Monday, April 12, 2010

A purely legal question III

Much as I would like to, I cannot deny that I am a Catholic. And there is little or nothing in the Catholic theology that I take issue with. I have no qualm with the transsubstantiation, the devotion to Mary, or other theological tenets that are uniquely Catholic. Political tenets like Papal Infallibility are another matter. But after all, to break Canon Law is not a sin, and to find fault with the Catholic hierarchy is neither blasphemous nor heretical.

So on theological grounds, there is little or nothing I have ever said or written that makes me a bad Catholic. To point out that a pontiff is an imperfect human being is the only conclusion that a sane, rational human being can draw.

That will not stop the fanatics from declaring that anyone who criticizes a pope, cardinal, bishop, or priest is "evil" and that the "devil" is behind it. I suggest, instead, that the devil is behind the fanatics who defend or enable any child molester. As I have said: I am the father of two beautiful boys, with a third on the way. An organization that systematically enables child molestation is a corrupt organization. And any organization that does business in a land must follow the laws of that land. So we return, again, to the purely legal question: are these corporations, these archdioceses, going to follow or not going to follow the law?

The evidence is mounting that Cardinal Ratzinger absolutely, positively knew about these molesters. If there is a meeting about the reassignment of a molester-priest, and you are the chair of the meeting, I suggest that you knew about it. If you receive a letter about a priest who has plead no contest to molestations charges, and you respond to that letter, I suggest that you knew about it. To say otherwise defies all logic and intelligence. And the evidence will show that John Paul II knew some things, as well.

I knew an alleged child molester once. At the time, I honestly didn't know. I was in my late teens – 16, 17, 18 – and so the person in question had no interest whatsoever in me. (Sad to say, it was because I was much too old for him.) Though on occasion he would make statements that I thought were sort of strange, he was a musician, and I was a musician, and we talked incessantly about music, little else. I attended numerous of his concerts. He was a great and positive musical influence on me. To this day, many of my musical ideas and ideals more closely resemble his than they do that of my actual teachers. Then one day, I received a phone call that this man committed suicide. And rumors began to spread that the reason for the suicide was the threat of a lawsuit by a set of angry parents.

Undeterred (and a little rebellious by nature), I continued to sing the praises of this musician. Why not? As far as I knew, there was no sex act involved – only a slight indiscretion with, so I believed, one boy. Later, more rumors surfaced. I began to put the pieces together that, apparently, the indiscretion was not unique. Apparently, most every job he ever had ended with a similarly embarrassing incident. Never a lawsuit. Never an allegation (that I know of) of an actual sex act. But always an indiscretion.

I do not believe that this man, this very great musician, ever performed a sex act with a boy, or with anyone. He was not "that" dangerous. Still, as a parent, I implore other parents to be very aware of this psychological disease. And it is no longer a secret that said disease is rampant in the Catholic Church. If Ratzinger wants to "consider the good of the Universal Church" (to quote his aforementioned 1985 letter), he will be totally honest, with himself and with the world.