Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Priests and Police

There was a time when the occupations named in the title of this post held and commanded positions of respect and authority in society. No more.

I went to Catholic schools from kindergarten through grade 13. Growing up, Sunday mass was not usually an option. It is hard for me now, and likely many us, to look at a priest and wonder what horror they might have participated in or knew of but failed to report. I wonder if my class and church peers suffered unspeakable crimes. It is hard too now to look at the tragic death of the young York Region constable and not quietly wonder if he was the sort who'd tear the leg off a crippled man, or strip and beat young woman for asking why she'd been stopped.

I want to think he was decent sort, his baby face makes that easy enough.

But this now must be a conscious effort.

6 comments:

Stan said...

Or how about Jews, Blacks, Gays, Germans, Japanese, Muslims, etc. Hating an entire group for the acts of individuals does not lead to anything good.

Alison said...

"Hating", Stan? That's a bit of a leap, isn't it?

For decades, our culture's default position on groups like priests, police, soldiers, bankers, journalists, and judges has been one of respect.
Sufficiently widespread very bad acts within those groups without the rest of the group holding them accountable has cost them that automatic respect. I find it odd you interpret that as hate.

Boris said...

What Alison said.

I don't hate the police or priests, but it isn't particularly easy to trust them anymore. And it isn't as if they are powerless to restore trust. They simply have to act with accountability and within the limits of the laws they uphold. At the minimum this means turfing dishonest and abusive members from their ranks, and punishing to the same extent as non-police those who commit criminal acts.

Stan said...

Hating is too strong a term, I suppose. What I meant was having automatic disrespect or suspicion of a group, which can eventually lead to hate.

Just like some Muslims are terrorists but the vast majority aren't, some priests are molesters but the vast majority aren't, and some cops are abusive but the vast majority aren't. While it would be proper for the majority to speak out against the wrong doings of the minority, it seems that human nature (or perhaps peer pressure)is what often leads to silence.

psa said...

the difference stan is that police and priests are figures of authority with a bond of trust. their bad acts have become or at least bear the appearance of having become systemic. fear or distrust of police and priests has worsened due to the lack of accountability, the cover-ups and corruption that keeps those abusers of trust on the streets and in their positions of power and authority.

fear, hatred and mistrust of individuals and groups for ethnicity, race, sexual preference and gender is irrational. those persons have no choice in their origin, gender and genetics. cops and clergy seek their vocations by choice, through training and qualification. they ask the greater community for their trust.

it is not irrational to have a distrust for the modern police officer or priest. even if the individual that you face in a routine situation is not a bad apple, they are not acting to remove the rotten ones from their ranks. the passivity of peace officers in the face of his or her fellow's brutality makes them accessories after the fact. the extent and patterns of abuse make it a wise caution to bank one's trust in the face of these figures of authority.

thwap said...

Stan,

Ask the cops what they think of protesters and see if you're still whining about how unfair it is to worry about GROUPS of individuals who seem to protect their own members from consequences for their child molesting, brutality, and lawlessness.