Jesus said unto them: don’t you dare change anything!
By Paul Moser
Napa Valley Register
October 05, 2018
Lynne Rodgers didn’t like what I wrote in my Sept. 14 letter, “The Real Housewives of Vatican City.” She was obviously upset as she penned her Sept. 29 response, claiming that my tone was “vastly Immature and unfair.”
I just want to know how she knew I wore my Mickey Mouse ears to Sunday mass until I was nearly 17. That was supposed to remain a dark secret of my past. Anyway, after reading her letter, I have to say that, personally, I will take “vastly immature and unfair” over “vastly illogical and sanctimonious” any day.
In case you missed her letter, let me give you a taste of some of her reasoning in trying to legitimize the endearingly backward and destructive Catholic traditions of clerical celibacy and male dominance.
She seems to want to conflate sex education and gender identity issues with the “corruption of youth,” which in her mind is apparently as bad as sexual molestation by clergymen. In other words, society itself is corrupting young people at an earlier and earlier age, so thank God priests are there to molest them properly before these terrible influences are felt. (Because her reasoning is so hazy, I have to take a stab at what she actually meant, you understand.)
She says reprovingly that “Pedophilia is on the march to becoming normalized.” So by all means the Church should lead the way?
Using information from a study funded by the National Conference of Bishops—so there is clearly no spin on any of it—she also wants you to know that most molestations by clergy are of youths who are post-pubescent. So it’s not really so bad. She wants you to know that rates of molestation by Catholic clergy are no worse than in other institutions. She doesn’t say which ones, but you can bet that none of them engage in manhandling children while talking about how it is God’s will.
She apparently doesn’t want to talk at all about the shockingly generalized administrative cover-ups of this ugly problem, acts that represent a scar as repugnant as the molestations themselves. She absolutely wants to limit the discussion of these criminal activities to the last 50 years in the United States, ignoring the certainly more gruesome horrors that have existed for centuries in Europe and elsewhere, when there was no free press, no transparency, no social safety net, no law but the authority that the Church so brutally misused.
How many homeless or orphaned children faced unlimited abuse by monks and priests, without any recourse, no one to hear them cry or scream? Try reading some recently unearthed Church history of the last 200 years in Ireland. But don’t do it before bed. You’ll never sleep.
When it comes to male dominance, and specifically the Church’s refusal to ordain women as priests, Ms. Rodgers argues that Jesus himself made that call himself, and that Church authorities have no authority to change it. Interesting stance, since Jesus supposedly gave them the power to rule the Church absolutely, in Matthew 18:18—“Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Doesn’t that sound like pretty comprehensive decision-making power? Especially if you happen to accept all this Biblical stuff?
If we’re playing by the Bible’s rules, Ms. Rodgers, you can’t have it both ways. It seems like Church leaders should put on their big boy vestments and pointy hats and start making decisions that square with the advances in justice and equality that humanity has made in the last 200 years or so. Not just ordaining women to the priesthood, but also, say, endorsing the use of birth control, which would not just prevent unwanted pregnancies but would radically reduce third-world deaths from STDs, most notably AIDS.
In the end, as so many Catholics do, Ms. Rodgers plays the Magical Mystery Card and tells us that, you know, Catholics are protecting the most priceless bit of mystical conservatism, a bastion of truth in a tempest-tossed world, and that there are no other stars to steer by.
To that I would say: Wholly Baloney.
The best star to steer by, and one that requires none of the weird, contorted, arcane beliefs of Catholicism, is a simple one that we all know, and that if practiced would serve the world better than any religion. Maybe you’ve heard of it: Treat other people the way you would like to be treated.