OK, so this is supposed to be an education blog, but you know what? I am going to write a special mini-rant.
This post is about the pope, and how I don’t understand the controversy surrounding his visit. No that doesn’t mean I’m a defensive Catholic, in fact I’m talking about how I don’t understand the notion that the pope’s visit can be defended.
Let’s start with the biggest case against the pope – that of child abuse. This isn’t some internal Catholic scandal of some sort, where the pope’s judgement where it comes to doctrine is called into question, it’s not that he has turned out to be a shoplifter, it’s child abuse, the Pope’s attempt to cover it up and his failure to kick out priests who committed it or to take sufficient preventative action. It’s not even one single isolated case of child abuse. It’s spread across the Church. And when priests were found to have committed abuse, they were in some cases moved to other churches where they reoffended. Some estimates say that up to 9% of clerics could be implicated in the scandal. Further to this, we know that attempts were made to prevent the reporting of these incidents to the police for the good of the church. Yet this is a matter of law. Does the church come above the law? Does it come above the children who were abused?
Pope Ratzinger not only has failed to act sufficiently against the problem, he has made child abuse a crime equivalent to the ordination of women. How can anyone with any sense possibly defend this? The empowerment of women is a crime as great as child abuse, according to the Pope. Further to this are his approach to condoms, to gay people, to important scientific research … The list goes on, and frankly, how anyone can think he should be welcomed into our country is beyond me.
Catholics seem to think they are being victimised by secularists and atheists, but in truth all that is happening is that we are reflecting our desire to save lives (of those in Africa dying because of the Pope’s refusal to allow the use of condoms), to prevent discrimination (against gay people and women) and to see justice done (when it comes to the child abuse). Are these really anti-Catholic values? A desire to protect life, prevent discrimination and see justice done? People on the whole seem to think the notion of the pope going on trial ludicrous, but underlying this seems to be an implicit belief that the powerful should be less subject to the rule of law than others. The question is not who they are, but whether or not they broke any laws, and when it comes to the child abuse on the sack that has happened, there is surely a case to answer.
Those who oppose the Pope’s state-funded visit are pro-justice. It’s as simple as that.