Beware bashing hierarchy, idolizing laity, and taking comfort in moral indignation

Everyone Catholic, even Pope Francis 

scurrying to pin blame for Church failure

on clericalism…

as if laity are immune from

such sins of sexual abuse and cover-up.


Yet I can attest, 

as a good number of others can,

that molestation and rape of children and women

are hardly reserved to the clerical caste.

An unknown number of fathers, mothers, family members and others

have long been complicit in both the act and/or cover-up

of the abuse of children.


Might the frenzied hatred toward any group

held in contempt and horror…May that frenzied hatred
be toward something yet uncovered in thy group,
thy family, thyself?

Could some of the moral outrage and self-righteous venom
spewed upon the sex offender or power abuser
be out of deeply-rooted dread that such
desire to abuse has or could occur
within oneself?


Isn’t moral indignation simply cheap grace

when it stands around Jesus at the stoning of the woman

caught in adultery?

Lest we forget, so Jesus reminds us,

Let him or her who is without sin

cast the first death-dealing blow of the stone.

There is something weirdly satisfying and grotesquely sick

about self-righteous condemnation of the other,

isn’t there?


As for hierarchy, it is only an attempt at order that has worked for a long time.

Hierarchy grows bureaucracy which naturally fails to deliver
as each age calls forth from it more and more…
until that more is more than it can manage.

Hierarchy is simply one attempt at order that isn’t working very well these days.

Yet each radically altered age is subject to the workings of evolution and new creations.

Instead of bashing hierarchy as the ultimate problem,
why not work at thinking hierarchy into new forms,
like nested hierarchies or rotating hierarchies?

…or even look at the possibility of moving away from hierarchy in the future
             toward some yet undiscovered structure of order?

One thought on “Beware bashing hierarchy, idolizing laity, and taking comfort in moral indignation

  1. Jesus said, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Then He bent down to write in the sand.
    With that one by one they left….most likely to go and find a really big stone.
    But we like to imagine that the accusers were introspective and no longer felt the need to condemn and punish the sins of another.

    We like to think too that the church hierarchy will finally be introspective about the abusive power structures that fostered the coverup of child sexual abuse. But it seems that they are busy finding stones to hurl at the homosexual community instead, an attempt to turn child abuse into a gender problem. They would have themselves and us believe that heterosexuals would not engage in child sexual abuse.
    My work with women prisoners and women in a homeless shelter opened my eyes about the abuse of girl children. At least 90% of my clients had a history of childhood abuse and sexual molestation at the hands of male relatives. These days I have to remind myself that not all males molest females and put down my stones so that I can take aim at the larger truth.

    Liked by 1 person

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