Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Shame of Churches: Mystery and Contradiction

MeanMesa watches in puzzlement as yet another wave of child sexual abuse allegations rises up the meet the Catholics.  We suspect that the crimes are far more widely perpetrated than those specific accusations against the Sons of the Vatican.  Perhaps, the deep pockets of the Catholics have incited episodes of less tolerance by introducing an existential possibility of tangible relief for the victims.

The stench roams far and free -- from the cathedrals to the mega-churches.  The behavior is elastic -- from deaf boys trapped in a school to meth dealers and homosexual prostitutes as hired lovers.  Every one is a wrecking ball intent on the destruction of someone or something -- the perpetrator, the institutions, the congregations, the believers and the victims.

The treasuries of the "dirty shirt preachers" perched in poverty and  nestled in, for example,  shanties across the South and Appalachia are either by design or circumstances reflecting the wealth -- and generosity -- of their parishioners, less attractive hosts for remedies of the derelictions of the past.  The scandal is, unhappily, more than broad enough to encompass some such practices no matter where one looks.

Viewing all of this through the eyes of an avowed non-religionist, MeanMesa is stranded with a troubling question from it all.  It would seem that the essential structure of such worship franchises stands in an unreconcilable contradiction to the "facts on the ground." 

What is the question?

MeanMesa wonders. "How has this happened?  Why has it happened so frequently and so consistently?  Is it a recent development or has it been going on all the time -- for centuries?"

And, perhaps an even more vexing question, "What were these various religionists thinking while they had their pants down?"

Not being associated with any of these churches or religions, MeanMesa may be enticed to view things too comfortably and simplistically.  However, aside from that caveat, perhaps such an external view may have some non-ecclesiastical merit of its own.

We are the first to stipulate that, at one time, the Catholic church, for example, was a deeply esoteric institution.  The revelatory prospects of not dying and, in fact, being ascended to heaven to meet all of one's dead relatives in a realm of total bliss were not a work product of St. John the Divine.  They were in place long before the Old Testament.  That possibility has always coerced religionists to accept and submit to the authority of whatever religionist franchise held the reins at any certain moment.

One would think that a man determined to abrogate all the features and themes of a normal life to become a priest would be infatuated with the possibility of his own salvation -- especially when it might be derived at judgement by the assistance he has provided others in a similar project.  When the compelling nature of the esoteric is injected into such a mix, MeanMesa would suspect that the secret energy of such a spirit might make such a life -- and such an undertaking -- hypnotically satisfying to the man making the decision.

In the most general terms, being a priest would become unimaginably difficult absent the reconciling externality of the divine mythology.  The priest is charged with thinking of his own salvation and the salvation of his charges all the time to the exclusion of more sanguine topics.  His esoteric foundation in such systems is what makes possible his claim to such piety.

This foundation, presumably, should be precisely the foundation of his training for the priesthood.  When he is "collared" on that final day at his seminary, his mind must be saturated with his calling.  The earthly details of what other matters  which might also be involved should, reasonably, languish as a distant second to the supernatural commitments he has made.

Yet, earthly details are the full fodder of the process we see underway to correct these transgressions.  Everything is policy.  The scandal is about being covered up, not centered on having committed the act in the first place.  The esoteric  demands of priesthood are set aside, an awkward guest at the table when real, newspaper headline hypocrisy is the main course.  It seems that none of the religionists, whether at the "top" or at the "bottom" of these structures of faith, have any stomach for the Old Testament treatment.

The importance of judgements of policy have shoved aside the importance of  judgements of righteousness.  We see a gigantic church obsessed with its own practices rather than with its supernatural progress.  That supernatural progress, both as it penetrates the priestly class and the supplicant class, appears to be the essence of the matter, but, apparently, the primary interests of those involved seem to reside squarely with policy.

It may be too easy to assign all these MeanMesa comments to the Vatican alone.  At this moment, Rome is the most visible, but for all we care the same criticism can be laid at the boots of Horus, Enlill, Mithra or Baal.

The immense economic drain of these established religious franchises has long ago ceased to be a rational purchase.  When the wars, bigotry, psycopathy and terror which always seem to emerge in their wake is added to the mix, the  distasteful cash extraction and hypocrisy pale.

The time of desert fairy tales may be, at long last, ending.  The final collapse will not occur at the hand of an adversary, but rather from lack of interest in continuing with it.

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