Unfortunately for Catholics, this Easter brings yet more scandal regarding pedophile Priests. The church in Ireland has been wracked with horrible pedophilia problems. The late Lawrence Murphy was spared a church trial and died a priest, despite abusing young boys at a Milwaukee school for the deaf. Even the Pope, in his former duties as Cardinal Ratzinger, has been reported by the New York Times as being potentially negligent in dealing with wayward priests while in Munich.
Guess what? The United Nations isn’t going to send Anti-Pedophile-Keeping forces into the Vatican to arrest and try the Pope on international sex crimes charges any time soon. The Vatican is a sovereign state where church law prevails; the Pope isn’t going anywhere. But Pope Benedict XVI could step up and do the right thing by turning pedophile priests over to civil authorities for immediate arrest and trial in civilian courts. He could also work through the proper church councils to eliminate the requirement that prohibits priests from marrying. In my opinion these two actions would drastically reduce the incidence of pedophilia in the Catholic Church, which would be a great service to Catholics throughout the world.
While I am not Catholic, I’m incredibly respectful of rank and file Catholics. I indicated such in my blog of Sunday, April 10, 2009 titled “In Appreciation of Catholics.” http://www.donsalyards.com/wordpress/?p=329 Catholics deserve better leadership than they have been getting over the past 20 (or 50, or 100, or perhaps 1,000) years. Let’s take a look at the Catholic Church from the viewpoint of a pedophile. Before proceeding I want to make sure that my readers understand that being gay has nothing to do with being a pedophile. I know no one in the GBLT community that has anything but disgust for pedophilia.
It seems reasonable that a young pedophile might find the Catholic Church a great career choice for two reasons. First, you get to work relatively unsupervised with a fresh crop of trusting young boys every year. Second, if you’re caught, the incident will probably be covered up by your boss, and corroborated by his boss and his boss! An act that would put you behind bars in any other job will just end up being a paper in the diocese file cabinet if you’re employed by the Catholic Church. Of course, if an investigation from civil authorities occurs, that file will probably never be found. The bottom line is that the Church has protected pedophiles throughout the years, which has probably incentivized more and more pedophiles to enter the priesthood.
On another note, in my opinion, doing away with celibacy as a priesthood requirement would attract a new crop of priests to a church that badly needs good priests. Some of my Catholic friends tell me that celibacy was never enacted for religious purposes, but was instead intended to keep priests from collecting and handing down wealth. I don’t feel qualified to weigh in on this, but on the surface, it seems to me that married priests wouldn’t hurt the Catholic Church one darned bit.
While reform in many Christian denominations is initiated by the leadership and passed quickly to the people, in the Catholic Church reform must pass from the people to the leadership, which is a painstakingly slow process. Perhaps the best Easter gift that the Pope could give to Catholics this year would be to immediately expose and turn pedophiles over to the world’s civilian court systems, while at the same time initiating the religious reforms needed to eventually allow priests to marry.