Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What does "shocks the conscience" mean?

Yesterday I read that the pope is mystified by the fact that priests (and on up) have sexually abused little children (and on up).  Actually he said it is a "mystery" how someone could participate in the sacraments (he mentioned specifically Eucharist and Confession) at the same time as they were engaging in such horrific crimes.  Well, he did not use the words "horrific" or "crimes" - instead he used euphemisms, a bland manner of speech, which led some people to humorously describe his words as enunciating a "new Mystery" for the faith.

Now today I happened to reread an old blog of mine, related to torture, which addressed the question:  What does "shocks the conscience" mean? (A question related to the constitution's protections against cruel and unusual punishment.)   My words at the time were an attempt to try and get folks to SEE something many prefer to rationalize away.  But if you read them now, in light of things going on in the RCC, it illuminates, I think, a tone deafness at the top of the Vatican, in its recent vendettas, that drives many of us crazy.  Not just an inability, perhaps, to really get the degree of egregiousness and the horror evoked in us at the thought of a priest damaging the soul of child through rape.  But equating that to the ordination of a woman to the priesthood?

What does shocks the conscience mean?  Certainly rape of a child!

But ordination of a woman?  That is cause for REJOICING!

And that, I hasten to add, is one more reason for these thoughts from a post below:
Somewhere along the line [the pope] has entered an alternate universe...
[or is] yearning for an alternate universe.  Of abstractions.  I can imagine Euclidian Geometry would really please him.  Those neat proofs.  No sex.  Triangles and Squares being their different "genders" so to speak, each with their different "roles" so neatly laid out, nothing amiss.
Apparently, something is deeply amiss.

And it all seems to turn, I now see, on what shocks the conscience.  Or not....  What undermines the faith.  Or not.
Could the nation bear to watch?  That question is very important.
In our case:  Could a church congregation bear to watch?  (Rape of a Child vs Ordination of a Woman - to name just one example)
I hope that settles the question!

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