Monday, June 1, 2009

Rome, Pedophile Priests and The Sacrament of Confession

I haven't been blogging at all lately, and there's a reason for that. Divorce is seldom a one time event, especially when there are children involved. Disputes don't end when the marriage ends, they continue and at times they can be time consuming. Especially when individuals are combative and litigious.

Something I've been meaning to write about for a while is the issue of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic Priests, specifically the abuse inflicted on children.

We've all been horrified by the stories, of these men in their priestly collars preying on innocent youth...and how the church did nothing to protect the victims. Not only did the Roman Catholic authorities do nothing to protect the victims, they actually abetted in further abuse by moving these sick priests around to different parishes, actually putting even more kids at risk.

One of the sacraments of the Roman Catholic faith is that of confession, wherein an individual tells a priest the sins he or she has committed. We've all heard the oft recited bromide 'confession is good for the soul', but I would challenge the wisdom of that statement if it is a child confessing their sins to a pedophile priest.

I doubt there are any individuals who can honestly state that they've never committed a sin, or done something about which they are ashamed, and that holds especially true for children. When I was around 8 years of age I stole a yo-yo from a friend of mine, and I remember feeling horribly guilty about it. Had I confessed that to a priest I would have been handing him a great deal of power, and power in the hands of a pedophile is an extremely dangerous commodity.

The children who have been victimized, and perhaps continue to be victimized, are held hostage by shame. Shame of what's been done to them certainly, but also I strongly suspect by the power a priest holds over the victim. When you shame yourself in front of another individual there is the potential for that person to exert control over you. If you're an adult you're better equipped to understand the dynamic, but if you're a child...that power can be abused, and in the case of pedophile priests we know it has been abused.

Given that Roman Catholics profess to follow the teachings of Jesus I will fall back on a familiar Christian teaching. Jesus taught his followers that no good tree gives off bad fruit, and no bad tree gives off good fruit. "Ye shall no them by their fruit", as it says in Matthew.

The fruit of the Roman Catholic Church is its priesthood, and it is on display for all the world to see. If the fruit is rotten then so is the tree, you don't need to read Frank McCourt's "Angela's Ashes" to see that.

Any parent who willingly allows their child to go into a confessional, in my mind they are exercising extremely poor judgement. A parent's job is to protect their child whenever possible, and to warn them of potential dangers. If that means telling children that a priest is just a man, as prone to sin as anyone else, then so be it. Rome has shown it has zero regard for protecting the children of their faith, that task must be left to the parents.

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