autocratic society that repressed women and ignored their progress in the secular world.
I, too, rationalized as men in dresses allowed our religious kingdom to decay and to cling to outdated misogynistic rituals, blind to the benefits of welcoming women’s brains, talents and hearts into their ancient fraternity.
To circumscribe women, Saudi Arabia took Islam’s moral codes and orthodoxy to extremes not outlined by Muhammad; the Catholic Church took its moral codes and orthodoxy to extremes not outlined by Jesus. In the New Testament, Jesus is surrounded by strong women and never advocates that any woman — whether she’s his mother or a prostitute — be treated as a second-class citizen.
Negating women is at the heart of the church’s hideous — and criminal — indifference to the welfare of boys and girls in its priests’ care. Lisa Miller writes in Newsweek’s cover story about the danger of continuing to marginalize women in a disgraced church that has Mary at the center of its founding story:
‘In the Roman Catholic corporation, the senior executives live and work, as they have for a thousand years, eschewing not just marriage, but intimacy with women … not to mention any chance to familiarize themselves with the earthy, primal messiness of families and children.’ No wonder that, having closed themselves off from women and everything maternal, they treated children as collateral damage, a necessary sacrifice to save face for Mother Church.
And the sins of the fathers just keep coming. On Friday, The Associated Pressbroke the latest story pointing the finger of blame directly at Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, quoting from a letter written in Latin in which he resisted pleas to defrock a California priest who had sexually molested children.
As the longtime Vatican enforcer, the archconservative Ratzinger — now Pope Benedict XVI — moved avidly to persecute dissenters. But with molesters, he was plodding and even merciful.