On the hypocrites who demand a reformation in Islam
Tony Abbott, you do know you belong to a church that has not reformed, don't you?
Abbott belongs to a church that condemns homosexuals and refuses women the right to control their fertility. And he’s calling for a reformation in Islam?
Jesus Mary and Joseph, Tony Abbott. Did you just tell Muslims that they need a theological reformation, like Christianity has had?
I know it was some time ago that you were in the seminary, but surely you remember that the Reformation created Protestantism. You and I are members of the unreformed strain of Christianity, the Roman Catholic church. You and I and our 1.2 billion fellow Catholics around the world have had no reformation. We are part of a church that has steadfastly refused to embrace, in both internal structures and theological development, modern concepts like democracy or gender equality.
Sure, our church no longer runs Crusades and no longer says the Jews killed Jesus. I don’t think that suffices as a definition of a modern institution. Our church condemns homosexual people as sinful – and defines them as disordered – if they act on their sexual orientation, even in mutually loving, monogamous relationships.
Our church denies women the ability to use modern technology and medicine to control their fertility, even though Pope Francis told us this year that we no longer “need to breed like rabbits.”
Our church tells divorced people they have failed as Christians – even if the marriage was abusive or if their spouse was cheating on them – and denies them access to the sacraments.
Our church foists priests on to our parishes without consulting us, bishops on to our diocese without consulting us, and cardinals on to our nation without consulting us.
Our church thinks nothing of having a couple of hundred old, celibate male bishops tell the rest of us about the “proper role” of sexuality in a relationship, or what it is to be a good parent, or what a child needs in a family. How many of those guys have even been on a date in their lives, much less know what it is to live in a sexual or family relationship?
Our church tells women they are not capable of representing Jesus Christ in the role of a priest, as if the most important thing about the Son of Man is that, well, he was a man. Never mind that Jesus was born of a woman, never mind that he appeared first after the resurrection to two women, the Vatican seems to harbour a fear of people with vaginas that Jesus never did – and that most of the rest of the world has gotten over.
If you, Tony Abbott, want to go out preaching about the need for reformation, about the need to embrace modernity, about the dangers of retaining outdated theology, structures and rules, then I recommend you pay special attention to the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse.
You talk about Muslims needing a better understanding of the proper relationship between church and state. What about all those Catholic priests who never reported sexual abuse of children to the police? Next week our cardinal, George Pell, returns as a witness, the only person to appear for a third time. I remember when you declined to call for Pell to return to the commission after serious claims were made against him, claims that will be tested next week. At the time you said Pell had issued a statement, as if that was sufficient. It’s not.
Have a think about how our church leadership – here and across the world – failed to protect children. Think about how our church’s rules – enforced celibacy, lack of transparency, secretive processes, no accountability to the people in the pews – contributed to this crisis in our church.
Think about how many children were abused by Catholic priests, how many families were destroyed, and how many more could have avoided this tragedy if only our church was an open, modern, accountable institution with a more diverse leadership. Surely you must agree that if we had a modern church where parents, women and married people were involved in decision-making that the response to complaints about child sexual abuse in our church would have been different.
So I welcome your urgings for religions to undertake reformation. Next week, when Pell is giving evidence at the royal commission, I look forward to your comments about Catholicism and what our church needs to do to drag itself into the modern world.
Remember, as Jesus says in Matthew 7:5, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of another’s eye.
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfre ... d-dont-you
Given modern distractions, the need to understand Islam better has never been more urgent. Through this forum we can share ideas and hopefully promote the true spirit of Islam which calls for peace, justice, tolerance, inclusiveness and diversity.
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