Contemplating the hole that the Catholic hierarchy has dug for itself regarding its ongoing sex abuse scandals, it occurred to me that their reactions follow closely the Elizabeth Kubler-Ross model of acceptance. The Kubler-Ross model has been applied to the psychology of dying, of addiction, of trauma and disaster. And these scandals are a disaster for the Church if ever there was one.
To recap, the Kubler-Ross model starts with DENIAL and then ANGER. Up until recently, the Vatican was entrenched in these two phases. Anger was more the position of the rabid lay defenders and apologists than the clergy. After this weekend, however, I think the Church has moved into a BARGAINING phase, though still peppered with denial and anger. See my previous entry regarding how Benedict's own preacher compared the suffering of the church in response to the scrutiny of the western media of the scandals to the "collective suffering" of the Jews in Europe. (As repellant and nauseating as that concept is to anyone with a conscience or mind).
In essence, they were saying that the Church was a victim, too. And that proper scrutiny and criticism of the hierarchy was tantamount to anti-semitism, which is an irrational animus. But that, it seems to me, is a bargaining position. And that's why I think they're in the bargaining phase.
Unfortunately, if their reactions really are following the Kubler-Ross model, it will get worse before it gets better. After Bargaining comes DEPRESSION. Only after depression comes the final stage of ACCEPTANCE.
I do pray they get it before they're left with only wild-eyed blind followers who have idealized and idolized the church; i.e., replaced God in their souls with a kind of Idolatry of the Church... I think Western Civilization is stronger with the Catholic church intact than broken, and I want Western Civilization to survive. So I do wish them well. But they must stop their appalling self-pity. Otherwise, that hole they've dug may turn out to be a grave.
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