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Catholic Church child sex abuse scandal reaches the top
March 13, 2010 8:19 AM   Subscribe

The Pope was drawn directly into the Roman Catholic sex abuse scandal last night as news emerged of his part in a decision to send a paedophile priest for therapy. The cleric went on to reoffend and was convicted of child abuse but continues to work as a priest in Upper Bavaria.

Archbishop Ratzinger's former deputy, Gerhard Gruber, has taken responsibility for initially allowing [the unidentified priest] to remain within the Church, saying this had been "a bad mistake".

Speaking to the Associated Press news agency, he added that there had been about 1,000 priests in the diocese at the time and that the archbishop "could not deal with everything".
posted by Joe Beese (302 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
"We find it extraordinarily hard to believe that Ratzinger didn't reassign the predator or know about the reassignment," said Barbara Blaine, president and founder of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

The pope, meanwhile, continues to be under fire for the Vatican letter he sent to all bishops nine years ago advising them that cases of sexual abuse of minors must be forwarded to his then-office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and that the cases were to be subject to pontifical secret.

posted by Joe Beese at 8:25 AM on March 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Look, I have absolutely no desire to defend the pope, but I don't understand why the headline claims the pope "knew" the priest was a pedophile, which I take to mean actual personal knowledge. It seems like the church is partly defending Ratzinger by saying the archdiocese was so big he didn't have personal knowledge. Now maybe he should have, but I didn't see the basis for the claim. Which was surprising, I thought, given UK libel laws.
posted by chinston at 8:27 AM on March 13, 2010


chinston: "I don't understand why the headline claims the pope "knew" the priest was a pedophile, which I take to mean actual personal knowledge... I didn't see the basis for the claim."

The article says:

The archdiocese confirmed that the Pope, who was then a cardinal, had approved a decision to accommodate the priest in a rectory while the therapy took place.

I don't see how you can approve a decision concerning the arrangements of someone's treatment for pedophilia and still claim ignorance that they are a pedophile.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:31 AM on March 13, 2010 [20 favorites]


This Just In: The Pope is actually a Politician.
posted by Malice at 8:32 AM on March 13, 2010 [6 favorites]


This Just In: The Pope is actually a Politician.

It turns out that with modern instrumentation, it's now possible to tell the difference between a reason and an excuse.
posted by mhoye at 8:37 AM on March 13, 2010 [14 favorites]


a decision to accommodate the priest in a rectory while the therapy took place.

So... they put him in therapy and gave him a place to sleep. Sounds like the christian thing to do. Meanwhile justice continued its course and he was subsequently convicted. I'm failing to see what the big scandal is.
posted by lucia__is__dada at 8:39 AM on March 13, 2010


30 years ago.
posted by smackfu at 8:39 AM on March 13, 2010


lucia__is__dada: "I'm failing to see what the big scandal is."

Maybe it was this part.

... continues to work as a priest in Upper Bavaria.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:42 AM on March 13, 2010 [10 favorites]


I'm failing to see what the big scandal is.

Maybe it's the fact that this priest abused his position of authority to molest a child and was not removed from that position of authority. I can maybe, possibly, see how that would be considered problematic by certain people.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:42 AM on March 13, 2010 [44 favorites]


Big Joe Knew.
posted by the cuban at 8:44 AM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


@Pope Guilty

Eponysterical!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:45 AM on March 13, 2010 [12 favorites]


Points I found interesting from today's New York Times article:
"A widening child sexual abuse inquiry in Europe has landed at the doorstep of Pope Benedict XVI, as a senior church official acknowledged Friday that a German archdiocese made 'serious mistakes' in handling an abuse case while the pope served as its archbishop.

The archdiocese said that a priest accused of molesting boys was given therapy in 1980 and later allowed to resume pastoral duties, before committing further abuses and being prosecuted. Pope Benedict, who at the time headed the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, approved the priest’s transfer for therapy.

....The expanding abuse inquiry had come ever closer to Benedict as new accusations in Germany surfaced almost daily since the first reports in January. On Friday the pope met with the chief bishop of Germany, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, the head of the German Bishops Conference, to discuss the church investigations and media reports.

Problems in the German church have already come close to the pope, whose brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, 86, directed a choir connected to a boarding school where two former students have come forward with abuse claims. In an interview this week, Monsignor Ratzinger, who directed the choir from 1964 to 1994, said the accusations dated from before his tenure. He also apologized for slapping students.

....Experts said the scandals could undermine Benedict’s moral authority, especially because they cut particularly close to the pope himself. As head of the Vatican’s main doctrinal arm, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he led Vatican investigations into abuse for four years before assuming the papacy in 2005.

'What is at stake, and at great risk, is Benedict’s central project for the ‘re-Christianization’ of Christendom, his desire to have Europe return to its Christian roots,' said David Gibson, the author of a biography of Benedict and a religion commentator for Politicsdaily.com. 'But if the root itself is seen as rotten, then his influence will be badly compromised.'

When a sex abuse scandal broke in Boston church in 2002, Pope Benedict — then Cardinal Ratzinger — was among the Vatican officials who made statements that minimized the problem and accused the news media of blowing it out of proportion.

....The former vicar general took full responsibility for the decision to reinstate the priest to pastoral work. 'I deeply regret that this decision resulted in offenses against youths and apologize to all who were harmed by it,' he said, according to a statement posted on the archdiocese’s Web site.

There was immediate skepticism that Benedict, as archbishop, would not have known of the details of the case.

The Rev. Thomas P. Doyle, who once worked at the Vatican Embassy in Washington and became an early and well-known whistle-blower on sexual abuse in the church, said the vicar general’s claim was not credible.

'Nonsense,' said Father Doyle, who has served as an expert witness in sexual abuse lawsuits. 'Pope Benedict is a micromanager. He’s the old style. Anything like that would necessarily have been brought to his attention. Tell the vicar general to find a better line. What he’s trying to do, obviously, is protect the pope.'

It is unclear how many cases have come to light. At the news conference, the archbishop said that the Bishops Conference had sent a questionnaire to dioceses to determine which kinds of abuse cases emerged, not how many, and was awaiting a response."
/emphasis obviously added
posted by ericb at 8:46 AM on March 13, 2010 [8 favorites]


Stop it. You are all wrong. The pope is infallible, therefore you are all wrong!. Try to get out of this logic. You can't because you are wrong. And if you think you are right you have to have faith that you are wrong.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:52 AM on March 13, 2010 [14 favorites]


Meanwhile justice continued its course and he was subsequently convicted.

I think you're misreading the article. The way I read it, the RCC handles the initial allegations in 1981 internally, sent the guy to therapy, and the reassigned him to another parish where he reoffended. He was convicted by civil authorities for this second set of offenses in 1986.

This is consistent with the RCC's pattern of conspiratorial behavior in other countries, including the United States and Ireland. They hid the abuse, reassigned the abusers, and allowed the cycle to repeat itself. This was apparently policy, but we'll never know for sure, since prosecutors are apparently terrified of this organization despite clear and unambiguous evidence of a widespread conspiracy to obstruct justice and sexually assault children.
posted by mr_roboto at 8:53 AM on March 13, 2010 [11 favorites]


I'm failing to see what the big scandal is.

As in the Boston diocese pedophile scandal, claims trickled out slowly then eventually resulted in a deluge. And they continue to this day.

Many in the Catholic hierachy at first dismissed the charges and claimed the media was blowing everything out of proportion. As we know now, they weren't. There was/ a systemic problem in which the chirch knew of the abuse, reassigned offending priests for decades and kept quiet about their knowledge of criminal behavior. The lawsuits and settlements has decimated the diocese's coffers, not to mention the lives and innocence of numerous children and their families.
To many observers, the situation in Europe looked unsettlingly similar to that in the United States a decade ago, when a trickle of isolated abuse cases steadily grew into a widespread phenomenon that upended — and financially strained — many American dioceses.

But in Europe, unlike in common-law countries like the United States, Canada and Australia, defendants cannot sue the church for negligence.

'When this first started to break in the United States in the mid-to-late ’80s and our bishops went to Rome for help in dealing with it, they were basically told, "This is an American problem,"' said Nicholas Cafardi, a canon law expert and emeritus dean of the Duquesne University School of Law.

'But human nature being human nature, it wasn’t logical to say this only exists in the common-law countries,' Mr. Cafardi added. 'Our legal system brought it to light more quickly. In fact it’s not an American or common-law problem, it’s a human problem.'"*
This is a BIG SCANDAL!
posted by ericb at 9:00 AM on March 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Dear Catholic Church,

I know the world is supposed to be full of suffering and sin; you don't need to demonstrate for the children.

Thanks!
posted by yeloson at 9:01 AM on March 13, 2010 [5 favorites]




NPR's comprehensive coverage: The Catholic Church and Sex Abuse.
posted by ericb at 9:03 AM on March 13, 2010


...prosecutors are apparently terrified of this organization despite clear and unambiguous evidence of a widespread conspiracy to obstruct justice and sexually assault children.

Here in Massachusetts prosecutors have no fear of the RCC.
posted by ericb at 9:07 AM on March 13, 2010


Whoa whoa whoa. I hope no one is saying that this was WRONG. The Pope is infallible, people. It's in the Bible.
posted by DU at 9:14 AM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Gosh the Catholic Church in a cover up. Here's another one.
Close it. Sell the properties. This organization is totally corrupt.
posted by adamvasco at 9:18 AM on March 13, 2010


Is anyone surprised?

This Just In: The Pope is actually a Politician.

And what does it say about the Vatican that protecting secret networks of pedophiles is a great way to get ahead?
posted by delmoi at 9:21 AM on March 13, 2010 [6 favorites]


So, I've been wondering this for years: Before these priests who assaulted kids became priests, were they relatively normal? Did they feel normal desires for sex and just went crazy when they couldn't handle being celibate anymore and ended up assaulting children because they were the easiest targets? Or were the priests pedophiles, who became celibate because they weren't sure how to deal with their issues, with tragic results?

I'm not surprised about the Pope's involvement in this, honestly. But I can't figure out how to stop this abuse short of an entire reworking of the system, so that celibacy wasn't a requirement anymore.
posted by pecknpah at 9:22 AM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Nazi Pope Protects Child Rapists" is the name of my new band.
posted by ryoshu at 9:24 AM on March 13, 2010 [20 favorites]


This is what happens when conservatism guides organizational behaviour, rather than morality, ethics, or responsibility.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:30 AM on March 13, 2010 [18 favorites]


Or empathy
posted by KokuRyu at 9:31 AM on March 13, 2010 [6 favorites]


Before these priests who assaulted kids became priests, were they relatively normal? Did they feel normal desires for sex and just went crazy when they couldn't handle being celibate anymore and ended up assaulting children because they were the easiest targets? Or were the priests pedophiles, who became celibate because they weren't sure how to deal with their issues, with tragic results?

Some variation on the second one. Elective celibacy does not make people go crazy or cause them to start being sexually attracted to children.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:33 AM on March 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Is "accommodate the priest in a rectory" a euphemism?
posted by doctor_negative at 9:33 AM on March 13, 2010 [7 favorites]


Before these priests who assaulted kids became priests, were they relatively normal?

It's impossible to say - most of the priests we're talking about went into the seminary when they were teenaged kids themselves so there was no real "before" adult sexuality.
posted by moxiedoll at 9:39 AM on March 13, 2010


So, I've been wondering this for years: Before these priests who assaulted kids became priests, were they relatively normal? Did they feel normal desires for sex and just went crazy when they couldn't handle being celibate anymore and ended up assaulting children because they were the easiest targets? Or were the priests pedophiles, who became celibate because they weren't sure how to deal with their issues, with tragic results?

The answer is probably yes, and yes. And probably also that a percentage of them are homosexuals who joined the church in order to control their shameful desires, and then ended up acting out sexually with powerless persons under their jurisdiction knowing that the secret was likely to be kept. And and and.

Sexual shame coupled with religiously-dictated celibacy coupled with positions of secrecy and power is a recipe for disaster. It leads to those with different (or deviant, or even criminal) impulses to seek purity by denial, creates deep frustration of a basic human impulse in all who participate, and provides a cloak of invisibility for all the abuse.

It's a bad practice, and should probably be ended. Let the clergy marry, solve a lot of the problem.
posted by hippybear at 9:41 AM on March 13, 2010 [6 favorites]


But in Europe, unlike in common-law countries like the United States, Canada and Australia, defendants cannot sue the church for negligence.

So the UK (where the common law originated) is no longer part of Europe?

Lazy reporting, or wilful disregard for the facts?
posted by djgh at 9:43 AM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Pope was drawn directly into the Roman Catholic sex abuse scandal last night as news emerged of his part in a decision to send a paedophile priest for therapy.

Good. Let's hope the news gets worse for him.
posted by tzikeh at 9:43 AM on March 13, 2010


One more for the pile: Raymond Lahey, bishop of my parents' church in Nova Scotia. Found in possession of child porn, just weeks after brokering the multimillion-dollar settlement paid out to victims of systemic sexual abuse in the diocese.

I had an uncle I never met, one of my mother's brothers, who drank himself to death. Altar boy at that church, during the period covered by Lahey's buyout.

These things aren't scandals. They're organized crime.
posted by gompa at 9:49 AM on March 13, 2010 [25 favorites]


.

for gompa's uncle and for everyone else who's been crushed by abuse from these shitbags.

Last week I finally wrote a letter to my Archbishop to declare my formal defection from the Church. It's mostly because I've been an atheist for a long time and have been feeling like a hypocrite for merely being a "lapsed" Catholic instead of one who's done the paperwork to become a defector. But the motivating factor was sex abuse. I don't want to be a member of any organization whose hierarchy protects abusers; I feel culpable and sick thinking about it.

(Here is a site that generates a handy defection form and here is a memo from the Vatican about what constitutes an act of defection.)
posted by bewilderbeast at 10:05 AM on March 13, 2010 [24 favorites]


damn dude, when is there every gonna be a sinless pope? why don't they just accept the fact that they're human and abstaining from sex is just not going to happen.
posted by crystalsparks at 10:08 AM on March 13, 2010


One would almost begin to believe that a majority of priests are pedophiles, a significant number of those active abusers of children, and the Catholic hierarchy in on the criminal conspiracy.

How many more of these will it take before this 2000 year old confidence game and criminal racket is brought down? How can people be so stupid as to continue looking to these monsters for moral guidance?
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:15 AM on March 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


One likely consequence of all this will be that the Catholic Church will have an enormous recruiting problem. I mean, who in his right mind is going to declare: I want to be a Catholic priest! ... only to be met with stares of disbelief and disgust - after all, this is coming to be equivalent with declaring that you want to become a child rapist.

I am not entirely sure whether this is a good thing, though.
posted by sour cream at 10:15 AM on March 13, 2010


And probably also that a percentage of them are homosexuals who joined the church in order to control their shameful desires, and then ended up acting out sexually with powerless persons under their jurisdiction knowing that the secret was likely to be kept.

Homosexual ≠ pedophile.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:21 AM on March 13, 2010 [10 favorites]


I went to a catholic high school and one day, during a sophomore religion class, our 70-something year old religion teacher broke down into tears telling us the story about how her son was abused by a priest. What surprised me was the amount of work, even on the local level, that is done to protect scumbag pedophiles under the guise of "priests" who are accused of abusing a child. It was incredibly sad and that day is burned in my memory.

It took many years and a lot of national outrage before the priest that abused her son was eventually convicted of the crime he committed. He had gotten away with it for more than a decade, been moved around to different churches so as to not be recognizable, and only once enough people came forward across the country and scandals broke did anybody really take this seriously.

My point being, so many of these priests got free rides for years upon years, just like this one. So many innocent children were abused by people they looked up to as shining examples of godly folk. This scandal will continue to grow but it is absolutely SICKENING to see the same old tactics being used. I truly believe there are plenty of good-hearted priests and the like, so don't take this as one big smear on the religious.

This kind of stuff will not stop surfacing. This case is the same as thousands around the world because the church is given a position above the law. People don't like to admit but it is true. Governments, local and national, MUST DISCONNECT themselves from anything to do with the church before this can be effectively stopped. As long as the lines between church and state remain even slightly blurry this will continue. Guaranteed. And in ten years we'll be talking about another scandal.
posted by deacon_blues at 10:23 AM on March 13, 2010 [6 favorites]


Nobody expects the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith!!!

*prepares dish rack, cushions and comfy chair*
posted by warbaby at 10:26 AM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Homosexual ≠ pedophile.

Correct. But Homosexual + Pedophile = Catholic Priest
posted by mikelieman at 10:36 AM on March 13, 2010


'What is at stake, and at great risk, is Benedict’s central project for the ‘re-Christianization’ of Christendom, his desire to have Europe return to its Christian roots,

LOL
posted by Ironmouth at 10:36 AM on March 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's difficult to say how many broken men are attracted to the celibate RC priesthood lifestyle, and how many men are broken by the lifestyle itself. My anecdotal experience says it happens both ways. But I won't venture to guess in what proportions.

Many of the abusers were in fact prepared for the priesthood from a very young age. High school, and in some cases even earlier. Elective celibacy probably doesn't cause dysfunction. But how many young boys entered the track for priesthood as part of a truly elective process? Especially back in the day from whence most of these men came?

I was a RC seminarian in the 80s here in what has become the notorious Los Angeles Archdiocese. I started in the (now defunct) high school seminary, and spent one year at the college seminary. I couldn't tell you how many of these young men grew up to be pedophiles. I know of no actual incidences among my former peers. I can say that the institution did seem to draw a disproportionately large number of budding gay young men. And maybe a disproportionately large number of just weird young men, though this really became more apparent in the college, where seminarians were generally a little more serious about the vocation.
posted by 2N2222 at 10:37 AM on March 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


"Nazi Pope Protects Child Rapists"

Once this would have been denounced as extremist rhetoric rather than an accurate headline.

I'm very sad now, and am going to go have a hot coccoa and a hug and a lie-down now.
posted by mikelieman at 10:38 AM on March 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


30 years ago.

So what's the cut-off date? When is it OK to have enabled child rapists to keep on raping?
posted by rodgerd at 10:46 AM on March 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


The answer is probably yes, and yes. And probably also that a percentage of them are homosexuals...

Wasn't there a big MeTa yesterday about making unfounded assumptions about people's sexuality?
posted by rocket88 at 11:05 AM on March 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


One likely consequence of all this will be that the Catholic Church will have an enormous recruiting problem. I mean, who in his right mind is going to declare: I want to be a Catholic priest! ... only to be met with stares of disbelief and disgust - after all, this is coming to be equivalent with declaring that you want to become a child rapist.

I have a friend who seriously considered becoming a priest and then did not for precisely this reason.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:14 AM on March 13, 2010


It's a bad practice, and should probably be ended. Let the clergy marry, solve a lot of the problem.

Let the clergy marry same-sex partners, solve a lot more of the problem.

Let the clergy stop getting paid to talk to invisible friends and entrain others to do same, solve all of the problem.
posted by Xezlec at 11:16 AM on March 13, 2010 [10 favorites]


Regarding how this was handled, it is funny how what looks at the time like an even handed and compassionate handling of a difficult situation can become in retrospect collusion to abuse children.

You are a Cardinal and one of your priests has gotten in some trouble - did something beyond the pale. The authorities are not yet involved so you hope you can help them with therapy, give them a fresh start in a new parish, let them know that they had better not do it again etc. This all sounds somewhat reasonable, especially for an organization that is so focused on forgiveness and salvation.

Years later, someone can say that you prevented pedophiles from being prosecuted, moved them around to new parishes where they would not be recognized, and in so doing insured that more children would be abused.

I find it hard to believe that the Pope did what he did with an intention to cause or promote sexual abuse of children.

I am absolutely certain that what he did caused and enabled children to be abused.
posted by idiopath at 11:19 AM on March 13, 2010 [13 favorites]


Yeah, I was raised by Catholic parents, forced to attend a Catholic church and the priest there was a classic Catholic molester.

They knew about it for 30 years before they did something. This knowledge is embedded at all levels of the Church power structure.

The most impressive thing was that when the way he hurt children was revealed, much of the congregation stood up to "support" him. My dad was one of the few who said that if they allowed him to stay in his post, our family would not attend church any longer.

The way those people supported a child molester as leader demonstrated that in some way, it doesn't matter how much light we bring to bear on the transgressions of the church. It is deeply dissatisfying but nonetheless evident that some people will mentally and spiritually sidestep these issues without addressing the real problems.
posted by fake at 11:27 AM on March 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Pedophiles should all be prosecuted in the legal system regardless of their place in society. Leaving it to the church would be wrong even if they were doing a good job with this problem. The church officials who cover this up should be prosecuted too.
posted by Daddy-O at 11:27 AM on March 13, 2010


Remember when we all made fun of Sinead O'Connor for tearing up a photo of the Pope on SNL in protest of the abuse of children by the Catholic Church?

Huh. Turns out she was right.
posted by Legomancer at 11:30 AM on March 13, 2010 [31 favorites]


I dated a girl from Ireland back in the mid-90s (hello girls from Ireland!) and I remember her saying that The The's "Mind Bomb" was the equivalent of samizdat... mocking or defying the Roman Catholic church was considered to be Very Bad.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:35 AM on March 13, 2010


idiopath: "You are a Cardinal and one of your priests has gotten in some trouble - did something beyond the pale. The authorities are not yet involved so you hope you can help them with therapy, give them a fresh start in a new parish, let them know that they had better not do it again etc. This all sounds somewhat reasonable, especially for an organization that is so focused on forgiveness and salvation."

C.S. Lewis disagrees:

Does loving your enemy mean not punishing him? No, for loving myself does not mean that I ought not to subject myself to punishment - even to death. If you had committed a murder, the right Christian thing to do would be to give yourself up to the police and be hanged.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:39 AM on March 13, 2010 [5 favorites]


Homosexual ≠ pedophile.

Nope. But it can't be healthy for a closeted, self-loathing gay man to never be allowed to develop any sort of sexual identity for himself. It wouldn't be surprising if a lot of them are more or less locked into their own adolescent sexuality, which might explain a preference for boys instead of men.
posted by EarBucket at 11:39 AM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I find it hard to believe that the Pope did what he did with an intention to cause or promote sexual abuse of children.

Yeah, the bit about enabling further sexual abuse of children happened by accident. Just a side effect of the cover-up to avoid the proper legal action. You know, out of mercy.

I understand what you're saying: no doubt some of the higher ups in the Catholic Church were complicit in child sexual abuse by accident, out of well intentioned efforts to try to help their own. I'll even stipulate that Pope Benedict is not himself a pedophile and abhors pedophilia. (Although at this point, you have to wonder). That doesn't fucking matter, because the kids still get raped. By people he knew were child rapists, and enabled to continue raping children. The entire organization is corrupt and now we know for sure it's corrupt up to the actual leader of that organization.

Too bad there's no RICO for organized religion.
posted by Nelson at 11:41 AM on March 13, 2010 [11 favorites]


A small portion of the 2006 documentary Deliver Us From Evil debates the root causes of the high incidence of pedophiles in the Catholic priesthood. It could be summarised as:
  • Candidates for the priesthood are likely to be brought up in sexually repressive conservative Catholic homes, in which normal sexual growth, understanding and expression is stunted.
  • These children are also likely to have been victimized by priests in their own parish as they grow up: the church very much creates, incubates and protects its own monsters.
  • Ongoing sexual repression drives some of the staunchly faithful to a life of priestly celibacy rather than leaving the church.
  • There is little sexual education inside the church itself
  • Finally, the celibate conditions of priesthood (which the documentary notes was entirely a ecumenical move by the church in the middle ages to gain and retain power: priests with children would bestow property and land to their descendants on their death, whereas celibate priests would forfeit their possessions to the church. There is next to no biblical basis for a celibate priesthood) removes any chance for priests to have normal, consensual, respectful and fulfilling adult sexual relations, essentially keeping them in an infantile sexual state.
Combine all that but with the ability to manipulate beliefs and acts from a position of respected authority, to which disobedience means the damnation of your eternal soul - which is literally their task - while being entrenched in a deeply conservative, protective, and powerful institution, and you have a recipe for systemic evil.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 11:46 AM on March 13, 2010 [38 favorites]


If this involved murder, or rape of adult women, would the "it seemed to be the compassionate thing to do at the time" or "they weren't intending to condone or promote it" argument fly? If not, then the argument boils down to: child rape is OK as long as you apologize to Jesus later, and covering it up is OK as long as they were doing the cover-up in a compassionate way.
posted by graymouser at 11:49 AM on March 13, 2010 [9 favorites]


The authorities are not yet involved so you hope you can help them with therapy, give them a fresh start in a new parish, let them know that they had better not do it again etc.

Christian forgiveness doesn't mean Christian amnesia. The lies that were told by the church bureaucracy were enormous and senseless. When you're approaching 30 years of consistent abuse, aided and abetted by the church, it's hard to say they didn't know what they were doing.

Imagine you're a parent. You have a babysitter. Babysitter lives close by, a good price, convenient. He rapes your children multiple times. The babysitter is caught by a neighbor, goes to therapy, and you let him watch your children again. He rapes your children multiple times, then he's caught again by their doctor, he goes back to therapy. You let him babysit again. He rapes your children again, multiple times, then he gets caught by their teacher. This time he don't even bother with therapy, he says he will go to therapy but never does. You don't think it's such a big deal, and you let him babysit your children again.

This happens again and again and again as you allow your children to be raped over and over for 30 years.

Could you truly and sincerely say that the parent in that scenario cares about their child's safety and well-being? Or doesn't know what they're doing to those children? Just doing the Christan thing?

No, this wasn't Christian forgiveness gone wrong. It was a systematic disregard for the human rights of Catholic children. It was treating their bodies, their minds, their emotions as irrelevant when compared to the convenience of the Catholic bureaucracy.

I highly recommend Deliver Us from Evil. It's on Netflix for instant streaming. It includes a seemingly-frank interview by a pedophile priest.
This unsettling Oscar-nominated documentary from filmmaker Amy Berg investigates the life of 30-year pedophile Father Oliver O'Grady and exposes the corruption inside the Catholic Church that allowed him to abuse countless children. Victims' stories and a disturbing interview with O'Grady offer a view into the troubled mind of the spiritual leader who moved from parish to parish gaining trust ... all the while betraying so many.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:56 AM on March 13, 2010 [14 favorites]


I attended a Catholic High School (because my parents didn't trust the L.A. Public Schools). It was commonly accepted that you avoid 'private meetings' with certain of the Jesuit brothers who taught there (two I specifically had classes with out of 15+ over 4 years). I have other personal anecdotal cases about the Catholic Church's attitude toward pedophilia (including a female incest victim being counseled by a priest that "FIRST, you have to forgive him"), enough to convince me it's not a good institution.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:57 AM on March 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Whoa whoa whoa. I hope no one is saying that this was WRONG. The Pope is infallible, people. It's in the Bible.

Do you understand what the doctrine of papal infallibility means?
posted by Slap Factory at 12:23 PM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


One likely consequence of all this will be that the Catholic Church will have an enormous recruiting problem.

I am pretty sure I've read that they actually do have a recruiting problem. I'd even wager the RCC will do nothing but continue to wane in importance in N. America and Europe. Their future is in Africa and Latin America. Gonna have a black pope in our lifetimes I 'spect.
posted by edgeways at 12:26 PM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't think the Church leadership did the right thing - but I was trying to demonstrate a way that they could be that careless without being evil. I see accusations to the effect that the leadership was evil or that the Church itself was an organization founded for the purpose of abusing children. It is easy to defend against such charges. If we say instead that the Church is so badly organized, and has such misguided internal rules that it can be held responsible for decades of sexual abuse despite never condoning the behavior, that is a much stronger accusation, and one that is much harder to defend oneself against.
posted by idiopath at 12:26 PM on March 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


I find it hard to believe that the Pope did what he did with an intention to cause or promote sexual abuse of children.

I believe he did it in order to spare the Church the embarassment. Worth it?
posted by Ironmouth at 12:27 PM on March 13, 2010


I believe he did it in order to spare the Church the embarassment. Worth it?

A lot of this is also about power, specifically about the Church claiming primary power to decide what to do with priests - this is why even the latest Catholic guidelines on child rapists don't require the Church to turn them over to secular authorities immediately.
posted by rodgerd at 12:46 PM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Surely this...
posted by ZenMasterThis at 12:49 PM on March 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


...which the documentary notes was entirely a ecumenical move by the church in the middle ages to gain and retain power: priests with children would bestow property and land to their descendants on their death, whereas celibate priests would forfeit their possessions to the church. There is next to no biblical basis for a celibate priesthood...

Haven't seen the documentary but this seems like bad history and bad theology to me. The early church is preoccupied with celibacy. And you can read I Corinthians 7 either way, I suppose but surely it offers a basis, at least, for celibacy amongst the pious. I mention this in a spirit of vigorous humanism.
posted by tigrefacile at 12:50 PM on March 13, 2010


rodgerd: exactly.

"They molested our kids, burn all the churches" will likely either get nowhere, or lead to a tragedy. But "sanction the organization until they enact guidelines that protect children instead of priests" will likely lead to fewer children being molested.
posted by idiopath at 12:50 PM on March 13, 2010


AP: Abuse claims sweep Catholic Church in Europe -- "Lawsuits alleging cover-up of pedophile priests could bankrupt dioceses."
posted by ericb at 12:52 PM on March 13, 2010


Thanks all for many links and personal accounts. Peace upon those who have suffered.
posted by eccnineten at 12:52 PM on March 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Part of this has to do with the way children fit into the power structure of the Church generally.

When you're a Catholic kid, you learn that God calls some men (only men, of course) to be priests, and that a priest is God's presence on Earth, and that a priest is the shepherd and people are the sheep. Maybe he'll stop by during recess and play a few rounds of kickball with your class, and maybe he seems normal, but you always know that he's like some religious version of Superman, except the bad guy he's after is, well, you ("can he tell I just thought a swear word in my head?!?!"). In the Mass, he transforms wine into blood and bread into flesh. He has the power to cleanse your soul. He reaches out his hand and shazam! God works through him. And people say surgeons are the ones with God complexes.

Is it a surprise that men who want power over others go into the priesthood, along with the men with good intentions who then have to deal with having such power over others? If you're sincere in your faith, and you're told you have the power to actually save a person's soul, how do you not see yourself as having absolute power? You tell other people what God thinks about stuff--how hard is it to resist talking yourself into following these impulses that have been with you for so long?

By the time you're where Ratzi was, what's changed other than you've been rewarded for your uber-Godness with more power? When one of them (these God-men) hurts a kid (one of those things you'll never have, along with sex), does something no God anyone'd follow would ever do, what do you do about this guy who's just like you, who believes everything you believe, who talks to God just like you, and yet who does this horrible thing? What does it mean that you cleanse his soul and he repents and he does it again, over and over? Does it mean he's not actually God, that God never called him, that when he performs the Mass the wine stays wine and the bread stays bread? (Oh, and there are hundreds, maybe thousands of these guys, which makes you even more nervous.) Does it mean God made a mistake? Does it mean all of this--your power, your faith, your soul--is a charade? And think of your flock--minus the ever-growing number of sheep who've stopped coming to church, tempted by all those atheists out there, pulled away by birth control and women's lib and homosexuality etc etc etc--they'll trust The Church even less. You'll be a man to them, nothing more.

Really, we're surprised it turned out the way that it did?

Oh, and BTW, if I believed in any of that shit any longer, Pope Ratzi, I'd tell you to enjoy your eternal stay in hell.
posted by sallybrown at 1:02 PM on March 13, 2010 [30 favorites]


Archbishop links priestly celibacy and Catholic sex abuse scandals.
posted by adamvasco at 1:06 PM on March 13, 2010


And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish
posted by dragonsi55 at 1:07 PM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Piece of anecdata: my husband's grandfather Ralph was born and grew up on the island of Rhodes, which is off the coast of Turkey and which was seized (initially illegally) by Mussolini for Italy after the break-up of the Ottoman Empire after WWI. One of the things the Italians brought to the island, besides much-needed infrastructure improvements, was Catholic schools.

Despite being Sephardic Jewish, my husband's grandfather went to the local Catholic-run high school. A photo of him and his male classmates and the priest, from the 1930's, hung on the wall if his apartment with other family photos from Rhodes. Upon seeing me looking at it one day, his wife (my husband's grandmother) explained what the photo was of. And then she added, "the priests, even back then, were very grabby. Couldn't keep their hands off the boys. Ralph said you had to be careful."

"An American problem", my ass.
posted by Asparagirl at 1:10 PM on March 13, 2010



Wait just a cotton picking minute here. Grown man priest sexually abuses his eight year old charge. Priests superior is informed and transfers priest to a new parish without informing civil authorities.

Grown school teacher sexually abuses eight year old student.
Teachers superior is informed of child molestation and transfers teacher to a different school without informing civil authorities.

Aren't these both the same? Methinks the school administrator
(me) would have been locked up forever. Whether discovered at the time or 30 years later. What am I missing?
posted by notreally at 1:12 PM on March 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yeah, notreally, I'm wondering that too. Also about this: the Church claiming primary power to decide what to do with priests. Does that really work in the US? Does the Catholic Church have some magic power over the US government where they are not legally obligated to report child abuse and instead can discipline it themselves as they see fit? Really? Still?
posted by Nelson at 1:17 PM on March 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


"They molested our kids, burn all the churches" will likely either get nowhere, or lead to a tragedy. But "sanction the organization until they enact guidelines that protect children instead of priests" will likely lead to fewer children being molested.

Yeah, enact some guidelines, and then give them another thirty years to abuse children. We'll check back in 2040 and see how things are going.

The tragedies you speak of have already happened and show no signs of stopping. There is absolutely no other institution in the world that could cause this sort of harm to children and then be treated with such mind-blowing ambivalence.
posted by kiltedtaco at 1:20 PM on March 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


Let the clergy marry, solve a lot of the problem.

Urm...yeah, I'm not too enthused at the idea of inflicting dudes onto women as some sort of way to keep them from raping kids. If I had any thought that a given man might rape kids under any circumstances, why would I want to marry him?

There are lots and lots of men out there who are not sleeping with anyone for whatever reason, but who don't therefore rape children. Men who do rape children have a lot more problems then "not getting any" and while I'm no fan of mandatory celibacy, I'm also not convinced that getting rid of it would eliminate this problem. Not to mention that at least in the last 50 years, leaving the priesthood because you can't take celibacy is, while probably painful, hardly impossible. Lots of others have done it and done fine for themselves. Others have simply gone and found willing adult partners on the down-low, which while deceptive at least involves no abuse of power.

Rape is an act of abuse and violence. Priests who rape are simply using their position of power to make access to victims easier, the same as any other rapist in a position of power might. They are not poor pitiful men who are suffering from celibacy, they are men who have chosen to abuse children rather than deal with whatever sexual or other demons they have honestly.
posted by emjaybee at 1:20 PM on March 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


I was trying to demonstrate a way that they could be that careless without being evil.

Cardinal Bernard Francis Law "was the first member of the Catholic hierarchy shown to have actively covered up clergy abuse....'[I]n 2002, Law refused to step down. But 11 months later, when priests’ records were released by court order showing that Law took elaborate steps to cover for abusers, he stepped down."

So where'd he go?

"After leaving Boston, Law was named to the prominent position of archpriest of the St. Mary Major Basilica in Rome. He also serves on several Vatican boards and committees and he participated in the 2005 conclave that elected Pope Benedict."

Reassigned and out of the U.S. with a cushy appointment.
posted by ericb at 1:21 PM on March 13, 2010 [8 favorites]


I've said it before, and I'll say it again: the Roman Catholic Church is the largest pedophile ring in the world.

Many things are wrong here, but focusing just on the priests is not the whole story. There are also the secular authorities who allowed the RCC undue exemption from the rule of the law.

This is #4567289 reason for a robust and absolute separation of church and state.
posted by VikingSword at 1:32 PM on March 13, 2010 [5 favorites]


"They molested our kids, burn all the churches" will likely either get nowhere, or lead to a tragedy. But "sanction the organization until they enact guidelines that protect children instead of priests" will likely lead to fewer children being molested.

every church burned to the ground would not be a tragedy compared to the tragedy of even a single child being raped

question: how exactly would you sanction the RCC? and what if your sanctions don't work? can we burn all the churches then?
posted by jammy at 1:38 PM on March 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


The Onion had an article a few years back, 'Pope forgives Children who were victims of abuse by Priests'. It was not funny in a "this is too real" sense.
posted by ovvl at 1:38 PM on March 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


I am pretty sure I've read that they actually do have a recruiting problem.

Gotta love it when they have a recruitment poster that looks like one intended for 'The Matrix.'
"This quote is by the real-life priest featured in this 'recruitment poster': 'I know I am hanging in a few girls' bedrooms too, but that's fine - we need their prayers for more priests'"
Previous FPP: Does Neo wear a funny hat? Does Trinity...oh, never mind.

There's also New York's recruitment drive looking for 'Real Men' and the U.K.'s pitch via beer mats and calendars with 12 young priests "pictured indulging in their favourite pastimes."

Catholic Priest Shortage -- "In Europe, U.S., Catholic Church Prays For More Priests."
posted by ericb at 1:44 PM on March 13, 2010


Correct. But Homosexual + Pedophile = Catholic Priest

Girls have been abused by priests too.

Not as many female victims as male victims -- certainly some of the priests commuting these abuses are repressed gay men. Though priests also have greater access to boys than to girls, as altar girls were only relatively recently (1994?) sanctioned by the church.

The idea that it's only dirty homosexuals buggering teenage boys in the church is a frequent bit of defensive propaganda invoking a sort of weak-ass No True Priest argument to defend against the evidence that priests are committing pedophilia.
posted by desuetude at 1:46 PM on March 13, 2010


The pope is infallible, therefore you are all wrong!

Whoa whoa whoa. I hope no one is saying that this was WRONG. The Pope is infallible, people. It's in the Bible.

Could you guys maybe look up what Papal infallibility means before you make jokes about it? Also, the Bible never mentions a Pope.

I am an Atheist who also dislikes wrong shit.
posted by DecemberBoy at 1:57 PM on March 13, 2010 [8 favorites]


Urm...yeah, I'm not too enthused at the idea of inflicting dudes onto women as some sort of way to keep them from raping kids. If I had any thought that a given man might rape kids under any circumstances, why would I want to marry him?

You seriously think that is what people mean when they say it would be a good idea to allow married priests?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:58 PM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Or here, I'll do it for you: the pope is only considered infallible when he is speaking Ex Cathedra, which has only happened like 5 or 6 times in the history of Catholicism and always about internal church politics/doctrine.
posted by DecemberBoy at 1:59 PM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


The SNAP Network has some archived articles about the "disappearing" of girls and women in this debate.
posted by thomas j wise at 2:02 PM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


If we say instead that the Church is so badly organized...

On the contrary. Many (most?) dioceses kept detailed 'secret files' which are now public.
"In a July 1995 deposition, Curtis testified he kept 'secret files' about priests under a double lock that could only be opened with two keys – one which was kept by him, the other by the vicar general. He testified that he would destroy documents in those files when he determined they were no longer relevant, such as after a priest had died."
Secret Church Letters Document Catholic Clergy Sex Abuse Case.

Just a very small sample of other dioceses that kept secret files:
Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport, CT.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Dublin, Ireland.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, OR.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington, VT.

Catholic Diocese of Los Angeles, CA.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, CA.

Catholic Diocese of Boston, MA -- "Some of those records where kept in a secret, locked cabinet to which [Cardinal] Law held a key."
Nothing like a coordinated effort and conspiracy.
posted by ericb at 2:06 PM on March 13, 2010 [11 favorites]


Ratzinger could play a child molester in a film and look totally believable.
posted by telstar at 2:18 PM on March 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


You know who else kept meticulous administrative records of their crimes?

Nothing personal, Your Holiness.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:20 PM on March 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


I just want to say how much I appreciate ericb's citation-packed comments.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:36 PM on March 13, 2010 [13 favorites]


I know everyone is going to flip out at me saying this, but it's true: the Catholic Church is nothing more than the world's largest, most powerful child abuse ring. I would honestly, no shit, no question bet my life, that at least half of the thousand most powerful men in the church are active or former child abusers.

Now I know that there are soup kitchens and shit that Catholics get into and they care about the death penalty and all that, but those are lay members of the church. The guys wearing the costumes and doing the rituals and setting church policy are the child abusers, and they have absolute power within the church, and they will always be protected, all the way to the top.

There is literally no other organization on the planet that devotes as much money and manpower into both covering up and facilitating systemic abuse. Priests are shuffled in and out not to protect the church members, but in order to provide "fresh meat" for predatory priests. If you're a regular Joe and you molest a kid, you go to prison. Even those people who are normally "above the law" - politicians and police - will go to prison if they're caught abusing children. Only the Catholic Church has rules in place to specifically protect these men at the expense of their victims; only the Catholic Church will move these men to new places where their crimes are unknown. Only the Catholic Church will intimidate witness to this extent, only the Catholic Church will destroy evidence and obstruct justice as an organizational tenet.

I don't normally agree with crazy evangelicals and conspiracy theorists, but if there were a worldwide Satanic conspiracy that happened to be actually be true, you'd have to start by looking at the wildly powerful, ultra-wealthy, politically untouchable, child-abuse-centered Catholic Church.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:47 PM on March 13, 2010 [23 favorites]




Though it is certain there is widespread abuse and cover-ups, there is also a witch hunt type atmosphere at this point. What exactly should happen if there is an accusation of abuse but very little or no evidence? Secret files are not the answer of course, but should every accused priest be tossed out and prosecuted?

When I see stuff like Optimus Chyme's ranting it makes it pretty clear the level of suspicion is out of hand. That is all the fault of the Church, of course, for covering up for child molesters, but it doesn't excuse the paranoia.

Remember, in the eighties in the United States people were entirely convinced that there was a massive plague of ritualized satanic child abuse going on in pre-schools, and despite the fact that there was never any evidence a lot of people are still in jail because of that wave of mass hysteria.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:07 PM on March 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


These scandals are not isolated incidents, they are rife throughout the Catholic Church. I believe they are evidence of a cult of child abuse within the church.

I believe it is the degenerate remains of what was once a system that provided a safe place within Catholic culture for homosexuals. When that safe place was no longer needed, in our modern world, it degenerated into a safe place for child molesters.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 3:08 PM on March 13, 2010


Remember, in the eighties in the United States people were entirely convinced that there was a massive plague of ritualized satanic child abuse going on in pre-schools, and despite the fact that there was never any evidence a lot of people are still in jail because of that wave of mass hysteria.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:07 PM on March 1


But that's the thing: no matter how hard you look for those Satanic cults that abuse and kill children, you can never find any evidence at all. Yet even cursory examinations of church records start to reveal case after case after case of child rape and coverups of child rape, an unending deluge of it,
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:14 PM on March 13, 2010 [17 favorites]




But that's the thing: no matter how hard you look for those Satanic cults that abuse and kill children, you can never find any evidence at all. Yet even cursory examinations of church records start to reveal case after case after case of child rape and coverups of child rape, an unending deluge of it,


I'm well aware as indicated in my post that there are systemic abuse problems. I'm warning you from the witch hunt attitude that suggests the sole purpose of the Church is child abuse.

If you can turn nothing into a molestation wave you can turn a real molestation wave into a lot more, and innocent people will be caught up in that. I know, boo-hoo for the members of the group that covered up child abuse, but still. The witch hunt attitude that presumes everyone accused as guilty and accuses everyone is human nature at a very scary point.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:23 PM on March 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


I believe he did it in order to spare the Church the embarassment.

The problem with that theory is that pedophile priests are routinely put back in positions where they can re-offend. If the motive was to spare the church embarrassment, the offenders would be placed in areas where they were closely supervised and had no danger of unsupervised contact with children.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 3:30 PM on March 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


>'Nonsense,' said Father Doyle, who has served as an expert witness in sexual abuse lawsuits. 'Pope Benedict is a micromanager. He’s the old style. Anything like that would necessarily have been brought to his attention. Tell the vicar general to find a better line. What he’s trying to do, obviously, is protect the pope.'

Father Doyle plainly doesn't know what he's talking about. The most commonly heard criticism of Ratzinger as Archbishop of Munich, as any biography will tell you, is that he was a remote, scholarly figure who didn't take much interest in the day-to-day running of the diocese and tended to leave his administrative duties to others. The idea that he was a 'micromanager' is absurd.

I'm not a big fan of the present Pope, but it's only fair to point out that the headline in the Times, 'Pope knew priest was paedophile but allowed him to continue with ministry', doesn't seem to be supported by the evidence in the article. It's been challenged by one Catholic journalist, who claims (whether rightly or wrongly I have no idea) that the priest in question wasn't from the diocese of Munich, so that Ratzinger wasn't directly responsible for him and may not even have known the facts of the case:

The accused was not a priest of the Munich archdiocese, but a priest from the Diocese of Essen, who had been sent to a facility in Munich for counseling. So the then-Cardinal Ratzinger was not responsible for his treatment; his only connection with the case was his decision to let the priest stay in a rectory in the Munich archdiocese while he was undergoing treatment there. There is no evidence that the Pope was aware the accused priest was an accused pedophile; he was evidently informed only that the priest had been guilty of sexual improprieties, and probably concluded that he was engaged in homosexual activities with young men.

I find it quite easy to believe that Ratzinger had his head in the clouds, left the decision to his vicar-general and then lost sight of the case. From what we know of his management style, that seems all too plausible. I find it much more difficult to believe the Times's insinuation that he 'knew' what was going on and deliberately chose to cover it up. If true this would be dynamite. As the Times is not treating it as dynamite (the commentary by their own religion correspondent is headlined 'Scandal still not enough to threaten the Pope') I can only assume that they don't believe it either.
posted by verstegan at 3:33 PM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


He SHOULD have known.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:35 PM on March 13, 2010


The witch hunt attitude that presumes everyone accused as guilty and accuses everyone is human nature at a very scary point.

Optimus Chyme was very clear about not blaming "everyone":

Now I know that there are soup kitchens and shit that Catholics get into and they care about the death penalty and all that, but those are lay members of the church. The guys wearing the costumes and doing the rituals and setting church policy are the child abusers, and they have absolute power within the church, and they will always be protected, all the way to the top.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:36 PM on March 13, 2010



Optimus Chyme was very clear about not blaming "everyone":



I know everyone is going to flip out at me saying this, but it's true: the Catholic Church is nothing more than the world's largest, most powerful child abuse ring.


He is stating the express purpose of the Church is, centrally, to abuse children.

My "everyone" was referring to the priests, of which he says half are certainly abusers. Presumably, with those numbers the other half MUST be involved in the cover-up.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:42 PM on March 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


I mean shit dude if anything he was very clear that he WAS blaming everyone.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:42 PM on March 13, 2010


furiousxgeorge, why don't you explain what you think it means, when the line of reasoning goes, "letting priests marry will lower the incidence of raping children."

What I was trying to point out was that this harks back to the stereotypes of rapists as Men Who Can't Get Any Legitimately, and that this was bullshit, especially as a priest who can't deal with celibacy has many other options, including leaving the church, before raping a child becomes some sort of "solution" to their problem.

So much so that I suspect that those who rape children are not, in fact, simply sexually frustrated, but are sick individuals, and that therefore, marriage to a good woman (or partnering with a good man) isn't what they need to keep them from being rapists.

And given the many ways the Church loves to dump guilt and obligation on women, I can readily see "here's a priest who's gotten in trouble, marriage will cure him!" becoming the next big thing, should marriage be allowed for priests.
posted by emjaybee at 3:51 PM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]




furiousxgeorge, why don't you explain what you think it means, when the line of reasoning goes, "letting priests marry will lower the incidence of raping children."


It means you widen the pool of potential priests and bring in more qualified people. No one is suggesting sex with women is going to cure someone of homosexuality or pedophilia.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:02 PM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I mean shit dude if anything he was very clear that he WAS blaming everyone.

Whereas you seem to be arguing that the real problem is blaming the Catholic Church for at least a century of extremely detailed, well-documented child rape being perpetrated by and support by every level of the church, using it's vast money, social, and political clout to enable child rapists to keep raping, and to avoid either the rapists or those who covered for them every being held accountable. Poor little Church, being blamed for... exactly what it's guilty of.
posted by rodgerd at 4:21 PM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


ryoshu: ""Nazi Pope Protects Child Rapists" is the name of my new band."

But as with bands such as The Cult, eventually it will be shortened to just "Nazi Pope".
posted by bwg at 4:24 PM on March 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


First, I was raised Catholic and my local parish priest was an awesome dude: smart, funny, down to earth.

Second, I was actually planning to be a priest, but after careful consideration decided against it, one major reason being that I like women too much to ever have a prayer (heh) of staying celibate, not to mention that I disagreed with so many of the church's policies. In the end I stopped going to church, and now, though I still believe there is a God, find all organised religions a total sham.

On topic, the Catholic church has a long history of covering things up, and in this instance allowing a pedophile to remain in a position of authority was and is reprehensible, regardless who ordered it.
posted by bwg at 4:36 PM on March 13, 2010


But as with bands such as The Cult, eventually it will be shortened to just "Nazi Pope".

Southern Death Nazi Pope Protects Child Rapists?
posted by joe lisboa at 4:37 PM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


There's a very powerful tool used by scientists to indicate if a substance being studied is bioactive - it's called "dose response" - as the dose of the substance increases, the response effect is stronger.

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.

Anyone who has followed the story of the RCC in Ireland knows this all too well. The RCC has always been a powerful force in Ireland, and correspondingly the levels of abuse are heartbreaking, stretching for decades (and no doubt centuries) into the past. The story is so egregious and so devastating that it is impossible not to stand in outrage at the Evil that is the RCC.

I think it is abundantly clear by know, that only a complete abolition of the RCC can get rid of the abuse that is an integral part of this organization. There is no cure - it is in the very fabric of that criminal enterprise - it must be put down.

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.
posted by VikingSword at 4:39 PM on March 13, 2010 [5 favorites]


I'm not Catholic, and I don't get it: Why aren't these molesters IN JAIL? Why isn't the diocese a mandated reporter if they hear of abuse, just like doctors and nurses????
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:46 PM on March 13, 2010


Remember when we all made fun of Sinead O'Connor...

Nope. I applauded.
posted by signal at 5:05 PM on March 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Becoming a Roman Catholic Priest is one hell of a way to gain and hold power over people, with lots of opportunity for becoming very powerful, indeed. And if we accept that rape is all about holding power, it's not surprising to find that a high number of child rapists are attracted to the church.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:30 PM on March 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


...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.

Lest we forget the abuse of indulgences ("mercy for money") in the 16th century.

TIME | Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009: Why Catholic Indulgences Are Making a Comeback.
posted by ericb at 5:46 PM on March 13, 2010


Becoming a Roman Catholic Priest is one hell of a way to gain and hold power over people, with lots of opportunity for becoming very powerful, indeed.

What a load of conspiratorial bullshit. Have you ever been to Mass or personally interacted with a priest? Priests have about as much power as your average high school vice principal.
posted by empath at 5:50 PM on March 13, 2010 [8 favorites]


Allowing priests to marry (and allowing women priests and openly gay priests), won't all of a sudden make all the child rapists stop raping children, but it would allow normal people to join the church and hopefully drive the sickos out.
posted by empath at 5:56 PM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think it is abundantly clear by know, that only a complete abolition of the RCC can get rid of the abuse that is an integral part of this organization. There is no cure - it is in the very fabric of that criminal enterprise - it must be put down.

I'm sure that the millions and millions of non-child-rapist Catholics would probably disagree. What do you propose that we do with them?
posted by empath at 6:00 PM on March 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm sure that the millions and millions of non-child-rapist Catholics would probably disagree. What do you propose that we do with them?

They can start a new church and call themselves Schmatholics.
posted by fleetmouse at 6:04 PM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm sure that the millions and millions of non-child-rapist Catholics would probably disagree. What do you propose that we do with them?

As the signs say: "The Episcopal Church Welcomes You!"
posted by Biblio at 6:08 PM on March 13, 2010 [6 favorites]


Have you ever been to Mass or personally interacted with a priest? Priests have about as much power as your average high school vice principal

Yeah, I know you are not afraid of high school principles.

There are a lot of 13 year olds who genuinely are.
posted by the bricabrac man at 6:30 PM on March 13, 2010 [7 favorites]


Er, principals. damn.
posted by the bricabrac man at 6:31 PM on March 13, 2010


What a load of conspiratorial bullshit. Have you ever been to Mass or personally interacted with a priest? Priests have about as much power as your average high school vice principal.

Fool. Priests have the power of God on their side, and that is a very powerful tool when used against children. They have much more power than any other non-family member to extort, control, and silence the child. Read the victim's stories.

And to double down on your foolishness, higher clergy in the church are managing tens of billions of dollars of wealth in any of the big cities, let alone the unfathomable wealth controlled by the financiers and clergy managers in Vatican City. It is “bullshit” to think for a moment that the upper-ups in the hierarchy are not phenomenally influential, powerful men in the world of business and high society.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:32 PM on March 13, 2010 [17 favorites]


empath:

You seem to be arguing that those on the lowest rung of the organization having little power implies that the organization itself is powerless.

In which case I'd like you to consider how little power an army private, a street corner drug dealer and a political campaign volunteer have.
posted by Grimgrin at 6:39 PM on March 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ratzi, Du alte Topsau!
posted by chillmost at 6:44 PM on March 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Priests have the power of God on their side, and that is a very powerful tool when used against children.

And parents have the power of Santa Claus. I went to Catholic School for eight years. We were much more afraid of the nuns than the priests.

Non-Catholics seem to have a very, very skewed view of the way actual Catholic life is lived. It's not all child rape and rulers across the knuckles, you know, and the vast majority of priests don't rape children and are pretty nice guys.

But anti-Catholic bigotry seems to be socially acceptable on metafilter when almost no other bigotry is. You guys sound like you could be reading off of Chick Tracts half the time.
posted by empath at 7:03 PM on March 13, 2010 [10 favorites]


Homosexual ≠ pedophile.

Yes, but that isn't what I said. What I said was that frustrated sexual desire + position of authority and secrecy + heavy religious sexual guilt can sometimes = acting out in the form of inappropriate sexual contact with those over whom one has some form of power.
posted by hippybear at 7:21 PM on March 13, 2010


I'd love to see a version of the Nuremberg Trials to deal with this.

This is a crime against humanity.
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 7:33 PM on March 13, 2010


But anti-Catholic bigotry seems to be socially acceptable on metafilter when almost no other bigotry is.

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.
posted by VikingSword at 7:44 PM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


"frustrated sexual desire + position of authority and secrecy + heavy religious sexual guilt can sometimes..."

Actually, it was the assumption that the offending behavior could be simply explained and offender effectively reformed that led the church authorities to compound the problem. Yours is the same hubris.
posted by klarck at 8:09 PM on March 13, 2010


But anti-Catholic bigotry seems to be socially acceptable on metafilter when almost no other bigotry is. You guys sound like you could be reading off of Chick Tracts half the time.

I don't think even Chick could have come up with the "prosecute the Church as a criminal organization under RICO" thing. I did a doubletake at that one.
posted by DecemberBoy at 8:10 PM on March 13, 2010


The charge is: The Roman Catholic Church is the biggest and oldest pedophile ring in the world.

By this logic, the Empire-era Royal Navy was nothing more than the world's largest nautical-themed gay bar.
posted by DecemberBoy at 8:12 PM on March 13, 2010 [8 favorites]


(Not that it wasn't basically a floating homoerotic orgy, but they also like had battles and stuff)
posted by DecemberBoy at 8:13 PM on March 13, 2010


The charge is: The Roman Catholic Church is the biggest and oldest pedophile ring in the world.

Vikingsword, why don't you tell us how you really feel?
posted by msali at 8:19 PM on March 13, 2010


Yours is the same hubris.

Hubris? I think that my solution to the problem (which I offered way up thread) is one which the church authorities have never considered, and one which makes more sense than "move him to another parish", which is what they seemed to offer overall.

The hubris lies entirely in the church. I'm completely an outsider, and remain convinced that enforced celibacy is a subversion of human impulse which can lead to bad actions being taken. If that's hubris in your eyes, I'd hate know what you call actual examples of overwhelming pride which blinds one to one's own fallibility.
posted by hippybear at 8:34 PM on March 13, 2010


Non-Catholics seem to have a very, very skewed view of the way actual Catholic life is lived. It's not all child rape and rulers across the knuckles, you know, and the vast majority of priests don't rape children and are pretty nice guys.
posted by empath at 7:03 PM on March 13


When non-priests rape children, they go to prison. When priests rape children, the Church intimidates the victims, destorys evidence, obstructs justice, and moves the offender to a new location where he can begin again with unsuspecting targets.

It's amazing to me how loyalty to the church trumps basic human decency: "well, most priests aren't rapists, so this is all overblown and you are all bigots. The way the church handles child rape is working just fine."
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:52 PM on March 13, 2010 [9 favorites]


Non-Catholics seem to have a very, very skewed view of the way actual Catholic life is lived. It's not all child rape and rulers across the knuckles, you know, and the vast majority of priests don't rape children and are pretty nice guys.

But anti-Catholic bigotry seems to be socially acceptable on metafilter when almost no other bigotry is. You guys sound like you could be reading off of Chick Tracts half the time.


FWIW, while I wasn't raised Catholic, I did have a lot of exposure to the Catholic church, since my mom's entire family are still devout.

To be absolutely clear -- I do not think that ordinary Catholic followers and most priests condone abuse of children, or are part of a conspiracy to do so. I think some of the comments in this thread are taking it a bit too far, and I don't blame you for getting tetchy.

And I think you're being betrayed by the leaders of your church who HAVE participated in coverups and lies and a disgusting abuse of power and knowingly placing pedophiles in positions where they abuse more children. I honestly wonder isn't there a louder outcry among Catholics to reform the broken parts of the system.
posted by desuetude at 9:04 PM on March 13, 2010


fwiw, i haven't been in the Church for 15 years. My only exposure to it is being dragged along to Christmas and Easter Mass and various weddings, baptisms and first communions at this point...

"well, most priests aren't rapists, so this is all overblown and you are all bigots. The way the church handles child rape is working just fine."

No one said that and you damn well know it.
posted by empath at 9:10 PM on March 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Roman Catholic Church is the biggest and oldest pedophile ring in the world.

You know, I'd generally just be against such statements on principle. But it's been decades if not centuries of these crimes, literally thousands of such cases and every single time the role of the church has been to cover up - not one time has the church ever been the one to blow the whistle.

For those of you who claim it's a witch-hunt - where are the innocent victims of this witch-hunt? If it's a witch-hunt, why isn't the Holy Roman, Apostolic and Catholic Church actually doing something to distinguish the guilty from the innocent?

Invoking RICO seems perfectly reasonable to me. We've had decades of inaction. The Catholic Church is never, ever going to do one thing about priests putting their penises into the anuses of small children until they are forced to.

At this point, if you are a defender of the Catholic Church, the onus is really on you. Show us how the elders of your church have defended your children from sexual assault. Tell us about the internal discipline of the church, prove to us that priests who have violated children are prevented from ever being in contact with children again. Otherwise you are in the unpleasant position of defending serial child rapists who are also protected by one of the largest and oldest institutions in the world.

(Oh, and I'd add that my anger is fueled by the fact that these are the same people who believe that people who have consensual same-sex relationships will be subject to infinite torture for an infinite time, whereas priests who sodomize - rape! - little boys will get an eternity in paradise...)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:15 PM on March 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


"I think that my solution to the problem (which I offered way up thread) is one which the church authorities have never considered."

You know what promotes/causes pedophilia, how to prevent it and how to treat it? The bishops thought so too.
posted by klarck at 9:22 PM on March 13, 2010


well, most priests aren't rapists, so this is all overblown and you are all bigots. The way the church handles child rape is working just fine."

No one said that and you damn well know it.


All right, empath - so how would you characterize this? I don't see any great movement of Catholics speaking out against the Church - I don't see any movement to hold the criminals responsible - I see exactly that attitude, that we shouldn't interfere with the church.

Have you contacted the Church and said, "I'm a Catholic and you must bring these people to justice"? Would you describe yourself as happy with the response of the Church on these matters? Have you in any way positively contributed to this issue?

Let me be clear... I'm not "anti-Catholic". I'm anti-child-rape. The Catholic Church hasn't even made token gestures against child-rape and conversely have spent a great deal of effort to protest child-rapists.

The Catholic Church is protecting these criminals. I've tried to be tolerant for years. But it's just resulted in a lot of raped children. The Catholic Church either needs to strongly foreswear child-rape or it should be systematically torn down until not one brick remains.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:26 PM on March 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Benedict XVI's spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, suggests 'tenacious' plot to implicate pontiff in cover-up
He lashed out at Germany's justice minister, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, who had talked of a Catholic wall of secrecy. Müller said she belonged to a humanist association which he claimed was a kind of "masonry" that "considers paedophilia normal and wants to decriminalise it".
Oh for the love of fuck. "We're not pedophiles, you are! And also *dun dun dun* freemasons!"
posted by fleetmouse at 9:35 PM on March 13, 2010 [6 favorites]


empath: "i haven't been in the Church for 15 years. My only exposure to it is being dragged along to Christmas and Easter Mass and various weddings, baptisms and first communions at this point..."

lupus_yonderboy: "Have you contacted the Church and said, "I'm a Catholic and you must bring these people to justice"?"
posted by idiopath at 9:37 PM on March 13, 2010


Non-Catholics seem to have a very, very skewed view of the way actual Catholic life is lived. It's not all child rape and rulers across the knuckles, you know, and the vast majority of priests don't rape children and are pretty nice guys.

But anti-Catholic bigotry seems to be socially acceptable on metafilter when almost no other bigotry is. You guys sound like you could be reading off of Chick Tracts half the time.


You know what's really goddamn offensive? Like, so offensive that it's mindboggling that anybody would even consider it for a fraction of a second?

We are in a situation here where the Roman Catholic Church has worked for over a century to hide and protect pedophiles and child abusers, and your position is that the Church is the wronged victim here.

That's it. That is all. Anything else would be incomprehensible torrents of profanity and rage.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:42 PM on March 13, 2010 [25 favorites]


Have you contacted the Church and said, "I'm a Catholic and you must bring these people to justice"? Would you describe yourself as happy with the response of the Church on these matters? Have you in any way positively contributed to this issue?

I left the Church due to non-belief a long, long time ago. I don't see why Catholic laity has any special obligation to deal with this. Most Catholics barely have any relationship with the Church at all, other than getting communion and dropping a dollar in the basket. They're victims of the bad actors in the Church as much as anybody else is. They're no more responsible for the actions of the child raping priests than you are responsible for the Iraq War. IMO, this is only going to get fixed when the people responsible have been prosecuted, and I don't think that is ever going to happen from within the church itself.
posted by empath at 9:43 PM on March 13, 2010


We were much more afraid of the nuns than the priests.

Hey, guess what? I was raised Catholic, went to Catholic school for 15 years with some seriously terrifying nuns.

You know who all the kids in my class were more afraid of? The priests. Not because they were molesters, not because they were even cruel, but because they had absolutely unmatched power over us, because we were all told that the priests were pretty much God on earth, because we were told that the priests were the arbiters of what was right or wrong.

Maybe my class was an outlier, but I've never seen a more terrified group of children than my first-grade class before we made our First Reconciliation. Kids were sobbing, terrified to confess their sins to the priests--because it meant telling God all the bad stuff you had done.

Kids are used to being told they've misbehaved, or that they've got some situation wrong. Catholic kids are told that priests speak God's word on Earth. You think a kid who's been molested by a priest is going to feel confident about who was right and who was wrong in that situation?
posted by sallybrown at 9:54 PM on March 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


empath: "i haven't been in the Church for 15 years. My only exposure to it is being dragged along to Christmas and Easter Mass and various weddings, baptisms and first communions at this point..."

lupus_yonderboy: "Have you contacted the Church and said, "I'm a Catholic and you must bring these people to justice"?"


I'm sorry... is your implication that I can't read?

I read that perfectly well. empath goes to Christmas, Easter Mass, weddings, baptisms and first communions in Catholic churches. He is far more a Catholic than I am an Anglican. He is far more a Catholic than 90% of people on Earth.

Of all people on this thread, it is his responsibility to contact his church and tell them that they are aiding criminals.

I don't see why Catholic laity has any special obligation to deal with this.

Multiple times per year, you get down on your knees in front of members of an organization that enables the rape of children... and yet you feel you have no special obligation to confront this?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:57 PM on March 13, 2010 [7 favorites]


I read that perfectly well. empath goes to Christmas, Easter Mass, weddings, baptisms and first communions in Catholic churches. He is far more a Catholic than I am an Anglican. He is far more a Catholic than 90% of people on Earth.

Well, except for, you know, the 3 billion people or whoever who actually ARE Catholic and identify as such.

It's either go to Mass or ruin my Mom's Christmas with a theological argument or tell my sister that her kids lives aren't as important to me, or skip out on my cousin's wedding. Being Catholic isn't always something you choose, which is why it's difficult to deal with this kind of thing.

And no, as a non-Catholic who doesn't pay tithes or even believe in God, I don't feel like I either have the ability or the responsibility to do anything about this.

And you've now pushed out the guilt of child rape from priests onto Catholics as a whole, so nice job there.
posted by empath at 10:21 PM on March 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm not Catholic, and I don't get it: Why aren't these molesters IN JAIL? Why isn't the diocese a mandated reporter if they hear of abuse, just like doctors and nurses????

Today, they are. I'm not a Catholic either, but I'm aware that every parish in the UK has a group made up of both laity and priests that is responsible for child protection issues. Remember, thirty years ago, doctors and nurses weren't mandated to report abuse either. It was a different world back then, and even when child abuse came to light, lots of people didn't think it merited much attention -- particularly when the child was regarded as being in some way complicit.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:25 PM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Most Catholics barely have any relationship with the Church at all, other than getting communion and dropping a dollar in the basket. They're victims of the bad actors in the Church as much as anybody else is. — empath

Wow.
posted by nicwolff at 10:34 PM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, you know what I meant. They were lied to and taken advantage of by people they trusted. It was their children who were raped, after all. I'm not saying that its in the same category as being raped, but Catholics as a whole were still victims of the child rape scandal and subsequent cover-up.
posted by empath at 10:38 PM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


This whole catholic as victim thing really has me curled in a ball, weeping for them. Seriously? Are we going to indulge this crap? Um, sorry your feelings are hurt, but your little club has been killing people and dictating misery to a massive percentage of the planet for well nigh on many centuries? Deal with it. Sorry your feelings are hurt. Your rosary is in the corner.
posted by nevercalm at 10:39 PM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Catholics as a whole were still victims of the child rape scandal and subsequent cover-up.

No. Sorry. You could certainly have said that in 1970, conceivably in 1990 but this has been going on my whole life and I'm getting on for middle age, and I haven't ever, not one time, seen Catholics ever being on the right side of this issue.

Your team has systematically covered up for these child rapists. Until you come out and say, "NO, we are against them, cast them away from us, put them in jail, I will not step into a church until I'm 100% sure that the man I genuflect before isn't raping children," then you are on the side of the child rapists.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:47 PM on March 13, 2010


It's amazing to me how loyalty to the church trumps basic human decency: "well, most priests aren't rapists, so this is all overblown and you are all bigots. The way the church handles child rape is working just fine."

Give me a break. There's a big difference between denying that child rape is at the core of Catholicism and saying that the molestation that has happened is no big deal. Clearly it's been a problem for a long time, but it takes some enormous blinders to not recognize that substantial steps have been taken - largely at the insistence of the Catholic laity - to fix it. Priests have gone to prison. It has been talked about plenty inside the churches. Lay Catholics are not excusing the bad actions of the Church. They have demanded changes - and changes have taken place. They can do that without changing anything fundamental about Catholicism - because Catholicism itself is not to blame.

Some priests have abused children. That's abhorrent. But it is not because they are priests and it is not because of priestly celibacy. It's because they are child molesters. Child molesters can also be teachers, doctors, firefighters, and computer programmers. Not only does marriage not stop child molesters, but they may be more likely to be married than not.

The Church leadership covered up abuse. That's abhorrent. It is also not unique to the Catholic Church. For example, there is recent news about cover ups in the Australian Olympic Swimming Team, and an elite private school, and there's no way you could convince me that stuff like this wasn't routinely swept under the rug in other organizations in years past - just like in the Church. Does that make it excusable? Of course not. But it also doesn't lend much credence to painting the Church as a "pedophile ring."

A lot of people have some huge issues with the Catholic Church. I get that. I agree with some of them. But this is an insane amount of vitriol being unleashed over a 30 year old story on which the facts are not even clear.

Your team has systematically covered up for these child rapists. Until you come out and say, "NO, we are against them, cast them away from us, put them in jail, I will not step into a church until I'm 100% sure that the man I genuflect before isn't raping children," then you are on the side of the child rapists.

I don't genuflect before a priest. I genuflect before God. And I will continue to do so regardless of the sins of the man leading the prayers. I do love a good boycott, but this isn't really like choosing to shop at a given store. I will continue to attend mass, because it has nothing to do with the criminal actions of some members of the clergy. It has to do with the practice of my faith.

I absolutely know that there will be priests who abuse children in the future. Because priests are human. And humans sometimes do horrible things to each other. And even if the Church were abolished as called for here, those people would still abuse children. I do hope that when it happens, the leadership will respond better than it has in the past. Judging from what I have seen happening at the parishes I have attended, I believe it will.
posted by Dojie at 11:29 PM on March 13, 2010 [7 favorites]


Optimus Chyme If you're a regular Joe and you molest a kid, you go to prison

Yes.

Early Alarm for Church on Abusers in the Clergy

“We are amazed,” Father Fitzgerald wrote to a bishop in 1957, “to find how often a man who would be behind bars if he were not a priest is entrusted with the cura animarum,”
posted by mlis at 11:36 PM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Child molesters can also be teachers, doctors, firefighters, and computer programmers.

Yes, we all understand this. We are not children.

Please show us one case where teachers, doctors, firefighters or computer programmers conspired to cover up child rape by a colleague.

We are angry about an institution that has systematically worked to protect child rapists over generations. We have been very clear about this. If you cannot understand this, look to yourself, not to us.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:41 PM on March 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


And even if the Church were abolished as called for here, those people would still abuse children.

Actually, NO. If the Church were abolished, then the first time one of these priests raped a child, they'd go to jail, same as what would happen to any of us here - they wouldn't have one of the most powerful institutions on the planet simply shifting them to another parish where they can predate on another fresh set of children.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:43 PM on March 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Please show us one case where teachers, doctors, firefighters or computer programmers conspired to cover up child rape by a colleague.

Read my next paragraph. There are three cases.
posted by Dojie at 11:51 PM on March 13, 2010


Read my next paragraph. There are three cases.

I read each and every word of your links. NOT ONE OF THEM SHOWS A CASE WHERE THEIR COLLEAGUES COVERED UP FOR THEM.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:55 PM on March 13, 2010


Hey, Dojie. Question for you.

What do YOU think should happen? Do YOU think the response of the church has been adequate?

Have you talked to your priest or local church? Have you told them in no uncertain terms that there should be a zero tolerance for child rapists?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:58 PM on March 13, 2010


Please show us one case where teachers, doctors, firefighters or computer programmers conspired to cover up child rape by a colleague.

Head of Jihadist School in Virginia Guilty of Not Reporting Child Abuse
Orthodox Jews hiding child abuse
Schools let sex abuse cases slide
Kincora Boys Home Scandal
North Wales Care Homes scandal
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:07 AM on March 14, 2010


Seriously?

From my second link where it's most explicitly stated:
the college's own chaplain warned boys "not to speak" about their suffering - or even mention the abuse in conversations.

the college "permitted Bain to remain as a house master when it ought to have known he was perpetrating widespread acts of sexual abuse against numerous boys in the boarding house"
And from the third link
But the victims' hopes that the full story would come out were dashed when the Jillings Report remained under wraps following advice from the council's insurers.

That report named abusers and those considered negligent in failing to stop their activities.
...

There are still concerns that the report may shy away from naming all those suspected of abuse and those who allowed it to happen
posted by Dojie at 12:08 AM on March 14, 2010


NOT ONE OF THEM SHOWS A CASE WHERE THEIR COLLEAGUES COVERED UP FOR THEM.

Are we reading the same links?

"(The college's) then-chaplain, Reverend Kyle Waters, spoke at a boarding house assembly," the papers say.

"(He) told the assembled students in the school assembly hall not to speak to anyone of the events . . . nor talk about it generally."


How does that not count as covering up for a colleague?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:15 AM on March 14, 2010


Ick. Too late. Damn my lack of preview.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:16 AM on March 14, 2010


I'm dropping out now because it's 3:00 in the morning here and I've finally gotten my baby to sleep. I'm not really going to answer your questions except to say that I have seen a tremendous push in the parishes in the last several years for safer practices for anyone working with children and for greater transparency overall, as well as the lay councils mentioned by other people earlier. I think things are going the right direction. Not many people knew the extent of what was happening in the past, so no one did anything to stop it. That's obviously not the case now.
posted by Dojie at 12:20 AM on March 14, 2010


Yes, seriously.

Your four links marked "teachers, doctors, firefighters, and computer programmers" had zero examples of people covering up for child rapists.

I see there are several cases of individual teachers and even schools covering up for pederasts (I see absolutely zero about doctors, firefighters or computer programmers covering up for pederasts in any of your links, please let me know if I missed something.)

I see not one case where an organization has systematically covered up for child rapists over generations. Please clue me in if not. And if they have, then they deserve to be torn down and all their administrators put in jail.

I read all of Peter's links - and I don't see a single case where a pederast teacher was transferred to other schools by the administration to avoid trouble. The North Wales case, which I was aware of, was the worst. Even that involves a tiny group of people who were eventually clapped in jail when word got out.

None of these cases, deplorable as they are, are comparable to a system that shuffles pederast priests around to protect them from jail.

And frankly, if you think that "everyone is doing it" is some sort of defense for child rape, I strongly assure you that it is not.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:23 AM on March 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


Not many people knew the extent of what was happening in the past, so no one did anything to stop it. That's obviously not the case now.

I've been hearing about this for my whole life (note - this was the first scandal that impinged on me - there are hundreds of others). I'm almost 50.

If you didn't know the extent of this for decades, it's simply because you were willfully blind.

I still see zero evidence that the church is doing anything other than covering this up. Feel free to post even the slightest evidence to show the church doing anything positive.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:28 AM on March 14, 2010


Folks keep saying this has been happening for 30 years. But all the bawdy Midevil literature I've read either implies or explicitly describes sexual abuse of children by the clergy many hundreds of years ago.

The cycle is likely self-perpetuating. This priest abuses because he was abused as an altar boy or at boarding school. And on back to some Roman playboy. This would explain why there appears to be a culture of child raping.
posted by Netzapper at 12:42 AM on March 14, 2010


The North Wales case, which I was aware of, was the worst. Even that involves a tiny group of people who were eventually clapped in jail when word got out.

Come on, hundreds of kids were abused over a twenty year period. The abuse took evidence from hundreds of witnesses.

The government report (which many regard as a whitewash and a cover-up because of its failure to adequately investigate allegations of involvement by more powerful and influential paedophiles) acknowledges that there was a systematic failure to address these issues seriously, on the part of police, social services, local authorities and the Welsh Office.

The Kincora Boys Home Scandal contained similar allegations of cover-up, this time by the security services, the British government and leading lights within unionist political circles -- again, because the rights of the victims were regarded as subservient to other, more lofty concerns.

Both of these events occured at around the same time as many of the incidents of abuse in the Catholic Church, and I offer them up, not to defend the Church (I'm a life-long atheist), but rather to show that the way that they responded at the time wasn't that out of kilter with the ways other similar institutions responded to such allegations.

Clearly, the problem was much more prevalent within the Catholic Church, but to suggest that it's somehow qualitatively different in how it responded to these allegations just seems historically wrong.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:44 AM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Many of the abusers were in fact prepared for the priesthood from a very young age

You don't say.

Actually, all we really need to do, in the US at least, is start to tax churches -- and enforce laws against child molestation and abuse. That would end the Catholic Church USA right quick.
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:46 AM on March 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


then you are on the side of the child rapists.

There's been a lot of stupid shit said in this thread, but this takes the prize as the stupidest shit by far. Congratulations, lupus.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 12:48 AM on March 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


Feel free to post even the slightest evidence to show the church doing anything positive.

Here you go.

posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:51 AM on March 14, 2010


empath: "Becoming a Roman Catholic Priest is one hell of a way to gain and hold power over people, with lots of opportunity for becoming very powerful, indeed.

What a load of conspiratorial bullshit. Have you ever been to Mass or personally interacted with a priest? Priests have about as much power as your average high school vice principal.
"

ROONEY EATS IT!
posted by bwg at 12:55 AM on March 14, 2010


Nelson: Also about this: the Church claiming primary power to decide what to do with priests. Does that really work in the US? Does the Catholic Church have some magic power over the US government where they are not legally obligated to report child abuse and instead can discipline it themselves as they see fit? Really? Still?

St Alia: Why isn't the diocese a mandated reporter if they hear of abuse, just like doctors and nurses????
Pope Benedict XVI faced claims last night he had 'obstructed justice' after it emerged he issued an order ensuring the church's investigations into child sex abuse claims be carried out in secret.

The order was made in a confidential letter, obtained by The Observer, which was sent to every Catholic bishop in May 2001.

It asserted the church's right to hold its inquiries behind closed doors and keep the evidence confidential for up to 10 years after the victims reached adulthood. The letter was signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was elected as John Paul II's successor last week.
From 2005.

So, to answer your question: Then-Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pop Benedict) threatens [...] penalties, including the threat of excommunication (i.e., if you believe in this stuff, going to hell) for reporting child rape to the normal authorities (police, child welfare, what have you), rather than going through secret channels. To repeat: that's 2001 that this directive was made.

But, apparently, if you're empath et al, it's the Church that's the real victim, and we certainly can't ask ordinary Catholics to do anything about it.
posted by rodgerd at 1:32 AM on March 14, 2010 [8 favorites]


Netzapper > The cycle is likely self-perpetuating. This priest abuses because he was abused as an altar boy or at boarding school. And on back to some Roman playboy. This would explain why there appears to be a culture of child raping.

This is really not helpful and stigmatizing to those of us who were abused as children. It is because of statements like that that less than 4 people in my life know about what happened to me as a child. A therapist once told me that the number of victims who grow up to become offenders is a much much smaller number than what was once thought. Hopefully someone familiar with the research will comment here.
posted by Scale 0 at 1:42 AM on March 14, 2010 [7 favorites]


But, apparently, if you're empath et al, it's the Church that's the real victim

Empath never said anything like this. Why are you making shit up?
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 1:50 AM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


And frankly, if you think that "everyone is doing it" is some sort of defense for child rape, I strongly assure you that it is not.

This, this, this

I cannot fathom what some of you are thinking when your defense of the Roman Catholic Church is that other organizations have examples of some combination of child rapists, documenting child rape or moving rapists so they can re-offend.
posted by uri at 4:49 AM on March 14, 2010


I cannot fathom what some of you are thinking when your defense of the Roman Catholic Church is that other organizations have examples of some combination of child rapists, documenting child rape or moving rapists so they can re-offend.

It isn't a defence of the Catholic Church at all. It's simply intended to correct the erroneous allegations that this behaviour is strictly limited to the Catholic Church.

Your words would carry more weight if you actually quoted an example of somebody actually doing what you claim that they're doing, rather than simply repeating somebody else's false allegations and implying that they've been substantiated.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:53 AM on March 14, 2010


It asserted the church's right to hold its inquiries behind closed doors and keep the evidence confidential for up to 10 years after the victims reached adulthood. The letter was signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was elected as John Paul II's successor last week.

Obstruction of justice? Sounds more like criminal conspiracy. Fucker needs to serve time.
posted by fleetmouse at 5:56 AM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, to answer your question: Then-Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pop Benedict) threatens [...] penalties, including the threat of excommunication (i.e., if you believe in this stuff, going to hell) for reporting child rape to the normal authorities (police, child welfare, what have you), rather than going through secret channels. To repeat: that's 2001 that this directive was made.

That is criminally outrageous.

I don't want to be a Catholic basher-I have good friends who are Catholic and who are wonderful people-but if what you say is true, the Pope needs to go to jail himself. Or at the least, no longer be Pope, because to say you represent God and do that???? No, no a million quadzillion times, no!
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:07 AM on March 14, 2010


If that's not clear enough, Jesus weeps. And not the baby one, either.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:08 AM on March 14, 2010








Well, except for, you know, the 3 billion people or whoever who actually ARE Catholic and identify as such.

WTF? You really thing 3 billion people identify as Catholics?
posted by the bricabrac man at 8:17 AM on March 14, 2010




Well, except for, you know, the 3 billion people or whoever who actually ARE Catholic and identify as such.

Wrong!
Worldwide population: 6.7 billion.

Christians worldwide: 2.1 billion.

Catholics worldwide: 1.166 billion.
posted by ericb at 8:29 AM on March 14, 2010


So how do you set up a process to extradite a pope? Does he have diplomatic immunity?
posted by fleetmouse at 8:47 AM on March 14, 2010


The Stato della Città del Vaticano (Stae of the Vatican City) is a sovereign city-state, so the Pope is immune from extradition.
posted by ericb at 9:01 AM on March 14, 2010


I move that we rename the Vatican city-state Glandelinia.
posted by fleetmouse at 9:21 AM on March 14, 2010


So how do you set up a process to extradite a pope? Does he have diplomatic immunity?

We got Roman Polanski. I think we can get the Roman Catholic Church. This is a criminal conspiracy on a massive scale. We get the Pope the same way we got Polanski. Sure we may not be able to get Polanski from France, or the Pope from the Vatican, but the second he travels somewhere where the law can get ahold of him, we clap him in irons. Diplomatic immunity? Heads of state have been arrested too, never mind diplomatic immunity. The first step is to declare him the head of a criminal enterprise (like the Mafia), and issue an international arrest warrant the same way we'd issue one for the head of an international pedophile ring. This of course should be simultaneous with asset seizures and the arrests of anyone who assisted with the conspiracy to subvert the law. The Roman Catholic Church must be shut down.
posted by VikingSword at 10:32 AM on March 14, 2010


So how do you set up a process to extradite a pope? Does he have diplomatic immunity?

Traditionally people in situations like that, faced with the sovereignity of the Papal office, have been proactive in their use of force.
posted by jtron at 10:54 AM on March 14, 2010


I don't see why Catholic laity has any special obligation to deal with this. Most Catholics barely have any relationship with the Church at all, other than getting communion and dropping a dollar in the basket.

Those last six words? That's why the Catholic laity has a special obligation to deal with this.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:02 AM on March 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


The Stato della Città del Vaticano (Stae of the Vatican City) is a sovereign city-state, so the Pope is immune from extradition.

And even if it wasn't, good luck finding anyone prepared to have a go. The British government didn't want a bar of holding Pinochet responsible for his numerous crimes, and Irish governments in the 90s were acting to avoid extraditing an actual sex offender who happened to be a priest.

To be honest, I'd be most concerned about those countries where the Church still enjoys huge support in less secular societies; even after all the scandals in Ireland that have emerged of late, anti-blasphemy laws have been passed, never mind the Catholic heartlands in South and Central America. How much of a free reign do kiddy fiddling priests get in Guatemala?
posted by rodgerd at 11:05 AM on March 14, 2010


this is an insane amount of vitriol being unleashed over a 30 year old story on which the facts are not even clear.

You are pretending that this is the only child rape case that has happened in the Catholic Church, but the point is that child rape is pervasive throughout the entire priesthood over, at a minimum, the last two generations, and rather than acting to protect children, the church hierarchy has consistently acted to facilitate rape. Their behavior has not even protected the church, since they have consistently put pedophiles back in a position to re-offend. You can either say they were naive and stupid, or you can say that there was a hidden agenda there.

The consistency of the response argues against stupidity. If it was simple stupidity and naivete motivating the church's response, then there would be a wide range of different responses, some more effective than others, and there would have been institutional learning. But the very consistency of the response (including the way public revelations of abuse were handled) shows that there was a consistent agenda within the organization, an agenda that we have to assume was pro-abuse.

The significance of this particular case is that it is evidence that this Pope is party to that hidden agenda.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 11:33 AM on March 14, 2010


This of course should be simultaneous with asset seizures

Does the government seize the assets of rapists now? I don't remember hearing about that.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 11:38 AM on March 14, 2010


Does the government seize the assets of rapists now?

It seizes the assets of criminal organizations.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 11:45 AM on March 14, 2010


I was mostly kidding when I mentioned RICO way up there, but there have been racketeering suits filed brought against Catholic bishops, although it looks like they didn't get very far.

I'm sorry for my Catholic friends in this thread who feel their entire religion is being targeted, or that there's a witch-hunt on the blue. Some of the anti-Catholic rhetoric in this thread is pretty beyond the pale. But the Church has shown time and again it is institutionally incapable of addressing its problem with its priests raping children. There's a fundamental structural flaw with serious legal and personal consequences. It's not some sideshow you can just overlook.
posted by Nelson at 12:12 PM on March 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Being Catholic isn't always something you choose, which is why it's difficult to deal with this kind of thing.

I would think that this would provide more impetus to speak out and censure the church, not less.
posted by desuetude at 12:15 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


You are pretending that this is the only child rape case that has happened in the Catholic Church, but the point is that child rape is pervasive throughout the entire priesthood over, at a minimum, the last two generations...

Pervasive? Yes.
Scope and nature of Catholic sex abuse cases.

Roman Catholic sex abuse cases by country.

Examples:
Catholic sexual abuse scandal in the United States.

Catholic sexual abuse scandal in Canada.

Catholic sexual abuse scandal in Ireland.
posted by ericb at 12:42 PM on March 14, 2010


This whole catholic as victim thing really has me curled in a ball, weeping for them. Seriously? Are we going to indulge this crap? Um, sorry your feelings are hurt, but your little club has been killing people and dictating misery to a massive percentage of the planet for well nigh on many centuries? Deal with it. Sorry your feelings are hurt. Your rosary is in the corner.

Sigh... I really, really thought Metafilter was smarter than this kind of crap. Or at least the membership skewed a bit older than this apparent teenage Slayer fan here.
posted by DecemberBoy at 1:35 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


When I read things like this thread, I always come to the question, "What is the best way for society to deal with pedophiles?" I have always seen the "solution" to them being punishment, chemical castration, therapy and making sure they don't get positions where they can be with children alone. But none of these seem to work very well.
If someone has seen some sort of writing that really strives for an "answer" to pedophiles, message me or leave a message on this thread.
posted by SouthCNorthNY at 2:05 PM on March 14, 2010


Is the Pope Toast?
posted by ericb at 2:07 PM on March 14, 2010


There are two types of pedophile. There are those who act upon that attraction, and those who do not. Only the former are a problem that needs to be resolved. Removing them from society is the solution. Whether that is imprisonment or death doesn't really matter, just so long as those who act upon that urge are never capable of acting upon it again.

DecemberBoy, are you not tired of the violence in this world? I know I sure am. "How long are we going to indulge in this crap?" sounds like a perfectly sane question to me. Organized religion has a lot to account for, in answering that question.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:16 PM on March 14, 2010


Is the Pope Toast?

I hope so. As far as I'm concerned Ratzinger was a disastrous choice to succeed JPII, and the sooner he's gone the better.
posted by empath at 2:31 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Being Catholic isn't always something you choose . . .

Neither is being homosexual. Which doesn't stop the church from condemning you for it as if it was a choice you made. (Apparently, however, it's fine if you've got a white collar and your taste runs to little boys and not grown men.)

And come to think of it, how is anyone forced to swear allegiance to the Catholic church in 2010? Where?

Finally, what is all this "30 years" and "two generations" talk? The problem is as old as the organized Christian church. It's just that about two generations ago, it stopped being acceptable to molest children in your care, no matter who you are.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:19 PM on March 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


desuetude: To be absolutely clear -- I do not think that ordinary Catholic followers and most priests condone abuse of children, or are part of a conspiracy to do so.

Consider the most likely target of predator priest's attentions: the altar or choir boy. Usually raised in a devout household and will have to spend plenty of time in and around the church. If this altar/choir boy came home and told Mom & Dad that Father so-and-so cornholed him after youth group, what likely happens next is not a phone call to the police but a whack across the face for telling lies about Father so-and-so. No conspiracy necessary. That's why the priesthood is the best place to satisfy such urges: a steady supply of victims, parents unlikely to push the issue or believe their kids, and a hierarchy that will keep their bacon out of the fire.

And I think you're being betrayed by the leaders of your church who HAVE participated in coverups and lies and a disgusting abuse of power and knowingly placing pedophiles in positions where they abuse more children. I honestly wonder isn't there a louder outcry among Catholics to reform the broken parts of the system.

You're under the impression that the followers have any say. The RCC is engineered to be an autocratic institution. You can't run against the pope in the next election, hold a vote of no confidence, or circulate a petition. The man has a direct link to God and his word is law. With millions of followers that will do anything the man in the funny hat tells them to, you won't be missed when you leave. The rotary club, this ain't.
posted by dr_dank at 3:42 PM on March 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


With millions of followers that will do anything the man in the funny hat tells them to

that's noxious bullshit.
posted by empath at 3:48 PM on March 14, 2010


dr_dank, you seem to have read my comment maybe without context? In t he first part, I was pointing out to empath that I felt that attacking regular Catholics for the actions of priests was indeed beyond reasonable discourse.

The conspiracy to which I refer is the literal one -- wherein the church systematically moved pedophile priests to new parishes and their records covered up while they continue abusing children.

Catholics are missed when they leave, when they do so in great enough numbers. Churches and schools close. There is much hand-wringing over traditional values and why young Catholics today don't respect the church. Statements are issued by the diocese. In the communities, older churchgoers write letters to the editor decrying the changing times. But of course, the schools and churches close because they can't afford to stay open without a robust collection plate. Is is a shame when schools and churches close, this does punish the wrong Catholics. But I can't help but wonder maybe if The Church took better care of its followers, more people would show up for Mass.

Both my mother and my husband's father left their Catholic churches and eventually joining protestant churches. The fastest growing religions in the country aren't building new churches from the tithes of agnostics like me.

But that wasn't even my point. My point was that if someone is Catholic enough to be offended when Catholics are attacked, then maybe decrying this systemic corruption that's damaging your culture is The Right Thing To Do.
posted by desuetude at 4:05 PM on March 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm glad we agree, empath. :)

I appreciate your clarification and well-reasoned response, desuetude. Sometimes context gets lost in the sauce on big threads like these.

As you may tell from my tone, I've spent enough time on the inside of the RCC system growing up to see much of what you said firsthand and develop my own distaste for the church and organized religion in general. To borrow from Lilly Tomlin, they don't have to care, they're the Catholic Church.

But that wasn't even my point. My point was that if someone is Catholic enough to be offended when Catholics are attacked, then maybe decrying this systemic corruption that's damaging your culture is The Right Thing To Do.

At the church I attended as a kid, they had their own problem with a hip young priest taking one too many liberties with some of the altar boys. True to form, he gets shuffled out to points unknown. As for the boy who blew the whistle, we never saw much of him after that. Apparently, some of the "good christian folk" were harassing and making death threats for driving away this wonderful man. As you say, its easier to kill the messenger than it is to deal with the real issue.
posted by dr_dank at 8:35 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


As far as I'm concerned Ratzinger was a disastrous choice to succeed JPII, and the sooner he's gone the better.

Ratzinger and JPII were members of the same faction, devotees of the fascist priest Josemaria Escriva. JPII brought Bernard Law to Vatican City specifically to protect him from the law. He was just as neck deep in this as the current villain. The cult of Escriva owns the Church, and the next Pope will be another of them.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 10:41 PM on March 14, 2010




Cardinal Brady will not resign over abuse 'cover-up'

In other news, Cardinal Brady seeks to have cake, eat it too.

I'm not shedding any tears over "Catholic-bashing". The fact that nothing is being done is, to me, evidence that they haven't been bashed sufficiently.
posted by Legomancer at 6:35 AM on March 15, 2010


Some people said the Nazi Pope's cowardly opportunistic experience with the nazi's was just an aberration; how many abhorrent aberrations does it take before we see him as the quisling of evil he is?

I'm amazed at how many supposedly decent people think belonging to a church that says "Catholic" on the front is more important than doing the least you could to prevent the sexual abuse of children, and go somewhere else. Every time you go to a catholic church, you are supporting an organization that to this day, protects child rapists over the children. Every time you donate money to the catholic church, you are helping a priest rape a child, in the name of the god you claim to love, somewhere. That's the church you want to remain associated with?

I hope for a day when no one can get in a catholic church because the front steps are too slippery with all the puke from people contemplating the fullness of what their support for such a disgusting worldly institution means in terms of broken bodies, minds, and souls.
posted by nomisxid at 11:22 AM on March 15, 2010


Ratzinger and JPII were members of the same faction, devotees of the fascist priest Josemaria Escriva.

Can you supply some relevant links or sources? I'm familiar with Josemaria Escriva but didn't know he was linked to Ratzinger and JPII.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:56 PM on March 15, 2010


Here you are PG
posted by adamvasco at 1:12 PM on March 15, 2010


A bit more:

Pope John Paul II's Penitential Practices: The Opus Dei Connection

Opus Dei, a personal prelature of the Catholic Church

The canonization of Escriva really puts the cards on the table.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 1:56 PM on March 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Opus Dei and John Paul II A Profoundly Rightwing Pope.
"John Paul traveled extensively at that time on trips organized and funded by Opus Dei, developing a very close working relationship with the sect. Opus Dei was the organization that developed the strategy to make him the Pope, assisted by the bishop of Munich, Joseph Ratzinger"
posted by adamvasco at 2:06 PM on March 15, 2010


Also...Controversial Opus Dei Has Stake in Papal Vote.
"But recently, several Italian newspapers breathlessly reported that the two Opus Dei cardinals were throwing their support behind the candidacy of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, a German-born traditionalist who has served as chief enforcer of church doctrine for two decades"
posted by adamvasco at 2:15 PM on March 15, 2010


This just in: Sex scandal embroils Catholic Church in Brazil.
posted by ericb at 4:55 AM on March 17, 2010


Vatican Official Says Rising Number of Sexual Abuse Cases Could Overload Staff
"As hundreds of new allegations of sexual abuse surface in the German church alone, a top Vatican official acknowledged Tuesday that, with only 10 people handling such cases, his office might not be adequate for the task. But the official, Msgr. Charles J. Scicluna, who is effectively the Vatican’s internal prosecutor, said the church was working to bring more 'transparency' to the delicate and emotional process of settling allegations of abuse by priests that have severely damaged the church’s moral standing....Over the weekend, Monsignor Scicluna told L’Avvenire, the newspaper of the Italian Bishops Conference, that his office had examined 3,000 abuse cases in the past decade, most of them from the United States. The ratio of 10 people handling 300 cases a year did not go over well in some quarters. 'It seems like an extraordinarily paltry effort, given the scope of the crisis,' said David Clohessy, the national director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests...In a rare interview, by telephone on Tuesday, Monsignor Scicluna acknowledged the concern. Asked if he wanted reinforcements, he said with a laugh: 'I would hope we have less work. That’s my hope. Not more people, less work.' He added that if the number of cases averaged 300 a year, 'We can continue doing our job well with 10 people. The problem is: Are these numbers going to settle?'"
posted by ericb at 8:19 AM on March 17, 2010


Catholic League president Bill Donohue: "New York Times Targets the Pope Again."
posted by ericb at 8:23 AM on March 17, 2010


Fuck Bill Donohue forever: Was it wrong to send abusers to therapy? Is it wrong today? The Times does not say. While it is painfully obvious that psychologists and psychiatrists have oversold their competency in treating abusers, it has long been considered to be both scientifically and ethically sound. It still is. Perhaps that view is unwarranted, but it is flatly unfair to cherry pick Catholic decision-makers for indictment when therapy fails.

No, Bill, it's not wrong to send abusers to therapy. However, it is wrong to not alert local law enforcement when violent crimes against children are committed. Of course, you know that, but you don't give a shit.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:41 AM on March 17, 2010 [5 favorites]


Vatican Official Says Rising Number of Sexual Abuse Cases Could Overload Staff

Well maybe they could sell some of their PALACES FULL OF GOLD AND TREASURE to help pay for it. Then sell the rest off and give it to the poor (or better yet establish a perpetual foundation of some sort but that's nitpicking).
posted by jtron at 8:55 AM on March 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


Meanwhile in N. Ireland the RCC "clarifies" why Cardinal; then Fr. Brady; in 1975 asked child abuse victims to sign secrecy agreements.
It's about time the laity started protesting about this deep corruption. Or do they go along with it?
posted by adamvasco at 8:56 AM on March 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pope: Irish church ‘severely shaken’ by abuse -- "Benedict to send ‘healing’ letter to Ireland; remains silent on his homeland."
posted by ericb at 11:24 AM on March 17, 2010


Christopher Hitchens -- The Great Catholic Cover-up
"Very much more serious is the role of Joseph Ratzinger, before the church decided to make him supreme leader, in obstructing justice on a global scale. After his promotion to cardinal, he was put in charge of the so-called 'Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith' (formerly known as the Inquisition). In 2001, Pope John Paul II placed this department in charge of the investigation of child rape and torture by Catholic priests. In May of that year, Ratzinger issued a confidential letter to every bishop. In it, he reminded them of the extreme gravity of a certain crime. But that crime was the reporting of the rape and torture. The accusations, intoned Ratzinger, were only treatable within the church's own exclusive jurisdiction. Any sharing of the evidence with legal authorities or the press was utterly forbidden. Charges were to be investigated 'in the most secretive way ... restrained by a perpetual silence ... and everyone ... is to observe the strictest secret which is commonly regarded as a secret of the Holy Office ... under the penalty of excommunication.' Nobody has yet been excommunicated for the rape and torture of children, but exposing the offense could get you into serious trouble. And this is the church that warns us against moral relativism! (See, for more on this appalling document, two reports in the London Observer of April 24, 2005, by Jamie Doward.)

Not content with shielding its own priests from the law, Ratzinger's office even wrote its own private statute of limitations. The church's jurisdiction, claimed Ratzinger, 'begins to run from the day when the minor has completed the 18th year of age' and then lasts for 10 more years. Daniel Shea, the attorney for two victims who sued Ratzinger and a church in Texas, correctly describes that latter stipulation as an obstruction of justice. 'You can't investigate a case if you never find out about it. If you can manage to keep it secret for 18 years plus 10, the priest will get away with it.'"
posted by ericb at 1:14 PM on March 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


This just in: Sex scandal embroils Catholic Church in Brazil.
Brazilian authorities are investigating three priests accused of sexually abusing altar boys after a video allegedly showing one case of abuse was broadcast on television, police and church officials said Tuesday. The case came to light after the SBT network aired a video purportedly showing an 82-year-old priest having sex with a 19-year-old altar boy who worked for him for four years. Other young men appeared on the report saying that they, too, had been abused by Monsignor Luiz Marques Barbosa.
So to the best of my knowledge, this is a unique case with circumstances we haven't seen before: video evidence exists, and it's been seen by millions of people. Faced with such incontrovertible evidence, will the Church excommunicate him? Turn him over to civil authorities?

Don't hold your breath, folks.

The video of what was broadcast is available through sbt's YouTube channel. The clip is censored, obviously NSFW and I don't recommend watching it.
posted by zarq at 3:45 PM on March 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Excitable Andrew" in The Atlantic also points a finger at the American right in the trying to protect Fr Marcial Maciel, sexual predation and molestation.
posted by adamvasco at 4:06 AM on March 18, 2010


It's increasingly hard to sweep under the carpet. Psychiatrist Says Church Was Warned About Priest.

“I said, ‘For God’s sake, he desperately has to be kept away from working with children,’” the psychiatrist Werner Huth said in an interview Thursday. “I was very unhappy about the entire story.” Dr. Huth said he was concerned enough that he set three conditions for treating the priest, Peter Hullermann: that he stay away from young people and alcohol and be supervised by another priest at all times.

Dr. Huth said he issued the warnings — explicit, both written and oral — before the future pope, then Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger, left Germany for the Vatican in 1982. In 1980, following abuse complaints from parents in Essen that the priest did not deny, Archbishop Ratzinger approved a decision to move the priest to Munich for therapy.

Despite the psychiatrist’s warnings, Father Hullermann was allowed to return to parish work almost immediately after his therapy began, interacting with children as well as adults. He was promptly accused of molesting other boys and was convicted in 1986 of sexual abuse in Bavaria.


These guys are unstoppable - criminal convictions or not, orders or not, warnings or not, transfers or not:

"Even after his conviction in 1986, Father Hullermann, now 62, continued working with altar boys for many years. He was suspended just this past Monday for ignoring a 2008 church order not to work with youths."
posted by VikingSword at 4:21 PM on March 18, 2010 [2 favorites]




I could have sworn it was claimed that abusive priests are a tiny minority of the clergy. I can't see how there can be a "tsunami" if that were true. One tends to have to conclude that the problem is systemic and much, much bigger than any of us suspects.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:11 PM on March 19, 2010


In related news: Oregon lawsuit claims Boy Scouts sex abuse coverup.
posted by ericb at 2:29 PM on March 19, 2010


Has the Church's Nuremburg defense news item get posted yet?
posted by five fresh fish at 7:27 PM on March 19, 2010


Why do you got to speak like that, FFFish?
posted by five fresh fish at 7:27 PM on March 19, 2010


Warning: Use of Passive Verb Forms as Way to Avoid Taking Responsibility

"Pope Offers Apology, Not Penalty, For Sex Abuse Scandal" (NYT)

“You have suffered grievously and I am truly sorry. I know that nothing can undo the wrong you have endured. Your trust has been betrayed and your dignity has been violated,” the pope told Irish victims and their families.

“Many of you found that, when you were courageous enough to speak of what happened to you, no one would listen.
[Just like me that time, except let's all pretend that didn't happen.] Those of you who were abused in residential institutions must have felt that there was no escape for your sufferings,” he continued.

“It is understandable that you find it hard to forgive or be reconciled with the Church,” Benedict continued. “In her name, I openly
[apologize as the leader of the Church itself? Nah] express the shame and remorse that we all feel." [I'll just pretend to feel as victimized as everyone else.]

Nowhere in the letter did Benedict address the responsibility of the Vatican itself. Many victims’ groups have criticized the Vatican for not recognizing the depth and scope of the abuse crisis sooner. Nor did he use the term punishment, or spell out any consequences for clergy or bishops who had not upheld canon or civil law. Indeed, he laid blame firmly with Irish Catholic leaders.

I can only share in the dismay and the sense of betrayal that so many of you have experienced on learning of these sinful and criminal acts and the way church authorities in Ireland dealt with them,” he said.


Here's a link to the full Pastoral Letter.
posted by sallybrown at 8:11 AM on March 20, 2010 [2 favorites]




Another bombshell: Warned About Abuse, Vatican Failed to Defrock Priest.

This one goes all the way to the top, the current pope.

"Top Vatican officials — including the future Pope Benedict XVI — did not defrock a priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys, even though several American bishops repeatedly warned them that failure to act on the matter could embarrass the church, according to church files newly unearthed as part of a lawsuit."

Scum.

Prosecute the top hierarchy responsible and disband the RCC - it's a criminal conspiracy to subvert the law.
posted by VikingSword at 6:09 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


To the top indeed. One is forced to wonder what kind of evil the Pope has committed in his lifetime.

It must be rough to be a Catholic these days.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:11 PM on March 24, 2010


Caught a very tiny bit of a discussion on Talk of the Nation the other day where an Irish investigator mentioned how priests who reported pedophiles to their superiors were shuttled off to backwater positions and in some cases pressured out of the priesthood.

Funny how they were treated the way you'd think the pedophiles should be treated, and the pedophiles were aided and abetted. Why would the Church hierarchy help pedophiles and punish whistleblowers, if all they are trying to do is protect the Church from embarrassment?
posted by Jimmy Havok at 11:20 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


From VikingSword's link, the more damning quotes:
But Cardinal Bertone halted the process after Father Murphy personally wrote to Cardinal Ratzinger protesting that he should not be put on trial because he had already repented and was in poor health and that the case was beyond the church’s own statute of limitations.

“I simply want to live out the time that I have left in the dignity of my priesthood,” Father Murphy wrote near the end of his life to Cardinal Ratzinger. “I ask your kind assistance in this matter.
Dignity of the priesthood.
Father Murphy died [...] at age 72 and was buried in his priestly vestments. [...]
“In spite of these difficulties,” Archbishop Weakland wrote, “we are still hoping we can avoid undue publicity that would be negative toward the church.”
If I was religious, I would wonder if there were, in fact, pits of hell deep enough.
posted by rodgerd at 12:28 AM on March 25, 2010






And since I didn't preview and double posted the link...I give you the Pope's video blog
posted by never used baby shoes at 10:12 AM on March 25, 2010




Drip, drip, drip. More evidence continues to come to light.

Transfer approved by pope, priest molested again.
posted by ericb at 6:35 AM on March 26, 2010




Since the scandal exploded here, an estimated 207 priests from the Boston Archdiocese have been accused of abusing children.

Good grief. According to these statistics, the diocese maxed out at 2300 priests in 470 parishes. The implication is that 1 in 10 priests is kiddy-diddling.

Now I suppose there was some movement of priests in and out of the diocese, so there'd have been more than that many different priests there over the decades — but I can't imagine the turnover rate is so very high as to make the 1:10 figure inaccurate by very much.

The first link, btw, is to a decade-old record of the Boston diocese's troubles. And what a lot of trouble it is.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:33 AM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


The implication is that 1 in 10 priests is kiddy-diddling.

No, one in ten was accused. To me, that implies a whole lot more who were more careful.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 10:29 AM on March 26, 2010




Has there ever been a mass demonstration at any of the Pope's holiday appearances in the Vatican?
posted by Anything at 1:46 PM on March 26, 2010


There was a demonstration in front of the Vatican today. I believe the Pope's cops busted 'em up.

This is a choice quote:
Antonio Riboldi, the emeritus bishop of Acerra, declared that it marked the start of a war "between the church and the world; between Satan and God".
WTFBBQ? To my ear, the bishop is claiming that child-buggering priests are on the side of God, and those that want those priests held accountable are with Satan.

Maybe it's upside-down Friday at the Vatican today.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:10 PM on March 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Africa doesn't want to be forgotten:

"Many would argue that it was an honourable decision to acknowledge its sins, but the Pope should not keep his eyes riveted only towards the western world where "immoral" predatory jaunts by its clergy, but also look a bit closer at our continent, Rwanda in particular.

Pope Benedict XVI is all too aware of the many documented cases of the role of the Catholic Church in the targeting of the Tutsi for extermination since 1959, and particularly the 1994 Genocide.

Many Catholic clergy disregarded their religious calling of saving souls and instead actively participated in the killings, and many have been convicted by the ICTR, as well as European and Rwandan courts.

Instead of the church offering "comfort and apologies' to the Rwandan victims, as it did for the Irish, it has kept a very conspicuous silence."


But that's just Genocide. I wonder when the inevitable discoveries about the RCC and child rape in Africa will come out.
posted by VikingSword at 6:05 PM on March 26, 2010


"between the church and the world; between Satan and God".
WTFBBQ? To my ear, the bishop is claiming that child-buggering priests are on the side of God, and those that want those priests held accountable are with Satan.


No, no, the analogy is clear from the order of the words. Church : world :: Satan : God
posted by Jimmy Havok at 12:24 AM on March 27, 2010


What does it take for the pope to resign? asks the BBC:

"The possibility has been raised that Pope Benedict XVI should resign over the snowballing paedophile priest scandal in the Catholic Church. The BBC's Vatican correspondent, David Willey, examines the question."

Enough with the theory, time to implement this in practice.
posted by VikingSword at 10:09 AM on March 27, 2010


Heartbreaking. For Years, Deaf Boys Tried to Tell of Priest's Abuse:

"They were deaf, but they were not silent. For decades, a group of men who were sexually abused as children by the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy at a school for the deaf in Wisconsin reported to every type of official they could think of that he was a danger, according to the victims and church documents.

Mr. Geier reported the abuse to three priests, including the Rev. Tom Schroeder
They told other priests. They told three archbishops of Milwaukee. They told two police departments and the district attorney. They used sign language, written affidavits and graphic gestures to show what exactly Father Murphy had done to them. But their reports fell on the deaf ears of hearing people.

This week, they learned that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, received letters about Father Murphy in 1996 from Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland of Milwaukee, who said that the deaf community needed “a healing response from the Church.” The Vatican sat on the case, then equivocated, and when Father Murphy died in 1998, he died a priest.

“That man should have been in prison for a very long time, but he was lucky,” Steven Geier, one of Father Murphy’s victims, said Thursday. “What about me? I wasn’t supposed to touch girls. What gave him the right to be able to do that? Father Murphy constantly thought about sex with children, and he got away with it.”

Young victims of sexual abuse are often so confused, ashamed or traumatized that they wait years to report the violations. Some never say a word. One of the remarkable aspects of the Father Murphy case is that young victims began alerting the authorities in the mid-1950s, when sexual abuse was hardly even a part of the public vocabulary."


The RCC should be disbanded. Now. Those responsible for the abuse, as well as those who facilitated or hid the abuse should be in prison, in droves, and for a long time.
posted by VikingSword at 3:59 PM on March 27, 2010




Margery Egan | Boston Herald:
"The Pope should resign. He should offer himself up to authorities for prosecution, like the sacrificial lamb he’s supposed to represent here on earth.

Long ago he should have opened the secret church books on priestly abuse. He hasn’t. Courts finally forced that in Boston almost a decade ago and, oh, what horrors we found. Remember? The Vatican hierarchy then blamed our scandal on a decadent American culture. Now the same priestly disease has swept Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, on and on across Europe and beyond. So was all the world, from the 1950s on, just one huge, decadent Gomorrah? Or was the Catholic hierarchy, from the ’50s on, run like an international crime organization aiding and abetting child abuse, then covering up its cover-up?

A few years back, former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating caused an uproar by comparing secret-keeping American bishops to La Cosa Nostra.

He was but ahead of his time."
posted by ericb at 12:49 PM on March 28, 2010


More calls for a wholesale re-thinking of role of the pope within the RCC:


A Nope for Pope
By MAUREEN DOWD

"Cardinal Ratzinger devoted his Vatican career to rooting out any hint of what he considered deviance. The problem is, he was obsessed with enforcing doctrinal orthodoxy and somehow missed the graver danger to the most vulnerable members of the flock.

The sin-crazed “Rottweiler” was so consumed with sexual mores — issuing constant instructions on chastity, contraception, abortion — that he didn’t make time for curbing sexual abuse by priests who were supposed to pray with, not prey on, their young charges.

American bishops have gotten politically militant in recent years, opposing the health care bill because its language on abortion wasn’t vehement enough, and punishing Catholic politicians who favor abortion rights and stem cell research. They should spend as much time guarding the kids already under their care as they do championing the rights of those who aren’t yet born."
posted by VikingSword at 1:13 PM on March 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Abortion reduces the population of boys to be buggered. Can't be having that!
posted by five fresh fish at 5:10 PM on March 28, 2010




Donohue has essentially dedicated himself to being one of the most consistently disgusting sacks of shit over the last several years.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:16 AM on March 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


That really is disgusting... I guess they figure in for a penny in for a pound. Pedophilia... heck why not stir in more homophobia, it'll fit right in with the routine misogyny, and then cross blame each victim group. The official RCC is morally degenerate.
posted by VikingSword at 9:21 AM on March 30, 2010




As the scandal gets ever closer to the pope, the Vatican is maneuvering to hide behind diplomatic immunity - now that a deposition of the pope is being sought in a Kansas lawsuit, the rats are fleeing down the Vatican maze, at the center of which is the King Rat himself, the pope:

"VATICAN CITY (AP) -- The Vatican is launching a legal defense that the church hopes will shield the pope from a lawsuit in Kentucky seeking to have him deposed over claims that the Holy See was negligent in failing to report abuse claims.

In court documents obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press, Vatican lawyers map out their strategy to try to dismiss the lawsuit before Benedict XVI can be questioned or secret documents subpoenaed.

The Vatican lawyers plan to argue the pope has immunity as head of state. They also say that a 1962 document is not a ''smoking gun'' proving a Vatican coverup. And the documents contend that American bishops who oversaw abusive priests were not employed by the Holy See."
posted by VikingSword at 10:54 AM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Vatican lawyers plan to argue the pope has immunity as head of state.

I wonder if that argument would protect him? Heads of state don't have the same immunities they once did. I keep meaning to order "Prosecuting Heads of State" from the ICTJ.

And the documents contend that American bishops who oversaw abusive priests were not employed by the Holy See.

If they're appointed by the Holy See and the See can also rescind their appointment, doesn't that also imply that the See bears responsibility for their actions as Bishop?
posted by zarq at 11:06 AM on March 30, 2010


I think it would come down to interpreting the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. Alperin v. Vatican Bank was dismissed under sovereign immunity, and this appears to be the central issue in John V. Doe v. Holy See also.

The Political Question doctrine originally got Alperin dismissed (that was later overturned), so it could be an issue here too. So could the Act of State doctrine.
posted by sallybrown at 12:34 PM on March 30, 2010


If the RCC is a state, then it doesn't qualify for tax immunity.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 1:43 PM on March 30, 2010


If the RCC is a state, then it doesn't qualify for tax immunity.

Excellent point, Jimmy Havok, though I think it's just the beginning. There is no doubt a mass of contradictions and loopholes in laws governing something as complicated as the RCC being both a foreign country and a tax exempt church operating here in the U.S., but being headquartered in another country. I feel certain that there is a mountain of complications that we should be going at hammer and tongs, whole teams of lawyers and prosecutors should be unleashed against this cancer and I'm quite sure that with enough diligent research we can have the RCC in knots in no time at all - let them spend some of that treasure trying to go against the full force of the U.S. and world legal power. They may find it way too expensive to operate and too fraught with danger of prison - who knows, with enough dedication, perhaps the back of the RCC can be broken and they can be disbanded.
posted by VikingSword at 1:57 PM on March 30, 2010


The Vatican is launching a legal defense that the church hopes will shield the pope from a lawsuit in Kentucky seeking to have him deposed over claims that the Holy See was negligent in failing to report abuse claims.

Others cases:
U.S. court rules Oregon abuse victim may sue Vatican for liability and fraud.

St. Paul, Minnesota attorney is suing the Vatican.

Pope accused in new Miami, Florida predator priest case.
posted by ericb at 3:02 PM on March 30, 2010




The irony of all this is that it is the public homophobia of the RCC that has made it so vulnerable. They've preached hatred of homosex to their rank and file while using it as a recruiting tool, and now the whole house of cards is beginning to come down.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 3:09 PM on March 30, 2010


They've preached hatred of homosex to their rank and file while using it as a recruiting tool, and now the whole house of cards is beginning to come down.
posted by Jimmy Havok


Nope. Even here at liberatheistransfolk.com the Catholic Church is so respected that criticizing it is viewed as being bigoted and hateful. The church will come out of this just fine. Hell, in the New York Times yesterday, that pale turd Ross Douthat wrote that because it was the seventies, you can't even blame pedophile priests for going along with the time. It was literally the decade's fault, he wrote. According to Douthat and his overseer Archbishop Dolan, child fucking just couldn't be helped back then. This is an op-ed in the Grey Lady, let me remind you. America's paper of record. "Pedophiles not to blame because the seventies were crazy." Yes, it had nothing to do with the strange unmarried men in outrageous costumes - it was everyone else's fault. Goddamn if that isn't the Catholic Church in a nutshell right there. "It's everyone else's fault." And most of us just eat that shit right up. Fuck this planet.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:29 PM on March 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


The last time people got this pissed at the Church it resulted in the Protestant Reformation. Maybe you are right, or maybe we'll see another development like that one. I'm not seeing the kinds of defense of the Church in this thread that were in even the most recent previous one.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 3:35 PM on March 30, 2010


Could The Pope Be Impeached?
posted by ericb at 2:38 PM on March 31, 2010


We arrested Noriega, so I don't see why we can't arrest the Pope.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:21 PM on March 31, 2010






Comment of the Day: How Are You Still Catholic?
"What I don't understand is how anyone could still consider themselves Catholics in the face of this. One or two incidences in a vast, moneyed, unwieldy organization means bad apples. $2 billion dollars paid out in the U.S. alone to abused victims (most of whom were CHILDREN) of these 'men of God' with hundreds (and countless thousands in the past) more emerging around the world means something is seriously fucked in the midget state of Vatican.

The CEO, an ex-Nazi in Prada boots, is complicit in allowing a man who abused 200 DEAF CHILDREN for decades to live out 'the dignity of his days' — unmolested, by, you know, law enforcement. Because he had 'repented' — whatever that means when you are morally bankrupt — and his health was failing in a way it should have long ago had there actually been a benevolent God.

It's just mind-boggling to me. These are supposed to be the most sacred people — the most holy — the most trustworthy — the most good. They are your direct line to the Lord. And they are fucking the small children.

How could one believe in any earthly manifestation of 'religion' after that? How? I genuinely want to know."
posted by ericb at 3:39 PM on March 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pope 'Guilty.' Yes you are!
posted by ericb at 3:39 PM on March 31, 2010




Ephebophilia: not just for anime dorks anymore!
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:15 PM on March 31, 2010 [1 favorite]




Should There Be an Inquisition for the Pope?

Maureen Dowd, NYTimes:

"Complete with crown-of-thorns imagery, the church has started an Easter public relations blitz defending a pope who went along with the perverse culture of protecting molesters and the church’s reputation rather than abused — and sometimes disabled and disadvantaged — children.

The church gave up its credibility for Lent. Holy Thursday and Good Friday are now becoming Cover-Up Thursday and Blame-Others Friday."
posted by VikingSword at 6:04 PM on March 31, 2010


Sex scandals change tone of Holy Week.
posted by ericb at 8:59 AM on April 1, 2010


Vatican: Pope has immunity in sex abuse trials -- "Legal official: Benedict does not have to testify because he is head of state."
posted by ericb at 1:55 PM on April 1, 2010


I'm not sure how "head of state" equals immunity, when dictators like Nicolae Ceausescu end up in jail. It seems to me like they've got immunity, until the world community decides they don't have immunity.

There are a number of heads of state that need to be prosecuted and jailed. The Pope is one; Bush is another.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:50 PM on April 1, 2010


Apparently the Germans are bailing on the RCC. (video)
posted by five fresh fish at 4:09 PM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


For Ceausescu, it wasn't jail. His own military put him before the firing squad.

Now, could you imagine these guys behind the trigger, giving the Pope the same fate?

I can't. My mind runs out of dye.

(Yes, they do also have guns.)
posted by Anything at 10:24 PM on April 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I just stumbled across Nate Phelps' website, in which he tells about growing up in the Phelps "church."

Needless to say, it was abusive. He's one of the very few kids that has escaped that sick "family." Really, it's quite insane that Fred Phelps has been allowed to inflict his insanity on a new generation of grandchildren.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:34 PM on April 4, 2010




Inspired by Jessamyn's suggestion, I'm posting here in response to the conversation in this thread. If you weren't reading that, it will provide some context for the following comments.

(As I understand my faith) being Catholic is not the same as being Christian. We do not see our faith in God as distinct from our position within the Church. To ask whether a Catholic person could ever leave the Church in order to preserve their faith in God is akin to asking whether a Jewish person could ignore the Torah or whether an American Evangelical could repudiate the Bible in order to preserve their faiths. You can't be Catholic without the RCC. So no I would never leave the church, I would, and I do condemn the members of the church that commit atrocities. I would, and I do, support transparency within the Church. I exist within a flawed system, but one that is, on the whole, responsible for more good in the world than bad.

You guys focus on the child abuse cases, but you ignore the good. And while I think that the constant postings in MeFi are nothing more than axe-grinding and gloating, I agree that the members of the church that committed these crimes need to be held accountable. I also see how much the Church does to improve lives. In just my modest city the Catholic Charities has a very good impact . I'm not the sort of person that thinks good behavior excuses bad behavior, but the Church, like any large group, has good and bad people. It does good and bad things. The editorial slant here on MeFi ignores that completely.

The obvious question that follows this sort of sentiment is "why not think that the good could be done without the bad?" That's certainly an attractive idea, but I'm not sure that such counter-factuals can be properly answered. It is interesting to me, however, that I've yet to find a large human endeavor, in history or in the contemporary world, that is completely good and devoid of immoral agents or negative consequences.

Perhaps the only ethical response, then, is to return to small agrarian societies.
posted by oddman at 6:32 PM on April 7, 2010


I do condemn the members of the church that commit atrocities. I would, and I do, support transparency within the Church.

Those members are the ones with the power, up to Benedict himself, and they a) oppose transparency and b) don't give a shit what you think as long as you keep taking up pew space and making your contribution. Your opinion is completely irrelevant. This group that you are a passionate member is not democratic, nor has it, historically, been friendly to democracy.

You've allowed your identity to be built around an organization run by monsters who couldn't care less what you think of them.

I'm not the sort of person that thinks good behavior excuses bad behavior

That is the bulk of your argument, however- that the good lessens the impact of the bad. Were the Church doing nothing but molest children and protect the molesters, you would of course call for its dissolution and the prosecution of those responsible.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:40 PM on April 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


You guys focus on the child abuse cases, but you ignore the good. And while I think that the constant postings in MeFi are nothing more than axe-grinding and gloating, I agree that the members of the church that committed these crimes need to be held accountable. I also see how much the Church does to improve lives. In just my modest city the Catholic Charities has a very good impact . I'm not the sort of person that thinks good behavior excuses bad behavior, but the Church, like any large group, has good and bad people. It does good and bad things. The editorial slant here on MeFi ignores that completely.

That's kind of a disingenuous argument -- the focus of the discussion is on this negative aspect of the church because this is a post specifically about child abuse in the Catholic Church. If you feel that the good works of the Church are interesting and should have a light shined on them, make a good FPP about it.
posted by desuetude at 8:55 PM on April 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


The obvious question that follows this sort of sentiment is "why not think that the good could be done without the bad?" That's certainly an attractive idea, but I'm not sure that such counter-factuals can be properly answered.

You're arguing there's no way to know whether a large organization can help poor people without molesting thousands of young boys?
posted by EarBucket at 5:42 AM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


You guys focus on the child abuse cases, but you ignore the good.

So tell us about the good, because I don't see it. Is it traveling around the world converting savages (who already have their own perfectly good belief systems) and destroying their language and culture in the process? Is it limiting access to birth control so populations that have outgrown their food production can get larger and more hungry? Is it working to prevent access to safe abortions so more young women go to backstreet 'abortionists' to get maimed or killed, or failing that, have more unwanted kids they can't afford to raise decently? Is it refusing Catholic Charity funds to organizations that won't discriminate against their gay and lesbian workers?
Where's the good, oddman? Because I'd love to hear something good for a change.
posted by rocket88 at 6:45 AM on April 8, 2010 [5 favorites]




Ahh. Money Laundering. Again. The Vatican Bank or Institute for Works of Religion as it is otherwise known is somewhat controversial. But then they have friends in High Places.
posted by adamvasco at 1:14 PM on April 8, 2010


From NPR:
A few days ago, my mother called me on the phone, shaken. She's lost her faith in the church that saved her but destroyed so many others. She isn't sure that she can be Catholic anymore — all of these sins against children, the culture of silence, the bureaucracy built on lies. . . .
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 4:57 PM on April 8, 2010


Blast from the past:

Bishop of Tenerife blames child abuse on the children

"Bernando Álvarez said that there are 13 year olds who are wanting to be abused, and 'if you are careless they will provoke you'.

There is outrage in parts of Spanish society following declarations made over Christmas from the Bishop of Tenerife, Bernardo Álvarez.

His comments were that there are youngsters who want to be abused, and he compared that abuse to homosexuality, describing them both as prejudicial to society. He said that on occasions the abuse happened because the there are children who consent to it.
‘There are 13 year old adolescents who are under age and who are perfectly in agreement with, and what’s more wanting it, and if you are careless they will even provoke you’, he said.

Regarding homosexuals, the Bishop said that homosexuality was something prejudicial to the people and to society, and that we would pay the consequences in the long term.
The Bishop claimed that both abuse of children and homosexuality would lead to future problems in society ‘as has occurred in other civilisations’."
posted by VikingSword at 11:13 AM on April 9, 2010 [1 favorite]






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