Any ideas??

04/26/2010 - 13:25

So what should the Pope do on his visit to the UK???



As a catholic I would say that the majority are every bit as shocked and saddened as anyone else by the disgraceful cases of abuse of children and young people at the hands of some members of the clergy and  of the mishandling and cover-up by the church hierarchy. However I found the memo leaked by such a respected agency as the Foreign office about the Pope very distasteful. I wonder if similar treatment of a leader of another faith would be tolerated in the same way.

Marcella, I totally agree with your comment. It is also true that some members of the Church, a small minority, behaved in a disgusting and criminal way and that the hierarchy did not handle those issues the way it would have been expected to. The Pope has apologized for what has happened, not only in general terms but he also had a private meeting with some of the victims during his recent visit to Malta. The British Foreign Office made a terrible gaffe which cannot be justified and, had it been the case of a similar treatment of the leader of another faith, the consequences could have been terrible. Could you imagine the Queen of England being blamed for the actions of individual members of the Anglican church or even its hierarchy? Well, she is the Head of the Church of England... similar case....  

The Queen is indeed the head of the Church of England; she's also the United Kingdom's Head of State. Just as she can't be blamed (or given credit) for anything a particular UK Government does, so she's not responsible - in anything other than the most legalistic sense - for what goes on in the Church of England. The Pope, on the other hand, is more like a Chief Executive of a company. While the Chief Executive of BP probably had very little directly to do with the decisions that led to the current oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the fact is that he is ultimately responsible for the disaster. One of the justifications for their huge reward packages used by people in such senior positions is that the buck always stops with them. The Chief Executive of BP bears some responsibility for the oil rig exploding in the sense that he was - say - the manager responsible for managing the people who managed the people who drafted the contract with the oil rig's current operators and those who managed the people inspecting their working practices. The situation would be much worse for BP's CEO if it should be discovered that, not only did he not bother to ask any questions about the company hired to run the rig and their safety practices, he was aware of concerns about the working practices of the contractors but he had done little to get his minions to investigate and sort out the problems. He would rightly be pilloried if it was found that, while he was in a more junior position in the firm and directly responsible for monitoring the working practices of contractors, he had come to have direct knowledge of unsafe practices by the contractors on the rig that has exploded, but he decided that the priority was to ensure that the BP brand was not tarnished, and so he took actions to conceal the problems from the governmental authorities responsible for policing health and safety laws. None but the most partisan (or blinkered) can believe that the problem with the Catholic Church is just a few bad apples. One element of the organisation's culture is clearly an attitude which places a high value on members protecting each other from the outside world. That's a common trait in all sorts of organisations, but the willingness of people at all levels in the Church to either actively participate in or to passively collude in concealing sexual abuse at the very least says something unpleasant about the thought processes and the moral compasses of those who were "enablers" rather than active abusers. Further, it seems to me entirely reasonable to ask if perhaps a significant motivation on the part of the enablers is the desire to ensure that their own abuse will be concealed should it come to light. Mutual back-scratching is, of course, another characteristic of organisations of all sorts. Al

Sorry to contradict you, but the Pope is also Head of the Catholic Church and Head of a State (The Vatican State), not the CEO of a Company. Child abuse unfortunately occurs in society at all levels and the Anglican Church has not been immune to it, hiding it for decades as has been the case for the Catholic Church. This report by the Anglican Church of Australia is most enlightening: Just a quick search through the Internet will show you how prevalent child abuse and paedophilia are in our society. Also, how authorities have tried to hide it for very long. My point is that the Pope has been treated with very little respect even if he has acknowledged publicly that the Church was wrong. On the other hand, similar cases involving other churches or groups do not get the same kind of publicity. Child abuse and paedophilia should be considered abhorrent and punished accordingly.

It does not stick to religion, but tries to effect political voting here in Italy. NO, it does effect the voting. My mother -in-law was told who to vote for in the Lazio election in the Sunday service! If the Catholic church wants to play this sort of game it will have to get used to taking the blame when thing go wrong.

All churches try to maintain a position of influence and meddle in politics. This is nothing new and it is not commendable. Furthermore, I would say that it goes against the true spirit of any church; however, we are getting away from the main topic, which relates to the visit of the Pope to the UK, the Foreign Office's awful gaffe and the treatment of the Pope by the media. Regarding what he should do during his visit to the UK.... Just the usual: a few blessings and prayers, solemn mass, possibly another apology for the handling of the child abuse cases, meetings with the hierarchy of the Anglican church and other denominations praying together for peace and unity, consecration of priests and perhaps beatification of a British catholic on the venerable list.... and that's it. The normal duties for a Pope and the Foreign Office knows it. After all, they are supposed to be the diplomats and experts in dealing with foreign matters and visitors... All the other suggestions are vulgar and insulting.

Gala, you're a very bright person, so your apparent inability to see the parallel between the CEO of a company and the Pope suggests that this is an area in which you have far too much emotional investment to be totally objective. But that's fair enough, since it's difficult for me to express in measured, polite terms just what I think about the Catholic Church, those employed by the first (and probably still the largest) multinational enterprise and the organisation's mission statement. The main point of your last post seems to be that (1) people in all sorts of churches abuse children so it's unfair to point out that Catholic priests do so, (2) since other churches have concealed child abuse by their priests and ministers, it's not so bad that the Catholic church has done so and (3) everyone should respect the Pope because he's The Pope and he’s been very brave to admit that not everything is right in his organisation. The problem for a rational person is that the Catholic Church and the Pope claim to have a direct line to God and the first bullet point in their job description is something like: "Dictate to people how to live their lives in a moral way." Anyone who claims the moral high ground and preaches at the rest of us mere mortals about how we should act and what we should think would have to be a bit stupid to be surprised by people getting very annoyed when their own sinful and illegal acts are exposed. As for respect, I've done my best to give the Pope and the organisation he leads all the respect it deserves. I’m not a Catholic, so my experience of the Church and priests is limited. However, it happens that I know two women, one of whom was involved with a lecherous, middle-aged priest for many years prior to his death, while the other still is. Just in case you immediately want to assign the role of victim to the priests, I’ll say that in no sense are these affairs the result of a femme fatale targeting a poor, naïve priest. In one case, the woman was actually “picked up” by the priest while she was on a train journey. Since I don't have a disproportionate number of Catholic friends and my general circle of acquaintances is not that large, I find it very interesting that I personally know of two cases where priests have completely disregarded their vow of celibacy. That suggests to me that this sort of thing must be very widespread in the Catholic priesthood. What I find even more interesting is that one of the priests told the woman in the most emphatic terms that there was no need for him to mention their relationship in Confession. This from a priest who is - so it seems from anecdotes related by the woman involved - very well known and highly respected by members of the clergy resident in the Vatican. Still, while the two priests involved are fantastic hypocrites who do nothing but confirm my prejudices about men of the cloth in general and the Catholic Church in particular, at least one positive thing could be said about them: when they were messing around with mature women, they weren't inflicting psychological and physical trauma on children. Personally, I think the celibacy policy is ridiculous, has nothing to do with Scripture and is in profound conflict with the most deeply-rooted human drives, thus tending to create profound psychological disturbance. I also find it not at all surprising that the policy ends up attracting men to the priesthood who have very serious issues with their sexuality, who join the priesthood because they believe elements of their personality which they find distasteful can be repressed forever in such an environment and who then discover that this is actually impossible. However, the point is that Catholic priests do take vows to their God to be celibate and the fact is that this apparently means little to some (perhaps many or most) of them. If many priests choose to believe that they are free to do as they please and the rules set out for the priesthood by the Church mean nothing, it seems to me not all that surprising that some stretch a little bit more and convince themselves that there’s nothing wrong or sinful about them forcing children to perform sexual acts. All this is, of course, very much Off Topic and has nothing to do with the Original Poster's requests for ideas on what His Holiness can do on his visit to Britain. My suggestion is that could he rearrange his diary, stay home and concentrate on figuring out how to make his organisation more relevant to the modern world. However, given that he, like all those who rise to the top of any organisation, is a total Company Man, I'm confident (hopeful, actually) that this won't happen and the Catholic Church's influence on the real world will continue to wane. Al

Al, I respect your opinion and although I am a Catholic I should clarify that I am not in agreement with many things which have happened, still happen and possibly will keep on happening within the Church. I have several priests and nuns in my immediate family and I am happy and proud to say that their conduct has always been perfect. I have two aunts who, after becoming nuns, asked for permission to leave the orders, which was granted. We also had a very dear friend who was a priest and was granted dispensation to marry the woman he fell in love with. Celibacy is a very controversal subject and I am personally against it. As you say, I cannot see any sense in it and it was not compulsory until the 12th Century and even then it took practically until the 17th Century to be formalised. On the other hand, the Oriental branch of the Catholic Church allows its priests to marry and also some Anglican Church priests, who were married and who did not like the reforms introduced in the Anglican Church, asked to join the Catholic church and have been accepted as priests. Priesthood is a sacrament and a priest remains a priest as long as he is alive, whether he marries or not.  Personally, I would prefer to see celibacy by choice and not as an imposition. I further believe that allowing priests to marry will help them in the fulfilment of their mission and that it will also help them to cope with the solitude involved in being a lonely priest. I have seen priests in Australia turning to alcohol to hide their frustrations. I see how my uncles who are priests come to visit regularly members of the family just to feel that love and closeness that they don't have. I cannot totally blame celibacy for the cases of child abuse or paedophilia. This link has never been established although there could be an association. I think that the number of paedophiles within any Church would be in the same proportion as it happens in any other place in the world; however, all churches and organisations dealing with children should be vigilant in order to protect the innocent victims. This is where society and churches have failed and the coverup has been widespread. As for the Catholic Church being a Company, I certainly do not agree with you, but you are entitled to have your own opinion on the matter. I would say that for one paedophile within the Church there are hundreds of good priests and nuns who are never mentioned and who fulfil roles which are never praised or acknowledged. They do not mind as they have a vocation and they are simply responding to its call. But that does not make the news or even a small headline.... As for respect, I think that all human beings should be treated with it. Unfortunately, the media does not share this belief.