mirrorshard: (Lammas print)
[personal profile] mirrorshard
More Catholic Fail: nine-year-old rape victim pregnant with twins, has abortion, bishop excommunicates everyone who helped her, Vatican defends the bishop.

I wish this sort of thing was unexpected, but really, that's bishops for you. With a few honourable exceptions, who'd be decent noble human beings without any titles at all, all the ones we hear about are a bunch of authoritarian frock-wearing gay-hating child-killing paedophile-enabling Holocaust-denying weirdos.

The thing is... for once, I'm not going to condemn the bishop in question for moral cowardice, for being evil, or for having a moral compass so far out of whack it thinks Santa's living in Tunbridge Wells.

This particular episode, of all of them, is just plain stupid. No matter how you feel about abortion or teenage childhood pregnancy, none of the Bishop's response makes either moral or tactical sense.

There is no conceivable way that this girl could have become a mother. There was only one conceivable way that she could have survived the whole tragic episode, and she took it. Attempting to cram a pair of growing foetuses inside a nine-year-old girl just does not work. I like to think of early-stage pregnancies as the potential for a person, but barring a few centuries' worth of SFnal medical development those poor scraps of cells didn't even have that.

So what did the Bishop think he was trying to achieve? Even if pregnancy is supposed to be a good thing in itself, it's atomistic. Six months' worth isn't better than three. If sex isn't worth it unless you get a child out of it, then that should surely go nine times over for pregnancy.

Of course, that assumes he was trying to achieve something positive... he may be the kind of sub-Daily Mail scum who thinks an object lesson will teach all those disobedient nine-year-old girls that they'd jolly well better stop getting themselves raped if they know what's good for them.

Alternatively, of course, he might be some sort of anti-rational superstitious moron. Something bad happened - quick, make sure someone connected with it suffers in some baroquely unpleasant fashion, or it will happen again! This is cargo-cult thinking. They've seen justice happening, and they know it's a good thing, but they don't know how it works and can't reconstruct the chain of decisions and desired outcomes that lead to the end results.

On the gripping hand, he may just be a panicked authoritarian, who's made himself subject to the Peter Principle. Told that he's some sort of spiritual shepherd, responsible for peoples' souls, he worries and panics and starts going through pointless rituals of condemnation and casting-out to reassure himself that he still has a firm grip on his responsibilities. He's Doing Something, and responding vigorously to the evidence of sin. Never mind the niggling little details; the important thing is that it says, right here in the manual, that abortion is a sin and it must be stopped. If you just follow the manual, it'll all turn out OK, and WILL YOU JUST DO WHAT YOU'RE TOLD AND STOP QUESTIONING EVERY LITTLE THING I SAY!

Really quite sad. I almost pity him, except, well... he took up bishoping of his own free will, and Peter Principle or not he knew what was coming up.

Since I'm genuinely curious - what's the point of bishops? Why do we still have them? What do they do that any other priest can't?
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