Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Somebody tweeted a link to this recent story yesterday afternoon along with the question, "Has the Catholic Church lost its mind?"
NBC 4 Washington: Girl Scout Troops Banned from Virginia Church/1.23.12
The answer to that is, of course, yes and no. Yes it's lost its mind, but no, not recently or anything -- because it never really had one to begin with, a fact which has been proven again and again over hundreds of years. We're lucky the church no longer has the imperial authority to wage actual blood-and-guts wars in the name of converting heretics to its way of "thinking," but it's still doing plenty of damage just by lobbing archaic edicts from the Vatican like psycho-bombs all across the globe. The Catholic power structure says birth control is verboten because the almighty creator of the universe says so and, surprise, hundreds of thousands -- possibly millions -- of unnecessary deaths and AIDS orphans in the Third World becomes a reality.
The only thing interesting about one Catholic church and school's audacious decision to target a bunch of Girl Scouts over the group's supposed link to Planned Parenthood -- and indeed the church's recent inserting of itself squarely into the ridiculous political fight over contraception -- is what it says about the entire organization's view of itself these days. Consider it a kind of subtle State of the Church address, and if you're listening closely you can hear exactly how the Catholic hierarchy, particularly in the United States, feels like its done its time and, in its own parlance, paid its penance after a metric ton of devastating press and lawsuit after lawsuit in the wake of the priest sex scandal -- and now it's ready to reassert itself as the moral authority that it is. That old Catholic swagger has returned in spades. The pride is back, baby.
The problem? The church may have conveniently forgiven itself -- what with being in the forgiveness business after all, especially when it comes to its own sins -- but most Americans haven't forgiven it, nor have they forgotten. Rick Santorum may be a beaver-shit crazy Catholic hardliner, one who hates birth control and who thinks Satan is making a play for the heart and soul of the United States, but he's part of a dwindling statistic: people who give a damn what the Catholic Church has to say about anything. Anything at all.