Thursday, January 26, 2006

Mother Church vs. Father State

An on-again- off-again courtship; now the question is: who gets responsibility for protecting the kids?

Of church, state – and abuse
Bill would require priests to divulge confessions

The Diocese of Manchester opposes the bill, saying it would interfere with religious freedom without making children safer.

Well, that's going to be the primary question, isn't it? Would requiring a priest to break the seal of the confessional in this situation actually protect any children?

What it would do -- the first time -- would be to help catch that one guy and maybe put him in prison for the next two hundred years (the Americans take this a lot more seriously than our Canadian Injustice System does). So, this law would protect any future victims of this one guy.

But how about the victims of any other molester? What would this law do?

If the priests actually uphold the law (and there would be damn few of them) and turn in the molesters, the result would be forseeable: molesters would stop confessing (well, the Catholic ones will -- the non-Catholics won't give a damn about the law in the first place).

Dying unshriven will put you in purgatory for an extended period, while the heavenly immigration authorities check your background. You can then make your case directly to the Supreme of Supreme Courts, and, after a suitable pennance, you get to heaven.

Having your priest turn you in will put you in hell immediately. While you are still alive. And you will never escape.

Can everyone see the obvious, here?

And here is an interesting twist to the already thorny problem: Catholic priests are subject first and always to the dictates of the Vatican. The Vatican is a sovereign state, with embassies all over the world. Each priest is therefore a representative of a foreign power on American soil. Do they not enjoy diplomatic immunity?

Ah, what a fascinating problem this is going to be! Never mind that there will be cries of religious discrimination -- because as far as I know, the Catholic and Orthodox churches are the only ones that seal their confessionals (other churches have a sort-of "confession," but unlike the Catholic church, they don't make it mandatory). Therefore, there will be a great hue and cry about the proposed law "targeting" Catholics.

If this were a mystery book, at this point I would probably skip to the last page and find the solution to the mystery. As it is, this is more like the old Saturday-afternoon-movie-matinee-serial-teasers, and we're all gonna have to wait until the next installment.


Blogger Michael J. Farrand said...

Thought you might enjoy my poem on the topic entitled "Confession".

Tuesday, January 31, 2006 2:20:00 PM  
Blogger Chimera said...

Michael, that was absolutely wonderful! Thank you!

My devout mom-in-law was in hosptital over a weekend a few years ago for gall-bladder surgery. I was spending a Sunday afternoon with her when her priest came in, so I made myself scarce for awhile. Now, I had only known her for about ten years, and it suddenly occurred to me that there might be a hidden part to this amazing woman. I had never, ever, seen or heard of her doing anything that might be construed as "sinful." So I got bold and asked her what on earth she might have to confess to.

And without blinking, she answered: "Bad thoughts."

Tuesday, January 31, 2006 3:39:00 PM  

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