Living in Belgium I’m observing the debate about the abuse from some members of the Belgian churchwith bewilderment.
Why is it that every time religion appears in the media is not to discuss the religion as such but the wrongdoings of the -self-appointed- representatives of God on earth? Be it perverted catholic priests or mad evangelical priests I think we are all losing it a bit. Shouldn’t we see the fact that churches are being used only for weddings and funerals and the number of europeans going to church is decreasing every day as a sign of something?
Spirituality is paramount in one’s life. Yet, what is happening in today’s Europe regarding religion? I don’t want to believe that we are being less spiritual than before. Is it that Europeans prefer finding their own spirituality on their own by doing yoga, meditating, cheering their football team or smoking weed?
What is clear is that europeans refuse to be told what to believe; they want to chose their own spirituality and the current old model of priests seems to be old-fashioned. Every time the vatican and the church appear in tv is to be spanked in public. Isn’t it time to reflect a bit?
Is it better that one’s spiritually is closer to a commercial brand such as Apple than to the spirituality of the church?
These are questions that in my opinion lie behind the media attention given to the current scandals of children abuse. Let’s be honest, does anyone believe that this didn’t happen before? that this is the first time that catholic priests molest children? that this happens only in Belgium? What has changed is that now there is a public audience who finds a strange pleasure in reading these news and we know that media sells what people want (need?) to hear.
All in all, shouldn’t we use the current scandals of the catholic church to reivindicate that:
1- catholic priests are human beings like the rest of us (they should be judged like the rest of us too),
2- they should have the right to have their own sex life (sadly current news prove that they appear to be having it anyway)
3- it is about time to re-introduce the possibility for catholic priests to get married and have a normal life.
I used to believe that religion was intrinsically bad; the opium of the people, a way to manipulate the masses… but I see everyday how the human beings can manage to free themselves from the manipulation of the church but only to fall in the -maybe even more perverse- manipulation by the media, the marketing and new populism.
At the end of the day we are finding out that human emancipation was not as simple as we thought. We are realising that emancipation was not about eliminating religion but rather about replacing with something that serves us better. And when looking around I express on whether we -collectively- have found what we were looking for.
Hence the call to start a debate about the role of religion in the western society… but first please allow the catholic priests to have a sex life, get married and be normal people. It will be good for the catholic church and it will set the basis for this debate we need to have.