Friday, April 02, 2010

Easter Rambles

The West New Jersey countryside is an explosion of yellow at this time of year. At 6:45 this morning I watched a huge orange sun come up over rows of forsythia and daffodils. The valley roads are still wet, as they had massive flooding from the storms earlier this week. Under “things I am grateful for”, I can check off “not so much rain over my house”. I had some minor flooding, but nothing terrible. Nothing at all like the coastal cities, that had 7 inches or more of rain.

This Tuesday I sat in a hospital waiting room while a friend had some surgery, and was subjected to the barrage of daytime TV. I’ve always found the televisions in waiting rooms of any kind to be totally obnoxious. Toyota service department waiting rooms tuned to Fox News. Hospital waiting rooms tuned to Good Morning America and the View. The local garage’s waiting room has a show that is supposed to educate customers about getting car maintenance, but the only thing I’ve learned is that these shows are relentlessly annoying. In any case—after a long wait for my friend, I was certain I was going to pull my own head off if I had to wait any longer and the programming switched to soap operas. I suppose that the upshot of this is that I now remember why I quit watching television at all.

Things are quieter today, and I no longer feel like I’m adrift in a sea of pointless thoughts. (You might disagree.) Today is the Christian Good Friday. For whatever reason, the church near my house likes to have a procession with all the congregants, and they walk right down the middle of the road past my house. I can only imagine what would happen if a car suddenly came barreling down the road towards them. I wouldn’t mind their procession as much if they didn’t feel compelled to look in the windows of my house as they pass by, and give me a strange dirty looks. I actually did go to a service at this church once, just to see what it was like. The pastor gave the most odious homily I’ve ever heard, and his personality almost edges out my Mom’s pastor for contemptuousness and self-righteousness. Learning that a parishioner gave him a birthday gift of a fireworks display—held in the cemetery (!)—that cost almost $20,000 did not really do much to change my initial impression of him. You could help a lot of poor people with $20,000. I know the nuns that live in the convent on the property are sweet, and many of the parishioners are nice. Except the ones that look in my window.

Speaking of the Church—it’s hard to even look at e-mail these days without seeing something about what The Atlantic Monthly is calling “Papalgate”. They have an interesting article likening the current scandal in the Vatican to Nixon’s Watergate scandal. The parallels are rather striking. It would be very easy for me to write a very long blog posting about the whole thing. However, I’m going to limit myself and keep my comments brief.

There was (and probably still is) a Church policy that espoused silence in matters of priestly pedophilia. The most credible thing for the Church to do is to admit the obvious, and take active steps to make changes—prosecuting the guilty, reforming their process for psychologically evaluating those entering the priesthood. Instead, they are 1. Pointing the finger at dioceses for “not doing the right thing” when the dioceses get their orders from the top of the food chain; 2. Blasting the media for uncovering the story and making the Pope into a victim, 3. Claiming that demons in the Vatican are responsible for the transgressions, and 4. Remaining silent on the relevant damning evidence. In short, they are living in a vacuum, or perhaps think they are still living in the Middle Ages. I think the Vatican hierarchy should all be fired Donald Trump-style, and they should bring in some replacements that actually give a crap about people and the realities of life.

I’ll stop there, and wish those who celebrate a Happy Easter in spite of that. After all, one’s spirituality is not about an organization. And hoping that when I visit my Mom she’s bought me some of that crappy Easter chocolate that tastes so awesome with peanut butter.

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