A Coal Mine and a Church

I am not getting it.  Maybe you could offer me some clarification.

The Catholic Church and the Massey mining company have both come out with public policies today that inflame the scandals already surrounding them.  Maybe I am missing something?

While Massey Energy had hundreds of violations filed against their coal mining enterprises in the last year, they were in the process of fighting them.  During that interim, the coal miners were still allowed to work in the underground mines.  Is it really “legal” to expose these miners to possible poisonous levels of methane gas, not to mention the chance of an explosion?  How many alleged violations does it take to close a mine and forbid workers to enter them?  Is one enough, or perhaps ten, or is one hundred sufficient?  How many violations are worth the life of even one miner?  The CEO of Massey, Don Blankenship, thinks all of these violations are just plain old silly.  I wonder if he had to go down into those mines every day if he would still insist on that silly verdict.

The Catholic Church announced today that the bishops to whom are reported incidents of pedophilia should go to the police and report these accusations to our civil authorities.  Duh!  However, even though this took the good church centuries to  establish this reporting process, the Church still has not confronted and informed us what THEIR actions would be when these acts of abuse are alleged.  Once again, regarding a specific, individual member of the clergy, how many allegations are necessary for the removal of that priest from his contact with children?  One, ten, a hundred?  Is the “degree” of abuse material to relieving that member of the clergy from access to children, i.e. is touching okay but not sodomy or more invasive acts?  The civil justice system takes months, if not years, to find a person guilty or not guilty of a crime.  Just like the miners sent down to the mines while their employer fights the alleged violations, the children of the Church are still and yet subject to the abuse of their trusted clergy while awaiting final dispensation from our drawn-out justice system.  The Catholic Church should step  in immediately and remove the accused from any further contact with the children.  Certainly if a priest has a history of abuse, the Church should not protect him or ignore the reports due to embarrassment or fear of financial and public ruin.

I understand that in America, a party is innocent until proven guilty.  I get that.  However, the trek through our judicial system is a long one indeed.  Whether miners or innocent children, should the victims and possibly future prey be put in a vulnerable position of continued abuse and possible death while the corporate or religious entity fight the implicated charges against them?  My answer is that Massey and the Catholic Church have every right to contest the allegations.  But Massey’s employees and the Church’s children should not be exposed to continued danger during that process.  Sounds like a decent compromise to me.

Enough of this lack of accountability and transparency.  To make our workers and our children sacrificial lambs for the continued existence and financial health of either a corporate empire or a religious sovereignty is dead wrong.  Preventing a crime that can be foreseen is the least we owe our fellow human beings.

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One Response to “A Coal Mine and a Church”

  1. ERG Says:

    Great post, and I say AMEN to all.

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