"We did not know that child abuse was a crime," says retired Catholic archbishop

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137 Responses to “"We did not know that child abuse was a crime," says retired Catholic archbishop”

  1. Irene Delse says:

    @ Mermaid #70: You forget that asking an adult as a sex partner means trust, that priest who do have an active sex life are concerned about keeping it secret, and that an already morally compromised priest (in his own eyes, at least, since he’s desperately wanting sex) can be more afraid of exposure if they trust their reputation to an adult man or woman than anxious about not harming a child. Especially if they can construct in their fevered mind a justification for molesting said child: either “it’s not really bad if it leaves no mark”, or “that youngster’s been naughty anyway, no need to have sympathy for him or her”.

    So, basically, the children were soft targets.

  2. Xopher says:

    Wolfiesma, you’re more optimistic than I am. The Pope appoints the Cardinals and the Cardinals elect the Pope. As long as Popes choose only hidebound conservatives to be Cardinals, and Cardinals elect only hidebound conservatives to be Pope, the cycle will continue.

    The best hope is for schism (the American wing of the Church is increasingly unhappy with the direction they get from Rome) or, longer term, for the whole thing to expire of its own weight (for example, if they don’t allow priests to marry they’re going to have a hard time finding ANY priests before the middle of the century).

    I agree that internal reform would be the best possible outcome (it may surprise some here that I’d rather have a good RCC than no RCC at all), but the RCC is very good at resisting that. The last serious reformer to get the white cap was John XXIII. The redhats have done their best to elect only the most conservative Popes ever since. John Paul I was a shock to them, and he died pretty fast, under circumstances that make me suspect (only suspect, not believe) that they may have offed him. Certainly I wouldn’t put it past them.

    I would be delighted to be proven wrong by events.

  3. Modusoperandi says:

    Plus, that $3B is basically just giving some people their money back.

  4. Tom Hale says:

    Takuan – Yeah, I thought of that South Park episode right off. Did you transcribe it yourself or was the script posted already?

  5. Jack says:

    Not Catholic, but Jewish and faced this kind of asinine logic growing up. I was not a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of religious folks, but siblings of mine who found religion (“born again” for lack of a better term…) often would debate how their behavior might have been morally disrespectful it was not illegal… “Good intentions…” I always heard…

    I won’t go into the details but the big life lesson I learned is this: Delusional abusive assholes will always find reasons/ways to justify their abuse no matter what.

    Honestly I was always baffled by the “10 Commandments” since most of it seems logical and common sense to me and most folks. Then I realized those rules are needed when one psychologically operates in a hypocrisy. They need that benchmark to keep their counter behavior in check. Most normal folks really don’t need that B.S.

    Oh, and may Rembert G Weakland and his ilk rot in hell and know no peace on heaven, hell or earth. Let us know when he gets hit by a truck, please.

  6. Tdawwg says:

    Whatever, it’s still an admission, however tacit, of responsibility.

    Xopher, the way you’re using the phrase “hush money,” it signifies to me “a polemical canard that shows Xopher’s (willful?) ignorance.” You might check that site I linked to, which shows that for some dioceses there’s been a turnover of Church documents and notes as part of the settlements. Again, it’s eons away from full justice and accountability: but wrongdoing has been documented by these papers, and their voluntary turnover in some settlements constitutes as accepting responsibility. I agree with your other statement, though: it’s a crime that the higher-ups haven’t been investigated, prosecuted, and acquitted or convicted.

  7. mermaid says:

    You’re argument presumes sex with a child is really about sex

    Do you think this is so?

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Rape is an act of violence, not an act of sex, so I’d have to classify this the same way. A decade of repressed rage might make a nine year-old look like a potential victim, but no amount of horny would ever make a nine year-old sexually attractive.

  8. Xopher says:

    About B16′s HJ membership: OK, maybe that was unfair. He didn’t have much choice (perhaps ANY choice) and he did get out when he could. I regret putting that in.

    In my defense, though: look at my context there. I was calling him a self-aggrandizing egotistical freak, which I do not regret or take back, and I was trying to imply that he might not have forgotten everything he learned in the HJ. He’s learned subtler rhetoric, but some of us (like the Moslem community after that speech where he attacked Islam, or me reading On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons) see through to the core of hatred in his heart.

  9. Tdawwg says:

    And what’s with the “Pope Rat” zinger? If you’re going to indulge in reflexive, kneejerk Catholic-bashing, you might at least try to be funny. At the very least, unfunny Catholic bashing is boring: try to be more creative in your prejudice!

    His name is Pope Benedict XVI, BTW. :D

  10. Takuan says:

    just about all Southpark scripts are published.

    As to the overall issue: any who rapes a child forfeits their life. I would help any parent of an outraged child kill the attacker. There are limits.

  11. arkizzle says:

    #91 Tdawwg

    I’d hardly call $3 billion in settlements ‘accepting no responsibility’.

    #98 ModusOp’

    Plus, that $3B is basically just giving some people their money back.

    Modus, you don’t know how right you are. And Tdawwg, in one big case, it was accepting 10% responsibility:

    Of the €1.2 Billion (US$1.67 Billion) that the Irish Catholic Church has currently settled with the people of Ireland (yes, that’s over one-and-a-half billion dollars just for Ireland*, a land of only 4 million people (and more like 3 million when most of this abuse took place)), 90% will be paid by the taxpayer.

    How outrageous is that? I’d say that was accepting no responsibility at all, just the bare-minimum face-saving PR exercise.

    * It’s about 14,000 claims, which is about 0.5 percent of the 1970s population of Ireland.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/21/ireland-child-abuse-repor_n_206436.html

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article6344175.ece

  12. Darren Garrison says:

    “I think its the celibacy vow that messes things up.”

    I agree– the phrase “any port in a storm” comes to mind. The longer the dry spell, the wider your range of who looks acceptable gets. Have a great sex life? You wouldn’t consider anyone less than a “9″ and who is less than 20. Been required to be celibate by your religion for 20 years, and that 9 year old starts to look pretty darn good…

  13. Anonymous says:

    OMG, someone PLEASE ask him what other morally evil things are going on right now that he might be unsure of…

  14. Xopher says:

    It’s short for his birth name. Josef Ratzinger was a scumbag as a Cardinal. It was he who directed the Dominicans to investigate Matthew Fox for heresy, and when they came back having investigated and said “Not only is he entirely orthodox, we’re proud of him,” it was Cardinal Rat (as he’s been called in the gay community for at least 20 years before he was elected Pope) who told them “throw him out anyway.”

    It was Cardinal Rat who drafted the encyclical On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, which condoned queer-bashing in the same smirking nudge-nudge way the Church used to direct the secular “arm” to burn people at the stake: saying they deplore violence, but of course it’s understandable when people do something so outrageous as standing up for their rights in the secular realm. It was Pope John Paul II (called J2P2, back in the 80s when Star Wars was more alive in people’s minds) who signed it, but Cardinal Rat wrote it.

    Cardinal Rat headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which used to be called the Holy Office, and before that was called the Holy Office of the Roman Inquisition. The name changed, the Church declined in power to the point where it could no longer torture people and direct the secular government to execute them, but the fundamental mission and sentiment did not. Cardinal Rat was the Grand Inquisitor of the Roman Catholic Church.

    When JPII died, Josef Cardinal Ratzinger was expected to be a kingmaker (or popemaker, as it were), but his using his influence (and presumably the blackmail material gathered during his decades in the Inquisition) to grab the top job for himself was surprising even for a self-aggrandizing egotistical freak like this former Hitler Jugend member.

    I’ve hated this man for a good 25 years. I see no reason to stop hating him, or pretend to, just because he could frighten a bunch of old men in Rome into giving him a white zucchetto instead of a red one. He was and is my enemy, and I refuse to treat him with respect.

    You know all this, of course. You put his name back together by asking my about my “‘Pope Rat’ zinger.” You’re just playing the same game people play when anyone criticizes Israel: if you think Israel is behaving badly, you’re anti-Semitic. Far from true of course, and nor am I anti-Catholic because I think your current Pope is a slavering homophobic Moslem-baiting scumbag. I do, and I’m not.

  15. proto opus says:

    i think it’s all due to a misinterpretation of “suffer the little children”.

  16. takeshi says:

    @ Rindan:

    “Yeah, it happens, but it is certainly the rare exception and not the rule.”

    No one is suggesting that every priest is a child molester, but a pattern has emerged, unquestionably. Priests had been accused of child abuse for decades before church leaders would even acknowledge that it was a problem. Forget about the fact that there were coverups, and you still have an inexcusably horrible situation in which quite a few priests molested children for decades. I think a little pushback is in order.

    As a rule, postal employees do not murder people. That fact didn’t stop two postal workers from going on shooting sprees on the same day. To suggest that this is a few bad apples might not sit well with those who have seen firsthand that this is a systemic problem. And there is very little doubt: Catholic priests have raped children, all over the world, and it’s clearly not an isolated incident. Plenty of other people are child molesters, sure, but that doesn’t change the fact that the child molesting priest stereotype is far from unfair or inaccurate. We tend to caricature and lampoon those things which we feel reluctance to speak of in sincere terms. Politicians are crooks, postal workers “go postal,” and creepy old priests are baby rapists.

    And when for decades it is considered a grievous sin to accuse a priest of such a ghastly crime, you have to expect these kinds of generalizations when, lo and behold, a significant number of them turn out to have done just that. Shocking! Well, actually, it’s just the deniers that were surprised. All the rest of us had been talking about it for years. Not all caterpillars become butterflies. Some are just slimy little caterpillars who rape and molest innocent children.

  17. arkizzle says:

    ..that gawdawful “If I Did It” book he was flogging a few years back?

    Joe,
    the odd thing is, OJ never actually got to flog it. The rights to the book are entirely owned by the Goldman family, and as such, they flogged it.

    They published it (with the addition of their own commentary), after the rights were awarded to them by a Florida backruptcy judge.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/If_i_did_it

  18. Xopher says:

    Tdawwg, if you would eschew the “unbecoming” yourself, everyone would wonder who was now using your BB account, and what they did with the old Tdawwg.

  19. IWood says:

    #33 posted by Jack:

    Honestly I was always baffled by the “10 Commandments” since most of it seems logical and common sense to me and most folks. Then I realized those rules are needed when one psychologically operates in a hypocrisy. They need that benchmark to keep their counter behavior in check. Most normal folks really don’t need that B.S.

    Today, maybe. But you can’t really apply your modern civilized sensibilities to the tribal Near East of 3,500 years ago. Part of the reason it seems as logical and sensible to you as it does is because somebody thought it would be smashing idea to codify law and moral conduct as an objective written standard, independent of what the priests happened to be saying on that particular day. Conceptually, those apocryphal tablets and the U.S. Constitution are points on a common, unbroken line.

    That said: priests are still with us, and Archbishop Weakland’s position is, essentially, “Well, there’s no ‘Thou Shalt Not Molest Children’ commandment, is there? So we can be forgiven for being ignorant of the illegalities, here.” That’s wrapped up in a nice, thick layer of “You all shouldn’t be having sex except for reproduction anyway, so it didn’t occur to us that sexual abuse might result in decades-long psychological and spiritual devastation.”

    I think we should just revert all priesthoods to the original practices of the ancient Near East: slaughter animals in church(lots

    Get back to the good old days, before they added all this shiny gold and rich fabric to pretty up what is essentially a blood cult.

  20. IWood says:

    Agh! Rogue Bold tag!

  21. IWood says:

    Should be,

    I think we should just revert all priesthoods to the original practices of the ancient Near East: slaughter animals in church (lots of them), cast blood all over the altar, burn birds and grains to charcoal, waft the smoke heavenward.

    Get back to the good old days, before they added all this shiny gold and rich fabric to pretty up what is essentially a blood cult.

  22. arkizzle says:

    Tdawwg,

    Did you even read my comment? I know exactly what he is quoting and paraphrasing. The point is why? What benefit or interest had he in pondering these ideas and passages in public? Was he not aware of the effect of using Islam as a negative allegory, without (at least) diplomatically tempering the assertion?

    Whatever he quoted, in the presentation he crafted he summons up a negative image of Islam, and does nothing to dispel it, with little discernible reason (in relation to the rest of his talk), nor enlightenment (that might excuse him using other faiths as examples to irrationality).

    It’s not so much hate (after all, I’m not defending anyone’s opinion here, but my own), as something he shouldn’t need to be told not to do. Not as censorship or tippy-toes.. but he is the leader of the Catholic Church.

    If your word is sacred to some people.. you need to watch what you say.

  23. arkizzle says:

    you never once in your comment note that he’s quoting Paleologos

    There is only one sentence where I quoted Paleologos without citation, and it was sloppiness on my part (the sentence beginning “God is not pleased by blood..”). And I’ll admit to being unclear when I write “Whereas..” at the Theodore Khoury part, I thought it read as an opposing view, mea culpa.

    The only other place Benedict directly quotes Paleologos is the passage I refer to as “the famous quote”, which I left out. The rest of his talk, consists of his own musings on the story. They are his threads of thought; the parts he is choosing to highlight and discuss.

    Other than that he quotes the Qur’an (cited), and Ibn Hazm (cited), Theodore Khoury (not, but noted), and there are quote marks (inside the main quotes) around the words “book” and “infidels” which were the only other direct quotes in that passage.

    The rest of your argument boils down to something about how the pope shouldn’t infuriate Muslims.

    Absolutely not my point, at all. My point: As the leader of one of the most powerful religions in the world, don’t present other religions as negative props in your ponderings, if you don’t want to offend people. Just that. It is only further to do with Muslims because he chose to illustrate a point in his talk by using Islam as an example of violence (not the quote itself, nor directly the musings on the Emperor, but the analysis at the end of that section, and how it is left).

    So none of this, not his noting the emperor’s “brusqueness,”..

    Describing the Emperor’s manner, doesn’t make any statement about the truth Benedict takes from his descriptions of Islam, nor those he chooses to juxtapose at the end.

    ..not his lengthy distancing and apology, constitutes “diplomatically tempering the assertion”? Sorry, but you’re wrong.

    That’s all after the fact. “Diplomatically tempering the assertion” is what should have been in the original talk, within the issues he was considering, not later, when people took offence.

    Tdawwg, it just sounds like you are saying this single passage is entirely benign and academic, and isn’t really functional. But it is. Again, *I don’t say whether it is malicious or careless*, but he presents a one sided caricature of Islam, and then draws upon another couple of sources to support that view. And then removes Islam from the conversation.

    It reads very much like he is making a point, or at least reinforcing an unfair stereotype. If you don’t read that, so be it. I do.

  24. wolfiesma says:

    Xopher, I think you’re the optimistic one if you see the Catholic Church expiring under its own weight. The church has been through deeper crises and perpetuated much worse abuse. It hasn’t gone anywhere and I don’t think it will for the forseeable future.

    Schism doesn’t sound like a great option. I’d put it right up there with secession in terms of poor planning. *Slow transformation from within the existing structures.* There. That’s the last time I’m going to say it. The rest of it is up to y’all. ;)

  25. phoenix21 says:

    …either they would not remember or they would ‘grow out of it’.”

    Holy sh*t! You “grow out” of sleeping with a stuffed animal at night, or insisting on wearing your bathing suit every day. You don’t f*cking grow out of being raped by someone you’ve been told to respect and/or look up to!!

  26. peterbruells says:

    @50 Well, it’s not a mortal sin, is it? Because he though that the kids would forget about it, so it’s not really grave.

    And even if it was, hey, you get a confession. Not really hard to arrange for a priest.

  27. Tdawwg says:

    I guess I’m more into condemning policies and actions rather than people. So I’m comfortable expressing my thoughts on how bad Benedict’s words re: condoms were without stooping to demonizing him. As noted above, this kind of bullshit does nothing to advance your arguments, and reads as bigotry. Whatever.

    I find Xopher’s Israel argument interesting: in response, I’d say that often quite valid criticisms of Israeli policy are tinged, in my mind, by anti-Semitic language, thoughts, imagery, etc. I’d say the same thing is going above, and I feel it even in the Boingers’ responses: Benedict is an ass and there’s a lot of anti-Catholic bigotry and prejudice in evidence here. It’s a both-and kind of thing. Again, whatever.

    As for credibility, you let me worry about my current Whuffie status, thanks.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Where do you think demons hide? In the clergy.

  29. Xopher says:

    Where ‘slow’ equals ‘glacial’, I presume.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      The Catholic Church serves as a bulwark (albeit not a very effective one lately) against scary evangelical cults which are proselytizing all over the world. As religions go, I find Catholicism to be one of the easier ones to live with.

  30. Anonymous says:

    “…either they would not remember or they would ‘grow out of it’.”

    There is an organization of scientists today who say that memories of childhood abuse are just fantasies, with members like Elizabeth Loftus. Sounds like the priests have allies.

  31. the aesthetic says:

    Catholic parishioners have a habit of tuning out the rules they don’t like (no birth control, no meat on Fridays, etc)in order to keep cultural ties to their parish or out of fear of missing out on the ‘one, true, catholic and apostilic’ faith that will let them straight into heaven. Maybe Catholics aren’t leaving in droves because of a good-German mentality where as long as abuse isn’t happening to them or in their parish, it doesn’t matter. My cousins, who have school age children, still go to church regularly, while paying no attention to sex abuse cases in the media.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Can we still put this man in prison?

  33. Xopher says:

    You’re counting your Whuffies under a bridge, Tdawwg.

  34. Tdawwg says:

    Awww, touching, Xopher, touching. Glad to be noticed.

  35. Tdawwg says:

    That’s interesting, Arkizzle. I was referencing the American Catholic Church. It’s disgusting that the Irish Church, like American banks and corporations, has been “bailed out” for its numerous wrongs.

    Xopher, could you break down your Church-as-religion and Church-as-organization dichotomy a little more? Are there unorganized religions? What do you mean by this?

    Nice to see you walk back the Hitler Youth canard: that was good of you.

    Not so nice to see the anti-Muslim canard still being spread, though. Benedict was quoting Manuel II Palaeologos, not offering his own opinion. In the original text, he notes that the Manuel’s anti-Muslim words have a “startling brusqueness”; after the outcries, this was even amended to “a brusqueness that we find unacceptable.” He added in a footnote:

    “In the Muslim world, this quotation has unfortunately been taken as an expression of my personal position, thus arousing understandable indignation. I hope that the reader of my text can see immediately that this sentence does not express my personal view of the Quran, for which I have the respect due to the holy book of a great religion.

    Dunno, seems like a lot of fingerpointing and namecalling to me. But maybe that’s what the “Church’s apologists” would say, right?

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Not so nice to see the anti-Muslim canard still being spread, though.

      He has stuck his foot in his mouth more times in a couple of years than JP2 did in his whole geologic era in the Vatican. Pontifex Maximus means great bridge-builder. It’s a PR job and he’s a PR disaster. You can’t be Pope and say shit that pisses people off and then keep saying “Ooops. My bad.”

  36. Anonymous says:

    If you don’t know that molesting children is wrong then why are you in the morality business?

  37. lightsyrup says:

    Why are Electro’s vowels all removed? Is that a moderating thing?

    This is infuriating. Who cares whether abusing children is illegal – it’s WRONG

  38. jeaguilar says:

    @Xopher: what would a schismatic American Church offer that is not available in any of the Protestant denominations?

  39. snakedart says:

    As someone who lived in Milwaukee for half his life, I can say that Weakland was a douchebag of typically Midwestern quality: a polite exterior masking stupidity passed off as sanctity.

    Churchgoing Wisconsinites are “nice” people, in as much as “nice” is a synonym for uncultured, anti-intellectual bigots. At least, in my experience.

  40. mdh says:

    lightsyrup – yes, that is the moderators in action. Want to know more? Read the Moderation Policy (link at top of page).

    It’s quite moderate, and thus offends many immoderate people.

  41. Locobot says:

    When my sister-in-law was trying to convince us that we should have our son baptized Catholic I mentioned that I’d rather not have him involved with an organization which systematically protects child abusers and sexual molesters. Wasn’t a particularly constructive conversation after that.

  42. DWittSF says:

    Upon futher consideration, the Catholic church and the British MPs seem to have the same (lack of) ethical character, just substitute kids for money.

  43. zuzu says:

    88 posts and no one’s mentioned the Super Adventure Club yet?

  44. Anonymous says:

    “EDUARDO PADOAN, I believe that the main reason people are not leaving en masse the church is because they think most (not all) of the people saying they were molested are liars.”

    Geez. Not remotely true at all. I know plenty of Catholics who don’t believe that.

    The reason they aren’t leaving is simple: it’s not contradictory to simultaneously hold the beliefs that (1) Catholic doctrine is true, and (2) a lot of priests are evil scumbags.

  45. Anonymous says:

    I’ve just finished “The Religion” by Tim Willocks, and in that he says that while any sort of sex (man and woman, man and man) is a mortal sin, there’s nothing mentioned in the bible about young boys, and therefore a theological loophole.

    Dunno how true it is, but the rest of the book seems pretty well researched (within reason)

  46. Xopher says:

    I cannot believe the PERFIDY of the authorities in Mikwaukee. Why isn’t this bastard in prison?

    Actually, if we had real separation of Church and State in this country, the Roman Catholic Church would be named as a corrupt organization under the RICO statute, and all its assets seized. The US would become a better place, and (for once) we’d set a good example for the rest of the world.

    Of course, as long as we conceal the names of the people who committed torture on our behalf, we don’t have much moral authority to set ANY kind of example. But that’s neither here nor there.

    Rindan 30: Yeah, it happens, but it is certainly the rare exception and not the rule. Being critical of the utterly fucked up hierarchy that allowed this to be covered up and swept aside is the right thing. Assuming that all priest are child molesters and that anyone who sticks around the church must be denying the fact on the other hand is wrong.

    All priests are part of the hierarchy, sworn to obey it. And an organization that hides the shameful OR criminal actions of its members is as culpable as they are. Therefore it is just, the Church having concealed (for decades) the reprehensible behavior of its priests, to treat all priests as if they were child molesters.

    If they don’t like this treatment, they should renounce the RCC. I hear the Episcopal Church (possibly the Anglican, I’m not sure) is pretty open to taking them in.

    Takuan 34: As to the overall issue: any who rapes a child forfeits their life. I would help any parent of an outraged child kill the attacker. There are limits.

    I share your outrage, but this is foolish. There has to be something to make them afraid to kill a child, even one who might tell. Otherwise they will kill them to shut them up, with no worse penalty for that than for the rape itself. You can recover from rape (at least partly, and mostly with the right therapist), but not from murder.

  47. ackpht says:

    Yeah, celibacy must drive them to it. Right. No pederasts, rapists, or sex-killers among family men. Nope.

  48. Takuan says:

    red hot catholic love trumps that one

  49. Modusoperandi says:

    He’s talking to the home team. Why would he pretend that ecumenicalism is anything but a farce when he knows that RC is the one and only way?
    I’ll put it this way: would God tell anybody else they were right? I don’t think so.

  50. eclectro says:

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  51. zebbart says:

    In a grad class I took in 2002 with one of the preeminent academics studying the priest/pedophile phenomenon, Philip Jenkins of Penn State, told us that the rate of pedophilia among priests was not statistically significantly different from that of any other profession working closely with youth (teachers, youth activity leaders, other religions’ clergy). The reason, he said, for the public perception, was bias and the fact that it’s a huge centralized organization with great record keeping, so investigators can follow leads to more and more perpetrators and abusers. If a non-demoninational preachers gets accused, he can leave town and start again across the country and no one knows about it. The bias he referred to was a combination of anti-Catholic, anti-gay, and pro-sensationalist. Anyway, the evidence was that it was very small percentage of priests who’d messed with kids, and a very small percentage of them who messed with prepubescent kids (actual pedophiles).

    By the way, priests do not take a vow of poverty. Their pay is usually pretty low, but I know of some who have gotten rich through side enterprises (much like politicians seem to do). I think the take-away is that priests, as a class, are no better or worse morally than a random sampling of the population. They are guys who are trained to do a certain job, that’s all.

  52. noen says:

    Some people feel there is something within the nature of the Catholic Priest hood that trends one toward this. That if one enters not already a pedophile you eventually become one. Not through overt proselytizing but that it’s somehow embedded in the system itself. Some say.

  53. legind says:

    Hey, didn’t I read about this guy in V for Vendetta? Another case of a member of the clergy thinking that the churches reputation is more important than the safety and well-being of a child.

  54. Blackbird says:

    Robin Williams said it best: “It’s not just a sin…it’s a felony. So we have to keep track.”

  55. Xopher says:

    Tdawwg, the RCC is doing it only because they were forced by victims speaking out and by law enforcement getting involved. They are doing as little as possible, accepting no responsibility, punishing no one in any significant way, and will go back to BAU as soon as the media spotlight is off.

    For example, they haven’t excommunicated anyone for child abuse. They’re forcibly retired from the priesthood, boo fucking hoo. In contrast, when Matthew Fox dared to suggest that the Original Blessing (the Creation) might be more important than Original Sin, they drove him right out of the church. That, you see, is heresy (even though he was acquitted by his order, Cardinal-now-Pope Rat ordered him kicked out anyway), which I guess fucking 8-year-old boys isn’t.

    I think all religions should expose the child abuse within their ranks, and that if they don’t law enforcement should (more atheists in the DA’s office!). But none of that excuses the RCC for their decades-long and world-wide conspiracy to commit, condone, and conceal sexual abuse.

  56. Mister N says:

    hmm.. I guess this guy and all his buddies are going to spent a lot of hot, hot, hot times with morning star.

    What a bunch of hypocrites.

  57. Charlie Wade says:

    Wait, where does a priest come up with $450,000? Guess he had to break the vow of poverty, too.

    Insurance. Just like most organizations, the Catholic church has insurance that can be tapped to pay for such things.

  58. wolfiesma says:

    I think its the celibacy vow that messes things up. Also the “don’t be gay” mandate which makes good Catholics go bad….. (???)

  59. Tdawwg says:

    Have to chime in with Tzctlp here in calling out some of the more extreme anti-Catholic bigotry here. It’s so cute to see one’s own despised religion–about which one has the dubious benefits of actually knowing something–mirrored in the crazy looking-glasses of ignorant zealots: but, damn, the posturing and projecting onto Catholics gets tedious, folks. The Church has deep, systemic flaws that allowed the abuse to happen, and allowed it to be covered up and keep happening: but it’s not like “Catholic guilt,” that favorite stalking-horse of unwashed Protestants, did much, if anything, to those children.

    (Kidding about the Protestant thing. Really, this kind of group-logic sucks.)

    Surprised, though, none of you genius Catholic experts pegged croziers and ciboriums as the obvious reasons behind all that child love. Or maybe it was the now-superseded Latin Mass? C’mon haters, try harder!

  60. Anonymous says:

    @NOEN: That ‘something within the nature of the Catholic priesthood’ would be enforced celibacy.I don’t think that the majority of men who enter the priesthood are pedophiles, per se; I think it’s more that sooner or later their repressed sexual urges become overwhelming & children are the easiest to coerce. The majority of the victims are boys simply because the church excludes girls from religious activities like choir.

  61. Eduardo Padoan says:

    > The reason they aren’t leaving is simple: it’s
    > not contradictory to simultaneously hold the
    > beliefs that (1) Catholic doctrine is true, and
    > (2) a lot of priests are evil scumbags.

    Except when the doctrine tells that the priests are representative of Christ on Earth. If it is not denial, my best guess is doublethink.

  62. Tdawwg says:

    I didn’t say that anything excused anything else. I’m just pointing out the simple fact that Catholicism is the only organized religion to have worked to address sexual abuse, however halfheartedly. Whatever.

    And if this site is accurate, I’d hardly call $3 billion in settlements “accepting no responsibility.” I’m not for a minute suggesting that legal settlements are in any sufficient redresses of sexual abuse, but it’s not nothing.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      I’d hardly call $3 billion in settlements “accepting no responsibility.”

      Actually, not accepting responsibility is often a key component of settlement agreements. That and non-disclosure.

  63. zebbart says:

    I forgot to mention, it is much, much more common for priests to have affairs with adult women than kids. I think the real scandal with the Catholic Church is not how many abusers there were, but how many people knew about the abuse and didn’t do enough about it. Again though, I doubt that would have been much different in any other group with a comparable degree of organizational control and hierarchy. The US military also has a shameful history of covering up all kinds of abuse.

  64. Takuan says:

    the only important thing about catholicism is to keep in mind it is unnecessary.

  65. Anonymous says:

    I agree with “Rick” above and think these guys should be allowed to marry.

    The really funny hypocrisy in all this is the Church’s dodging of responsibility through its corporate structure. Your kid was corn-holed by a priest in “City X”? Sorry, that is NOT affiliated with the Vatican in Rome. That Diocese is a separate corporate entity and the crimes and torts commited by that diocese are not attributable to the Vatican.

    BUT, if the POPE says to wear your left shoe on a string around your neck on Tuesday, you as a good Catholic are supposed to do so, under penalty of eternal torture. You are expected to obey, no matter which independent corporate Diocese you are in. That is a cheap, cheap dodge.

    Bah.

  66. Xopher says:

    I’d call “putting the people who covered it up for decades in the hands of law enforcement” “accepting responsibility.” Too bad that would include most bishops, including some Cardinals.

    Takuan, you’ve been better about it lately, but I’m still not going to go watch a completely unlabeled YouTube video.

  67. Raj77 says:

    @5- I call mini-bigotry, tbh. It’s not that gay people never sexually abuse kids, it’s that they’re no more likely to do so than straight people are.

  68. Dennis says:

    A few thoughts.

    “We all considered sexual abuse of minors as a moral evil, but had no understanding of its criminal nature,” is a step or two below “I was just following orders.”

    On why Catholics aren’t leaving the church in droves? If the rate of abuse isn’t worse than with other groups that deal with youngsters, such as school teachers, as Jenkins says, then that’s an answer. Will you take your kids out of school because a few teachers are abusers?

    Also, consider that prisoners in the Soviet gulags usually didn’t see their predicament as evidence that the system was rotten. They thought Communism was good, but that in their own case, a mistake has been made. See Solzhenitsyn on this.

    The argument that the centralized nature and records of the Catholic church makes it possible to pursue perps more easily was echoed by a lawyer friend of mine. He also noted that this sort of thing happens in other churches too. For instance,

    http://stopbaptistpredators.org/index.htm

    Abuses happen in any case where there’s unquestioned authority – or questioned authority, for that matter.

    Although Jenkins numbers don’t seem to agree, it certainly seems to me that the Catholic church’s unrealistic attitude on clerical celibacy has to be the cause of a lot of this. I wonder how long it will take them to change on this? 100 years? Never? The Orthodox and Eastern-rite Catholic churches already allow priests to marry.

    I can’t resist pointing out that the Catholic church’s harping on abortion would have a lot more credibility if they’d stop abusing little boys, covering up for those that do, and made a genuine effort to help the ones who were harmed. But IMHO the whole anti-abortion thing is hypocritical from the get-go.

  69. Stefan Jones says:

    I’m sure you’ll find kiddydiddling creeps in every religion. (There’s a low-key scandal in the NYC area among Orthodox Jews; kids in religious schools + trusted teachers = predictable outcome.)

    But the problem is especially liable to fester in an environment like the Catholic Church (which is based on the presumption that it is the sole religious authority), whose leadership (which is literally an old boys’ club) seems to think that it alone is capable and competent to handle problems within its hierarchy.

  70. Nick S says:

    “Child Porn and Child Abuse is the fastest growing Internet business in the world today! In fact a recent report by the International and the Bangkok Post, estimated that 100,000 Child Pornography / Child Abuse related web sites existed on the Internet in 2001. Since 1997, the number of Child Pornography / Child Abuse images on the Internet is estimated to have increased by 1500%!”

    http://www.squidoo.com/Child-Abuse-Prevention

    - VICE Detective N. Spencer, Columbus, Ohio PD Author’s Profile: http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/ComTecOne

  71. peterbruells says:

    @Antnious Sorry, the “former Hitler Youth member” still makes the use lose credibility. Yes, it’s factually correct. Hower, it’s there to imply that this was of his own chosing. And it wasn’t. Membership was compulsory *by law*. To include this in the list is just low.

  72. Eduardo Padoan says:

    You know what else infuriates me? With all the child abuse cases over this years, people are not leaving en masse the church. People actually go to the church for advice with the chaste old man on a dress and funny hat.
    If I was still catholic (heck, If I even had any religious faith), that would change my mind.
    Do someone think that god is “testing their faith”? Come on, there is limit to blindness, or at least there should be.
    Don’t people think for a second “they could be my children”? It is bad enough happening to any children!
    Or is it some kind of inertia? Or denial?

  73. Rick. says:

    Let these fuckers get married already. It’s the simplest solution ever to anything.

  74. Xopher says:

    So Ben16 is either a Moslem-baiting bigot or a total fucking moron.

    And one thing I’ll say for Benny…he’s not stupid.

  75. jimbuck says:

    Is this guy for real? That’s gotta be the lamest excuse or explanation anyone has ever come up for anything.

  76. Anonymous says:

    The guy thinks that a 2000 year old preacher who is his own father will be your savior if you eat his flesh in the form of a cracker. It is little wonder to me that he is capable of thinking other fantastic things.

    I do wonder though, what is the fold enrichment of molesters within the Catholic clergy, compared to other occupations? Are there the same proportion, or three times, or ten times as many; or are there fewer? Does anyone know?

  77. Antinous / Moderator says:

    eclectro,

    If you have a point, I strongly recommend that you sharpen it quickly. Some people might find your comment homophobic if you don’t clarify yourself.

  78. Tom Hale says:

    EDUARDO PADOAN, I believe that the main reason people are not leaving en masse the church is because they think most (not all) of the people saying they were molested are liars. I’m not trying to troll, and I’m not saying they are right, I’m just pretty sure that’s the reason.

  79. gollux says:

    Wow! Just so above the law in thinking.

    Didn’t know that it was a crime? But knew it was morally irreprehensible and evil?

    Brings back to mind a rather perverse and ribald family friend who when I was a teenager asked me if I knew the difference between a conservative and a liberal. His take on it was that conservatives wanted to do it while hiding in the closet and keeping it secret, but that liberals were willing to do it in broad daylight in the middle of the street and didn’t care who knew. “It” could be any number of things, but this guy’s attitude proves his point.

  80. Brainspore says:

    @ Nick S. #135:

    OK, two things. First, signing off a comment with a link to your own bio site goes against BoingBoing’s moderation policy.

    Second, you are using statistics from 1997-2001 to support the claim that “Child Porn and Child Abuse is the fastest growing Internet business in the world today“? That’s like pulling up stats from 1977 to show that disco music is poised to take the world by storm.

    • Brother Phil says:

      No point in replying to it, Brainspore, it’s just spam, probably triggered by the words “child abuse” in the title – “Nick S” has very probably not read this post.

      I manage a health blog for a charity, and we constantly get spam from squidoo blogs – they barely touch on the subject (or insert the title into a boilerplate comment), and otherwise all look the same. I think I’m meant to think they are trackbacks. There’s probably a spam engine that does it.

  81. Modusoperandi says:

    peterbruells; Sure, but he wasn’t forced to earn all those badges, did he? He didn’t have to make all those macaroni swastikas at summer camp either, hmmm?

  82. wolfiesma says:

    The Catholic Church had the opportunity to elect whomever they wished to the highest office in Christendom, and they chose him. It’s not his fault he’s a hardline conservative. The Church could have appointed the Catholic version of Obama, but they chose the Catholic version of Bush (scary!). Hopefully, the Church will be ready to move into a more progressive direction in the future and will signal that in its selection of leaders and its handling of crises.

  83. mermaid says:

    @Antinous # 71

    We agree that it is an act of violence and not sex. Consider that if a nine year old looks good, its also probably not *just* from a decade of repressed rage.

    The reason that celibacy as an excuse for pederasty is so dangerous is that it places the crime in the same realm as sex. Just like Archbishop Rembert G Weakland was trying to do by thinking of sexual abuse as a sin and not a crime.

    Like many pederasts, he doesn’t get it.

  84. wolfiesma says:

    My parents left the church over this. I don’t know if it was en masse, but alot of people quit after everything came out.

  85. peterbruells says:

    @78 I severly doubt that Loftus claims that all childhood abuse memories are false memories. It’d be rather stupid, since there’s a good deal of photographic and other physical evidence prooving that kids do get abused sexually.

    However, that doesn’t mean that all abuse memories are real either and it was a good thing to show how easy it is to plant false memories.

    To put it blunty: If you accept all abuse memories at face value, do you also accept all alien abduction memories as real?

  86. EscapingTheTrunk says:

    No one wants to accuse the entirety of the Catholic priesthood of abuse. That would be absurd. But numbers can help clarify matters. Here’s what I found after some digging: The Nature and Scope of the Problem of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests and Deacons, a report put together by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice (at the request of the Catholic Church in America).

    Selected findings:

    • The total number of priests with allegations of abuse in our survey is 4,392. The percentage of all priests with allegations of sexual abuse is difficult to derive because there is no definitive number of priests who were active between the years of 1950 and 2002. We used two sets of numbers to estimate the total number of active priests and then calculated the percentage against whom allegations were made…

    • The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) reports a total of 94,607 priests for the period 1960-2002. When we look at the time period covered by the CARA database, the number of priests with allegations of sexual abuse is 4,127. Thus, the percentage of priests accused for this time period is 4.3% if we rely on the CARA figures assessing the total number of priests.

    • A total of 10,667 individuals made allegations of child sexual abuse by priests. Of those who alleged abuse, the file contained information that 17.2% of them had siblings who were also allegedly abused.

    • The majority of priests with allegations of abuse were ordained between 1950 and 1979 (68%). Priests ordained prior to 1950 accounted for 21.3% of the allegations, and priests ordained after 1979 accounted for 10.7% of allegations.

    • Over 79% of these priests were between 25 and 29 years of age when ordained. For priests whose age at the time of the first alleged abuse was reported, the largest group—over 40%[—]was between 30 and 39. An additional 20% were under age 30, nearly 23% were between 40 and 49, and nearly 17% were over 50.

    • The majority of priests (56%) were alleged to have abused one victim, nearly 27% were alleged to have abused two or three victims, nearly 14% were alleged to have abused four to nine victims and 3.4% were alleged to have abused more than ten victims. The 149 priests (3.5%) who had more than ten allegations of abuse were allegedly responsible for abusing 2,960 victims, thus accounting for 26% of allegations. Therefore, a very small percentage of accused priests are responsible for a substantial percentage of the allegations.

    • To date, the police have been contacted about 1,021 priests with allegations of abuse, or 24% of our total. Nearly all of these reports have led to investigations, and 384 instances have led to criminal charges. Of those priests for whom information about dispositions is available, 252 were convicted and at least 100 of those served time in prison. Thus, 6% of all priests against whom allegations were made were convicted and about 2% received prison sentences to date.

    If the results of the survey are correct, older priests and priests who joined early in life (as opposed to taking their vows as part of a career change during midlife) are more likely to offend. What remains to be seen is which of these factors may have a bearing on future offenses: is it the stage of life at which you join the priesthood, or having joined at a time before these tragedies were more public? In other words, can the coverage of things like systematic patterns of abuse in Irish schools diminish the rate of abuse in future by scaring predators away? Can transparency make the ecosystem uninhabitable?

    I didn’t see anything in the report regarding issues of celibacy, homosexuality, or marriage. Participants may not have been asked whether they thought the freedom to marry would have influenced their behaviour. But while I think priests should have the right to marry, and while I think that the right of marriage should be extended to gays and lesbians, I doubt that marriage would have significantly altered the pattern for some of these men. Had they married, some of them may simply have abused their own children instead of a parishioner’s.

  87. Marchhare says:

    Two must-see films on this.

    1. Frontline “Hand of God”, online:

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/handofgod/

    2. “Deliver Us From Evil”

    http://www.deliverusfromevilthemovie.com/index_flash.php

    These are evil, hateful, cynical people. And as with US torture, it’s not just “a few bad apples” who are responsible.

  88. Jack says:

    @#43 POSTED BY ESCAPINGTHETRUNK, MAY 22, 2009 11:41 PM

    No one wants to accuse the entirety of the Catholic priesthood of abuse. That would be absurd. But numbers can help clarify matters.

    Well, might I just say this: If you choose to operate a closed society who cannot deal with it’s own internal abuse to the point that said abuse becomes public, you deserve all the generalization you can get. You need to prove you are “clean” before you can wipe off the “dirt” of shame.

    The larger issue is closed societies and religion. Whether it be Mormon sects in the U.S. or even Muslims who beat/maim/kill women/homosexuals/others, it all comes down to closed groups protecting themselves and inbreeding justifications for abuse.

    It’s 2009. Enough already.

  89. Anonymous says:

    The real problem is the fuel of Catholicism — oppressive, unrelenting guilt. Helpful when persuading for something, extremely mentally damaging when trying to oppress.

    If you happen to be a boy, catholic, and gay, the forces surrounding you strongly suggest the priesthood. Your own sexual needs are the ‘sacrifice’ you supposedly make to your morality. Sexual needs are powerful, though, and will often come out no matter what.

    Psychologists and psychiatrists who study sexual offenders have long commented on the difference between preferential offenders (I must fuck a kid) and opportunists (I needed physical intimacy, skin etc, so I grabbed the first available person) The latter is much more common and will not reoffend when his needs are met.

    Not that this excuses the act, only that as others here have noted, it can be prevented.

  90. Xopher says:

    Does the term ‘hush money’ mean anything to you?

    Antinous is right. Accepting responsibility is, in part, admitting wrongdoing.

  91. Eduardo Padoan says:

    #17 Tom Hale, that is my best guess too – in other words, denial. But one would think that, when their children is involved, people would be more rational.
    But again, see Jenny McCarthy and her “antivax” BS. We are doomed.

  92. Modusoperandi says:

    @62 zebbart “By the way, priests do not take a vow of poverty. Their pay is usually pretty low…”
    Yes, but they do have perks. And, if you rise sufficiently far up the heirarchy before you get caught partaking in or covering up those perks, you get to retire in Vatican City (where, I’m told, the grass is green/and the girls are pretty).

    “I think the take-away is that priests, as a class, are no better or worse morally than a random sampling of the population. They are guys who are trained to do a certain job, that’s all.”
    And that’s worth 10% to some people? Sheesh.

    @63 Tdawwg “The Church has deep, systemic flaws that allowed the abuse to happen, and allowed it to be covered up and keep happening…”
    I like how you put that in past tense. Cheeky devil.

    @64 Eduardo Padoan “Except when the doctrine tells that the priests are representative of Christ on Earth.”
    Yes, but have you considered how poor their teacher was? I mean, He couldn’t even manage to stay dead. Even I can pull that off, and plan to, eventually.
    …
    Mark Frauenfelder; Can we get a unicorn chaser?

  93. Anonymous says:

    And while they were doing this, they were telling the rest of us that we couldn’t have consensual sex with adults and advocating for laws making birth control unavailable to us. That’s what pisses me off.

  94. Anonymous says:

    There isn’t anything in his quote that doesn’t make me want to throw up.

    You all knew it was a moral sin? Then why the hell did you cover it up? By covering it up, you become nearly as guilty as the bastard with his collar on and his trousers around his ankles.

    Thought they would grow out of it or forget it? Did you not have a childhood? Do you not remember most of the shit that happened to you when you were 9, 12, 15? If YOU remember it, what would possess you to think that they don’t?

    Guilty as hell, and trying to proselytize his way out of it.

    Asshole.

    This whole incident, plus the Irish report, remove any respect I might have ever had for the Catholic Church.

  95. arkizzle says:

    While I can’t know Benedict’s motivations, I definitely wondered why he chose to quote that passage at all, or indeed include that whole section of his talk. What he is actually saying (in that bit) just seems an underhanded expansion of the passage that people didn’t like.

    I’ve read about 70% of the whole talk he gave (scanned the rest), and it really does read negatively for Islam. Islam is only mentioned in the first section (after the preamble), and only in terms of violence. There is no balancing language, no tempering of what should obviously be thoughtfully worded (he is the Pope).

    Benedict quotes the moderate line “There is no compulsion in religion” from the Qur’an, and then dismisses it as “probably one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat.” He goes on “But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur’an, concerning holy war.” blahblahblah “those who have the ‘Book’” blahblahblah “infidels“.

    He continues in this style before pulling out the famous quote, and after characterizing Islam as violent, essentially uses it as a negative yardstick, to say “don’t do it like them”.

    He suggests that “[the Christian] God is not pleased by blood – and not acting reasonably is contrary to God’s nature.” Whereas “for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality.” ..and paraphrasing Ibn Hazm, “God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God’s will, we would even have to practise idolatry.

    And without a further clarifying word, that’s that last we hear about Islam or Mohammed for the whole talk, which is considerably longer than that section, and deals with completely different issues (more about theology/philosophy/reason). Islam is used only in terms of violence, and as a lesson to Christians, on how not to do it.

    I think it was an badly thought out speech, and if not malicious, a pretty big gaff for a religious leader.

    English:
    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2006/september/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20060912_university-regensburg_en.html

    Original German:
    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2006/september/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20060912_university-regensburg_ge.html

  96. Tom Hale says:

    I haven’t been able to get into religion very much since I lost a child in ’91. Tomorrow would have been his 18th birthday. We stopped going to church for several years afterwards and even though we’ve been going to church for the last 9-10 years, it just doesn’t effect me like it did when I was younger. I’m mostly going now just to keep my wife happy and to set a good example for my kids.

  97. Tdawwg says:

    But it’s not in the past tense, Modus: “the Church has” is the main verb that governs the other, subordinate verbs. The gerund keep happening clearly shows that I know the abuse is likely still happening.

    That said, I happily await the results of all those other abuse inquiries that churches, Christian and non-, aren’t doing. At least Catholics are finally trying, however inadequately, to address this issue: I don’t see that happening in other religions….

  98. Tom Hale says:

    Jenny McCarthy’s so hot, I can forgive her for just about anything.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Jenny McCarthy’s so hot, I can forgive her for just about anything.

      Funny, you’ve never mentioned your profound hearing loss before.

  99. bakelblog says:

    The Catholic Church: Too busy calling agnostics and atheists “less than fully human” to actually consider apologizing for the centuries of misery it has caused.

    That quote is from the same U.K. cardinal who earlier this week called lack of religious faith “the greatest of evils.”

    Check out http://www.bakelblog.com/nobodys_business/2009/05/atheists-not-fully-human-catholic-childfuckers-aok.html

  100. fungible says:

    Wait, where does a priest come up with $450,000? Guess he had to break the vow of poverty, too.

  101. zebbart says:

    Here is an article where Prof. Jenkins makes the case that this kind of evil is not particularly Catholic:
    http://www.post-gazette.com/forum/comm/20020303edjenk03p6.asp

  102. DWittSF says:

    Bah, it goes all the way to the Vatican. See the recent report on decades of abuse in Catholic-run schools in Ireland:

    The Irish report – one of the most widely-read stories on the internet today –concluded that church officials always shielded their orders’ abusers from arrest to protect their own reputations and, according to documents uncovered in the Vatican, knew that many paedophiles were serial attackers.

    http://freethinker.co.uk/2009/05/20/catholic-church-is-“sorry-and-ashamed”-over-widespread-abuse-of-irish-children/

    //

    Yet, like tone-deaf politicians in declining parties, they persist in fighting imaginary demons:

    Atheism ‘is the greatest of all evils’, says outgoing Archbishop of Westminster

  103. Anonymous says:

    EscapingTheTrunk @ 43 – Fascinating post.

    I somewhat disagree, however, with your conclusion that allowing priests to marry wouldn’t make much change in their pedophilia rate. The celibacy requirement means that the priesthood tends to attract men who either (a) have low sex drives (1); (b) have extremely naive concepts of the importance of sexuality and their own abilities to deal; and (c) the kind of lace-curtains prissy-pants for whom not ever having to deal with ickiness of sex is a plus, not a sacrifice. (Obviously, these categories overlap.)

    Group (a) wouldn’t be affected by the end of celibacy, but they’re not the problem.

    It’s that after a few years (or decades), Group (b) priests figure out that they’ve bitten off more than they can chew, and frequently have no idea how to handle it. The sensible ones leave or get adult partners, but sense w/r/t to sex isn’t exactly a hallmark of Catholic clergy. The more clueless ones go in for kids for the same reason I imagine a lot of pedophiles do–they’re the only people more naive about sex than the priests (ergo, less likely to make judgments), and the only ones who can be simply ordered about for these tasks (unlike the negotiations required in an adult relationship).

    Moreover, they’re apt to be supervised by priests in Group (c), who seem to predominate as you go up the hierarchy, and who have been handling these matters through whatever means makes the entire nasty, nasty matter go away as quickly as possible from the supervising priest’s (e.g., bishop’s, cardinal’s, Pope’s) point of view. This sensibility favors sweeping things under the rug over calling the cops, not only to keep them from the eyes of the public, but to spare the delicate sensibilities of the priest who makes that decision.

    An atmosphere of normal relationships with women (or men) would make for an entirely different ethos among the priesthood. In particular, decrease the pressure-cooker combination of frustration, loneliness and profound naivete that would make the least neurotic guy in the world bay at the moon, and (after a very long time, since you”d be waiting for a generation or two to die off) increase the members of the supervising hierarchy who have the balls to deal with serious misconduct responsibly.

    (1) And commonly think everyone else does too, resulting in aghast incomprehension of the perceived promiscuity surrounding them.

  104. Tzctlp says:

    I love it when people of Protestant traditions bash in glee about the failings of the Catholic Church.

    It of course takes no more than two minutes to find that they are only basking in their obvious prejudices:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1566826/C-of-E-child-abuse-was-ignored-for-decades.html

    I could go and find many examples from people of other denominations.

    My point being that many people on this thread should put their bias to one side, lay down the idiotic psychobable, and realize that, according to the numbers (timely provided above) people doing these unspeakable acts are a small minority, as is thankfully the case in any community.

  105. eclectro says:

    @16 ntns;

    f y hv pnt, strngly rcmmnd tht y shrpn t qckly. Sm ppl mght fnd yr cmmnt hmphbc f y dn’t clrfy yrslf.

    My pnt s ths; fl t s dffrnc btwn hmsxlty nd < hrf="http://www.nmbl.rg/wlcm.htm">pdrstry. Th nmbr f prsts (58) tht hv bn ccsd wld tnd t prv ths t.

    Ths cntrsts wth sttmnt frm fct sht pt t by th hmn rghts cmmssn tht stts tht “nly 2 f 269 chld mlstrs cld b dntfd s gy r lsbn”.

    m sr wth th cntnng rvltns f bs n rlnd tht mr ccrt sttstcs my mrg frm ths tht r rrstd vrss ths tht nswrd qz.

  106. Xopher says:

    Antinous, I hope it’s clear to you (and all here, except one) that I’m not objecting to the religion, but to the Church as an organization. They’re two separate things, much as the Church’s apologists want us believe otherwise.

  107. Tdawwg says:

    Arkizzle, you never once in your comment note that he’s quoting Paleologos, which, lacking any editorializing by you, is a bit weaselly: your post suggests that these are Benedict’s words, not that he’s quoting a long-dead emperor.

    He’s also not using “allegory,” but whatever.

    The rest of your argument boils down to something about how the pope shouldn’t infuriate Muslims. Fine, but I don’t see anything like the denigratory speech you’re reading (reading into?) when you discuss the text. Indeed, Benedict takes pains to distance himself from the emperor’s words. Here are Benedict’s words again:

    In the Muslim world, this quotation has unfortunately been taken as an expression of my personal position, thus arousing understandable indignation. I hope that the reader of my text can see immediately that this sentence does not express my personal view of the Quran, for which I have the respect due to the holy book of a great religion.

    So none of this, not his noting the emperor’s “brusqueness,” not his lengthy distancing and apology, constitutes “diplomatically tempering the assertion”? Sorry, but you’re wrong.

    As for the idea that the pope can’t discuss complex, possibly controversial issues in public, I think that belongs with any other call for censorship. “Watch what you say,” indeed!

  108. fnc says:

    Ugh. Yet another example of a religious person thinking their actions couldn’t be wrong because they’re a religious person. It’s amazing the extent to which religion breeds narcissism (or attracts it, who knows).

    I did tell my wife the other day that going to a celibate man for marital advice would be like taking your car to the butcher to have it repaired.

  109. nosehat says:

    @ Eclectro #48: I fail to see a difference between homosexuality and pederastry.

    I’m sorry, but you are wrong about that. I pity you your world view, and your grasp of logic.

    Gay people and straight people can certainly be pederasts, but that doesn’t mean that every gay person or every straight person is necessarily a pederast.

  110. zebbart says:

    #68 To be fair you need a fourth category, d) guys with healthy sexuality who feel called to make the sacrifice of celibacy. I’ve known well priests in all four categories.

  111. Tdawwg says:

    The “bridges” he’s building, Antinous, are to the next world, not this one. (Sighs.)

    Arkizzle, Benedict’s quoting Manuel II Paleologus in the sections you’re quoting: he’s not offering his own ideas or thoughts. He’s just using the emperor’s thoughts on the differences between Christianity and Islam as a springboard to his own talk on faith and reason in the modern world. An inapposite example, perhaps, but manifestly not the hate speech so many have tried, unsuccessfully, to make it.

  112. Anonymous says:

    this isn’t a denial of pedophilia/abuse/rape in the Protestant faith, either — they are cast of the same brand of blackness and evil as the priests and nuns who committed these things in the Catholic church, and I wish upon them the same endless hell I wish on those who have committed something so horrible it makes the bile rise in my throat as I write this.

    It’s the fact that there is a systemic coverup and implied approval (not only the coverups, but the relocation of those about whom there was suspicion, and the insistence of anonymity in the Irish reports) of this behaviour within the Catholic corporation as a whole…all the while maintaining a public admonition to stay do as they say lest we all burn in the fires of Hell.

    I feel just as sickened by ANYONE who has covered up and lied to hide acts like this — Protestant, Catholic, non-sectarian, or otherwise.

    Stoke the fires, Lucifer — you’ve got a lot of roasting to do.

  113. Takuan says:

    make me Emperor and I’ll burn them all.

  114. Xopher says:

    Jeaguilar: a direction independent of the old guy in Rome. Might not be better. Probably wouldn’t be worse.

  115. Anonymous says:

    So you see no such thing as a homosexual relationship between two men of equal age? Do you also confuse plums and oranges, since they’re both round?

    “I see no difference between you as a heterosexual and you raping a little girl, since your only criteria has been met.” Saying this to you would be the equivalent to your statement.

    Also Antinous I admire your restraint with the banhammer! :)

  116. Takuan says:

    speaking of god – botherer’s and money, Aung San Suu Kyi is facing trial because those Mormons (that managed to raise $20,000,000.00 to encourage the beating to death of gay people in the name of their loving god) felt above the laws of Burma. How about bribing the generals of Burma to let her go? Let’ see some money.

  117. wolfiesma says:

    Ark, thanks for posting the speech. Could only get through a few paragraphs. Does it sound that constipated in German, too? Can’t recall a more tedious and morose speech since the Latin primers we picked at through high school. Dread thought.

    Isn’t there any sort of early retirement program for popes that doesn’t involve assassination? I’m not into that, but a new pope I think would be good right now. The church could so benefit from leadership that was a little more in synch with the century…(or was that millenium??)

  118. Rindan says:

    EDUARDO PADOAN, I believe that the main reason people are not leaving en masse the church is because they think most (not all) of the people saying they were molested are liars.

    I am pretty sure that is not true. I think it is far more likely that people that stick around probably just trust their local priests. Further, to a religious person, the fact that humans on earth, even priests, can be shitty humans isn’t a terrible surprise and mean that you stop believing in god.

    I am a complete and utter heathen, but I don’t look at a church and see a bunch of child molesters. Yeah, it happens, but it is certainly the rare exception and not the rule. Being critical of the utterly fucked up hierarchy that allowed this to be covered up and swept aside is the right thing. Assuming that all priest are child molesters and that anyone who sticks around the church must be denying the fact on the other hand is wrong.

  119. Bloodboiler says:

    Cognitive dissonance is fun.

    Idea of going to hell for sin of fucking a child is not enough of of determent, but going to prison for breaking a law would be.

  120. Anonymous says:

    I am astounded and appalled.

  121. Tdawwg says:

    I’ve hated this man for a good 25 years. I see no reason to stop hating him, or pretend to, just because he could frighten a bunch of old men in Rome into giving him a white zucchetto instead of a red one. He was and is my enemy, and I refuse to treat him with respect.

    A stunning admission as to why your voice needn’t be heard in this debate. I’d love to discuss some of the finer points of your tirade, but anger is all you’re giving. Enjoy your two-and-a-half-decades-long hissy fit: it’s unbecoming, but it’s spurred you into a height of rhetoric not seen on teh Webz since, oh, say, two minutes ago. Congrats!

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Tdawwg,

      You’re defending the man who just told Africa, en masse, to stop using condoms. Former Hitler Youth member, former head of the Inquisition, opponent of equality for women, opponent of equality for gays. What exactly do you require before condemning someone? The only thing that you’re accomplishing by sticking with Benny the Rat is the erosion of your own credibility. I sure as hell don’t know any Catholics who don’t think that he’s a bit of an idiot.

  122. failix says:

    I would help any parent of an outraged child kill the attacker. There are limits.

    So easy to say.

  123. mermaid says:

    “Been required to be celibate by your religion for 20 years, and that 9 year old starts to look pretty darn good…”

    um no.

    Not having sex does not make you want to violate a child.

    Let’s see I haven’t had sex in 20 years, so let me find a child, vs another adult (who actually might give you connection, experience, any number of things an adult is equipped to provide).

    If the nine year old looks good its not because you want to have sex.

  124. Joe MommaSan says:

    Was anyone else reminded of OJ and that gawdawful “If I Did It” book he was flogging a few years back?

  125. Takuan says:

    all that Vatican wealth, all that real estate, all that money, all those art treasures, all those tithe-paying fanbois.

    I think the christian thing to do would be to immediately give at least half all that money to the child-victims of the catholic church. Unless of course the whole church line is a stinking lie delivered to rape children and separate gullible fools from their money. But that couldn’t be now, could it?

    Let’s see Benny do some holy poverty, his god will twice bless him for living in rags and eating ashes – unless of course his god is a cynical fraud and incapable of providing for even one faithful.

    All those Indian children raped and tortured in residential schools, all those poor Irish children outraged and ruined, all of South America, all those other children of relative privilege who were worthy enough to finally draw attention to the secret catholic holocaust when their victimization was finally exposed, their voices cry out for justice.

    Somehow I think el poppo won’t come through with either the money or the justice.

  126. Takuan says:

    [Diocesan headquarters, day. Sixteen priests are present in the boardroom, with Fatherh Maxi presiding]
    Priest Maxi: Fathers, I want to thank you all for coming.
    Priest 1: [African-American] No, thank you for finally organizing an all-priests meeting, Father Maxi. I think we all agree something has to be done, quickly. [the other priests concur]
    Elderly Priest: Well, I don’t know how it’s been for all of you, but attendance at my church in Fort Rollins is down sixty-three precent! [pounds on the table for emphasis]
    Priest 2: I’m down almost seventy in Greenleaf.
    Priest Maxi: Uh-yes, uh, I’m afraid if things keep going the way they are, we could lose our entire religion.
    Elderly Priest: Yes, we’ve gotta stop these boys from goin’ to the public!
    Fat Priest: They’ve gotta know to keep their mouths shut!
    Other priests: That right, yeah.
    Priest Maxi: Right, and so… wa- wait a minute. What?
    Priest 1: Yes, but we’ve got to find out why these children are suddenly finding it necessary to report that they’re being molested. Stop the problem at its source.
    Priest 2: Yes, but how?
    Priest 3: Somethng has to be done.
    Priest 4: We’ve got to stop this-
    Priest Maxi: [rising] Whoa, whoa, hold on a second! The problem is that children are being molested, not that they’re reporting it! [all fall silent]
    Elderly Priest: How do you mean?
    Priest Maxi: Well, I mean, obviously, what we need to put a stop to is all the sexual misconduct that is allowed to take place in our churches, and not just tell the children not to tell anybody about it. I mean, right?
    Priest 1: Well did any of the children you’ve molested come forward?
    Priest Maxi: No.
    Priest 1: Well, that’s good.
    Priest Maxi: No, I mean! I’ve never molested any of the children in my church!
    Elderly Priest: Hih-it’s okay, Father Maxi. We’re all priests here; the doors are closed.
    Priest Maxi: Oh for the love of God! Are you all saying that you’ve engaged in inappropriate relations with your altar boys? We are here to bring the light of God, not harm the innocent! [the other priests look at him and laugh] I’m serious!
    Priest 2: Father, uh, having sex with boys is part of the Catholic priest’s way of life.
    Other priests: Yeah. [they continue to talk, but Father Maxi isn't listening...]
    Priest Maxi: Dear God. This problem is much more severe than I could have possibly imagined. I have to go to the Vatican and get help.

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