Thursday, January 6, 2011

In Defense of the Pope

As every year, Vicar of Christ and lightning enthusiast Pope Benedict delivered his Christmas address to a crowd of thousands of genuflecting fanboys this past December 25th. In addition to the expected rhetoric about peace, championing of the struggles of repressed Christians, and shout-outs to his homies aus den Hood, the Pontiff made controversial remarks about pedophilia. 

The Pope, as most celibate and therefore highest authority on all sexual matters, determines policy and stance toward the molestation scandal but rarely comments directly. As if channeling his own South Park parody, the Pontiff said that pedophilia was normal back in the 70's and not considered "evil" and that nothing was. A quick look around the blogosphere registered the secular internet's outrage:

Belfast Telegraph: Pope’s child porn 'normal' claim sparks outrage among victims Vatican Christmas Shocker! Pope says child rape isn't that bad, was normal back in his day Sinead O'Connor demands answers over Pope's child abuse comments quoted the speech as follows: "In the 1970s, paedophilia was theorised as something fully in conformity with man and even with children," the Pope said. "It was maintained - even within the realm of Catholic theology - that there is no such thing as evil in itself or good in itself. There is only a 'better than' and a 'worse than'. Nothing is good or bad in itself."

This all sounds pretty monstrous and the anger is understandable, right?

I find your lack of faith socially maladaptive.

The Pope is most definitely not defending or even equivocating about child molestation. The quotes are cherry picked. According to Reuters his message, "called for Catholics to do everything in their power to end the suffering of abused children. Let us think of those chidlren who are victims of the industry of pornography and every other appalling form of abuse and thus are traumatized to the depth of their soul." Here is the Reuter's news clip.

The Pope cites moral relativism as a cause of the problem, not a justification for it. This is wrongheaded of course. The rest of the world outside the church is always to blame for the Vatican's problems somehow, and here he blames secularism. He isn't strictly wrong about the relativism. Starting in the 40's, if not earlier, the idea that ethical values are arbitrary cultural bric a brac indeed gained significant popularity. This kind of relativism can't really be found anymore, not even on a liberal campus such as ours. This notwithstanding, the very notion that religious authority will correct our depraved secular culture is about as wrong as it gets. It has always been secularizing culture that has stemmed the abuse and privations of tyrants, religious and otherwise.

It's the tone of the response that bothers me. It is disturbing when the people who pride themselves on their literacy, IQ, and critical thinking skills forsake them so completely over an opportunity to bash a sinister foe. Intelligence and education should be tools to make tomorrow brighter, but without honesty and vigilance, they're just blunt weapons to service your hostility. 


Bob said...

It would certainty help his case if it was the relativists that were doing the bulk of the child raping.

But no, Ratzi's priest friends made sure that the strongest moral absolutists were also the most depraved.

Until allegations against the worlds socialist, atheist and liberal groups start coming out, he should just keep apologizing and accepting blame.

Anonymous said...

It would help your cause to read the paragraph before it in which he basically is saying - conditions today are similar for the same sexual attitudes that helped promote not only the activity but the blind eye to it. You can't keep harping at the man that he isn't trying to stop it when his words don't meet the message you want to hear. But it's not about that for you is it?

Edward Clint said...

anon I did read it and I still am puzzled by your comment. Conditions today, are that the child rape issue has never, ever had so much coverage and overt anger from the masses. Conditions today are people are informed and shocked and leaving the church in droves for that reason. Conditions today are priests are in jail that would have skated (and did skate) 30 years ago. What magical previous time was somehow better in terms of getting this problem exposed and dealt with?

Edward Clint said...

Well said, Bob.

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