Saturday, August 18, 2018

Of Millstones and Money Changers

So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.
~ John 2

In the wake of the disgusting revelations of the Pennsylvania's grand jury report on hundreds of sexual crimes against children by priests, and ensuing coverups by their superiors, I've heard and read many references to the New Testament's millstone warning. It appears in all three of the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), and it quotes Jesus saying the following:
“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea."
There it is, in black in white: hurt the children, and you're going to face fearsome punishment.

That dire admonition directly from the Lord's lips doesn't seem to bother the perverted priests or the complicit hierarchy of the Catholic Church. The details of the Pennsylvania report are sickening to read and too obscene for me to reference directly.

The millstone warning (my term for it) is all well and good, but there is another New Testament story that I believe fits the situation equally well. It appears in the second chapter of John's gospel and describes the fury of Jesus upon entering the temple and finding commerce being conducted. He actually fashioned a "whip of cords" and physically drove the money changers from the temple, overturning their tables and scattering all of their loot in the process.

That's what righteous anger looks like, and it was over selling birds and livestock in what the Lord called "my Father's house." Consider the famous question, "What would Jesus do?" with regard to the widespread rape of children (see "millstone," above) in his Father's house. This is not sin by merchants selling their wares, but depraved, deliberate evil by priests anointed to God's service, against the most innocent and vulnerable--young children. That unspeakable atrocity, repeated for many decades countless times the world over, was followed by the crime of coverup by those in authority over the criminals. What would Jesus do? I can't speak for the Lord, but somehow I doubt that a "whip of cords" would be sufficient for his response.

Jesus Drives out Money Changers
As a practicing Catholic, I am enraged. Just this month Pope Francis declared capital punishment "inadmissible." Yet Pope Francis has expressed only "shame and sorrow" (through a spokesman, no less) over the criminal obscenities reported in Pennsylvania's grand jury report. That's absolutely pathetic. I've got more than a few questions for the pope, and as a Catholic I have every right and duty to ask them.

When will child rape and sexual defilement be "inadmissible" in the ranks of the Catholic Church? When will the bishops who covered up these obscenities be exposed and held accountable? When will the offending priests and bishops be stripped of their privileges, handed over to law enforcement authorities, charged with rape, prosecuted, convicted, and thrown into prison for the remainder of their natural lives?

When will you deal with the evil that is rotting the Church from within? Until you do, your "holiness," you are a coward who is as guilty of these filthy, unspeakable crimes as the priests and bishops who committed them.

I remain a Catholic. As I explain to people who inquire, my obligation is to the Lord, not to any man or institution. Each of us someday will die and face God's judgment. I will need to answer for myself and for my sins. The pope, the bishops, all of the Church hierarchy that aided and abetted this corrupt and ubiquitous scandal*, and each and every evil priest who destroyed a child's life will need to answer for their own sins. Good luck with that.

*Link to petition to remove Cardinal Wuerl (added 8/27/18)