This Good Friday I have a few things on my mind, but one thing seems to be outstanding: children. Specifically, how abused children are by different branches of the two larger Abrahamic faith communities. That example closest to home for most of us is, of course, the discoveries not only of much more sexual abuse of children than was believed among the Catholic clergy here and in Europe but, possibly worse, the almost systematic coverup of it among the bishops. The cherry atop this ugly-tasting sundae is that Benedict (Should I say Maladict?)when he was still just Josef RatZinger, was in on the coverup. Now John Allen said that Ratzinger wanted to move much quicker than anyone else in the Church hierarchy against this abuse and I for one have no reason to disbelieve him. However, I do wonder (considering how much more ground the Pope has to cover) where did Ratzinger start? Is the rest of the hierarchy that far back? God help us all, then!
Lest any Islamists start gloating, let me also say that (to date) Islam comes off looking just as bad if not even worse. Did Muhammad really marry Ayesha when he was MY age (53) and she was SIX?! And did he really consummate with her three years later when she was NINE?!? To say this does NOT look good is putting it very, VERY mildly. Branches of contemporary Islam come off no better: Warlock Ayatollah Khomeini actually said an infant daughter still at her mother's breast could be promised to some dirty old man (like himself) Not to mention child marriage is still legal on the Arabian Peninsula (Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Gulf states?) and, finally, the Palestinian Authority is showing less love for their people's children than the Israelis and Westerners are: they encourage children to become suicide bombers. If any individuals or societies have done worse by their children, don't tell me; I don't want to know!
Maureen Dowd is probably right: a nun needs to be chosen Pope to clean up this particularly noisome mess. Also, one of the first tasks of reopened ijtihad has to be to render Islam as a whole plenty more child-friendly than it currently is. But let us all pray that children be loved and taught without abuse. Let us pray for ourselves as well that we might create more effective safeguards against such abuse which always means a premature end to real childhood. Let us also remember Who it is that said,"Let the children come to me, and don't hinder them, for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these." (MT 19:14)