The Catholic Church and Its Little Child-Rape Problem

Ummm, let me get this straight. The Vatican, having concluded that priests raping children is both a sin and a crime, is now wrestling with whether or not to institute a zero-tolerance policy for child rape? As opposed to what? All in favor of “three-strikes-and-you’re-out” raise your hands? Okay, now everybody that thinks we should pass out seven year-old boys as ordination gifts?

Check this, hot off the wires from CNN.com:

“U.S. cardinals said they will recommend a special process to dismiss any priest who has ‘become notorious and is guilty of the serial, predatory, sexual abuse of minors’.”

“Notorious,” huh? Sounds like a euphemism for, “embarrassed us by getting caught.” And what about that other part: “serial, predatory, sexual abuse of minors.” Doesn’t “serial” suggest that you have to rape several children before it really becomes an issue? And if I want to get really critical, I’d note the use of the word “and” where I’d much prefer an “or.” As in, rape as many little boys as you can catch so long as you don’t incur any bad press?

I mean, Jesus H. Christ, what in the hell is going on in Vatican City?

The Catholic Church has a monster-sized credibility problem, and it’s getting worse by the day. The fact that the Pope didn’t instantly issue a one-strike-and-we-feed-your-ass-to-the-cops policy is all you really need to know. That Boston’s Cardinal Law is still in office is as nasty a piece of evidence as you could hope for if you were litigating the institution in a court of law (and while we’re on the subject of judgment, I’d love to be there on the Final Day when JP2 and Law get to explain their thinking on this one to the Lord Almighty, who, if I can believe the Christian version of the spirit world, I’m sure has pedophilia filed in the “B,” drawer, along with the rest of the “Burn in Hell for All Eternity” folders).

I’m not going to set myself up as the final arbiter of what’s Good and Righteous in the Universe or anything, but I think most people – including nearly all members of the steadily dwindling Catholic flock – would agree with me that if you have to stop and deliberate over what to do when your holy representatives start peeling the pants off their altar boys, then there’s something pathologically wrong with you. Rehabilitation of pedophiles may be a worthy goal (despite evidence showing how very rarely it actually happens), but it’s a goal properly pursued in your life as a former priest, the first 25 years of which are ideally conducted in the state penitentiary.

In the interests of full disclosure, I’m not a Catholic and am not a Christian, and further, I have profound issues with the evil the Church has perpetrated over the past several millennia. However, I respect the spiritual devotion of the millions of people who rely on the teachings of Jesus Christ to guide them toward better and more meaningful lives. For this reason, my disgust with the corrupt political leaders of the Church is tempered with a grave sadness.

So while I’m not exactly crusading to destroy Catholicism, John Paul II and the College of Cardinals should understand that even if I were could hardly do a better job of it than they’re doing themselves.

And a word of advice to Cardinal Law and all the Church’s child-raping priests and former priests: tonight, hit your knees and pray, pray hard, that there’s not really a Hell.

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