Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Thoughts on the Pope's Resignation

Hello Reader,

In case you haven't heard, on Monday, February 11 2013, Pope Benedictus XVI announced that he will be resigning his position effective at the end of the month. Basically he says he doesn't have the physical and mental faculties necessary to carry out his responsibilities anymore. More info can be found here:

In 2010, for the first time in history, the catholic church made a statement about the sex scandals running amok internally. For the first (and only) statement ever made to address the problem, I was left feeling very unsatisfied. Even as a non-catholic, I found the response (in the form of this letter) conspicuously lacking in terms of punishment of known offenders or definitive calls to action. In honor of the resignation of the pope, I am reposting my 2010 response to the pope's address of the sex scandal(s) plaguing the church. Please, feel free to comment.

Pierre Miller


This is my response to a friend asking what I meant when I said that the pope played politics in his letter to Irish Catholics abuse victims.

Here's how I see it: The pope had an opportunity to speak out to the world and promise stern punishment for those involved in the sex abuse problem running rampant all over the world. What did he do?

He targeted it to Irish Catholics. Dumb question: Why did he only address it to Ireland? This has been happening worldwide!

Secondly, what is worse (in my opinion): Was there any "This will not be tolerated, the guilty parties will be  rooted out and punished to the fullest extent of the laws in the countries where the crimes were committed?" No.

Mr. Ratzinger said everything in his power in that letter EXCEPT words to that effect. That is what I meant by "playing politics". I read that letter. I saw [the] pope walking onto the world stage carrying a palm full of empathy when every one of those families needed him to be carrying an iron fist. If I were catholic, I would definitely say that I don't feel safe with the way things are handled, and he DID NOT do anything that makes me feel any safer.

He took an opportunity to address to the entire world his position on a plague running rampant through his church, and what did he do? He protected his own. He gave a big fat "I'm sorry" to all the families that have suffered at the hands of "church leadership". To me, coming from potentially the most powerful man in the world, that's just plain not good enough.

The Pierre Miller Breakdown:

"For my part, considering the gravity of these offences, and the often inadequate response to them on the part of the ecclesiastical authorities in your country…"

(Which I could totally have stopped if I decided to put my foot in it and use my position as the [human] HEAD OF THE WHOLE CHURCH to put an end to this. Make no mistake, I knew about it before I came into office. The problem was raging on for nigh 40 years or so.)

"…I have decided to write this Pastoral Letter to express my closeness to you and to propose a path of healing, renewal and reparation."

Read: I still love you, but not enough to laicize the sick priests that work for me and send them to jail.

"Real progress has been made, yet much more remains to be done."

That is to say, I COULD make some [progress], but I'm not going to right now.

Section 6: "To the victims of abuse and their families"

This whole bit doesn't even need to be there. This is the section where everyone involved wanted to hear that these sick priests were to be thrown in jail and locked up forever. What does he do? He COMPARES US TO CHRIST, then preached a little sermon about Christ's experience. That is called passing the buck. He tried to pass our outrage into the shared experience of all Christians.

"Yet Christ’s own wounds, transformed by his redemptive sufferings, are the very means by which the power of evil is broken and we are reborn to life and hope."

So, XYZ boy being raped or molested at the hands of a pervert, told to lie about it, and then ignored when he confesses is like REDEMPTIVE SUFFERING? Wow, I had no idea.

"I pray that, by drawing nearer to Christ and by participating in the life of his Church…"

Oh, you mean the church you mentioned above that I am now terrified to enter? Okay.

" – a Church purified by penance and renewed in pastoral charity – "

Uh-huh. Purified? Really?

"you will come to rediscover Christ’s infinite love for each one of you. I am confident that in this way you will be able to find reconciliation, deep inner healing and peace."

Allow me to translate:

Rather than taking punitive action against the evil men who work for me, I offer you this advice: If you look hard enough into the deep well of love that is Jesus our Christ, you will be filled with beautiful feelings of hope and peace that will override all your pain, fear, mistrust and outrage IF AND ONLY IF:

You can summon the courage to  get your ass back through the door after being terrified out of it by those overzealous pederasts we mentioned earlier.

I don't know about you, but that sure feels like a slap in the face.
Section 7. "To priests and religious who have abused children."

I looked really hard through those ten sentences for some mention of punishment or excommunication, or something, but all I got was a "You should be very sorry. Now, pray and go apologize please."

If I assaulted a 12 year old boy or girl, would I get that same sort of lenience and protection?

How might the parent of that 12 year old child feel, If all that happened to me was that I gave a (heartfelt) prayer and an "I'm sorry?" Relieved, huh? Thought so.

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