This, dear readers, is a rant. If you’re not inclined to read something that calls an Archbishop of the Catholic Church a terrible human being, then I advise you to skip this one. Otherwise, read on.
I find myself, these days, less and less surprised by the insane things old white men in positions of power say out loud. It only takes five minutes of reading about the Republican primaries in the US to find oneself horrified by anti-LGBT, anti-Muslim, and anti-woman sentiments. But one area of surprising reprieve, recently, has been statements from the good old Catholic Church — at least since our pal Francis took over. Pope Francis has said a lot of positive things — but in terms of the rest of the old white men involved in the second oldest profession, there’s still a whole lot to be desired.
Take Archbishop Robert Carlson, of St. Louis, who has released a statement urging Catholics to distance themselves from that contagious pox on the American moral landscape, the Girl Scouts of America.
Could the grand old Archbishop instead spend his time targeting homophobia in the Church? That would make him a good person, so yes. Could he perhaps be addressing two thousand years of misogyny in the Church? Indeed, that would certainly make him an upstanding moral compass for the youth of America. Could the Archbishop of St. Louis be trying to seek reparations for the many victims of the Church’s history of sexual assault? Of course he could. God knows there are many, many things he could be doing in his position of power to make the world a better place.
But instead, he’s writing strongly-worded letters warning that the Girl Scouts are teaching young women how to protect themselves from STDs, and glorifying dangerous feminists like (I swear to god) Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan. For real.
He’s even troubled by the fact that the Girl Scouts of America support organizations like Amnesty International, Oxfam, and the Coalition for Adolescent Girls. These organizations, one and all, fall under the umbrella of “human rights promotion organizations,” which really makes you wonder on which side of history you stand when that is something you oppose.
Oh, and he also doesn’t like how they’re inclusive of transgender people and gay people:
“In addition, recent concerns about GSUSA and their position on and inclusion of transgender and homosexual issues are proving problematic. Our culture is becoming increasingly intolerant of a Catholic worldview regarding these issues. While Catholics are called to treat all people with compassion and mercy, we must at the same time be mindful of whom we allow to teach and form our youth and the messages they present.”
Lord above, he used “intolerance” as though “intolerance” weren’t the very stock he was peddling! Better chase those unapologetic gay-lovers out of the temple!
…Well, that’s what he’s doing:
“Effective immediately, I am disbanding the Catholic Committee on Girl Scouts and instead forming a Catholic Committee for Girls Formation that will be charged with ministry to all girls in various organizations. While continuing to serve our Catholic girls involved in various scouting programs, this committee will also reflect our ongoing commitment to educating and forming all young women.”
Dear Archbishop, in addition to being what is classically referred to as a terrible human being, you are also chasing away people who would otherwise stay in your outdated and intolerant (there, I said it) organization. You are on the wrong side of history, and digging your heels in and insisting that god loves everyone except women, LGBT people, and parents who don’t want their daughters to get STDs or become unexpectedly pregnant, is not the way to go.
But do as you like. A wise man once said that if your hand or your foot causes you to stumble you should cut it off and throw it away. I wonder how long it’ll be before the body of decent, upstanding Catholics follows that advice and amputates people like you.
Richard Ford Burley is a writer and doctoral candidate at Boston College, as well as an editor at Ledger, the first academic journal devoted to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In his spare time he writes about science, skepticism, feminism, and futurism here at This Week In Tomorrow.