Human frailty

The claims and revelations of alleged abuse of power by some clerics and members of the judiciary, as well as the many reports of the sexual adventures of some senior clerics, are a cause of sadness and disappointment. But they are also tragic, because they uncover and throw to the wolves of public ridicule human beings who succumbed to human temptation. This does not mean that their crimes are excusable – one needs only remember the thousands of clerics and judicial officials who labor under the same conditions and face the same temptations without giving in to them. Judges and prosecutors – and many clerics – wield such power and exert such influence that they can affect the fates of others. The unorthodox contact between some clerics and members of the judiciary (both of whose institutions are, by nature, not the most transparent) can breed monsters. This echoes the classic «entanglement» of political power and business interests that has plagued Greece for years. The only good thing is that the allegations of bribery in the judiciary have given judicial authorities the opportunity to show that they will be merciless in tracking down wrongdoers, in the understanding that citizens’ confidence in the institution must not be shaken. Although bribery and corruption are the more serious crimes, the public has been spellbound by the stories (some of which are backed up by very suspicious audio tapes) of some bishops’ sexual escapades. As the bishops are representatives of a purportedly higher institutional and moral order, it is inescapable that their weaknesses will fascinate the rest of us – notwithstanding the fact that they pale before the dreadful scandals that have plagued other churches. The most serious question that arises is whether the fathers of the Church were wise to decide that senior clerics had to be celibate.

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