It has occurred to me that the “speaking points” of Ash Wednesday, apply specifically to the Catholic Church and the immediate legal and public relations problems that beset it now. If you recall, the deacon spoke of things we might “give up” for Lent. Things such as:
· Leave the past behind.
That equals: Don’t let the incidents of molestations and malfeasance among and by the clergy bother your minds or wallets. Give, Give, Give till it hurts.
· Do not be judgmental.
That equals: Ah, let bygones be bygones. Priests did bad, criminal things. You cannot know what is going on until you walk a mile in the Pope’s Prada shoes. (BTW: Prada is a hifalutin’ Italian designer. I could not even afford a box that contains Prada stuff.)
· Do not criticize.
That equals: Guadalupe–keep your mouth shut and opinions to yourself. We do not want La Gente to get all riled up. Remember: Give, Give, Give.
Mi gente, are you getting the message? Just like politicians have their public relations consultants and “spin doctors,” so does the Catholic Church.
And what are you and I doing, now that “Benedict whatever Roman Numeral” hopped onto his helicopter en route to Castillo Gandolfo? Uh, working. Hassling with traffic. Wondering how the hell we are going to pay for gas. Trying to stretch our meals, so we get the most bang for our buck. Helping our children with homework. Helping our aged and often infirm parents to their doctor appointments and hoping they do not have an “accident” if they are too far from a bathroom. Yeah, that is what we are doing.
I saw the man known as Benedict whatever get into the chopper, waving. Wow, FLASHBACK. It looked a lot like when Richard Milhouse Nixon fled from the White House and criminal prosecution. Only Benedict did not have a cute blondie daughter at his side.
I was talking to one of my sisters about the Popes’ summer place, the Castle, and she yelled out, “WHAT SUMMER PLACE?” What, indeed. It is the place where Popes go to relaxxxxxxxxxxxxxx. To “get away from it all.” Get away from what? People putting their Prada shoes on for them? People getting their meals for them? People getting their clothes together for them, after laundering and who knows what else?
The Popes do not have to park their cars right below their motel room. They get to call housekeeping to fix their beds, and have their fluffy pillows on hand. They get to have high thread count linens, not scratchy, cheesy sheets.
And then, I hear “the latest.” Forget everything Benedict whatever said initially about his departure. Forget that he just wants a life of prayer and silent concentration. Forget that he has to go to the Castle while his apartments are being readied within the Vatican.
And what the heck is going on in those apartments? Just a little dusting oughta do it, no? Ohhhhhhhhhhh, Nnnnnnnnnnooooooooooooooooooo.
Walls are being torn down, new fixtures are being put in, decorations are being put on the newly painted walls. Only the best for a Pope that is a quitter.
And forget re-taking his real name: Joseph Ratzinger. He wants to be known as “Pope Emeritus” Benedict whatever. WHAT? Jesus never said, “Upon you, “Pope Emeritus”, I will build my Church.” Emeritus is usually bestowed upon professors and attorneys who have fulfilled their obligations and are now semi-retired. But Popes are NEVER semi-retired. They DIE. They do not give up partway ‘cuz they got tired. Has Benedict whatever been reading Sarah Palin’s rules of governance?
And Ratzinger wants to continue to wear his white vestments, reserved only for the Pope. And, also, he says he is gonna be around to give the new Pope “hints.” Then, he plans to share his George Clooney look-alike secretary with the new Pope.
To whom do you think the secretary will owe allegiance? The old Pope, or the new yet unknown one? Will there be gossip about how the new one is doing? Backstabbing? Politics?
Count on it.
And, despite the fact that Cardinal Mahony was told to stay home and keep his mouth shut, i.e., the public censure by Archbishop Gomez–Mahony is in Rome. Si, mi gente, Mahony, who moved priests around like chess pieces, with full knowledge of the crimes they had committed and the pedophiles they were and the damage they had done, Mahony is hanging out in Rome. On our dime, he got a round trip ticket to Rome.
It is said he refuses interviews, but is seen around Rome, with the other “Cardinals who lunch.” He should be ashamed of himself, after breaching the trust and love of the people, so faithful and giving. Proud that their children were recognized by priests for “special trips and treats.” Ignorant of the facts that their children were being groomed and molested in horrible, horrible ways, by the very priests they trusted.
These faithful parents so trusted these priests that they disbelieved their own children, when the children told what had been done to them.
Once, a beautiful blonde, blue-eyed friend came back from the Cathedral cafe and told me, “Oh, I just said hi to Cardinal Mahony and he was so friendly.”
I told her, “I would have laid a subpoena on his ass to make him appear before the grand jury and answer questions under oath.” But nobody ever could. Because he was on church grounds, which gave him a King’s X. Sanctuary.
Why is Mahony in Rome, about to vote on a new Pope? Why is everybody going along with the program? We are not sheep, who blindly follow criminals and wrongdoers. Mahony is on a TIME OUT. And in Rome. A place I will probably never see. A place too expensive for me to ever reach, as long as I live.
People gave and gave and gave. They unknowingly gave their own children, innocent children who did not ask for nor did they deserve the crimes and ugliness that were visited on them. People gave their children’s futures, their dreams and goodness, to criminals dressed in sotanas.
And I do not mean to paint all clergy with these statements. For, there are priests and nuns whom I love, and who gave me the world, in terms of my education. But, ask me to make excuses for those sick, scummy deviants and I will never do that. All I want to do is prosecute them and have them live out their days behind bars. Behind bars, where even murderers HATE child molesters.
Oh, and if you want to reach the Cardinals, they are having “meet and greets” at their five-star accommodations within the Vatican.
Tell them Guadalupe sent you.
Some may think I am disrespectful. You are entitled to your opinion, as I am, mine. But I do not give respect where none is merited. I do not respect or admire criminals. Child molesters. Rapists. NO!
And when Mahony gets back, try putting notes into the collection baskets. “I will not pay for your sins.”
© Guadalupe Gonzalez, Una Latina Catolica y Bien Enojada. This essay originally appeared in LatinoLA.com. Surf on over and show them some love!
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