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Discussion 5 to Meditation 53
Further comments on Meditation 53

by David Pidcock

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In regard to Meditation 53 and some of the comments in response, I was prompted into further thought.

Much is made of the fact the Catholic Church's hierarchy has attempted to cover up the abuses of its clergy. Most people feel that these deeds require great punishment. But what kind of punishment will stop these crimes from occurring? It has been shown that punishment rarely prevents recidivism, and at it's best merely removes the problem from society for the duration of incarceration. At it's worst it's a form of socialized vengeance. It helps neither the victim nor cures the criminal. Especially in the case of probable mental illness (which pedophilia may arguably be), punishment rarely effects a cure.

Thus, I thought, perhaps the Church's attempts (inadequate though they obviously were) to address this problem through therapy, to heal the sickened minds of their affected clergy, were in their own ways, laudable.

It is unfortunate, however, that these measures took place under the cover of secrecy, and amidst other far less honest measures (such as "sending them to a different parish" etc.). And further, that the acts themselves were denied for so long, and that thus, no aid was given to the victims.

It is the aura of sullen guilt which surrounds all the Church's dealings in these cases which will persist in the public mind. Perhaps it is lamentable that the few clerics who may have had the decent desire to see their brethren treated for their sickness will be drowned out by the overwhelming sense of dishonesty and cover-up that now pervades this despicable practice. Maybe some good will come of this. Maybe it will cause a few to question the practices of their entire religion.

I hold out little hope of this, however. It is remarkable how the faithful can weather a storm of challenge to their beliefs ("Faith is nothing if not tested!"), even abandoning a corrupt institution when it's malfeasance and malignancy is revealed and still cling to the underlying doctrine. Even those few who do leave over this controversy are probably going to be snatched up by one of the other waiting sharks in the sea of irrational belief.

It's almost enough for me to want to pray to some invisible/non-existent apathetic/powerless external force/entity to save their minds/souls from irrationality.