"Indifference is the essence of inhumanity"
—George Bernard Shaw
Hey, did you hear the news? The Vatican sex abuse scandal isn't really about the tens of thousands of little kids who've been raped and abused in all sorts of disturbing ways over the years by their friendly neighborhood clergymen. No, it seems the real issue, at least according to the Vatican and Pope Benedict himself, is the strength and resolve of the Church to not be intimidated by such "petty gossip".
And, yes, "petty gossip" is indeed the term the Pope used to refer to all of this. It's not clear whether he was referring to the Church's systemic worldwide sheltering and protection of habitual child rapists or just the allegations of his own personal involvement in at least two cases of coverups in the year's before he became Pope, but, either way, it's terrific to see him standing up for the true victims in all of this: the poor maligned leaders of the Catholic Church, himself included.
His exact words, reverberating with indignation for justice not yet achieved, referred to "the courage of not allowing oneself to be intimidated by the petty gossip of dominant opinion".
Yes, even if that "dominant opinion" insists that sexual abuse of kids is in fact really nasty stuff and that obsessively covering up such abuse is more than just a little repugnant.
"Dominant opinion" be damned, the pontiff proudly proclaims. And who else, Gandhi, Mandela, and MLK notwithstanding, would take such a courageous stand?
The Infallible One knows this is all just a nasty smear campaign against the Catholic Church, one that will all die down eventually. Like when all those dastardly infidels tried to slander the Holy Church over its good work during the Spanish Inquisition.
Or, more recently, when those sinister sinners in Canada tried to victimize the Catholic Church by pointing out all the rapes and beatings that had taken place in the Church-run residential schools.
Or when those reckless enemies of the faith publicized all those so-called "horrors" that took place for much of the last century in the Church-run schools of Ireland.
How many times can one institution be so unjustly slandered, maligned and victimized?
A Biblical Explanation
As I'm sure Christ must have preached time and time again, the most important thing one can do with his or her life is to work towards the preservation of the Church's reputation. Real abuse and suffering is neither here nor there, but perceived scandal, now that's what really pisses the Almighty off like nothing else you can imagine.
And didn't Christ also say something to the effect of "let he who has not buggered, or at the very least fondled, a young child himself cast the first stone"?
Which perhaps explains why, until recently, few stones have ever been cast when it came to punishing the actions of pedophile priests.
Either way, what did you expect the Church to do, call the cops or something? Or remove the accused priests from positions of power over kids? Let's be realistic here.
Besides, these priests were simply trying to get close to these kids because they had read that the meek were going to inherit the earth and they wanted to be close to them when it happened. Can you really blame them?
But back to the main point at hand here, which is how dare the media report such lies? Or, if not lies, at least things the Pope doesn't want people to hear? Hasn't this great institution, this Holy See, suffered enough already?
Come on people, can't we all just get along and return to those happier days of centuries past, when kids took their buggering silently, no one ever even thought of embarrassing the Church (and not simply due to the fact that they'd be burnt at the stake), and none of us had to concern ourselves with such ignoble "petty gossip".
Ah, the good ol' days.
Such simpler times.
Mike Cowie is a freelance writer who writes about politics, music, film, travel, and much more. You can read more of Mike’s views on his Web site.