Calhoun's Cannons for March 5, 2013
The worst crimes were dared by a few, willed by more, and tolerated by all.
In a just world, every Catholic and non-molesting priest and nun in the world would walk out of the church doors and stay out until the former head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith agrees to start a publicly transparent, world-wide investigation and open the child abuse files.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith has the complete paper record of the systematic cover-up by the church of molesting priests and the decades-long obstruction of justice. So The Congregation is uniquely suited for just such an investigation both because it has all the evidence in those files (which it kept buried for years) and because it has conducted many, many such investigations to root out sin and sinners throughout Europe. After all, in the 16th century, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which was also known as The Inquisition, was a very effective tool to root out and punish the wicked. Plus, as an added bonus in seeing justice done, the former head of the Congregation, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the man who knew all the secrets for years, is now Pope Benedict XVI.
Who better than the one man with access to all the evidence and the power to see that justice is finally done?
You're laughing. Yes, of course. The days of righteousness in a religious organization that has systematically corrupted itself from the lowliest priest up to bejeweled and red-shoe clad Pope himself is over. Instead, as a template of behavior, we have to settle for the arrogant Cardinal Mahony, proud master of the enormous, glittering Los Angeles Cathedral that looms over the number 10 freeway.
For years, Mahony fought a rear-guard action to protect priests, protect the documents, all the smoking guns while making conciliatory noises in public. Until a recent court ruling by a courageous judge forced the church to disgorge the beans. Twelve thousand pages worth of beans, now posted for all to see, names named, paper trails heading through Mahony, up the line and straight for the Vatican. The public stench got so bad that even though Mahony had recently been retired with all honors to a nice cushy life, still a priest in good standing (?), his superior, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez, felt he had to publicly censure his predecessor.
Did Mahony acknowledge his sin and slink away to spend the rest of his life in humble and sincere atonement, perhaps working anonymously in some poverty-stricken corner of the globe as penance for his sins? He did not. Instead, he went to his blog to whine about being unfairly picked on, defend his record of being in the forefront of the reforms (while his lawyers battled behind the scenes for years to keep the real record hidden), and then go on to reproach the reproaching Archbishop Gomez by reminding him that even Gomez ignored the issue for years himself. It was all whining pots and finger-pointing kettles in a filthy kitchen that stank to high heaven.
So much for righteousness. So much for accountability. So much for justice when all the chickens have been eaten and the feathers buried deep in Vatican vaults, safe -- for now -- from secular law by means of a claim of sovereign "statehood" for themselves, a dubious "statehood" crafted out of a special deal Pope Pius XI cut with the fascist dictator, Mussolini in 1929.
Well, lay down with dawgs, git up with fleas. In a just world, this structurally and internally infested cur would be brought to heel. But we don't live in a just world. We live in a world of perverted power, self-serving omerta, corrupting money, corroding apathy, fierce superstition and fear, all bending the arc of justice away from heaven.
Jesus surely weeps, but on this issue, only the Catholic laity and the non-molesting priests and nuns have the power to stop the need for His tears. There is the front door of the church. It only takes one step.