Father Knows Worst
From: Glen Meloy
Sent: Wednesday, March 20, 2002 10:03 PM
Subject: Father Knows Worst
You may want to pass this around to your doubting devotee friends because there is an analogy here to the cover-up that is currently going on in the Sai Organization by, unfortunately both men and women.
Father Knows Worst
Date: March 20, 2002
By: MAUREEN DOWD from the New York Times.
Updated Wednesday, March 20, 2002 4:54 PM ET
Here's a nice story about a priest:
Once, in grade school, I was late, and afraid to go in and face the wrath of Sister Hiltruda.
The charming Father Montgomery found me crying in the schoolyard and offered to bring me in.
As I entered the classroom, holding his hand, I smiled triumphantly at a glowering Sister Hiltruda. She would not be able to utter a cross word to me, or raise a ruler.
She and I both knew we were serfs in a feudal society where men made the rules and set the tone.
As a Catholic and the daughter of a cop in Washington, I grew up caught in a triple play of patriarchal cultures.
The church was run by men. The nation's capital was run by men. The law was run by men.
Gradually, grudgingly, Congress, the White House and the police began to allow women into power. But the church hierarchy stubbornly persisted in its allergy to modernity, remaining a men's club, shrouded in hoary mists and incense.
A monsoon of sickening stories lately illustrates how twisted societies become when women are either never seen, dismissed as second-class citizens or occluded by testosterone: the church subsidizing pedophilia; the Afghan warlords' resumption of pedophilia; the Taliban obliteration of women; the brotherhood of Al Qaeda and Mohamed Atta's mysogynistic funeral instructions; the implosion of the macho Enron Ponzi scheme; the repression of women, even American servicewomen, by our allies the Saudis.
In Saudi Arabia Saturday, Dick Cheney did not press on human rights and democracy, as he might have in China or North Korea. We want oil and we want Saddam.
At the same time, Saudi newspapers broke custom to criticize the religious police for letting 15 little girls die in a school blaze in Mecca. The police the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice stopped men who tried to rescue the girls or open the school gates, telling them "it is sinful to approach" the girls because they weren't wearing head scarves and abayas, the traditional robes, and there could be no exposure of "females to male strangers."
So even as our vice president was wooing Crown Prince Abdullah to visit President Bush's ranch in Crawford, the Saudi police were operating on the philosophy "Better a dead girl than a bareheaded girl."
Societies built on special privileges the all-male Saudi rulers, Catholic priesthood and Taliban, and the boys' club running Enron become far too invested in preserving those privileges. They will never do the kind of soul-baring and housecleaning that might raise questions about the kind of secret society that creates that kind of privilege.
The church says priests must be male because Jesus' apostles were male. So should women have stayed out of U.S. government because the founding fathers were male?
Celibacy is not church doctrine but a tradition from the Middle Ages. By that logic, hospitals would still be using leeches.
It may be a news flash to the Vatican, but it's been clear for years that the church is in a time warp, arrested in its psychosexual development. The vow of celibacy became a magnet for men trying to flee carnal impulses they found troubling. In some cases this meant homosexuality, in others pedophilia.
The last happy, hetero, celibate parish was run by Barry Fitzgerald and Bing Crosby. (Or was it?)
We all knew boys who were pounced on in the rectory by priests. On a road trip to the beach, my brother and his friends had to play "pink belly" with a priest pulling down their pants and slapping their stomachs until they turned pink.
While teaching us not to lie or cheat, the church simply covered up its own sins, recycling abusive priests and putting parish after parish of children at risk, paying off victims and demanding their silence, refusing to admit that sexually assaulting children was a destructive crime and not merely a moment of moral weakness.
The church was hoist on its own ritual. The age of confession moved from the little box to the TV box, and victims began to feel free to unearth their buried pain.
We have turned a light on these cloistered, arrogant fraternities and they can no longer justify themselves. Their indulgences, conducted in secret, have hurt the welfare of their most vulnerable charges.