If this policy means what it says then just on suspicion that abuse may be taking place (suspicion being a subjective state that is very easy to come by) you’ve got to report the priest or religious to the police. No provision is made (at least in this section) for distinguishing between suspicions that are credible or well-founded and those that aren’t. Similarly, no provision is made for doing a preliminary investigation. Instead, Church workers are to make the mandatory report “without delay.”
(29) A clergy member, which includes a minister, priest, rabbi, accredited Christian Science practitioner, or other similar functionary of a religious organization, or an individual reasonably believed to be so by the person consulting him or her, except to the extent the clergy member:
(A) Has acquired knowledge of suspected child maltreatment through
communications required to be kept confidential pursuant to the religious discipline of
the relevant denomination or faith; or
One thing that I have always been proud of about MetaFilter is our ability to attract knowledgeable people on just about any subject, and we are large enough to probably have at least one church lawyer or at least a few priests, but these threads have scared away anyone who is even Catholic
Yeah, and he's the kind of opinion you've totally left out of your one sided post.
THE sacrament of Confession will not be exempt from rules on mandatory reporting of child abuse, Children’s Minister Frances Fitzgerald has vehemently insisted.
At one point, calling the Roman Catholic Church "an institution for the enabling and protection of child molesters" seemed like hyperbole. Granted, it was funny hyperbole in the sense that it seemed based in a foundation of truth, but over the top.
It's not hyperbole. It's not over the top.
"Applying it to the RCC, we note that the more the church is insinuated into the fabric of a society, the greater the abuse. Which indicates that such abuse is an integral part of the organization.
I would start with applying RICO statutes to the RCC, and removing them from any legally privileged position (like the church being able to deal with their priests) - these are criminals, and must be prosecuted as such, it is a criminal enterprise and must be treated as such - a conspiracy to subvert the law, going on for decades and decades. Enough.
The charge is: The Roman Catholic Church is the biggest and oldest pedophile ring in the world. [Your emphasis.] That is not bigotry - that is the truth.
The Roman Catholic Church must be shut down.
"Funny, I don't recall anyone attacking ordinary lay Catholics, or even all priests - I certainly wouldn't. What I did attack, and am unapologetic about, is the RCC as a hierarchical organization - top down power structure. I have a problem with the way the "top" is working and the way power is structured within the RCC, because while I have no doubt that there are plenty of good honest decent and even heroic priests, the organization they work for has been responsible for the biggest organized child rape anywhere in the world, going on for decades (and no doubt centuries).
Truth is an adequate defense against charges of slander. And truth is an adequate defense against charges of bigotry. If the shoe fits, wear it.
The charge is: The Roman Catholic Church is the biggest and oldest pedophile ring in the world. That is not bigotry - that is the truth.
I have a problem with the way the "top" is working and the way power is structured within the RCC, because while I have no doubt that there are plenty of good honest decent and even heroic priests, the organization they work for has been responsible for the biggest organized child rape anywhere in the world, going on for decades (and no doubt centuries).
1) We’re human, and the church exists because of all that “human” implies, not the least of which is the reality of sin; 2) The church is not an organization, but a community, which is an entirely different thing and 3) I don’t belong to it; it belongs to me. The more Catholics there are who realize and live those realities, the fewer unengaged Catholics there would be — all of which points to perhaps the real issue behind the concern about “fewer Catholics.”
The Council of Elvira [306 AD] was not the only source of early legislative attempts to curb the sexual misdeeds of the clergy. Other gatherings of bishops throughout the Christian world, which encompassed what are now Western Europe, Northern Africa, the Middle East and the British Isles, passed laws attempting to stamp out clerical concubinage, clerical fornication and homosexual activity.
. . .
The Penitentials provide a vivid glimpse into the darker side of Christian life at the time. Though it is not known exactly how many such books were written, the more prominent ones have been preserved, studied and translated. Several of these refer to sexual crimes committed by clerics against young boys and girls. The Penitential of Bede (England, 8th century) advises that clerics who commit sodomy with young boys be given increasingly severe penances commensurate with their rank, the higher ranking (bishops) receiving harsher penalties. The regularity with which mention is made of clergy sex crimes shows that the problem was not isolated, was known in the community and was treated more severely than similar acts committed by lay men. The Penitential Books were in use from the mid 6th century to the mid 12th century.
The most dramatic and explicit condemnation of forbidden clergy sexual activity was the Book of Gomorrah of St. Peter Damian, completed in 1051. The author had been a Benedictine monk and was appointed archbishop and later cardinal by the reigning pope. Peter Damian was also a dedicated Church reformer who lived in a society wherein clerical decadence was not only widespread and publicly known, but generally accepted as the norm. His work, the circumstances that prompted it and the reaction of the reigning pope (Leo IX) are a prophetic reflection of the contemporary situation. He begins by singling out superiors who, prompted by excessive and misplaced piety, fail to exclude sodomites (chap. 2). He asserts that those given to “unclean acts” not be ordained or, if they are already ordained, be dismissed from Holy Orders (chap. 3). He holds special contempt for those who defile men or boys who come to them for confession (chap. 6). Likewise he condemns clerics who administer the sacrament of penance (confession) to their victims (chap. 7). The author also provides a refutation of the canonical sources used by offending clerics to justify their proclivities (chap. 11, 12). He also provides chapters which assess the damage done to the church by offending clerics (chap. 19, 20, 21). His final chapter is an appeal to the reigning pope (Leo IX) to take action.
The pope’s response, included in the cited edition, is an example of inaction similar to that of contemporary church leaders. Pope Leo praised Peter Damian and verified the truth of his findings and recommendations. Yet he considerably softened the reformer’s urging that decisive action be taken to root offenders from the ranks of the clergy. The pope decided to exclude only those who had offended repeatedly and over a long period of time. Although Peter Damian had paid significant attention to the impact of the offending clerics on their victims, the Pope made no mention of this but focused only on the sinfulness of the clerics and their need to repent.
The pope himself has said repeatedly, to that much more outrage, that he doesn't take the media criticism of the church seriously. Looking at the content, focus, and veracity of the media criticism I can understand why. ...
Besides, if more than half of the assertions about the church in this thread are not even factual statements, why should they be taken seriously by anyone much less catholics, you know, experts on the catholic church?
many enablers of bad actors within the church.
failing to report crimes, and shuffling around rapists to avoid those criminals being prosecuted by real (ie: non-hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church) authorities.
By 1566, in the first year of his pontificate, Pope Pius V (1566-72) recognized a need to publicly attack clerical sodomy. The constitution Romani Pontifices promulgated legislation against a variety of actions and practices, including the ‘crime against nature.” This short canon condemned all who committed this crime and prescribed that they be handed over to secular authorities for punishment. Clerics however were to be first degraded, presumably by an ecclesiastical court, and then handed over to secular authorities.
The practice of shuffling sexually tainted teachers and administrators is a dirty secret and a national disgrace. Yet dozens of school districts engage in the practice. Hundreds of teachers accused of or that are guilty of sexual abuse of students have skipped away scot free or with minimal disciplinary action. This practice has left countless student victims and their parents in emotional rage and turmoil. The practice recently bit the Los Angeles Unified School District hard when Steven Rooney an administrator was charged with the sexual molestation of a 13 year old middle school student.
The Rooney case was a textbook example of the all too prevalent wink and nod of many school districts toward sexual abuse. Rooney was under investigation for a prior suspected sexual offense against a teen student, yet was shuffled around to several South Los Angeles inner city schools. Finally he was dumped at Markham Middle School in the heart of Los Angeles's Watts district. There was no public disclosure that Rooney might be a problem. Rooney's arrest brought howls of rage and protest from dozens of parents. Embarrassed school officials scrambled fast and offered profuse apologies, promised to set up a task force and conduct a rigorous investigation.
The problem though is that the Rooney case may be just the tip of the iceberg. The great likelihood is that there are other teachers and administrators that have committed acts of sexual abuse within the LAUSD and parents, students, and even teachers and administrators may be totally in the dark about them. And it�s not just the Los Angeles school district.
Education researchers estimate that fifteen percent of the nation's 50 million school children could be the victims of sexual abuse. The sexual abuse involves not just inappropriate physical contact between teachers and students but involve sending emails, text messages, and digital photos, as well as My Space postings, seductive notes, and even anonymous gifts. A majority of the cases go unreported out of fear, shame, embarrassment, and reluctance on the part of some teachers and administrators to blow the whistle on their co-workers. Some districts dread the prospect of costly liability suits and settlements, and the adverse publicity from sexual abuse cases.
Even when abuse is documented or strongly suspected, the discipline is often spotty, inconsistent and arbitrary. From 2001 to 2005, states suspended or revoked the licenses of more than 2500 teachers and administrators guilty of sexual misconduct. A handful such as Rooney was jailed. In far too many other cases, the offending teachers and administrators were transferred within the district, or got jobs with other school districts, and were given glowing recommendations. There was no known public disclosure in most of these cases. There is no federal law that bars teachers accused of sexual malfeasance from moving from one school district to another.
The school districts where the sexually suspect teachers resurface did not know that they were ticking sexual time bombs.
No child abuser will go to a priest in confession knowing the priest is required to inform the police. But cutting off the avenue of confession to a child abuser makes it less likely that he will talk to someone who can persuade him to take the next step.
Obviously one instance of abuse is one too many, but there has been a marked decrease since the height of the scandal. Last year, there were seven credible cases of sexual abuse against U.S. Catholic clergy. Every archdiocese in the country now has comprehensive abuse prevention programs, as seen here or here or here or here.
"Others stressed that the Holy See's response, which has been promised by the end of August, would seek to heal the breach. But the signs this week were that it would also include a vigorous defence of the Vatican's position.
In Dublin gay and secular activists said Kenny's comments reflected a new Ireland, where attitudes to the church and its influence on daily life have quietly undergone a dramatic shift over the past decade.
Until 1993 homosexuality was still illegal but, according to McGrattan, conditions for gay people have dramatically improved over the past 10 years.
"There has been a move across the board even in schools – of which more than 90% are controlled by the Catholic church – where talk about being gay is no longer banned or simply ignored. Gay youth groups are even going into schools to talk about homophobic bullying. This is real progress."
That tolerance is measured in a series of current opinion polls that show the openly gay Irish senator David Norris as the people's favourite to become Ireland's next president when the country elects a new head of state in the autumn."
While conceding the abuse of children was wrong, he [Bishop of Ballarat Peter Connors] said that in the past it had not always been clear to everyone what was appropriate and inappropriate behaviour.
"In the past a lot of ignorance was there on the part of lots of people. Parents didn't understand, sometimes bishops didn't understand. We have no excuse now."
As to whether there was an excuse when Ridsdale and Best were abusing boys, Bishop Connors said he did not know.
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