The tribal Catholic’s strange new respect for Pope Francis

Both the Church’s enemies and disgruntled traditionalists are shocked that the Pope doesn’t believe accusations against his clergy on what he regards as insufficient evidence.

“Don’t be led by the nose by the leftists who orchestrated all of this,” the pope said.

If the Pope really said that, I take back all the nasty things I’ve said about him these past years.  It is a brilliantly political statement; it names the enemy, something neither Benedict nor John Paul the Apologizer ever dared to do.

Obviously, I don’t know any more than Pope Francis or the media whether Bishop Barros actually watched Fr. Fernando Karadima sexually abuse anybody.  The accusation sounds far-fetched, but weird things sometimes happen.  A great deal is made of the fact of the accuser’s abuse itself being regarded as credible by authorities.  However, if he is a genuine victim of clerical sexual abuse, then he has an incentive to harm the Church, and an attempt to calumniate a higher-ranking cleric is a distinct possibility.

It is ill-advised to give purported (or even actual) victims of clerical sexual abuse some sort of sacred status.  Most of them are, after all, enemies of the Church.  Yes, I know, you’re shocked that I wrote that.  “But Bonald, they are victims; they are the aggrieved.”  To which I say that you are confusing categories.  “Victim”, “aggrieved” are moral categories.  I am only making a political statement.  People trying to seize Church assets, damage the Church’s reputation, or enact anti-Catholic legislation are enemies.  The suspicion that an enemy has good reason to hate you is even more reason to be wary of him.  I can’t emphasize enough the importance of Carl Schmitt’s insight:  we must separate political from moral categories.  The enemy is not necessarily evil; don’t demonize him, but recognize that he is a threat. Regard him emotionally the way you would natural disasters.

In fact, morality is often very difficult to determine.  Contrary to the comic book picture of the world you get from the media, when groups fight, there are usually legitimate claims and grievances on both sides.  Recognizing who wants to damage your group, on the other hand, is almost always straightforward.  And it is usually the most important fact.

In the above article, the anti-Catholic Boston Globe is quoted as saying

When Pope Francis slandered victims of sexual abuse, ironically by accusing those very victims of slandering a Chilean bishop who was complicit in that abuse, he confirmed what some critics have said all along, what I have always resisted embracing: Pope Francis is a company man, no better than his predecessors when it comes to siding with the institutional Roman Catholic Church against any who would criticize it or those, even children, who have been victimized by it.

Properly so, because the institutional Roman Catholic Church is the body of Christ, the arc of salvation, our tribe.  Its survival takes priority over any other consideration.

By saying he needs to see proof that Bishop Juan Barros was complicit in covering up the abuse perpetrated by the Rev. Fernando Karadima, Francis has shown himself to be the Vatican’s newest Doubting Thomas. And it’s not a good look.

He wants evidence?  Shocking!  There’s a moral panic to go along with here.  The same people who insist the Church pay out million dollar settlements demand we always operate under the assumption that no one would ever have an incentive to make a false accusation.  Accusers must be believed, with no questions asked!  That’s seriously their position, to be applied only against their enemies, of course.

What infuriates me the most is the hypocrisy of it all.  Laws properly put caps on public school sexual abuse payments, because a community simply cannot allow its ability to educate its children to be held hostage to its least scrupulous teacher and to legal fortune.  Some of us think the Church also has a crucial job to perform.  The journalists say they want us stripped of our communal assets and our reputations destroyed because they care so much more about our children than we do; the world wants to protect our children from the Church.  As if the world were so much safer, so much more scrupulous!  Some of us think we need the Church in a functional state to help protect our children from the world, which knows how to destroy both body and soul.

5 Responses

  1. Today was the first time I went to the Catholic building at my university. If this hadn’t been at the top of my list, it would have taken me a week to get to it.

    I wouldn’t call this a miracle bit it sure dems that way to me.

  2. correction: Seems. But it sure seems that way to me.

  3. He’s already apologized. That was a close one, though.

  4. “If the Pope really said that, I take back all the nasty things I’ve said about him these past years.”

    Yes, very Trumpian!

  5. It’s always been this way go see old descriptions of saints holy in public but otherwise lecherous. It’s too far gone,

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