So the popes UK visit is done now and he is on his way back home. The Churches PR machine has declared victory and life will go on. But were any of the deep concerns addressed? Tragically no. Yes, he did indeed do the “I’m so terribly and deeply ashamed for the abuse” speech … with tears in his eyes (he does this now on many of his trips to other countries), he also did a bit of one-on-one time with a few abuse victims … all carefully screened to ensure that they would be pope friendly.
So why is this tragic?
Well, because none of the big concerns were addressed. Yes, he admits he is sorry about the abuse … but not a whisper about the cover-up for which he is personally responsible, that alone greatly multiplied the abuse affect and caused so much more real harm to so many, primarily because the abusers were protected and left free to carry on again and again in fresh fields. Nor will he be changing his stance on condoms … many will die because of this … its the only way to halt the spread of AIDS in Africa. This man has an actual body count (increasing on a daily basis) because of what he preaches.
So what next for Catholics? I’ll speculate a bit … but first lets toss a few raw facts into the mix. Here are a few stats taken from a poll of the UK’s Catholic done by one of today’s Sunday papers (its just a finger in the air poll, so take these numbers with a grain of salt please)
- The Pope preaches NO to abortion after rape : but 90% of UK Catholics say YES
- The Pope preaches NO to a woman’s right to choose an abortion : but 7 out of 10 UK Catholics say YES.
- The Pope preaches NO to artificial contraception : but 89% of UK catholics say YES.
- The Pope preaches NO to abortion even where a woman’s health is at risk: but 13 out of 14 UK Catholics say YES
It strikes me that there appears to be a huge disconnect here, so while they might love him and line the streets to wave flags at him, the UK’s most devoted catholics don’t actually support what he says … which is actually quite encouraging … because even if he himself does not appear to have an ounce of common sense or moral decency, at least most of his devoted followers are smart enough to ignore such nonsense.
Does this imply change will eventually happen?
No, the Church does not operate like that. You need to remember that it is in no way a democracy, what believers think is totally irrelevant. But then there is also the little inconvenient fact of papal infallibility … the belief that the pope can never make a mistake or be in error, so he is boxed in. No only will he not change past mistakes, he cannot (because of this belief) even admit to such mistakes and reform such dubious teaching.
There will be no change and no real reform.
So what will actually happen?
It will be business as usual … basically …
- Ban contraception… thus allowing the Catholic population to out breed the non-Catholic population
- Seek to convert the movers and shakers in our society … Tony Blair was successfully targeted for conversion … they basically stroked his ego, pandered to him and sweet talked him into the fold.
Am I being cynical to suggest they truly do behave and operate like this? Not at all, I have personally experienced it. I grew up in Ireland and attended a college run by Opus Dei (Yes, that’s the secret catholic cult you saw in the Dan Brown novel/movie … and no, that was fiction and not a reflection of reality at all). So what am I on about? Basically this; within the college I attended they very carefully put us all through a battery of tests to work out who the cream of the crop were, then targeted them for recruitment. All very subtle and gentle, an invitation would be extended to the selected to attend a “Study” weekend to help further their education. This is truly very long-term thinking, identify and recruit those who will be the future movers and shakers in society long before they are in positions of influence.
They have behaved this way for centuries and will continue to do so.
When it comes to their claims about being the benevolent guardians of morality and goodness … be skeptical.