Friday, April 30, 2010

The Pope, the Church and the scandal

Let me be as clear as I can here: if Pope Ratzinger in any way stalled or prevented an investigation, Church-based or otherwise, into any aspect of child molestation by priests, then he needs to be indicted and brought to trial; an international tribunal into all this is also necessary and should be demanded by every living human on the planet. Obviously, a very thorough and major investigation of the Catholic Church’s practices about this needs to be held. It is a rock solid fact that there are a lot of priests who have molested children, and it’s clear that the Church has engaged in diversionary tactics ever since this became public (like the abhorrent Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone who says homosexuality lies at the heart of this scandal).

My point, after all this, isn’t too hard to grasp: if the Pope did what he has been alleged to do, then he needs to be brought to justice. The Church itself looks to have been complicit in hushing up this scandal for years, decades. They too need to face criminal justice. And as skeptics, we need to be vocal about the methods employed by the Church, where those methods can be analyzed using critical thinking and the arsenal skeptics employ. But just attacking them because they are a religion is the wrong reason to do it, and attacking them with abandon, with insults, and with vitriol will not help.

Those 75 million American Catholics should be outraged by all this. If you think skeptics and atheists can bring down the Church’s administration and authority by alienating that population — a quarter of the people in the U.S. — then you are not applying skeptical methods at all.

All of us need to be standing up to the horrors the Church has perpetrated, just as we would if any organization did such a thing. And where skepticism applies, we should apply it, but we should have a care when doing so. If the ultimate goal is to change the hearts and minds of people, then we need to be human and humane.

From Phil Plait's exhaustive analysis over the issue in Bad Astronomy:
To read the full analysis and over 280 comments of readers from all parts of the globe click here.

1 comment:

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