A Holy Week of Horrors in Review
Easter 2010 is about to dawn in my time zone. As I sat down at my computer, I was tempted to write that Jesus would be turning over in his grave if he had one. Forgive me; it’s been that kind of week.
The ancient church entrusted to St. Peter and his heirs has been descending into a swirling funnel of infamy, censure, and ultimate irrelevance in what used to be known as Western Christendom. The accusations of pedophilia and cover-ups have simply caused the Roman Catholic establishment to stonewall more obstinately and batten down its hatches until the storm blows over.
I’ve got news: this storm will take a while to blow over. The church that finally emerges from the wreckage might be a shadow of its former self, reduced to proselytizing in Africa and the jungles of the Amazon — unless a reformist faction can emerge and grab the reins from the disgraced establishment. We might be witnessing the first resignation of a Pope since the Renaissance.
Elsewhere, a U.S. court of appeals commanded Albert Snyder of York, Pennsylvania, to pay Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, the sum of $16,510.80 to cover the church’s court costs. If you haven’t already heard the story, be sure you’re sitting down: Snyder, whose son was killed in Iraq, had sued the church for picketing his son’s funeral with placards proclaiming “God Hates Fags” and “Thank God for Dead Soldiers.” (The church believes that the U.S. is evil for tolerating homosexuality; therefore, anyone who defends the U.S. deserves to die. Neat logic.)
A lower court had originally awarded Snyder $3 million for his suffering at the hands of the church, but the court of appeals overturned the earlier decision and ordered the bereaved father to pay up. The new ruling had the rare effect of uniting both the right and the left in outrage. Righty pundit Bill O’Reilly has offered to cover Snyder’s bill, and the case will go to the Supreme Court this fall.
In Massachusetts, nine high school students were arrested and charged with felonies for systematically bullying a fellow student until she committed suicide. It’s about time bullies had their day in court, but of course the girl’s parents won’t ever see their daughter alive again.
A militant Christian militia group calling itself Hutaree was rounded up in Michigan (or at least we can hope). Members of the group were allegedly planning to kill police officers and battle the Antichrist.
Another wingnut organization known as Guardians of the Free Republic, intent on dismantling the U.S. government, sent letters to at least 30 governors ordering them to resign within three days. (Maybe they didn’t know that state governments have nothing to do with the federal government.)
In a Moscow subway, two teenage Muslim girls blew themselves up along with a few dozen innocent Muscovites. The suicide bombers hailed from one of those indistinguishable breakaway tribal regions in the northern Caucasus.
The news wasn’t all horrific: Newark, New Jersey, marked its first murder-free month since 1966. Praise the Lord.