Dear Mr. Pope
Let me begin this letter by saying that I am not a Catholic and as such as President Clinton used to say “I do not have a dog in this hunt” but I do care dearly about people of faith and I do have an interest in the well being of children. I would never ridicule or mock anyone’s religion. OK, I have mocked Scientologists and Mormons but it really was just in good humor and not meant to be mean.
I am a man of great faith but not one of great religion anymore. I find a great deal to admire about many faiths. The serenity of Buddhism, the peacefulness of the Quakers, the fervor of Islam, the loyalty of Catholics, the openness of the UCC and many of the rest have their good points. I consider myself to a Humanist who believes in Jesus Christ and that we are all the children of Abraham.
I am writing you because I have followed the problems your church has been having lately, well I guess it really isn’t lately is it? These problems have been going on forever. Please allow me the opportunity to point out some of the less than stellar choices you and some of your predecessors made and to ask a few questions.
Do remember the scene in the third Indiana Jones movie where they had to choose what cup Jesus drank out of and the bad guy choose a jewel encrusted goblet, he died because he did not choose wisely. He should have chosen the plain clay goblet. Well, your church has made a lot of bad choices and in my humble opinion should have stuck with the plain goblet instead of going with the really fancy one.
Your regional managers or as you call them Cardinals are referred to as Princes of The Church. Do you think Jesus wanted his follower to be called a prince?
You have a level of bureaucracy that the Soviet Union could never attain. Do you think the Nazarene would have needed such elaborate book keeping practices?
As priests most of you take vows of poverty and yet you have maids, drivers, live in mansions, have housekeepers/houseboys and summer homes. Should we discuss the wealth that is housed in the little country you created, The Vatican?
You call your Priests Father and yet they are not and as per agreement should not be. And yet, some of the men that held your title were actually sons of men who held your title. Does this really make you all the successors to the 12 disciples?
One day you were a man with the title Cardinal the next day you were infallible. What was that transition like? Do you really think you are infallible?
I could go on but I don’t think you want to read 1,500 years of bad press and the questions that may arise. Let me get to the point.
Men in your employ violated their vows to their God and to you. They raped children, they exploited sexually confused and vulnerable teenagers and by many accounts you were more concerned with protecting the churches reputation than the needs of your hurting followers. Your response has been diplomatic at best and disdainful at worst, why?
Do you believe as you personal preacher believes that what is being said about some of your priests compares to the holocaust? I know everyone apologized but are you apologizing for what was said when it was written and when it was said or are you just sorry for getting caught revealing this anti-Semitism?
Do you believe that what has been reported lately, which is based on physical evidence, is really just evil gossip? Did these men abuse children or didn’t they? Some of your supporters like Bill Donahue of the Catholic League have blamed the boys involved and the Jews who own the New York Times for trying to discredit you. Do you agree that there is a Jewish cabal set out to destroy you and your church and that evil children lead your priests astray?
If the final shoe is dropped on this issue and it is shown to the world that you were involved in covering up some abuse will you renounce your infallibility and become one of us again? Or will you hide behind the fact that you are a head of state and cannot be prosecuted in other jurisdictions?
Your nation is the only one in Europe that is not a democracy. On paper at least you are the absolute ruler. Is that What Would Jesus Do?
Mr. Pope, you’re flock is hurting, it is searching for truth, it is searching for justice and it is longing for hope. Will you lead them to the promise land?
Donald C. Flad Jr.
When the American Bishops spoke out for civil rights and voting rights the country listened and those bills were passed. When the American Bishops spoke out against the war in Vietnam the country listened. When the American Bishops spoke out against poverty the nation reacted. Now, after all the evidence that your Bishops allowed their children to be abused when this group of men speaks out no one pays any attention. What a lost opportunity to bring the teaching of Christ to the world.
Do you really think by treating the women of your faith as inferior beings you will really survive the long term? This is not 1310 this 2010.
Are you planning to excommunicate Maureen Dowd?