The human frailties of godly men
Despite what some in the Catholic Church might have you believe, the Pope is not infallible. If you doubt me, just check out his hat. It also would be safe to say Billy Graham is not perfect. (A recently released presidential tape recording revealed his all-too-human side.) And by the same token, no one would suggest Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Ghandi, or the Dalai Lama led flawless lives. All those mentioned are simply men.Men, though with good intentions, like all men, are guilty of weakness and sin.Last I looked, even if you included Aspen ski instructors, no person is perfect. Though that being the case, it always is difficult when those people we hold up as examples of spirituality disappoint us with their human frailties. Despite the fact that I describe myself as a recovering Catholic and no longer regularly attend Mass, (church services) the recent Catholic priest sexual scandals have greatly disturbed me and rocked my faith foundation.While I was growing up, the Roman Catholic Church provided for me a sense of place and a behavioral barometer. Priests were some of my earliest teachers, confidantes, and role models. True, the Latin, incense, and mystery of the Mass often veiled the true spiritualism from my young eyes. Though that being the case, without the Catholic Church, or maybe any church, I would have been a lost and rudderless child. I1m not surprised some priests are pederasts, just as I would not be shocked to learn there are abusers in any other segment of the population. What did shock me was the pattern of denial and complacency by the church and its leaders.This ineptness and arrogance occurred because the Catholic Church adopted a self-assumed importance that was larger than the sum of its parishioners.Since the conception of organized religion, mortals have managed to take a wonderful ideology and dilute it with human bias and vainglory. We have taken a relatively simple philosophy of love and compassion and over-complicated it to a point where the rank-and-file believers feel a need for a human interpreter of divine direction. Theology has become like our tax laws<we1ve made them so complicated we need to hire someone to tell us how to live by them. It shouldn1t be that complex.I1m a personal friend of more than a few men and women who have made a living off interpreting the words of various gods: priests, pastors, reverends and lamas included. After getting to know these men and women of the cloth, I1ve come to the conclusion that, other than a deep theological knowledge, a near-bottomless compassion and a heightened sense of morality, they are no more godly than I am. I think most of them would agree.So if we agree that the message is pure though the messenger is human, why is a holy man1s fall from grace so disturbing to the rest of us? Apart from the sometimes life-long trauma suffered by the victims of the transgressor, there is that disillusion there perhaps is less God in the godly than we might have thought. Maybe we put the clergy up on a morality pedestal so we can live vicariously by their goodness. Though I would argue there are, and have been, human saints walking the earth, most of them probably don1t wear a collar or a robe. Whoever we choose to designate as our earthly ambassadors to the hereafter, it is important, especially during this the Easter season, to remember though God might be divine, man<even the most devout and pious, will always be merely human. If you don1t believe me, check out the Pope1s hat.Biff America can be seen on RSN television, heard on KOA and KYSL radio, and read in this and other fine newspapers.
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