Sociopath, noun. A person who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience; unconcerned about the adverse consequences for others of one's actions.
This is not a flippant question lightly posed, nor a potent word placed in a headline to grab attention. It is what came to mind when reading recent stories about the catholic church and its continued coverups of sexual abuse within its walls. I actually first had those thoughts about Pope Benedict in July of 2007.
Back then I was struck by the juxtaposition of two stories from the news. The first was on July 11, 2007, when the pope "reasserted the primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, approving a document released Tuesday that says other Christian communities are either defective or not true churches and Catholicism provides the only true path to salvation." You can read the story in greater detail here.
The Roman Catholic Church cites apostolic succession, and claims that the papal lineage traces back to the apostle Peter, whom Christ called the rock upon which he would build his church. But what of the other eleven apostles (not to mention the numerous disciples)? Were they lesser men vested with lesser power and authority paving a lesser path to the kindgom of heaven? No one who truly understands Christ would ever believe so.
I thought it a rather bold declaration, since Christ repeatedly teaches that 'whoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." Luke, 14:11.
And I found it especially moreso just a few days later when on July 15, 2007 it was announced that the archdiocese of Los Angeles was paying 660 million dollars to more than 500 sexual abuse victims. You can read that story here. That's an awful lot of alms, and not how the faithful who cast them into the collection plates were expecting they would be spent by their stewards.
When he made his statement on catholic primacy, Pope Benedict simply had to be aware that the church was about to pay a whopping two thirds of a BILLION dollars to rape case settlements, yet when he should have been dropping to his knees with his hands clasped in remorse and sorrowful prayer he was instead raising them to the sky. Christ warned of wolves who would come in sheep's clothing, and just such devils are pedophiles who become priests that prey; yet when the pope should have been calling on Christ to cast the devils out of His house, he was instead using it to provide them safe harbor. That is why the notion that he might be a sociopath first came to my mind.
Now the BBC has revealed that 'the Pope played a leading role in a systematic cover-up of child sex abuse by Roman Catholic priests, according to a shocking documentary to be screened by the BBC tonight. In 2001, while he was a cardinal, he issued a secret Vatican edict to Catholic bishops all over the world, instructing them to put the Church's interests ahead of child safety.'
Surely he's read where Christ said that nothing is secret that shall not be known and come abroad.
Jesus also taught that bringing harm to a child is about the worst thing a man can do. 'Then said he unto his disciples, It is impossible but that offenses will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.' Luke 17:1-2.
One wonders if these verses are in the Bible the pope reads. Really. And if they are, has he read them. Really. And if it is true that he was complicit in the coverup, and therefore become an accessory to the crimes as they were perpetuated, and doing so with such fearless and blatant disregard for the Bible he preaches, isn't that acting like a sociopath?
'Beware the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.' Luke 12:1.