Ph.D. Octopus

Politics, media, music, capitalism, scholarship, and ephemera since 2010

Cutting-to-the-dreadful-dreadful-chase Quote Of The Day

with 5 comments

A parishioner of a German priest who continued to work with children for thirty years following his conviction for child molestation, and who was only just suspended, neatly sums up the morality of the Catholic Church:

If you get divorced and remarry you can’t take communion, but someone convicted of molesting children can celebrate Mass for the rest of his life,” she said.

I confess a part of me hopes this scandal does further “embroil” (to use the Times’ verb¹) the current Pope – he was the archbishop at the time of the original molestation case. Perhaps that would be the only way to get the Catholic Church to make a meaningful change. It’s often said the cover-up is more damaging than the crime; in the instance of priests serially abusing children – and their supervisors serially abetting such abuse – both stink to the darkening heavens.

Nonetheless (and here cue the drastic segue; along with the Pope story, these were simply both items in today’s Times), the Church feels no compunction about continuing to weigh in on pressing moral and political issues. Thus we have the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops “sharply criticizing” the Senate version of the health care bill for not doing enough to constrain a women’s right to choose and, not to be undone, on the Protestant side, Hiram Monserrate, a candidate for state Senate in Queens is reportedly relying on the support of “a network of evangelical churches” that have endorsed him, in part, because of his opposition to same-sex marriage. Said opposition must weigh pretty heavily in the balance because, in doing so, the evangelicals have elected to overlook Monserrate’s recent domestic assault conviction which got him expelled from the Senate in the first place.

UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan on the role of the Pope:

If this person headed a secular organization, or if he were a politician, he would be forced to resign. Why are the standards for the Catholic church so much lower on tolerance of child abuse than the rest of society? […] When, in other words, will the real victims come first? And moral responsibility meaningfully taken?

(Sullivan also had a better picture accompanying his post so I have, er, borrowed it. I like the way it gets at the ceremonial trappings of power, and how the ring hints obliquely at the powerful ethic of omertà underlying the Church and its abusers.)


¹OED check (subs. required): Embroil, from the noun broil, cf. the Italian broglio ‘hurlie burlie, confusion, mingle mangle.’

1591 SHAKES. 1 Hen. VI, I. i. 53 Prosper this Realme, keepe it from Ciuill Broyles. 1797 T. JEFFERSON Writ. (1859) IV. 173 Plunging us in all the broils of the European nations. 1876 GREEN Short Hist. iii. §4 (1882) 130 A tavern row between scholar and townsman widens into a general broil.

Also from the French embrouiller:  Mêler (des choses les unes avec les autres) dans un grand désordre; replier (un fil, une corde sur lui/elle-même) en désordre, en faisant des nœuds.

Elle [Madame de Pathmos] se conduisait comme une midinette. Comme dans la voiture, elle avait embrouillé ses longues jambes dans les miennes (Cendrars, Homme foudr., 1945, p. 148).


Written by (wotty)

March 16, 2010 at 11:30

Posted in religion

5 Responses

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  1. don’t forget the catholic church shutting down their foster programs in places that threaten to allow gay couples to adopt.


    March 16, 2010 at 11:52

  2. Talk about burying the lede! That quote should have been front and center rather than lost in the muddle seven or eight paragraphs before the end.

    Gotham Scholar

    March 16, 2010 at 15:56

    • Goodness Gotham Scholar, given your blog title, and your insider’s spelling of the introductory paragraph of a news story, I suppose I ought to be gratified you even thought this morning commute back-of-the-napkin number had a “lede”! But I agree, the Jefferson quote did get rather embroiled, as it were.

      Thanks for editing!


      March 16, 2010 at 16:59

  3. worth a look: christopher hitchens chimes in on the matter, and has some pretty alarming things to say:


    March 17, 2010 at 10:31

    • more than worth a look. thanks, cheese.


      March 17, 2010 at 14:20

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