March 25, 2019 | 44° F

Vatican falls from grace

With a 2000-year-old history, the Roman Catholic Church has acquired more than one billion members worldwide. It is this one billion that devotes their life to defending the Catholic Church at all cost — even if it means believing that Adam and Eve had a conversation with a "talking" snake or that Jonah lived in a big fish for three days (Yes, I already know how ridiculous this sounds). With this devotion of faith, and by faith, I mean believing the mythological fairy tales found in the bible, also comes with the belief in the system of the Catholic Church — the system that appoints priests, clergymen, cardinals, bishops and popes to be the official messengers of god. The Catholic community is taught to trust these figureheads as agents responsible for spreading the word of Jesus Christ and overseeing the Catholic Church's principles around the world. It is the pope himself who is responsible for maintaining the stability of the Catholic Church, and it is the pope himself that must be deemed responsible for the recent accusations placed on the Catholic Church.

Unlike most of the pope's critics, I am not going to try and debunk the mythological stories found in the Bible, because science has already done that. I will, though, criticize the current state of the Catholic Church and point criticism on the pope for the way he has handled the recent allegations against the Catholic Church. You would think that after the recent — and perhaps most heinous accusations — Catholics would start to lose faith in these flawed figureheads that hold the responsibility for maintaining the faith of the near billion believers around the world, but unfortunately, that is not the case. Instead of frowning upon, or holding the pope accountable, Catholics have done something equally as heinous as the alleged sex abuse itself — they have made excuses and continued to trust the Catholic hierarchy. This lack of accountability has let the Catholic Church change their policies, contradict themselves, and worst of all, turn into the worst criminals known in society — child molesters.

I was really interested to see how one of the most powerful men in the world would address the public in a time when Catholics are searching for answers from the same people they have been taught to fear, idolize and defend. Perhaps, I thought that maybe in a time of crisis, Catholic officials would offer a plan actually worthwhile and substantial. Instead, they have done exactly what I expected and provided no solution at all. I cannot say I am surprised, because the Catholic Church is comprised of mediocrity and falsehood, but I am definitely disappointed.

This disappointment is warranted and stems from the fact that the only real measure the Vatican is providing is the formulation of a policy within the Catholic Church to report sex crimes to the police, instead of keeping them a secret. In other words, up until now, the Catholic Church did not have to report sex crimes to the police and could handle them in secret. Catholics obviously defend this policy, as they should, and praise the Church for taking such bold reforms. For me — and the rest of the rational people around the world — this praise is absolutely unwarranted, as stricter policies that would keep children safe and away from the pedophiles disguised as righteous people should have been put into place within the Catholic Church a long time ago. My question for the believers and the defenders of the Catholic Church: How could you stand by a pope, in this case, Pope Benedict XVI, in 2001 who made a public statement stating that sex abuse in the church should be kept a secret, not reported to authorities. It seems troubling, and borderline disturbing, to trust a figure who is suppose to represent God and commit his life to passing on the word, but at the same time, is responsible for the 4,392 priests and deacons in the United States in 2002 who were consumed in sexual abuse allegations by their diocese.

It seems equally troubling for humanity as a whole to accept the notion that the near one billion people who stand by the pope, could also praise a system that has been involved, and tried to cover up one of the most horrific crimes in society. This is not about discounting the fairy tales found in the Bible, but more so about the lack of trust, and perhaps lack of faith the people should have towards the system of Catholicism in its entirety. At one point are these near billion people going to hold the Catholic Church accountable? And at one point are Catholics going to lose trust in the Vatican? Because obviously, the molestation of little kids and the massive cover up, just is not enough for Catholics to spark the Vatican's fall from grace.

Robert Pavleszek is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in political science with a minor in English.

Robert Pavleszek

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