It would be fair to say I have no time for religion. Actually, that’s a massive understatement. It would be correct to say that I despise religion. For the lazy and child-like explanation of the world and the universe. For the slavish devotion to ‘holy’ texts written by people who could not possibly have had first hand experience of the events they are describing (events that almost certainly didn’t happen in the first place). For the claims to have exclusive access to revealed truth. For the frequent rejection of scientific evidence and analysis. The list goes on and on. Mostly though, I hate religion (and I don’t differentiate or discriminate here, they are all generally as irrelevant to me as one another, so I will continue to bundle them all up into a single word) for their claims to special status, their entitlement to ‘respect’ for their frequently absurd belief systems, for the reverence we should bestow upon their ‘holy’ leaders, no matter how undeserving of our respect they might be.
Take the pope, for example. The recent scandal surrounding the Catholic church and the covering up of the ‘abuse’ (a generic euphemism for what is, in fact, sexual assault and rape) of children by priests in Ireland has driven the Catholic church and the pope even further down in my estimations. Which is astonishing as I didn’t know such depths even existed. The hand-wringing letter written by Pope Benedict is an execrable attempt to make amends for decades of systematic abuse and subsequent cover-up. Any claims to be ‘shocked’ and ‘dismayed’ by the revelations are empty rhetoric given that he personally oversaw the suppression of such information in a previous role. He knew about it then and he knew about it now – which makes him complicit in all of the crimes committed. God’s representative on Earth aided and abetted serial abusers of children. And yet he has the temerity to state in his letter:
I can only share in the dismay and sense of betrayal that so many of you have experienced on learning of these sinful and criminal acts.
The Catholic church was already discredited. These revelations (with more to come for sure, this is not just restricted to Ireland) detail an institution that is not just ethically bankrupt but pathologically addicted to covering up its own moral decay.