Earlier this month, a Boulder Catholic school created a stir when it expelled a student whose parents are lesbians because, according to the Denver Archdiocese, the parents are "living in open discord with Catholic teaching." After reading the recent New York Times report about the latest set of revelations involving Catholic priests, children and cover-ups that allegedly extend to the top tiers of the Vatican, which drew a quick and indignant response from Rome, it seems to me that the Catholic hierarchy should be quicker to kick out wayward priests rather than children. Or is the operative word "open"? Those errant priests, while not exactly conducting themselves in exactly a saintly manner, were living in "closed" discord with Catholic teaching. The whole affair seems like a canonical refrain of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Much of the anger directed toward the Catholic Church over these scandals, aside from travesty of the pedophilia within its midst on an international scale, are its largely static and secretive responses when informed by its members of the problems.
There is so much holier-than-thou hypocrisy. And it is sad because the Catholic Church is a great and historic pillar; has been throughout the centuries. There is something majestic, powerful, peaceful and awe-inspiring about the Catholic Church, whether it's one of the grand cathedrals like the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia in Barcelona, Spain or the small and aged churches in Northern New Mexico. It's a shame when human frailties (as they invariably will) tarnish something magnificent and well-meaning.
Repeatedly, we see organizations, authorities and supposed pillars crumble under the weight of their contradictions. Then there is the secrecy that typically shrouds the dichotomies--public face and stance vs. private actions. After reading the latest revelations in the New York Times, the ironies and paradoxes were stupendous. The recent Boulder Catholic school incident was one irony. Another prompted me to respond with a letter to the New York Times, the thrust of which follows:
In contrast to being a very vocal opponent of gay marriage between two consenting adults, it appears that the Catholic Church has been disquietingly silent on the subject of sexual abuse of children -- not only of a pedophilic but also of a homosexual nature -- when it occurs within its own ranks and household.
Undoubtedly, the Catholic Church would counter that its principles and doctrine don't agree with the actions of either the accused priests or the student's parents. It's all about sin and repentance. But, with allegations of cover-ups and hushed non-responses, it appears that another spiritual precept is conveniently ignored -- the truth shall set you free.