Another perfect example of the Church's use of language. It is more slippery with the meaning of words than a cagey conman.
Edmond Grace wrote:On a flight to Lisbon, in May 2010, [the Pope] told the world that he was terrified by “the sin inside the church”. It is one thing to be afraid and to act in a manner dictated by fear. To acknowledge that fear in public, however, is quite different.
Such a gesture only makes sense as the result of a decision to ask for help. This gesture – unprecedented for its public and informal manner – could help us to move beyond revulsion and shame in relation to the Catholic Church.
That weak expression of dismay was anything but an unprecedented gesture. Especially when it came from a man who was not only aware of, but had actively concealed and personally directed the concealment of such "sins inside the church".
On another flight in September of last year, the Pope said:
Priests, at the moment of their ordination, something for which they have been preparing for years, promise themselves to Christ, so that the Good Shepherd who loves and helps and leads us to the truth, might be present in this world. How someone who has said and done this then falls into this perversion is hard to understand.
Well, it is easier to understand when you accept that there is no good shepherd and what you are dealing with is a man made
association of men, forbidden to express their natural desires, given access to and control over the minds and bodies of vulnerable children. That this environment either attracts or fosters people with unnatural desires is now painfully clear.
On that same flight, the Pope went on to say:
This is a great sadness, a sadness too that even the Church's authority was neither vigilant enough nor swift or decisive enough in taking the necessary measures. For all those reasons, we are now in a time of penitence, of humility and of renewed sincerity, as I wrote to the Irish Bishops in February.
A year on from that letter, with more scandals emerging and evidence of continued evasion and cover-up at the highest levels, there is no sign of that penitence, humility or sincerity. These are all just words. They echo weak and ineffective. Just as the recently announced international conference on clerical sex abuse to be held next February is already sounding like little more than a public relations campaign.
Moving on from this “truly terrifying” crisis, Grace then compares the Church to a democratic state?! Now that isn't just slippery language, that is either wilful ignorance or wilful deceit. The Church is well versed in both.
Edmond Grace wrote:In spite of all this troubled history, the church and the democratic state have a lot more in common than might appear at first sight. Each depends for its existence on a hierarchically structured self-selecting elite, which is charged with preserving and developing an inherited body of wisdom. Without the legal profession and independent courts much of what we take for granted in our democratic world – elections, parliament and personal liberty – would not survive.
A democratised church would need a similarly stable hierarchical structure which, of course, it already has.
The structures of democracy grew out of the discourse of equals. From people who refused to accept the Church's teaching that there is a higher court that should never be questioned and whose earthly administrators should never be doubted. What kind of nations would we live in now had religious courts held power? What kind of democracy
could we expect today if it held as Pope Benedict recommends, a blind obedience to God? One month before his in-flight comments so lauded by Fr. Grace, while addressing the Pontifical Biblical Commission in Rome, Benedict said:
We must obey God rather than men. One can not dispense from seeking God and that obedience to God's divine commandments is the source of true freedom for man, in contrast with contemporary libertarian tendencies... ...if man exists only for himself, then the consent of the majority becomes the last word. History has demonstrated that this can often be a consent to evil, whereas obedience to God is the guarantee of freedom and truth for all men and women of all time.
When Cardinal Desmond Connell explained the use of Mental Reservation
to the Murphy Report he let one of the Church's biggest cats out of the bag. Like children crossing their fingers behind their backs these men tie their brains in knots in search of a hiding place for their lies. They pine for the old days, without realising how lucky they are to live in a modern democratic world where even people like them
are given every opportunity to defend themselves. In the glorious past they wish to inhabit, they may have found themselves in much hotter water were their crimes discovered.
As yet I have not found a single case of a terrestrial animal which fertilises itself.
- Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species
(he obviously never went to Bray)