22 May 2009

The Word of the Lord? Apparently, it's buggery.

Must give credit where due - the title came from my Sweetie after I shared some details of the Irish catholic church abuses.

I've been in a haze of very busy work, at work, including doing work at home, and not getting my domestic chores done. Then I was locked out of facebook for about 12 days. And then I had a birthday - that just gave me license to be irresponsible about proper nutrition and household chores. Cheesecake for breakfast, anyone? Don't worry, here's a clean ladle, and this catfood dish works as a plate...

I reconnected to the Interwebs last night, and caught up with the lastest church abuse scandal via vjack's post. Just astounding. This article at The Guardian is followed by readers' comments that I think mirror US reaction following revelation of priests' abuse. Only it is even more shocking to read that the abuse (physical and sexual) was institutionalized, at care homes and facilities, and went on for generations.

As previously mentioned, I've got a religious background and family. My parents are very faithful Catholics and were very dismayed by the US scandals. They are dismayed by US Catholics in general ('cause, you know, the liberal ones aren't "true Catholics" and they especially abhor Catholic politicians who are pro-choice. I mean, uh, "anti-life.") Vjack had another great post on catholics' reactions. I gotta get me some of that real catholic reaction: Mom & Dad are spending this weekend down here. I want to have a nice visit, and we will (especially 'cause my mother-in-law will also be in town!). But I'm very interested to hear what Mom and Dad have to say about those generations of children being abused in the name of the lord, and how protection of abusers by THE Church, the OFFICIAL RC Church fits in with its mission of doing the lord's work. Hello, supposedly the church IS the body of christ, right? Apparently his dick has been in Ireland this whole time.

My dad was a probation officer and corrections specialist his whole career, for FSM's sake! He trained probation officers and counselors; he worked in institutions that housed dependent and delinquent children. The last years of his work was at the state level, developing hiring and training standards for staff who worked in correctional institutions. If any of those institutions had allowed a single instance of abuse to go without consequences, he would have been the first to clamor for prosecutions, protection of the children, and accountability by the managers. Even the "really bad" delinquent kids, not just dependent kids needing shelter, have strong protections (thank you, Constitution and Bill of Rights). I was a counselor in juvenile hall for a brief time; besides the hours and hours of training in the "how tos" of custodial work, there were hours and hours of the "why fors" - i.e., even children in custody for alleged or proven crimes have rights and protections, and the law AND your institution will punish you (the custodian) if you violate their rights.

So now, here is Dad's church, committing acts 180º from everything they officially teach, let alone 180º from what he knows about institutional care. And I don't mean to imply that the abuse committed by "rogue" parish priests is "less bad" than that of the bands of them running abuse factories. What I'm hoping is this institutionalized wrong will connect for him, flip the rational switch in his head. I mean, come on, he's smart, he's educated, but he turns off that part of his brain when he puts on his true-believer glasses. As a former supervisor and manager, hell, just as a lifelong bureaucrat, he MUST see that this corruption taints the ENTIRE church. If a juvenile hall or camp has staff abusing wards, management is liable. Management is responsible for the staff - their hiring, training, supervision. So why can't he apply those standards to his church? He MUST question how the church bureaucrats let these atrocities go on for decades. And their response now is motivated by self-protection, not helping the people. Dad and Mom raised five kids in the church. They taught us to do right, and if or when we do wrong, we are to make it right. And it worked, as far as I can tell. So how can that same philosophy not fucking apply to the entity that he credits for teaching it to him?? What is this blinder he has?

Now, I'm really glad I came out to my sister recently - I don't have to pretend to respect their church anymore. Note to Sweetie: Don't worry, I'm not going to pick a fight and ruin the weekend! But maybe on Monday evening, after dinner, over coffee, I will quietly ask Dad a few questions, point out the analogy, just to see if he is prompted move beyond a "good priests I have known" defense and look at the church as he would a "normal" bureaucratic institution. But no drama. Especially not in front of the mother-in-law (that would really mortify Sweetie!).

Whew, got to get to vacuuming now. Good luck, people of Ireland, in throwing off your blinders and walking into the real light!

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