Monday, April 29, 2002

BRONSON: Thou shalt not molest children


'You hypocrites'

By Peter Bronson, pbronson@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

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        My nomination for Most Painfully Obvious Statement of The Year: “Pope says child molesters should not be priests.”

        No kidding.

        Even more amazing are the spokespriests who parse the pope's plain talk like students of Clintonology. “Maybe there's slack for priests who say enough Hail Marys,” they hope.

        What would Jesus say?

        “But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” (Matthew, 18:6).

"Woe to you'

        And while I have the Good Book open, here's one for the rest of us: “Woe to you hypocrites!”

        Jesus said that a lot. Most of the time he was talking to local church leaders of His time. But there are still plenty of examples:

        • Such as the hypocrites in the Protestant church who shake their heads about “those Catholics.”

        Every time I hear some victim say he lost his faith because priests are “almost God,” I picture Martin Luther telling St. Peter, “I told you so.” Protestants who reject “middle management” in man's relationship to God are feeling vindicated.

        But not so fast. World Magazine, a Christian news weekly, reports that “the Protestant Church has a severe problem of its own: some pastoral counselors having sex with counselees. ... It is sexual abuse — and an egregious abuse of power that can rob women of their faith in clergy, in the institution of the church, and even in God.”

        The March 30 article says studies show that “30 to 35 percent of ministers of all denominations admit to having sexual relationships” outside of marriage.

        And many Protestant churches cover it up and shuffle pastors around just like the Catholic Church.

"Thou shalt not'

        • The media are also in denial. It's a political correctness felony to suggest that child molesting priests might be homosexuals.

        But in the April 22 National Review, Rod Dreher points out that 95 percent of the victims of priests have been adolescent or teen boys. The latest statement by the Cardinals says “almost all the cases involved adolescents and therefore were not cases of true pedophilia.” But all we hear in the news is “pedophile priests.”

        “Yet it defies common sense to imagine that an ordinary man, having made a vow not to marry, is therefore going to be sexually attracted to boys,” Mr. Dreher writes.

        “No, this is chiefly a scandal about unchaste or criminal homosexuals in the Catholic priesthood, and about far too many in Church leadership disinclined to deal with the problem — or, worse, who may in some cases be actively involved in the misconduct.”

        Some people swallow Star Wars “Dark Side” mythology like movie popcorn, but can't believe the church is in a spiritual battle of good vs. evil.

        • And what would Jesus say to church leaders who send lawyers to intimidate victims and hide the truth — while they insist that moral standards have somehow changed?

        I don't think so. Not for 2000 years or so.

       E-mail pbronson@enquirer.com or call 768-8301.

       



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