Some of my friends have asked why I am so strident about the on-going scandal in the Roman Catholic Church. It is a dishonest question with a very complex answer. On the public face of things the scandal is about the rape of children, the sundering of their innocence, the defiling of the story of the Christ, obliterating the truth of the story and encrusting a cynical version in the trappings of temporal power and unimaginable wealth. Everyone with an average IQ and a few years of secular schooling knows these things, so their response to me is dishonest because they are denying the manifest facts of the situation in the first word of their question. But they have a way out, it seems. They can always say that a man may not judge, lest he call down the wrath of God. What a cop out, and how well trained they are!
The answer is complex because of the lie, the self-deceit, the cowardice that motivates those who will not judge. It goes then to a central tenet of Christianity (and other religions) that solace for the troubles of individuals and of mankind generally must be sought not in this world, but in the "next." It says that judgement will be meted out by God, not by man. Yet is not this religion about society as much as it is about individuals? Is not society responsible to itself for the behavior of society generally and specifically of individuals? Of course it is! We as a polity judge others and after due deliberation execute some, incarcerate others, set free those whom we believe to be innocent, and so forth. We judge and I judge, and I believe it is not my prerogative, but my obligation to the society and my own spirit.
The Roman Catholic Church as Nicholas Kristof writes so well in the Sunday New York Times is a men's club, a medieval gynophobic bastion of medieval ideas, addicted to its own temporal structure and, seemingly, fully capable of perverse male parthenogenic replication ad infinitum and ad nauseam. Adventurous minds will note that the subjection of the female in Catholic lore is precisely the way the Church feeds itself from the body of women parthenogenically.
There have been nearly two millennia in which secular male dominance has been calcified within the Church to create this reef structure upon which individuals, including raped children, and whole societies have run aground and been destroyed. It is a formidable structure, self-possessed, and fully capable of forgetting the essential message of Christianity, which I hope you will remember was born outside of power and designed for those "out of power." The essential message is that within the human spirit ... that organic self-referential process ... there resides a beauty and goodness, grace, and compassion that should (ought) to be the baseline for all human behaviors.
Siddartha Gautama, the young prince who discovered "nirvana" (enlightenment) and thus became The Buddha, the enlightened one, understood this spiritual process 500 years before the carpenter's son of Nazareth explained it in his Judaic way to his small following. The Buddha explained that human suffering is natural and inevitable, but that the suffering is a state of the spirit, not of the world or universe, and that with patient understanding the familiar events of life that produce suffering in the spirit, like the death of family members, failure of crops, failure of the self to live up to one's own expectations, can be overcome by understanding that each of these events understood as negative were implicit in the situation to begin with. The glass that shines in the sunlight and contains the milk and honey ... is already broken! It is the nature of "things" that they contain what we apprehend as their opposite. This is the nature of the material universe.
But, Christianity teases the spirit with the idea that it is not the way things are in the next life. There, it is supposed, things are completely good and do not decay, devolve, descend, deteriorate, detach, disappoint. Buddhism on the other hand, says that the spirit learns to see that reality is both growth and decay and learns from both conditions until, in an enlightened state, it is truly understood, death particularly, without fear or sorrow, but with (OM!) satisfaction.
But, you say, this is far afield from the problem of pederasty in the Church. It is, I believe, central, because the Church is not (no longer) about understanding ourselves and our universe. The essential question posed in Buddhism is ignored. Christianity is about suppressing spiritual curiosity and understanding by dogmatic doctrine, deliberately treating the masses as unintelligent sheep, filling their minds with a confabulation of stories that can be interpreted by shamanic clergy any way they choose, and they have chosen self-replication of the edifice of the Church as the primary goal.
They should be ashamed of themselves! And, yes, this was implicit in the origins of the Christian Church ... but definitely not of Christ's message.