Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Trying Times

So my entry a couple days ago on Pope Benedict XVI ended up causing somewhat of a ruckus over at the newspaper's Huckleberries, my favorite local round-up blog. It started when DFO (Dave Oliviera, our fearless leader) listed at this link my "pope's problems" blog entry from a couple days ago as a "recommended reading" link. Cabbage Boy commented on the church and the media (which I figured referenced me a little, but not directly) and then Spokelooneh said "Beth is right" and posted a longer entry. At that point, I figured I should get involved, and so I said this:

Thanks, Spoke. I have a lot of conflicting feelings about this pope, that I didn't post on my blog - including the horror I felt when he was elected (since he'd previously been in charge of the CDF, which is the current grand inquisitor office - still sits on the same land, in fact); and then the hope that I had as he took certain actions and said certain things over the past couple of years on this issue… and then now, when I just feel sucker punched, realizing those had to have been political moves, at least in part. And I knew that before. It just wasn't “in my face” at the time.

I don't know why I get my hopes up, just to have them dashed upon the rocks. I posted what I did on my blog because I felt an obligation to say something. And what I said, I felt I could say with conviction. Absolutely, this pope has known, as has every leader in the church. It's the structure of the church that makes it so….

So then Cabbage Boy asked me what my real issue with the Church is - that they don't ordain women as priests? And I said oh my gosh, no. Here's what I said:

Oh. CB. I was one of the lawyers on the Catholic cases over here in Spokane. My issue is about children, and the cover-up, and how that happened, and how I expect it to happen again because the hierarchy has changed the letter of its law but just simply has not understood the spirit. I'm pretty outspoken about my issue here. No hidden agenda. Sure, I think it would make sense to have women priests and/or flexibility with celibacy rules, things like that. But those aren't issues for me. I certainly have never said anything about those issues, nor did I ever critique the Catholic church until after Boston erupted in 2002.

I am lucky that the priests I have known in any depth have all been amazing men, men of God. My issue is not with those individual efforts - it is with the hierarchical structure that lent itself to obfuscation and cover-up, and continues to do so. Nothing less than the safety of children is at stake.

Then others (Sue in particular) said that yes, the issue just may be the lack of ordination of women, and then there was more back and forth.. And then DFO (our fearless leader) decided to post my first comment as its separate link and asked people if they thought the Catholic church was doing what it could to ensure children's protection. And the overall comments were, no. It isn't (with Sisyphus apologizing to Cabbage Boy - apparently the topic has arisen before). Here's a link to that discussion.

What I appreciate is how my local community - blogging and otherwise - have made efforts to grapple with this issue these past couple of days - a discussion that is taking place in other pockets around the country and the world. To me, that's a silver lining. These aren't easy questions, and it isn't an easy topic to discuss. But at least people are trying.

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