Sunday, April 04, 2010

What should Pope Benedict XVI do?

Interesting article below

What should Pope Benedict XVI do?

By Ajit Singh Sahota, Citizen SpecialApril 3, 2010

This matter relates to one religion, and I wonder if it was a fair question to ask the other religious communities! However, no religion or institution is immune to such tragedies and betrayal on a large scale. The issue of victimization of people in any place of worship or by a religious authority figure is an important one, and one that all communities face, not just the Roman Catholic Church.

Public media reports suggest that the abuse was widespread in the Catholic Church, and that proper, timely action may not have taken place. At this juncture, Pope Benedict XVI must be working on what he should do; all we can say is what any institution should do in face of such allegations.

Sikhs are taught to respect all religions equally. Sikh Gurus and their followers suffered brutal oppression with sacrifices and extreme physical tortures, for "freedom of religion." Sikh religion is a very young religion as compared to others. In India five centuries ago, the masses were oppressed by the rulers and the priestly classes of the dominant religions at that time.

There are many verses in Sikh Scriptures identifying that "we all are fallible, Guru Creator Alone is infallible." Guru Nanak said, "I am not good and no one is bad, Wondrous Lord alone is the Saviour of mortals." It is the same One Lord that resides in all of us. Errors in judgment and crimes committed by some clergy must be addressed according to the laws of various jurisdictions.

It should be an opportune time for members of clergy at all levels of religious institutions worldwide to acknowledge the need for the healing of victims of abuse.

The Catholic Church would be best served by leading efforts to facilitate victims' healing and to prevent further abuse. Some examples could be: providing victims access to funds for counselling and other healing therapies; establishing accountable protocols and positions that may receive anonymous reports of abuse by clergy and are mandated to investigate and force appropriate action. This should be seen as an invaluable opportunity for religious institution reform.

In the Sikh religion, the Guru eliminated the need for clergy altogether, by ordering Sikhs to receive all instruction directly from the Shabad Guru (Word ) in Sikh Scriptures, for a direct communion with the Supreme Power rather than through any intermediaries such as priests.

The abode of God is in all beings and everywhere.

Ajit Singh Sahota is a retired biologist from Agriculture Canada and a founding member of the Sikh National Archives of Canada; he was president of the World Sikh Organization of Canada from 2001 to 2005.

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