What faced with the revelation of case after case of abuse and cover up, how do sane logical individuals react? When looking in from the outside, you would expect that most would perhaps rapidly embrace it all as a wakeup call, reassess their stance and free themselves from the clutches of an organization that has proven itself to be both highly immoral and utterly corrupt. Some have indeed done exactly that, yet to my complete astonishment, many do not, so I’d like to address one of the reasons that might perhaps explain why this is the case.
First, lets set the stage. The latest report from Ireland a couple of weeks ago was the Cloyne report which documented recent abuse and cover-up that had taken place after they had claimed to have cleaned-up their act. It caused such an uproar that even the very Catholic Irish Prime minister, Enda Kenny, verbally attacked the Vatican.
So what happens next? More insanity of course. We had one priest who publicly compared Enda Kenny to Hitler within a newsletter he published (remember that what Kenny said was not opinion, it was valid criticism and was based upon factually documented evidence). We had another who claimed the Cloyne aftermath was part of a secular Jewish agenda and conspiracy to get at the church… (seriously!!!).
Now, back to my key question, how do individuals react when faced with all this? A few do indeed find it to be a tipping point and walk away, but most don’t and instead remain silent and simply carry on as if none of this had happened … why?
One of the key cultural factors in play here is fear. The thinking is that to renounce Catholicism is to renounce God, the creator of the universe, and upsetting him is a bad idea because he has hell waiting for all those reject him, so the safe, publicly acceptable path, is to be loyal, not to Catholicism, but to God, and not to ask questions or challenge any of this.
If you are indeed struggling with this issue, then I’d now like to offer you an alternative way of approaching all this that can perhaps help. Do not be frozen in inactivity due to a worry about hell, instead consider the thought that you believe in a loving god. If that belief is correct, then he will not condemn you for using the mind that he has given you to ask yourself questions and to look for actual evidence for his existence.
Live a good life.
If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by.
If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them.
If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.