WASHINGTON - Pope Benedict XVI told America's Roman Catholic leaders Wednesday evening that the clergy sex abuse scandal has sometimes been "very badly handled," his harshest criticism yet regarding the crisis that has badly damaged the U.S. church. On his flight from Rome, the pope said he was deeply ashamed of the scandal and would fight to keep pedophiles out of the priesthood.
Good luck, Pope. You can't keep pedophiles out of the fast food industry, professional sports or politics. Why? Because they're everywhere, and if you think that you can magically (sorry, it's not magic, it's the power of God) eliminate an entire demented segment of the population from one particular profession, you've got another think coming.
So, the Pope took off the gloves and used "very badly handled" as the way he chose to communicate a most fouled-up segment of his little Papedom called the Catholic Church. That's harsh language coming from a guy who wears a pointed hat and a big ring.
They kiss the ring, which is odd, given the fact that he's just a man. Religions are funny things. They sometimes worship Earthly beings as much as they worship the beings that may or may not have been made up by Earthly beings thousands of years ago. Those un-Earthly beings are perfectly suited for religion because none of us alive today can prove that they never existed, so the entire franchise relies on our belief of the unknown.
It's called faith, and it's a funny thing, too. Faith tells us that if we're good there's a better life waiting for us "on the other side". Some people live their whole lives doing the right thing (so they're told) because they believe that if they don't, a damnation awaits them worse than any here on Earth. That would amount to a lot of regret if they found out that the whole thing was bullshit. It's the biggest gamble on Earth. Bigger than the Power Ball.
So the Pope comes and some of us kiss his ring and listen to his proclamations. He's the leader of the Catholic Church. Who is the leader of the atheists? Who leads the agnostics? Who leads the Baptists? The fact that a religion needs a leader tells me that the religion itself is weak because it needs an Earthly presence to keep the flock in line. Otherwise, they might be able to convince themselves that their faith is misplaced. The Pope is the religious cop on the corner. Without him, there is anarchy and we don't want anarchy.
God bless him and his pointed little hat. Did he grow up wanting to be the Pope like some kids want to be baseball players or astronauts or the president? No, he's a priest who has political connections, which makes his job like a lot of other patronage jobs.
He's the state senator, Congressman or CEO. His politics is religion. He rose through the church the same way people rise through industry. People kiss his ring. I wouldn't kiss his ring any more than I would kiss Bill Gates' ring or Barack Obama's ring - not that they'd want me to. It's just odd behavior, and makes him appear as though he isn't human, which I suppose is the idea, but I can't buy into it.
His minions are sexual deviates, pedophiles, alcoholics and drug addicts because religion is partly about abstinence - sexual and otherwise. Humans, being what we are, abhor being told we cannot do something, especially if that thing is at the base of our belief system - religious or otherwise.
They're just people, and the sooner we realize it the sooner we'll get over this medieval system of superstition and people-worship that makes us think that some people are above being ... people.
Happy birthday, Pope.