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Posted on the 05 February 2014 by Erictheblue

What might euphemistically be called a "stomach bug" is touring our household.  I am the most recent victim and so am home from work today gingerly partaking of the BRAT diet.  I had a cold when the more disabling illness struck, and find today as I recover that it did not go away while I was on hands and knees in the bathroom.  Being an English major, this reminds me of one of Dr Johnson's finest moments.  Some pious churchman had composed a treatise arguing that the sufferings of the poor innoculate them against other grievances and are therefore to be deemed an aid to human happiness, another of the Lord's tender mercies.  In his review, Johnson wrote (it is almost my favorite thing in English literature):

The poor indeed are insensible of many little vexations which sometimes embitter the possessions and pollute the enjoyment of the rich.  They are not pained by casual incivility, or mortified by the mutilation of a compliment; but this happiness is like that of the malefactor who ceases to feel the cords that bind him when the pincers are tearing his flesh.

In other news, today's Roman churchmen are exhibiting a certain testiness over a U.N. report that says little more than what everyone already knows about how the Catholic Church has coddled and enabled its criminally abusive priests.  From a report in the LA Times:

The Vatican, which signed the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990, has “consistently placed the preservation of the reputation of the Church and the protection of the perpetrators above children’s best interests,” said the report, accusing the Vatican of transferring abusive priests to new parishes where many have continued to abuse children, and of “humiliating” the families of victims into silence.

In a sharply worded response, the Holy See’s ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, attacked the report, calling it “surprising” and full of “incorrect” statements, and alleging that the U.N. had ignored steps taken by the Vatican in recent years to root out abuse.

In an interview with Vatican Radio, Tomasi also suggested that nongovernmental organizations that oppose the Vatican’s positions on homosexuality and gay marriage had influenced the U.N. report, giving it an “ideological” slant.

Addressing the U.N. committee last month, Tomasi said the Vatican had no responsibility for abusers because "priests are citizens of their own states, and they fall under the jurisdiction of their own country."

Everyone knows the famous illustration of chutzpah--you murder your parents, then, on the ground that you are an orphan, beg the court's mercy.  Is the archbishop's defense any less ridiculous?  When made aware of abusive priests, the Church does not call the cops; no, it quietly moves the offender to a new parish, where he persists in his criminality.  Later, when this comes to light, times twenty thousand, the Church's spokesmen say, "Well, you know, priests are citizens of their own states and it's not our place to prosecute them."  You do everything possible to shield criminals and then blame all the local Dogberries for not penetrating the shield.  Plus, you suggest your critics are just a bunch of gay-loving haters of religious freedom.

One of the Church's biggerst problems may be that the only men--and they are all men--who have risen high enough in the hierarchy to speak for it have, naturally, been the ones so devoted to its rituals and claims of authority that they can't see what things look like to normal, healthy people. 

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