No hope and no charity
I found an article in a recent USA Today advocating the Catholic Church’s practices in Rwanda. The article described how the Christian faith has been instilling the Rwandan natives with the idea of forgiveness, which it claims has been very helpful to their society. Of course, isn’t it always the norm for religion to show only its positive side? What the article did was the traditional downplaying of all the suffering the Catholic Church has caused in that country and instead focused on a single case in which a woman named Rosaria had forgiven her family’s killer, a man named Saveri, who now lived next door to her, in the name of Jesus Christ.
The article, so suggestively named “Rwanda’s ‘Miracle’ of Forgiveness,” by Amy Sullivan, manages to shoot itself in the foot. According to the article, Rosaria said, “How can I not forgive him when I too am a sinner?”
What an awful way to demean oneself.
The church teaches her, among other idiocies I will discuss, that her wrong-doings – no matter how mild in comparison to the slaughter of her kin with a machete – are on par with those of Saveri. This is a disgusting belief that should not be practiced in any reach of the world by anyone of sane convictions.
While I am not advocating the idea of holding a grudge, many evolutionary biologists believe (with good reason) that it can be healthy to our survival. Sullivan borrowed a quote from Michael McCullough, a psychology professor at the University of Miami, who said “it deters potential aggressors and discourages those who have harmed you from repeating the offense.”
Who is to say that Saveri is not suffering from a psychosis that could inevitably have him kill Rosaria as well? Furthermore, maybe he is perfectly sane, yet if the cards are down and times desperate, it would not be justified nor desirable to think a man who has gone on a heinous killing spree would still act as your friend.
To point the direction of my article more towards the Catholic Church, this is not the only “sin” of which it will be guilty. While the Church continues to boast about its great charity work, we do not often enough see the true picture. Subsequently, the church has a sort of “band-aid for bible study” policy, if you will. While they may provide food, medicine and the likes of which the Rwandans need to survive, they exchange these staples for religious indoctrination. If the Church were truly as morally sound as it claims to be, it would find compassion in helping others without anything in return, and would offer Christian teachings only if they were desired by the Rwandan people.
Most amazing is what you will find is taught in these Rwandan biblical lectures. Rwanda, infamous among other African countries for overwhelming suffering caused by HIV/AIDS, is being taught to avoid contraception. With its absurd rules of teaching abstinence-only safe sex, the Catholic Church has added that condoms, in fact, cause the HIV virus to spread. The point of this, they have argued, is to save the purity of these people; it’s to let them know that contracting HIV is more morally sound than birth-control. Are we to now start reveling in all the wonders and charity the Catholic Church has bestowed upon these people? Or perhaps we should repudiate the awful ideologies that actually increased the suffering and lives taken by the epidemic.
Now, in another article published by USA Today, the Pope declares that Irish bishops should be brave and acknowledge the child abuse scandals that have gone on for some time in the Catholic Church. Well, how kind of him! Surely it might be a risk to one so infallible, to put their reputation at risk for a mere few whiny children. Sarcasm aside, perhaps some kudos are in order for the Pope to acknowledge that the molestation of young boys is wrong.
Yet maybe we should take it to the next level; maybe we should see collectively that these people, these ordained ministers, popes, cardinals and what have you, are no less mortal than are we. Perhaps it is high time that we stop giving them the credibility of being able to talk directly to a divine being. For what resources have they, that are unavailable to you? In what way can they claim to have a personal relationship that you just can’t seem to grasp yourself? This is not moral teaching. The bureaucracy of the Catholic Church is something not to be celebrated, but to be mistrusted. I encourage all to keep a keen eye on the practices being performed by the Catholic Church. Stand up for Rwanda, and investigate for yourself what the Catholic Church has truly been doing to the country.
Shane Nickerson is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.