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The Catholic Church Meets Karma

......and it's not going down well

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, February 27, 2013.

In the 1890's, Republican Speaker of the House Tom Reed was often a good source of the easy quip for lazy newspapermen. When queried on a Papal statement from the Vatican, he drawled "the overpowering unimportance of this leaves me speechless," which combined disdain and truth in an eight word summation. Accurate then, but today the Church is the new Sick Man of Europe, rich, with powerful friends in office, and in danger of collapse.

The rare event of a Pope resigning yet living in Vatican City should interest only Catholics and Romans. But today, but the Church is about to change greatly against its will, and perhaps collapse as a supposed sovereign state. Since the Lateran Treaty of 1929, which gave Church approval to Mussolini's fascists, Vatican City became a sovereign nation, although at 110 acres it isn't really. But other properties of the Holy See in and around Rome and all over Italy are credited to the Vatican, and these are protected by Vatican police, not civilian forces, as if embassies. Safe houses.

Pope Benedict has resigned, rather suddenly. Supposedly, this is because a Pope in his ninth decade is considered old and not up to the exhausting performance spectacles he has to put on for the devout. But the public has a sneaking suspicion that there are legal matters afoot. Pope Benedict will became Pope Emeritus this week, and the College of Cardinals will select a new Pope, probably from among their own although they don't have to. And so there will be a new Pope and a retired Pope sharing some of the same household staff to make it easy for the retired pontiff to make his views known to the Curia and the faithful, as if a former President lived in the East Wing.

Benedict was head of the Inquisition - yes, it still exists - for a quarter century before he became Pope and that was the body that handled all the sexual scandals of the church around the world so shamefully, primarily by lies and denial and then obsequious admissions of failure of oversight, and all designed to protect the finances of the church first, its priests and bishops second, and their duty to the faithful can be argued not to have played any role at all.

If any of you have HBO, check out Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence In The House of God, a documentary about a school for the deaf in Wisconsin where at least one priest raped the deaf children in his care for decades with the silent acquiescence of the nuns and staff until three of the victims, as adults, took on the Holy See in court, won, and exposed a whole apparatus of sleaze and criminal behavior up to Pope Benedict, himself thought gay. That's of interest only because when these scandals broke the Church tried to blame its troubles on gay priests who were Hippies, etc. This fell apart when Ireland had records of the same scandals in the 1930's and, finally, when the Vatican itself revealed that there were concerns about the fueling motivations of its priests regarding children in the 700's. The church can no longer claim either ignorance or innocence. It's a criminal organization of 1300 years standing by their own evidence.

Atop all this, the Cardinal and Bishop of Edinburgh has resigned and won't attend the election because of charges filed by other priests, adults this time, saying he inappropriately put the moves on them. He denies it, and to be fair it could be he's innocent, but there's all this precedent and the templates of criminal behavior. It is unlikely he would have been the only predator voting on a Pope soon.

There is hope that a Third World Latino or African will become Pope to reinvigorate and cleanse these repellent stables. Those who think that don't seem to realize that the Third World Catholic Churches and their officials are often even more patriarchal and misogynistic than the current crop in power. Many of the Rwandan horrors were supported and inflicted by the Catholic priests, who allowed slaughters in their churches.

Revelations of Church crime increase daily. Soon, it will be clear that not only were there many more guilty parties than now admitted but that local lay and church organizations had to have been willingly ignorant of these horrid crimes against women and children. It's not just the Catholics, either.

Tom Reed, today, would not be speechless in the face of what is now known. Why are we?