"Never let a good crisis go to waste."
As described by Naomi Kline, that's been the motto of reactionary politicians forever. In her book by the same title, she calls it "the shock doctrine." It highlights the fact that when disasters occur, it becomes possible for politicians to ram through policies that otherwise wouldn't have a snowball's chance in hell of gaining approval.
9/11 provides the most obvious case in point. Its aftermath saw Congress gain quick endorsement of policies that its neo-fascist members have impotently lusted after for decades. I'm referring to the institution of a police state, to widespread surveillance of U.S. citizens, to the use of torture, to wars against oil and mineral-rich Muslims in Iraq, Libya, and elsewhere, and to the mass expulsions of foreigners from U.S. soil.
It was similar with Hurricane Katrina. Following its devastation, public schools were privatized, government programs of aid to the impoverished were shredded, and black neighborhoods were gentrified on behalf of wealthy real estate moguls and their clients. All of those were prominent among the "impossible" desiderata of Washington's elite.
And without 9/11 and Katrina, they would have forever languished beyond the pale of prospect.
The argument here is that the mega-crisis of clerical pedophilia has opened the way for ordinary Catholics to apply Klein's shock doctrine to an institution that has otherwise remained immobile even in the face of the urgent call of Pope Francis (in "The Joy of the Gospel") for radical change at almost all ecclesiastical levels.
I say "almost all," because even in his otherwise brilliant Apostolic Exhortation, the pope specifically ruled out the ordination of women. (He did not even mention abolishing the requirement of priestly celibacy.)
However, my point here is that the horrendous pedophilic crisis has cardinals, bishops, priests, and even the pope himself on the run. Consequently, the door has swung wide for those outside the clerical establishment to take matters in their own hands. It's time for us to demand changes that would otherwise remain unthinkable for the fossilized ecclesiastical establishment.
First on the list should be the re-examination of all church teachings about sex from masturbation to abortion. And here the laity should be in charge. For it has become evident that a celibate clergy has NOTHING at all to teach us about sex. In the light of clerical pedophilia and its coverup, they should forever remain silent on the subject.
Put otherwise: precisely as celibates, the Catholic clergy's knowledge of sex can only be either entirely theoretical (usually based on a medieval understanding of the topic) or gathered from illicit, guilt-ridden practice. As such it is invalid and should be ignored on principle.
Second on the list should be the elimination of mandatory clerical celibacy itself. Common sense tells us that it is connected with the perversions of sex-starved priests.
Thirdly, it's time to admit the obvious, viz. that pedophilia would never have flourished under the leadership of women. In other words, the door has swung open to the otherwise unthinkable for the clerical boys' club -- to the ordination of women.
With all of this in mind, Catholics should take advantage of this crisis by:
" Refusing to let the pope and others to get away with mere apologies and discussions about what to do with pedophilic offenders.
" Insisting instead that as a good faith measure, the pope immediately declare his intention to phase out mandatory celibacy and to open the way for women to serve the church at all levels from priest to pope.
" Demanding the convocation of a General Council (under lay leadership) to re-examine the entire corpus of church teaching on human sexuality.
But how apply pressure to bring about such changes? (And it's here that the Shock Doctrine applies to a heretofore immobile laity as well as the clergy.)
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