Please, not more humanity

The Observer

September 24, 2018

By James Nolan

I am a Catholic, but in light of the sexual abuse perpetrated by other Catholics, I am ashamed to be a Catholic.

The Greeks considered music an essential component of a person’s education. The ability to recognize and orchestrate harmony from separate melodies was a human skill in a universe that, for all its imperfections, was still ruled by reason. But Greek culture was disintegrating when Christianity’s reconciling habit outbid Greek philosophy to win Rome’s heart. Philosophical clarity, though never quite achieved, aged into a sterile cynicism that eclipsed the mythology that birthed it.

Any Catholic volunteer today is too familiar with the particular melody of “Safe Environment Training” that responds to the ever-unfolding sex abuse crisis in the Church. To volunteer at a diocesan middle school, I must watch a series of videos, defining sexual abuse and training recognition, introduced by Bishop Kevin Rhoades, who was recently accused of “improper” behavior with a former parishioner before a private investigation found the claim immaterial. Our bishop chants an odd strain, asking us, earnestly, to help “protect our children.” The cold reality we are waking up to, of criminal priests and complicit bishops, makes trustworthy bishops a piece of mythology. Cynicism seems the only responsible posture when so many other bishops have promoted the same formula.

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