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April 12, 2010 3:32 PM   Subscribe

“Deep down, historically speaking, the Jews are God killers." And also, according to an Italian bishop, the culprits behind the Catholic Church's sex scandals.

Giacomo Babini, retired bishop of Grosetto, went on to say, "Don’t believe that Hitler was crazy. The truth is that the Nazi’s criminal fury was unleashed by the Jews’ excesses and ebezzlement, which strangled the German economy."

The American Jewish Committee has called upon the Italian Bishops' Conference to condemn these sentiments. While Babini and the Italian Bishops' Conference now deny that the statements were made, the conservative Pontifex has stood behind its story and threatened to produce the taped interview. Babini is no stranger to controversy, having previously accused Jews of using the holocaust as a club.

This comes on the heels of the Good Friday incident in which the pope's personal preacher compared increased global scrutiny of the Catholic sex scandals to "the most shameful aspects of anti-Semitism." Of course, tension between the Catholic church and Jews is nothing new.

Some might say that the Jews are in rather good company.
posted by LittleMissCranky (264 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
WTF?

Okay, off to go read something that doesn't make my brain explode...
posted by ohyouknow at 3:38 PM on April 12, 2010


Somewhat related: Hitchens, Dawkins argue for Pope's arrest during his upcoming U.K. visit
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 3:38 PM on April 12, 2010


OK I was one of those folks who were worried that maybe some of the criticisms of the Catholic Church on mefi were bordering on know-nothing-esque xenophobia, but seeing this kind of shit I think I need to say mea-culpa and take it back, this is a bunch of morons who deserve far more disdain than we are even capable of piling on.
posted by idiopath at 3:38 PM on April 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Something of note that is perhaps a bit gossipy:

I have a friend who's a member of the Jesuit order and a teacher.

They're not saying anything publicly. They're not making statements yet. But my friend says this: the Jesuit order is fucking furious about how the Church is handling this.

Like, schism-level furious.

And he also says (although this is less credible for me) that the bulk of the Franciscans are similarly angry.

Take this for what it is worth, which is little. But even so, it's interesting to consider.
posted by mightygodking at 3:39 PM on April 12, 2010 [68 favorites]


Look, even if it were true, we're not God killers. We're false messiah killers.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:41 PM on April 12, 2010 [83 favorites]


I think Pontifex should release the tape immediately, just so the discussion can move past blanket denials from the Church.

Then, perhaps, someone should take all shovels away from the Church so that they stop digging.
posted by never used baby shoes at 3:43 PM on April 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Very much related: US Jewish leaders denounce Catholic sermon
By ERIC GORSKI (AP) – Apr 2, 2010
American Jewish leaders on Friday denounced a Vatican official's likening of anti-Catholicism during the church's escalating abuse crisis to "collective violence" against Jews, but predicted it would not deal a severe blow to the two faiths' often-strained relationship.

posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 3:44 PM on April 12, 2010


If you're tired of bigotry, intolerance, scapegoating, intentional ignorance, racism, homophobism, sexism, persecution, hypocrisy, lying, the wearing of blinders, and all the other truly ugly aspects of human nature, and you know it, clap your hands.
posted by loosemouth at 3:45 PM on April 12, 2010 [18 favorites]


Good lord, the stupid bastards just keep digging themselves deeper and deeper, don't they?
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:45 PM on April 12, 2010


Clap clap.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:48 PM on April 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


Man, the church needs some Jesus.

It's like watching them play out a montage of Jerry Springer episodes without the chair fight and security to haul them out: "Tonight- Jew Hating Child Molesting Priest Conspiracy - Menace, or merely misunderstood?!?"
posted by yeloson at 3:48 PM on April 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


And he also says (although this is less credible for me) that the bulk of the Franciscans are similarly angry.

I don't see this as being so incredible, given the Franciscans' emphasis on poverty, asceticism, penitence, etc. I mean, if you were going into the priesthood for reasons of earthly power, it doesn't seem like the Franciscans would be at the top of your list. Then again, it's been a while since I've followed internecine Catholic politics.
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:49 PM on April 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


Too tired to clap.
posted by Brak at 3:50 PM on April 12, 2010


And, you know, it may just be me, but "god killer" sounds like the kind of larger than life honorific that is so fucking over the top awesome that only other people can bestow it on you, used by the likes of Conan the Cimerrian, Chuck Norris, Carl Sagan and Galactus.
posted by idiopath at 3:51 PM on April 12, 2010 [37 favorites]


But the Catholic Church forgave the Beatles!
and they had a Jewish manager
posted by lukemeister at 3:53 PM on April 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Look at how these priests swarm around this unprotected altar boy like insatiable locusts.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 3:53 PM on April 12, 2010 [9 favorites]


but "god killer" sounds like the kind of larger than life honorific that is so fucking over the top awesome

I say we should get Kratos in here to solve this problem.
posted by AdamCSnider at 3:53 PM on April 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


They're not saying anything publicly. They're not making statements yet. But my friend says this: the Jesuit order is fucking furious about how the Church is handling this.

Like, schism-level furious.


Just think: 800 years ago, we would have had a nice, clean assassination. Now we need to go through with all of this rigamarole. Sigh. Modern times have just been horrible for the church....
posted by mr_roboto at 3:53 PM on April 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


So it's the Jews behind all those accusations of rape, which are like the Holocaust. The irony is bittersweet.
posted by kafziel at 3:54 PM on April 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


That's interesting, mightygodking. I don't know a lot about the Society of Jesus, aka Jesuits, but I found it quite interesting to read in Wikipedia that the founder, St. Ignatius, wrote in Rule 13 in his Rules for Thinking with the Church,
"I will believe that the white that I see is black if the hierarchical Church so defines it."
posted by BeerFilter at 3:54 PM on April 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


This will Handel Wagner.

Babini is stirring a very tired pot, with bits of matter caked to the rim. In this regard he is much like an Italian cook. Of course, the Catholic church is on a failing defensive at the moment, so cranks like Babini and Cantalamessa (or his alleged magical mystery Jewish friend) are pretty useful: they can flick an aspergillum of watery rat-based gruel into the crowd and while most people will complain about just getting sticky and wet, a few will get a mouthful of giblets and gristle, and think that their faith is being nourished. No matter that the gristle be rotten, because later a higher-up can say "Oh, the gruel-flickers were not acting under Church instruction." You've still given a few (thousand) people something to chew on that they believe is fair and profound. And every time a priest bums a Catechism student in the vestry, the gristle-munchers can pick something from their teeth and nod and tell themselves "Ah, Satan was at work in that poor man, so terrible, let us pray for him. As for the buggered Acolyte, well, he was just a vessel for temptation. We ought to install lead weights at the bottom of their cassocks to make them harder to lift. Let us remove the priest to another parish, for surely this is a unique situation."

Comparing child rapists to Jews upset at their grandparents having their faces gassed to bits at Dachau is definitely an example of something moving in mysterious ways, possibly the serpent of twisted logic.

I once saw a priest blessing a jar of Vaseline.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:55 PM on April 12, 2010 [10 favorites]


This scandal just gets worse and worse, doesn't it? You think you hit rock bottom, but then one of the clergy shows that you can keep digging.

I mean, don't they know when to quit? A priest molested 200 boys! They covered it up! Any other institution would fall appart, but because there is so much loyalty and goodwill, the public is giving them a pass! And they just go and make things worse for themselves! Don't they know that without followers, they are nothing?
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:56 PM on April 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism. -- Carl Sagan

Crom, I have never prayed to you before. I have no tongue for it. No one, not even you, will remember if we were good men or bad. Why we fought, or why we died. All that matters is that two stood against many. That's what's important! Valor pleases you, Crom... so grant me one request. Grant me revenge! And if you do not listen, then to HELL with you! --Conan

That's an insult to both of us. It makes me stupid and you... a whore. -- Chuck Norris
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:56 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


The episode of SNL from this past weekend included the Devil appearing on Weekend Update to clarify he had nothing to do with any of this. Until then, I hadn't heard the fact that Pope Benedict alluded to the sexual abuse scandal as "petty gossip":
Faith in God, he said, led "towards the courage of not allowing oneself to be intimidated by the petty gossip of dominant opinion".
I can't find a complete transcript from that Palm Sunday service in St Peter's square, which would be nice to read, because some iteration of that quote can be found hacked and re-worked in many different reports on the weekend, each with their own twist on what the Pope was really saying.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:56 PM on April 12, 2010


Also another big talking point for the Nazis was how Jews are involved in the weapons industry fomenting wars everywhere. I guess it's the Jews who supplied a Texas priest the gun when he raped a teenage boy at gunpoint - the teenager became suicidal and that's how it came out. Damn Jewish gun trade always tripping up good priests at the RCC.
posted by VikingSword at 3:59 PM on April 12, 2010


Anyone know what the Latin being translated as "petty gossip" is?
posted by mr_roboto at 3:59 PM on April 12, 2010


Some might say that the Jews are in rather good company.

Blame the media. Blame the gays. Blame the Jews. What's next? Blame the children? No way.

Oh, wait.

Bishop of Tenerife Blames Child Abuse on the Children
"'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."
Ya know what, asshole, fuck you!
posted by ericb at 4:00 PM on April 12, 2010 [24 favorites]


(thought continued...) The Devil went on to say that sexually abusing children doesn't really fit the general notion of idle chit-chat. It's interesting (and tragic) that this mess is being spun as everything from idle banter to the Nazis persecuting the Jews.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:00 PM on April 12, 2010


I don't see this as being so incredible, given the Franciscans' emphasis on poverty, asceticism, penitence, etc.

Oh, neither do I. But the guy telling me this isn't a Franciscan. I'm giving you secondhand gossip about the Jesuits and fourthhand gossip about the Franciscans. That was my point. And it's worth remembering that the Jesuits have had their share of child molestation scandals, which is unsurprising given that they're the single largest religious order in the Church. At best, the guy telling me this is talking about a groundswell within the order, rather than the leadership's response.
posted by mightygodking at 4:00 PM on April 12, 2010


I have a friend who's a member of the Jesuit order and a teacher.

They're not saying anything publicly. They're not making statements yet. But my friend says this: the Jesuit order is fucking furious about how the Church is handling this.

Like, schism-level furious.


In the highly unlikely event that this happens, mark me down as one former American Catholic who'd consider rejoining the faith. The Jesuits kick ass and are a breed apart....I really want to believe this is true, WRT them having this much moral outrage towards the handling of these abuse cases.
posted by availablelight at 4:02 PM on April 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


This is a topic that really churns my stomach, but I'm wondering: Does the Catholic church uniquely have this problem, or does every religious institution have this issue roughly the same per capita of clergy, meaning the Catholic church gets the most attention because of its size? And, out of curiosity, is there less molestation in sects where preachers can marry? It's just really disgusting, and I'm hoping that maybe people could draw some conclusions about how to avoid this if we wring the data a bit, beyond general things like "Religion is bad" or "Worldly corruption is getting to the clergy."
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:02 PM on April 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


This is brilliant news; it comes at the most opportune time. Not that the execrable comments by this idiotic ex-bishop ought to be granted more hearing than they have been; but now Pope Benedict must come forward and denounce Babini's blunder; and it will be very hard to do so without speaking to the true cause of these events. It will be interesting to hear him talk about this more directly.
posted by koeselitz at 4:03 PM on April 12, 2010


I say it's the Quakers' fault.
posted by nathancaswell at 4:04 PM on April 12, 2010


No, no, the "Zionist attack" is on the Palestinians. Nietzsche's the Godkiller. This guy has his sophomore politics and sophomore philosophy all mixed up.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:04 PM on April 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


You could say that the Catholic Church keeps shooting itself in the foot, but I wonder how much of the Church's 1 billion members worldwide are actually tuned in to these sorts of controversies.

As I recall, the current Pope Palpatine II (or whatever his name is) received most of his support during the conclave election thingy from developing countries, which are notably more conservative when compared to American and European congregations.

I would posit that the Church doesn't really give a shit about Ireland, Germany and the US (where its harshest contemporary critics are), as long as it has Subsaharan Africa, the Philippines, Brazil and other populous congregations supporting it.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:07 PM on April 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


Justinian: Is that really the level of discourse you aspire to, DTT?

At some point the continued efforts of the upper levels of Catholic Church hierarchy to stuff their feet, their friends' feet, and the feet of every single Catholic, into their mouths stopped being infuriating and became pathetic. Then they kept on saying some ridiculous, bigoted thing after ridiculous, bigoted thing until the only possible reaction was derisive laughter. What else is there to do but point and laugh? They may wear a different kind of colorful outfit but they've turned into clowns.
posted by Kattullus at 4:07 PM on April 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


I've never understood the whole "Jews killed Jesus" thing. I mean...if you just read the fucking bible, it's pretty damned clear that Jesus' death was a fait accompli as soon as the angel visited Mary. It was filicide with a 35-ish year fuse.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:07 PM on April 12, 2010 [18 favorites]


Allow me to explain my question better: I'm not trying to defend the Church here. And the guy molesting 200 kids is certainly a terrible, terrible outlier. I'm just curious as to why the Catholic church seems to have this issue.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:07 PM on April 12, 2010


It will be interesting to hear him [the Pope] talk about this more directly.

No it won't; he'll just continue to deny responsibility like any politician would, even though he has been directly implicated in covering-up this scandal for years--and priests are now beginning to call for his resignation.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 4:08 PM on April 12, 2010


In related news ...

Connecticut Bishops Fight Sex Abuse Bill
“A bill in Connecticut's legislature that would remove the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse cases has sparked a fervent response from the state's Roman Catholic bishops, who released a letter to parishioners Saturday imploring them to oppose the measure.

Under current Connecticut law, sexual abuse victims have 30 years past their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit. The proposed change to the law would rescind that statute of limitations.

The proposed change to the law would put ‘all Church institutions, including your parish, at risk,’ says the letter, which was signed by Connecticut's three Roman Catholic bishops.

....The ‘legislation would undermine the mission of the Catholic Church in Connecticut, threatening our parishes, our schools, and our Catholic Charities,’ the letter says.

The Catholic archdiocese of Hartford also published a pulpit announcement on its Web site, which was to be read during Mass on Sunday, urging parishioners to express opposition to the bill.

The bill has been revised to address some of the church's concerns about frivolous abuse claims against it, according to Connecticut state Rep. Beth Bye, one of the bill's sponsors.

‘The church didn't recognize that this bill makes improvements,’ Bye said. ‘The victims -- their lives have been changed and some will never recover from years of sexual abuse. For me, it's about giving them access to the courts.’

Under the bill's provisions, anyone older than 48 who makes a sex abuse claim against the church would need to join an existing claim filed by someone 48 or younger. Older claimants would need to show substantial proof that they were abused.

‘They were worried about frivolous lawsuits and so we made the bar high,’ Bye said.

....The bill does not target the Catholic Church, she said.”
Holy Men of God, where should your compassion be first focused? On the victims or your "brothers?"
posted by ericb at 4:08 PM on April 12, 2010 [11 favorites]


Holy Men of God

Hamburger.
posted by ericb at 4:09 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bishop of Tenerife Blames Child Abuse on the Children

"'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."


Because no one else has posted it yet, Pope Forgives Molested Children.
posted by infinitywaltz at 4:10 PM on April 12, 2010


Giacomo Babini, retired bishop of Grosetto, went on to say,"Don’t believe that Hitler was crazy. The truth is that the Nazi’s criminal fury was unleashed by the Jews’ excesses and ebezzlement, which strangled the German economy."

Giacomo "Two-Times" Brazzi, a former bishop so-named for inventing the difficult "double baptism," broke a ten-year vow of silence to speak with our reporter. "In truth, only a Jew would move diagonally. Just watch how they walk. No bishop would ever walk like that."

Brazzi added: "Also Israel kills way more people than the Vatican. They're really making us look bad."
posted by kid ichorous at 4:11 PM on April 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


How can the Catholic church even remotely pretend to be innocent of all of this while trying to block the Connecticut law? That's disgusting.
posted by stoneweaver at 4:14 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm just curious as to why the Catholic church seems to have this issue.

There are a couple of different factors at play. For one thing, the Roman Catholic Church has a stricter top-down hierarchy and a lot of power, even in comparison to other major dominations.

For another thing, yeah, the celibacy thing can't help.

There's also a theory that young gay men from exceptionally traditional, repressive Catholic backgrounds tend to choose the priesthood rather than coming out of the closet, which has all kinds of psychological implications.
posted by infinitywaltz at 4:15 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


mccarty.tim,

The studies that I could find claim that pedophilia rates are *not* higher among Catholic clergy than among Protestant clergy, but obviously this is such a contentious issue that it is difficult to find an unbiased perspective. Certainly, some Catholic sources have been trumpeting the studies that say that they're no worse than others. It's not a reassuring argument.
posted by lukemeister at 4:17 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's one thing to molest children. It's another thing to molest children and lie about it. It's another thing to actively protect the men who molested children and lied about it. It's a waaaaaaaaay 'nother thing to do all that while you are a "man of God".

If there is any justice, Jesus will show them the express "DOWN" elevator when they are done here.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 4:20 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


The proposed change to the law would put ‘all Church institutions, including your parish, at risk,’ says the letter, which was signed by Connecticut's three Roman Catholic bishops.

Wow, that's about the clearest direct statement I've ever seen that they're guilty as charged. "Including your parish" = "We've been diddling your kids, don't let them get us."
posted by Malor at 4:21 PM on April 12, 2010 [8 favorites]


When you can't tell the difference between your religion and the NAMBLA defense fund, things have gone terribly, terribly wrong.
posted by yeloson at 4:22 PM on April 12, 2010 [22 favorites]


I have such a low opinion of the Church hierarchy ... but still, no, I didn't see this coming at all.
posted by kanewai at 4:23 PM on April 12, 2010


It's pretty hilarious that people get upset that 'the Jews killed Jesus!' when the entire faith is based on the idea of sacrifice and resurrection. What if they had not done it? Where would that leave Christianity?
posted by tomble at 4:23 PM on April 12, 2010 [15 favorites]


I am pretty sure that sexual abuse follows along with authority, so where adults have authority over children you will find sexual abuse of children. What is different, I think, is that the Catholic Church have consistently and effectively defended their priests from prosecution, and subverted legal authority in order to prevent their punishment if caught.
posted by idiopath at 4:23 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Allow me to explain my question better: I'm not trying to defend the Church here. And the guy molesting 200 kids is certainly a terrible, terrible outlier. I'm just curious as to why the Catholic church seems to have this issue.

Because they took a statistically predictable number of child molesters and carefully, deliberately shielded them from secular consequences, or anything that might stop them. What they did in covering up potential scandal actually facilitated further child abuse. It borders on an organized conspiracy to rape children.
posted by fatbird at 4:24 PM on April 12, 2010 [14 favorites]


What does a guy have to do to get fired from this organization?
posted by clockzero at 4:27 PM on April 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yeah, the problem is not simply the abuse - abuse happens in all sorts of situations. The problem is how the entire hierarchy up to the highest level is invested in covering up, lying, avoiding legal responsibility, and shifting the guilty around, even though it is absolutely certain that the monsters will re-offend again. It really functions like a giant pedophile ring. Which is why I maintain that the RCC is the biggest pedophile ring in the world, and should be extirpated as an organization.
posted by VikingSword at 4:27 PM on April 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


The priest-or-something guy on CBC last night that they sent out to do damage control didn't do a great job of anything except obfuscating. He kept talking about how we need to see this "in perspective," and the only "perspective" he seemed to raise is that pedophilia isn't exclusive to the Catholic Church and that other organizations have also had similar issues.

Call me crazy, but when you're supposedly *THE* moral authority, the whole "well, they did it too!" excuse seems a bit pathetic.
posted by Kirk Grim at 4:27 PM on April 12, 2010 [14 favorites]


Can I say 'Yay Religion' yet?
posted by unSane at 4:29 PM on April 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


Regardless of what one thinks of Andrew Sullivan, his comments on this scandal are pretty damning.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 4:30 PM on April 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


Unfortunately there's really no way to remove a Pope other than resignation... or the old-fashioned ways. Unfortunately, the Borgias are all dead.
posted by mephron at 4:30 PM on April 12, 2010


> "The 'legislation would undermine the mission of the Catholic Church in Connecticut...'

The abuse itself is no biggie, it's the legislation that would undermine the Church. Got it.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:33 PM on April 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Anyone know what the Latin being translated as "petty gossip" is?

It was Italian and translates more precisely to "idle chatter of the moment", which means the same thing. It's all just so jaw-droppingly stupid.
posted by moxiedoll at 4:34 PM on April 12, 2010


The real question is, who's the Ghostface Killer?

oh, wait, we already know that, nevermind
posted by davejay at 4:34 PM on April 12, 2010


> I say it's the Quakers' fault.
Yeah, we've been putting that mind control shit in your breakfast cereal for decades. When the signal comes, the whole world will rise up, wear comfortable shoes, and be generally quite well disposed to one another.
oh wait ...
posted by scruss at 4:45 PM on April 12, 2010 [27 favorites]


"I'm not a pedophile. I'm an enemy of world Jewry!"
posted by stammer at 4:46 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's always us. My mom says antisemitism is just a basic force of the universe like gravity. No sense in trying to eliminate it. It's functionally inescapable and eternal. I am never sure if she's being hyperbolic or not. But, over time, I have begun to suspect that it is not hyperbole and whats more is a pretty much justified position.
posted by milarepa at 4:48 PM on April 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


They'd be better off blaming the Devil, as this pope once did re: child abuse, think of all the advantages, I mean, who is going to stand up for the Devil? But leave the Jews (and their horns) out of this.
posted by VikingSword at 4:49 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


The whole thing about God killing is weird. Wasn't Jesus Jewish? Wouldn't that mean, at the very least, it balanced out?
posted by JHarris at 4:50 PM on April 12, 2010


From here:
Monsignor Babini, the retired bishop of Grosseto, told them that 'The enemies of catholicism are always the same - Freemasons and Jews...
(looks at Square and Compasses tattoo on right arm) well I guess I'll be first in line for the next Inquisition then.
posted by mrbill at 4:52 PM on April 12, 2010


I guess I might get in trouble with my peers for saying this, but perhaps the world ought to know. We Elders of Zion, meeting high atop a mountain in Switzerland, plotting world domination, also as an aside try to do in the Church so that we might have those young lads they are so fond of
reaming all to ourselves. Sure. The kids are not among the Chosen ones, but then from time to
time we like to gorge on non-kosher snacks too.
posted by Postroad at 4:57 PM on April 12, 2010


Personally, I always thought Ringo looked a little Jewish.
posted by briank at 4:59 PM on April 12, 2010


Personally, I always thought Ringo looked a little Jewish.

Nooooo! Say it ain't so - Jewish Pedophile Ringo!!!
posted by VikingSword at 5:02 PM on April 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


At this point I would not be surprised to see Benedict stand up on his Pope-balcony and start chanting "Ia! Ia! Cthulhu fhtagn! Ia! Shub-niggurath!" to a puzzled Vatican crowd before he remembers which service he's at.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:12 PM on April 12, 2010 [25 favorites]


nathancaswell: "I say it's the Quakers' fault."

You do not want to mess with Quakers. They have very sharp beaks and travel in flocks. A word to the wise and all that.
posted by Splunge at 5:14 PM on April 12, 2010


infinitywaltz: There's also a theory that young gay men from exceptionally traditional, repressive Catholic backgrounds tend to choose the priesthood rather than coming out of the closet, which has all kinds of psychological implications.

This kind of argument has always bothered the shit out of me. It implies that gay men or gay Catholic men or whomever are inclined to mess around with kids because they can't or won't sleep with adults.

Plenty of Catholic priests break the vow of celibacy to sleep with women. Plenty of Catholic priests break the vow of celibacy to sleep with men. People don't stand by their promises all the time in all kinds of institutions. The hierarcy of the Roman Catholic Church instituted a decades-long widespread coverup of the worst kind of criminal activity. I can remind you that happens in other institutions without morally excusing their actions. Neither of those facts justifies repeating the slur that gay Catholic men not only can't be trusted to keep a promise, but will break it by messing around with kids.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 5:16 PM on April 12, 2010 [7 favorites]


I blame tight pants.
posted by disclaimer at 5:16 PM on April 12, 2010


I look forward to a cardinal blaming it on lizard people.
posted by qvantamon at 5:16 PM on April 12, 2010 [7 favorites]


There's also a theory that young gay men from exceptionally traditional, repressive Catholic backgrounds tend to choose the priesthood rather than coming out of the closet, which has all kinds of psychological implications.

Two things: First, pedophilia and normal, between-consenting-adults homosexuality are no more related than is pedophilia and normal, between-consenting-adults heterosexuality.

Second, young gay men don't choose the priesthood rather than come out of the closet. It's not that simple. I dated-- which is to say, fucked-- a priest when I was in grad school. He lived in a rectory with three other priests. Two of those three I knew to be gay; in fact one of my male students (an undergrad, not a child) was boyfriends with one of them. The fourth might have been gay too but I never actually met him. Part of the impetus to become a priest wasn't to be in the closet- it was to have lots and lots of sex with men. They never articulated it like this, but being in the priesthood provided endless cock and ass, and I'm talking about sex between grown men here, that, hell, I started to consider it. They have networks and newsletters and they fuck one another like crazy. Staying in the closet is absolutely not what motivated these men to enter the priesthood.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 5:17 PM on April 12, 2010 [35 favorites]


> .., this is a bunch of morons who deserve far more disdain than we are even capable of piling on.

I'm certain this was just an isolated incident.

> Like, schism-level furious.

Don't hold your breath.

> Good lord, the stupid bastards just keep digging themselves deeper and deeper, don't they?

I'm sure they'll find some consequences down there. Considering holding my breath here.

> Jesus will show them the express "DOWN" elevator when they are done here.

Totally holding my breath here.

> What does a guy have to do to get fired from this organization?

Let's face it, people. It doesn't matter how outraged anyone gets at the Catholic church. It doesn't matter how many laws its princes break. It doesn't matter how many suffering mouths scream at heaven. Nothing's going to happen. No one will be held to account. Hush pittances will continue to be paid. The guilty parties will always sleep well. They will all die peacefully in their beds.

Thems just facts, ain't they.
posted by clarknova at 5:17 PM on April 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


One of the only things in this horrible, awful, very-no-good thread that made me smile was the reference to "Pope Palpatine II (or whatever his name is)" by KokuRyu. Thank you for that. Because this is bloody awful and makes me want brain-bleach and a shower.
posted by the_royal_we at 5:20 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


From the US bishops' statement upon the release of the Passion of the Christ:
For almost forty years, the Catholic Church has worked to implement the teachings of the Second Vatican Council's landmark declaration, Nostra Aetate, which condemned anti-Semitism and rejected the ancient "deicide" charge indicting all Jews past and present for the death of Jesus. In a series of significant documents, the Holy See and national episcopal conferences have emphasized that any depiction of Jesus' death under the Romans should be so fashioned as to present accurately both the theological and historical causes of Jesus' crucifixion. Theologically, all humanity was responsible for killing Jesus, not just one group or people. Historically, Jesus was executed through collaboration between the Roman prefect, Pontius Pilate, and the Roman-dominated high priesthood of Jerusalem. Jesus was popular with the people at large as his clandestine arrest at night shows. Catholic texts have been rewritten to incorporate these new understandings of ancient texts so that the teachings of the Church may never again give rise to contempt for and denigration of Jews and Judaism.
A similar statement appears among the Good Friday readings distributed in church pews.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 5:21 PM on April 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


Anecdotally, the guy diddling little boys at my Episcopal church growing up wasn't the pastor, it was one of the high-up church-governance-clique types.

Grandma Fairytale has much to answer for in her afterlife of choice for letting that dude violate the restraining order and hang out on church grounds unopposed, as do many other members of that congregation.

I quit at 15 to become disorganizedly religious, in part due to shit like that across both the Catholic and Episcopal parts of my upbringing.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 5:23 PM on April 12, 2010


Jews are god-killers? That is sooo badass!
posted by Ritchie at 5:29 PM on April 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


Well I can't say I've got an ounce of sympathy for this devil of a church. Fight the real enemy indeed.
posted by nola at 5:29 PM on April 12, 2010


Until then, I hadn't heard the fact that Pope Benedict alluded to the sexual abuse scandal as "petty gossip":

This is the full paragraph:
But what direction are we talking about? How do we find it? The line from our Gospel offers two indications in this connection. In the first place it says that it is a matter of an ascent. This has in the first place a very literal meaning. Jericho, where the last stage of Jesus's pilgrimage began, is 250 meters below sea-level while Jerusalem -- the goal of the journey -- is 740-780 meters above sea level: an ascent of almost 1,000 meters. But this external rout is above all an image of the interior movement of existence, which occurs in the following of Christ: It is an ascent to the true height of being human. Man can choose an easy path and avoid all toil. He can also descend to what is lower. He can sink into lies and dishonesty. Jesus goes ahead of us, and he goes up to what is above. He leads us to what is great, pure, he leads us to the healthy air of the heights: to life according to truth; to the courage that does not let itself be intimidated by the gossip of dominant opinions; to the patience that stands up for and supports the other. He leads us to availability to the suffering, to the abandoned; to the loyalty that stands with the other even when the situation makes it difficult.
I think it's unfair to say that the Pope's homily "dismisses" sexual abuse or that it "declares" he won't be swayed as the Guardian maintains. Here's the full text.

Anyone know what the Latin being translated as "petty gossip" is?

The homily was given in Italian, as the Pope's homilies at the Vatican usually are. The full text is here. The word used was "chiacchiericcio".

Mr Roboto, I think suggesting that we'd be better off if the Pope was assassinated is pretty unfunny.

Does the Catholic church uniquely have this problem, or does every religious institution have this issue roughly the same per capita of clergy, meaning the Catholic church gets the most attention because of its size? And, out of curiosity, is there less molestation in sects where preachers can marry?

Newsweek reporter Pat Wingert recently looked at the question:
ased on the surveys and studies conducted by different denominations over the past 30 years, experts who study child abuse say they see little reason to conclude that sexual abuse is mostly a Catholic issue. "We don't see the Catholic Church as a hotbed of this or a place that has a bigger problem than anyone else," said Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
I would posit that the Church doesn't really give a shit about Ireland, Germany and the US (where its harshest contemporary critics are), as long as it has Subsaharan Africa, the Philippines, Brazil and other populous congregations supporting it.Even leaving aside religious arguments, this is unlikely, since the U.S. and Germany are major contributors to the Vatican budget.

Which is why I maintain that the RCC is the biggest pedophile ring in the world, and should be extirpated as an organization.

And what exactly would that look like?
posted by Jahaza at 5:34 PM on April 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


Since priests take a vow of celibacy, why not make castration a required step in the Rite of Ordination?

Instead of consecrated oil, the Chrism can be local anesthetic. Sharpen the edge of that Holy Chalice to surgical standards, and fortify the Gift of Bread and Wine with a few ounces of Jack Daniels.

Now that's what I call an Imposition of Hands!
posted by CynicalKnight at 5:36 PM on April 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm sick and tired of hearing things from short-sighted, narrow-minded Psychotic hypocrites.
All I want is the truth,
just give me some truth! John Lennon

Read the latest statement out of the Vatican and this song immediately popped to mind.
posted by ExitPursuedByBear at 5:45 PM on April 12, 2010


Mr Roboto, I think suggesting that we'd be better off if the Pope was assassinated is pretty unfunny .

Look, it's distasteful, and wrong, and anachronistic. It's not done in the modern church; it was more of a medieval thing. It's silly to argue that it wouldn't be good for the church at this point, though.
posted by mr_roboto at 5:49 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Which is why I maintain that the RCC is the biggest pedophile ring in the world, and should be extirpated as an organization.

And what exactly would that look like?


We would dispense with the fiction that the Vatican is an independent state. We would prosecute to the fullest extent of the law everybody involved not merely in the abuse directly, but in any action that contributed to the criminal conspiracy of evading the law. That would put a good chunk of the hierarchy in prison. We'd use broadly applied RICO statutes for compensatory damages to the victims and punitive damages as well, which would likely bankrupt the RCC (similar tactics were used to bankrupt hate groups in the U.S.). We'd declare the RCC a criminal organization, similar to the Mafia, in that a broad conspiracy was perpetrated over decades to subvert the rule of law. We would therefore be able to ban any money going to the RCC as a criminal organization - this would allow complete cutting off from any government involvement on any level, tax advantages, private contributions (we've used these tactics against terrorist organizations that masqueraded as charities), etc., etc., etc.. Once we've gotten over fiction of the RCC as anything other than a criminal organization, the flood gates would open to a veritable panoply of legal options - we'd so short work of the RCC, I have no doubt, once we put our minds to it. Of course, Catholics can always get together and form a new Church, with a new structure and new personnel - which is fine, but the the RCC as an organization as it stands today, would be relegated to history.
posted by VikingSword at 5:50 PM on April 12, 2010 [27 favorites]


Let's face it, people. It doesn't matter how outraged anyone gets at the Catholic church. It doesn't matter how many laws its princes break. It doesn't matter how many suffering mouths scream at heaven. Nothing's going to happen. No one will be held to account. Hush pittances will continue to be paid. The guilty parties will always sleep well. They will all die peacefully in their beds.

Perhaps in the old days that would have been a certainty. Perhaps the Church harboured networks of predatory paedophiles for centuries, slyly covering up their deeds and threatening their victims with eternal damnation. But now, with a secular, peer-to-peer society in which hierarchy and authority can be challenged more easily than before, things tend to come out, and once they do they don't go away.

I suspect that we have not only not seen the last of the abuse, but that we've only seen the beginning of it. There will be more revelations, coming out all over the world. More atrocities against children and deliberate, calculating cover-ups going up to the highest level, and it'll be ever harder for the church to plausibly deny knowledge of it. Sure, they might try and hope that it goes away, or that their increasingly absurd denials are somehow believed on whatever moral-authority credit they may still have left, but the cavalcade of claims will only get louder, and so will the calls for justice. And eventually something will give.

We've already seen lawsuits against dioceses, with heavy judgements made; this can only intensify. Courts will seize the Church's assets to pay reparations, and arrest higher and higher officials. Perhaps we'll see the Pope abruptly curtail his overseas tours, and shut himself in the Vatican, circling the wagons; a few valued officials may be spirited off to the Vatican, and the rest thrown to the wolves. Meanwhile, as adherents desert and prosecutors move in, the once mighty Church organisation's power crumbles like an aspirin in a glass of water.

It's not sure what the end game will be. Perhaps we'll see paratroopers breach the Vatican (how would the Swiss Guard fare against, say, the Navy Seals or the SAS?), capture Ratzinger and bundle him off to The Hague; or perhaps other forces in the Church will decide to revoke his Papal infallibility for the good of the organisation, under whatever pretext. This could take the form of a seemingly natural death and the hasty election of a new broom, or of a bitter and acrimonious internal civil war which tears the Catholic Church asunder in a way unseen since the Protestant Reformation. Or perhaps it'll end with a whimper, with a Catholic Church (or several claimants to the name) stumbling on into obscurity.
posted by acb at 5:51 PM on April 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


or perhaps other forces in the Church will decide to revoke his Papal infallibility for the good of the organisation

Hm, Papal infallibility doesn't affect what he'd done before he was Pope. Dogma is saved!
posted by qvantamon at 5:55 PM on April 12, 2010


What does a guy have to do to get fired from this organization?

Embrace liberation theology.
posted by kenko at 6:13 PM on April 12, 2010 [10 favorites]


Well, this has been a depressing conversation about a depressing news story.
posted by craichead at 6:14 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


This comes on the heels of the Good Friday incident in which the pope's personal preacher compared increased global scrutiny of the Catholic sex scandals to "the most shameful aspects of anti-Semitism."

Not to defend Cantalamessa at all... I have serious issues with the man... there's an interesting op/ed on this in the Jerusalem Post today:
Let us remember the moment. It is Good Friday mass. The homily for Good Friday was the moment most dreaded by Jews for centuries. Following this homily, mobs would set to the streets, and Jews feared for their lives. Passion plays enacted on Good Friday were a constant source of violence towards Jews. More recently, Good Friday has constituted a problem for Jewish-Christian relations, in view of the new Latin version of the prayer for the Jews, released by Pope Benedict.

With this background, it is striking to note what Father Cantalamessa makes of the opportunity. He uses the moment at St. Peter’s Basilica, in the presence of the Pope, to wish Jews a “Good Passover.”

Reading this, I asked myself, when before was a Good Friday sermon used for such purposes? Probably never. Why do we take this gesture of goodwill for granted? Why do we gloss over it in silence? To think of the Jews as brothers in faith during a Papal Good Friday service is the fruit of decades of labor in the field of Jewish-Christian relations. That this could be said so casually and naturally is the real news.

But he does not stop here. He greets us, Jews, with words from the Mishna, quoted in the Hagadda, the most popular of Jewish texts, and echoed in Christian liturgy, a sign of bonding and unity between our communities. How often have we complained that Judaism is not simply the Biblical root, of which Christianity is the branch? How often have we emphasized the need to refer to latter day Judaism in its own right, respecting it as a self-standing religion, and not simply as the Old Testament?

Does not greeting us on Good Friday in words taken from the Mishna-Haggada deliver a powerful message that something here is right and that we have made progress?

We didn’t hear all this because we only noted the comparison of violent attacks on the Church with those perpetrated against the Church. But even here, we failed to hear the Jewish voice quoted by the Franciscan Father, in its fullness. It spoke of living with a common Messianic hope that will reunite us in the love of our common Father. Need I query once more when was the last time that such words were uttered at St. Peter’s on Good Friday? To all this, there is only one appropriate response, recognition and acknowledgement of the quiet yet profound significance of the moment, and so – Thank you, Fr. Cantalamessa.
And don't think that this is some strategy by the JP to go easy on the issue. It's not their official line.

Of course, tension between the Catholic church and Jews is nothing new.

Your framing is rather different than that of the American Jewish Committee:
Rabbi David Rosen added: “The high level of mutual trust and solidarity that binds our two communities today demands that there be zero-tolerance for such defamatory statements by religious representatives.”
And, I had missed this part of Myer's post the first time around:
Now you could invent stories of Jews and witches taking the communion host to torture, to make Jesus suffer even more, and good Catholics would of course rise in horror to defend their salvation. None of the stories were true, of course — Jews and infidels see no power at all in those little crackers, and the idea that they were obsessing over obtaining a non-sacred, powerless, pointless relic is ludicrous
This is a decidely odd thing for him to say, given that he's doing exactly that... obtaining a Host and desecrating it on purpose. (This is not a defense of pogroms.)

Regardless of what one thinks of Andrew Sullivan, his comments on this scandal are pretty damning.

His comments have the same problems as the original reporting.
posted by Jahaza at 6:19 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, I have no doubt the Rat or his underlings say nice things about Jews when it's advantageous to them. You should hear what they have to say about children!
posted by VikingSword at 6:23 PM on April 12, 2010


Yeah, you know, Jahaza, if you have to put "this is not a defense of pogroms" in your post, it's a pretty good sign that your post may be a little fucked up.
posted by craichead at 6:29 PM on April 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


I am so fucking sick of being hated and blamed for everything.

(This is not a defense of pogroms.)

Wait, what?
posted by amro at 6:37 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wait, what?

The linked post by Myers puts the desecration of the Host in the context of the justification of anti-Jewish pogroms. I was trying (rather inelegantly) to head off the predictable... "so you're in favor of pogroms then" replies.
posted by Jahaza at 6:42 PM on April 12, 2010


The linked post by Myers puts the desecration of the Host in the context of the justification of anti-Jewish pogroms. I was trying (rather inelegantly) to head off the predictable... "so you're in favor of pogroms then" replies.
Ok, so some former Bishop tries to blame the Church's current problems on the Jews, and it's somehow relevant that PJ Myers, a lapsed Lutheran, said something about pogroms and communion wafers? What? What on earth does that have to do with anything?

And could you cut it out with the thing where you find some Jew who says nice things about the Church and pretend that it proves that there's nothing offensive or problematic about blaming the Jews for the current sex abuse scandal?

I'm a pretty big defender of the Church in general: I think it's being singled out for crimes that have basically been endemic across a lot of societies, and I think part of the reason that it's being singled out is the continuing legacy of anti-Catholicism. But seriously: this kick-the-Jews shit is disgusting, and it makes me a little sick that so many Catholics won't admit that. I don't have a problem with the Catholic Church. I wish I could be sure that it didn't have a problem with me.
posted by craichead at 6:48 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


What does a guy have to do to get fired from this organization?

Provide pastoral care to the poor in Latin America.
posted by Falconetti at 6:49 PM on April 12, 2010 [13 favorites]


Rabbi David Rosen added: “The high level of mutual trust and solidarity that binds our two communities today demands that there be zero-tolerance for such defamatory statements by religious representatives.”

Obviously there isn't much mutual trust and solidarity if this has to be said.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:50 PM on April 12, 2010


To try and clarify further, Myers has obtained a Host for the purposes of desecrating it and then desecrated it. It seems strange to me for him to say that it's "ludicrous" to believe that anyone would try and obtain a host in order to desecrate it, when he has just done exactly that.

Apologies for the largely unrelated derail.
posted by Jahaza at 6:51 PM on April 12, 2010


I have to admit, this (from the linked Myers post) made me chuckle: this sick world of secular humanists.
posted by amro at 6:52 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


What? What on earth does that have to do with anything?

It's linked to in the original post.

And could you cut it out with the thing where you find some Jew who says nice things about the Church and pretend that it proves that there's nothing offensive or problematic about blaming the Jews for the current sex abuse scandal?

It's outrageous to blame the Jews for the current sex abuse scandal or for the publicity surrounding it. People who do so should be publicly shamed and punished. I thought the JP op/ed was interesting... you're free to disagree. But I posted it because I thought it was interesting not because it defends Cantalamessa, who annoys the hell out of me at the best of times.
posted by Jahaza at 6:56 PM on April 12, 2010


craichead: And could you cut it out with the thing where you find some Jew who says nice things about the Church and pretend that it proves that there's nothing offensive or problematic about blaming the Jews for the current sex abuse scandal?

I'm myself not entirely sure where Jahaza was going with his comments, but that's a very uncharitable reading of what he was saying. I think he was arguing against the specific charge that the current Catholic Church hierarchy hasn't been sensitive in the past about its relations to Judaism.

Personally I think that the Catholic Church since Vatican II in the 60s has had largely good intentions on that particular issue though the execution has sometimes been a bit ham-handed.
posted by Kattullus at 6:58 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


...and Jahaza has already commented, explaining what he was saying making my comment pointless... good thing I don't believe in an afterlife or otherwise that pun I inflicted on the thread would earn me at least another century in the cleansing flames of Purgatory
posted by Kattullus at 7:02 PM on April 12, 2010


Turgid Dahlia said "...with bits of matter caked to the rim..."

That came out way way more wrong in my visualization than I hope you meant it to be. Jesus people, THINK before you throw those metaphors around so loosely!
posted by symbioid at 7:05 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's pretty clear that at this moment it's almost as hard to be a Catholic as it was to be a German with a good conscience in 1938.

Of course, it wasn't a sin to be a German in 1938, either.
posted by koeselitz at 7:07 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I look forward to a cardinal blaming it on lizard people.

That would be…unwise.
posted by Lizard People at 7:16 PM on April 12, 2010 [30 favorites]


or perhaps other forces in the Church will decide to revoke his Papal infallibility for the good of the organisation

Papal infallibility isn't a general property of Pope-itude. It applies only to official pronouncements of dogma. It's essentially a tautological doctrine that the Pope is infallible in official matters of doctrine because official matters of doctrine are just what the Pope says they are.

It doesn't apply to the bureaucratic actions of the Pope, when he was Pope or otherwise. His official excusals of child molestation aren't covered.
posted by fatbird at 7:19 PM on April 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's pretty clear that at this moment it's almost as hard to be a Catholic as it was to be a German with a good conscience in 1938.

A catholic as part of the laity does not have to contribute to or cede to authority at this point.

When survival of position or of the institution itself over rides the basic tenets of the institution than the gig is up.

Like so much in this world our "betters" are proving to be nothing more than opportunists, ensconced in an environment of lies and deceit, dependent on the gullibility of their supporters.
posted by Max Power at 7:21 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm a pretty big defender of the Church in general: I think it's being singled out for crimes that have basically been endemic across a lot of societies, and I think part of the reason that it's being singled out is the continuing legacy of anti-Catholicism.

You know, if God did exist and all that, I'd expect his intermediaries down here on earth to be ... wiser and more moral than the rest of us, maybe?

I'm not the infallible one here, but doesn't it seem like there's a bit of doublethink here?
posted by sebastienbailard at 7:36 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Catholic Priest Becomes Unwitting Porn Star
posted by tzikeh at 7:37 PM on April 12, 2010


Well as they say, the best defense is a good offense. . .and this is really offensive.
posted by Danf at 7:37 PM on April 12, 2010


Gee, after four hours to think about it, I still can't read this FPP without wanting to put my fucking fist through the screen.

May whatever Hellfire that self-rightous antisemitic asshole believes in roast his ass for eternity.
posted by zarq at 7:40 PM on April 12, 2010


As a lapsed Catholic, it's hard for me to watch this and not feel some grim (albeit displaced) sense of vindication. As a man married to a Jew, I have to say that the Church, which I still love, isn't kind to my lifestyle choices. If I'm going to Hell for having married the girl I love, well, I hope I did it for the best of reasons. And I'm still not sorry for having used birth control, which I believe to be my own choice and both a rational and compassionate one.

As a former altar boy, I have to say that for me, the experience was beneficial, formative, and devoid of even the hint of any kind of sexual content. Mostly it amounted to long, tedious periods of silently serving during the Mass, and occasionally participating in funeral Masses. I watched and learned how others dealt with severe loss, and witnessed how the Church rites were a comfort and a blessing to them.

He presided over the baptism of my brother and sister, my own confirmation, and the laying of my mother into the earth. I truly miss the priest who I grew up with, and I wish he could have married me.
posted by newdaddy at 7:47 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I truly miss the priest who I grew up with, and I wish he could have married me.

Not the best wording here.
posted by qvantamon at 7:52 PM on April 12, 2010 [11 favorites]


I'm a pretty big defender of the Church in general: I think it's being singled out for crimes that have basically been endemic across a lot of societies, and I think part of the reason that it's being singled out is the continuing legacy of anti-Catholicism.

I'm going to pretty strenuously disagree with you here. To characterize the Church's systematic protection and enabling of abusive priests at the expense of thousands upon thousands of children as just one of those crazy things that everybody does is the worst kind of moral bankruptcy. Are there many sexual abusers out there who are not part of the Catholic hierarchy? Sure, absolutely. But I defy you to find another example in which such a huge body of men, all over the globe, acting for a prolonged period of time, were not only protected from prosecution but actually enabled in their predation by an organization with the resources, size, and power of the Catholic Church. This doesn't even touch on the stinking hypocrisy of the whole matter.

The Church's attempt to shift blame, as well as your (and others') claim that the real problem is just that the Church is "being singled out" are absolutely abhorrent. You want to address other organizations that purportedly do the same thing? Great, show me one. Otherwise, find the moral fortitude to refuse to rationalize some pretty serious evil.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 7:53 PM on April 12, 2010 [14 favorites]


This kind of argument has always bothered the shit out of me. It implies that gay men or gay Catholic men or whomever are inclined to mess around with kids because they can't or won't sleep with adults.

That's not really what I'm saying...it's more like the idea of people's sexual development being frozen at the age they were when they first started experiencing sexual attraction to the same sex combined with psychological damage, misplaced guilt, repression, etc. And in any case, it's not my theory, it's just a theory.
posted by infinitywaltz at 7:54 PM on April 12, 2010


Sinead O'Connor's recent op-ed in the Washington Post;

Her subsequent reader Q and A in the same paper's website.
posted by newdaddy at 7:57 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


It bears repeating--not to absolve the priesthood, but to acknowledge the fact--that the majority of males in the Church are non-molesters.

That being said, I've seen data suggesting that child rape allegations surround as many as five percent of active priests. Think of it--five percent, in a single organization. This means that if you, or your child, comes into the presence of twenty priests, statistically one will have been subject to molestation allegations.

Do you want your child to be present in this environment? Well, do you? Most responsible parents would answer "no." Yet altar boy rituals and summer camps continue unabated, despite the alleged rape of children at gunpoint, as mentioned upthread.

It's time to walk away from the church, and consider alternatives--both among other religions, but also among other viewpoints, especially those that acknowledge the scope and age of our universe, and scientific realities that were unknown in the days of St. Peter.

Open the door, walk out, leave, wash your hands, put it in the past, consider it done. There's no downside to leaving the church. You aren't legally bound to remain a member. Freedom from the church and its abusive clergy is one step away.
posted by Gordion Knott at 8:01 PM on April 12, 2010


scruss: "The Catholic archdiocese of Hartford also published a pulpit announcement on its Web site, which was to be read during Mass on Sunday, urging parishioners to express opposition to the bill."

This just proves to me that they cannot possibly believe in an afterlife. There is no fear of divine judgment in these people.

What does a guy have to do to get fired from this organization?
Suggest that women are equal? Suggest that forbidding birth control in areas where people are starving is inhumane? Suggest that nuns are valuable members of the clerical order who should be acknowledged?
posted by dejah420 at 8:06 PM on April 12, 2010 [6 favorites]


You know, if God did exist and all that, I'd expect his intermediaries down here on earth to be ... wiser and more moral than the rest of us, maybe?
Well, I'm Jewish, so that's not really my problem. I don't think the Catholic Church is God's intermediary down here on earth. I just think that you can also find lots of instances of sexual abuse, and cover-ups of sexual abuse, among members of other religious denominations and among secular institutions. That doesn't excuse people who engaged in cover ups, but it does raise questions about why this is seen to be a specifically Catholic sin. I think it's kind of convenient to talk about this as a Catholic problem, because it lets everyone else off the hook. So, for instance, the abuse of deaf boys in Wisconsin is seen as another example of bad Catholic depravity, but nobody mentions that child sex abuse has been a massive problem at both religious and secular schools for deaf children. It's a story about the Catholic Church, not a story about how our society has victimized and abandoned deaf kids in particular and institutionalized disabled people in general. And for non-Catholics, that's convenient, because it's a story about "them," not a story about "us."
I'm not the infallible one here, but doesn't it seem like there's a bit of doublethink here?
I think maybe you're confused about what papal infallibility is all about.
posted by craichead at 8:06 PM on April 12, 2010


A Catholic Antisemitic Timeline.
posted by Brian B. at 8:08 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is just a guess, but it wouldn't surprise me in the least to discover that many of the abusers who have been protected by the RCC were themselves abused by priests within the RCC. And so it goes.
posted by unSane at 8:10 PM on April 12, 2010


It's time to walk away from the church, and consider alternatives--both among other religions, but also among other viewpoints, especially those that acknowledge the scope and age of our universe, and scientific realities that were unknown in the days of St. Peter.

You have no idea what you're talking about.
posted by moxiedoll at 8:10 PM on April 12, 2010 [7 favorites]


So.

Last year, antisemitic violence jumped drastically after Israel invaded Gaza, especially in France, Canada and Western Europe.

In a single year, Anti-Zionism became the excuse for Anti-Semitism.

I wonder what effect Bishop Babini's antisemitic comments will have on those statistics.
posted by zarq at 8:14 PM on April 12, 2010


I think it's kind of convenient to talk about this as a Catholic problem, because it lets everyone else off the hook.

I think that it's necessarily a Catholic problem - not because Catholic priests are more likely to be sexual predators than any other sort of person - but because of the nature of the Church. Church apologists are currently beating the drum of what about the public schools, eh? But the thing is that there is no such entity as "public schools". In America, they aren't even a national concern (let alone global). Nor are they run by individual states. Public schools are administered locally, and while there may be local efforts to cover up and transfer known child molesters (I am not aware of any such stories, but maybe it's happened) - each of those stories (if they exist) would be its own "scandal" and would have no bearing on the school district next door, let alone "public schools" as a whole.
posted by moxiedoll at 8:16 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


One of the better observations I've seen on the role that celibacy played in the ongoing abuse of children wasn't that celibate priests turned to children for sexual release; it was that the priests and bishops and cardinals who had to deal with child abusers didn't have children themselves. Their loyalty, their entire emotional investment, was in the institution itself. None of them were inclined to ask themselves "what if this were my child?"
posted by fatbird at 8:18 PM on April 12, 2010 [13 favorites]


Their loyalty, their entire emotional investment, was in the institution itself.

I think that's absolutely true. The extent to which Catholic clergy will protect one another from the law and public censure seems boundless. Think of the fabled thin blue line, and then imagine that cops had no spouses or other romantic relationships, no children, and that even intimate friendships were discouraged or made difficult (say, by reassigning police to new districts every few years) and you get an idea of the scope of that insularity.
posted by moxiedoll at 8:24 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I say it's the Quakers' fault.

Smile when you say that.
posted by A dead Quaker at 8:30 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


LittleMissCranky: “The Church's attempt to shift blame, as well as your (and others') claim that the real problem is just that the Church is "being singled out" are absolutely abhorrent. You want to address other organizations that purportedly do the same thing? Great, show me one. Otherwise, find the moral fortitude to refuse to rationalize some pretty serious evil.”

I know it's easy to get your blood up about this, but honestly, the thing about craichead's point is that it's true. You challenge her to come up with another organization that does this. Find us another worldwide organization of mostly males and I will show you another organization that does this. That's not to say that molestation is natural - far from it - but that it's altogether too common in society as a whole, and the Catholics unfortunately don't have a corner on the market.

Gordion Knott: “... I've seen data suggesting that child rape allegations surround as many as five percent of active priests. Think of it--five percent, in a single organization. This means that if you, or your child, comes into the presence of twenty priests, statistically one will have been subject to molestation allegations.”

The figure is just about correct, but your reading of the import of this data is a little skewed. Here is a relevant quotation from the excellent essay “A Perspective on Clergy Sexual Abuse,” by one Dr Thomas Plante at the Santa Clara University department of Psychology:
First, the available research (which is quite good now) suggests that approximately 4% of priests during the past half century (and mostly in the 1960s and 1970s) have had a sexual experience with a minor (i.e., anyone under the age of 18). There are approximately 60,000 active and inactive priests and brothers in the United States and thus we estimate that between 1,000 and 3,000 priests have sexually engaged with minors. That's a lot. In fact, that is 3,000 people too many. Any sexual abuse of minors whether perpetrated by priests, other clergy, parents, school teachers, boy-scout leaders or anyone else in whom we entrust our children is horrific. However, although good data is hard to acquire, it appears that this 4% figure is consistent with male clergy from other religious traditions and is significantly lower than the general adult male population which may double these numbers. Therefore, the odds that any random Catholic priest would sexually abuse a minor are not likely to be significantly higher than other males in or out of the clergy. Of course we expect better behavior from priests than from the average man on the street. While even one priest who abuses children is a major problem, we need to keep this issue in perspective and remember that the vast majority of priests do not abuse children.
I urge everyone to read this very useful and worthwhile essay. In the climate surrounding this issue today, it's hard to find sane voices; Dr Plante's is one.
posted by koeselitz at 8:37 PM on April 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


This means that if you, or your child, comes into the presence of twenty priests, statistically one will have been subject to molestation allegations.

Do you want your child to be present in this environment? Well, do you? Most responsible parents would answer "no."


So parents should just remove their children from all human contact? Because the numbers for priests are better than the numbers for men in general:
Experts disagree on the rate of sexual abuse among the general American male population, but Allen says a conservative estimate is one in 10. Margaret Leland Smith, a researcher at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, says her review of the numbers indicates it's closer to one in 5.
posted by Jahaza at 8:44 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


fatbird: “One of the better observations I've seen on the role that celibacy played in the ongoing abuse of children wasn't that celibate priests turned to children for sexual release; it was that the priests and bishops and cardinals who had to deal with child abusers didn't have children themselves. Their loyalty, their entire emotional investment, was in the institution itself. None of them were inclined to ask themselves ‘what if this were my child?’”

This seems like an odd perspective to me, because my experience is that the least rational people when it comes to these issues are the parents. Many societies have had to deal with epidemics of rather extreme paranoia when it comes to pedophilia; this is not to say that pedophilia isn't a great evil, but I've met many parents who seem to see it around ever single corner. That's not a healthy thing.

moxiedoll: “I think that's absolutely true. The extent to which Catholic clergy will protect one another from the law and public censure seems boundless. Think of the fabled thin blue line, and then imagine that cops had no spouses or other romantic relationships, no children, and that even intimate friendships were discouraged or made difficult (say, by reassigning police to new districts every few years) and you get an idea of the scope of that insularity.”

I think you've misunderstood the motives that caused those who 'covered up' the instances of child molestation in the past. Those were cases of extreme mismanagement, but there was hardly complicity in the acts. I think people are quick to forget just what a taboo there was on even talking about these things just twenty or thirty years ago, when most of these cases happened.

You also really have to think about the larger context of what the priesthood means - and you have to think of it outside of this bizarre framework of some sort of mafia-like cabal. Priests are trained to unburden the consciences of their parishioners without shaming them or seeking to 'out' them publicly; they are taught to allow the confessor of sins to deal with his wrongdoings between himself and his God, and to try to create circumstances where that can happen. It's understandable that many unwitting priests may have transferred their pedophiliac brethren, all the while counseling them to be careful and praying that this might move them away from the sins they've committed. I know this seems silly and foolish in our times, when we've all learned how to talk about these things, but priests can be silly and foolish sometimes. Moreover, a silly and foolish priest like that wouldn't even know where to begin in talking to a child; he might worry that he'd say the wrong thing, or that bringing it up again might only hurt the child more. So I can see how someone might believe that covering it up whilst trying to make sure that it doesn't happen again is really the best thing to do for all concerned.

After all, priests hear confessions all day, and they know instinctively that it is very, very rarely that revealing the sin publicly is the proper thing to do. I can understand not wanting to betray that confidence, particularly if one felt that it might be hurting the child more to do so.
posted by koeselitz at 8:53 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I feel that the number of priests actively raping children isn't the meaningful statistic. Every priest who knew about it and was or is silent, every priest who helped cover it up, every single person at every tier of Catholic organization that is complicit in these rapes is equally as guilty as the rapists themselves. And that number is quite a bit higher than 5%.
posted by kafziel at 9:00 PM on April 12, 2010 [10 favorites]


kafziel: “Every priest who knew about it and was or is silent, every priest who helped cover it up, every single person at every tier of Catholic organization that is complicit in these rapes is equally as guilty as the rapists themselves.”

I'd like to hear some justification for this highly emotional and overwrought claim. And I've just explained pretty well, I think, why some priests might well have believed that they were doing the children a favor by covering this up; in fact, I'm convinced that's why most of the priests in question did it. Do you really believe those priests are as guilty as the child molesters More to the point: can you give a rational explanation for why they're just as guilty? Or are you just speaking out of a kind of (completely understandably) anger and rage that this could ever happen?
posted by koeselitz at 9:03 PM on April 12, 2010


I think you've misunderstood the motives that caused those who 'covered up' the instances of child molestation in the past. Those were cases of extreme mismanagement, but there was hardly complicity in the acts. I think people are quick to forget just what a taboo there was on even talking about these things just twenty or thirty years ago, when most of these cases happened.

I think I understand the motives pretty well. Having grown up BostonIrishCatholic, I decided a few years ago to really delve into the whole story and try to understand it - and in a disgusting binge of horror (that I "recommend" advisedly) I read every single document at this website. One file is for a priest I grew up with, who had dinner with us at my house. It's really, awfully damning stuff, and "mismanagement" isn't the word that will come to mind. As for the "taboo" of twenty or thirty years ago? Well - as a 32 year old, 20-30 years ago puts us squarely in my childhood and child molestation was not taboo, even to kids at the time. Stranger Danger, anyone? I knew to be on perv-alert years before I even knew what sex was.
posted by moxiedoll at 9:06 PM on April 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Apropos the odious Bishop of Teneriffe, it occurs to me that he may really believe that 13 year olds are hot for priestly action because that is undoubtedly what confessing priests say when they confess - "That boy tempted me! He seduced me! And I fell."

That doesn't excuse him in any way, but I bet that to the extent that priests will credit each others' testimony above the evidence of outsiders, the prevailing wisdom inside the church will have been shaped by that.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 9:24 PM on April 12, 2010


That's an interesting web site, moxiedoll, but it's only a collection - albeit a large and overwhelming one - of news stories. That doesn't make all of them true, and even if they are all true, that doesn't mean that reading them all provides an accurate picture of what the priesthood is like as a whole.

Statistically, the difficult thing is that we just don't know how much child molestation was going on in the 70s and 80s in general. The church is relatively well-documented, and is a public institution, so it stands to reason that their scandals are more likely to come to light than the more common private scandals that seem to have happened at a rate of about double those in the church.

I simply don't think the church functions in the way that many people seem to think. Priests are not always buddy-buddy. I studied for a while at Boston College, and I can assure you: priests argue with each other, sometimes brutally. The Catholic Church is not a protection racket.
posted by koeselitz at 9:25 PM on April 12, 2010


Well, I'm Jewish, so that's not really my problem. I don't think the Catholic Church is God's intermediary down here on earth.

I think the point being made is that it's relevant that the Church itself does think that, and so do its' followers. They're claiming their authority derives directly from the highest power, and as such are held to a higher standard by many--and they will exploit this to their advantage when it suits them. I'm not aware of many other religions or organizations with as far-reaching influence and similar hierarchical structure claiming authority on matters specifically dealing with morality, life, death, and the ultimate cosmic judgement of a human life. The perceived hypocrisy of the cover-ups by the supposed earthly representatives of God Himself is one of the things that make it more remarkable and shocking. To me, it's not as simple as just picking on the Catholic Church.
posted by Kirk Grim at 9:30 PM on April 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Worth repeating - the issue here isn't just the crime - it's the cover up.

Which is why the Hartford diocese's response is particularly tone deaf.

What, is their some church edict against embracing modern public relations techniques?
posted by Joey Michaels at 9:36 PM on April 12, 2010


That's an interesting web site, moxiedoll, but it's only a collection - albeit a large and overwhelming one - of news stories.

No, I was referring to the "Files of the Bishops" bit, which has deposition transcripts and the primary documents (correspondence, notes to file) from various Archdiocese. What interested me was how over 45,000 pages of archdiocesan documents have been released in Boston, showing the archdiocese's policies and procedures regarding more than 141 priests accused of sexually abusing minors. It's all there, if you can stomach it.
posted by moxiedoll at 9:36 PM on April 12, 2010


Hitchens, Dawkins argue for Pope's arrest during his upcoming U.K. visit

Except for the part where they didn't.
posted by Evilspork at 10:02 PM on April 12, 2010


Find us another worldwide organization of mostly males and I will show you another organization that does this.

Really? Your saying that the upper levels of, say, the Boy Scouts regularly covered up cases of child rape and moved child molesting scoutmasters to new troops to continue raping children? Really?
posted by dirigibleman at 10:22 PM on April 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


This seems like an odd perspective to me, because my experience is that the least rational people when it comes to these issues are the parents.

While I'd agree with you in general, in this case a little more of that irrationality might have derailed a runaway train.

Those were cases of extreme mismanagement, but there was hardly complicity in the acts. I think people are quick to forget just what a taboo there was on even talking about these things just twenty or thirty years ago, when most of these cases happened.

I'm not even sure what it means to say there was no complicity because it was mismanagement. The first time a molesting priest was moved to another parish, along with solemn vows to never do it again, I could agree with calling it mismanaged but not complicit. But many of the priests were moved again and again and again, often after thorough internal investigations that revealed long histories--and in the most recent case to come to light, where the Pope himself refused to defrock a priest who begged to be defrocked--so the cover-up did become complicit. It's totally unreasonable for a bishop to believe that a child molester who's abused children will stop on the fifth or sixth move to a new parish when he didn't on the third or fourth. At a certain point, mismanagement becomes complicity.
posted by fatbird at 10:26 PM on April 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'd like to hear some justification for this highly emotional and overwrought claim. And I've just explained pretty well, I think, why some priests might well have believed that they were doing the children a favor by covering this up

Oh bullshit. This scandal is obviously not about the baseline abuse rate. If it's true that this has been going on in other churches why haven't we been hearing about. Not about molestation but about coverups and transferring of priests.

If the priests thought they were doing the kids a favor, why would they force them to sign NDAs and threaten them with excommunication if they talked about, which happened in Ireland? Doesn't seem like much of a favor to me. Come on.

The whole hierarchy has been in on this. Protecting these guys. that's the problem here.
posted by delmoi at 10:46 PM on April 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


You know, if God did exist and all that, I'd expect his intermediaries down here on earth to be ... wiser and more moral than the rest of us, maybe?

Not sure at all where you got the impression that this would be true, but you certainly didn't get it from the theology of the Roman Catholic Church or from talking to the average Catholic parishoner.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 10:59 PM on April 12, 2010


Not sure at all where you got the impression that this would be true, but you certainly didn't get it from the theology of the Roman Catholic Church or from talking to the average Catholic parishoner.

Correct, this is based on reasoning from first principles about a god that 1) exists, and 2) gives a shit about humanity.

Don't look at me. If I was God, 2010 (+ distance / c) years ago I would have rearranged a bunch of stars to say "Oy! Be nice to each other!" in Aramaic or Latin rather than "Here is my son. He's not a generic cult leader, he's the Son of God! So listen to him and don't nail him to a ... Fucking Hell!"

But I'm not God. Instead, I get lectured on my beliefs and morals by a bunch of guys who like to play musical chairs with pedophiles instead of chairs.
posted by sebastienbailard at 11:59 PM on April 12, 2010


Really? Your saying that the upper levels of, say, the Boy Scouts regularly covered up cases of child rape and moved child molesting scoutmasters to new troops to continue raping children? Really?

I didn't post what you're referring to, but the Boy Scouts of America certainly had major problems with sexual abuse of boys during the same time period. Since the BSA wasn't as hands-on (no pun intended) rigidly hierarchical as the Church I doubt it's fair to compare the level of hierarchical involvement.

But wikipedia has a pretty decent rundown on the huge problem the BSA had with sex abuse cases here.
posted by Justinian at 12:07 AM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Look, even if it were true, we're not God killers. We're false messiah killers."

Thanks, Jews! You saved us from the "fat Elvis" version of Jesus.
posted by markkraft at 12:28 AM on April 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Vatican issues policy requiring sexual abuse cases to be reported to police."

Because clearly, God dropped the ball on this one, big time.
posted by markkraft at 12:32 AM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


However, although good data is hard to acquire, it appears that this 4% figure is consistent with male clergy from other religious traditions and is significantly lower than the general adult male population which may double these numbers.

Wait, is this article seriously suggesting that 8% of adults, one person in 12, has had sex with a child?

I'm sorry, I flat out refuse to believe that. Is there any documentary evidence of this?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:39 AM on April 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


"The proposed change to the law would put ‘all Church institutions, including your parish, at risk,’ says the letter, which was signed by Connecticut's three Roman Catholic bishops."

Wow, that's about the clearest direct statement I've ever seen that they're guilty as charged. "Including your parish" = "We've been diddling your kids, don't let them get us."
posted by Malor at 4:21 PM on April 12

I would support this law if all proceeds from lawsuits went to a children's charity and the lawyers on both sides were restricted to a reasonable hourly wage.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 1:16 AM on April 13, 2010


I can assure you: priests argue with each other, sometimes brutally. The Catholic Church is not a protection racket.

I don't see how that second sentence has anything to do with the first. Anyone can argue with collegues or peers or competitors within your own heirarchy. Doesn't mean they won't close ranks when faced with outside threats.

They shifted confessed child-molesters to new jobs with access to children, instead of turning them over to police. It was a policy, not a few isolated incidents. How can you say they weren't protecting each other? (Or do you mean protection racket like a cash-for-protection-from-the-mafia situation?)
posted by harriet vane at 1:19 AM on April 13, 2010


Find us another worldwide organization of mostly males and I will show you another organization that does this.
The US military? See, that was easy (and now, you're damned if you do, damned if you don't.. enjoy)
posted by vivelame at 2:20 AM on April 13, 2010


Raistlin was Jewish? Wow. I knew he was a badass, but a Jew too? Awesome.

Seriously, having been told, face to face, that I personally killed Jesus, I'm not really all that surprised at this. That 12 year old kid screaming at me (also 12 years old) about how I had horns to boot had to have got his ideas from somewhere. Color me less than shocked that an old man who'd risen to the upper level's of a religion that made life hell for untold millions/billions of people ends up being an ignorant bigot. You could say it's the pot calling the kettle black, but it's more like a protector and friend of child molestors spouting the blood libel. I think that's a touch closer.
posted by Ghidorah at 2:51 AM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


In a single year, Anti-Zionism became the excuse for Anti-Semitism.

I wonder what effect Bishop Babini's antisemitic comments will have on those statistics.
Between that and forgiving the Beatles, it looks like the Catholic Church is grasping for some sort of zeitgeist of popular opinion it can glom on to.

Perhaps next they'll preemptively beatify Lady Gaga or something.
posted by acb at 3:21 AM on April 13, 2010


Wait, is this article seriously suggesting that 8% of adults, one person in 12, has had sex with a child?

I'm sorry, I flat out refuse to believe that. Is there any documentary evidence of this?


I can believe those figures - although I'd love to see documentary evidence. What, however, I believe is that it's someone spinning like Peter Mandelson in a washing machine. Because it takes no account of how old the adult was at the time. Am I prepared to believe that 8% of people had sex while themselves under the age of consent (or slightly older than a significant other and just crossing that line)? Yes. Is that sufficient to claim what the article is? Yes.

And whether true or not, it's barely relevant. The issue isn't the offence (no group is going to be perfect). It's the cover-up. The conspiracy. The approach that you should defrock people for Liberation Theology, but simply move them if they fuck kids.
posted by Francis at 3:23 AM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have a friend who's a member of the Jesuit order and a teacher. They're not saying anything publicly. They're not making statements yet. But my friend says this: the Jesuit order is fucking furious about how the Church is handling this. Like, schism-level furious.

A friend of mine nearly was in the Jesuit order himself; he has said a couple times that "spiritually, it's kind of like the Jesuits are the church's Marines."

Possibly because of this, I would not be suprised at all if the Jesuit order suddenly snapped and either broke away or staged some sort of coup.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:10 AM on April 13, 2010


Considering that the Jesuits have a vow of special obedience to the Pope, I think a "coup" is a bit of a stretch.
posted by micketymoc at 4:21 AM on April 13, 2010


That doesn't excuse people who engaged in cover ups, but it does raise questions about why this is seen to be a specifically Catholic sin.

I don't think it is seen as a Catholic sin, entirely, at least here in the UK, where there have been profoundly shocking child abuse cases - eg. the hundreds of kids in Welsh care homes who were systematically abused over a twenty year period - with no Catholic connection. But in that case, when the truth came out, the men and women who conspired to abuse have been exposed, prosecuted and imprisoned (though the negligent social workers and local officials who failed to prevent the abuse were not).

If there is a 'specifically Catholic sin', it is the secondary abuse of power to cover up these crimes, and the deliberate policy of giving abusers further opportunities to abuse.

That said, when a group of abusers form a network, as they did in those Welsh care homes, the scope of their crimes is limited; when one of the largest organisations of any kind on the planet actively conspires to harbour and enable child abusers, not to mention setting up institutions like the Magdalene Asylums which were practically designed to abuse children and the vulnerable, the numbers of children harmed grows so large that it's not hard to see why people would start to see child abuse as 'specifically Catholic'.

Wait, is this article seriously suggesting that 8% of adults, one person in 12, has had sex with a child?

I'm sorry, I flat out refuse to believe that. Is there any documentary evidence of this?


I was about to agree that 8% sounds completely insane, until I started adding up the people I know who were abused as children. (Which isn't very scientific of me, I know.)
posted by a little headband I put around my throat at 4:27 AM on April 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


“Deep down, historically speaking, the Jews are God killers." And also, according to an Italian bishop...

Big talk, coming from a Roman.
posted by DU at 4:46 AM on April 13, 2010 [10 favorites]


...It looks like the Catholic Church is grasping for some sort of popular zeitgeist it can glom on to.

No, this is nothing new.

Let's be perfectly clear about this please: the Bishop's statement is only the latest example of the Church's long, documented history of antisemitism and hatred preached against Jews from the pulpit and by encyclical decree. Once again, the Church is turning to their most reliable touchstone: the same irrational hatred they've nursed, perpetuated and encouraged against Jews for two millennia.

This is not an isolated incident. They seem to be returning to the bad old days when Jews were blamed by them for all the ills of the world. It's a misdirection that has worked for them in the past. It was once official Church policy to convert Jews, often forcibly. We were their scapegoats for everything.

So now, 50 years after Vatican II, we have two high officials within the Church very publicly spouting the same vilifying antisemitic bullshit the Church has relied on when they've needed to cover their asses or mobilize the masses. Only this time, the Church is apparently trying to protect god-given right of their officials to molest and abuse children. So one can only hope that vile choice dulls the message a bit.

One incident is dismissable. Two are a pattern.

Are the Bishop and Pope's personal preacher going to apologize? Will the Pope step in and return them to the laity?

Why start doing the right thing now? Institutionalized antisemitism seems like a tame offense compared to accusations of systemic pedophilia. If you're not being targeted.

But you know what's sad? The world I hoped my children would grow up in, the one in which perhaps they wouldn't experience the same overt and casual antisemitism I did, my parents did, my grandparents did, my great grandparents did, going back for *many hundreds of years*, is proving to be a pipe dream.

I hope I'm wrong. I really do. But history has taught us to ignore it at our peril.
posted by zarq at 5:23 AM on April 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Man you just can't beat this bishop.
posted by Mister_A at 6:47 AM on April 13, 2010


A friend of mine nearly was in the Jesuit order himself; he has said a couple times that "spiritually, it's kind of like the Jesuits are the church's Marines."

Possibly because of this, I would not be suprised at all if the Jesuit order suddenly snapped and either broke away or staged some sort of coup


Drunken marines, judging from my boyfriend's high school stories. So, everyone -- pitch in for a few cases of fancy scotch and we'll get this thing sorted.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:36 AM on April 13, 2010


The church is relatively well-documented, and is a public institution, so it stands to reason that their scandals are more likely to come to light than the more common private scandals that seem to have happened at a rate of about double those in the church.

No no no. The numbers quoted above, if we buy them, say that 4% of Catholic priests have had sex with a minor, compared to 8% of the general male population.

But that's not the rate at which the scandal happens. It doesn't increase incrementally every time a priest or future priest who has not had sex with a minor has sex with a minor for the first time. Instead, it increases a little bit every time a priest has sex with a minor, no matter how many times they'd had sex with a minor before.

It would be entirely possible for the proportion of molesters among Catholic priests to be half that of the general male population, but yet for the proportion of Catholic laity who were molested by priests to be much higher than the general population of non-Catholics, because moving the priests around exposed new victims to them.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:46 AM on April 13, 2010


...Your saying that the upper levels of, say, the Boy Scouts regularly covered up cases of child rape...

...the Boy Scouts of America certainly had major problems with sexual abuse of boys during the same time period.


Yep.

And more-and-more accusations are starting to come out and are being addressed in the courts.
Boy Scouts Sex Abuse Coverup? Secret "Perversion Files" Make it to Court.

Portland Jury Begins Deliberating Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Against Boy Scouts.

Boy Scouts of America Accused of Ignoring Sex Abuse by Troop Leaders.

Scout's Honor: Sexual Abuse in America's Most Trusted Institution.

Scouting Sex Abuse Cases.
posted by ericb at 7:51 AM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


...in a disgusting binge of horror (that I "recommend" advisedly) I read every single document at this website.

I also recommend the comprehensive website: The Boston Globe's Spotlight Investigation: Abuse in the Catholic Church.
posted by ericb at 7:55 AM on April 13, 2010


It would be entirely possible for the proportion of molesters among Catholic priests to be half that of the general male population, but yet for the proportion of Catholic laity who were molested by priests to be much higher than the general population of non-Catholics, because moving the priests around exposed new victims to them.

This is an excellent point. The majority of child molesters probably don't have private, privileged access to hundreds (thousands?) of children throughout their lifetimes the way priests do. One child molester in that sort of position -- with protected-from-scrutiny-and-prosecution status and access to large numbers of children, could inflict far more damage on a given population than the average abuser.
posted by zarq at 7:58 AM on April 13, 2010


The majority of child molesters probably don't have private, privileged access to hundreds (thousands?) of children throughout their lifetimes the way priests do.
I think it probably depends on how you define "private" and "privileged", but the average child molester has many victims, and the average child molester who gets caught has already molested many children before he is prosecuted.
posted by craichead at 8:03 AM on April 13, 2010


But that's not the rate at which the scandal happens. It doesn't increase incrementally every time a priest or future priest who has not had sex with a minor has sex with a minor for the first time. Instead, it increases a little bit every time a priest has sex with a minor, no matter how many times they'd had sex with a minor before.

That's not the rate either because you are measuring the wrong thing entirely.

The scandalous part here is not that priests are molesting children. I mean, that's terrible, but you can hardly blame the Church for failing to do the same thing we all fail to do (namely, somehow psychically detect these guys). (Although you would think the Pope could use his Official Infallibility to prevent stuff like this.)

The scandalous part is the coverup. People who themselves do not (directly) molest children, covering for and yes I'm going to say it SANCTIFYING CHILD MOLESTATION merely to avoid giving the Church a black eye.
posted by DU at 8:14 AM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Count me glad to be among millions who've left the One True Holy & Apostolic Church. Actually, I was asked not to come back. I had the audacity to bring a Koran into my catechism class & to cry "foul" when I saw a priest try to urge a black family not to enter our church for the good of the congregation & oh yeah, my Cub Scout Troop was affiliated with the public school, so our Pancake Breakfast was held at the Community Church and the Rev. Menarik actually told me, at 12 years old, that I would damn my eternal soul to hell for entering a church of another faith. I told him I didn't think god was that stupid, and I couldn't believe that he thought god didn't have bigger things to worry about. When he stopped sputtering, he found my mom & told her that I was to watch "Mass for Shut-Ins" to preserve my soul, but I was NOT to come back to church unless I apologized.

Yeah. Fuck that.

I am not here to belittle anyone else's faith, but great googly moogly, the guys running this business have been out of control for a long time and, well, this just can't turn out good...
posted by beelzbubba at 9:09 AM on April 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


What's the official line on other secular crimes?
posted by IndigoJones at 9:11 AM on April 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


We're false messiah killers.

That's not true! I'm still alive!

I've said too much.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:13 AM on April 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wow. In 2010, are we STILL blamming Jews for everything? I saw the Vatican finally forgave the Beatles for their "Jesus"comment.

They must be stuck in some time warp where we think any of this is acceptable.

This is why I dropped out of organized religion. They're all nuts, irrelevant, and dumb.
posted by stormpooper at 9:35 AM on April 13, 2010


So the ROMANS kill a JEW named Jesus, but thousands of years later, the ROMAN Church blames the JEWS for that crime?

Religion is weird.
posted by grubi at 9:45 AM on April 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Don't look at me. If I was God, 2010 (+ distance / c) years ago I would have rearranged a bunch of stars to say "Oy! Be nice to each other!" in Aramaic or Latin rather than "Here is my son. He's not a generic cult leader, he's the Son of God! So listen to him and don't nail him to a ... Fucking Hell!"

But I'm not God. Instead, I get lectured on my beliefs and morals by a bunch of guys who like to play musical chairs with pedophiles instead of chairs.


People like to lecture other people, regardless of faith or lack thereof. Don't believe me? Scroll up to the part where 1.2 billion Catholics were told in this thread that their belief in certain characteristics about the supernatural was akin to tacit support of the Nazi regime in 1938. Asshole religious people will use religion and ethics to lecture you, just like asshole atheist people will use religion and ethics to lecture you because ... well, its arguably the most important set of questions in human experience. The authority that members of the church claim over each other should quite honestly be irrelevant to you if you don't belong to the church.

I don't know what beliefs and morals you feel lectured on but I can guarantee you that, if it's a subject on which reasonable people disagree, you can fill a medium-sized city with weekly mass attendants who agree with you. That group would easily double or triple in size if you include all the people willing to have a reasonable conversation with you about it.

Until you've spent a good deal of time believing fundamentally in the aesthetic and metaphysical tenants of an organized religion, it's difficult to explain who difficult it is to feel judged on the performance of your leaders. As a rule of thumb, think about it as a strange combination of being judged on your country's political leaders, your home town's cultural exports and your parents.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 9:57 AM on April 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wow. In 2010, are we STILL blamming Jews for everything?

Again, even if the "we" you're talking about is the Roman Catholic Church, no.

I saw the Vatican finally forgave the Beatles for their "Jesus"comment.

Why the hell do you care?
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 10:00 AM on April 13, 2010


Again, even if the "we" you're talking about is the Roman Catholic Church, no.

Let's review.

* The current Pope is pushing the beatification of Pope Pius XII.

* He has not denounced Babini's statements.

* Nor has he denounced the comments made by Father Raniero Cantalamessa.

*The Italian Bishops Conference (CEI) is defending Babini. Personally, I'm waiting for Mr. Volpe to release his audio recording.

* The current Pope also lifted and did not reinstate the excommunication of Bishop Richard Williamson, the Holocaust denier.

From the link you quote, re: the Passion of the Christ:
Catholic texts have been rewritten to incorporate these new understandings of ancient texts so that the teachings of the Church may never again give rise to contempt for and denigration of Jews and Judaism.
Don't look now, but the actions of the Church's leaders are now promoting contempt for and denigration of Jews and Judaism.
posted by zarq at 10:15 AM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I saw the Vatican finally forgave the Beatles for their "Jesus"comment.

Why the hell do you care?


Why does s/he care? Who knows. Maybe he's hoping the RCC will forgive gay people for existing, and stop lobbying for laws to discriminate against them? Maybe she hopes the RCC will forgive her for being born a woman, and allow her the dignity of choosing what to do with her uterus? Maybe s/he hopes the RCC will forgive the children for getting raped, and relent with the the sending of priests to new parishes so they can ravage new victims? Hope springs eternal - and apparently mysterious to some.
posted by VikingSword at 10:22 AM on April 13, 2010


The authority that members of the church claim over each other should quite honestly be irrelevant to you if you don't belong to the church.

Sure, if the Catholic Church existed in a vacuum and didn't attempt to apply it's doctrine to reality or the physical world or political matters that affect everyone, and all Catholics that are in any way influenced by the hierarchy or their message somehow refrained from voting or kept their views to themselves and participated in political life from a completely secular perspective yadayaddayadda.
posted by Kirk Grim at 10:30 AM on April 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


Maybe he's hoping the RCC will forgive gay people for existing, and stop lobbying for laws to discriminate against them? Maybe she hopes the RCC will forgive her for being born a woman, and allow her the dignity of choosing what to do with her uterus? Maybe s/he hopes the RCC will forgive the children for getting raped, and relent with the the sending of priests to new parishes so they can ravage new victims? Hope springs eternal - and apparently mysterious to some.

Legitimate issues all. I just have no clue what any of them have to do with the Beatles.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 10:35 AM on April 13, 2010


zarq: Don't look now, but the actions of the Church's leaders are now promoting contempt for and denigration of Jews and Judaism.

The two arguments I've made relative to this point in the thread are:

1) Church leaders are not a uniform group, and even among them there are some surprises.
2) Even if they were, a church is a group of people, not a group of leaders.

None of the issues you raise are unambiguous or otherwise clearly settled but, if you'd like more information, we should probably take this to MeMail.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 10:42 AM on April 13, 2010


l33tpolicywonk: “Scroll up to the part where 1.2 billion Catholics were told in this thread that their belief in certain characteristics about the supernatural was akin to tacit support of the Nazi regime in 1938.”

I don't know if you were referring to my comment here, l33tpolicywonk, but in case you were, I didn't say that at all. And I just want to be clear on this, because I think it's a pretty important distinction about what I did say: that being Catholic was like being German in 1938.

You didn't have to tacitly support Nazism to be a German in 1938. Moreover, as I stated explicitly, it clearly wasn't a sin to be German in 1938. Being German in 1938 was, however, a difficult experience, I imagine, both because one was faced with some difficult moral choices, and because one was held to account for the crimes of one's countryfolk whether or not one had taken part in those crimes oneself.

And since it might need to be said, I was trying to make a pointed implication: it is not a sin to be a Catholic. Being a Catholic doesn't mean you tacitly support child abuse. I sense, reading this thread, that some people don't quite get that point.

In short, I think we agree on this.
posted by koeselitz at 10:46 AM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


l33tpolicywonk: "Church leaders are not a uniform group"

So your defense of the church is the "only some of the leaders are bigoted assholes"?
posted by idiopath at 10:47 AM on April 13, 2010


And - I also said that because telling people to "just stop being Catholic!" in the wake of these scandals often makes about as much sense as it would have to have told a German in 1938 that the solution was to "just stop being German!" It's very easy to say, but often quite difficult (if not impossible) to do. Moreover, what the world needs right now is more good Catholics, not fewer; in the same sense that the world needed more good Germans in 1938.
posted by koeselitz at 10:50 AM on April 13, 2010


Church leaders are not a uniform group, and even among them there are some surprises.

Of all churches in the known universe, the RCC is the one that is best known for having one particular leader and furthermore it is claimed that this leader is in at least some circumstances infallible. This leader not only knowingly performed actions leading to child rape he has also remained silent when those very actions were attributed to Jews.

Even if they were, a church is a group of people, not a group of leaders.

which explains why the RCC members elect leaders oh wait
posted by DU at 10:50 AM on April 13, 2010


telling people to "just stop being Catholic!" in the wake of these scandals often makes about as much sense as it would have to have told a German in 1938 that the solution was to "just stop being German!"

Not "stop being German", it would be "stop being a Nazi". Not that I think anyone has actually said what you're implying, but I think it's possible to believe in a Christian God and the divinity of Jesus without being Catholic or taking cues from those in an organization that answers to the Pope implicated in this scandal.

Also -- I'm definitely not making the comparison, just speaking to your analogy.
posted by Kirk Grim at 10:56 AM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


koeselitz: In short, I think we agree on this.

I appreciate the clarification and apologize for accidentally catching you in my garr machine. And everything you put on the table here is a much-better phrasing of everything I've been trying to get at here. For those of us who are Catholic, there's an intensely difficult moral choice here, one that comes up nearly every day. There's no doubt that the church has done some god-awful things and that church leaders say god-awful things and engage in god-awful cover ups to this day. At the same time, theologies which are integral to Catholicism and aren't duplicated elsewhere are really central to my self-identity and journey towards being a better person.

I'm polarizing this thread too much, so I'll bow out and conclude with this: Roman Catholicism is a huge religion and is full of enormous diversity, including people of different races and sexual orientations. They come to the church from a variety of personal experiences and beliefs which compel them to worship God as they understand God, in spite of the very many flaws in this very human institution. You don't have to agree with someone to respect them, but you should respect them until they personally have given you reason otherwise.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 11:00 AM on April 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


DU: “Of all churches in the known universe, the RCC is the one that is best known for having one particular leader and furthermore it is claimed that this leader is in at least some circumstances infallible.”

Of all the churches in the known universe, the RCC is also just about the most misunderstood. So it makes little sense to judge that church by what it's best known for.

Talk to Catholics, and you'll notice that a vast number of them are disgusted by what's happened here and angry at a lot of the leadership. And yet they're still Catholics. Clearly there's a difference between leadership and leader worship. And it's apparent that what draws Catholics to the church sometimes has absolutely nothing to do with church leadership.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say that the RCC is somewhat unique in that its institutions are in many ways beyond the control of its (apparent) leadership. The church is so spread out upon the earth that it's possible to be Catholic and disagree with the central church in Rome on just about any point; thus it is that there's an incredible amount of diversity amongst Catholics on any issue you draw out of a hat.

The central church struggles mightily to maintain some sort of status quo, but it often fails. And this is the natural human state of things; the Pope may wish to, but he will never have complete control over every aspect of the church. The hierarchy simply isn't arranged in a way that would allow him to; there are so many different parishes, in so many different places, and so many different authorities between him and the people, that the institution is quite naturally diversified.

There are, by the way, examples of institutions where there is a high level of local control by the central leader. Scientology, for example, is much more able to maintain rigid local and global control over its organizational structure, because localized customs and traditions are not encouraged (as they are in Catholicism) but quashed, because the organization makes it a high priority to maintain the status quo, and most of all because a strict authoritarianism and tight psychological control is inculcated in the mind of every member by default.
posted by koeselitz at 11:08 AM on April 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


l33tpolicywonk, I would prefer not to take this to MeMail, thank you.

1) Church leaders are not a uniform group, and even among them there are some surprises.

This is true.

2) Even if they were, a church is a group of people, not a group of leaders.

For The Church, this is simply not accurate. I've read the Lumen Gentium. The Roman Catholic Church has a very specific hierarchy, with roles clearly defined for each of its leaders.

Chapter III:

Bishops are the successors of the Apostles:
Bishops, therefore, with their helpers, the priests and deacons, have taken up the service of the community, (11*) presiding in place of God over the flock,(12*) whose shepherds they are, as teachers for doctrine, priests for sacred worship, and ministers for governing.(13*) And just as the office granted individually to Peter, the first among the apostles, is permanent and is to be transmitted to his successors, so also the apostles' office of nurturing the Church is permanent, and is to be exercised without interruption by the sacred order of bishops. (14*) Therefore, the Sacred Council teaches that bishops by divine institution have succeeded to the place of the apostles, (15*) as shepherds of the Church, and he who hears them, hears Christ, and he who rejects them, rejects Christ and Him who sent Christ.(149)(16*)
The Pope controls their fate, and has "full, supreme and universal power over the Church":
In virtue of his office, that is as Vicar of Christ and pastor of the whole Church, the Roman Pontiff has full, supreme and universal power over the Church. And he is always free to exercise this power. The order of bishops, which succeeds to the college of apostles and gives this apostolic body continued existence, is also the subject of supreme and full power over the universal Church, provided we understand this body together with its head the Roman Pontiff and never without this head.
There is an acknowledgement that Bishops individually are fallible. But when their judgments are rendered in cooperation with a Pope, those are infallible.
Although the individual bishops do not enjoy the prerogative of infallibility, they nevertheless proclaim Christ's doctrine infallibly whenever, even though dispersed through the world, but still maintaining the bond of communion among themselves and with the successor of Peter, and authentically teaching matters of faith and morals, they are in agreement on one position as definitively to be held.(40*) This is even more clearly verified when, gathered together in an ecumenical council, they are teachers and judges of faith and morals for the universal Church, whose definitions must be adhered to with the submission of faith.(41*)
Babini's fellow bishops are covering for him. "He didn't say that!" The Pope remains silent.

If no one else in his Church (and especially not his Pope!) says "He's Wrong!", how many faithful Christians will believe, deep down, that Babini's word really is Gospel? That he's speaking an ill-received, politically-incorrect truth, with the tacit approval of the Church's supreme leader?

Only time will tell.
posted by zarq at 11:15 AM on April 13, 2010


Kirk Grim: “Not that I think anyone has actually said what you're implying, but I think it's possible to believe in a Christian God and the divinity of Jesus without being Catholic or taking cues from those in an organization that answers to the Pope implicated in this scandal.”

I intentionally said that it's often difficult, if not impossible, to stop being a Catholic, as difficult as it would be to stop being a German, because I really meant it. And I know we post-protestants, particularly in America (where I am, don't know where you are) find it pretty easy to say that it's possible to be a Christian without being a Catholic.

But what if Catholicism is what you believe in? Lest it need to be said, the sum and substance of Catholic teaching doesn't claim to support child abuse, and the actions of some latter-day church leaders doesn't change that fact. Moreover it should be pointed out that even the entire current leadership of the church is but a tiny part of the church leadership as a whole, the small exposed peak of a gigantic iceberg. Catholicism is founded firmly on a tradition, a legacy of priests, popes, saints, and other sundry folk which stretches back thousands of years. It is nothing new for some Catholics to believe that the pope or some of the priests are full of shit. St Athanasius was the only true Catholic left alive during his day, and he persevered and remained a Catholic.
posted by koeselitz at 11:21 AM on April 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


But what if Catholicism is what you believe in?

Well--and I'm saying this as someone who's father married into a family of Catholics incl clergymen at a young age--I would say then that you shouldn't take it personally if people take issue with the hierarchical organization you subscribe to that covers up horrible instances of child abuse and blows it off as petty gossip. And you should damned well expect questions along the lines of "why the Hell would you listen to these people? Why can't you have a more personal relationship with your God instead? What is the importance of this hierarchy to your own faith if you don't support or agree with it or its' leaders?"
posted by Kirk Grim at 11:32 AM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Catholicism is founded firmly on a tradition, a legacy of priests, popes, saints, and other sundry folk which stretches back thousands of years.

Of course. Tradition. When it comes to the RCC, it's an unbroken chain of monstrosities going back as far as recorded history allows us. If it's not the wholesale murder of indigenous people, it's the destruction of their cultures, there's forcible conversions, there's wars of pillaging, there's mass torture in the name of god, there's violent and bloody opposition to science and free inquiry, there's kid diddling coverups, there's murder by proxy of millions in Africa, there's vicious discrimination against gays, sexual minorities, women, and so on. No, there is no period of time, including the present, where the RCC has not been involved in something utterly monstrous. With a practices as consistent as that over millennia, one can be forgiven for thinking that - maybe, just maybe, who knows, the problems with the RCC are systemic. And that therefore, as with any organization that has failed so profoundly, dissolution is the only way out. Because, they've been a massive cancer for two millennia - a pretty long record. But maybe they need more time. HAMBURGER.
posted by VikingSword at 11:42 AM on April 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


One batshit insane bishop reverts to venerable anti-semitism, and people think that the church has shot itself in the foot? How about top cardinal, Tarcisio Bertone, blames paedophile crisis on homosexuals
posted by fcummins at 11:53 AM on April 13, 2010


lol
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:53 AM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Same as it ever was. Two thousand years - an unbroken chain of incredible crimes, but every time it's the same song "a few bad apples", "but this time, unlike every other that time, it's gonna be different, super extra promise" - this at the very moment when more hideous evil is committed. Shut. It. Down.
posted by VikingSword at 11:58 AM on April 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


my garr machine

That's like a Lucy Liu-Bot? [sorry. fortuitous typos are like crack for me.]
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:00 PM on April 13, 2010


“This seems like an odd perspective to me, because my experience is that the least rational people when it comes to these issues are the parents.”

Well …. yeah. I can’t imagine the havoc I would want wreak on the church were my kid raped. So -

“After all, priests hear confessions all day, and they know instinctively that it is very, very rarely that revealing the sin publicly is the proper thing to do. I can understand not wanting to betray that confidence, particularly if one felt that it might be hurting the child more to do so.”
This I think is a fairly clear picture of the mindset of a priest. Seems pretty logical and form follows function.

What they’re not doing is respecting the law. And priests are not above the law.

If the law protects the priest from an angry parent, we have to recognize the law can’t allow the church to arbitrarily (at its discretion) shield the priest. Privileging a church in that way erodes accountability – because then the priest’s judgment is held to be above a citizen’s judgment in secular affairs.
Certain groups are legally privileged in that regard – judges, cops, etc. But they are held (or attempted to be held) accountable for their actions. There’s oversight. Checks. Because without accountability, there can be no justice.

Priests are not privileged nor do they have any accountability to the people they serve. Through God perhaps, but we can’t relegate justice to some afterlife.
If it’s going to have any practical meaning, it has to be done here on earth and in as timely a manner as possible.

So whatever their intent – the cover up disrespects the law, supplants the parent’s authority and injures their right to seek legal redress. Indeed – the church in this regard presumes to be law.
That’s an irrational position. And one that completely seeks to take advantage of the social contract, accepting the rights and protections of the law but completely flouting the responsibilities.

And given that it’s systematic and organized – far, far more dangerous than a few distraught individual parents who might seek revenge.

“Raistlin was Jewish? Wow. I knew he was a badass, but a Jew too? Awesome”

Klingons too. Turned the heavens into ashes as well.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:07 PM on April 13, 2010


Jury finds against Boy Scouts in ‘perversion files’ sex abuse case -- "Organization now faces punitive damages phase in Oregon trial."
posted by ericb at 12:12 PM on April 13, 2010


(To be clear – systematic in its philosophy as being held above the law in some cases while enjoying certain protections. And there are cases where this is beneficial to society (Father Carl Kabat offhand) – if such a case interfered with basic human rights in terms of speech, security of person, etc, those should be opposed as well. I take Paine’s pov that they can’t be granted (in this case by God or charter) but must be defended as a matter of public need from other asserted derivations of authority.)

"Not "stop being German", it would be "stop being a Nazi"

Well, Oskar Schindler. John Rabe (he stopped, although not until ’46.). Graf von Stauffenberg opposed Nazism on the whole because he was catholic. Karl Plagge, Gustav Schroder. Rommel, pretty hard core bad guy, wasn’t a party member.

I get what you’re saying, it’s a non-coercive organization one can walk away from. But it’s also a contested concept. E.g. Hey, stop being a Muslim because of the terrorists.

And it’s not easy for many folks to accept radically new ideas and put them into their daily practice. So ‘stop not being an Olympic athlete.’
I take the point, but I like to cut some people some slack if they’re not actually doing the bad stuff themselves. Not everyone has the same level of ability. Some people you have to ween them away from, say, having donuts in the morning. Takes a little time and effort and sometimes some outside help.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:04 PM on April 13, 2010


VikingSword: “Same as it ever was. Two thousand years - an unbroken chain of incredible crimes, but every time it's the same song "a few bad apples", "but this time, unlike every other that time, it's gonna be different, super extra promise" - this at the very moment when more hideous evil is committed. Shut. It. Down.”

Good. Luck. Jerko.
posted by koeselitz at 1:21 PM on April 13, 2010


Or, to be a bit more circumspect about it:

VikingSword, you may see the church's history as "an unbroken chain of incredible crimes." Hell, you might be right - I don't know. I think you're insanely wrong, but frankly that doesn't matter. You're not a catholic. Neither am I.

So if you believe that Catholicism is really a legacy of sin, as you say, then you're forced to make a choice. Either all these Catholics that I have a feeling we're all familiar with - rank-and-file, everyday Catholics, churchgoers, parishioners all around the world - are complete criminals, or they're profoundly misled. I have a feeling you'll judge that it's the latter, and that what they think the Catholic Church stands for is very different from what the Catholic Church actually stands for.

The trouble is that, unless you believe that all Catholics are criminals, then the position you're taking implies that there are at least two different Catholic Churches: the church as the leadership tries to make it, and the church that the multitude adhere to.
posted by koeselitz at 1:32 PM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


koeselitz: Good. Luck. Jerko.

Bingo. Never mind any arguments; instead, insult other posters. Make it personal. "Help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the issues, topics, and facts at hand—not at other members of the site."

I'm not surprised.
posted by VikingSword at 1:34 PM on April 13, 2010


Implying that all Catholics are incredible criminals doesn't exactly fall into the 'respectful discussion' realm there, VikingSword. Neither of us really has room to claim the moral high ground, so let's forget that and actually try being honest, shall we?
posted by koeselitz at 1:37 PM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Smedleyman--yeah, sorry. I probably shouldn't have said anything, it was just a pedantic little issue with the comparison Koeslitz made, which he's already explained to me since. Definitley not a statement I can get behind.

Again, most of my family is Catholic and they're good people, I just never understood their relationship to the Church and the application of its' authority and the implications of their beliefs on me, a non-believer, sharing the same roof. My step-grandfather on that side was a Catholic priest. I spent a lot of time sitting in the pews on the high holidays with my Dad during communion getting "looks", exchanging knowing glances in mass whenever the priest went on a rant about abortion or homosexuality. We eventually just stopped going. There were things like when he got married to my Catholic step-mother, she needed him and my mother to go and have their divorce called an annulment retroactively. Does that make me a bastard then? Did you just trick God into approving of this marriage on a technicality? It was important enough to you just to have this blessing, and not think about the fact it doesn't make any damned sense? To an outsider it seems like a really bizarre combination of weird rituals and beliefs that only apply when it's convenient, and even after 20 years I can't get a straight answer out of them when I ask about basic things like why it's bad if they don't go to Church but it's not for me when I don't go. They seemed to be paying lip-service to the ideal of the institutions, while ignoring completely the reality and the obligations the ideals would put on them in their daily lives. It confused me then and it confuses me now.
posted by Kirk Grim at 1:45 PM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


VikingSword, you may see the church's history as "an unbroken chain of incredible crimes." Hell, you might be right - I don't know. I think you're insanely wrong, but frankly that doesn't matter.

Please identify a period of time in the history of the RCC when massive crimes were not committed by the RCC. That period of time would break the chain. Specific starting and ending dates please, so that I may immediately cite the crimes that actually were committed during that time.

You're not a catholic. Neither am I.

Being a Catholic is not a requirement to discuss the RCC. The RCC seems to feel no compunction about affecting the lives of non-Catholics by lobbying for discriminatory laws.

So if you believe that Catholicism is really a legacy of sin, as you say, then you're forced to make a choice.

No. I never said that. I'm an atheist and I don't believe in the concept of sin. It is however a historical fact that the RCC has been committing atrocities and crimes from its earliest days through to this day.

Either all these Catholics that I have a feeling we're all familiar with - rank-and-file, everyday Catholics, churchgoers, parishioners all around the world - are complete criminals, or they're profoundly misled. I have a feeling you'll judge that it's the latter, and that what they think the Catholic Church stands for is very different from what the Catholic Church actually stands for.

None of these cartoonish choices you were capable of thinking up. People adhere to religions and organizations and cultures for a whole host of reasons having nothing to do with any conscious process of vetting. Sometimes it's as little as simple inertia "I was born into". Nowhere, ever, have I said a bad word about lay Catholics. In fact, I have done the opposite - explicitly absolved them of any blame (unlike many here on MF), further, I've done the same for many ordinary RCC priests who have been fantastic human beings.

The trouble is that, unless you believe that all Catholics are criminals, then the position you're taking implies that there are at least two different Catholic Churches: the church as the leadership tries to make it, and the church that the multitude adhere to.

This is grotesque. See my previous paragraph. When you are unable conceive of other options and possibilities, you are sadly constrained in the options that remain.

Good luck!
posted by VikingSword at 1:46 PM on April 13, 2010


Implying that all Catholics are incredible criminals doesn't exactly fall into the 'respectful discussion' realm there, VikingSword. Neither of us really has room to claim the moral high ground, so let's forget that and actually try being honest, shall we?

This is beneath contempt. Nowhere, ever have I implied that "all Catholics are incredible criminals". Your assertion of this is disgusting. Not surprising coming from someone who baldly insults another poster.
posted by VikingSword at 1:49 PM on April 13, 2010


Jury finds against Boy Scouts in ‘perversion files’ sex abuse case ...

Some interesting details:
"Lawyers for Kerry Lewis, 38, the victim who filed the lawsuit, argued the Boy Scouts organization was reckless for allowing former assistant Scoutmaster Timur Dykes to continue to associate with the victim's Scout troop after Dykes acknowledged to a bishop for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints early in 1983 that he had molested 17 Boy Scouts.

The church was the charter organization for an estimated third to one half of the Boy Scout troops in the nation in the 1980s.

The church settled its portion of the Portland case before trial, but the jury ordered it to pay 25 percent of the $1.4 million in noneconomic damages, or $350,000. The Boy Scouts of America must pay 60 percent, or $840,000, while its Cascade Pacific Council must pay 15 percent, or $210,000."
(1) Secret files.

(2) Allowing a known sex offender to continue to have access to children.

(3) A church settling with a victim before trial.

Sound familiar?
posted by ericb at 1:55 PM on April 13, 2010


For the record, this is my most recent position on lay Catholics and most priests:

Quoted for truth. And I'll go further - not only are there fantastic awesome lay Catholics, but fantastic awesome Catholic priests who have lead all but saintly lives in the service of others, asking for nothing. They deserve the utmost respect, and should not be smeared by a brush too broad.
posted by VikingSword at 11:12 PM on April 1 [14 favorites +] [!]


I say most recent position on lay Catholics and most priests, because I've restated this a whole lot throughout my posting history.

The RCC as an organization, yes, I condemn in the strongest of terms, and believe to be the enemies of mankind (something I've backed up and elucidated before, many times).
posted by VikingSword at 1:58 PM on April 13, 2010


BTW -- the 'perversion files' are kept at the Boy Scouts of America's National Office in Irving, TX. Kinda like the "Vatican" of the BSA.

BSA Response to Portland, OR Trial Outcome.
posted by ericb at 2:01 PM on April 13, 2010


VikingSword: Please identify a period of time in the history of the RCC when massive crimes were not committed by the RCC. That period of time would break the chain. Specific starting and ending dates please, so that I may immediately cite the crimes that actually were committed during that time.

823-48?

I don't really know what the Catholic Church was up to then, but I'm really curious if you can actually name massive crimes committed by the Catholic Church for all and any time periods because that would pretty much be the world's greatest party trick.

Actually, come to think of it, there was that whole Campus Mendacii business around that time, but the if I remember correctly the Pope was a bit player in all that and besides, that was just one event.

posted by Kattullus at 3:06 PM on April 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


823-48?

I don't really know what the Catholic Church was up to then, but I'm really curious if you can actually name massive crimes committed by the Catholic Church for all and any time periods because that would pretty much be the world's greatest party trick.


Ha! :D

Iconoclasm continued in the Eastern Empire until about 843. :D
posted by zarq at 3:13 PM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


BTW, I'm not trying to bash the Catholic Church in the same broad manner as VikingSword.

Apparently I just can't resist a challenge. :D :D
posted by zarq at 3:14 PM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


823-48?

I don't really know what the Catholic Church was up to then, but I'm really curious if you can actually name massive crimes committed by the Catholic Church for all and any time periods because that would pretty much be the world's greatest party trick.


Far from being a great party trick, it's trivially easy. By that time, The RCC was the largest landholder in Europe. During that time, as was customary, they used serf labor with all its attendant cruelties and crimes against the serfs to extract value from the land (serf - think, "close to slave"). They had the option of not pursuing worldly wealth (he original ideology on which the RCC was ostensibly founded, stressed the abandonment of material wealth), but far from doing this, they went in the opposite direction.

This period of time was actually the laying of the foundations for some of the greatest crimes of the RCC, which encompasses the time frame you gave:

"Revival of Western Imperialism. During the late 700s Charlemagne, king of the Franks, amasses the most territory ruled by one man in Western Europe since the fall of the western half of the Roman Empire. On Christmas Day, 800 A.D., the pope crowns Charlemagne "emperor of the Romans." This act revives imperialism in the West, gives birth to the idea that political rulers must receive their crowns from the pope, obligates political rulers to aid the pope when in trouble, and instigates the following new philosophy in Europe: The Kingdom of God has two arms—the spiritual, with the pope over human souls, and the political, with the emperor over human physical life. Thus the pope and emperor are to give each other mutual support."

I must say, you overestimate the party trick aspect of it. It really is remarkably easy. We can dispense with all of the 1900-present period of time, by covering up monstrous child abuse alone, even if we don't refer to a single other crime. Cover the time before 1900 as massive anti-Semitism, the laying of part of the foundation which flowered so richly into the Holocaust etc.
posted by VikingSword at 3:27 PM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Further to the quoted text - to explain - the imperialism was cultural as well, for example, the mid-800 was a time when Christianity was imposed on much of what we call today Eastern Europe, wiping out a lot of indigenous culture. Sometimes the process was milder (like in Scandinavia), sometimes more at the point of a sword, but it was a period of time where Christianity (the same as RCC at the time) was being consolidated across the continent.
posted by VikingSword at 3:32 PM on April 13, 2010


Vatican scoffs at idea of arresting pope in Britain

Though slightly off the headline topic, this article also includes this info:

Ten Maltese men who are suing three priests for alleged child abuse have requested a private meeting with the pope.

[...]

So far, the pope has not spoken out directly on the new wave of sexual abuse allegations that is besetting the Church in a number of countries, including the United States, Italy and his native Germany. He last spoke about it in a letter to the Irish people on March 20.

In Malta, which is about 95 percent Catholic, billboards publicizing the papal visit were daubed last week with images related to sexual abuse.

The crisis over abuse of children by priests shows no sign of abating, with new revelations emerging almost daily and the Vatican scrambling to find a response strategy.

[...]

Also on Monday, a new report commissioned by the Church in Germany said children were "sadistically tormented and also sexually abused" at a Catholic monastery in the heavily Catholic Bavaria region.

posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 4:28 PM on April 13, 2010


VikingSword wrote:This is beneath contempt. Nowhere, ever have I implied that "all Catholics are incredible criminals". Your assertion of this is disgusting.

Lets see... I think it was when you compared the Catholic Church to the Mafia and said it should be prosecuted the way we do terrorists. That would make everyone who drops $20 in the plate on Sundays analogous to a funder of terrorism... which would meet most people's definition of an "incredible criminal":

We would prosecute to the fullest extent of the law everybody involved not merely in the abuse directly, but in any action that contributed to the criminal conspiracy of evading the law. That would put a good chunk of the hierarchy in prison. We'd use broadly applied RICO statutes for compensatory damages to the victims and punitive damages as well, which would likely bankrupt the RCC (similar tactics were used to bankrupt hate groups in the U.S.). We'd declare the RCC a criminal organization, similar to the Mafia, in that a broad conspiracy was perpetrated over decades to subvert the rule of law. We would therefore be able to ban any money going to the RCC as a criminal organization - this would allow complete cutting off from any government involvement on any level, tax advantages, private contributions (we've used these tactics against terrorist organizations that masqueraded as charities), etc., etc., etc..

If it's not a brush too broad, it's pretty darn close. If you really respected any committed Catholics you wouldn't advocate for shutting down their Church; the positions are opposed.

Zarq wrote:

Iconoclasm continued in the Eastern Empire until about 843. :D
...
Apparently I just can't resist a challenge. :D :D


Resist. Iconoclasm was a heresy. Condemned by the Pope (see this Wikipedia article) and was a crime against the Church not by it.
posted by Jahaza at 4:33 PM on April 13, 2010


So far, the pope has not spoken out directly on the new wave of sexual abuse allegations that is besetting the Church in a number of countries, including the United States, Italy and his native Germany. He last spoke about it in a letter to the Irish people on March 20.

It's an entirely arbitrary division. Claims falling on March 21st and later are a "new wave"? The cases in the U.S., in Wisconsin and California were already publicly known and so they can't be part of a "new wave of sexual abuse allegations anyways.
posted by Jahaza at 4:36 PM on April 13, 2010


HP LaserJet P10006: "billboards publicizing the papal visit were daubed last week with images related to sexual abuse"

Maltese pedobear posters.
posted by idiopath at 4:38 PM on April 13, 2010


Not "stop being German", it would be "stop being a Nazi". Not that I think anyone has actually said what you're implying, but I think it's possible to believe in a Christian God and the divinity of Jesus without being Catholic or taking cues from those in an organization that answers to the Pope implicated in this scandal.

Mmm, I'm not sure this quite fits either (she said, continuing to analyze the analogy).

Yes, it's possible to believe in the divinity of Jesus without being Catholic, but the perspective the dogma of Catholicism gives you ON Jesus isn't just about whether or not Jesus is divine. It's a perspective that other Christian denominations don't have -- yeah, they're nuanced differences, but...they're still differences.

I do think that the "Church = Germany" metaphor still works -- because Germany is still Germany, whether you've got the Third Reich or Angela Merkel or Otto von Bismarck in power. It's possible to refuse to be a Nazi...but still wanna be German. And implying that "well, you can be Christian without being Catholic" may, to some ears, sound kind of like, "well....you can move to Alsace if you don't like the Nazis, you can still speak German there even though it's France...."

As you said -- I'm not saying that's what you're claiming, it's more that I think I see a hole in the argument there.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:45 PM on April 13, 2010


Zarq wrote: Are the Bishop and Pope's personal preacher going to apologize?

The preacher already apologized more than a week ago.

Since the Bishop denied having made the remark it would be a little odd for him to apologize, no?

we have two high officials within the Church very publicly spouting the same vilifying antisemitic bullshit

I think you overstate the offensiveness of Cantalamessa's comments. I is insensitive and many found it hurtful, but I don't see in what way it vilifies the Jews. On the other hand, you're clearly vilifying him.
posted by Jahaza at 4:51 PM on April 13, 2010


rather "It is insensitive"
posted by Jahaza at 4:53 PM on April 13, 2010


That would make everyone who drops $20 in the plate on Sundays analogous to a funder of terrorism... which would meet most people's definition of an "incredible criminal"

This really is pathetic. You are welcome to jump in and defend the RCC as you've been doing, but when you do it mendaciously, by misrepresenting what you read, it ends up backfiring.

First of all, it says NOTHING about the anyone doing any donations, for the simple reason that the earliest that would even theoretically happen, would be AFTER we declared the RCC a criminal organization like the Mafia - remember that was a proposal of what to do, in answer to your question. So when I draw up a proposal, you then jump back and claim that I want to apply some laws retroactively?? Same with "terrorist" - I described a technique that's been used successfully against organizations which take your money while masquerading as charities - not proposing that we retroactively label Catholics anything. Thanks for that piece of boneheaded accusation. "Catholics are incredible criminals" - as usual, a calumny - why am I not surprised?

And IF we managed to get the RCC so declared, you'd see Catholics act as they please, but I doubt it would even be possible to do donations - because the infrastructure for that would disappear.

The RCC claims to be a state for the sake of avoiding legal repercussions against the current pope. I advocate testing that proposition. Which sovereign country is allowed to conduct business, and collect money and funnel it outside of the U.S., all untaxed? Tax the RCC in the U.S. - this is not a matter of religion, this is a matter of a sovereign state leeching money out of the U.S. untaxed. The RCC involvement and advocacy of discriminatory laws? Register them as foreign agents - any country (say China) that lobbies for any law must do so through registered agents. The RCC is presenting itself as a sovereign state - make them live up to the obligations. Unleash an army of lawyers to examine this state to state relationship and why it is that we are subsidizing the RCC here in countless ways - I feel completely confident that in no time we can paralyze and tie up the RCC into knots here. Their property would be seized as massive lawsuits pile up and soon there would be no RCC presence here in any formal way. Catholics would still be free to worship any god they wish, associate with whomever they wish, and do as they wish with their money - though where it would end up, would be guided by the letter of the law, as always.

Any apologist for the RCC who feels the need to mischaracterize those who speak their mind regarding the crimes of RCC, will see his or her credibility undermined.
posted by VikingSword at 4:57 PM on April 13, 2010


I asked the question, but only after you said the organization should be "extirpated"

M-W on extirpate:
1 a : to destroy completely : wipe out b : to pull up by the root
2 : to cut out by surgery
synonyms see exterminate
That's potentially pretty offensive right there... to advocate for the extermination of a religion. Your clarification of what you meant was that you intended for the extermination to happen by state power. Which goes from potentially offensive to definitely offensive.

...it says NOTHING about the anyone doing any donations,...

VikingSword, you wrote it and I just quoted it:
We would therefore be able to ban any money going to the RCC as a criminal organization - this would allow complete cutting off from any government involvement on any level, tax advantages, private contributions (we've used these tactics against terrorist organizations that masqueraded as charities), etc., etc., etc..
You're the one who called the RCC a criminal organization. Yes indeed, you're "not proposing that we retroactively label Catholics anything. You've already repeatedly labeled it presently and retroactively as a criminal organization, so it wouldn't be necessary for you to do it retroactively. The laws are already in place. Now you're backing down and saying we should just ban and prosecute future contributions. That's a lot better!

Maybe you just don't know how low the bar is for "any action that contributed to the criminal conspiracy" when you label the entire Church a criminal enterprise. You could always withdraw your comments instead of trying to claim you've been misrepresented.

The RCC claims to be a state

No it doesn't. The Vatican City is a state. The Holy See does not claim to be a state and exchanges diplomats as a non-state entity.
posted by Jahaza at 5:15 PM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maltese pedobear posters.

Much as it pains me to admit it, the 4chan crowd can be bloody funny.
posted by a little headband I put around my throat at 5:18 PM on April 13, 2010


The RCC claims to be a state for the sake of avoiding legal repercussions against the current pope.

Such foresight they had in 1929!

this is a matter of a sovereign state leeching money out of the U.S. untaxed.

How much? That's a sincere question - I'm not aware of any such thing, but if I'm wrong it'd be interesting to know the percentage.
posted by moxiedoll at 5:20 PM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Zarq wrote: Are the Bishop and Pope's personal preacher going to apologize?

Jahaza: The preacher already apologized more than a week ago.

Thank you for pointing that out. I hadn't seen that. I'm relieved he did the right thing.

A shame the damage has probably already been done.

Note please, that once again the Pope remained silent on this issue.

Since the Bishop denied having made the remark it would be a little odd for him to apologize, no?

I'm waiting to see what Volpe's audio recording reveals. If it turns out that Babini did indeed make the remark, you'll see me calling not only for an abject apology from that retired Bishop, but also from the entire Italian Bishops Conference, for lying to protect him.

I think you overstate the offensiveness of Cantalamessa's comments. I is insensitive and many found it hurtful, but I don't see in what way it vilifies the Jews.

Try being Jewish, subjected to antisemitism from Christians (including from Catholics, Baptists, Protestants and Lutherans) from childhood, as I was, and then we'll talk.

Until then, don't you dare presume to think you have a right to tell me how offended I should or shouldn't be by these incidents. Especially not when someone who preaches to the Pope announces in a Good Friday Mass viewed by thousands of people that the "attacks" on the Pope and your Church are similar to acts of violence against Jews.

Many of those acts of violence were perpetuated against my people by the Church. The Church has hundreds of years of history of preached antisemitism, forcible conversion, forced relocation and the promotion of hatred against Jews, which often resulted in torture and death for us.

Vilify him? He's gotten off lightly. He's equating anger from the laity over the Church's successful protection and support of child molesting priests to the violence suffered by my people for dozens of generations.
posted by zarq at 5:22 PM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


VikingSword: “This is grotesque... See my previous paragraph. When you are unable conceive of other options and possibilities, you are sadly constrained in the options that remain... ¶ This is beneath contempt. Nowhere, ever have I implied that "all Catholics are incredible criminals". Your assertion of this is disgusting. Not surprising coming from someone who baldly insults another poster.”

Yeesh. First of all, let's have done with the hand-wringing, shall we? It's always surprised me that atheists can be so moralistic.

Look, you can choose to take what I've said personally, but I'm honestly trying to be cold and rational about all this. That's why, though I responded to your bit about bringing down the Catholic Church in a sort of punchy way, I thought the better of it and came back to offer something more substantial. My aim here isn't to make you look bad - honestly.

And please understand what I've said in the spirit in which it was said. For instance: when I said that you implied that Catholics were criminals, I was referring to the bit where you said that the Catholic church is a criminal organization. That statement does indeed imply that Catholics are criminals. Please note here that implications can be unintentional and might not reflect what you actually mean to say; see, for one instance, the unfortunate implication of the last sentence in this comment. Now, I can understand that you might have taken offense because you thought I was actually accusing you of calling all Catholics criminals, except for the fact that I explicitly said that I don't think you believe they are. Remember? In that paragraph you seem to have skipped over angrily, I said that I was pretty sure that you don't think all Catholics are criminals.

And that causes problems for your proposed takedown of the Catholic church.

“Being a Catholic is not a requirement to discuss the RCC. The RCC seems to feel no compunction about affecting the lives of non-Catholics by lobbying for discriminatory laws.”

You're right; being a Catholic is not a requirement to discuss the RCC. But you seem to be under the impression that you can speak with authority about what the RCC is, and that it clearly is a specific set of crimes and institutionalized violence. I have no problem with us discussing this; but, first of all, I wanted to point this niggling fact out: when you say you want to "take down" the church, you're talking about something entirely different from the thing that millions of Catholics revere so highly. In short: 'The Roman Catholic Church' is not merely the crimes you're describing, no matter how much you may believe it is. It is also something of great value to many honest, rational, thoughtful people. And while I'm well aware that you respect them, that you regard them with dignity - and, of course, while I know that you'd never accuse them of being criminals (I never said you would) - I think you're skipping over the essential fact about the equation: what about their Catholic Church? You can say you want to take down the Catholic Church, but honestly that's so broad a proposition as to be meaningless, in the final equation. It would require millions of people to simply stop being Catholics. And I think you and I might be able to agree that that's not an easy proposition.

“Please identify a period of time in the history of the RCC when massive crimes were not committed by the RCC. That period of time would break the chain. Specific starting and ending dates please, so that I may immediately cite the crimes that actually were committed during that time.”

See, this is ridiculous. I'm sorry, man, but it is. Who exactly do you think you're talking to? Again, nobody here seems to be Catholic; and if they are, they're not arguing with you. So what do you hope to convince me of? That there are all sorts of hidden or public crimes that should make everyone flee from Catholicism as fast as possible? Well, don't worry. I'm not in any danger of becoming Catholic.

Look, I refuse to argue with your putative historical claims about the criminal history of the church. I disagree with you on them, but you're going to have to agree to disagree with me, because I flatly refuse to talk about them. Why? Because they have nothing to do with this discussion. The question is not "is Catholicism evil?" or "should we be Catholics?" or "what terrible things has the Catholic Church done in history?" The question is: what do Catholics think the Church represents? It's difficult to answer that question with certitude, but we should at least be trying. One thing I think we can be sure of is this: most Catholics don't think the Church is about hating Jews or abusing children.

And if that's not what the Church means to most Catholics, then your goal of bringing down the Church is thrown into a quandary: what exactly are we supposed to be bringing down? A hierarchical structure of bishops, priests, and popes that provides a mechanism for criminals to escape justice? But that's not the Catholic Church, for the simple reason that that's not what most Catholics think the Catholic Church is supposed to be.
posted by koeselitz at 5:25 PM on April 13, 2010


Try being Jewish, subjected to antisemitism from Christians (including from Catholics, Baptists, Protestants and Lutherans) from childhood, as I was, and then we'll talk.

Until then, don't you dare presume to think you have a right to tell me how offended I should or shouldn't be by these incidents.


I didn't tell you how offended you should be. Be as offended as you like. It doesn't change the facts that Cantalamessa didn't vilify the Jews in his remarks like you said he did.
posted by Jahaza at 5:28 PM on April 13, 2010


Seriously, VikingSword, your martyr complex regarding what you're afraid people might be accusing you of is so finely set that it just about qualifies you for sainthood. Give us a few miracles and we're set.
posted by koeselitz at 5:32 PM on April 13, 2010


That's potentially pretty offensive right there... to advocate for the extermination of a religion.

No. I propose the extermination of the organization. A religion can form any church structure it wishes. Since apparently you have difficulty conceptualizing the difference, try this scenario: what would happen if it was proven that the entire hierarchy of the RCC, every single member was a criminal who ends up in jail? The organization would fall apart. A new one would be built in its place.

Same here. I'm not advocating the outlawing of Catholicism. I'm advocating the dismantling - extirpation - of the RCC as an organization. Catholics can reform into a new organization at any time.

We would therefore be able to ban any money going to the RCC as a criminal organization - this would allow complete cutting off from any government involvement on any level, tax advantages, private contributions (we've used these tactics against terrorist organizations that masqueraded as charities), etc., etc., etc..

Jahaza, it seems you are not grasping some very fundamental things. Imagine that a charity is involved in terrorism - or any crime. People contribute to the charity. UNTIL the charity is legally and formally declared a criminal organization, nobody contributing to it can even theoretically be called a criminal. Do you understand that part of the law, or do you not understand that part of the law?

When I say that we would declare the RCC a criminal organization, it is obviously a legal move - until then, nobody involved is a criminal. So obviously I did not call Catholics criminals. Nor even after - see below.

My calling the RCC a criminal organization is my opinion, based on a many reasons (criminal conspiracy to subvert the rule of law etc.). I'm entitled to that opinion. It does NOT mean that I think ordinary Catholics are criminals in either the legal or moral sense - which I've made repeatedly clear, throughout my posting history - random example:

"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)."

I've done that over, and over and over again. My seeing the organization as criminal is not the same as seeing ordinary Catholics (or even indeed, most priests), as criminals. Once LAWS are passed, and legal status is established (RCC as a criminal organization) - even then, ordinary Catholics don't become criminals from a legal point of view.

Maybe you just don't know how low the bar is for "any action that contributed to the criminal conspiracy" when you label the entire Church a criminal enterprise. You could always withdraw your comments instead of trying to claim you've been misrepresented.

That's pretty stupid. Most Catholics have been born into their faith and Church membership. They are cultural Catholics - they chose nothing, they merely went along, checking whatever box, attending religious events, Church, donating etc. - all without that being an explicit endorsement of any RCC doctrine or practice. Nobody in the world would try to draw legal repercussions from this.

If you want to see just how stupid your statement is, examine a much more controversial case. How about people who voluntarily join a criminal organization, with a clear criminal ideology, and an organization, which is subsequently legally defined as "criminal"? I'm talking about the NSDAP - the Nazi party of Germany, which at its height had over 8.5 million members. Nobody anywhere has declared the 8.5 million German members of a party they voluntarily joined legally "criminals".

So how stupid is it to imagine that, being born to a Catholic family and baptized as an infant and going along with the cultural institution of the Catholic Church, while having no operative function or power in the organization of RCC would be declared a "criminal"?

Jahaz, your arguments are not even weak, they are nonsensical. And you seem constitutionally incapable of distinguishing between the legal operatives and functionaries of the RCC, and ordinary lay Catholics or most priests. Even in criminal organizations like the NSDAP, only the top, the specific people directly involved in the crimes were declared criminals. You are intentionally obfuscating the distinction between the RCC hierarchy and organization and ordinary Catholics. Of course, we all know why you do so - but it still won't work.
posted by VikingSword at 5:46 PM on April 13, 2010


I didn't tell you how offended you should be.

Sure you did. Here's what you said:

I think you overstate the offensiveness of Cantalamessa's comments.

It's not your place to determine what I or any other Jew should or should not find offensive in his comments, especially when such comments are deliberately intended to diminish what Jews endured for two millennia at the expense of portraying his Church as an innocent victim.
posted by zarq at 5:49 PM on April 13, 2010


A hierarchical structure of bishops, priests, and popes that provides a mechanism for criminals to escape justice? But that's not the Catholic Church, for the simple reason that that's not what most Catholics think the Catholic Church is supposed to be.

OK, but as you say, the Catholic Church has become something it wasn't originally intended to be, and acts in a way that most Catholics believe it isn't supposed to. Catholics have no recourse within the Church to prevent its officials from preying on innocent children, and the Church is taking little or no action to stop them either.

Are the parents of those who have been molested, and those who want their children to receive religious instruction supposed to sit back and pray that one day soon the Bishops might choose to elect a guy who actually lives up to the standards of his religion's core teachings? They need a system in which accused pedophiles will be turned over to local legal systems. Right now, they're in full denial mode, and that's awful for the victims.

Catholics need a recourse. It seems quite clear that the Church cannot be trusted to run its own affairs in these matters.

I'm not calling for the Church to be disbanded. But I think the time for allowing them free rein in this matter has to end.
posted by zarq at 6:04 PM on April 13, 2010


I retract it. But there's still something there... I mean the level of heinousness of a comment still has to be in some way relative to something other than the reaction. It's not just the reaction that makes it offensive, no?

Regardless, I still think you're still going to far. There's absolutely no reason to suggest that Cantalamessa intended to diminish what Jews have experienced. And to call his remarks a vilification of the Jews is simply not true.

Furthermore, your comments that the "Church's leaders are now promoting contempt for and denigration of Jews and Judaism." Which I take to refer to the Pope and leaders of the Church generally and not just to Cantalamessa and Babini are offensive to Catholics. So lets both take a step back.
posted by Jahaza at 6:07 PM on April 13, 2010


And if that's not what the Church means to most Catholics, then your goal of bringing down the Church is thrown into a quandary: what exactly are we supposed to be bringing down? A hierarchical structure of bishops, priests, and popes that provides a mechanism for criminals to escape justice? But that's not the Catholic Church, for the simple reason that that's not what most Catholics think the Catholic Church is supposed to be.

Um, what does the Church mean to "most Catholics"? You do realize, that in counting "Catholics", it's routine to include populations of whole countries that are nominally or culturally Catholic, like Poland with some 40 million people. I invite you to do some research on how much intellectual examination goes into the claim "I'm Catholic", how much knowledge or conceptualization of what the Church "means" for vast numbers of Catholics. If we are to go by numbers, it would be highly amusing to see what the numerical majority of Catholics can even say about the RCC apart from some very surface cultural signifiers.

I'm entirely fine with "what exactly are we supposed to be bringing down? A hierarchical structure of bishops, priests, and popes that provides a mechanism for criminals to escape justice?"

And far from this being some kind of odd impossibility and imponderability, it's actually occurred in history. That's what schisms are, and the Church has had several. The entire structure is gone - poof - and a new one is established. Time for another one, this time driven by legal measures. The Vatican is an anachronism, and should be abolished, the territory re-absorbed fully into Italy.

The RCC as an organizational structure is systemically flawed, leading to repeated atrocities and crimes, and when that is the case - as history bears out - you must dismantle it.
posted by VikingSword at 6:11 PM on April 13, 2010


Right now, they're in full denial mode, and that's awful for the victims.

Huh? Have you not been aware of this issue before now? The Catholic Church has turned over files and allegations in dozens of places. It's settled lawsuits for hundreds of millions of dollars. Pope Benedict and Pope John Paul II both directly and publicly have addressed the crisis. The Pope met with sex abuse victims when he came to the U.S. You could argue that they're "still somewhat in denial", that they're "still denying the full extent of the problem", but it's simply not true that they're in "full denial mode".
posted by Jahaza at 6:12 PM on April 13, 2010


That's what schisms are, and the Church has had several. The entire structure is gone - poof - and a new one is established.

No, that's not what a schism is. A schism is a split. Words have meanings. The Church has never had its entire structure abolished and replaced. What could that even mean. The Church believes itself to be a hierarchy organization of which every member is a part. The organization is the Church. You can't eliminate the organization and keep the Church. If you tried to do that Catholics would just refuse. You can't make them stop believing that there priests are priests and their bishops are bishops and that the lay people are the lay people and that they all make up the Church in it's visible organizational aspect. It's nonsense to talk about trying to abolish it.
posted by Jahaza at 6:17 PM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


No, that's not what a schism is. A schism is a split. Words have meanings. The Church has never had its entire structure abolished and replaced.

When a Church splits - that's exactly what happens, the previous structure and leadership is no longer operative in the new Church that split away. It may persist in the old, but not in the new. So the concept of a NEW structure and leadership is not unknown to the Church. What I am proposing is that therefore, it is possible to establish a new Church with a different structure and leadership, while the old one is put in prison (insofar as a specific person is convicted of a crime).

Extirpate the RCC as an organization. Let Catholics establish a new Church, of their own design.
posted by VikingSword at 6:23 PM on April 13, 2010


Catholics largely don't want a new Church. (If they did they'd have started it already, no one is stopping them).

The doctrine of the Catholic Church is such that it maintains that there has NOT ever been a new structure and a new leadership that has continued to be the Church. That is one of the major foundational claims of the Catholic Church, that IT is the universal Church founded by Christ.

There is no way for the Catholic Church to be eliminated ("extirpated") from the outside that is consistent with the democratic values of the United States. And given that many Catholics would go to prison before they'd quit supporting and participating in the Catholic Church, even if the government made it illegal, you're still calling for the state to ban a religion and act against it.
posted by Jahaza at 6:49 PM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


You could argue that they're "still somewhat in denial", that they're "still denying the full extent of the problem", but it's simply not true that they're in "full denial mode".

Let's take a hypothetical situation:

A priest is accused of predatory behavior. A Catholic official hears the accusation and simply moves him to another parish without investigating, and without informing his congregation to the reason why.

Since the official has chosen to dismiss the possibility that said priest may be a threat to his new flock, this makes that official complicit in any predations which may have been previously committed or will subsequently be committed by the priest.

We know this hypothetical situation has actually happened more than once: Bishop Bernard Topel. Cardinal Bernard Law. There may be others I'm not remembering off the top of my head.

How many complicit Catholic officials have been defrocked and returned to the laity? How many have been released to local authorities for investigation or prosecution? I'm really asking. I don't know of any, but perhaps I'm simply unaware of them.

If not at all, or not in the majority of cases, then my impression is reinforced: the Church has chosen to portray these scandals as small, isolated incidents involving outlier priests. It has also refused to do punish those in the hierarchy who helped perpetuate it. I assume that's a self-protective measure.

If you'd like to frame that as something other than "full denial mode" feel free. But it certainly seems to me like a serious denial of the true scope of the problem.
posted by zarq at 6:50 PM on April 13, 2010


The Church believes itself to be a hierarchy organization of which every member is a part.

Who is this "Church" in the above sentence? A legal entity that believes? All members that hold formal organizational positions? Who specifically is entitled to legally speak to that?

Or is it some wooly phrase trotted out for the occasion?

The Church believes itself to be a hierarchy organization of which every member is a part. The organization is the Church. You can't eliminate the organization and keep the Church. If you tried to do that Catholics would just refuse. You can't make them stop believing that there priests are priests and their bishops are bishops and that the lay people are the lay people and that they all make up the Church in it's visible organizational aspect.

You are unnecessarily worried. The distinction between members of the organization who have specific positions and people who merely attend church is not that hard from a legal point of view. The IRS seems very capable of doing it, as does our legal system. When a lawsuit is filed, they know exactly whom to go after, and don't spray random Catholic bystanders. They know how to seize RCC property, and grandma doesn't end up with her house sold from under her feet. You're being over-dramatic.

It's nonsense to talk about trying to abolish it.

On the contrary, it would be remarkably easy. Lawyers are incredibly creative people - unlike so many, even here on MF, I actually like and respect lawyers. I am fully confident that if we unleash an army of them on the RCC, they'd tie it down so well, that nothing would make it rise from the paralysis. The RCC would have their own lawyers, but the State has unlimited means. It won't be a contest. First you bankrupt it, then you tie it up legally with all kinds of restrictions and investigations and reporting requirements - by the time it's over there wouldn't be a damp spot left of the RCC as an organization. A new Church would spring up, I have no doubt, and all would be well.
posted by VikingSword at 6:57 PM on April 13, 2010


There is no way for the Catholic Church to be eliminated ("extirpated") from the outside that is consistent with the democratic values of the United States.

Oh ye, of little faith (or is it Yee?/jk). You must not know any lawyers - I have full faith in them. A way would be found, you can count on it.

And given that many Catholics would go to prison before they'd quit supporting and participating in the Catholic Church, even if the government made it illegal, you're still calling for the state to ban a religion and act against it.

This doesn't make any sense. Nobody would be going to prison (except those who actually committed crimes). Catholics would be welcome to support the Church - why wouldn't they be able to? And no, I'm not calling for a ban on any religion - anymore than putting crooks in prison, even if they are priests is attacking a religion. A legal way would be found to completely defund the church - and when the liabilities are greater than assets, any new assets would keep going to satisfy claims - better to change the legal identity. So, no, on the contrary - I think it would be a cinch to change the Church, abolish the old RCC identity and structure something entirely new.
posted by VikingSword at 7:06 PM on April 13, 2010


This is interesting, anyway.

So under your plan, you're saying that Catholics would be free to reinstate the Catholic Church precisely as it is today, just with new people?
posted by koeselitz at 7:18 PM on April 13, 2010


So under your plan, you're saying that Catholics would be free to reinstate the Catholic Church precisely as it is today, just with new people?

New people, definitely - not all of them new, but many. Precisely as it is today? That simply would not be possible, what with the Vatican vanishing and most of the hierarchy responsible there being hunted like rats all over the world. You couldn't recreate that structure with an independent state, especially that it would be in a completely different legal situation vs most other states in the world (certainly the U.S.) - so that whole concept would have to be re-thought... plus don't disregard the experience that would be gathered by the secular powers in the world - not only would you not be able to establish the same kind of cosy position for the new Church, but extensive controls would be doubtlessly implemented from the state. It would be a new organization, of that there is no doubt.
posted by VikingSword at 7:33 PM on April 13, 2010


Furthermore, your comments that the "Church's leaders are now promoting contempt for and denigration of Jews and Judaism." Which I take to refer to the Pope and leaders of the Church generally and not just to Cantalamessa and Babini are offensive to Catholics.

We've covered Babini and Cantalamessa. I'll agree to disagree with you about Cantalamessa and to hold off on condemning Babini further until a recording is released. I can't imagine why a Catholic website would lie about such things, but in my anger I probably shouldn't condemn the man completely on hearsay, without proof.

However, I do stand by my statement that the other events I listed are a promotion of contempt for and denigration of Jews and/or Judaism:
* The current Pope is pushing the beatification of Pope Pius XII.

* The current Pope also lifted and did not reinstate the excommunication of Bishop Richard Williamson, the Holocaust denier.
It stuns me that Pope Benedict would think Pope Pius deserves beatification. Pius did act to help Jews. But at the same time he tacitly allowed much to happen, when acting could have perhaps limited the Nazis' mass murder. And his supposed posthumous confession should not mean we suddenly ignore or gloss over his sins.

Restoring Bishop Williamson to his highly visible and powerful role in the Church and then leaving him in place, rather than outright re-excommunicating him when he refused to recant his statements denying the Holocaust is clearly a slap in the face to the six million Jewish victims, their relatives and descendants.

Do you understand why these two acts might be perceived as a profound slap in the face to Jews? It's very frustrating.

So lets both take a step back.

That's fine with me.
posted by zarq at 7:52 PM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


VikingSword, are you familiar with the French Revolution, the Cristeros War, and the Spanish Civil War? How'd those work out?

most of the hierarchy responsible there being hunted like rats all over the world.

You have no idea how that could be offensive?

You couldn't recreate that structure with an independent state

The structure with the independent state... how do you plan to abolish that? Many Catholics won't be willing to cease their allegiance to the Pope so you'll have to get rid of the state itself. Given that it's an independent state thousands of miles away from the U.S., you're suggesting what? The Italian police will sack the Vatican? You'll send the 82nd Airborne?

extensive controls would be doubtlessly implemented from the state.

So you'll be repealing the 1st amendment then?

It would be a new organization, of that there is no doubt.

The Catholic Church is founded on the idea of the Apostolic Succession. If it's a successor organization, it's not really a new organization. If it's a new organization it's not a successor organization and if the Bishops are not the successors to the Apostles, Catholics don't see it as the Catholic Church.
posted by Jahaza at 7:59 PM on April 13, 2010


it's more that I think I see a hole in the argument there.

Yeah, it's a pretty big one actually. I agree, didn't put a whole lot of thought into that one. But suppose for the sake of argument, just cuz it's Metafilter and that's what we do here...

I could see the point if you were talking about the Jews rather than the Catholics. Being Jewish has an ethnic component beyond a commitment of faith or ideology, and someone can be a Jew without actively practicing Judaism. The priest in my stepmother's church lets us know, every Easter and Christmas, that you're pretty much not Catholic if you only show up on 2 days out of the year. Being German, or being Jewish, is something that is much, much more difficult to shed from your identity than an opt-in like which denomination you choose to be a part of and what rituals you practice.

I do think that the "Church = Germany" metaphor still works -- because Germany is still Germany, whether you've got the Third Reich or Angela Merkel or Otto von Bismarck in power. It's possible to refuse to be a Nazi...but still wanna be German. And implying that "well, you can be Christian without being Catholic" may, to some ears, sound kind of like, "well....you can move to Alsace if you don't like the Nazis, you can still speak German there even though it's France...."

This is where I think the major hole was in the distinction I was trying to make. I was actually trying to say the exact opposite of that, and came up well short. I was looking at Catholicism as a member of a greater set called Christianity--much as Nazism was but a member of the greater set called Germany. Or, as you put it, being a German but refusing to be a Nazi. In my analogy, German = Christian, Catholic = Nazi. (Holy shit, did I just write that? Remember folks, everything in context. It wasn't my analogy and I objected to it way upthread a long time ago)

Well, that's all i got tonight, folks. Is it hot in here, or is it just the burning flames of Hell?
posted by Kirk Grim at 7:59 PM on April 13, 2010


VikingSword, are you familiar with the French Revolution, the Cristeros War, and the Spanish Civil War? How'd those work out?

What does that have to do with anything I propose? I suppose those worked out about as well as the Crusades, the Inquisition and the birth of the Church of England.

You have no idea how that could be offensive?

No. Calling for child rapists and their enablers to be hunted like rats all over the world - i.e. tracked by the police and brought to justice, is the moral position to take.

[...]you'll have to get rid of the state itself. Given that it's an independent state thousands of miles away from the U.S., you're suggesting what? The Italian police will sack the Vatican? You'll send the 82nd Airborne?

Nah, the status of the Vatican city state is the result of legal agreements with the state of Italy. Once we get going on an international legal offensive, the Italian state can easily revise those and absorb the Vatican territory. Nobody is mounting any barricades. It's a tiny state, and I doubt they'd want to oppose legal force, or wish to test how long one lasts with zero supplies coming in. Once the territory is gone, the Holy See becomes even less of a state, existing only as a diplomatic creation with not many state attributes at all - and at that point we take to that hammer and nails, and soon that's dismantled too (the U.S. can easily stop recognizing them etc. - see what a hard time Taiwan is having diplomatically, even though that's an infinitely more vital and real state than the Holy See). You are being as usual, far too pessimistic.

So you'll be repealing the 1st amendment then?

Nope. But the RCC has a legal status that is clouded in my opinion, with the Holy See being a state and all. Once a new Church comes in, a metric ton of cosy arrangements with the state (arrangements that made it more difficult to detect and prosecute the abuses) that existed more by custom than de jure would come under intense scrutiny; most churches are not scrutinized too closely - but if you put your mind to it, and fully legally, keep extreme pressure on the Church to adhere to the smallest letter of the law, a tremendous burden can be put - legally - on this Church, and the costs of compliance can be exceptionally costly and consuming of manpower and energy. I feel confident we can keep it - fully legally - in a permanently enfeebled state; I stress, fully legally.

The Catholic Church is founded on the idea of the Apostolic Succession. If it's a successor organization, it's not really a new organization. If it's a new organization it's not a successor organization and if the Bishops are not the successors to the Apostles, Catholics don't see it as the Catholic Church.

You are just an endless fount of pessimism. You seem to have zero faith in the strength of the human spirit. Religion has survived all sorts of assaults and schisms and revolutions. I have no doubt that the Catholics can build and adjust to a new Church that is free from the legacy of anti-Semitism, hatred of gay people, subjugation of women and retrogressive murderous policies on contraception, systemic pedophilia and so on. These are not a requirement of faith for Catholics - they can let it go. They are certainly resilient enough to adjust to a new Church built on transparency, fairness and responsibility. I have faith in Catholics, even if you don't.
posted by VikingSword at 8:26 PM on April 13, 2010


It stuns me that Pope Benedict would think Pope Pius deserves beatification. Pius did act to help Jews. But at the same time he tacitly allowed much to happen, when acting could have perhaps limited the Nazis' mass murder. And his supposed posthumous confession should not mean we suddenly ignore or gloss over his sins.

I don't know anything about a posthumous confession (that's not even possible right? I mean, it could have been released posthumously, but he couldn't have confessed to something after he was dead.)

You admit that Pius helped save Jews. So you're just saying he didn't do enough and therefore he's evil? How much would be enough? He could have done more and ended up dead himself. Then he couldn't have done what he did. Given that he did work to save Jews and that he publicly condemned Nazism, I think our hindsight opinions of whether he did enough to confront the Nazis are moot. He did what he thought he could. It's an error of judgment if he should have done more, not a moral error. Nothing about the criteria for sainthood requires that you be successful, just that you be virtuous.

Restoring Bishop Williamson to his highly visible and powerful role in the Church and then leaving him in place,

This is not what happened. Bishop Williamson has no authorized role in the official Catholic Church other than as a common and no official power. (He can absolve the sins of the dying in an emergency, but that power is never taken away even when a priest is laicized completely). As a priest and as a bishop, Williamson was and remains absolutely and completely suspended. For him to celebrate Mass is considered by the Catholic Church to be a grave sin.

The excommunications of all of the SSPX Bishops (Williamson was not particularly picked out) were withdrawn as a gesture of good will in hopes of getting them to change some of their more extreme opinions and rejoin the main body of the Church. Was it public relations cock-up? Sure. Was it an endorsement of his opinions? No. It's entirely symbolic. The main effect of excommunication under the current (1983) Code of Canon Law is that you can't receive communion. Despite having had the excommunication withdrawn, Williamson can't even do that, because he's a public sinner, having agreed to be ordained illicitly and not publicly repented.
posted by Jahaza at 8:29 PM on April 13, 2010


grr... "other than as a common layman and no official"
posted by Jahaza at 8:32 PM on April 13, 2010


To me the issue is simple. Strip away all the subterfuge (and comments like this are clearly meant to confuse the issue and draw in outside sympathies) and one thing is clear-- the Catholic Church aided and abetted the molestation of thousands of children.
posted by cell divide at 9:10 PM on April 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


VikingSword, are you familiar with the French Revolution, the Cristeros War, and the Spanish Civil War? How'd those work out?

So you've got a popular uprising against a feudal state and the church that acted as an enforcer and accomplice in the oppression, a Catholic uprising against anti-Catholic oppression, and a civil war in which the Church sided with the fascists. The question is, are you familiar with those events, or are you just lashing out wildly?
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:27 PM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Huh? Have you not been aware of this issue before now? The Catholic Church has turned over files and allegations in dozens of places.

Turned over or reluctantly given since they were going to be obtained by supoena anyway?

It's settled lawsuits for hundreds of millions of dollars.

So they did not have to spend 5x that amount in failed lawsuits. Not to mention the horrible press fighting the lawsuits would have resulted in.

Pope Benedict and Pope John Paul II both directly and publicly have addressed the crisis. The Pope met with sex abuse victims when he came to the U.S. You could argue that they're "still somewhat in denial", that they're "still denying the full extent of the problem", but it's simply not true that they're in "full denial mode".

This is the kicker. I don't know when you are referring to Pope Benedict 'addressing the issue', but his visit to the US when he met with sex abuse victims was 2008. The hierarchy clearly knew of many of the cases of abuse that are coming to light now, yet nothing was done. (Were any additional children abused by known molesters in the 2 years since the issue was 'addressed'?) The church is 'addressing the issue' one scandal at a time, constantly hoping the rest don't see the light of day.
posted by batou_ at 9:37 PM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


So you've got a popular uprising against a feudal state and the church that acted as an enforcer and accomplice in the oppression, a Catholic uprising against anti-Catholic oppression, and a civil war in which the Church sided with the fascists. The question is, are you familiar with those events, or are you just lashing out wildly?

VikingSword is suggesting the abolition of the Church and/or its severe legal restriction. These are all cases in which that happened in the past. The result was severe social upheaval, great bloodshed, and debacle all around. Hence, my argument is that trying to suppress the Catholic Church (France) or restrict it heavily and then violently attack it when people disobey (Mexico and Spain) is a bad idea. In all three cases, the Catholic Church still exists in those countries and is still recognizably the same institution.

Batou_, the point is that the current position of the Church has not been one of "total denial". The comment you are replying to is not a comprehensive addressing of the current situation, but a limited contextual response to one comment.
posted by Jahaza at 9:48 PM on April 13, 2010


The hierarchy clearly knew of many of the cases of abuse that are coming to light now, yet nothing was done.

I haven't been following the situation in Europe very closely, where it appears that new cases are coming to light. But the two main cases that the New York Times/AP reported on in the U.S. are not new cases and were already publicly known.
posted by Jahaza at 9:50 PM on April 13, 2010


restrict it heavily and then violently attack it when people disobey (Mexico and Spain) is a bad idea.

You know there's books and even a Wikipedia article about the Spanish Civil War, right? That you could read and not be all ignorant about?
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:15 AM on April 14, 2010


I was visiting my hometown in the midwest over the weekend and went to the church of my youth with my mother. I'm not religious at all but will go to Mass when visiting family to keep the peace.

The priest's (not the priest of my youth) homily was about 'the media' attacking the Pope in the wake of the sex abuse scandals. The priest was very frank that abuse had occured and that there was 'corruption' in the church. He spent a while talking about Marcial Maciel as an example of that. But he also insisted that the pope was fighting valiently against that corruption, and with the exception of "one possible oversight" that Benedict was blameless. His opinion was that the cover-ups happened under the previous administration, and that JPII delegated too much because he was "too busy travelling and writing encyclicals".

The parish priest was very impassioned about this. His conclusion was that because the newspapers 'attacking' Benedict aren't pro-life, the parishioners should question that those papers are in fact interesting in 'protecting the children'. (WTF!)

Anyway, I was, at least, glad to hear the topic discussed openly in the church. In contrast, I have not heard it discussed in my neighborhood parish in the besieged Bridgeport diocese, even after our priest left suddenly late last year. (Not that I attend often, but my wife usually goes. The rumor is the priest had a girlfriend, which is sadly a relief to all.)

I found the premises of the homily pretty shaky: I really think people are upset about the lack of institutional response, and I don't see many direct attacks on Benedict in mainstream media that are outside of this framing. But it was a more impassioned homily that I'm used to, and the congregation exchanged comments of support and nods afterward.

I spoke with my mother about it later. She was also glad to hear it addressed, but thought that that particular priest could get too 'fired up' when speaking, which could detract from his point. My mother also didn't understand the emphasis on the Legionnaires, although she's in no way a defender of Maciel.

I thought I'd mention it as, with all the back and forth, there's been little first- or second-hand mention of what's going on in the churches and with parishioners lately.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 6:53 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, it's back to IT'S NOT US, IT'S THE HOMOS:

Vatican 'clarifies' cardinal's homosexuality abuse link:

"The Vatican has sought to "clarify" remarks made by a senior cardinal, who linked homosexuality with paedophilia in the abuse scandal facing the Church.

A spokesman provided "data" to support the claim, but also said Church leaders were not trying to make assertions of a "psychological or medical nature"."

"Cardinal Bertone, the Vatican's secretary of state, was attempting to defuse the scandals currently afflicting the Church during a visit to Chile on Monday, when he denied that celibacy was to blame.

"Many psychologists, many psychiatrists have demonstrated that there is no relationship between celibacy and paedophilia but many others have demonstrated, I was told recently, that there is a relationship between homosexuality and paedophilia," he said.

"That is true. I have the documents of the psychologists. That is the problem."
On Tuesday, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi insisted the cardinal had not been making an assertion, but also detailed its "statistical data" on the abuse of minors by priests."

The truth is that Bertone is clumsily trying to shift attention to homosexuality and away from the focus on new crimes against children that emerge every day
Aurelio Mancuso, former head of Italian gay rights association Arcigay"

posted by VikingSword at 10:10 AM on April 14, 2010


Reaction to the latest homophobia from the RCC:

France Condemns Vatican for Blaming Abuse on Gay Priests

"The French government has condemned remarks by a top Vatican official linking the pedophile scandal in the Catholic Church to homosexuality.

French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero Wednesday said the remarks linking the abuse to homosexuality was "unacceptable." He said France is committed to the struggle against discrimination and prejudice linked to sexual orientation and gender identity."


Condemnation builds over Vatican prelate's gay slur

""This faux pas by the Vatican demonstrates one thing only: great desperation and great impotence," a Spanish gay rights group, COLEGAS, added Wednesday.

A Catholic gay association in Portugal, Novos Rumos, said remarks such as Bertone's "deepen the gulf between the Church as a community of believers and a certain hierarchy."

Wednesday's Vatican statement added more fuel to the fire with a reference to Church statistics defining paedophilia in the "strict sense" as applying to pre-adolescent children.

"That's a ridiculous and unfounded hair-splitting distinction that many American bishops initially tried as well," said David Clohessy, executive director of the US pressure group SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests).

"It's grossly inaccurate, totally insensitive and frankly totally wrong," Clohessy told AFP."

posted by VikingSword at 11:13 AM on April 14, 2010


Predator priests shuffled around globe -- "Transfer of abusive clerics was called 'the geographical cure.'"
posted by ericb at 8:50 PM on April 14, 2010


Catholic administration encourages not reporting the rape of children by priests.

"The Vatican was hit by another embarrassing revelation late on Thursday when a website posted a letter by a senior Curia cardinal heartily congratulating a French bishop in 2001 for not denouncing a self-confessed abusive priest to the police. Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, who at the time headed the Vatican department in charge of priests around the world, told Bishop Pierre Pican of Bayeux-Lisieux he was a model for all bishops for his behavior in the case that shocked France. The priest, Rev. Rene Bissey, was sentenced to 18 years in jail for sexually abusing 11 boys and Pican got a suspended three-month sentence for not reporting the crimes.

"I congratulate you for not denouncing a priest to the civil administration," Castrillon Hoyos wrote."
posted by kafziel at 11:54 AM on April 16, 2010


Gay Rights Will Lead to Pedophile Rights, Says Brazilian Archbishop
posted by homunculus at 1:01 PM on May 7, 2010


If that were the case, you'd think the church would be supporting gay rights.
posted by kafziel at 1:55 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pope issues most direct words on abuse scandal to date
posted by never used baby shoes at 8:58 AM on May 11, 2010


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