Losing My Religion (4 of 5)

Image from istockphoto.com

The saga continues…

For this instalment, let’s cut to the chase and let’s make it brief.

I’m sure many expects this to appear in my list and it does. It’s my reason number:

3. the sexual abuse perpetrated and perpetuated by priests eventually got to me.

I won’t repeat what we’ve already heard so many times in the media (since the 1980s), but I’ll briefly explain why this had a bearing in my disenchantment with religion.

In the beginning, although I felt horrified when this news first broke out, I was espousing forgiveness. I also realised priests, after all, can be fallible human beings, susceptible to temptations.

When allegations after allegations of sexual misconduct reverberated around the world, some of them reportedly proven true, I became increasingly dissatisfied with the way these abuses were dealt with.

I’ve recently read a report where the church is trying to blame the priests’ sexual misconduct on homosexuality. A psychologist who specialises in treating sexually-abused children says homosexuality is not the same as pedophilia. The difference is that a person who is sexually attracted to children (regardless of sex) is a pedophile. And pedophilia, according to Wikipedia, is a psychiatric disorder. Pedophilia is also a crime against children.

Let’s remember that not all of these allegations are substantiated and credible. However, granted that, at one time, it’s “only” supposedly about 4% of the entire priesthood (active at the time) who have allegedly committed this crime, it’s 4% too many. I say there should be zero tolerance on pedophilia, especially those committed by people who should know better—those who made teaching people not to “sin” their vocation.

You could say the number of perpetrators are insignificant compared to the total number of priesthood. Well, tell that to the victims and their families. To subject their victims to pain, trauma, shame, depression, maybe even suicidal thoughts, and God knows what other harrowing emotions victims of this type of abuse go through, is the most unkind act of those we least expect to commit this.

Equally sharing the blame are the top brass in the church’s hierarchy who exercise their power in some countries to prevent the poor access to birth control but are impotent in preventing, if not stopping, and tackling this long-term issue head on.

Why would I let a “minority” of offenders turn me off religion? The churches’ leaders’ failure to decisively address and put a stop or at least prevent these abuses leave much to be desired and added to my growing belief that there is no such thing as “one true religion”.

I’ve removed hatred, vindictiveness, revengefulness and other extremely negative traits from my heart (not an easy thing to do for a Scorpio). So I’m not going to condemn those perpetrators to hell or demand that they be jailed for life or wish capital punishment on them.

It doesn’t mean though that I should continue listening to them.

Note: Search online and you’ll see it’s obviously not only priests from the Catholic Church who commit sexual abuse of children but also, it’s alleged, from other Christian denominations, as well as from other religions.

Final instalment: The “mother” of all reasons.

Next topic: [I’m back in my childhood…]

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About Earthianne

A lover of OSHO, non-fiction books, fun and laughter, music, philosophy, life, animals, world peace.

Posted on 16/07/2010, in Points of View and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. and when the church steadfastly refuses to allow women to become priests, it attracts some male characters out of the mainstream. the church’s response was typically roman catholic slow and sad. i think it’s also true that the culture of our world has changed dramatically in a short time in some ways. prosecutors would never have dreamed of charging priests, just like media outlets would have never reported on it. people knew it was happening 20 years ago, or could easily have guess. it just wasn’t fair game.

    • I’ve just read this in the news: “attempts at ordination of women as Catholic priests is now considered by Vatican as a most serious crime”. I seriously thought it was pedophilia. Lol.

      With all these lawsuits and pressure, can we see genuine change from the Vatican? Somehow I doubt it.

  2. As a new reader, I’ve really enjoyed this series. The process of ‘throwing out the bath water’ of religion, while still holding onto the ‘baby’ that is comprised of the altruistic and empathic roots of most belief systems and religions is a complex and individualistic endeavour, and the variety of narratives that exist enrich our world.

    With each success story of a person that can break free of an exclusionary belief system without becoming just as exclusionary in the opposite belief system, we increase the opportunities for others to find a ‘middle path’, a path of empathy without the rules and perspectives that limit us.

    I love how you’ve fearlessly and honestly contributed to that constantly growing narrative. Cheers…

    • You know, a big part of my reason for ‘thickening’ my skin and blogging about my own ‘journey’ (even if only through the mind) is to tell people that if they have doubts about their faith, it’s okay. I grew up feeling very guilty about not doing those things I was supposed to do (eg confessions etc), and I carried that guilt for a long time. And it was all for nothing!!

      I like what you said about a ‘middle path’. I cannot ever be an atheist, and I will blog about the reasons why later on, but I also cannot ever go back to, as I said to you, the limiting confines of religion. What I expect from the religious, and of course you do too, is tolerance of others’ beliefs (and even non-beliefs). Let God do the judging.

      People really need to break free of that fear (of an angry and vengeful God, hell etc) and learn to open their eyes and mind. I still have a long way to go, still have many things to learn and know, but I’ve gone past first base and I’m happy.

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