Never have so many non-Catholics said so much about what Catholic doctrine should be.
The last time I checked, the Vatican was not a county commissioner's board in South Dakota. But that's how everyone seems to be treating the Sex Summits in Rome.
Lemme explain something here:
#1. Popular opinion doesn't matter
#2. If you're not Catholic, shut up. It has nothing to do with you
#3. Ultimately only one vote counts
The Catholics have made it clear for the last 120 years, ever since the Pope became infallible, that doctrine comes from the top, not the bottom. It's not a democracy. They don't care about CNN polls. So why does the media cover it like it's a legislative body answerable to the public? I doubt that they'd do the same thing if the Pentecostals were huddling in Springfield, Missouri, to debate the rules on speaking in tongues.
An Early Defense against "Wet Willy" attacks but still no match for the dreaded "Rear Admiral"
There were all kinds of suggestions that the Cardinals would be failing in their duties if they didn't issue a "zero- tolerance" policy for priests involved in pedophilia or ephebophilia. (Actually the church has always had a different policy for crimes against pre-pubescents versus post-pubescents, and the pre-pubescent stuff is already pretty close to zero tolerance.)
But this phrase "zero tolerance," which started about ten years ago in the American public schools, is already responsible for all kinds of distorted, unfair and just plain silly policies. Last month a kid in Texas was told he can't graduate high school because he brought a knife onto the school grounds. He'd been hunting with his father the day before, and the knife was still in the bed of his pickup. God forbid we should make one exception. That wouldn't be zero tolerance, would it?
Still No Tolerance for Indoor Bullstuff
Teachers have been fired for smoking a single marijuana cigarette in social situations that have nothing to do with their jobs. Religious schools have monitored the sex lives of students and, when caught, expelled them for what used to be called "heavy petting." Burglars in California have gotten life sentences for petty crimes.
"Zero tolerance" sounds great until you're the person staring into the eyes of the accused, and you can see that there are hardened serial criminals and there are one-shot mistakes and there's a whole range of situations in between, and the intelligent thing to do is to judge each case like it's the only case of its kind.
We're supposed to have this so firmly ingrained into our legal system that we're not even supposed to consider past accusations, arrests without convictions, or anything that tends to make the accused look bad. That's why we have judges in the first place, so that they can look at this one individual and judge what he needs and what society needs based on this one case. "Zero tolerance" throws that out the window.
Zero Tolerance: Playing an Important Part of American Security Theater since 2001
"Zero tolerance" comes from the lazy cynical mind of a simpleton. "You know what we'll do? We'll just automatically convict everybody as soon as they do it one time, regardless of the circumstances, and that will solve the problem!"
"Zero tolerance" comes from a place that doesn't know mercy or forgiveness or even just degrees of guilt. And now we're suggesting that this should be adopted by a church?
In case everyone has temporarily forgotten, Jesus appears to have been opposed to zero tolerance. He was kind of in favor of universal tolerance.
It's time now to leave the Catholics alone. They're agreed to the only thing the government has a stake in--cooperation with the police. Now they're fixing the rest of the problem according to their own rules. The "zero tolerance" people can go back to their customary business of persecuting pregnant 16-year-old girls, underage smokers, small-time drug users, and guys who leave knives in the beds of their pickups.