For crimes that are so heinous, that Baha'u'llah wrote "We shrink, for very shame, from treating of the subject..." (though note that by His covering the topic, it was clear He did not in the slightest oppose firmly confronting it (He did so clearly by these words), but rather that it was regrettable it was even necessary to do so), and even more painful to even read about in yet another dose in the news (e.g., http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090913/ap_ ... s_backyard ), one really has to wonder whether the righteous and ever-loyal followers of Peter (or other denominations) might not finally, even as they retain belief in Christ and the primacy of Peter, come to question:
1) Whether the doctrine of celibacy for the priesthood was not a fallible, man-made invention outside of any intention of Christ?
2) Whether Christ's own celibacy was not due to His continued persecution and short ministry?
3) Whether God's love evident in bringing Christ would deny humanity renewal for so long and whether God could really be actually endorsing such a system which invites such abuse?
As I recall Baha'u'llah stating (sorry, can't find a quote now), a general would not be blamed for an action of one of his soldiers. A Faith having such problems in its community is not any automatic indicator of failure at the top. Indeed, shamefully some Baha'i communities have not been immune from the actions of some sick individuals. And one should be able to understand, while not condone, how mere human beings, even serving in positions of authority, might be tempted, in a deeply misguided attempt at love for their Faith, to attempt to remedy yet conceal such heinous actions to the outside world (though there is absolutely no ambiguity in the strong approach Baha'is in institutions and families are to take in response to abuse not only internally but also in reporting abuse to civil institutions: see http://bahai-library.com/file.php?file= ... c_violence (not sure if this is the latest version of the document though)). However, it is another matter entirely, I would say, to offer unquestioning loyalty to a system itself which, supposedly divine and authoritative, not only finds itself tested with such evil in its midst, but also endorses a practice (celibacy) which, in its firm suppression of the natural way of life for all healthy, sane, and socially-minded individuals, conduces to heightening rather than tempering impure desires...
As Baha'u'llah wrote:
Enter ye into wedlock, that after you someone may fill your place. We have forbidden you perfidious acts, and not that which will demonstrate fidelity.
(Baha'u'llah, cited in Promised Day Is Come, par. 256)
or for another translation of this passage in a different work:
Enter ye into wedlock, that after you another may arise in your stead. We, verily, have forbidden you lechery, and not that which is conducive to fidelity.
(Baha'u'llah, cited in Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 49)
For the record, Baha'is actually do believe in the Primacy of Peter--there is an undeniable sign of God in the uniting of the believers around a common focal point as Christ intended with appointing Peter. But there is nothing in the Bible to suggest that Christ was in any way granting infallibility to the institution He alluded to in referring to the "rock" (Peter) on which He would build His church, nor that He was unequivocally endorsing eternal perpetuity to the divine nature of the institution in this world. Will not good Catholics listen to the claim of Baha'u'llah to be the Second Coming? Will they not consider the clear rejection of the sins of many clergy and even popes as being a righteous call from God Himself? Will they not consider His loving invitation to the numerous good clergy to come out from their cloisters and monasteries to marry and benefit society?
Such crimes are in themselves so utterly sad. But participating in a system which only perpetuates them, encouraging idealistic individuals as many would-be priests are to become trapped in such a self-denying (and apparently often corrupt) system by promoting the idea that it is God's noble will for souls to join and perpetuate such a system, and perhaps most of all, for subjecting victims of such terrible abuse to the further confusion that God is somehow condoning the cover-up or worse still, the denial of such cruelty, and yet more so, a system that conduces to abuse, is the height of tragedy.
Some might be tempted to state such an argument as I am making here, notwithstanding the admission made above (and in Baha'i statements seeking to confront the issue) of issues affecting every religious community including our own, is religious opportunism. Yet can a person who believes in their religion and its ideals which are consonant with human nature, and who witnesses such sad events, stand by and fail to offer at the very least persuasive arguments made in their own Writings which on the one hand, embraces the beliefs to which such individuals rightly cling (e.g., a belief in God, Christ, and Peter as His Apostle) but which does reject the man-made dogmas and outworn institutions which continue to oppress, directly or indirectly, those same individuals (and to such a high degree no less) and avoid presenting them with a Divine and humane alternative?