Monday, April 14, 2008

Meaning What?

I fully expected claptrap articles like this in the run-up to the Holy Father's visit:

U.S. Catholics Support Benedict In Poll: Respondents Critical of Church Priorities and Handling of Abuse Cases

Still, I cannot get over how vapid these poll questions are, likely written by those who neither know nor care about Catholicism. To wit:

(ASKED OF CATHOLICS) In general, do you think the Roman Catholic Church is in touch with the views of Catholics in America today, or is it out of touch?
34% In touch; 62% Out of touch; 4% no opinion

As if it's the Vatican's job to take its cues from the laity. Wouldn't a better question be, "In general, do you think American Roman Catholics are in touch with the Roman Catholic Church today, or are they out of touch?" I think the "out of touch" numbers would be higher still. Wake me up when the Church becomes a democracy.

Currently, women cannot become priests in the Roman Catholic Church. Do you favor or oppose that policy?

You can protest, you can whine, you can whip up dissent, but guess what: That will not change, because it cannot. It is simply impossible to ordain a woman a Catholic priest. So why even bother asking the question? You want women priests? Try the Episcopal Church, thank you very much.

Do you approve or disapprove of the way the Catholic Church has handled the issue of sexual abuse of children by priests? Do you approve/disapprove strongly or somewhat?

This is a begging question. Yes, the scandal brought shame on the Church as it should have, but what more should be done? Resurrect dead predatory priests so that we can kill them again? Put Cardinal Law back in Boston and get him dismissed again? Hang him by his thumbs until dead, dead, dead? Whom does that satisfy?

The abuse of young men (*not* children for the most part, although it's still wrong in any event) by priests never should have happened, but it did. There has been appropriate punishment where needed, and over $2 billion paid in compensation to victims. When is it enough? And what of priests who are accused unjustly, but are declared guilty just by accusation?

I look forward to what the Holy Father has to say, and I'm sure he doesn't waste any time reading these polls.