Title: Ex-Communicate! Ex-Communicate! Credit: Comment Saturday 12th May 2007 - 12:00pm1178928000 Article: 1713 Rights
Pope Benedict XVI wants to excommunicate all pro-choice Catholics from the church when it comes to abortion, and Archbishop George Pell across the pond already denies communion to LGBT Catholics. So why aren't clergy paedophiles receiving the same treatment? To be sure, Benedict is doing much more on that issue than his predecessor, John Paul II, although he was involved in his share of coverups and transfer of clerical child sexual abusers out of dioceses to other areas where they usually ended up reoffending and scarring more children's lives while acting as Prefect for the Congregation of Defence of the Faith in the eighties and nineties. However, he could do a lot more if he called in an independent child sexual abuse advisor to audit existing safety protocols and procedures, and make it unambiguously clear that paedophiles will not be allowed within the clergy, let alone in positions of responsibility that involve children, especially vulnerable children at risk. Why doesn't he? But no, enforcing church doctrine against abortion, male homosexuality, lesbianism and transgender surgery is far more important. Why? All that means is that the church alienates women, and LGBTs. Given John Paul II's papal encyclicals on the subject of homosexuality as an "objective"" moral disorder", I suspect that there probably was a massive exodus of ex-Catholics at that point, tired of a hidebound institution that failed to incorporate feminist and gay ethical and philosophical principles into its faith and conduct. There used to be a New Zealand gay Catholic group called Ascent, for example, which isn't around any more. What will New Zealand Catholics do? Fortunately, they seem content to go their own way, apart from the tiresome droning of atiny conservative faction now heavily decimated by age, infirmity and emigration overseas. Unlike the United States, there are no overt Catholic pro-gay or pro-choice organisations, but most New Zealand Catholics strongly dislike the conservative smorgasbord Catholicism of the Catholic Right and vote with their feet, or chequebooks, refusing to subsidise such unrepresentative pressure groups. My own late maternal nanna may have ended up having seventeen kids, but when she walked past a group of anti-abortion protestors in Brisbane one day, she said acidly to them: "You people make me ashamed to belong to our church." I daresay Nanna isn't the only everyday Kiwi Catholic to feel that way. Recommended Reading: John Allen: Pope Benedict XVI: New York: Continuum: 2005. Vittorio Massouri: The Ratzinger Report: Ignatius Press: San Francisco; 1985 John Shanley: Doubt: A Parable: New York: Theatre Communications: 2005. David France: Our Fathers: The Secret Life of the Catholic Church in an Age of Scandal: New York: Broadway Books: 2005. Helen Goode et al: Time to Listen: Confronting Child Sexual Abuse by Catholic Clergy in Ireland: Dublin: Liffey Press: 2003. Muriel Porter: Sex, Power and the Clergy: South Yarra: Hardie Grant: 2003. - 12th May 2007    
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