Stood outside the church that dominates the plaza and watched people stroll out, the sunny Good Friday afternoon heat making some of them wince. I was there to ask a simple question: What should the Pope do about the sex abuse cases of children in the Catholic Church?
Although some of My Brethren object to this statement, citing numbers, the fact is that Puerto Rico is still dominated by the Catholic Church in terms of its moral sense and traditions. No religious leader carries the respect the Pope has, and though John Paul II was worlds more popular than the current Benedict XVI, he still garners a lot of local attention.
Another reason I'm asking the question is because We are so insular in outlook. To Us, Puerto Rico is 80% of world news, the U.S of part of A. is 19% (some would reverse those numbers) and the rest of the planet--that vague "out there"--is 1%. How many people would know what I'm talking about? Or care?
And why do I care? Because the sex abuse cases involving priests are an institutional problem going back decades (if not centuries) and the current Pope, the supposed moral leader of a moral institution, is directly linked to numerous cover-ups of these cases. When that happens elsewhere, someone's going to jail with a vengeance. When it happens in the Catholic Church, it's business as usual.
So I asked. The first targets (that's what they are, really) were a couple in their late 50s, or early 60s, holding hands. She frowned, he shook his head. "There's a lot of people who want to hurt the (Catholic) Church," he said, tugging his wife away. My second salvo was aimed at one woman, but three others heard it and reacted visibly, as if I had farted. The lady I spoke to said she didn't pay attention to "news like that," while a woman behind her said "That shouldn't be talked about."
I made another few attempts and people heard Me, but didn't say anything. Their Good Friday mood, whatever it was, only got quieter. The last answer was from a man who turned away from Me and talked over his shoulder: "It's time to talk about other things."
When adults in positions of authority, so-called moral leaders of Our communities, break that trust and break the law to harm children, the only talk there should be is about evidence, trials and jail sentences. The number of cases and the historical record show that sinners have sinned repeatedly, frequently, consistently and wantonly, all under the protection of hypocrisy. The "Church" has no right whatsoever--none at all--to excuse their own for lapses of judgment, morality and honesty and simply sweep crimes against children under a rug of sanctimonious bullshit.
Ignoring the problem is just as bad. It allows the predators on children and their two-faced protectors to flourish. For an evil to end, action must be taken, whether it's in the neighborhood or a church. No one is above the law. To act otherwise is to victimize children over and over again by showing them that the morality unctuously preached by the church is empty, that it is--to coin a phrase--a cardinal's sin. And a bishop's, priest's and Pope's.
The Jenius Has Spoken.
[Update--5 April 2010: John Paul II knew about the sexual abuse of some 2,000 boys. Of course he wasn't innocent, but this won't derail his path to sainthood one iota.]
[Update--6 April 2010: A humorous/spot-on-target take on this whole Pope-as-pedophile-enabler business.]
[Update--9 April 2010: Then-cardinal Rat-zinger--heh-heh--caught in signed proof that he did try to cover up or deter priests being investigated for pedophilia. And because I simply couldn't help Myself: A teacher, a principal and a priest are running out of a burning school. The teacher cries "What about the kids?" The principal shouts back "Screw the kids!" The priest stops and asks "Do you think we have time?"]
[Update--28 April 2010: Tape of a Brazilian priest raping a child goes viral in the streets of that country. What does the priest say when confronted with the evidence: "I can only tell my confessor any sin of mine. I don’t need to admit or deny.” At this point, raping a priest is beginning to sound like a potential option...]
[Update: 27 July 2010: Then again, it could be worse: priest apparently drowns a baby during baptism.]
[Update: 11 February 2012: Some 200 priests suspected of sexual abuse are living freely in California communities. “Many if not all these priests have admitted to sexual abuse..." One more quote from the article in the U.S. News section of MSNBC.com: "(The priest) would rape me and then say this is what God’s love feels like..." At least the kid-fucking priest didn't break a Commandment...]