An Interview with President George Washington on the Scandal

I’ve seen some weird stuff recently regarding the current scandal embroiling our beloved Church. This for example. And this. Hunter S. Thompson said that “when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” Keep that in mind as you read on.

What follows are all quotes from the first President of the United States, George Washington. I wondered today what his thoughts would be regarding the current crisis facing our Church. Below are my questions (Joe Sixpack, USMC) and  President Washington’s “thoughts” on the subject, as I have arranged them. 

For simplicity’s sake, my questions are in plain script and the President’s responses are in italics. Here goes.

Mr. President, do you think it is appropriate for the members of the Church Militant, however painful this may be to them, to demand answers from our Church leaders regarding the current scandal plaguing our ranks? 

Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light.

Aside from the obvious expertise in theology and the daily practice of the cardinal and theological virtues, what would you suggest to Pope Benedict XVI as the main leadership criteria used for selecting bishops and cardinals to shepherd the Church going forward?

Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.

But given the shortage of priests the Church is facing, this may prove difficult, Mr. President.

Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable; procures success to the weak, and esteem to all.

Touché, Mr. President, touché. There has been a lot of rhetoric not only from the Vatican, but also from many news sources, from Catholic pundits, etc., saying what we the laity should or should not do, think or not think, about this scandal. In your opinion, what is more important on this issue, actions or words?

A slender acquaintance with the world must convince every man that actions, not words, are the true criterion of the attachment of friends.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux would agree with you. But sir, many of us (our religious and priests too) have not spoken out due to fear of taint, or fear that changes may occur to our beloved Church if we confront this issue forcefully. Unfortunately, the saying “misery loves company” comes to mind. Why should we demand action on this issue?

Happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected.

Excellent point, Mr. President. Now, many have complained that other Christian denominations, other religious faiths, heck even the Boy Scouts, should own up to their own past abuse cases. Should we ally ourselves with these groups or “nations,” if you will, and make the plea that we are no worse (or better) than these other groups are?

I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man. It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one. Bad seed is a robbery of the worst kind: for your pocket-book not only suffers by it, but your preparations are lost and a season passes away unimproved. It is far better to be alone, than to be in bad company. There can be no greater error than to expect, or calculate, upon real favors from nation to nation. It is an illusion which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard.

We need to face this ourselves and not blame others. Understood, sir. Here is my next question. In your opinion, Mr. President, why has the leadership seemed more intent on covering up their failures than they have on expending their energy to root out the perpetrators of these heinous crimes at various levels of the Church hierarchy?

Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness.

Ouch! That is painful to hear, Mr. President. Surely, as the leader of a powerful nation, that is easy for you to say. But we few, we rank and file members of the Church, in our poverty of both wealth and distinction, should we just keep quiet on this issue? Your thoughts?

It may be laid down as a primary position, and the basis of our system, that every Citizen who enjoys the protection of a Free Government, owes not only a proportion of his property, but even of his personal services to the defense of it.

Then you see speaking out on this issue as a duty for all members of the Church, not only here in the United States, but throughout the world?

Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light.

Thank you for giving us a moment of you time today, Mr. President.

Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair; the rest is in the hands of God.

Amen to that Mr. President, a hearty amen to that. Semper Fidelis.

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