Who could forget that chilling seen in "Jaws" when Mrs. Kintner, whose young son had just been killed by the shark, slapped Chief Brody in the face.
Sobbing, she said, “I just found out that a girl got killed here last week, and you knew it! But you let people go swimming anyway?"
If the Catholic Church had heeded Mrs. Kintner’s message of responsibility, it wouldn’t be paying settlements related to widespread priest pedophilia. It wouldn’t be seeing its own, including a certain Boston Cardinal flaunting the “law,” fleeing the country to Vatican City’s safe havens to avoid possible extradition.
It wouldn’t have to watch high-ranking church officials be criminally charged for knowingly transferring pedophile priests to other parishes where they were put in direct contact with children — literally.
And they wouldn’t be witnessing their churches faithful dwindle — and so few young people entering the seminary.
It is incomprehensible that, in light of those crises, the Catholic Church would respond by fast-tracking the late Pope John Paul II for sainthood, since so many sins occurred under his watch.
If John Paul’s beatification, part of the path to sainthood, takes place as scheduled on May 1, it will have been the fastest in history, since Pope Benedict XVI waived the requirement of a five-year waiting period.
One way or another, Pope John Paul is complicit in the scandal; he’s either responsible or irresponsible for what occurred.
Given his vast intelligence and the worldwide publicity surrounding the plague of pedophilia, if the former Pope had no idea what was transpiring, then he was irresponsibly asleep at the switch.
But no matter how insulated he may have been, it is simply not believable to think he had no knowledge of those crimes. Which leads us to the more likely scenario.
Just as he receives accolades for the good things during the 26 years of his papacy, and there were many, John Paul must also be held at least partly responsible for the illicit activities.
But even worse was the direct enabling of predator priests and the subsequent cover-ups. Allegedly, some victims and their families were discouraged from taking the next steps, with some being threatened with excommunication. Even high-ranking church officials were not immune; allegedly many were told that if they cooperated with investigative authorities, there would be severe repercussions.
In fact, a letter from 1997 was uncovered last month from the Vatican to Irish bishops demanding that no pedophile cases be turned over to police — contrary to Vatican claims. That letter was signed by the late Archbishop Luciano Storero, Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland.
So unless the Pope never read the papers, watched TV, or communicated with church administrators under his command, he should have known. And that should make sainthood out of the question. For the church to pursue it just shows how out of touch it has become.
If church leaders were deceitful because they feared the worst for their institution if the facts came to light, where was the faith of those leaders?
Faith that the church, which can be traced directly back to Jesus Christ and a fisherman named Peter, could weather the storm, faith that it could stand firm in the face of adversity, and faith that the solution is to always do the right thing and tell the truth.
In other words, to do what Jesus would have done.
It is a tragedy these leaders didn’t practice the faith that they continually preach.
As a human, a parent, and yes, a faithful Catholic, I implore the church, for God’s sake, to end the preying, and start praying. After all, it’s the most Catholic thing to do.
Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com
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