I took it very ill at the short that Mika took at the Pope this morning but after seeing this story at the memeorandum I am even more upset:

“Today we see in a truly terrifying way that the greatest persecution of the Church does not come from outside enemies, but is born of sin within the Church,” the pontiff told reporters on a plane bound for Portugal.

His comments were his most direct response to press questions, and some of his strongest words yet on the abuse scandal, says the BBC’s Vatican Correspondent, who is travelling with the Pope.

Benedict said the Church has “a very deep need” to acknowledge that it must do penance for its sins and “accept purification”.

However, he added that forgiveness should not be a substitute for justice.

MSNBC portrayed the pope’s remarks saying that the scandal represents the greatest persecution of the church but didn’t mention the rest of the quote saying that its origin is from within, that is: the scandal.

I very much hope that Mika was not aware of the rest of the quote and is a question of a producer giving her incomplete information. If she was aware and she is not ashamed as a journalist she ought to be.

A friend of mine has just become my latest blogchild. She is a former SEPD teacher locally and blogs under the name The Carmelite.

As indicated by the name she will be writing on the Catholic Church and it’s teaching etc. She has taught courses on the Church at local parishes and at local community colleges and has been a guest speaker locally on Catholic Faith and doctrine.

You can find her first post on the search for God here. Stop by and say hello.

My old review from June 2008 of How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization is available at Amazon.com here.

This book should be required reading for the media before they write a single story on the church.

And in case you live under a rock here is the sketch in question from the review:

The list from the Church would likely be longer.

When you look at the South Park situation, the reaction of comedy central and the sudden concern at offending religion that seems to pop up as long as that religion isn’t Christianity in general or Catholicism in particular, it tends to make the average Christian sick.

You have seen the Lord berated, your forms of worship mocked. You find yourself called every name in the book in movies and film, you endure the wrath of the mainstream media for your willingness to stand against sin and when like all men, you succumb to sin of any sort they pounce with glee.

For Catholics in particular, the religion that brought you hospitals, education of the non-noble classes, the preservation of some of the greatest knowledge of antiquity, t religion that feeds, clothes, and shelters more people worldwide than any other and has done so for centuries. The religion whose dedication to educating the poor is so great that even atheists donate to our schools. To see comedy central happily insult Christ and the Pope while bleeping out even the name of Islam’s prophet, its gotta be another twist of the knife.

But worse than that, it is a temptation. It comes from jealousy. It is a little voice that is saying: “Hey you know that Christ is worth defending, you see how the media and almost everyone in Hollywood cringe and bow all it takes is an ambiguous phase.” Just one little suggestion, you don’t even have to do anything, that sort of a “me too” thing, than maybe just maybe they will decide to leave you alone too. It’s not so bad, after all it will keep them from violating the second commandment, it will keep kids from getting the idea they can make fun of the Lord. Maybe even save a soul or two.”

It’s the same kind of voice that the kid who works at the local grocery store for minimum wage hears when he sees a neighbor who is dealing with a $500 iPhone. It’s the voice the girl working two jobs to pay student loan hears when she sees another working three days at the strip club or maybe turning a trick, with money in the bank.

But most important of all it’s the same kind of voice that whispered to Scott Roeder, telling him it was alright to murder.

That voice should not be unfamiliar to us. it whispered to Herod to remove the children who might be a threat to their rule, it told Peter that it was ok to deny Jesus to save his skin, that told Pilate that it was better to kill an innocent man than to risk rebellion and told Judas that he was doing the right thing to deliver Jesus to the High Priest.

For a Christian that is the real significance of the South Park incident. Not what has actually been done, Christ and the Church has been the subject of ridicule as long as there have been Christians, it is the attempt to tempt away from our church, our faith and our very identity.

What should our response be? Prayer for Parker and Stone, Prayer for the Islamic barbarians who want to kill them, and prayer for that same media that scorns us.

It is through that prayer that we will not only save ourselves and others because in the end that is the bottom line. It’s what’s at stake, if we look at it otherwise, then we commit the sin of pride. There is a reason why it leads the list of deadly sins. As Christ said:

“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke to you, ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. And they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin; but as it is they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me also hates my Father. John 15:18-23

This is the way things are, and we’d best act like it.

The Anchoress informs me of an incredible suggestion:

So here is my question for you. What if our bishops chose to do public penance? What if they lay prostrate or knelt in front of their cathedrals as penitents before each Mass on the weekend closest to the feast of St.Peter and Paul or on the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus or some other appropriate day or days? Or, even better, on the first Friday of every month for the next year starting with the feast of the Sacred Heart or Sts.Peter and Paul? And what if we, as their deacons, as an order in the Church, in all humility, not only called on our bishops to do public penance, but offered to join them in it?

To those who do not understand Catholicism this might not seem like much but within the Church it would be earth shattering, and the suggestion of inclusion of the laity is even better:

As a lay person, I would participate in this prostration, with my pope, my bishops and priests and all the rest. I would participate as a means of communicating to the victims that I have heard them and that I am united to them, angry for them and ashamed on their behalf, and also to express to the whole world that I too am a sinner, in need of mercy. I would prostrate myself as to express unity with the clergy and religious, that they are no more outside of redemption than the rest of us, that they are valued and their healing is as necessary to the Body of Christ as is the healing of the victims.

My participation would also demonstrate my intention to remain within this injured body, contributing to both its weakness and its strengths, because I know my redeemer lives, and that we all shall rise again.

Count me in.

It is available here a snippet:

I remain within, and love, the Catholic Church because it is a church that has lived and wrestled within the mystery of the shadow lands ever since an innocent man was arrested, sentenced and crucified, while the keeper of “the keys” denied him, and his first priests ran away. Through 2,000 imperfect — sometimes glorious, sometimes heinous — years, the church has contemplated and manifested the truth that dark and light, innocence and guilt, justice and injustice all share a kinship, one that waves back and forth like wind-stirred wheat in a field, churning toward something — as yet — unknowable.

The darkness within my church is real, and it has too often gone unaddressed. The light within my church is also real, and has too often gone unappreciated. A small minority has sinned, gravely, against too many. Another minority has assisted or saved the lives of millions.

To say that the whole thing should be read is the understatement of the year. She has gotten interesting comments, about which she says:

Speaking of which, the comments at NPR are interesting and a little amusing, to me. Scorn is so incredibly simple and simplistic, and faith is so incredibly hard, and yet somehow the “world” thinks it’s the other way around – that my faith is simplistic and unthinking, but scornful kneejerkism is profound and deep.

But scornful or faithful she welcomes comments.

BTW you might note we have been very Catholic this week, even more than normal, well this is Holy week and if there was ever a time for religion to be first, this is it.

Funny you should ask via Fr. Z links to an article at the LOGIA that describes themselves as a quarterly journal of Lutheran theology in it John Stephenson looks at the attacks on the Pope and has this to say:

The secular press has had it in for Joseph Ratzinger for going on three decades. Before his election as Pope in the spring of 2005, he was routinely derided in his homeland as the Panzerkardinal (“tank cardinal”) and caricatured in North America as the “Enforcer” or even the “Rottweiler.” The roots of this negative reputation stretch back at least as far as the book-length interview he granted to the Italian journalist Vittorio Messori that catapulted him to global fame when published as The Ratzinger Report in 1985. Prior to that juncture, as a heavyweight German academic who had leapfrogged over a major episcopal see (Munich-Freising) to become a leading official in the Roman curia (as cardinal prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) under the still new John Paul II, Ratzinger’s was hardly a household name.

But shrewd observers must wonder about the startling disproportion between the enormous hue and cry artificially whipped up by the media and the softly spoken real life figure who seems always to have avoided hyperbole like the plague.

Let me reiterate that this is from a Lutheran journal. A denomination that refers to the Roman Catholic Church as, in the words of one Lutheran priest: “that institution that is rightly labeled as Antichrist in our Lutheran Confessions”. How bad must things be if the media has these guys defending the Pope? They have their own issues, big ones, yet they have at least eyes enough to see this for what it is. Here is the big finish:

As Easter of 2010 approaches, though, if for no other reason than that we remember Martin Niemöller’s post-war regret at not having spoken up for the Jews in due season, we might fitly major in sympathy, understanding, and prayer for the courteous and learned aged prelate who is right now a walking target for innumerable hellish darts launched by theological Modernists and by the unbelieving world that have between them zero tolerance for any crisp, clear, and confident confession of Christ Jesus our Incarnate God.

If any protestant church proclaiming Christ thinks that the media is their friend their errors are more than simply theological.

Exit question for professed Christians: Do you think it is an accident that the Roman Catholic Church is primary target of the secular media? And if it is not what does that say about the Church as opposed to other denominations that do not seem so worthy of their scorn?

Although I have and will continue to hit back at those maliciously attacking the Church in General and the Pope in particular, none of this changes our obligation to pray for these people and to keep them in our prayers.

If we fail to do so, we fail as Christians in general and Catholics in particular