Sunday, March 28, 2010

WHAT THE FROCK

I just can't bite my tongue any longer. It is well, well past time that the hierarchy of the Catholic Church deal with child abuse by priests. The number of abusing priests is a small percentage of the clergy, but the effects on children, the adults they become, and whole communities is huge. The continually unfolding news about abusive priests in Ireland, Germany, the United States and other countries, and the myriad failures of Church officials, including, it appears, the present Pope, to deal with these child molesters is chilling.

The Catholic Church is a huge enterprise with a very top-down corporate structure. It appears to be, overall, a wealthy organization that owns properties throughout the world. It has been paying settlements totaling many millions of dollars, with a lot more in the pipeline.

Not to be outdone by other large corporate entities, the Church has also jumped on the bailout bandwagon. While in Ireland recently, I picked up a daily newspaper that had two major stories on the front page. Above the fold was an article about one of the largest Irish banks, AIB, that has been bailed out by Irish taxpayers to the tune of $3.5 billion, and they need more - that's right, they are too big to fail.

The article below the fold was about one of the Catholic dioceses in Ireland. The Bishop has asked the 100,000 parishioners to contribute $85,000 per year for the next 20 years to pay for ongoing legal cases and settlements related to child abuse claims. That's right, the Church wants to be bailed out by it's "taxpayers" because it's too big to fail! And why shouldn't they use the same ploy as the big banks? After all, they have both done the same thing - screwed (figuratively and literally, respectively) the people who rely on them and trust them, kept the perpetrators employed and given them bonuses (either money or more victims to abuse), and tried their best to hide the evidence. Never mind that Ireland is in it's worst recession since the 1930's, with unemployment at 12.5 percent.

And so, to the leaders of the Catholic Church I have to say: you guys (yes, guys) pay your debts, clean your house, and don't ask your members to bail you out. Priests should keep their frocks closed, or be defrocked.


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