Monday, July 29, 2013

the right to forget

It is nice to hear that a kinder, gentler pope has taken a somewhat kinder and gentler tack on the subject of homosexual priests.
Pope Francis
The rock-ribbed approaches of the past flew in the face of the actualities that evolved from a sexually-deviant training system. If sex (heterosexual, homosexual or any other) is a no-no, where the hell does the Roman Catholic Church imagine future priests might come from... and how can an institution claim to love god and reject his/her/its works? It's whopper-jawed (if financially astute), but it's nice to hear a kinder, gentler approach. (Here's the BBC version.)

Which is not to say the sword of kindness only cuts one way:
...[W]hen someone sins and confesses, he said, God not only forgives but forgets.
"We don't have the right to not forget," he said.
Perhaps someone has a kinder, gentler interpretation of that last line, but when putting two negatives together, my math teacher always said you created a positive ... i.e. We have the right to forget.

And so, in voicing a more conciliatory approach to homosexuality (and by extension sexuality in general), perhaps the pope is also laying the groundwork for sidestepping the powerful "gay lobby" in the Vatican AND the groundwork for sweeping aside the tsunami of priest-sexual-abuse cases that have required so much Vatican treasure.

Do people have a right to forget? As sure as god made little green apples, they DO forget, but is that a right and if so, what are the concomitant responsibilities? Human experience proves that running around picking old and festering wounds is a non-starter... a gloomy outlook based on a past that cannot be grasped.

But I think there is a responsibility that attends on perfectly human forgetfulness. Just because people do forget does not confer upon them the right to therefore -- implicitly or explicitly -- DENY that past, to camouflage it or to sidestep a reality to which they were party. It is one thing to attribute to Balzac the credible words, "Behind every great fortune there is a crime," and quite another to say, "What the hell -- there's always a crime. Fuggetaboutit!" This may be common enough, but as a personal matter, I think it is a poor lifestyle and lacking in common sense.

Balzac's fortune as expressed in anyone's life is a pleasing matter. But I imagine that a happy lifestyle is more honest than simply being pleased. A happy lifestyle is whole. Cherry-picking only works up to a point and beyond that point becomes thin and fatuous. It is nice to have a wonderful treasure, but to therefore deny or try to elude the full price paid for it is delusion. Facts are facts: Everyone is forgetful, but that does not confer the right to forget when facts come to the fore.

If God is not that stupid, why should anyone else be?

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