Thursday, October 1, 2009

Spiritual leaders?

Roman Catholic Bishop Arrested On Child Porn Charges

I don't pretend to be a devout anything, though I was raised Roman Catholic. I attended R.C. school, received communion, reconciliation, confirmation and marriage at the church. This past Spring, we had Abby baptized in the church.
I have since formed my own Sarah doctrine, a church unto myself that involves its own beatitudes and virtues. I am happy with it, it is introspective. It borrows a little from different practices, and I like it that way: A smorgasbord of beliefs that make me feel like I am part of a bigger picture, a comfort in the Up Above. A little Hindu, a scoop of Buddha, a piece of Judaism and a covering blanket of Christianity.
I didn't have a choice as a child what church I attended or what schools I was enrolled in. But I chose to marry in the church because I wanted an element of the spirituality we'd grown up with to be a major focus of the day and union. We then chose to have Abby baptized there because no matter what she chooses as she grows up, she will at least have been provided a spiritual foundation for her beliefs.
There are reasons I don't adhere strictly to one organized religion or another, but those reasons aren't important for anyone but me to understand. If you ask, I'll tell. But you have not, so I'll continue here.
This most recent story about a Maritime Bishop being arrested under child porn charges reminds me of the pattern of sex abuse and sex-related crimes within the church. It has always made me wonder what the common denominator is between all the perpetrators and accused of such awful, innocence-stealing crimes. I conclude it is sex.
While pastors. preachers and religious leaders in other churches and religions are granted freedom to wed, to start families and to know one of life's most beautiful gifts, Roman Catholic clergy are not permitted to engage in sexual acts or romantic relationships. The argument against this practice becomes more clear with each horrifying revelation or charge laid: If a priest must be married to God and forgo sexual relationships to be a better religious leader and have a more spiritual communion with God, is that goal being achieved? In Dr. Phil's words, "How's that workin' out for ya?"
I can't imagine the horror and pain families have been caused by sexual exploitation and abuse at the hands of clergymen. (No women in the church, another point of contention avec moi). My heart goes out to them, to both the children grown into adults who continue to deal wit abuses, and to the children of today whose innocence, wonder and freedom has been taken, in part, by such frauds.
Of course, there are plenty of priests and clergy in the R.C. Church that do a wonderful job of leading their congregations, providing spiritual solace and guidance. These headlines take away from their accomplishments only from a generalized perspective. But is the struggle to refrain from romantic and sexual relationships an unnecessary strain that troubles them too?

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