American Evangelicals must have been insecure again (I’m guessing over healthcare), because the Catholic Church is back in the news for all the familiar reasons. Here are some things atheists should consider before merrily jumping on board the Popebashing Express.
For one thing, most of the cases are decades old. One has to actually think about this historically from a church official’s standpoint. It has nothing to do with public image. Rather, this is a church legitimately based on forgiveness.
I have no doubt the offending priests seemed very sorry and probably even promised to never do it again. If this happened today, we would think they were idiots because hindsight is 20/20. At the time, before this pattern became apparent, it seemed an act of mercy.
There is another problem: the Catholic Church is huge. It’s the single biggest Christian sect, both nationally in US and globally. The fact is, this kind of abuse happens in other faiths, from Judaism to Protestantism to Islam. It even occurs in secular settings, such as sports. There is no “pattern,” just more cases due to the enormous size.
There is nothing structurally wrong with the Catholic Church that is somehow causing, encouraging, or allowing sexual abuse. Celibacy plays no role in the matter. Yes, the Catholic priesthood has plenty of men who may be classified as homosexual, but they’re far more likely to engage in sex with other adult men. Plenty of married Protestant pastors and Jewish Rabbis have been found guilty of molesting young boys.
None of this excuses the acts of abuse. I just think somebody should remind the atheists that Catholics are an oft maligned group. I don’t tend to mock Catholics just as I don’t tend to mock Scientologists: because I wasn’t the lazy bully who made fun of the retarded kid in class. I like a challenge: picking on the bully. “But Ginx, the Catholic Church is huge!” Quit picking on the fat kid, you fucktard.
The Catholic Church makes plenty of mistakes: discouraging condom use, opposing abortion, blah blah blah… but most Catholics are only about a 5 or 6 on the 1-10 “Annoying Scale.” I don’t need to be doing the Mormons or Evangelicals any favors by pretending their biggest competition is somehow worse than they are.
Really, what is it bothering you if you’re not Catholic, anyway? It should be Catholics who are up in arms; it’s their kids! The fact is, it’s rare. Very rare. Clearly I wasn’t. They don’t touch the ones with big mouths.
I think the lesson here is: teach your kids to speak up.