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'Who can we trust?'

Over dinner last week, friends and I were talking about the swirl of controversy around the Catholic Church and the recent revelations of decades of abuse of children by priests in Germany, Ireland and the United States. Sadly, we've become accustomed to such news. What had us saying "OMG!" was how the latest stories of inaction could be laid at the feet of Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.

That's when Karen Finney, a Democratic strategist, a Catholic and a dear friend, asked with a sincere air of exasperation, "Who can we trust?" It was a good question. As Liz Sidoti of the Associated Press wrote last week, there is a lack of faith in institutions, and that has people royally ticked.

The institutions that we have relied on for security, stability or comfort have failed us. Wall Street collapsed and took jobs and savings with it. Washington is perpetually irresponsible and gridlocked, health care notwithstanding. Toyota, revered for the design and safety of its cars, admitted putting growth over maintaining high standards. And marriage, an institution where love and happiness are battered daily, once again got clobbered. Tiger Woods's carefully cultivated image of perfection was obliterated. He crashed his SUV in the early morning hours after Thanksgiving and, like a clown car, a slew of mistresses flew out. Even America's sweetheart and Oscar winner Sandra Bullock wasn't safe from heartache.

All of this has led to a crisis of trust that is playing itself out in worrisome ways. Extreme elements of the Tea Party question the legitimacy of the president and his presidency. Hate groups, militias and others with an anti-government bent are lashing out.

People's faith in institutions must be renewed. Their trust in them and their leaders must be restored. Perhaps I'm being overly pessimistic, but the way things are right now, I'm not sure how that will happen. Until it does, sit back and watch the rage continue to roil.

By Jonathan Capehart  | March 30, 2010; 9:36 AM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Excellent question and observation.

The problem lies in the fact that "we" have placed our trust in humankind or in the RC Church - man. Humans can be corrupted, so our trust must be place on a much higher level than humankind.

However one celebrates their Creator or Higher Power, if they have one at all, that is where trust lies.
Peace be with you. Keep writing the truth.
Fr. John

Posted by: Franciscans | March 30, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

You are not overly pessimistic. The institutions are run by people who have proven themselves not worthy of trust. The rc shuffles pedophiles from place to place, school administraters pass bad teachers from district to district, congressmen sell their votes to corporations and sometimes even to their own party. Maybe we have set our expectations too high for the leaders and set the bar to an unattainable height. The twenty four hour news cycle shows us everything that happens. Biased commentators keep the pot stirred up. Internet blogs keep hate alive. Our rose colored glasses have been ripped from our face and we see, in slo-mo and stop action images,the sausage being made.

The restoration of trust cannot begin until the institutions and their leaders prove our trust is safe with them. Keep the bar high, we deserve better than what we are getting.

David C

Posted by: txn1836 | March 31, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

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