Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Hunger and thirst for righteousness?

In an unprecedented move (meaning that this is the first time this has happened), the Archdiocese of the Holy Roman Catholic church in Portland, Oregon declared bankruptcy. It took this action to "pay all claims without selling off parish assets." What claims you may ask? Sexual predation cases. Yes, sportsfans. The Archdiocese of Portland, OR has paid out $21 million (USD) over the last 4 years and its paid over $50 million over the last half-century or so. That's roughly $10 million per decade or $1 million per year. Why bankrupt now? Because apparently now that its become a public case (after the Archdiocese of Boston, Maine scandels) juries are willing to award upwards of $155 for just two current cases against the Archdiocese. Now that the juries are actually making the "church" (and I loathe using that word to describe these dispicable people) pay out the nose, they want to avail themselves of every legal means at their disposal. Hmmm. Let me get this straight.

1) The Archdiocese of Portland, OR spent at least 5 decades paying off families "under the table" to keep quiet and not make a public scandel of priests sexually abusing young boys, girls and some adults.

2) The Archdiocese enjoyed business status in that they could operate with a veil of security like a corporation. If someone wanted to sue a particular priest it had to be in a civil suit. Check to see how many priests have been prosocuted versus how many have recently admitted or been proved to have committed sexual abuse if you don't think I'm right.

3) The Archdiocese enjoyed tax free growth on its investments in land, money and valuables that were given in "good faith" by its parishioners.

Now that a jury may . . . may want to award a punative damage that would cause the business to sell of its assets it wants protection?!?!?

Uhhh, my degree is in Bible study from a liberal arts college (Wm Jennings Bryan College) but I know that this type of behavior is never condoned or sanctioned within the text of the Bible. Nor is harboring or abetting criminals or fugatives. The Bible preaches forgiveness but it also teaches responsibility. So a priest gave in. Perhaps he was weak. I can see that point and I think that he should, to a degree that his offense was public, be made to confess his sin and be forgiven. If his confession was genuine; if he was penitent within his heart then I'm sure God will forgive him. However, the Bible strongly teaches that there are immediate results arising from our sins. People who continued to live in sin were to be excommunicated. They were to be publically discharged from the body so that any unbelievers who became aware of their perverse continuation in sin would not associate that habitual offender with the believers who are penitently trying to live out their belief system on a day-by-day basis. To simply move a sexual predator from one hunting ground to another so that he can choose "fresh prey" is abominable and I trust solely in the holiness of a divine entity that those who perpetrated both the personal sex aggression and those who helped to cover it up will gain their rewards for their evil deeds when they pass from this life into the next.

However . . . .
In this world, we have laws and people are expected to abide by them within the US. I say that prosecutors at the local and even federal level should find a way to disallow this bankruptcy and should hold the proverbial feet of the one who comes to tell the message to the proverbial fire. If the feet of the priests are blessed, then I say, "Light 'em up!" Let the "church" squirm through this and exact from this business some measure that will cause the next "higher up" to excommunicate a sexual predator rather than simply moving him to another hunting ground. Penalize the Roman Catholic church and it will, like a petulant child, learn that it, too, has to abide by the law of the land. It may represent a higher power but it is not that higher power and it must be made to enforce the laws of the land in which it operates. The only reason the church swept these lawsuits and abuse cases under the rug for decades (and centuries, too, probably) is for financial gain. How much of a financial hit has the Boston Archdiocese taken since the sex scandel came out up there?

I for one say that these entities are businesses and careful consideration should be given to their tax exempt status. For tens of years they have harbored sexual offenders not as the ones to be healed but as the healers in frocks. The problem with the church structure in some of these sites is not that they allow sinners in their midst but that they promote and hide the sinners who egregiously offend not only the commandments of their own belief system but also some of the most basic social agreements. Do not take advantage of those less able to protect themselves whether that be in a mental, physical, financial or emotional arena. These institutions not only allow the sinners to come in, they give them a uniform and put them in front of people and say, "Here is someone holier than you are and closer to God Himself. Trust this person." and that person IS the sexual predator. Why it would be like me taking my daughter to the lions' den and telling her to go play with the kitties!

And their is my opinion without undue animus.

A link to the story that started this for me this morning:
Yahoo article

Thanks for reading,


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