Sunday, September 16, 2018

2018.09.16 A Rant

Since this is a rant I begin with asking forgiveness from anyone who may be hurt by its excesses.

I’m not shocked at the omnipresence of clergy sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. Nor am I shocked by the ongoing widespread coverup. I am, however, incredulous that so many men whose vocations and careers have taken them to the top echelons of an institution which calls itself religious have become so immersed in pathological denial that they are “eating their young.”

Why doesn’t someone notice the disconnect? Institutionalized moral rules for good give rise to moral ills. It’s ironic to me that this institution funds and advocates for social justice while simultaneously being a source of social injustice.

There is no verifiably direct causality but there is uncanny correlation between required celibacy for clergy and sexual abuse of the innocent; between prohibition against ordaining woman clergy and isolation with increased vulnerability of male clergy, both heterosexual and homosexual; between prohibitions against divorce, birth control, abortion, and remarriage in the church and painful offshoots like poverty, poor health, hunger, unemployment, domestic misery, homelessness, suicide, prostitution, infant mortality, crimes of violence, and the biggest stressor of all on human and natural resources: overpopulation. Overpopulation!!

The largest Christian denomination in the world is not exempt from the part its policies play in the brokenness of those it seeks to love and serve, including its clergy.

I know. I know. I know  . . .
    -Debate on these issues at all levels of the institutional church is in process and is very complex—historically, politically and theologically. Debate is better than stonewalling. Maybe the clergy crimes are generational, but the wounds and healing processes of the victims know no generation, no statute of limitation.
    -Truly, some of my dearest friends are Roman Catholic.
    -I have never been abused by a Roman Catholic priest but have counseled many clients who have, including a former Roman Catholic priest who had been deposed for pedophilia. He had lost his entire pension and a large chunk of his soul.
    -I have experienced excellent spiritual direction from Roman Catholic priests.
    - I am an Associate of the Religious Sisters of Mercy; many sisters feel as pained as I do.
    -The majority of Roman Catholic clergy are faithfully carrying out their vocations and share my distress. Institutionalized abuse is not unique to this church. Its epidemic proportions are. 
    -Attracted to the sacrament of the Mass and the embodied way of prayer, I once took instructions to become Roman Catholic. I could not become Roman Catholic, because the only woman up front on the altar scene was a statue—sweet, silent, and immobile.
What does this twisted torturous “morality” do to faithful people inside and outside the institution? What does it do to the wrenching disconnect between preaching and practice? What does it do to the God who has infinite love for the infinitesimal?  What does it do to the Way of Love Jesus Christ proclaimed? It raises all hell, that’s what it does.

Is this assessment fair? NO
Is it complete? NO
Is it angry? YES
Is it truthful? YES
Is it hopeless? NO
Is it a prayer?  YES
Is it a holy NO? YES

Is there a rave in my rant? YES—for those Roman Catholic clergy and lay people who excise beauty, hope, and community from exquisite liturgy—the consistent, repetitive simplicity of ancient word, ancient meal, and love-longing prayers.