Mind if I pontifficate for minute?
On March 20, 2010, the Vatican released a letter from Joseph Alois Ratzinger that apologized for abuse on the part of “priests, brothers and nuns.”
You might know Ratzinger better by his more popular name: Pope Benedict XVI.
The letter was prompted by a report released by the Irish Child Abuse Commission 2009 that documented testimony of nearly 2,000 witnesses in over 200 Catholic-run schools from the 1930s until the 1990s.
Benedict, who became the Pope in 2005, probably never imagined that he’d be writing a letter apologizing for sexual abuse committed by members of the Catholic Church. Now some are calling on him to resign.
It turns out this wasn’t just another unpleasant duty that falls on the shoulders of the Pope. It turns out that he may have been personally involved in some of the events surrounding the sex abuse scandal.
As reported by the BBC, the Pope has been accused of “failing to act on complaints from two archbishops in the US about a priest who allegedly abused 200 deaf boys.”
Back when Benedict was still known as Cardinal Ratzinger he “allegedly failed to respond to letters about the case.” Something known as a “church trial” was halted after the priest wrote to Ratzinger complaining of “poor health.”
For more than 20 years before he was made pontiff, Joseph Ratzinger led the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith – the Vatican office with responsibility, among other issues, for response to child abuse cases.
The Pope is also against condoms in Africa, furthering a ridiculous church doctrine that could help reduce the spread of AIDS. The church preaches abstinence and fidelity yet somehow that isn’t enough:
This is the reality: a married woman living in Southern Africa is at higher risk of becoming infected with HIV than an unmarried woman. Extolling abstinence and fidelity, as the Catholic Church does, will not protect her; in all likelihood she is already monogamous. It is her husband who is likely to have HIV. Yet refusing a husband’s sexual overtures risks ostracism, violence, and destitution for herself and her children.
I don’t know enough to know if the Pope should resign, but I do know this: Some people in positions of trust have gotten away with sexual abuse for far too long. I would guess that only a fraction of them have ever been exposed and even less of them have ever been held accountable. This is one of the greatest travesties of justice of all-time, in my humble opinion. Not only on the part of those who committed heinous acts but also on those who knew and did nothing to stop it or even worse helped cover it up so it could continue somewhere else.
How many abuses could have easily been prevented? Only God can answer that question. The guilt is shared by far too many.
Anyone suspected of sexual abuse of a minor should be treated the same regardless of their role in any church. Period. The fact that church membership helped protect this sort of behavior is unconscionable.
Steps need to be taken to make sure this never happens again. And this time, we can’t leave it up to the Catholic Church to take care of it on their own. They have more than demonstrated than any such efforts are utterly pointless. The entire organization needs to be put on some sort of probation with forced compliance.
On Feb. 19, 2010, Tiger Woods issued his apology.
One thing he said during his statement was, “The issue here is that I cheated.” Gee. Ya think? That’s like saying Charles Manson was a good personal motivator. Heck, when you put it that way it hardly even sounds like you did anything wrong.
Like a Tootsie Pop, the world may never really know how many licks it took Tiger to get to the center. Umm, wait. Strike that. The world may never know how many women Tiger frolicked with while he was married. Saying, “I cheated,” doesn’t even remotely feel like it approachs the severity of what he did.
I ran Tiger’s statement through the pubic relations (PR) translator. This is what I came up with:
Good morning. I got caught. If I hadn’t got caught I wouldn’t be here. But I did get caught. So now I’m forced to stop for a while, stand here, and pretend to apologize.
Some of you feel like I let you down but this is none of your damn business. I’ve done a lot of great work for kids. I am great. But even though I’m great I have now realized that even someone like me can still get caught. So I will work harder at covering my tracks. I am a Master so this should be easy for me. Money and fame means normal rules don’t apply to me. Now that I think about it, Buddhism sounds like a great way to help hide my behavior and cause distraction in the future.
I know I’m here to apologize, but no apology is complete without a discussion about my playing status. In this situation I’m forced to keep up appearances by taking a break from golf for a while. One day, though, I’ll be back. I’m not ruling out a return to golf this year, because if there is one thing I know at this early juncture, whether I’m “cured” or not, I’ll be playing some more golf no matter what.
To everyone who has stood by me during this difficult time, thank you. I couldn’t have gotten away with this as long as I did without your tacit complicity, assistance and silence. Thank you. I’m sure I speak for my wife as well when I say thank you for your help.
Thank you, PR translator!
And thanks to Tiger, we now have the media paying a lot of attention to “sexual addiction.” Sadly, even as much as the thought of this condition excites us, it hasn’t even qualified as a condition in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), current edition (DSM-IV-TR aka DSM5 released 2000).
You can bet your bippy that “sexual addiction” or “hypersexuality” will be in the next version of the DSM, perhaps with a picture of Tiger showing his O-Face. When you pick up your copy of the DSM6 be sure to turn to that new entry and remember you heard it here first!
I recently read one article that summed up “sexual addiction” like this:
One fact that stood out in the article is just how many people are impacted by sex addiction. The National Council on Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity estimates that as many as 18 to 24 million people are sex addicts. This means that another several million are co-sex addicts (commonly known as “cosas”) and suffering perhaps more than the addict himself from the downward spiral of the disease.
In other recent tigerrific news, Gatorade (a subsidiary of PepsiCo.) has broken off sponsorship of Tiger Woods. Woot!
You gotta hand it to Nike, however. Their support for Tiger has never wavered. Apparently the company shares similar family values as Tiger so they don’t see a problem. It must be a match made in heaven. Perhaps they will even update their famous slogan: Just Screw It. Other companies that have also failed to end sponsorships of Tiger include Upper Deck Co. (maker of sports memorabilia) and videogame maker Electronic Arts, which has built a golf game franchise around the persona of Tiger Woods.
Now grab a cold one – Gatorade, of course – and join me for a rendition of “All Apologies” by Nirvana. Tiger, this Gatorade’s for you!