Sunday, February 3, 2013
There are three things on my mind this morning. One is the Super Bowl. I hate football and have no interest in beast-like men who earn millions of dollars smashing into each other so hard that a good percentage of them get dementia before their time, although I did enjoy the Volkswagon commercial that Angella posted on her blog.
The second thing is the headlines in The Los Angeles Times and probably a gazillion other papers, recounting the misdeeds (that everyone knew about) of Cardinal Mahoney, the blood-curdling details of his craven cover-up of pedophile priests under his watch. I went on the site bishop-accountibility-org which documents the abuse crisis in the Roman Catholic Church and scrolled through the 260 priests that were either accused, convicted or otherwise investigated in Los Angeles alone over the last thirty or so years and just sat there, my mouth open. Evidently, the current archbishop of Los Angeles made the unprecedented move yesterday of publicly shaming the Cardinal, although Mahoney was not stripped of his duties as a priest. The whole thing boggles the mind and shrinks the soul, and I sound righteous but every single person who sits in a Catholic church pew this beautiful sunny morning in Los Angeles is complicit if they don't demand that Mahoney be censured and stripped of performing his sacred duties. Someone on my Facebook page wrote a literal treatise comparing today's football game and why he's watching it despite neither team being his with his love of and proud membership in the Catholic Church. He wrote about Mahoney and he wrote about forgiveness and right about then, I deleted him from my page.
The third thing I'm thinking about is the Japanese action of hara-kiri, a kind of ritualized suicide practiced by defeated samurai and meant as atonement. My memories of hara-kiri are from my childhood and sort of cartoon-like -- the grossly shamed Japanese guy takes a knife and plunges it into his stomach and then pushes it upward toward the heart and then pulls it out as he dies. That business executives did it as late as 1999, carrying on a tradition that hearkens back to the 12th century, just makes the head spin. Evidently, killing oneself in such a brutal manner also demonstrated enormous psychological courage and was a way of winning back some honor even in defeat. Cardinal Mahoney and the countless other heads of church, including Pope Benedict and the supposedly saint-like John Paul, have not an ounce of psychological courage or integrity. I imagine forgiveness comes, first, inside one's heart where divine Love resides. Those men who protected their own and continue to do so at the expense of children whose lives have been irrevocably damaged, haven't even the decency to divest themselves of their power as priests and live quiet lives of atonement. Cardinal Mahoney will sit in his red, red robes and pointy hat in Rome with the other Cardinals, good Catholics will shake their heads and continue to drop donations into the basket passed by earnest parishioners, perhaps a little shakier in their beliefs but telling themselves that the traditions of the glorious Church to which they belong trump the most heinous acts of their leaders.
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The thing about those priests protecting pedophile priests is they can only do that if the true horror of those ravaged young lives escapes them. Its as if they don't really consider the abuse to be that bad or maybe not that real and that absolutely horrifiea and confounds me.ReplyDelete
It makes me sad that there are institutions that eschew honor in favor of entitlement and do it so flagrantly. Whether or not these men have an ounce of integrity or courage will probably never be known, given that the cloak of entitlement they wear is impenetrable. They are by no means the only group that has this dynamic, but they are perhaps the most visible right now. I remain wary of any institution who maintains a bold separation from those whom it is meant to serve because it can only lead to incidents like this.ReplyDelete
I think about the New Yorker article which talked about the number of men in prison for child sexual abuse who have perhaps never touched a child but who had downloaded child porn or perhaps taken part in pedophilia chat room conversations. Now. I am CERTAINLY not condoning such behavior BUT how is it even possible that we have this double standard? it's all so weird and confusing and there is no justice. There is, however, the certainty that these priests covered up the acts of other priests who destroyed lives upon lives. Period. The end. And by god (which I do not even think I believe in) they should suffer the consequences.ReplyDelete
As to the Super Bowl- are the Rolling Stones playing half time? Or Bruce Springsteen? No? Well then, forget it.
That's such an important thing to point out, and I hadn't thought about how weird and confusing it is. I just read an astounding piece of journalism in The New York Times about child pornography and the internet. I just had no idea. Here's the link: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/27/magazine/how-much-can-restitution-help-victims-of-child-pornography.html?ref=pornographyandobscenity&_r=1&Delete
People need to wake up about this...it is not only the Catholic Church..it is everywhere..schools, youth groups..anywhere there are children. What I think people do not want to believe is that this is why pedophiles gravitate to these professions...because access to children is so plentiful...makes me sick to my stomach! and then some...Shrinks the soul is a good way to put it.ReplyDelete
Eloquently written. 260 in LA alone? It's unthinkable, but we have to think about it, don't we?ReplyDelete
Go Niners!!!! I'm born and bred in beautiful San Francisco!!ReplyDelete
so disturbing! as i read your posts i always walk away with the knowledge that i am SHAMEFULLY ill-informed on the world. thank God you are here to make me think and encourage me to open my eyes to the world a bit more...ReplyDelete
Not sure of the reason for the conflicting reports, but NPR is reporting that Mahony was stripped of his duties.ReplyDelete
Not that that makes anything any better, really.
Mahoney was not stripped of all of his duties: he is still a priest in good standing who can, as a Cardinal, still vote for the Pope. The great journalist Steve Lopez had this to say of it all today: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0203-lopez-mahony-20130203,0,612758.columnDelete
Mahoney is being "relieved of public duties" as punishment by the current Archbishop of Los Angeles.Delete
Nothing but agreement from me...Mahoney was somewhat demoted, big deal; our Bernie Law (Boston) from whom the cover-up unraveled in Boston in 2002 actually went to Rome (probably to prevent his prosecution) and was given a promotion. Olde B16 talked about the filth in the Church but is silent as his drones are outed one by one. Makes me want to vomit....they should both be in jail.ReplyDelete
This has nothing to do with the excellent points you make, but the correct spelling of the Japanese ritual suicide is 'hara-kiri', better known within Japan as 'seppuku'. If you want to fix your typo and delete this message you are welcome to do so.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Anonymous. I actually saw it spelled both ways online, and I didn't check which one was correct. I am familiar with seppuku, too, but the other term carries more weight for some inane reason from my childhood. In any case, seppuku seens like a reasonable outcome for Mahoney and his apologists.Delete
Oh indeed E., I work for an organisation called Child Wise which works toward reducing and preventing child sexual abuse, child sex trafficking, and child sex tourism in Australia and Asia. I am sickeningly all too aware of the prevalence toward child sexual abuse and its cover-ups within the Catholic Church. Our statistics indicate that there is more abuse within the Catholic Church than within all other organizations and churches combined! We are experiencing something of a revolution in Australia where public sentiment encouraged our government to launch a large-scale royal commission into allegations of child sexual abuse and cover-up in community, state, and church organizations. Australia is only the second western country (after Ireland) to launch an inquiry of this breadth and with the potential for public scrutiny and criminal action. It is a light being shone on a very very dark place. I hope you can take some small comfort.ReplyDelete