Damned if they do, damned if they don't

I spank, of course, the Roman Catholic Church. Recently, Mel Gibson has had a rather embaressing run-in with the local authorities (hat tip to Brayton at the Dispatches). If the RCC had the least shred of common decency, this would put it in a grave conundrum.

I should probably advice people not to hold their breaths waiting for the Church to grow enough moral backbone to realise this. I hear that anoxia is a pretty nasty way to go...

Their problem, however, basically goes like this:

(1) They can denounce and excommunicate Gibson because he is a bigot - and bigotry has no place in the Church.

The problem with that is, of course, that it'll open a tremendous can of worms vis-a-vis the anti-gay bigotry, the misogynist bigotry, the we-don't-recognise-other-denominations-to-be-Real-Christians(TM)(C)(R)(Patent Pending) bigotry, and all the other kinds of bigotry that are firmly entrenched in Catholic doctrine.

In fact, should the Church pursue this road - the only decent and honourable one available to them - they will find their ranks sorely reduced. The smart money says that's not gonna happen. So, let's look at the somewhat less savory and decent ways to handle this:

(2) They can denounce and excommunicate Gibson because he's politically unacceptable.

Then they'll be sticking their noses into politics, where their noses most definitely don't belong. Now, the simple fact that their anti-democratic political power-mongering is inappropriate has certainly never stopped the Church before. But in this case they'll have to explain precisely how anti-semitism is suddenly sufficiently politically unacceptable to warrent an excommunication, a mere six decades after it was part of the official and deeply rooted doctrine. Stuff about the War that the Church would rather Was Not Remembered might resurface in that discussion.

And, of course, it would be a not-so-tacit admission that excommunication is just one more political tool in the fascist's toolbox...

(3) They can support Gibson's loony views.

But that would be political suicide (it would also be utterly devoid of decency, not that that particular detail has ever stopped the Church before).

(4) They can ignore it, and trust that public memory decays faster than a virtual Z-boson.

My bottle of beer says that this is precisely what they'll do.

And I do certainly hope that I'll get a chance to grind somebody's overly pious nose in the fact that his much-prized Church is still harbouring, aiding, and abetting anti-semites.

Just like old times.


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