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We here at TGAB hardly ever see the Philadelphia Inquirer anymore. I forget which op-ed piece by Rick Santorum finally pushed us over the cancel brink, but one of them did. If you don't know who Rick Santorum is, just look at this photo and judge a book by its cover for once.
The Inquirer has a columnist named Michael Smerconish. He's very popular, because usually he examines issues with a good yin-and-yang candor. Today's Smerconish column was not one of those times.
Michael Smerconish used his son's confirmation into the Roman Catholic Church as an opportunity to remind his many, many readers of the many, many good things the RC Church does, including (but not limited to) instilling a religious sensibility in its young teen members. Having put my oldest daughter through a Confirmation ordeal with the United Methodist Church (for which she still hasn't forgiven me, nor do I blame her), I would say that at the age of 13, you're old enough to know what you don't want, but not old enough to know what you do want. It's the Perfect Storm age where you bow to your parents' wishes and then wonder why you did.
Smerconish used his piece as well as an apologia for the bad press the RC Church has gotten over its pedophile priests. I've been over and over this subject here at TGAB, sometimes swinging one way and sometimes another. Today I'm in full combat gear.
I can't speak for you, reader, but I'm not satisfied with the RC Church's avowal of zero tolerance for child molesters. I have a friend who (deservedly) got jail time for watching child porn on his computer, even though there was no proof he ever harmed a child himself. When do we ever hear of pedophile priests going to jail? They get quietly shuffled here and there. Very quietly. Why would the RC Church not publicly condemn these men, compensate their victims, and send the perps to a Catholic-run penitentiary with all the cozy charm of Alcatraz? So much of Catholicism is still mired in the Middle Ages. Why not its punishment regimen for its criminals?
As long as I'm ranting yet again, I'll beat another dead horse. It's despicable that a faith founded by a barefoot carpenter who preached on hillsides is now represented by a man wearing a crown and living in a palace. A white man at that, when the majority of the church's parishioners are of color. Ha! A nation that abolished slavery just 140 years ago elected a black president, while a Church that prides itself on multicultualism continues its millennia-old tradition of white men, white men, white men!
So, while Michael Smerconish wipes a tear from his eye as his 13-year-old is initiated into the Roman Catholic Church, he might spend a moment pondering how his son will see that church 20 years from now, 30 years from now, 40 years from now. There's a chance the boy will become a Druid. There's more of a chance that he will become like my husband -- a bitter agnostic who reviles Catholicism in its every form.