Saturday, March 27, 2010

What's it Take for Catholic Women to Get Respect?

If you are like me, confused about the answer to this question, please raise your hand….or better yet….ask your Congressperson and Senator. Heck, ask the President. Why is a pedophilia-ridden, pedophilia-hiding, child-abusing Church allowed to write laws controlling women’s reproductive rights...or gay rights for that matter? I am talking about the Catholic Church and the hierarchy….not the people of the Catholic faith. The Church whose leadership has now been proven to have purposefully hidden an epidemic of pedophilia and–to protect priests, not born children–reassigned serial sex offenders to other parishes to offend again. The kind of people who, if they were not priests protected by the Church, would not be allowed by US law to come anywhere near children or schools? Why were these people allowed a major voice in constructing the health care reform bill, especially in regards to women's reproductive rights? Just over a week ago, 60 leaders of religious orders representing 59,000 Catholic nuns sent a letter to federal lawmakers urging them to pass the Senate health care legislation. They decried the “false” information floating around about abortion provisions and said that the bill’s “historic new investments” for pregnant women are the “real pro-life stance.” Conservative Democrat Bart Stupak (MI)who started this sordid mess responded by saying, “When I’m drafting right to life language, I don’t call up the nuns.” He says he confers with other groups including “leading bishops, Focus on the Family, and The National Right to Life Committee.” No, he wouldn't want to "stoop" to asking the nuns who are likely more sympathetic to women's issues.  Instead, Bart listens to the pedophiles and their supporters.  Good luck to his Democratic challenger, Connie Saltonstall.

New revelations about Pope Benedict XVI’s alleged role in covering up accusations of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy have exposed the Vatican to the risk of lawsuits brought by victims around the world. Last week it was alleged that, as head of the Vatican office monitoring priestly misconduct, the Pope, then known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger failed to punish Father Lawrence Murphy, who abused up to 200 boys at a Wisconsin school for the deaf, that's right, a school for the deaf. According to the Times, the Cardinal had been alerted to the accusations and a secret canonical trial authorized by the his deputy was halted after Murphy wrote to Ratzinger begging that the proceedings be stopped, “I simply want to live out the time that I have left in the dignity of my priesthood, I ask your kind assistance in this matter.” Murphy died two years later still a priest. The Pope’s alleged role in the Wisconsin case emerged only when litigants who claim to be victims of abuse obtained internal church documents as part of their lawsuit. The US Catholic Church has already paid out more than $1.1 billion to victims since 2004. I agree with those who insist that financial compensation is not enough and that the church should be forced to explain why so few priests were punished for decades of abuse. Even with all the scandals we currently know, the Catholic Church still has the Bible-waving clout to deny true equality to women and gays. I don't understand it and it angers me to no end.

What if investigation after investigation discovered that the Muslim church had engaged in a decades-long cover-up of massive criminal activity involving the molestation and raping of children? What if it involved countless Muslim religious leaders and others? What if one of the highest Sunni leaders in the world was complicit in hiding sex crimes committed against deaf kids? Do you think for a moment that the outrage would not be so massive as to force mosques to close and for schools to go bankrupt? Many, many people would be justifiably jailed. There would be congressional investigations. Republicans would be calling for any faith-based funds to be banned from going to Muslim organizations because, indeed, some of the money may have been indirectly used to pay off victims and to shuffle the perpetrators from city to city. Hell, there would be death threats, vandalism, if not outright violence, against mosques and people. Yes, Islam in America, if not in the West entirely, would be assaulted from all corners

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