Seems like a lot of bloggers are posting April Fools Jokes today, because April Fools Day is one of the sacred holidays of Atheism, having no reference whatsoever to the divine, supernatural or religious (even though this year it falls on Palm Sunday). It’s a completely secular holiday. Most of the posts on Freethought Blogs are of the “my fellow atheist blogger X has decided to hang it up, and stop blogging ” variety. I have to think this was a planned strategy. (D’uh).
I was going to create a post that claimed that my friend Larry had decided during the recent college basketball tournaments that in fact, he really enjoyed basketball, had become a true fan in every sense of the word, and had himself whipped to a frenzy during the Louisville/Kentucky game, even losing control of himself after the final seconds of the game. That would be a great April Fools joke. But then, anyone who knows him knows that his love for his sofa (upon which he lounges while reading his books) would always supersede anything else, and no one would believe him capable of burning it in effigy, in Louisville, or on his front lawn. So I scotched that idea, and had a tumbler of…vodka.
And then I sobered up after reading this.
It’s not a new story, as it was published in Rolling Stone in September 2011. I realized that I have an overall “macro” outlook of the Catholic Church’s pedophile scandal, but this article zeroed in microscopically to look at it from the point of view of a few of the priests involved in the Philadelphia
crime syndicate archdiocese. I know there are priests all over the world who were guilty of taking advantage of the younger members of their flock, but I never had it described in so much detail. As a recovering Catholic, it really hit home when I read this article.
The main point of the article is that the Archdiocese kept secret files that fully documented the abuse heaped on children over 50 years, and, more importantly, the fact that the church had an institutional policy of covering up the abuse, by dissembling with the victims, reassuring them that they would take immediate action against the perpetrators, while simply shuffling them to other parishes where they could do it again. The pain and anguish they inflicted on these children is incomparable. One committed suicide. One, who was “passed around” from priest to priest when he was 10 years old, ending up sliding into heroin addiction in his late teens.
I know it’s beginning to sound repetitious, but what struck me was that if this one lone archdiocese was doing it, and you accept that fact that priest pedophilia was widespread and is still rampant, then every archdiocese, diocese and parish probably has “secret” files detailing their sordid past involvements in this same practice – if they haven’t been put in the shredder by now. It’s too bad that Philadelphia had to have a grand jury investigation and years of struggle with the “thugs” in the church before they could even get their hands on the files. I imagine that similar proceedings would have to be filed in every locality to get this information, a daunting and expensive proposition at best.
What might make better sense would be a federal investigation filed on a national basis, perhaps under RICO, with a goal to breaking up what amounts to an organized crime racket. It’s not unheard of. The fact that individual priests raped little boys in the church doesn’t really give rise to a RICO claim, but I think that the fact that the upper echelon of the church put in place a “fixer”, who’s sole purpose was to ensure that the crimes committed by the lower echelon be swept under the rug, while proclaiming that they were cleaning their own house, surely does. Wouldn’t it be nice to see the assets of the church broken up and sold to compensate the victims of their criminal enterprise? Could you imagine foreclosures on church properties, and the resultant reintegration of church real estate into the local tax base? Wouldn’t it be worth it to see Bill Donohue shut up for once?
I don’t see that to be an April Fools joke. Maybe a dream, but certainly not a joke.