Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What Do We Learn from the Main Stream Media Coverage of the Pope?

A Lot Possibly

Recent media reports that have allegedly linked the Pope to sexual abuse cases have provided some insights into our times and into the minds of the people of the world, particularly here in North America.

The Main Stream Media (MSM) has not focused its energy on providing the truth, but have slipped into the kind of innuendo usually reserved for the media we think of as rags, where blurring the facts is expected, and good fiction stories that appeal to the lack of sensibilities of the readership in the food market line, have catchy headlines, to grab attention.

However, along the way, the MSM has found real chinks in the Roman Catholic Church's armor, and has discovered that there were cover-ups that had not been brought out into the open before.  There is very little that is about something happening today.  Almost all of it is from the past, and almost all of that from the deep past, more than 20 years ago, closer to 30 generally.

It was sad to read about an apparent cover up by the previous Bishop of Pembroke Ontario, since deceased, and therefor unable to defend himself, as it puts into question the current situation, and leaves today's clergy members, who are fighting the good fight of faith, feeling vulnerable.  But, that too, obviously is from the distant past.

Something that is very disturbing to me is looking at the comments that are attached to the articles that are coming out.  The comments by interested readers are very much pro-hanging the Pope, and Catholics and the Catholic Church in general, and carry a great deal of vitriol, that is not commensurate with the truth of the content, nor the context of the abuses that have happened in the RC Church, relative to the rest of the world.

Isn't it interesting that Tiger Woods is now once again becoming a darling of the sports world, even though up to a few months ago, he was consorting with hookers and porn stars, while abandoning his wife and children.  That he has come clean to some extent, though not by his own instigation does not really warrant us all jumping back on the Tiger band wagon, and calling him a conquering hero.  Should he be forgiven if he comes to a place of repentance?  Of course, he should.  Does it matter whether we forgive him or not?  Not really, for him what matters is what he shows to, and is believed for by, his wife Elin and his children.  Should we leave him alone to get on with cleaning up his life, and repairing the damage he did?  Yes, we should.

But, if he were the head of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, and was being assailed for what he might have done 30 years ago, if he had even been where the media is trying to pretend he was, and if he had the authority that he did not at that time, it seems that it would be and is a different story.  Tell me Joe (since we would not speak to him respectfully), 30 years ago, when you weren't at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith yet, and were not even when you were there, for many years, responsible for the laicization of priests found guilty of sexual improprieties, why did you hold up the requests for defrocking (media word, just not the right one) of the miscreants?  You have no idea what we are asking about?  Can I take your dumbfounded expression on your face at my absurd question, as an admission of guilt? 

Seems like a story built on straw to me, as it has been proven that the alleged documented scandal, at least as it involved the Pontiff is not really light on facts, because that implies that there are some, but a plot to discredit someone who is guiltless.

What does this say about our society?  It says that there is a great deal of pent up hatred of the Roman Catholic Church (RCC), which seems to be founded on something other than facts.  In truth, what can be said of the attitude is: "Don't confuse me with facts.  My mind's made up."

In fact, there has been scandalous sexual behaviour by a small subsection of the priesthood.  It deserves both punishment by the lay courts, and the appropriate sanction, and taking of responsibility by the Catholic courts.  But, that process has in fact been going on for many, many years now.  But, it has all been too quiet.  We don't really know that something is being done.  True to some extent.  But, if for example, I was abused by Father Feeler Sylvestre, who recently died in jail, would I likely want my name brought up and in the news?  The last thing that sexual abuse victims want typically is to have the shame they felt, and the sorrow they live with daily brought into a public forum.  It is humiliating to them, and is an act of further victimization.  Yet, they validly want some justice as closure, and need financial help to put their lives back together.

So, it is a catch 22.  We hunger for the juicy details, to satisfy our prurient interests in the lurid.  We say, of course, that then we would know that the RCC is fixing its own house. So, there will never be enough disclosure for us to see what we want to see, and believe what we want to believe.  Consequently, we just accept any story put in our faces, regardless of the absence of facts to support its content and context.

Anyone foolish enough to think that all the members of the RCC have been spotless lambs from the days of Peter, the first Bishop of Rome, to this date is deluded.  Of course, anyone who expects that to be the case is equally deluded.  Jesus said that He came for sinners, and boy the RCC is a good place then.  Those of us who claim to be Christians and exercise our faith here in the RCC know we are sinners, and thank God that we are accepted even though we are.

But, we should be mindful of the scripture denunciation that we may "Be sure your sins will find you out."  There is sinfulness that is surfacing, and a cleansing of the Church is happening.  The faith of Catholics is being tested.

The parable of the sower and the seed from Mark Chapter 4, as presented in the NIV Bible is very much on point to this situation:
3"Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8Still other seed fell on good soil.
 What is even more important for us is the explanation that Jesus gave of the parable later on in the same chapter:
 13Then Jesus said to them, "Don't you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14The farmer sows the word. 15Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown."
We today are like the seeds sowed in the parable.  Those who are inside the Church, leaders and members as well, who allow desires for things not of God, like misplaced deviant sexual desires, as only one example, to take hold of them are like the seed that falls into the thorns, and is choked out.  They are even beyond unfruitful, on their own.  They bring damage and shame to those who listen to them and trust them.  They will be held to account for the people whose faith they have shaken.

The seed on rocky places is the Christian who attends Church, hearing the word of God, but does not work to have it go deep into his/her heart, where it becomes firmly planted, but instead plays the game of church attendance, just in case.  They are leaving the Church, shocked and horrified that this could happen.

And those seeds along the path, are the outsiders and many insiders as well, who hear the word, but let Satan steal it from them, and twist it into something ugly and unseemly.  It is not the Word of God that is wrong, but the sinful actions of some priests and others in authority in the Church.

We need to be aware that there is a demonic element to this sifting that is going on, and that, dear reader, we do not have to stand for.  The devil has no place in our hearts, minds, our homes and our Church.  We have a responsibility to look at our own sinfulness and to clean up our acts, because Christ's bride is to be spotless, if it is to be a sign of Him on earth.  The cleaning up of our own acts makes it difficult, but not impossible for the devil to come around and tempt us further.

We also must take authority over him, since he is not God, and does not have God's power.  He is a deceiver and liar, who has tempted us, and teased us with sinful pleasures.  He sows enmity, hatred, strife, and sexual impurity among us, because that is how he hopes to beat God.  He wants us all dead and separate from God for eternity, not because he wants us with him, but because he does not want us with God.

"Resist the devil and he will flee from you."  We must resist him, but first we must recognize him.


Osumashi Kinyobe said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Janus Bellator said...

LOL! I see you've met one of the more irritating apologists...

"Isn't it interesting that Tiger Woods is now once again becoming a darling of the sports world, even though up to a few months ago, he was consorting with hookers and porn stars, while abandoning his wife and children."

Question for you, Michael -- are you trying to compare what happened in someone's private life with what was done to children however long ago? 'Cause if you are, I think you're going in the wrong direction.

Tiger Woods committed no crime. If he and Elin had not had such a noisy and public brawl about his particular taste for other women, we would never have known about it. And why should we care? What he does in his own life with other consenting adults does not affect anyone else outside his own family. No, it doesn't.

But the abuse of children -- non-consenting and non-adult -- is a crime.

The media -- all the media -- have their own slants. You can't complain about the ones who tilt against your own inclinations if you don't also complain about the ones who tilt in your favor. Responsible consumers of data need to sift through all the crap and decide for themselves where the truth lies. And truth is very often subjective, anyway. It's not the job of the media to decide what that truth is -- that's your own job.

"The last thing that sexual abuse victims want typically is to have the shame they felt, and the sorrow they live with daily brought into a public forum. It is humiliating to them, and is an act of further victimization."

You're right, and it should not be that way. Being a victim of abuse should be no more shameful than being a victim of robbery or arson. But the very reason for that shame is centered in the teaching of your church -- that anything to do with your genitals is your own sinful fault unless it takes place within the confines of marriage. The shame needs to be removed. But the members of your faith are the only ones who can do that, and they will not.

You really do bring it on yourselves -- not the crime, but the shame of its having happened. But there is nothing anyone can do to help you because y'all will not allow it. "The faith" and its teaching are deemed to be more important than the feelings of mere victims of abuse that has been facilitated by the secrecy of system in which they live. What I don't understand is why you can't see this for yourselves...

Michael Brandon said...

I appreciate your thoughts Lady Janus. Really, I do.

I do not require you to agree with me, and appreciate that you explain your disagreement.

What you have said is important enough to me to ponder it for a while (possibly an hour or so, or several days - as I have some commitments to spend time with My Dear Wife, doing some fun things for the last two days of this week - not that this is not fun).

Thank you for your points.


Michael Brandon said...

This is not the direct response to your comment, Lady Janus, nor is it a lazy cop out, I don't think.

Just an acknowledgment that I am working away here.


Janus Bellator said...

No problem. We all have other lives away from the intertoobes -- or so I'm told...lol.

Michael Brandon said...

I regret to say that the intertoob is possibly too large a portion of my life, but I have my own excuses for it.

I did forget to link the piece I wrote later, where I hope I, respectfully enough for both of our sensibilities and sensitivities, was able to clearly communicate my disagreement with something you said.

Thank you for your comments, as they do make me sharpen up my mind.