The Problem With Infallibility

I wonder what Catholics will do if it turns out this is true? Given the scope of the problem and the church’s feverish attempt to sweep it under the carpet since, well, always, I see no reason to believe it’s not. I can’t speak about the rest of the world, but I know American Catholics don’t place too much stock in the whole infallibility thing. They’re pretty comfortable focusing on the entreaties of the church itself, focusing on humility, charity, etc (Bill Donohue and the bishops notwithstanding). However, even open-minded Catholics might be taken a little aback if it turns out their human pipeline to God was directly involved in covering up child abuse.

From born again preachers hiring prostitutes and snorting meth with gay escorts, to popes covering up sexual abuse, one is tempted to wonder why anyone takes organized religion seriously. Note that I say organized religion. Spirituality is a personal thing; it concerns one individuals’s relationship with the great unknown. Once us fallible humans start professing to know what God means, that’s when the problems start. The problem with infallibility is that no person is. Of course, the Protestant wing of western religion eschews the strict doctrine of infallibility in favor of a much more direct form of hypocrisy: do as I say, not as I do. In both cases, there’s an obvious current of moral superiority. That goes right back to the ridiculous assumption that any one of us has a clue what God is or wants. The truth is that no one has the lock on moral superiority; we are all human. Those who would claim it so they can curry favor with power are dangerous, from Fred Phelps to Joseph Ratzinger.  When people start waking up to this fact, maybe they’ll be a little less likely to follow blindly when their religious leaders tell them to march.

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