i (i) wrote,

read carefully before you flame, please

the explosion of revelations about the rape and molestation of children by catholic priests has me wondering about the nature of good and evil, and what constitutes a good person.

i doubt there is anything done by humans which is more universally revolting than the abuse of innocent children. if anything can be agreed on as evil, that must be it. but is the priest who does it evil? how can you account for everything else he did in the course of his life, all the weddings, baptisms, all the spiritual counselling for his parishoners, all the lives he enriched, all the wounds he healed. of course there is no amount of good deeds which could negate the rape of a child, but conversely, does the rape of a child negate all of that? are we not talking about a good man with a demon inside him, as opposed to an evil man?

i am not arguing for forgiveness or leniency. what i am questioning is the portrayal of these men as monsters. what they did was monstrous, without doubt, and it may well be that some of them are indeed as evil as their deeds, but in most cases, i think you would find it much more complex.

however you see it, these men should be and should have been kept away from children forever, even if that means locking them up for life. the way the catholic church has handled this over the years is abhorrent. bishops and cardinals who shuffled these men around are absolutely as responsible as they, and maybe moreso, since they could control their own actions.

an aside: i think the reason this has emerged in the catholic church and not in other places of worship is that the catholic church doesn't allow congregations to choose their pastors. they are assigned from above.

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