Monday, April 05, 2010

Backpedaling on Pedophilia

This from the Associated Press: "Pope Benedict XVI's personal preacher is likening accusations against the pope and the church in the sex abuse scandal to 'collective violence' suffered by the Jews. The Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa said in a Good Friday sermon, with the pope listening to him in St. Peter's Basilica, that a Jewish friend has said the accusations remind him of the 'more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism.'"

I don’t know whether I should laugh or cry, though the fact that Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa has a Jewish friend is nice. For the Vatican See that preferred to see little and say nothing while millions of Jews were being slaughtered by good Christians and Catholics throughout Europe, to now hide behind anti-Semitism to avoid having to face the fact of church cover-ups of pedophilia among priests is outrageous.

Obviously the Church can’t tell the difference between sticks and stones (not to mention guns and Zyklon B gas) and words. When priests are being indiscriminately rounded up and murdered because they are Catholics, then maybe we can talk. But when pedophile priests are not even rounded up, but in fact recycled into new parishes where they can troll for fresh victims, I think the analogy falls a bit flat.

But wait! Perhaps I am being too partisan. Maybe what Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa is saying is this: Just as newspaper accounts revealing the evil of pedophilia corrupting the Catholic Church are true, so Nazi revelations of Jewish evil corrupting Europe were true. Now it makes sense. He isn’t saying the charges against the Church are false, only that the charges against the Jews were true. Bravissimo!

Here is the problem with the Church and the Pope: they care more about the church and the pope than the people the church and the pope are supposed to serve. The Pope is protecting the brand at the expense of those it has harmed. Not surprising, of course. This is how most corporations react when faced with the evil they do.

Compare the Vatican’s statement that it doesn’t directly hire bishops and priests and is therefore not responsible for anything they may do with Union Carbide Corporation’s response to the disaster in Bhopal, India where 35 tons of toxic gas was leaked from a pesticide plant killing more than 7000 people:

Bhopal was a terrible tragedy that none of us will ever forget. However, it is important to note that Dow never owned or operated the plant, which today is under the control of the Madhya Pradesh state government. Dow acquired the shares of Union Carbide Corporation more than 16 years after the tragedy, and 10 years after the $470 million settlement agreement – paid by Union Carbide Corporation and Union Carbide India, Limited – was approved by the Indian Supreme Court. [For Union Carbide Corporation's perspective on the gas tragedy, visit its web site at www.unioncarbide.com/bhopal]

Isn’t this the same argument?

26 comments:

Karen said...

Rabbi Rami - thanks for your blogs. You so often, as here, say what I'm thinking, but more eloquently.

Kim said...

Amen.

dtedac said...

Rabbi Rami,
Your comments are very insightful. Unfortunately, those who perpetrated or ignored the abuse are now blaming the victims. I expected better, but the church heirarchy has really fallen flat on their faces.
I am outraged by all of this and so are many people in the Church. Maybe I've been reading too many progressive blogs, but I do think that the clerical culture in the Church is ready to come apart at the seams. If it does, when it does, I hope that the laity will come forward and insist that things change. I know I will.

David

Rabbi Rami said...

The Church will not fall, though the loyalty of the Western Catholic will weaken. The Church is growing in places where patriarchy, and abuse of women and children are still the norm. This bodes ill for the future of the Church. I imagine that liberal Catholics will fade into the woodwork. Religion in our time seems to favor the mad, the angry, the narrow-minded, and the violent. The religions that are growing are not liberal and loving, but tribal and fear-based. They will feed the forces of destruction, and hasten the end of liberalism. The coming cataclysm will be among corporations hiring private armies to defend their global interests, nations doing the same, and religions siding with one or the other or sending the faithful to do battle with them both. It will be an interesting time. But not a hopeful or happy one.

Jordan said...

Shalom Rav,

You wrote: "The religions that are growing are not liberal and loving, but tribal and fear-based."

I disagree with the implied premise that in order for religion to be loving it must be liberal. The megachurches that I've referred to herein in previous responses and not only growing but they are truly loving as well and they are not tribal and fear-based. Specifically I'm speaking of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, IL (a northwest suburb of Chicago), Northpoint Church
in Alpheretta, GA (near Atlanta), Lifechurch.tv in Edmund, OK and of course Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA.

I know that my last example may provoke protest as their Pastor Rick Warren used his pulpit to promote his anti same sex marriage point of view during a recent vote on this issue in California. His opinion was echoed by the majority of California voters (by 70% of African American voters!!). If this is what you mean by "fear-based and tribal," I disagree and it in no way negates all of the good this church has done not only in its community but in the world.

Wholeness to all of us,
Biv'racha,
Jordan

Barry said...

I disagree with you, Jordan, as you expected, about the megachurches and specifically about Rick Warren and Saddleback. He has been implicated in pushing the draconian anti-gay laws in Uganda. He and many of the megachurch pastors are hatemongers, pure and simple. The African-American preachers who also made a big deal about Prop 8 do a grave disservice to their communities. And don't get me started about the Orthodox rabbis who took out a two-page ad in The Jewish Journal in Los Angeles urging people to vote for Prop 8. At least their congregants, as it turns out, mostly did not vote for that.
And yes, I am in a same-gender marriage with a Reform rabbi, and yes, Reform congregations did discriminate against him in employment, despite pledging they would not discriminate.
As to the Catholic Church, their hypocrisy speaks for itself.

Jordan said...

Shalom Barry,

You wrote: "He (Rick Warren) has been implicated in pushing the draconian anti-gay laws in Uganda. He and many of the megachurch pastors are hatemongers, pure and simple."

Having a point of view that doesn't sqaure with yours does NOT a "hatemonger" make. In fact this labeling and name calling reflects an intolerance of others' opinions on the part of name caller; ironically the same intolerance that is being asserted by the namecaller! Argue the ideas and the controversy rather than copping out with ad hominem attacks. Re Rick Warren and the Ugandan anti gay laws, see the link below for the truth.

http://bit.ly/4tRONv

I stand by my statement about the good that the megachurches I cited do both in their community and beyond and challenge all to actually check this out for yourselves rather than jump to the easy
ad hominem attack.

Wholeness to all of us,
Biv'racha,
Jordan

Derek said...

Jordan, I have no doubt that the churches you mention have done a lot of good and , but inherent in the statements of belief of each that you mention (according to their websites) is an exclusive claim to salvation and "right" relationship with God for them and those who hold their beliefs. That is essentially a tribal mentality based in fear that you lose Gods favour if you don't hold to the tribes beliefs.

Wholeness to all of us, can only come when none of us claims God's exclusive or even special favour.

Jordan said...

Shalom Derek,

You wrote:

"I have no doubt that the churches you mention have done a lot of good and"

To quote Gabby Hayes, "Yer dern tootin'"
you continued:

"but inherent in the statements of belief of each that you mention (according to their websites) is an exclusive claim to salvation and "right" relationship with God for them and those who hold their beliefs. That is essentially a tribal mentality based in fear that you lose Gods favour if you don't hold to the tribes beliefs."

Recent surveys have shown that conservative religious believers are more financially generous than other groups. Maybe the lesson here is that
humans need a tolerant tribal mentality that's based on something external to individual human whim, preference and convenience. You continued:

"Wholeness to all of us, can only come when none of us claims God's exclusive or even special favour."

I disagree. Wholeness can come when all of us demonstrate real tolerance (not to be confused with acceptance) of the beliefs of all of us and not resort to name calling of those with whom we disagree.
I'm a Jew and personally have no problem with the faith claims of Christianity. As always it's what's done by followers with those faith claims that determines them to be tolerant or demagogues or anything else in between.

Wholeness to all of us,
Biv'racha,
Jordan

Jordan said...

Shalom Barry,

You wrote: "The African-American preachers who also made a big deal about Prop 8 do a grave disservice to their communities."

I notice that you didn't label them "hatemongers."
Is there a reason why?

Biv'racha,
Jordan

Barry said...

This will be my only answer to you on this topic, Jordan.

My spouse and I were married in both a religious Reform Jewish ceremony, and a legal civil California ceremony. From my point of view, and that is all I can speak to, anyone who tries to negate my marriage is intolerant of my civil rights and of the beliefs of my religion, Reform Judaism.

Under pressure, Rick Warren did backtrack on his original statement about not interfering in other countries' affairs. But there was a relationship between him and some of the anti-gay ministers in Uganda.

As to the African-American ministers, and not calling them haters, I suppose I could. I know many African-American gays and lesbians who have been deeply hurt by the attitude of their churches, as well as white (mostly former ) Catholics, Muslims, Mormons and Orthodox Jews, who are deeply conflicted about the intolerance of the faith they were raised in.

As a general rule, I don't talk about religions other than Judaism, unless they try to undermine my civil and religious rights.

Jordan said...

Shalom Barry and All,

If you haven't seen this movie already I highly recommend it. "Trembling Before God."

http://bit.ly/bq03NN

Wholeness to all of us,
Biv'racha,
Jordan

Raksha said...

Jordan, Barry and everyone,

For a less flattering but more accurate view of Rick Warren's "good works" in Africa you might want to check out this article:

http://www.publiceye.org/magazine/v24n4/us-christian-right-attack-on-gays-in-africa.html

Please note that Scott Lively, one of the leading anti-gay hatemongers, is also a Holocaust revisionist.

--Linda

Raksha said...

Jordan,

Re "Having a point of view that doesn't sqaure with yours does NOT a "hatemonger" make. In fact this labeling and name calling reflects an intolerance of others' opinions on the part of name caller; ironically the same intolerance that is being asserted by the namecaller!"

I really hate (and yes, the word is HATE) this particular argument because it's a prime example of the way theocrats of all religions use the tolerance of liberals and humanists to undermine us and ultimately destroy us. In a similar discussion I was involved in recently, someone observed that while liberals really do believe in "live and let live," conservatives of the fundamentalist variety do NOT. We ignore this difference at our peril.

They may be entitled to their beliefs, but if their beliefs happen to be about me either as a woman or as a Jew, or in Barry's case as a gay man, and about our alleged role in the divine scheme of things, then their beliefs most certainly ARE my business and I have every right to judge them accordingly.

If you have ever lurked on a Dominionist aka Christian Reconstructionist website, you'll see that they are very explicit in their hatred of humanism in all its manifestations. Over and over again, they define me and people like me as "the enemy" because they see us as the enemies of God. That leaves me no choice but to see them as *MY* enemies--and I do. By "they" I mean the adherents of ALL patriarchal authoritarian religions, i.e. fundamentalist Protestants, Mormons and conservative Catholics with an Opus Dei or similar orientation. I also include ultra-Orthodox Jews and Muslim fundamentalists, but in this context I'm focused on Christians.

All of these regressive authoritarian factions, both separately and recently in alliance with each other, have been relentless in their efforts to "restore" America, but NOT to the Enlightenment vales on which it was founded. Make no mistake: they utterly despise the Enlightenment and they say so repeatedly. But their dream of a neo-Puritan theocracy is my nightmare. It is a long-range goal that goes back at least 30 years. They have a very detailed plan that involves taking over the media and the public education system, among other aspects of American culture. And they have been quite successful in implementing their plan right under our noses, partly because liberals have made the huge mistake of underestimating their seriousness (i.e. fanaticism) and of tolerating the intolerant for far too long.

So you're right. I DON'T tolerate the intolerant and I don't claim to either. And above all I don't apologize for it--not to you and not to anyone else.

--Linda

夏文宏 said...

Many a little makes a mickle...................................................

Jordan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jordan said...

Shalom Linda,

You wrote, "Please note that Scott Lively, one of the leading anti-gay hatemongers, is also a Holocaust revisionist."

Scott Lively is irrelevant to the discussion as there is no connection between him and Rick Warren.

You then quoted my argument about intolerance, then wrote:

"I really hate (and yes, the word is HATE) this particular argument because it's a prime example of the way theocrats of all religions use the tolerance of liberals and humanists to undermine us and ultimately destroy us."

I see... only liberals and humanists have the capacity to be tolerant and they alone are allowed to be intolerant of opinions other than theirs. And "theocrats of all religions" are the bad guys. It must be very frustrating when someone holds up a mirror, Linda. And the anger that you have must be quite burdensome to carry around. The old addage about resentment rings true here: Resentment is like swallowing poison and expecting the other person to die. You continued:

"In a similar discussion I was involved in recently, someone observed that while liberals really do believe in "live and let live," conservatives of the fundamentalist variety do NOT. We ignore this difference at our peril."

Fundamentalism is alive and well on BOTH sides of the aisle; conservative as well as liberal. Your point of view makes this abundantly clear. You continued:

"They may be entitled to their beliefs,"

We're all entitled to our beliefs, not just they.
You continued:

"but if their beliefs happen to be about me either as a woman or as a Jew, or in Barry's case as a gay man, and about our alleged role in the divine scheme of things, then their beliefs most certainly ARE my business and I have every right to judge them accordingly."

And of course we're ALL entitled to judge as well.
Judging is not solely a right of those on the liberal side of the aisle. Equal rights to judge for all.
You continued;

"So you're right. I DON'T tolerate the intolerant and I don't claim to either."

As you can see, nor do I. Is there standard external to yourself, your personal preferences, whims, or convenience, whereby you know intolerance when you encounter it?

What's missing in your presentation is equal outrage toward the the pastors of most African American Churches. After all 70% of African American voters in California voted against same gender marriages. Is our President a "hater" because he personally doesn't support same gender marriage and has said so publicly? Where are the
African American civil rights leaders; Revs Jackson and Sharpton? Do they have your scorn and anger as well?

Tolerance (not to be confused with acceptance) by all is necessary. Unpopular beliefs and opinions
on BOTH sides of the aisle, are part of of the cost of freedom.

Shabbat Shalom/Shavu'a Tov and
Wholeness to all of us.
Jordan

andrea perez said...

I don't think it is okay to molest children. I don't think it is okay to persecute anyone. I think it is our responsibility to say something or do something when we see it clearly going on. Even when it is our collective beloved communities who are doing it. Is that intolerance? I believe it is actually standing up for the beliefs this country defines within the context of our constitution. We, the American public, tend to forget that when certain religious authorities tell us that "Heaven" is speaking through them. Sometimes we need to hear our own inner voice speaking. Is that "hate"? I'm not ready to go there yet. But my inner voice says that it is wrong to molest children or stop people from getting married or tell others they are going to burn in some awful concentration camp called Hell just because some other person says that is what God wants. What kind of "God" is that? And why would I give it the time of day?

Jordan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jordan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jordan said...

Shalom Andrea,

You wrote: "I don't think it is okay to molest children."

No need to think about this one. We all know it's not OK. You continued:

"I don't think it is okay to persecute anyone."

There will be disagreement on what constitutes persecution. Speech and opinions are protected freedoms in the US. Hate speech is not protected
and as you can see from my exchange with Linda
and Barry, there are legitimate disagreements there as to what constitutes hate speech especially when
all groups are not equally criticized; e.g., African Americans, their leaders and for that matter our President. For the record I don't criticize/label them as haters just as I don't criticize Rick Warren as one neither. You continued:

"I think it is our responsibility to say something or do something when we see it clearly going on. Even when it is our collective beloved communities who are doing it. Is that intolerance? I believe it is actually standing up for the beliefs this country defines within the context of our constitution."

I agree. When ideas, speech or opinions cross the line and become actual behaviors/actions is when
the law of the land will decide what ought to be done. Short of vigilantism and or violence, one should be free to protest according to one's conscience. You continued;

"We, the American public, tend to forget that when certain religious authorities tell us that "Heaven" is speaking through them."

And we are free to agree or disagree with such pronouncements. You continued:

"Sometimes we need to hear our own inner voice speaking. Is that "hate"? I'm not ready to go there yet."

I agree and suggest that there is a difference between hearing what might be hateful from our inner voice and actually acting on it. You continued:

"But my inner voice says that it is wrong to molest children.."

I agree as this is an example of a behavior/action that is illegal as well as immoral. You continued:

"... stop people from getting married..."

No one is stopping people from getting married.
What's being discussed is a change in the definition of marriage. And, if the people of California are any indication, the majority of voters (not necessarily judges) around the country are not ready to change the definition of marriage. You continued:

"or tell others they are going to burn in some awful concentration camp called Hell just because some other person says that is what God wants."

As I said before the faith claims of Christianity don't bother me in the slightest. I couldn't care less about what someone might think about the nature of my afterlife. I do care however if the belief crosses the line and becomes a behavior that threatens me or anyone else with physical harm in this earthly life. You continued:

"What kind of "God" is that? And why would I give it the time of day?"

Excellent and I agree!!!

Wholeness to all of us,
Biv'racha,
Jordan

Raksha said...

Jordan,

I'm continuing to do research on Rick Warren and his associates on Talk To Action, an anti-theocracy website. What I've been learning gives me an even more negative opinion of him than I had before, which was plenty bad enough already. Rick Warren is the original "wolf in sheep's clothing," and everything I said about him in my earlier post goes at least double.

--Linda

Raksha said...

Jordan,

Re "It must be very frustrating when someone holds up a mirror, Linda. And the anger that you have must be quite burdensome to carry around."

From now on kindly spare me your condescending "concern." That attitude is extremely belittling. No, the anger isn't burdensome to carry around since it's based in a healthy instinct for self-preservation.

--Linda

Judy said...

Jordan -

You wrote: If this is what you mean by "fear-based and tribal," I disagree and it in no way negates all of the good this church has done not only in its community but in the world.

Given the original post about the Catholics can't one argue that they too have done much good for the world with its charitable efforts? Should we, then, ignore this one small thing called "molestation" because they've done so much good or ignore every other fear mongering talk that is taught from its pulpits?

I don't really think that's your point but since you feel free to conterpoint every other comment I think you need to explain this further. I can agree that the good should not be ignored but when the good comes at the cost of others civil rights or personal safety (re: molestation or hate acts against gays or people of other religions) it becomes a problem that cannot be ignored just because the church does "good".

Jordan said...

Shalom Judy,

You wrote:"Given the original post about the Catholics can't one argue that they too have done much good for the world with its charitable efforts? Should we, then, ignore this one small thing called "molestation" because they've done so much good..."

I never said to ignore molestation. In fact I agreed with Andrea above. She wrote: "But my inner voice says that it is wrong to molest children.."

And I replied:

"I agree as this is an example of a behavior/action that is illegal as well as immoral." To which I'll add that pedophile priests ought to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. You continued:

"...or ignore every other fear mongering talk that is taught from its pulpits? "

Once again I'll refer you back to my response to Andrea where she asks about persecution. Just
substitute "fear mongering" for "persecution." My response would be the same. You continued:

"I don't really think that's your point but since you feel free to conterpoint every other comment I think you need to explain this further."

I hope I just did. You continued:


"I can agree that the good should not be ignored"

Good. You continued:

"but when the good comes at the cost of others civil rights or personal safety (re: molestation or hate acts against gays or people of other religions)
it becomes a problem that cannot be ignored just because the church does 'good'."

Your "cost" is not in any way related to the example I gave i.e., Pastor Rick Warren and his church, which the precipitated the exchange I had with others herein. Since I don't agree that Rick Warren and his church are guilty of the "costs" you list, I'm ignoring nothing. Once again reread my response to Andrea for further clarification.

For a wonderful article about the victims of the current Catholic church scandal, check out the link below. Thanks Judy.

http://bit.ly/aNtCQ6

Wholeness to all of us,
Jordan

Redspect said...

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