Tuesday, April 13, 2010

It's Cathomplicated

Looks like the Catholic Church is up to no good. Sorry, I meant to write "uptonogood," which is an ancient Inuit word for covering up widespread child rape. We all know priests have been raping kids for a long time now. Like every ubiquitous thing that makes us uncomfortable, we've turned it into a joke. (See: Carrot Top)

But lately, it's become clear that not only are the bureaucratic leaders of the church aware of said kid rape, but even Pope Joey "Ratzo" Ratzinger personally dumped some administrative dirt on the crimes when he was in charge of policing them. This irks me for a couple of reasons. Mostly because I've taken an admittedly controversial anti-kid raping stance ever since I had a conscience surgically implanted in my frontal lobe. But also because I know, respect, and like many Catholics, including a few priests. None of them are kid rapers. And none of them have much to do with the Vatican administration that seems to be most at fault here.

The Catholic Church is a huge organization. It's the Walmart of religions. A lay priest has as much say in what Vatican officials do as a Walmart store manager has at corporate board meetings. All of my BFPs (best friend priests, natch) are too busy hearing confessions, wiping off the parish potluck card tables, and trying to feed the poor to put in much effort trying to change things. This is as disappointing as it is understandable. Which is to say, lots. Same goes for those Catholic faithful who don't speak up about the kid raping going on in their club. But the fact remains that kid rape has nothing to do with the religion. It has everything to do with some people who belong to the managerial structure of that religion.

Which is why it's also disappointing when someone like the phenomenally bearded atheist P.Z. Myers writes that Catholicism is a "baby-raping religion." That kind of thing is just lazy and witless. By that logic, fatherhood is a baby-raping state of being, since a huge percentage of people who rape babies are also fathers. And not the collared kind. Well, unless they're wearing collared shirts, like an oxford or a polo or something. Anyway, the point is this: The situation is more complicated than "Catholics iz eval." Mostly because there are few if any LOLcats involved.

But as much as I like my Catholic friends, it's pretty hard to defend idiotic and disgusting attempts at shifting the blame coming from the church's management. They're desperate to make you think the Jews or the homos are to blame for kid rape. If nothing else, this is just silly. I don't know for certain, but I'm pretty sure shape-shifting lizards are at fault. (And by "shape-shifting lizards," I obviously mean "the Jews.")

At the same time, your antisemitic and/or homophobic bishops don't have a monopoly on saying things that aren't based on any kind of fact. According to noted psychologist and star of 87% of Comedy Central's defunct "T&A Matinee" programming block Bill Maher, kid rape is a direct result of clerical celibacy. Sure, there's no evidence for this, but since when is it acceptable to simply not have an opinion on topics when you don't have enough information?

What causes priests to rape kids? I don't know. What causes Midwestern fathers of four to rape kids? I don't know. Will the support of atheist activists like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens help encourage law enforcement officials to crack down on kid rape in the Catholic Church? I don't know.

I do know that the police should be going after those who do rape kids, clergy or no. And they should also be going after those who worked to ensure kids were put in situations where they would likely be raped, even if that includes Pope Ratzo. Kid rape is a serious issue that deserves serious discussion. So, let's can the hyperbole and stick with what we know? Or at the very least, limit our conversation to what we can do about those shape-shifting lizard Jews*.

*I hear they're vulnerable to water.