Column: Cruelty


To the credit of many Catholics not wearing a bishop’s robes, the
backlash against the actions of Sobrinho and Battista Re has been
intense. It continued Sunday with an unusual rebuke from Archbishop
Rino Fischiella, head of Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life, who
called out his two fellow bishops for their actions. Fischiella wrote
in the Vatican newspaper that the girl “should have been above all
defended, embraced, treated with sweetness to make her feel that we
were all on her side, all of us, without distinction.”

Excommunicating those who tried to help her “unfortunately hurts the
credibility of our teaching, which appears in the eyes of many as
insensitive, incomprehensible and lacking mercy.”

It’s a fairer statement than that of his fellow archbishops, but
still short-sighted and narcissistic. In the eyes of many, it is that
concern for the church – the at-risk “the credibility of our teaching”
– above the concerns of its faithful is the very moral incoherence that
has led to a decline in the church’s influence in the past decade.

Far more at risk than the credibility of the church’s teaching or
the integrity of its laws is the faith of those who look to the
church’s treatment of a 9-year-old girl and her protectors and see,
instead of the mercy preached by the church’s founder, only the cruelty
of ordinary men.


9 thoughts on “Column: Cruelty

  1. Attagirl. Beautifully written, as always. Passionate, as always.
    As to the subject, I find it simply incomprehensible that the prelates involved didn’t acknowledge that the father’s crime was of equal importance, at *least*, to the “crime” of abortion. After all, it was his crime that precipitated the entire tragic mess. I mean, even if you believe that abortion is truly horrific, don’t you at least have to see rape as a really bad thing?
    Honestly, it’s just incomprehensible to me. Even if, EVEN IF, you don’t think rape is all that bad (evil as such an opinion is), don’t you at least have to realize that the perception of the rest of the world of your defense of the dad might be, I don’t know, BAD?
    The bishops involved are both monumentally stupid and monumentally cruel. Neither of those are traits I associate with Christ. Too bad He’s not around to school them.

  2. I used to be joking when someone would ask on St. Patrick’s day if I were Catholic, “like all the Irish.”. I’d smile and say “Nope, I’m a true Irishman and a Druid.” I spent the day stating this proudly and referring all who asked to the news articles about this incredible display of insane inhumanity. I know I’ll lose friends…but with friends like these…

  3. my german side beat the shit out of the pinch of irish in me. might have been the british too. heck. the viking bit probably did too.
    druid. i like that option. sounds better than lutheran.

  4. I’m surprised and delighted by the number of Mormons here in Vegas who have submitted their letters of withdrawal following the Prop 8 fiasco in California. Two in my department at the university said they specifically told their bishops that their tithe was specifically off-limits for supporting Prop 8. The bishops gave them a screw-you reply and we no have two non-affiliated citizens celebrating with Pepsi, Coke and coffee.
    I generally use the Druid comment to put off conversations about religious affiliation with our local Mormon contingent. The flee when I tell them that Druids don’t sacrifice virgins, we sacrifice virginity.

  5. I resigned from the LDS Church after Prop 8 and Prop 102 here in Arizona. I was already disaffected, but Prop 8 was the thin edge of the wedge.

  6. Well written as always, A. Seems like too many of the churches are way more concerned about control (no matter how hideous its actions, as in Brazil) and ultimately money, to care about their members. And by using something as important as faith as a way to control people. Disgusting. I was brought up Catholic, will never go back.

  7. I guess the only thing about this as outrageous as the outcome described by A would, sadly, be expecting the Catholic Church…
    …which let’s remember has a mechanism for not punishing folks who sexually abuse children…
    …to do anything other than provide cover for a vile child rapist as opposed to excommunicating him along with those responsible for the abortions.
    A sad consistency you might figure a church would try to avoid.

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