Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Parable of the Good Follower (4.5.10)

To my mind the very existence of Father Tom Doyle and his ethical decision to "stand up" for victims of sexual abuse  (interview at link above), regardless of personal cost to himself, is like a powerful modern Parable - the kind which starts out: The Kingdom of Heaven is like... And this parable points out to us the difference between "following the Lord" (= ministering to the least among us) and "following the lordly" (= kowtowing to the high and mighty, who hold the reins of worldly power while terming it "canon law").

Papal sycophants are calling down fire and brimstone on those who question the pope. And our parable points out so clearly where the pope has gone wrong: He chose the path of the "lordly" rather than the path of the "Lord". For he was unwilling to confront the hierarchy when it came to caring for the least among us - the victims of abuse and the people in the pews. He kept silent in the face of Vatican friendliness to abusers. He distanced himself from decisions which failed to honor and protect victims. He claims he was outvoted and overruled. But he failed to speak up against that! And for that there is now a public outcry and public calls for his repentance and even his indictment as part of a cover-up. He failed to cry out on behalf of victims - when the real test came, the test that would have meant his own marginalization (right alongside the marginalization of victims and lay voices).

Put to the test, Benedict failed it. He kept quiet and sided with the code of secrecy of the Vatican hierarchy. This is his failing! This is why victims and good people of faith cry out now. And will continue to cry out!

Only the one willing to risk everything in following the Lord (as Fr. Doyle has), who "serves" as Jesus did, who does not count the cost but considers the poor, the needy, the suffering is helping to bring about the Kingdom of God. And Benedict has failed - failed to honor the Kingdom and failed to build it up. And he fails to see that!!! And thus fails to repent. Yes, he should go, for he stands in the way of the coming of the Kingdom.

(Be my guest, anyone who cares to lift these words and repeat them.)

Full Disclosure:  I have been awarded a pitchfork for this post!

Courtesy of Bwakfat.



My apology to TPM regulars for waxing "theological" here, but I posted this at TPM Cafe because it will automatically be picked up by a blog where it is likely to be widely read (and disseminated) among those closely following this Vatican crisis, which places Roman Catholics in a position of having to decide "for the Reign of Holy Mystery" or for Papal Power and a domineering hierarchy.
I don't think it's out of place here TheraP. This is the same kind of ethical/moral conflict that our police and political authorities faced in the abuse crisis and mostly failed. It's the same kind of choice government officials faced with regards to Gitmo and torture and mostly failed.
I just wish when Benedict and like minded religious figures rant on and on about the culture or moral relativism that they could at least admit they are part and parcel of that culture. Until then let the Tom Doyle's of the world handle the microphones and get in front of the cameras. I've had more than my fill of the Bill Donohues and Deal Hudsons and Angelo Sodano's.
Good reminder! Yes, almost any institution tries to silence people who find out scandalous things. The moral dilemma of a whistleblower is really what this speaks to. Does the person do the right thing and blow the whistle? Knowing they may be retaliated against? Or do they bow to the pressure to keep things under wraps? Knowing they will have to live with that complicity and the danger that further damage will occur in future.
Failure to blow the whistle is what runs through this abuse crisis. That and retaliation against anyone, victim or cleric, who chose to blow it.
How the mighty stand to fall!
Theology and politics are equally worthy of discussion, regardless of whether we believe in God or Party. I love your contrast between Lord and lordly.
Though they speak in different languages, the lordly of the church and government are cut from the same cloth. In using their positions of power to serve their own private lusts, they propel the moral collapse of society.
Bless you for singing the truth to power.
Bless you too, Watt! For your words of wisdom!
Just an aside, this Watt is very good for TPMCafe!!!
Thank you Bwakfat and DD. Honored to be part of the community.
TheraP there are always heroes, heroes we forget about when the scandals come out.
The RC Church as a system just sucks, to use the vernacular. I mean when you must have proper genetalia in order to preach the religion of the Christ....something is really wrong. That is the primary reason I ignore anything this Church has to say. I am not even getting into the issues Hitchens does including the fact that it is the prime cause for millions of deaths in Africa because it preaches against birth control.
See, but you find this Father Doyle, a man who wishes to do the right thing and I have to get back into context again.
Nice little essay concerning truth to power.
Thank you for using the vernacular!
Merci for your kind and wise words, dd!
In my view it is the goodness in the heart and the hands that help and bless and hug that make all the difference this world! And legalism never makes that cut!
Peace be with you.

I love it!!!! :-)
I won't change my usual "note" but I have saved the great image! And I may use it "in" posts...
This church belongs in the Middle Ages I often think. For some reason I continue to attend sporadically. My upbringing I guess.... nostalgia.
Yet I am sickened to my core when I see the hypocrisy and cracks in the foundation, and in the trustees.
I really like that - "following the Lord or following the lordly" very good
The Pope is just being a good bureaucrat - the golden rule of bureaucracy: You don't get in trouble for not doing anything.
Doing something in a bureaucracy means to take a risk - most bureaucracies are very risk aversive - they even have risk management committees.
If you want to go far in a bureaucracy you better learn quickly the shut up and tow the line.
We expect in our religious organizations the people are called to tell the truth and not play politics - but that is far from true.
Yes, it's the bureaucratic mentality. Like the aparatchiks of the soviet era. Lots of documentation and little thinking - except follow the rules (of the day).
Let the priests marry.
Amen, brother. Amen.
Priests should never marry. But ordain married people? The Orthodox Christians: Greeks, Russian, Syrians, Serbs and etc. have never stopped letting married men become priests. They make better marriage counselors too, oddly enough.
Yours is the correct solution. Though I sympathize with how the already ordained priests would feel.
This crisis in the Vatican is nothing new, surely. Has the Roman Church never had a crisis before? Hehe.
See, I separate religiosity from faith. That is to say, i am still learning about faith, yet I can abhor religiosity. It's not about the man in a dress, it is about MY connection, damnit.
And yes let the Religious marry for God's sake! Paul said: 'Tis better to marry than to burn.

Very good distinction, ll - religiosity vs faith. And in that you are very close to what Jesus preached. Or the Buddha for that matter. Faith in action.
(1 Timothy 4:1-3) 4 However, the inspired utterance says definitely that in later periods of time some will fall away from the faith,
paying attention to misleading inspired utterances and teachings of demons,
2 by the hypocrisy of men who speak lies,
marked in their conscience as with a branding iron;
3 forbidding to marry, …..
commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be partaken of with thanksgiving by those who have faith and accurately know the truth.
(There are those who would follow the truth and those who would lord over others, with falsehoods and hypocrisy?)
(1 Corinthians 9:5) 5 We have authority
to lead about a sister as a wife, even as the rest of the apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Ce′phas, do we not?
(Peter the apostle had a wife why not ministers or preachers or the Pope? Is the Pope greater than Peter or the other Apostles?)
(Matthew 8:14) 14 And Jesus, on coming into Peter’s house, saw his MOTHER- IN LAW lying down and sick with fever. . .
(Mark 1:30) 30 Now Simon’s mother-in-law
was lying down sick with a fever, and they at once told him about her.
(Luke 4:38) 38 After getting up out of the synagogue he entered into Simon’s home. Now Simon’s mother-in-law
was distressed with a high fever, and they made request of him for her.
Telling others it is forbidden to marry is "misleading inspired utterances and teachings of demons,"
Demons and pedophilia?

Sex abuse of children is about as evil as you can get, and the way I read the Bible is pretty clear that we are supposed to love the good and fight evil with all our might. So I don't understand why the Pope isn't fightin' against this evil in his own Church the way that Republicans fight librals in their own party--with great zeal.

Likely the pedophiles are not the liberals....
By definition, every gay, pedophilic, infedelic, or otherwise evildoing Republican is a closet liberal only pretending to be a Republican. Why else would they be doin' that stuff? Anyway, I meant my comment to be more about my disappointment with the Pope for not understanding that hes sposed to be on the side of good.
I beg your pardon, oh, decider! ;)
I do not have anything to add to this discussion right now. Just Thank You for bringing this person to my attention. Religion and the RC church in particular have been on my mind lately and Padre Doyle is one of the few sources of reason that have come to my attention.
Gracias TheraP.
I'm glad I came back to see your comment. And I hope you will continue to keep the Good Padre on your mind.
This may seem a little forward. But many who have posted on this thread should consider looking into a local Unitarian Universalist church. UUs are liberal, and do not believe in any specific creed. The path to truth is left to the individual to discover. UUs simply accept a set of 7 principles, starting with the inherent worth and dignity of every person.
I joined my local UU church six months ago. I am a lifelong atheist/humanist. I've found that going to church and talking to my new friends there is like joining in a TPM Cafe discussion thread, except the other posters are there in the flesh. Our church membership includes a number of those whom I respectfully call "recovering Catholics".
-- ARG

My comment below was actually meant for ARG. Sorry.
Former RCC are everywhere! I have found a new home with the Orthodox myself.
And your comment is not in the least forward. Those who are just now feeling the RCC has left them need options! And some may find the UU to their liking at just this moment - when they are searching and can search alongside others.
Best wishes for you, ARG, in your new "home".

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