A trio of recent news items have caught my eye, and I wanted to pass them on as well as some thoughts and comments.
1. A couple weeks ago the US Conference of Catholic Bishops put out a report on the abuse cases happening here in the US. Miranda Celeste does an exceptional job of pointing out what is wrong with the report (actually, exceptional isn't a strong enough word). To sum up, they rely on limited and untrustworthy data from dubious sources, redefine "pedophilia" in order to make their percentages look better, and make numerous attempts to re-locate all the blame on other sources, such as the prevailing culture and lack of training (in how not to abuse children). In conclusion, Ms. Celeste says:
Time and time again we have seen that the Church will do whatever it takes to downplay and/or cover up their failings and crimes. They have shown their willingness to fight dirty, and one of the most useful and effective tools in their arsenal is their dominance of the discourse and conversation (both in the media and elsewhere) about these issues. The Causes and Context study is a textbook example of this: when the media reports its “takeaways” without providing context, they are, in effect, doing the Church’s face-saving dirty work for them.
Don’t shut up, even when you feel like you’re repeating yourself. It took me a while to realize that the reason I’ve sometimes been repetitive when writing about this is that the Church itself has repeated the same crimes and the same institutionally sanctioned cover-ups over and over again. They repeatedly refuse to admit their culpability or to face legal punishment when appropriate. And, most importantly, they repeatedly deny outsiders access to their files that contain information on the sexual abuse of children and the cover-ups of that abuse.
Until the day that they allow that access, until the day that the light of public scrutiny is finally able to illuminate and reveal the darkest and most disturbing aspects of the Church, we owe it to the victims to never, ever shut up.
She hits the nail on the head. And, it can not be stressed enough that the crimes of abuse are horrible, but what really gets me going is that the church has facilitated these crimes, covered up these crimes, made excuses for these crimes and cover-ups that point all the blame elsewhere instead of owning up to it, and shown no regard for their actions and made no attempt at atonement or responsibility.
2. And, speaking of abuse, one California mother thought it a good idea to slit her children's throats because of the rapture. Luckily the children were saved and she's incarcerated right now, but this illustrates quite well the real harm that such religiously derived irrational beliefs can cause to the people who uncritically accept such ridiculous beliefs.
3. But, hey, on the lighter side of things, if you ever want to go to a fun, hip, happening place to kill some babies, the Abortionplex is for you!