by Greg Spearritt
Pope Benedict says he won’t be intimidated “by the chatter of dominant opinions”, in clear reference to the matter of child sex abuse by Catholic clergy.
More realistic assessments of the situation, however, abound. According to NY Times writer Maureen Dowd, for example, the Catholic Church gave up its credibility for Lent. Retired Aussie Bishop Geoffrey Robinson foresees a significantly diminished Church at least in the West largely as a result of the abuse crisis.
Surely, what it boils down to – the abuse itself, that is, together with the morally bankrupt response to it – is the issue of authority. Bishops and popes are not in fact gracious, excellent or reverent any more than your local ‘Honorable Member’ is honorable. Nor, in the case of (most) Catholic clergy, are they fathers. They’re fallible human beings with egos and libidos who have no right to be put on a pedestal or given special pseudo-family relationship rights – other than by dint of their character.
Maybe ditching the ludicrous titles would be a starting place for churches to regain some credibility.