Today, one of the Catholic Church’s most senior Archbishops said people aren’t giving the Church a fair shake. Archbishop Peter Smith said: “Some people’s perception of the church is very negative, that it’s just there to say ‘No.’ I don’t think there is an awareness of the positive social engagement. We don’t go around blowing our trumpet. We’ve been modest and humble.”¹
The bishop admits the child abuse scandals have tarnished the image of the Church. It may also have something to do with the fact that for hundreds of years the Catholic Church imprisoned dissenters and suppressed opposition. That may have left a bad taste in the mouths of humanity. Perhaps the Crusades soured a few people on the Church.
“It’s a misperception of the church. People think because we’re the church and Christians, we’re somehow above all that and perfect. We’re the same as the rest of humanity. But at least through our faith and our sacraments and the grace of God we have the opportunity to do a bit better.”
That’s an interesting point the bishop makes, how the Church is just like the rest of us. When a man rapes young boys, and he happens to be a priest, he gets the protection of his superiors and relocated quietly to a new town where he can continue raping young boys. No law enforcement need get involved. That’s just the way it happens in the rest of society isn’t it? But at least through their faith in God, they were able to launch the Inquisitions and 900 years of witch hunts resulting in the torture and burning alive of countless thousands of human beings at the stake.
Let us not forget the charitable works the Church performs. Whether it makes up for the terrorizing of children the world over with threats of eternal damnation for them, their friends and their families remains to be seen. I believe they have a lot of work to do to cleanse their souls of the millions of AIDS deaths they caused in Africa with their immoral and absurd prohibition against condoms to stop the spread of the disease.
The poor Catholic Church feels unappreciated and disrespected. If only they had the decency to declare themselves morally bankrupt and close the gold encrusted doors of the Vatican permanently. With that as their swan song, perhaps history may have one positive footnote in their long, terror-filled legacy.