Thursday, May 12, 2011

Great Expectations

For if a preest be foul, on whom we truste,
No wonder is a lewed man to ruste;
And shame it is, if a prest take keep,
A shiten shepherd and a clene sheep.
Wel oghte a preest ensample for to yive,
By his clennesse, how that his sheep sholde lyve.
. . .
To drawen folk to hevene by fairnesse,
By good ensample, this was his bisynesse.
But it were any persone obstinat,
What so he were, of heigh or lough estat,
Hym wolde he snybben sharply for the nonys.
A bettre preest, I trowe, that nowher ys.
He waited after no pompe and reverence,
Ne maked him a spiced conscience,
But Christes lore, and Hise apostles twelve
He taughte, but first he folwed it hymselve.
I think Geoffrey Chaucer was a very wise man. Here he condemns lewd and filthy (shiten) shepherds attempting to lead snowy flocks. He says that priests should practice what they preach. He says sinners (obstinate people) should be reproved sharply, and quickly, no matter whether they're rich or poor. He says that priests should not seek after pomp, but should quietly go about doing God's work.

I always liked Pope John Paul II, even though I've never been a Catholic.  But it troubles me to realize the extent of cover-ups that continued as much during his papacy as they did for who knows how many years previously. I wonder how much he knew about what was really going on, and can't help but think it's an even bigger problem than we know yet.

Mormons may think that cover-ups of that nature don't go on in TSCC. I didn't, and if someone shared an anecdote with me, I didn't believe them, or if I did, I thought it was a rare circumstance. I no longer think so. And it's not just sexual abuse being carefully hidden behind closed doors.  If Mark Hoffman hadn't gotten antsy, how long would his forgeries have been covered up? The Mountain Meadows Masscre?

I don't know yet what church, if any, I will end up deciding to attend. If I do start going to a church, it will be one with leadership like Chaucer describes. I've had enough of shiten shepherds.

(Disclaimer: This is not intended to imply that every leader in TSCC is shiten. Many of them are kind, loving, honest, and honourable people whom I have loved and respected.)


  1. I used to absolutely adore JPII. I called him John Paul the Great. And he did do great things in combating communism in Europe. But he also participated in face-saving cover-ups regarding incidences of child abuse. It broke my heart to find that out. I couldn't celebrate his beatification.

  2. I never cared for J2P2. When he was elected Pope he vocally supported the Solidarity movement in Poland, while at the same time telling poor campesinos in Latin America, that Liberation Theology was wrong and to obey their right wing autocrats. He might well have been a man of personal sanctity and, it's obvious that he had great charisma but he sheltered pedophiles and their enablers in the clergy so long as they shared his conservative political and social views.