Revolution #198, April 11, 2010
On the scandal in the Catholic Church:
The Child Molestation, the Double Cover-Up... and the Morality We Need
In the U.S., Germany, Africa, and many other places massive numbers of small children and vulnerable teenagers were sexually molested and often raped by Catholic priests—with some of these priests carrying out these crimes for decades.
The Catholic Church reacted by covering up the crimes, silencing and often further persecuting the victims who came forward (sometimes using the police to do this), and all the while protecting the accused priests. In some cases, the Church authorities knowingly reassigned these priests to work with children and youth somewhere else. The scandal of this cover-up reaches to the highest offices of the Church. And now, to add insult to injury, some high-ranking members of the church hierarchy and their defenders claim to be the victims in this matter!
But there is a second cover-up going on, and it concerns the causes of these crimes, and what they are connected to. In short, these crimes are not a departure from the morality promoted by the Catholic Church, but a concentration of it.
Think about it:
What kind of morality creates a climate where people in authority can molest and rape children, in some cases hundreds of children over decades, and then are protected when these horrible crimes come to light?
The same morality that justifies an institution using its great power to ban abortion or, where abortion is legal, to sponsor fanatical movements that harass and attack women who attempt to exercise their rights. It’s the same morality that justifies banning birth control and preventing education in safe sexual practices, thereby condemning millions to death. It’s the same morality that justifies banning divorce, often locking some women into lifetimes of abuse or just loveless drudgery with no way out. It’s the same morality that demonizes gay people and prevents them from exercising basic rights like getting married.
The Yiddish language, spoken by the Jewish people of Europe, has a word for it: "Chutzpah." Chutzpah means unbridled, unmitigated gall. The textbook example was the man who murdered both his parents, then threw himself on the mercy of the court—because he was an orphan.
On Good Friday, speaking right before the Pope, a Vatican spokesman compared criticism of the Church to anti-Semitism, that is, hatred of Jews. Now let’s be clear: the Catholic Church sanctified the persecution and outright murder of Jewish people for centuries, based on the myths and lies of the Catholic Bible. Not to be flippant about a matter of real horror, but when it comes to anti-Semitism, the Catholic Church literally "wrote the book on it." And we are not just talking about the ancient past, either. Officials in the Catholic Church, including the Pope, colluded in or at least remained silent in the face of the attempted final extermination of Europe’s Jews in World War 2. Now this same institution dares to equate the valid and, if anything, far too mild verbal criticism of its officials for systematically protecting and enabling the rapists of children with the centuries of persecution and murder that culminated in the paroxysm of killing six million Jews—a crime in which they themselves are soaked in blood.
The ONLY connection between the rapists of children and the persecution and murder of the Jews is the religious institution complicit in both—the Catholic Church itself.
What kind of morality?
The same morality that deems women to be inferior—whose "holy scripture" commands the submission of women to men and the limitation of their essential social role to bearing and rearing children. For example:
Let a woman learn in silence with full submission. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she is to keep silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing, provided they continue in faith and love and holiness, with modesty. (1 Timothy 2:11-15)
In short, patriarchal, male supremacist morality. And you cannot have patriarchy—which elevates and privileges the rights of males to dominate women and children in every sphere—without the kind of terrible crimes now being exposed in the Catholic Church. Such "male right" carries with it the "right" to force others to serve as tools for one’s own sexual gratification.
Additionally: you cannot have a spirit in which people who abuse authority are criticized, exposed and then prevented from further abuse when your institution is founded on a superstitious belief in magical, supernatural beings that don’t exist and blind obedience to the churchly authority which purports to speak in their name and do their will, and that institutes rituals of degradation ("the confession box") to enforce that authority.
This morality is not "peculiar" to the Catholic Church—it runs through all the main religions and is deeply woven into the ruling structures of this rotten society. The time is long past to build a movement to make revolution and put an end to that system and, as part of that, to break with its morality, and bring forward a better one—a morality that (among other things) values equality between women and men; a morality that promotes sexual relations in which both partners freely flourish and have their humanity honored, rather than relations in which one of the people involved is subordinated, degraded and all too often coerced; and a morality that values the critical spirit and critical thinking.
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