Theologic

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Memo to Pope Benedict XVI: YOU ARE DUMB.

Sometimes religion bugs me. Sometimes it amuses me. Sometimes it infuriates me. But more often than not, it just completely fucking baffles me. It's a way of thinking, a way of approaching the world and its problems, that plays by a completely different set of rules, and it's a set of rules that makes no sense to me.

Case in point: the Catholic Church's latest attempt to deal with pedophile priests, a scandal so pervasive and persistent that the "Catholic Priest" brand is in danger of being diluted, and the term becoming a generic equivalent to "child-fucker", in much the same way no matter what brand you actually buy, you end up asking someone for a "Kleenex" because you need to blow your nose.

It's a new tactic, and one that differs considerably from their previous strategies (pretending it's not happening, covering it up, and paying it off): NON-STOP PRAYER.

The way it would work, according to the UK's Times Online, is that each parish would designate a person or group to pray for 24 hours for the Church to rid itself of the sexual abuse scandal. At the end of the 24 hours, they would then pass the scepter, as it were, to another person or group in the parish who would continue for the next 24 hours, and so on, and so forth, until the Catholic Church is entirely free of kiddie-fiddlers.

Now, I look at this and immediately, I am filled with questions as to the practical workings and effects of this effort. Because when you look at things logically, instead of theologically, this is an absolutely fascinating request.

Prayers like this are, in essence, a request for God to take action. In this case, they're asking God to stop priests from fondling children. Now, I presume that Catholics have been praying for this for years, and it hasn't helped. So His Popeness has decided to ask for global, continuous prayer. Which means that there is a threshold, somewhere between "how much they were praying" and "everybody praying all the time" at which God will decide that, yes, OK, he'll finally get around to stopping all that child-fucking by the clergy.

Which makes for an interesting portrait of God to begin with, and an even more interesting portrait when you think about how many of the clergy claim they were "called by God" to the task. So when God does decide the Catholics have prayed enough and he decides to do something, will he stop calling pedophiles to the clergy? Or will he make it a bit more clear to the pedophiles that no, he didn't actually call them, they just think he did?

My other question in all of this is, do they get to stop? And if they do get to stop, how will they know when to stop? There are, by the Church's own admission, over 400,000 Catholic priests in the world. They would also like to believe that no more than 1% of them are members, at least in spirit, of NAMBLA. In order to rid the church of pedophiles, they have to identify the four thousand or so they have on hand, get rid of them, have some way of identifying potential priests to keep any more from getting in, AND have some measures in place in case any of the 396,000 other priests suddenly take a prurient interest in the Hannah Montana set. That is, if you'll pardon the expression, a tall fucking order.

But let's just say that all of this is exactly what the Church needs. That God, having decided that the global Catholic population has now begged enough for divine intervention, steps in and enables all those things to happen, leading to a Catholic church where the pulpit is clean and the altar boys are intact. Do they dare STOP the constant supplications? If they slack off the continuous prayer, will God sneak a few molesters into the ranks to teach them a lesson? Is the whole thing as much of a cosmic protection racket as the Pope's request implies?