This past week has been a difficult one for the Catholic Church, following Pope Francis’ admission over the sexual abuse of nuns.
According to the UK’s Independent, Francis admitted that the church has in fact had a problem with some priests and bishops keeping nuns as sex slaves.
The Catholic Church has long been opposed to abortion – so it is interesting to note that in some cases the nuns were forced to either get abortions, or bear children that their father’s wouldn’t acknowledge.
The problem had gotten to the point that Pope Benedict, Francis’ predecessor shut down the French Order in 2005 “because slavery had become part of it (the religious order), even sexual slavery on the part of priests and the founder”.
In other news, according to AFP, Bernard Preynat, a priest who has been accused of molesting more than 80 boys, has gone to court to try and stop the release of a movie about the abuse, at least until after his trial later this year.
On Monday The Guardian reported that the Papal Nuncio to the UK, archbishop Edward Adams, has been accused of using diplomatic immunity in order to avoid giving testimony to an ongoing inquiry into child sex abuse.
Adams has been repeatedly asked to hand over documents about mistreatment of children at Ealing Abbey and St Benedict’s school in west London, and has been very slow to do so.
The nuncio’s status as a diplomat has made it more difficult to get the papers out of him, which has led to David Enright, a prominent lawyer for the victims, sending a letter to Theresa May asking her to expel Adams if he continues his non-cooperation.
When writing about The EFF’s manifesto one of the trite bits of politicking I saw was building partnerships with religious groups to encourage the moral regeneration of South Africa.
It was nothing that you wouldn’t hear from most political groups across the world – the idea that the promotion of religion equals a more moral society.
The Catholic Church would be one of those groups – and has its behaviour indicated much in the way of moral leadership?
One of our major problems in this country, regarding our morality, is xenophobia. We aren’t very welcoming of people who are different to us.
This was consistent with a 2009 meta analysis of religious racism in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Review, that found “a strong religious in-group identity was associated with derogation of racial out-groups.”
The study also said, “The authors failed to find that racial tolerance arises from humanitarian values, consistent with the idea that religious humanitarianism is largely expressed to in-group members. ”
In other words teachings like “Be kind to each other” – tend to be taken as “Be kind to other members of your religion” rather than just be kind to everyone, and that is a very human failing.
In order to deal with this the government should aim to be as neutral as possible. Religion should be irrelevant, it should be how you act as a person that defines you as a person.
We shouldn’t be kind to each other because some God wants it, but because we want a kind society, and the only way to get their is by being kind.
We can look at the world as it is right now, and make it better for right now, and who honestly cares what it all means in some grand scheme of things? To be good is to do good, and that’s doesn’t require some cosmic lawmaker, that just requires us deciding to do it.
To create a more moral South Africa does not require working with religious groups, it just requires behaving in a moral manner. If our leaders were to ever do that, our people would follow them in that, because that’s how leadership works.
If you engage in corrupt activities you will lead a corrupt society, if you engage honestly, that too will filter down. Rather than bemoaning the perceived moral degeneration of our society – lets just be moral.