21 December 2010

Why the Pope should try relativism

At least Pope Benedict XVI recognizes that child abuse is a major problem for his church. "We must ask ourselves what we can do to repair as much as possible the injustice that has occurred," he said in his Xmas speech. "We must ask ourselves what was wrong in our proclamation, in our whole way of living the Christian life." If he's talking about the behavior of priests, indeed they must.

He isn't quite ready, however, to accept all the blame. Apparently it's as much our fault as theirs. Referring to child pornography he declares, "We cannot remain silent about the context of these times in which these events have come to light, that seems in some way to be considered more and more normal by society." So the fault isn't so much the priests paedophiliac inclinations or the fact they aren't allowed to marry, it's the "context of these times." In other words, everybody's doing it.

The old boy is being more than a little disingenuous. In no modern country is child pornography considered normal, or for that matter, legal. He went on to say, "In the 1970s, paedophilia was seen as a natural thing for men and children." If that was the case, I must have missed the 70s. As I remember them, pedophilia was as unacceptable and as illegal then as it is now.

And who is he kidding that this all began with the wicked 70s? More likely it's been going on for centuries but only in the last few decades have Catholics gained the courage to speak up against their licentious priests.

Benedict was playing off a theme he's used in the past, that the fault lies with the modern world's moral relativism, something the Catholic church has the task of challenging and defeating. But it isn't society's relativism that's the problem, it's the church's absolutism. If priests were allowed some leeway to enjoy sex, say in marriage, the problem of child abuse would largely diminish. But the church insists on no sex, a highly unrealistic expectation. The church's absolute positions on abortion and contraception create other problems.

Relativism essentially means tolerance. It offers us the opportunity to use our brains, to think for ourselves, to entertain diverse views, to consider circumstances and make decisions, rather than blindly following ancient dogma. So embrace it, Benedict, drop the absolutism and answers will come.

The problem doesn't lie in the context of society, it lies in the context of your church. Allow priests normal sex lives, and you'll attract men with normal sex drives. Hell, go wild and crazy and include women in the priesthood. I'll guarantee the molestation of children will drop impressively. I offer this advice as my Xmas present to you.

Have a happy holiday.

1 comment:

  1. I was appalled by the Pope's comments about how child sexual abuse was supposedly viewed in the 70's. He seems to have forgotten that part of the New Testament where Jesus says, "But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea."

    As far as I am concerned, until the Pope is willing to admit the role he and others in the Church hierarchy played in concealing and perpetuating the sexual abuse, he really has nothing to teach the rest of us.