Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Dowd Hits Nail on Head Today

Once in awhile, New York Times Op/Ed columnist Maureen Dowd stops trying to be cute, funny and controversial and gets to the heart of the matter. This morning was one of those times. “I’m a Catholic woman who makes a living being adversarial,” she said. “We have a pope who has instructed Catholic women not to be adversarial...I’ve been wondering, given the vitriolic reaction of the New York archbishop to my column defending nuns and the dismissive reaction of the Vatican to my column denouncing the church’s response to the pedophilia scandal, if they are able to take a woman’s voice seriously. Some, like Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, seem to think women are trying to undermine the church because of abortion and women’s ordination...I thought they might respond better to a male Dowd. “My brother Kevin is conservative and devout — his hobby is collecting crèches — and has raised three good Catholic sons. When I asked him to share his thoughts on the scandal, I learned, shockingly, that we agreed on some things. He wrote the following: ‘In pedophilia, the church has unleashed upon itself a plague that threatens its very future, and yet it remains in a curious state of denial. The church I grew up in was black and white, no grays. That’s why my father, an Irish immigrant, liked it so much. The chaplain of the Police and Fire departments told me once “Your father was a fierce Catholic, very fierce”.’” Ms Dowd goes on to describe her feelings about Vatican II, (and, incidentally, her feelings about being molested by a priest). Vatican II made her wince, she says. “(It) liberalized rules but left the most outdated one: celibacy. That vow was put in place originally because the church did not want heirs making claims on money and land. But it ended up shrinking the priest pool and producing the wrong kind of candidates — drawing men confused about their sexuality who put our children in harm’s way. “The church is dying from a thousand cuts. Its cover-up has cost a fortune and been a betrayal worthy of Judas. The money spent came from social programs, Catholic schools and the poor. This should be a sin that cries to heaven for vengeance. I asked a friend of mine recently what he would do if his child was molested after the church knew. ‘I would probably kill someone,’ he replied. “We must reassess. Married priests and laypeople giving the sacraments are not going to destroy the church. Based on what we have seen the last 10 years, they would be a bargain. It is time to go back to the disciplines that the church was founded on and remind our seminaries and universities what they are. (Georgetown University agreeing to cover religious symbols on stage to get President Obama to speak was not exactly fierce.) “The storm within the church strikes at what every Catholic fears most. We take our religion on faith. How can we maintain that faith when our leaders are unworthy of it?” And therein lies a very big problem in the Vatican. How do you insist that people acknowledge their sins for the good of their souls; how do you insist that rigor in ones’ daily life and adhering to rules is the only way to live; how do you point to yourselves as the ultimate authority on Christian morality when you--the College of Cardinals and the Pope—refuse to acknowledge your culpability, shield yourselves from blame, point your fingers at victims as the cause of your predicament, tell lies every day, cower behind spurious reasoning, cast yourselves as sufferers, and cynically aid and abet criminals in the hollow claim that you are being forgiving? Not only is it not possible to keep the faith when leaders are false, but also, the leaders cannot remain in power. They can remain situated, but not in power.

1 comment:

Barry Schwartz said...
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