The Pope, it now seems, was party to the cover-up of sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic community. This would surprise no one who reads much history, or even novels by writers like Umberto Eco. Depravity, as we judge it now, has always been with us and not always judged as such. The religious texts, which most of us never read, even if we claim them as holy, are full of it. In Numbers 31, Moses is clearly, by modern standards, a genocidal war criminal. This is only one example.
Abuse by some Catholic priests is only one example, amongst many, of dire behaviour and its cover-up in our organisations. It can seem no one is worthy of our trust, but this stance itself is merely the high ground of a slippery slope to paranoid despair. Being paranoid, of course, is no guarantee that no none is following you. There are big questions about how we can trust anyone and anything, how we come to trust the wrong people and stuff. Even a can of tuna, bought cheap at Lydl or for those extra cents more as a fair trade brand, carries a history of abuse in the history of its production.
We are always scared, for various reasons, to open a can of worms. I struggle to remember Pandora’s Box, other than in corny allusion to a night with too much beer and morals thrown to the wind. The metaphors of the original story may fly well; yet I suspect such boxes are always empty of anything other than a desire to keep us in a state in which we accept truth is best kept swept well under the carpet. These days, we have technologies that should allow us to work in a transparent history, rather than consume our energies in rhetoric and myth. We could be led by truth, rather than by leaders claiming to express it on our behalf, forever promising not to break the promises always made before to seize the power to promise and break promises.
It’s a dirty old world. Ask the turtle that’s just snacked on a plastic bag believing it to be an attractive jelly-fish snack.