Thursday, March 13, 2008

Bishop Gerhard Müller: Long Finger, Big Broom

I was outraged and disgusted when I heard this latest story of a Catholic bishop resorting to finger pointing to divert blame, but not before having used the Church’s famous first defense: sweeping the dirt under the rug. The old rule must run something like this: as long as the people don’t know, then we’re safe. That reasoning might have washed back in the day, but we mortals have figured out since then that Galileo was right. This time the spotlight is on the diocese of Regensburg, Germany, a bishopric formerly known for its Catholic uprightness, and especially for exquisite liturgy and music. Now, it’s known for its pedophiles and its utterly stupid bishop whose index finger seems to have grown a few meters or so in recent days. The situation involves a priest, Peter K. (who is now going to the one rectory where he was really called to live: the prison), who had first been convicted in 2000 for his fond interest in altar boys. We all know the scenario: Bishop pulls out the broom, and priest gets moved. The bishop of Regensburg heard lots about Peter, and when Peter had gone through each confirmation class, the good bishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller rewarded his faithful subject with a whole new crop of pubescent boys in another parish. Sick. According to the German news channel ZDF, Father Peter was accustomed to asking his 11-13 year old servers how their pubic hair was coming along and how their penises were growing. Sick. What sickens me more than what this lunatic was doing to children all over Müller’s little kingdom was that the bishop himself announced before the cameras that he had nothing at all to do with the case, and that he can not be held responsible for crimes priest’s commit. So what's Father Peter's excuse -- “The bishop gave me the apple, and I ate it!”? The ZDF commentator observed correctly that, in cases where a company has become involved in cases of neglect or poor workmanship, that immediately it is the upper administration who are questioned and who are ultimately held responsible. The announcer went on to suppose that such logic must not pertain to the Catholic Church. What’s even more interesting is this: according to the German bishops' conference, if a priest is found to be involved in pedophilia, he is not to be returned to a job involving minors. The esteemed Regensburg bishop must not have cared too much about that, or probably thought that his mitre was much taller and pointier than those of his confreres. After Peter’s 2000 conviction, he was allowed back to business as usual, organizing youth groups, youth outings, and overseeing the altar boys. Maybe, if Bishop Müller would close his eyes long enough and wish really hard, he’ll wake up in a world where he has some credibility left. But hey, if the cow dung splashes too severely across Müller’s ruby red piping, all is not lost: he could possibly run for governor of New York. That state just recently lost its hypocrite.

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