The Daily Whim

The Daily Whim

Sun. Jun 09, 2002

The Dictatorship and Victimism of the Catholic Church

The Dictatorship and Victimism of the Catholic Church – I saw a local story on TV news last night, and cannot find an online link, but I’ll summarize. A local priest at a Catholic Church, who looked to be in his early to mid 30’s, had announced he was taking a sabbatical. He had been molested as a child (although he never stated it was by a priest), and was having a very hard time dealing with the Catholic Church’s response to the current scandal (or lack thereof). He said he hoped to take some time to heal himself, and then return to the parish.

Until the Powers That Be in the Catholic Church found out about it. They informed the priest and parish that he would not be allowed to return after his sabbatical. The desires of the priest and the parish were apparently irrelevant. So the parish planned a large celebration to wish their priest well on his last weekend services.

The Church wouldn’t even allow that. They replaced the priest in his final services, and the parish was not even allowed to say goodbye to him. Beyond any point you might want to make about democracy and dictatorship, the absolute heartlessness of this response is telling.

And widespread.

If you believe the leadership of the Catholic Church, the Church is just a victim of the media: "In the advance copy obtained by United Press International, [Cardinal] Rodriguez Maradiaga specifically mentioned Ted Turner, the media tycoon who founded CNN, and the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Boston Globe as being unfairly aggressive in their coverage of the scandals. ’Those (publications) were protagonists of what I define as a prosecution of the Church,’ Trente Giorni quoted Rodriguez Maradiaga as saying [...] ’The U.S. media appears … to act with a fury that reminds me at times of Diocletian and Nero and more recently of Stalin and Hitler,’ Rodriguez Maradiaga said. ’The church should be free of this kind of treatment.’ [...] The media’s motivation, according to the Rodriguez Maradiaga interview, is to strike back at the church for its opposition to abortion, capital punishment and euthanasia—all of which are legal in the United States—and for its support for the creation of a Palestinian homeland."

I realize that my Southern Baptist upbringing has much to do with my native negative response to such dictatorial behavior. Each church my family belonged to as we moved about operated pretty much as a free standing entity, at the will of the congregation, often as represented by a board of deacons. All quite a reflection of our democratic society. The tradition of the Catholic Church is the antithesis of that, and I realized the fact I’m appalled by it has much to do with a form of ”culture shock.”

But beyond that, I recognize the tone of cold heartless defensiveness and spin mongering that is all too common in our world. And all the more inappropriate given its source. But if you want to dance in the real world and take the low moral road, Cardinal Maradiaga, then you must face the fact you’ve already lost. Not just by the fact you lower yourself into the mud to make your point. But by the way you make it. In the real world discussion into which you’ve lowered yourself, you’ve invoked Godwin’s Law, and by bringing a comparison to Hitler or Nazi’s into the argument, you’ve lost by default. "As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one. There is a tradition in many groups that, once this occurs, that thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress."

Your statement is not even worthy of a half hearted Fisking. It would be too easy. You have self-Fisked.

(Note: I tried to find a good link to a definition of Fisking. Matt Welch has the best one I could find, but it’s buried in his National Post article: "Now, his [Robert Fisk] output is so routinely debunked by Yankee bloggers that ”Fisking” has become a word used to describe any incidence of an online writer picking apart a particularly asinine column.")

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