Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Unholy Survival of the Catholic Church

There's really no disputing that the Roman Catholic Church has a very bloody and corrupt legacy. From indulgences to the inquisition, hardly a century has gone by in which the RCC has not committed some unpardonable sin. In the 20th century there was both the church's involvement with Nazism and the child abuse scandal. Now in the 21st century there is upheaval within the RCC's own congregation, as Catholics have expressed disdain for the church's anti-gay stance, as well as it's ridiculous policy on contraception.

What amazes me is how the Catholic Church stays afloat. Sure, they have quite a fortune and quite an empire constructed at Vatican City, but the church will not stay in business for long if its central customers desert it. There are statistics that point to a decline in the number of priests, nuns, confessions, and parishioners, but I'm still surprised that the church exists today. The child abuse scandal broke in 2002 and was no trivial matter confined to a few fringe individuals. Eight years later and there are still many people who are proud to be Catholic and eager to defend the faith.

The pedophilia scandal has been driven into the ground for years now, and yet it hasn't produced the effect I expected from such a widespread announcement. There is overwhelming evidence that thousands of Catholic priests, throughout the globe, molested young children, and there is equally significant evidence that the RCC relocated these priests and participated in a general cover-up of the problem. Instead of taking responsibility for all of this and doing what is necessary to correct the issue, the Vatican has largely blamed the scandal on homosexuality. When Pope Benedict was charged with helping to cover up a case of abuse among three boys in Texas, he requested and received diplomatic immunity from George W. Bush.

Christians have sometimes remarked about the "miracle" that must have occurred for the early church to have survived the persecutions of Nero and other adversaries. If the persistent survival of the RCC tells us anything, it is that beliefs die hard - even those that are associated with some extremely reprehensible scandals. Why would you want to belong to a church that has such a longstanding tradition of secrecy, corruption, and bloodshed, as the Catholic Church does? Some might have thought all that was left in the past when Vatican II arrived, but the RCC has proven that it can still be a force for great harm that has the ability to pull the wool over peoples' eyes.

What will the future hold for the RCC? Will it fade out slowly? There may be a decline going on, but not many people seem that disturbed by the child abuse scandal. If a multinational corporation, with a long history of trust earned with its consumers, had a similar scandal to the RCC, I think the company would have gone bankrupt quite some time ago. I don't think people are disgusted enough at the behavior of the Vatican. It's not just the child abuse cases, it's the homophobic hatred that has led the RCC to stop funding charities in Washington, for fear of money going toward homosexual couples that want to be foster parents. It's the irrational opposition to condoms that tells Africans that unprotected sex is better than protected sex, contributing to more growth of the AIDS epidemic.

I have to say, I wouldn't be sorry to see the RCC go. Some Catholics have defended the church by mentioning its numerous charities around the world, but as just shown, they are willing to suspend charity (I didn't know one could do such a thing with a truly charitable cause) when their ideological demands are not met. Additionally, it could be argued that the stain left by the RCC in human history is too deep and too dark even for all of their good-will efforts to wash out. They may not have paid much attention to Jesus' denouncements of wealth in the bible, but perhaps they can at least follow his example in one way: they can sacrifice themselves for the sake of all the lives they have scarred in the past, and in order to save all the lives they might scar in the future. Close down the church, sell off all its property, and give the money to the needy. After all, that's what the RCC claims to be about, isn't it?


  1. Sell The Vatican! End Poverty!

  2. I find the RCC to be a little on the creepy side. Quite frankly I've considered the idea that the Pope actually knows his religion is false, but continues to do his job for the money and the power. Even wrote a little script that inspired the idea: I mean, isn't there something a little freaky about their coat of arms? A gold and silver key? I read that they have their own reserve bank, which only makes me distrust the church more, with all the neo-conservative hype about reserve banks, the fed, etc. Besides, and I know you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but Pope Benedict looks like Emperor Palpatine. The dude is creepy, I wouldn't be surprised if he's fondled a kid a two.