(Hosea 10:12 NKJV) Sow for yourselves righteousness; Reap in mercy; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the LORD, Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.
(Hosea 10:13 NKJV) You have plowed wickedness; You have reaped iniquity. You have eaten the fruit of lies, Because you trusted in your own way, In the multitude of your mighty men.
There are very few reactions in the Christian blog sphere in Singapore to the raging debate now facing the Pope in USA, Ireland, Britain, and Italy to the recorded and systematic cover up of a massive sexual abuses by Catholic Priests which is surprising when they were so quick to rally against the small gay minority outside the church walls, yet say nothing when it comes to the largest “Christian” denomination. It is just too close to home and maybe perhaps we are not that innocent despite ourselves claiming our moral indignation against gays. What more lies in the closet of the church? Even skeletons and the ghost of long past are coming alive, their voices refused to be denied justice.
The Catholic Church remains unrepentant as ever, hoping that the stories of the innocent will be lost with the passage of time. In Connecticut, the Catholic Church is assembling an army to come against an attempt to change the laws of the land eliminate the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits related to allegations of child sexual abuse (House Bill 5473 of the General Assembly of the State of Connecticut) from the current 30 years. Surely, the Catholic Church has something more to hide and the allegations thus far may just be the tip of a large iceberg.
A SG blog pastor said that “we need to pray for them rather than cast stones. Leave the stones to the media and the fundamentalists”. However, this picture is not entirely biblical for Vatican was not the weak and marginalized “prostitute” of the bible but the zealous religious Pharisees who after much assertion of their righteousness and morality and after leading the charge against gays in California to stop gay marriage are now reaping what was sowed. Without the grace of God, we reap what we sow, sometimes a hundred fold. Being in a position of incredible political and religious power, they have thrown truck load of stones against the innocent and now find themselves being taken to tasks. Justice can never be denied. The manner we judged, we ourselves will be judged. The Catholic Church is now starting to reap judgement.
There is no need to blame the media, nor allude to some sort of fundamentalists making the accusations, when the Vatican was the conservative fundamentalist claiming infallibility and absolute morality and the accusers innocent young victims who under the threat of excommunication were forced to keep quiet. To allege that the stones were somehow thrown by “media and fundamentalist” is to ignore and disregard the sufferings of the innocent and to blame the messenger. We may not be any different from the Vatican up their ivory tower of the seven mountains of Rome so close to the” heavens”, yet so far away from the cries of humanity.
There is no doubt that the Catholic Church will survive, for the very reason that others are now faulting them, namely:-
a) The code of silence to protect the reputation of the universal church whereby whatever sins committed within the walls of the church remains internal to it. “Consider the good of the Universal Church”, the then Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope) wrote in a 1985 letter to Oakland Bishop John Cummins resisting the call to defrock the Rev. Stephen Kiesle for gross sexual abuses.
b) The Vatican is an old boys' club which is deeply protective of its priests and maintenance of power world wide, with a very rigid centralized control and organization hierarchy and rules to maintain power of a 1 billion membership church. They will hold ranks in such a time of trouble which saw them take control of the universal church since the 5th century AD. The supremacy of Rome had meant the supremacy of the Roman Church till today. They have lasted longer than any British Monarchy or Chinese Emperors.
In Singapore, the Mega/Anglican/Methodists/AOG Churches have been particularly quiet on the Catholic Church whilst vocal on the gay issue is quickly dismissive of the anti-biblical stance and the blasphemy of the Roman Catholic Church (and claim ignorance of its practices) including:-
a) Transubstantiation – the actual substance of the bread and wine thus changed into the substance of actual body and blood of Christ is offered to God the Father for sins and offences through the medium of the priests ie Christ is crucified over and over again at each mass.
b) Apostolic Succession from Peter himself with the Pope being “Pontifus Maximus” or the mediator between God and Man, and is infallible. He has power of the keys to forgive sin ie papal indulgence so that one can go to heaven.
c) Mary as the Co-redeemer to Christ with Mary being sinless and remaining a virgin. We are to pray to Mary and the Saints as well. The role of Jesus Christ is effectively devalued.
It is ironic that “out of the mouths of babes” the Church is now being judged. Their stories of the sexual abuses suffered in the hands of priests, the cover up by their Bishops and at the Vatican when complaints were made, will be re-told over and over again. It will be the same old story, but not the least diminished as each story represents a different life, a person coming forth in their hundreds and thousands after suppressing the injustices suffered many over 30 years ago. However, we seldom see the pains and sufferings of these little children, but only consider the outings an "attack" upon the church as a whole by atheists. What started as a small stream up the mountain top, has become a raging river downstream with more and more daily revelations of attrocities against children and the attempted cover up.
This is not the first time that the Church has lost its innocence, the crusades, inquisitions, persecution of her critics, has all but diminished its moral mandate where they used every means possible to retain power and legitimacy. It is not surprising that the Vatican Prime Minister, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, has launched a desperate defense of the Pope that it was gays after all who had caused the church to fall. It would be difficult to imagine how same sex couples (either gay or Lesbian) outside the secretive walls of the church would somehow encourage any Priests within to sexually abuse young boys and girls. If it was same sex attraction, they would have had sex with other priests in a hidden affair! and not go after children. It is said instead that Phedophilia by the priests are caused by stunted sexuality caused by the insistence of celibacy.
However, the Catholic Church has learnt well from the Christian Right in America to use Gays as scapegoats for their own sins. It was much better to sacrifice the poor gay lamb rather than one of the guilty priests in the name of protecting the image of the universal church.
On Monday 12 Apr 2010, the Vatican reported a long-standing church policy telling bishops that they should report abuse crimes to police. However, this appears to be newly created and an attempt to rewrite history (just as they claimed Peter was the first RC Pope) designed to shift the responsibilities to its local Bishops to take the fall for the Pope. Their previous policy on record has been to avoid contact with civil authorities and to cover up the crimes and the criminals. For example, the current Vatican No. 2, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, were quoted in 2002 as saying the church shouldn't require bishops to report abusive priests to police because it would violate the trust the two shared. In this age of Internet and information explosion, we can seldom hide or change history.
The Catholic Church is protected and defended by many as it is deemed to be part of the body of Christ despite its infamous history and departure to core Christians beliefs (and we are not referring to side issues such as Gay marriage). Yet, the more we make allowance for them, we are protecting the criminals and denying justice to the victims, be-it the gay community or innocent young children. When we associate with the Catholic Church through standing with them, we too become a partner in crime, and gives those we deemed "militant atheist", the Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens to claim a moral highground far above the church. When the church fails to see basic human rights, freedom, and justice as important above narrow religious dogma and self preservation at all costs even lying and cheating, even the world sees us as worst sinners than them. Even the secular grasp with shock and horror at the skeletons of the Catholic Chuch but we see it not because our eyes no longer discern between good and evil, so afraid of criticisms and change that we defend the unforgivable and see the log in our own eyes. It may be Jesus knocking at the door and find us not opening afraid that it may be another "attack" from our perceived "militant secularist".
Justice cannot be easily denied, and will roll down like a mighty stream from the mountains and even overflow the dam of the church and religion that we have created and flood us over. The year of Jubilee is coming for all who have sufferred injustice even the gay community. Even the church cannot stand in its path of the rushing streams of God's mercy and grace to the nations.