I come from a long line of deeply religious Catholics: my aunt was a teacher at a suburban parish near Philadelphia for 40 years, my father attends mass every Sunday — as does my grandfather — and my entire family (all but me) attended Catholic school. I made both my sacraments and my daughter, shockingly, attended Catholic school for two years. Even my partner was an altar boy. Catholicism runs deep; just like our Irish roots.
But that’s where faith begins and ends for me. I can not support a church hierarchy that knowingly harbors pedophiles, blatantly attempts to silence women who dare not take a pro-life stance, one that considers using birth control an abomination and sacrilege and goes out of its way to openly risk the lives of the faithful in developing nations by condemning the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.
The Catholic Church would be a joke if wasn’t clouded in religion and fanaticism. Through the cloak of Jesus and a higher order, children have been raped, thousands have unknowingly contracted AIDS and countless women have died seeking anything to insert or consume so they are no longer pregnant.
In Philadelphia, we just so happen to be the only place in the United States where a church official now sits in jail for covering up the rape of children. Monsignor William J. Lynn will rot in jail for a measly three to six years. In Los Angeles, the Archdiocese can’t even be trusted to release all of its documents pertaining to the protection of abusive priests. Retired Cardinal Roger Mahoney, who was once known as a beloved advocate for Latino rights, remains free of prosecution. The lawsuit that demanded the release of said documents includes more than 500 victims.
When my daughter was in Catholic school, in order to volunteer, her father and I had to sit through hours of “training” on good touch/bad touch; as if the parents were the problem and not every Tom, Dick and Harry that wore a collar. At the very least, it was absurd and tone deaf. There are good priests, but their silence is acceptance that rape is something you cover up for the good of the church.
No one is more accountable then Pope Benedict; who, back when he was Joseph Ratzinger, was a member of the Nazi youth (but only because “they put him there”) and who was more than okay with revoking the ex-communication of a Holocaust denier. Ratzinger also oversaw the Doctrine of the Faith; the governing office of Rome and the place where accounts of abusive priests land.
Benedict may be old, but he’s not stupid. He’s also the Pope that green-lit the investigation of nuns calling them “radical feminists” for helping poor women and not taking a stance on birth control or abortion. If you want to see what the Church thinks of women, you must follow this story.
In this country we prosecute La Cosa Nostra more than church officials. The mafia’s crimes look like child’s play (even the murders) compared to the abuse of children within the Catholic church. It’s disgusting that state and federal prosecutors (except Philadelphia) lack the cajones to dismantle the Catholic church — proving that you can get away with just about anything as long as you do it under the banner of faith.
So, no, not for one minute do I believe that Benedict is too old and feeble to carry on his duties as Pope. He is the first in six centuries to leave. And, as far as I’m concerned, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.