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Report alleges decades of child sex abuse by Pennsylvania priests, cover-up by bishops

In this Sept. 23, 2015, file photo, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, left, looks toward the crowd with Pope Francis after a Mass outside the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. Wuerl wrote to priests to defend himself on the eve of the scheduled Aug. 14, 2018, release of a grand jury report investigating child sexual abuse in six of Pennsylvania's Roman Catholic dioceses. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

(RNS) — Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro has released a more than 1,300-page grand jury report detailing allegations of widespread sexual abuse of more than 1,000 children by Catholic priests in the state, naming hundreds of clerics accused of misconduct over 70 years and accusing church officials of a “systemic” cover-up.

Shapiro unveiled the report at a news conference on Tuesday (Aug. 14) attended by many alleged abuse survivors that began with some of them painfully and sometimes tearfully recounting in a video the horrifying details of their abuse and accusing the church of protecting predators.

The attorney general said the report exposes a “systematic cover-up by senior church officials in Pennsylvania and the Vatican.”

The report is the result of an 18-month investigation spearheaded by Shapiro that examined six of the state’s eight dioceses. The release was delayed by a flurry of legal challenges from more than 300 clergy named in the report, but the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in July that it could be released provided that some details were redacted.

The accusations that survived the redactions include priests asking a young boy to strip naked and photographing him while comparing him to Christ on the cross; the rape of boys and girls as young as 7 years old, including an instance where a priest raped a girl in a hospital room after she had her tonsils taken out; and a priest who impregnated his rape victim and arranged an abortion.

“There have been other reports on child sex abuse in the Catholic Church, but never on this scale,” Shapiro said. He also addressed the redactions: “Let me be very clear: My office is not satisfied with the release of a redacted report. Every redaction tells an incomplete story of abuse that deserves to be told.

“We will fight vigorously to remove every redaction,” he said, noting that oral arguments regarding that will begin Sept. 26.

“Unlike the Catholic Church, and some in law enforcement, we hear you. And we believe your truth,” Shapiro said.

Shapiro also said that the investigation relied heavily on the church’s “secret archives,” a term Catholic leaders used to refer to records documenting the abuse that sat “just feet from the bishop’s desk.”

“We should emphasize that, while the list of priests is long, we don’t think we got them all,” the report reads. “We feel certain that many victims never came forward, and that the dioceses did not create written records every single time they heard something about abuse.”

Shapiro noted that despite the length of the report, the 23 grand jurors acknowledge that “as a consequence of the cover-up, almost every instance of abuse we found is too old to be prosecuted.”

“Due to the churches’ manipulation of our weak laws in Pennsylvania, too many predators are out of reach,” Shapiro said.

But not all: Shapiro said priests in Greensburg and Erie, Pa., are currently facing charges of abusing children in the state; one of the priests pleaded guilty earlier this year.

In addition to allegations of abuse — many of which were already public — the report accuses high-ranking church officials of covering up the abuse.

“Priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing; they hid it all. For decades,” the report reads.

The archbishop of Washington, D.C., Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who previously served as the bishop of Pittsburgh, sent a letter to clergy on Monday ahead of the report’s release.

“While I expect that this report will be critical of some of my actions, I believe the report also confirms that I acted with diligence,” Wuerl wrote. He said that when he learned of instances of abuse upon taking his position in Pittsburgh, it moved him “not simply to address these acts, but to be fully engaged, to meet with survivors and their families, and to do what I could to bring them comfort and try to begin a process for healing.”

In this June 30, 2015, file photo, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, speaks while outlining the schedule for Pope Francis’ September 2015 visit to Washington, during a news conference at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington. Wuerl wrote to priests to defend himself on the eve of the scheduled Aug. 14, 2018, release of a grand jury report investigating child sexual abuse in six of Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic dioceses. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The report notes that Wuerl sent a letter to the Vatican in 1989 arguing that parishioners have a right to know if a priest accused child sex abuse had been reassigned to their parish, but that he also allegedly approved a request two years later to reassign a priest — the Rev. Ernest Paone — accused of chid sex abuse.

“Above all else, (bishops) protected their institution, at all cost,” Shapiro said.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops also released a statement responding to the report.

“As a body of bishops, we are shamed by and sorry for the sins and omissions by Catholic priests and Catholic Bishops,” read the statement signed by USCCB President Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston and Bishop Timothy L. Doherty of Lafayette, Indiana, committee chairman for the USCCB’s Protection of Children and Young People.

Shapiro called on bishops to adopt and support four reforms outlined in the report: the elimination of the criminal statute of limitations for sexually abusing children; creation of a longer civil window in the state so that older victims can sue for damages; clarification of the the penalties for continuing to fail to report child abuse; and disallowing civil confidentially agreements from covering communications with law enforcement.

Meanwhile, all six diocese have pledged to publish the list of priests accused of sexually abusing children, and some, including Greensburg and Harrisburg, already have. Bishop Ronald W. Gainer of Harrisburg has also ordered that the names of accused priests and of bishops covered up or mishandled abuse cases be stripped from all church buildings in the diocese.

About the author

Jack Jenkins

Jack Jenkins is a national reporter for RNS based in Washington, covering U.S. Catholics and the intersection of religion and politics.

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  • This is nothing but sick. Get them out of my church. Defrock them and destroy them.
    Then revamp the entire recruitment process.

  • It’s not the recruitment process it’s the jackals waiting for the new recruits that are already inside.

  • “Get them out of my church”

    If you cannot get them out of your church, then is it really your church? Think about it.

  • To some extent. There are stories where those that recruited turned away straight or more orthodox candidates.
    Anyone who has been part of a larger organization knows that an HR department or an individual recruiter can impact an organization.
    Because this is worldwide; it goes all the way to the Vatican.

  • Donald Wuerl was made a bishop by Saint John Paul the Great and a cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI, two formidably anti-gay popes.

    Wuerl’s star in the U.S. hierarchy rose after he acted as a hatchet man when the admirable bishop of Seattle, Raymond Hunthausen, was targeted by the Vatican (under Saint John Paul the Great and his right-hand man Ratzinger) for being too liberal. The Vatican report charging Hunthausen with various shortcomings stated quite specifically that he had been too welcoming to gay people.

    Yet, astonishingly, there are still plenty of Catholics who want to reduce this horror show to sexual orientation.The very same Catholic officials targeting gay folks with a vengeance and trying to lay the abuse horror show at the feet of gay priests were covering up sexual abuse of minors and protecting priests abusing minors as they claimed that gay people represent an extreme moral danger.

    Gay-bashing is not a solution to this horror show. In fact, it plays into the hands of church officials who have produced the horror show and who need some other scapegoat to deflect attention from their failure to deal with this horror show. Given who they are and what they’ve done, it’s astonishing that those Catholic officials think they can divert the conversation of their spectacular corruption to the purported moral danger posed by the gays.

  • Fr. James Martin addressed that very subject several years ago:

    https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/537810

    Of course he will be vilified by all the usual suspects. But as Andrew Sullivan mentioned when the Cardinal McCartick story broke, some of McCarrick’s victims were no doubt gay themselves so they too suffered along with his other victims who weren’t.

  • At this point, (including today’s huge far-reaching Pennsylvania report), there is NO possible way to rationally avoid or sugarcoat the fact that the Catholic Church has a giant homosexuality problem, which is totally linked to its giant priest-abuse scandal. Totally intertwined, one feeding the other, at an unimaginable level, literally from coast to coast.

    Sure, it’s not all same-sex abuse. But now you can easily see the John Jay Report’s original, tragic gay “80-Percent” figure, hanging over Wuerl’s, McCarrick’s, Law’s, Mahoney’s, Finn’s, and many other top Catholic leaders’ heads, right up to Mr. “Who am I to judge” Francis.

    People, there are literally 1000’s of victims unaccounted for here. Kids that are now adults, some of them now clergy. And you already KNOW that homosexuality can be the outcome of child sexual abuse.

  • Without a permanent restructuring of the governing process and the continued reliance on celibate male priests. The sexual scandals will continue just as has been the case for the last 1700 years.

  • Gay-bashing and pointing out that 80% of the offenses were male on male are two different things.

    You can drop the “poh lil Hunthausen” spiel.

    He was treated in accordance with Canon Law and vindicated.

    The fact that you were teaching at a Catholic college and advocating for same sex relations does seem to raise a concern that a moral danger existed for Catholics, eh?

    Or did I miss something?

  • The Church of England underwent a permanent restructuring of the governing process and scrapped celibate male priests.

    The way that worked out hardly constitutes an endorsement.

  • I “think” you can rely on celibate priests. You have to seek out those that are orthodox. That’s the issue too – the church’s slippage on orthodoxy.

  • Just think of the extent of the problem when this is from one state of the union! Think of the problem as a national level. It will make Chile’s scandal minuscule! The Catholic Church is evil as an organization. God help the laity! They have been abused for over 1500 years..

  • Throughout its history, the Catholic Church has had a horrible record of abuse, sexual and other. So many popes had little boys for companionship, some of whom they castrated to keep them young. So it is no surprise that it is still going on, and probably will forever.

  • Question for Catholics………….
    The Pope is infallible according to Catholic Doctrine. How come the Priests are not infallible as well?

  • Once the “smaller, holier Church” is achieved, the Church will be small enough so that the occasional scandal will not be newsworthy. The RC hierarchy’s idea of crisis management.

  • Given the upbraids, censures, criticisms, and bannings from entire dioceses, I assume James Martin, S.J., is a friend of yours.

  • The solution to the Church’s Pennsylvania problem is clear enough. Invite Bishop Poprocki to come and exorcise the state. Nothing like medieval voodoo to restore the Church’s credibility. Or perhaps Cardinal Sarah could invalidate the grand jury report because some of the people on the grand jury were on a gluten free diet. Whatever it takes to avoid scandal. It is hard to tell if the Church hierarchs are total incompetents or total hypocrites or both.

  • If it’s a homosexual issue, then the abuse of female minors and adults by clerics is a heterosexual issue.

    And if priests abusing female minors and adults are not doing so because they are heterosexual, then why would one conclude that priests abusing male minors and adults are doing so because they are heterosexual?

    If we’re going to conclude that priests who abuse boys are homosexual and engage in abuse of minors for that reason, then are we going to reach the same conclusion about the priest in the diocese of Greensburg who raped and impregnated a 17-year-old girl, forged his head pastor’s name on a marriage certificate, then married the girl and divorced her months later — and was permitted to remain in ministry (pp. 4-5 of the report)?

    Did that priest rape an underaged girl because he is heterosexual? Is he, like the large majority of those sexually abusing minors in society at large, a man living a heterosexual life — and so heterosexuals and heterosexuality are responsible for pedophilia and ephebophilia?

    Or how about the priest in the diocese of Harrisburg who raped five girls in a family, collecting samples of their urine, pubic hair, and menstrual blood (pp. 5-6 of report)? Heterosexual acting out? Is sauce for the goose sauce for the gander: if we intend to call priests abusing boys homosexuals acting out homosexually, should we not reach the very same conclusion about priests abusing girls — heterosexuals acting out heterosexually? If we care about the truth and about solving these problems, that is….

    Or is this not in the least about sexual orientation, and is sexual orientation a huge red herring designed to serve the interests of the very gay-bashing hierarchs who crafted that red herring to draw attention away from their moral corruption and failure to deal with this crisis?

    How about the priest who raped and impregnated a girl, got her an abortion, and then received a letter from his bishop expressing sympathy for the priest — not the girl (p. 6 of report)? Heterosexual acting out?

    Doi we need to bar heterosexual men from seminaries and the priesthood if we want to prevent atrocities like this?

    Or is it not about sexual orientation at all, and are the trolls who want to keep pushing that meme more interested in attacking a vulnerable minority group than in addressing these horrors effectively? Hate’s a powerfully addictive — and powerfully stupefying — drug. And homophobia is, indeed, a form of hate. Dressing it up in religious clothes only makes the pig’s lipstick brighter. It does not disguise the pig in the least.

  • Well, for one thing, some of the predators in the grand jury report said that having sex with a girl would be a serious sin but having sex with boys was “not violating them–it was doing something to them externally.” Yes, that’s one quote from one predator but I have heard this rationale elsewhere. It suggests these particular men thought sex with females was much more important and so the associated sin was all the more serious to them because of the Church’s theology of sexual design (male + female).

    Second, it was a crime of situation: they simply had more access to boys without raising eyebrows.

    Finally, this predation, particularly with boys, isn’t about homosexuality (if it were, you would see a pattern of abuse among gay populations in society generally) but about immature/deviant development resulting in being attracted to youngsters instead of adults or only feeling comfortable harassing/coercing young adults. There are no mature relationships here as are evidenced across LGBT populations, only exploitation. Sadism too. A couple of these guys were quite cruel.

  • I see your point. What percentage of cases falls into your example involving by girls?
    What about attacks on seminarians which are 100% men.

  • But 100% of attacks on seminarians involved adult men. Wouldn’t that imply that is a homosexual issue?

  • Because the seminaries admit men only! (See reason 2: situational) Like prison. Who else did you expect them to attack?

  • The catholic church needs to shut the hell up about being “prolife” and judging “sexual morality”.

  • Look, some of these guys started with youngsters and worked their way up. Who knows what they’re attracted to. They’re perverts and predators because they use sex for their own ends, harass, manipulate, and coerce, and believe they aren’t sinning because the sex didn’t involve a woman. No healthy gay man would touch one of these dudes. Why are you on about this subject? Do you know any gay couples with long-term relationships?

  • True–without credibility on the sex stuff but in terms of kids, much worse; they have shown themselves to be utterly without morals.

  • Homosexuality is not destroying the church. If it were destroying the church it would also be destroying society. Don’t know about where you live but where I am (Canada),
    the number of same-sex couples has been increasing much more rapidly than the number of opposite‑sex couples and one third of them are married.

    Predation in seminaries, schools, and parishes is destroying the church, along with the structures that put it there. Read Sipe and Doyle. They had no skin in the game about LGBT people when they started out but they are pretty firm in their view that it isn’t the problem.

  • You do not hear of scandal after scandal. England did not force its brand of Christianity on its colonies the way Spain and Portugal did. That is why the Roman Church is so big.

  • There is one sexual scandal after another over the course of 1700 years some heterosexual, some homosexual, some with consenting adults and some with children. .Part of the reason the Reformation was popular was the corruption and sex scandals of the Roman priests in Germany and Northern Europe.

  • ” We should begin by making one thing clear. When we say abuse, we don’t just mean “inappropriate touching” (as the Archdiocese often chose to refer to it).

    We mean rape. Boys who were raped orally, boys who were raped anally, girls who were raped vaginally.

    These are the kinds of things that Archdiocese priests did to children:

    A girl, 11 years old, was raped by her priest and became pregnant. The Father took her in for an abortion.

    A 5th-grader was molested by her priest inside the confessional booth.

    A teenage girl was groped by her priest while she lay immobilized in traction in a hospital bed. The priest stopped only when the girl was able to ring for a nurse.

    A boy was repeatedly molested in his own school auditorium, where his priest/teacher bent the boy over and rubbed his genitals against the
    boy until the priest ejaculated.

    A priest, no longer satisfied with mere pederasty, regularly began forcing sex on two boys at once in his bed.

    A boy woke up intoxicated in a priest’s bed to find the Father sucking on his penis while three other priests watched and masturbated themselves.

    A priest offered money to boys in exchange for sadomasochism–directing them to place him in bondage, to “break” him, to make him their “slave,” and to defecate so that he could lick excrement from them.

    A 12-year-old, who was raped and sodomized by his priest, tried to commit suicide, and remains institutionalized in a mental hospital as an adult.

    A priest told a 12-year-old boy that his mother knew of and had agreed to the priest’s repeated rape of her son.

    A boy who told his father about the abuse his younger brother was suffering was beaten to the point of unconsciousness. “ Priests don’t do that,” said the father as he punished his son for what he thought was a vicious lie against the clergy.

    Penna 2018 ?

    No. Phila 2003 !

    The above is taken verbatim from :

    IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS
    FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
    CRIMINAL TRIAL DIVISION
    IN RE: : MISC. NO. 03-00-239
    COUNTY INVESTIGATING GRAND JURY
    Of September 17, 2003

    Again – 2005
    Phila Grand Jury Report Priest Child Sex Abuse
    https://verdict.justia.com/2015/10/29/on-the-tenth-anniversary-of-the-2005-philadelphia-grand-jury-report-on-child-sex-abuse-in-the-
    archdiocese

    Again – 2011
    ” Philadelphia Priests Accused by Grand Jury of Sexual Abuse and Cover-Up ”
    https://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/11/us/11priest.html

  • It is amazing all Cain’s religions have their garments of self righteousness so pure so white. It is all across all cultures with the Latin, the cowhoods, the red gowns, the brown robes, the black dresses, ….. I thank Jesus He does not need all these theatricals. “Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross.…” Now I am all blessed.

  • “Homosexuality is not destroying the church. If it were destroying the church it would also be destroying society.”

    Umm, I know you didn’t mean it that way, but there is something disturbingly prophetic about your second sentence there.

  • ” God help the laity! ”

    ” God ” wouldn’t even help the children.

    Leads me to believe that ” God’s ” clergy, in His eyes, are entitled.

  • Do we not hear of scandal after scandal because there is not scandal after scandal, or because the media is in a frenzy about the Catholic Church?

    The answer is that the Church of England has scandal after scandal.

    https://pantheon-live.religionnews.com/2018/07/20/church-of-england-to-test-aspiring-clergy-for-skill-aptitude-and-narcissicism/

    “Anxiety about the quality of those who aspire to become clergy is rooted in the series of child sex abuse scandals that have emerged from Anglicanism’s mother church over the past 20 years. In testimony given last March to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse — the public body set up to investigate abuse in many organizations, including churches — Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner said his diocese could use psychological testing of ordinands to assess whether they are suitable.”

    Yes, until the Catholic revival in the Church of England in the late 19th century, C of E missionaries were scarce.

  • I apologize for intervening in your discussion with Joseph (who is more than capable of answering questions on his own), but there is some research on your question. While it is not unanimous, there are some points of convergence.

    First, we should stop trying to factor out specific types of behavior and concentrate on recruiting people with a healthy understanding of their own sexuality, as well as a healthy (non-exploitative) approach to others. Too many people made it into and through seminaries because they demonstrated an ability to live without women, or without same-sex behaviors, only to discover they had underlying disorders.

    Second, a healthy understanding of sexuality should be promoted, not suppressed, throughout seminary and post-seminary training: not isolated in an elective, but factored into every course and activity. Our seminaries have been teaching a course in Theological Anthropology that deals extensively with sin and grace as concepts, but fails to enter into the mystery of human sexuality as a component of anthropology.

    Third, only those who exhibit a mature sexual self-understanding should be approved for ordination, no matter how bad the priest shortage gets. Tolerating sexual exploitation in recruitment, or allowing it to continue in seminary, because “we need more priests” is sinful and, in the long run, suicidal. We wouldn’t approve a sexual exploiter for marriage; we shouldn’t approve them for priesthood.

    Fourth, seminary graduates should receive regular counseling throughout their lives — not in the form of an implicit accusation, but as therapy for the many challenges of their vocations and, especially, the celibacy imposed as an artificial requirement. Priesthood in itself implies significant challenges, especially within our pop culture, and priesthood as defined by current canon law aggravates those challenges. Having someone qualified to talk to should be seen, not as an indictment, but as a benefit. These are human beings who, in order to serve us, live without someone to talk to without having to pretend; I think we owe those who try such a life all the support we can give them.

    I know these recommendations won’t alleviate your concern, but I think we have to be careful not to conflate deviant behaviors with same-sex behaviors. Ultimately, such conflation doesn’t bring us any closer to the solution you seek.

    Monica

  • I believe they’re holding up doing anything until a Council is convened for you to provide your insights and wisdom to the Church’s 5,500 bishops assembled.

  • Would you like to read the report on schools in Illinois, or the Church of England?

    What they seem to have in common is …. human beings.

  • You bring up a good point I did not consider. Does the grooming process start from the very beginning when people start looking at religious life and is part of the process? Instead of looking for sincere applicants they are looking for their next victims? Or, those that have the personality to be quiet about what is going on.

  • Homophobes like you are the ones who are destroying society. Stop lynching gay and trans people, Your Blackness.

  • You continually conflate two separate issues:

    – homosexuality

    – lousy clerical selection

    because, apparently, your real agenda is about homosexuality, not the clerical selection decision.

    This is easily analyzed.

    Homosexuals are, under Canon Law and additional guidance and directives, excluded from Holy Orders and have been for centuries. A homosexual orientation places a seminarian in a situation which constitutes an imminent occasion of sin.

    In addition homosexual orientation is objectively disordered and, like any significant disorder, is an impediment to ordination. This involves unchangeable teaching on sexuality.

    Individuals with low impulse control, psychosexual immaturity, and inappropriate motives for seeking ordination – e.g., a desire to exercise power – are also excluded from seminaries.

    If these requirements are followed, the incidence of problems should reduce to a background level of the ordinary failures of humanity.

    The major problem is described here:

    “If we’re going to conclude that priests who abuse boys are homosexual and engage in abuse of minors for that reason, then are we going to reach the same conclusion about the priest in the diocese of Greensburg who raped and impregnated a 17-year-old girl, forged his head pastor’s name on a marriage certificate, then married the girl and divorced her months later — and was permitted to remain in ministry (pp. 4-5 of the report)?”

    Despite the fact that bishops were REQUIRED to dismiss abusers from the clerical state, despite the fact that bishops were REQUIRED to report crimes in places where there was a functioning legitimate civil authority, bishops overrode all the safeties, all the Canons and did whatever the h-ll they wanted.

    Why?

    One place to look is the existence of bishops who themselves should never have been ordained, or should have resigned from the clerical state due to their repeated violations of their vows.

    Milwaukee, for instance, was led by Rembert Weakland. He was finally ousted when his long homosexual affair and $450,000 payoff of his former boyfriend came to light.

    He routinely reassigned offenders. He shredded personnel files.

    Here was the supposed leader who was subject to blackmail by priests in the know.

    Along with that was the inappropriate use of psychologists as both evaluators and as treatments.

    Canon Law does not provide any exceptions to dismissal from the clerical state for abusers. Sending abusers to St. Luke’s in Silver Spring, Maryland, for “treatment” and then putting them back on the line after they were pronounced “cured” was an abuse.

    Psychologists purport to be able to do all sorts of things the research indicates they cannot do, as the results demonstrated.

    So, we eliminate homosexuals from seminaries in accordance with Canon Law.

    Assuming that the 80% male on male abuse reflects some opportunism by satyrs, we eliminate 70% of the abuse.

    We eliminate individuals who want to wiggle their willies publicly, or can’t keep their hands to their selves, or otherwise fail to exhibit mature impulse control and orientation, again in compliance with Canon Law.

    Lincoln, Nebraska, followed this program, had a full seminary, zero lawsuits, and zero abusers in the ministry.

    Now we’re down to the Judas Iscariots, the ones who have the capacity to act right, but into whom Satan enters (John 13:27, Luke 22:1-7).

    And that nothing can prevent.

  • “Our seminaries have been teaching a course in Theological Anthropology that deals extensively with sin and grace as concepts, but fails to enter into the mystery of human sexuality as a component of anthropology.”

    If that is the case, they have NOT been following the existing directives on seminary formation.

    The theology of the body and sex as a good, an icon of the Creator, and cooperation with the Creator in creation itself are part and parcel of Catholic theology.

    “Third, only those who exhibit a mature sexual self-understanding should be approved for ordination …..”

    This has been an explicit part of Canon Law and the directives on seminary formation for well over a hundred years.

    “Fourth, seminary graduates should receive regular counseling throughout their lives — not in the form of an implicit accusation, but as therapy for the many challenges of their vocations and, especially, the celibacy imposed as an artificial requirement.”

    There is zero evidence that “counseling” in general has positive effects.

    The consensus – such as it is – is that about 1/3 who receive counseling benefit, 1/3 receive neither benefit nor harm, and 1/3 actually receive harm.

    The American addiction to “counseling” led to some of the problems in dealing with abuse.

    “Priesthood in itself implies significant challenges …. and priesthood as defined by current canon law aggravates those challenges.”

    That is complete utter nonsense.

    Canon Law simply requires that a priest be an alter Christus.

  • Get banned from this forum. You are just here to waste time and gaslight everyone. #ThatsSoChristian

  • So what you’re saying is that homosexuality in the seminary or the priesthood is acceptable; as long as that individual has someone to talk to throughout their career to control their homosexual tendencies? Furthermore, you’re saying that Canon law that prohibits homosexual behavior is a problem Because this runs counter to the priest that may have homosexual tendencies?

  • No, sir. With all due respect, I don’t think you can interpret what I wrote as supporting your statements.

  • “the Church’s 5,500 bishops”

    Since these are the people who have turned the Bride of Christ into a whore, my only advise would be mass resignation.

  • I never look to you, unless I am looking for an example of what happens when you make a wrong turn and then compound your mistakes.

    Basically your graphic, like the “whataboutism”, can be summarized:

    “Don’t bother me with either facts or context while I’m exercising my anti-Catholic proclivities.”

    Beyond that, nada.

  • Oh I know all about that – archconservative lace-wearing bishops throwing hissy fits over Martin’s writing and issuing fatwas against him in their little fiefdoms. Nothing to see there, move along.

  • For an organization that started out by burning bible translators at the stake, they have come a long way. They have come to the day when the division of Peleg is taking place. Mankind gets divided between Heaven and earth, Jerusalem that now is and the Jerusalem above.

    The Bella Domina met the Jimson Weed at Jamestown. Only the names are changed, the family is one, stramonium.

  • Really??

    All 5,500 bishops “turned the Bride of Christ into a whore”?

    Just for general discussion and information, do you EVER let facts get in the way of your opinions?

  • I believe “archconservative lace-wearing bishops” was a mantra dealing with Archbishop Burke over at NCR Comments by the usual nattering nittering talking heads.

    Martin is out of line with Catholic teaching.

    I don’t believe anyone that understand Catholic teaching disputes that.

  • And after knowingly engaging in coverups for DECADES,and coverups of the coverups, this church proposes to tell the rest of us what is moral?

  • What they have in common is teaching one thing, and then cynically ignoring and covering up, and knowingly engaging in felony.

  • It seems to me that a key element in these pedophilia cases is the priests having enormous power over the kids.

    And, similarly, don’t priests have considerable power over the sheeple?

  • As a long-time heathen and opponent of organized religion, and especially of the evil RCC, I think your statement is too broad.

    There are *some* good ideas in Christianity. Quite a few, I think, such as some of the ideas re forgiveness. These are good ideas for human beings who want to get along in life.

    But of course, there are lots and lots and lots of idiotic ideas in Christianity–rebirth of Jesus? Virgin birth? Afterlife? Give me a break.

  • I’ve spent most of my 61 years working, in one way or another, within the Catholic Church structure. I served as a teacher in the Catholic school system and in various capacities in diocesan offices. I’ve also written for several Catholic publications and contributed to catechetical materials. I’m still a faithful Catholic and I have no ax to grind. I consider Catholicism a beautiful, cohesive belief system and I cherish my faith.

    But there are some realities that I won’t bury my head in the sand about. The Catholic Church suffers from the excess weight of an archaic patriarchal system that promotes institutional secrecy and lends itself to the abuse of power. Until and unless that is remedied, this problem will continue. It’s human nature and the nature of institutions.

  • Good morning, Howard – It’s actually afternoon here in Italy. I don’t think we can equate Christianity with ideas or with historically-defined symbolic language, such as virgin birth, etc. I think the essence of any religion is its capacity to point beyond itself to the mystery that has traditionally been called God. I’ve wrestled with this question all my life. I think there’s more to Christianity than some ethical ideas and time-conditioned symbols. – Monica.

  • I don’t see this as a “percentages” game. It’s about recognizing that sexual abuse of minors is something categorically different from sexual orientation — from either heterosexuality or homosexuality. If we’re going to attribute abuse of male minors to homosexuality, then we also have to attribute abuse of female minors to heterosexuality — if we expect to be credible.

    Better, it seems to me, to recognize that we’re dealing something distinctly different from sexual orientation when we talk about abuse of minors — and better to avoid concluding that, because the large majority of minors sexually molested in society at large are girls molested by men identifying as heterosexual, then this is just what heterosexuals do.

    This is what pedophiles do.

    There are more male cases in the Catholic institution for reasons long since explained in great detail: e.g., priests have historically had more contact with males, since females were barred from serving at the altar.

  • The grand jury report states, “All of [the victims] were brushed aside, in every part of the state, by church leaders who preferred to protect the abusers and their institutions above all. Priests were raping little boys and girls and the men of God who were responsible not only did nothing: They hid it all.”

    Cardinal Donald Wuerl turns out (unsurprisingly, in my view) to be at the center of the hierarchical cover-up in Pennsylvania. For those who want to contend that the Catholic church has gone to rack and ruin under Pope Francis, and who want to lay the abuse horrors at Francis’ feet with claims that he’s gay-tolerant, Wuerl’s story is yet another inconvenient one. It’s yet again part of a pattern that points to Francis’ predecessors Saint John Paul the Great and Benedict XVI, who were anything but friends to gay folks, as deep roots of the problems that keep coming to light in the abuse horror show.

    Who made Wuerl a bishop? The resolutely anti-gay pope Saint John Paul the Great did so. Who made Wuerl a cardinal? The resolutely anti-gay pope Benedict XVI did so.

    Why did Wuerl’s star rise in the U.S. hierarchy? Because he knifed the admirable archbishop of Seattle, who called for merciful treatment of gay people — Raymond Hunthausen — in the back to please Saint John Paul the Great and his right-hand man Ratzinger.

    A valuable reminder from Ken Briggs in 2015 about why Saint John Paul the Great and his right-hand man Cardinal Ratzinger went after Hunthausen:

    “In his 1985 indictment of the Seattle archbishop, Ratzinger summed up accusations gathered in his investigation whose point man in the U.S. was Archbishop James Hickey of Washington, D.C. Among the charges: that Hunthausen had allowed divorced Catholics without annulments to take communion; gave lay people unauthorized influence in shaping programs as ‘a kind of voting process on doctrinal or moral teachings’; permitted intercommunion at weddings and funerals, calling it ‘clearly abusive’; and supported a homosexual group to meet in the cathedral, which risked ignoring the Magisterium’s judgment that same-sex acts were ‘an intrinsic moral evil, intrinsically distorted and self-indulgent.’ In addition to welcoming the gay group to the cathedral, he’d stood up for homosexual dignity in the Seatte Gay News in 1977….

    His stands sound a great deal like the kind that harmonize with the church Pope Francis inspires, one which forgives, treats those who fall outside strict doctrinal with tolerance and bestows mercy on those who might be considered unworthy under other regimes. Openness to homosexuals, broader welcome to communion, a greater, equal role for lay people, a witness to faith determined by compassion and attention to suffering rather than law and order: the overlap between Francis and Raymond would appear to be astounding” (my bold-facing).

    https://www.ncronline.org/b

    Yet a strong cadre of right-wing Catholics supported by homophobes in other religious communities, who are badly informed about matters Catholic even as they pontificate about such matters, imagine that the kind of church the two popes prior to Francis promoted, and, in particular, the hateful homophobia of that church, is a solution to the abuse crisis and an antidote to McCarrick (who was made archbishop of Washington and then a cardinal by Saint John Paul the Great) and Wuerl (who was made a bishop by Saint John Paul the Great and a cardinal by Benedict XVI).

  • Sir, I’ll try to respond to your last question “Why would the church actively recruit individuals who have tendencies that don’t align to the teachings of the church?”
    The teaching of the church is that priests are to remain celibate, whether their sexual orientation is heterosexual, homosexual, or — as is often the case — an orientation more complicated. Whether recruiting men or women, the church is recruiting candidates who must live counter to their sexual desires, which is why I argue that in doing so, the church incurs the obligation to support them in their celibacy throughout their lives, rather than abandon them the moment the oils dry and hope for the best.
    In my opinion, the church should try to recruit all healthy individuals who are willing to put themselves at the service of God and neighbor in the church. – Monica.

  • No one who is psychosexually maturity should experience “liv(ing) counter to their sexual desires” anymore than not eating that bowl of ice cream involves living counter to their nutritional desires.

    The concept that folks either have sex or something blows up arises from the contra-Catholic theology opposing Humanae Vitae.

  • You hit on something with the institutional secrecy thing, but I think it goes beyond that – it’s institutional secrecy in service of protecting the institution from scandal. We saw the same thing with the Jerry Sandusky case at Penn State. But Catholics, more than anyone, are mortified about scandal and they will do anything to avoid it. When institutions would rather protect the institution from scandal than protect children’s innocence that’s a major problem. You’d think no one would have to teach church leaders that children are more important than an institution’s reputation, but apparently not.

  • They are when they parrot what the pope says. To be fair, in recent centuries no pope has said, explicitly or by example, go have sex, even if you have to rape children.

  • I don’t disagree, but in all fairness, recognizing the rights of children and the need to protect them from exploitation is something fairly recent in human civilization. It hasn’t been the norm throughout history for almost any institution and most societies, Christian and otherwise. That’s an ugly, brutal reality but it is reality nonetheless.

  • And when adult men sexually abuse women or girls (which happens far more frequently) heterosexuality is the problem. Got it.

  • I fully agree. That’s what I meant when I said it’s the nature of institutions. They eventually become more concerned with power than mission (in this case, protecting the innocent), and part of that power is self-preservation.

    That’s why institutions that survive and remain vital must renew and reform themselves now and then, and the Catholic Church has had such renewals in its history. Francis of Assissi, for example, isn’t a saint just because he talked to birds and gave away his personal property. He was a radical reformer who called the Church to account at a time when it had become too concerned with temporal power.

    Reform is painful and the hierarchy usually fights against it tooth and nail, but it is absolutely necessary if the Church is to survive.

  • Six dioceses. Decades of abuse. 1000 victims that we know of. 300 priests that we know of. Horrific stories from the survivors, but of course, we don’t know about the kids who didn’t survive, that had lives full of shame, or drugs, or despair, or died young because of all of that. If there were this many KNOWN allegations in one state, how many must there be in the other 49? And let us not forget that this was not an investigation of individual priests or teachers or other clergy), but of the dioceses, and those dioceses cooperated, and it was those dioceses’ records which proved both the abuse allegations, and their cover up. And that doesn’t include the other two in PA, nor do we know how many record caches were destroyed before the investigation. The scope is conservative at 1000 victims and that’s based almost entirely on the church records themselves – and we have every reason to believe the church down played the record even as they made it.

    But what about those public school teachers, eh? When are we gonna go after them!?!?!?!?

    Here’s what we know. catholic priests in those 6 diosceses seem to have a preference for having sex with children in their care. After tens of thousands of boys have come forward, all the deflection in the world is not going to change the fact that the public knows it is not unusual for Catholic priests to have sexual relatiions with adolescent boys, or girls, or each other.

    But sure, let’s blame it on mythical Big Gay. It’s so much easier than noticing that there were 300 catholic priests and a lot of enablers.

    How about some actual stuff from the report? This won’t be for the delicate. And I’m sure it will enrage our local pedo-defenders, because WHAT ABOUT THOSE PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS?

    The Allentown Morning Call reports:

    George said he never discussed the nude Polaroids, or the twisted, secret gift he and the other kids had been given decades ago by the men who preyed on them. These weren’t the kinds of things you could share without feeling humiliated, especially not if you grew up tough, like he did on the South Side of Pittsburgh.

    But you can’t outrun your nightmares forever. So on Dec. 17, a week before Roman Catholics around the world celebrated Christmas, George met with a Pennsylvania grand jury and told it about the Rev. George Zirwas, a friendly young priest who once took him to a rectory in Munhall, a borough about 25 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh, and introduced him to some friends: The Revs. Francis Pucci, Richard Zula, and Francis Luddy.

    In the unnerving moments that followed, George claimed that Zula or Pucci began taking photos of him on a Polaroid camera. All of the priests giggled — and then added the photos of George to a collection of photos of other teen boys. According to the grand jury, these men and another priest, the Rev. Robert Wolk, were part of a “ring of predatory priests” who raped children, shared intelligence on potential victims and manufactured child pornography in parishes and rectories.

    Penn Live reports:

    The Rev. James Beeman, once a chaplain for the state prison at Camp Hill, was accused of raping a 7-year-old girl while visiting her in the hospital after she had her tonsils removed. Beeman raped her again when she was 13, the girl reported, and again when she was 19 and pregnant.

    When a girl reported that Rev. Timothy Sperber made her remove her shirt while he was tutoring her in math at Saint Joan of Arc in Hershey around 1979, the school principal accused her of lying and being a “demon-child,” the grand jury reported.

    The Rev. Frederick Vaughn was accused of molesting several young girls. In 2004, the mother of a victim reported that she had walked into a room and seen Vaughn fondling her daughter’s breasts over the child’s clothing. “Vaughn saw the mother and calmly put his coat on and left the home,” the grand jury noted.

    Or this from a tweet: One priest fondled boys and told them he was performing a “cancer check.” Another priest sexually abused five sisters from one family for ten years.

    But sure. Let’s blame gay people. And what about those public school teachers?

  • You are right, the mythical big gay doesn’t go away, until the last day. It’s not the gay, it’s the spirit they work for.

  • “Unless that is remedied, this problem will continue.”

    There will probably be some unintentional self-correction. It is clear that the Church oligarchy has decided to protect the institution at all cost. To achieve this, the oligarchy is relying on there always being some among the laity who psychologically need and want the security and comfort supplied by the Church’s medieval dogma. But as generational trends make clear, the proportion of people willing to pledge loyalty to a church wedded to a medieval identity is declining. Over time, the Church will shrink until only the loyalists are left – the “smaller, holier Church”. The shrunken Church will pose less of a danger to society-at-large and will have fewer children under its care to exploit.

  • I’m retired and work for no one.

    And I Would put it to you that every vicious, anti-gay bigot that pulls this kind of garbage and these very pages is far more likely to be a candidate for the Satanically employee than me.

  • Fair enough. But my point still stands, which is that religious institutions reflect their times and greater societies. They don’t exist in a vacuum. I hold the Catholic Church accountable for its mistakes and failures, but I don’t accept the simplistic narrative that it was an island of evil in an otherwise noble world. (I’m not suggesting that’s what you’re saying, Ben, but it is reflected by some on this board.)

    Throughout most of human history, we’ve been more unkind to one another than kind, more barbaric than civilized and more violent than nonviolent. Today we are (to some degree) more evolved in our sensibilities, but we certainly can’t pat ourselves on the back for having arrived at some sort of state of sublime consciousness and enlightened morality. For example, we as a society condemn child abuse and the abuse of women, but we still exploit women’s sexuality and, yes, even children’s sexuality in popular culture, entertainment and advertising.

    I try to take a cold, hard look at the truth, including the brutal realities of history. But I also try to avoid looking too deeply through the lens of a 21st century perspective.

  • Your mention of Finn is a fine one for the topic of conflating all CSA as supposedly the fault of The Gays. Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph MO was convicted of failing to report a priest suspected of CSA to law enforcement. That priest, former Fr. Shawn Ratigan, was suspected of abusing *female* children.

  • “recognizing the rights of children and the need to protect them from exploitation is something fairly recent”

    Pater Damian. There is no credible excuse.

  • “look at reality”

    Saint Peter Damian knew that clerical abuse of minors was wrong 1000 years ago. That is reality. Did the Church then lose this truth for a 1000 years until it was rediscovered by Fr. Tom Doyle in 1985?
    And of course even before Saint Peter Damian there was the Guy who made mention of millstones. Does that not count as reality?

  • Because if they have to go to prison, they’re not going to go quietly.

    Furthermore, there are two huge crises here, not just one. Stick “a number of bishops in prison”, and they will openly discuss — and name names with chapter & verse — on both crises. Result: civil war, most unpleasant.

  • Yes, those are realities. It’s also reality that, historically and in nearly every society, children have practically been treated as non-beings when it comes to human rights. It’s wrong. People knew it was wrong. But it’s reality. Hold the Church accountable, by all means. I certainly do. But if we don’t also hold western civilization accountable — not to mention eastern civilization — then we’re not acknowledging the whole truth.

    Jesus said a lot of things we would have been better off paying closer attention to. The fact that we didn’t has brought much unnecessary suffering to the world. That’s also reality.

  • Perhaps there is just not enough emphasis in church on the hurtfulness of sex stuff with the wrong people at the wrong times. Perhaps we need to talk less about the traditional sex topics because of scripture references and talk more about the sex topics because of what does not fit inside “loving the neighbors”.

  • “if we don’t also hold western civilization accountable”

    Does western civilization claim to be the Bride of Christ? Does western civilization claim to be the vehicle of the Holy Spirit? Does western civilization claim to be the exclusive repository of divine truth? With big claims come big responsibilities.

  • Re: “But if we don’t also hold western civilization accountable — not to mention eastern civilization — then we’re not acknowledging the whole truth.” 

    This reminds me of the “trial” in the movie Animal House, when Otter declared

    “But you can’t hold a whole fraternity responsible for the behavior of a few, sick twisted individuals. For if you do, then shouldn’t we blame the whole fraternity system? And if the whole fraternity system is guilty, then isn’t this an indictment of our educational institutions in general? I put it to you, Greg – isn’t this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do whatever you want to us, but we’re not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America. Gentlemen!” [Leads the Deltas out of the hearing, all humming the Star-Spangled Banner] 

    Sorry, but no. Doesn’t work the way you’d like it to. Different people in a society are responsible for what they do, themselves, on their own. There is no accountability for anything, if we just aver that “society” is at fault. “Society” might have allowed people to abuse children freely for most of history … but the abusers are nevertheless guilty of abusing children. They knew what they were going was wrong — because they wouldn’t have wanted to have been abused, themselves. Right? (Oh wait! Didn’t Jesus himself teach something like that? Yep, he sure did!

    Re: “Jesus said a lot of things we would have been better off paying closer attention to. The fact that we didn’t has brought much unnecessary suffering to the world. That’s also reality.” 

    As I’ve said for ages, Christianity is a religion no one actually follows. Yeah, they say the follow it … but they don’t, and they won’t. That said, I’m not about to let them skate. If Christians want to profess being Christians, then I for one will hold them to that. In the case of the R.C. Church, its staff definitely knew full well there was rampant wrongdoing in its midst — but rather than stop it and then atone, they hushed it up and hoped no one would ever be the wiser. Jesus taught no such philosophy that I’m aware of. No Catholic can say this is Christ-like in any way. And “society” is not the reason it happened. No freaking way! 

  • “Canon law that prohibits homosexual behavior is a problem or [an] aggravator”

    Yes, you cannot prohibit sexual activity between consenting adults. That is just stupid, like everything else in your religion.

  • Hunthausen was given canonical due process, cleared, and reinstated.

    Any homosexuals who are in the Catholic clergy got there illicitly, as Canon Law now and in the past banned their ordination.

    Ranting about St. John Paul the Great, Benedict XVI, and a “cadre of right-wing Catholics” undercuts whatever point you think you are making.

  • Eliminating those with sexual disorders, including homosexuality, from consideration for ordination is required by Canon Law and has been for longer than anyone in the clergy has been alive.

    Females being barred from ordination has zero to do with it.

    Homosexual behavior, along with all other sexual activity outside of marriage, is immoral and will remain immoral.

  • Are you really interested in the answer to that?

    First, and foremost, it is a catholic issue. It is an abuse issue. It’s an issue of priests ignoring their vows and doing what they shouldn’t be doing, with a lot of other people enabling it. It is an institutional issue, and an old one. 1000 years worth, according to St. Peter Damian. And I remember reading a few papers that indicate it was going on well before that, but I don’t have a citation.

    But if you want to pretend it’s a homosexual issue, becuase you have an agenda, and your agenda needs to pretend it’s a homosexual issue in order to scapegoat others, and wants to avoid actually understanding sexual abuse and how it works to advance that agenda…

    Then Sure, it’s a homosexual issue. Just ignore the heterosexual abuse. Just ignore the facts.

    But let’s try to understand sexual abuse. We’ll step outside the church to do that.

    In real life, 50% of the abusers are fathers, step fathers, and father surrogates. 50%. These are men who are known in their families, churches, and communities as heterosexual men, and they would identify themselves as such. So, WHY ARENT WE CALLING IT A PROBLEM OF HETEROSEXUALITY? Why is a man who molest boys called a homosexual, but a man who molests girls not called a heterosexual, but a child molester? And what about true pedophiles, who are only interested in children? The sex is irrelevant, but there is some evidence (again I don’t have the citation) that they don’t want to be labeled as- wait for it— Homosexual,

    For those men, 100% of the abused are their own children. 80-90% of the victims are girls. 10 to 20% of the victims are boys. 90-98% of the abusers are men. SO WHY ARENT WE CALLING IT A MALE PROBLEM? 25% of the time, the abuser is known to the child— another family member, a friend of the family, a coach, teacher, or priest. Those figures have held up remarkably well in the 40 years I’ve been studying the subject.

    What does this tell you? That the real issue is access. Family members are accessible, strangers, not so much. Children given to the charge of a priest are accessible. Strangers, not so much. Seminarians are accessible. Strangers, not so much. And throw in the centuries of shame and fear directed at young homosexual people, you can pretty much expect the seminary to be full of young men who joined up to avoid confronting their sexuality, to avoid the questions about why they aren’t married, who hope that god, the church, the fake sanctity, and the vows of celibacy will protect them from themselves. But what do they find when they get there? A lot of young men just like themselves. As I can tell you, remembering my own coming out nearly 50 years ago, coming out just put me in a candy store chock full of the candy I had been denied for the previous 10 years.

    Two gay men I knew who entered the seminary told me that they entered to avoid their sexuality, and they left because they found far more sex going on inside the seminary than outside. And they realized they and a lot of other people were lying to themselves and everyone else.

    So there is your answer as to why it is not a homosexual problem. You just have to want to actually see the problem for what it is. And that requires honesty.

    Here’s a fact for you. I have never molested or abused anyone. In my entire life, I have known only one man whom I would describe as gay who also had an interest in underaged boys. Experts like Nicholas groth say clearly that your average gay man is no more likely, and possibly slightly less likely, than your average heterosexual man to have any interest in abusing children.

    So why do you want to call it a homosexual problem instead of a catholic problem, a male problem, or an abuse problem? What is your agenda here?

  • Priests assaulting seminarians is just plain sexual assault and abuse of power.

    If it was just about gay priests, as you claim that it is, then why are all these scandals about abuse and not just priests who get caught with adult lovers that they don’t have authority over?

  • “First, and foremost, it is a catholic issue.”

    If it is, you should not even be involved in the discussion.

    But it isn’t.

    “But if you want to pretend it’s a homosexual issue, becuase you have an agenda, and your agenda needs to pretend it’s a homosexual issue in order to scapegoat others, and wants to avoid actually understanding sexual abuse and how it works to advance that agenda…”

    I believe he’s pointing out that if 80% of the abuse is adult male on minor male, it is an unusual problem and that statistic is not going away with glib explanations.

    I also believe that since zero ordinations should have taken place of known homosexuals, steps should be taken to ensure it does not take place in the future, and any individuals of any orientation who can’t their hands to themselves should be drummed out.

    Do you have arguments against that?

    “Then Sure, it’s a homosexual issue. Just ignore the heterosexual abuse. Just ignore the facts.”

    You appear to ignoring the facts that don’t support your spiel.

    I have not hear anyone suggest that ignoring heterosexual abuse should be in the program.

    “So, WHY ARENT WE CALLING IT A PROBLEM OF HETEROSEXUALITY?”

    Because it is not.

    “That the real issue is access.”

    The real issues are immorality, inability to control yourself, inability to keep your hands to yourself.

    Your argument consists of noting that bank robbers only rob banks when there are banks.

    That does not advance any solutions.

    In fact, you’re really not interested in solutions.

    You’re interested in interfering in the affairs of the Catholic Church to advance a homosexual agenda, nothing more.

  • Well, if the Church begins ordaining public school teachers rather than homosexuals, you’ll have a point, eh?

  • Society is to blame was part of Monty Python skit.

    Perhaps you could work “hold western civilization accountable” into it.

  • “Saint Peter Damian knew that clerical abuse of minors was wrong 1000 years ago. That is reality. Did the Church then lose this truth for a 1000 years until it was rediscovered by Fr. Tom Doyle in 1985? “

    Those National Catholic Reporter scripts are just like the Energizer Bunny.

  • Somebody help me out here. Is this the same Catholic church that has repeatedly insisted that homosexuality is “objectively disordered”? The same one that proposes to tell people what they can and cannot do with their genitalia?

    To me, suicide is the sincerest form of apology…..

  • And this is only six of the eight dioceses in Pennsylvania. The huge Philadelphia diocese had a sex abuse investigation in 2005, I believe…which was essentially a whitewash — no charges brought for the massive abuse problems in Philly.

    http://www.philly.com/philly/news/An-Immoral-Cover-up.html

    No lessons have been learned since the whole Boston, Cardinal Law, fiasco fifteen yeas ago. Saint John-Paul II and Benedict (Ratzinger, the quitter) both have a lot to answer for…JP2 is gone…but there was talk of sending Ratzinger to the Hague for his cover up crimes…not too late.

    So imagine what a US national or even a global RCC investigation by an impartial sexual abuse team would produce. The institution is rotten…it should essentially be wound down, then let the laity (the ones with integrity, mostly likely women), restart the church from scratch.

  • No, it doesn’t work the way I’d like it. If it did, nobody would ever harm anybody else. But, alas, that’s not how it is.

    If you read all my posts on the topic of clerical child abuse, you’d see that I don’t let anybody “skate,” least of all the leadership of the Catholic Church. I’m not letting anybody off the hook for anything and I’ve been pounding the table for reform on this subject for years.

    But I also detect the strong scent of self-righteousness on this board and it comes from more than one quarter. The truth is that we do not live in a child-friendly society. The truth is that those without power and those on the margins of society, especially children, are easily susceptible to exploitation. And the truth is that most of us seem okay with that. We certainly don’t do much about it.

    One thing people on the left and the right — as well as practitioners of religion and atheists — have in common these days is the delight they take in pointing fingers at the other side. Another is how quick they are to rationalize away the bad behavior of those they agree with ideologically. That’s all well and good. God knows there’s plenty of blame to go around. But if we don’t reflect on our own responsibility now and then, what difference does it make?

  • The whole report is a horror story…but this item speaks volumes, not just about abuse, but the entire RCC incoherent magisterium and institutional hypocrisy and corruption…

    -> “A girl, 11 years old, was raped by her priest and became pregnant. The Father took her in for an abortion.”…

    Pro-life is a slogan…nothing more. We already knew that — the RCC always did too !!

  • I’m sorry, but I don’t understand any of this. Part of the “problem” is that if I cannot see empirical evidence underlying a claim, I do not believe the claim.

    Imagine, for a moment, that you had to defend yourself against an untrue accusation–“you’re gay”, “you shot Signor Giovani Montini”, etc. You *might* be able to defend yourself, but it’s very possible you might not. The name for this idea is “falsifiability”: how in principle could you demonstrate that a claim or allegation is false?

    That’s the situation with the key ideas of just about all religions: not only is there no evidence of the key claims they make–soul, existence of god, afterlife, etc–but it is impossible to prove those claims false. That impossibility renders those claims worthless–worse than worthless, in fact.

  • I agree. I was pointing out that not *everything* in Christianity (or any other religion) is nonsense. Sometimes, religions do contain good ideas–probably inadvertently.

  • I’ve never stated otherwise. One fact does not negate the other. Accountability is not an either/or proposition and I’ve never suggested it is.

  • The Crises in the contemporary Catholic Church: Is it all connected to the flaw, errors, myths and stench of said religion?

    .The inappropriate conduct of many priests, the emotional stress on the victims and the resultant billion dollars in lawsuits.

    The lack of talent in the priesthood.

    The lack of Vatican response to the historic Jesus movement.

    The Church’s continuing cling to original sin and the resulting subsets of crazy ideas like limbo.

    The denial of priesthood to women.

    The restriction of priesthood to single men (unless you are former Episcopalian priests),

    The continued chain of Vatican “leadership” by old white men.

    Uncontrolled “birth control.

    Uncontrolled suffering of the aged that need not be.

  • Oy, it’s almost midnight in Padua, but I’m going to give this a shot. First a little about myself.
    I studied Math in college and physics in grad school. Like many grad students, I loved to hang around cafes in Rome and impress everyone with my knowledge. After a year or so, I ran into a Trappist monk from the monastery of Tre Fontane, who also loved to shoot the breeze, on science and other subjects, and we became buddies.

    When we started out, I had all the answers and he had all the questions. Slowly, I began to suspect I didn’t have all the answers I thought I did, and some of his questions started making sense. The more I studied physics, the more I realized that Math was only one aspect — albeit an important one — of physics, but there was a whole unknown realm of questions emerging. Just as Einsteinian physics has exposed special relativity, and post-EInsteinian physics exposed the quantum world, and post-post-Einsteinian physics is exploring multiple dimensions through string and M theory, there is a probability that our “standard” (Newtonian-Einsteinian) equations and theories won’t hold up. Then what do we do?

    The more I studied, the more I became aware, not only of the quantum world in which physics’ equations don’t work, but of the expanding universe that challenges just about everything we know. So, long before I got to my dissertation, I decided to enroll in a theologate and see what they had to say. Like you, I wasn’t very happy with unfalsifiable hypotheses, but then I wasn’t as happy as I thought I’d been with physics, either.

    So I’ve been on this quest for about twenty years now (even thought I’m still far from forty….), and I have to say that, as far as I can tell, there’s a non-rational dimension of our lives that can’t be explained by or reduced to equations, but is just as real. I found some major scholars who were brilliant, and followed them through the questions we’re discussing. Over time, as I accumulated degrees to prove I wasn’t wasting my life, I’ve started to rethink many of the old ideas I took for granted. I still don’t have much use for formal religion, so my husband and I have formed what are called “intentional communities” that pursue truth through faith and science and aren’t dependent on traditional ideas or clergy or the whole shebang.
    I’m not saying it’s for everyone, but it has worked for my husband and me: two well-educated people with strong backgrounds in science, who see in religious symbols, not knowledge, but wisdom, if we can see the forest through the trees.
    I’ll bet right now you’re sorry you replied, aren’t you? I’m going to bed. – Monica.

  • Monica, men that enter the seminary know what the expectations are; in addition to knowing right from wrong. Stating that the church should provide support if and when they fail with celibacy makes sense and is already available.
    That being said, the statistics would indicate that in the current environment one (or perhaps two) of the “orientations” mentioned above have serious issues.
    As with any organization facing a crisis; at some point they have to address the issue and clean house.
    I am more interested in your comment about hiring healthy individuals. What is your definition of healthy related to the spectrum you note above.

  • It’s after midnight in Padua, so I’ll be brief. I didn’t say the church should provide support “if and when they fail with celibacy.” That’s what we’ve been doing, and it’s one of the reasons we got ourselves into this mess. I think every seminarian, no matter his sexual orientation, needs a Spiritual Director/Therapist from seminary to retirement, in order to work through the issues celibate life and pastoral ministry throw at him.
    The church understands as “healthy” someone who has a mature understanding of their own sexuality and can accept the requirement of celibacy with the support of the system that requires it of him. I’m not sure they actually implement that understanding, but that’s what they say. Buona notte – Monica.

  • Re: “… there is NO possible way to rationally sugarcoat the fact that the Catholic Church has a giant homosexuality problem … Sure, it’s not all same-sex abuse.” 

    Wow. Talk about lampshading! This problem is decidedly not about “homosexuality.” You simply won’t admit it … in spite of the evidence. 

  • The John Jay Report said 80 percent homosexual, not 100 percent. I have repeatedly kept that difference prominent in my posts. For example, my statement “Sure, it’s not all same-sex abuse” above, and also frequent repetition of the 80 percent figure. And I don’t give Finn or Ratigan a free-pass at all. Convict ’em.

    But that 80% can’t be blown off or played down anymore. It’s not about “conflating all CSA”, it’s recognizing that the giant CSA tragedy has been fed & powered by an equally giant homosexuality problem among clergy. They are intertwined very deeply, and both have been entrenched for decades. Yes, stop the opposite-sex abusers, close down the 20%. But it’s simply NOT possible to ignore this giant double gig. Think McCarrick.

    “…(Too) many clerics and laity think if a few heads roll, and some mechanism for reporting vicious bishops is put in place, we can move beyond this. Wrong! The deeper problem is the presence of homosexual networks in the Church. … Yes, there are lots of other immoral behaviors – adultery, greed, luxuriousness, clericalism and substance abuse, for instance, that need to be addressed. But first things first.”
    — moral theologian Janet E. Smith, Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, quoted via LifeSite News

  • “I think every seminarian, no matter his sexual orientation, needs a Spiritual Director/Therapist from seminary to retirement, in order to work through the issues celibate life and pastoral ministry throw at him.”

    It is called a “confessor”.

    That is already required.

  • Mr. Francis’ astonishing claims of “God makes people gay” and “Who am I to judge?”, are visibly unpleasant and unfortunate in light of this runaway double crisis in the clergy. “Rack and ruin” have essentially arrived now, the Catholic house is already on fire, and it seriously does NOT look like Francis believes in fire extinguishers.

    But it would obviously be unfair to blame the Pennsylvania fire on Francis, yes. Or the stuff in California, KC, etc. This thing is so big, so metastasized, it’s literally coast to coast. (By the way, I agree with you about Wuerl’s cover-up. But this is the same Wuerl who, frankly, was totally silent about Catholic VP Joe Biden openly officiating a gay marriage of White House staffers and wide-open boasting about it on social media.)

    Meanwhile, “We are receiving reports of seminarians and young priests who have been preyed upon by active homosexual priests and who have received no help from their bishops and have sometimes been silenced. “How many good young men have not survived seminary or the priesthood for these reasons? How many young men won’t even consider the priesthood for fear of entering such an environment?

  • Re: “But I also detect the strong scent of self-righteousness on this board and it comes from more than one quarter.” 

    So what? You’re letting your reaction to other commenters here dictate what you think right and wrong are? 

    Re: “The truth is that we do not live in a child-friendly society.” 

    That is not a valid excuse for child abuse. 

    Re: “The truth is that those without power and those on the margins of society, especially children, are easily susceptible to exploitation.” 

    Irrelevant. Exploitation remains wrong. 

    Re: “And the truth is that most of us seem okay with that. We certainly don’t do much about it.” 

    Oh yeah. Obviously! No one is ever prosecuted for child abuse. 

    Oh wait … they are! All the time! 

    Tell me something I will believe and which doesn’t look like a justification for child abuse. 

    Re: “One thing people on the left and the right — as well as practitioners of religion and atheists — have in common these days is the delight they take in pointing fingers at the other side.” 

    That doesn’t mean none of that “finger pointing” can ever be valid. 

    Re: “Another is how quick they are to rationalize away the bad behavior of those they agree with ideologically.” 

    You mean, like, your “it’s all society’s fault” and “those poor abusive priests, they didn’t know any better, society told them it was OK to abuse kids, boo hoo hoo” crap? 

    Re: “But if we don’t reflect on our own responsibility now and then, what difference does it make?” 

    As I said before, if we refuse to hold people accountable for what they do, then no one will be accountable for anything (obviously). 

  • Sure, let’s call it a 20% Heterosexuality Problem, (because it really is), and work on it. And then let’s accept the John Jay Report figure of 80% Homosexuality Problem, and let’s work on this fatal double crisis of CSA and homosexuality in the Catholic Church. Remember when you posted about your friend who signed up for the Catholic Clergy, only to discover a dark, secretive 3-ring circus of seminarians playing homosexual games?

    I bet YOU are the only person who (thank God) has even brought your friend’s very bad plight to the light of day (within this RNS forum). Otherwise that particular devil’s mess of abuse would not be known to **anybody** in the public, and never be revealed in the media at all. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

  • So, Ms. Charlotte. Let’s go a little further. You say you are an abuse survivor. So YOU tell me: What should be done about this giant Catholic Priest-Abuse mess? What should be done about this thing, right here in America?

  • Make LGBTQ+ rights universal, have comprehensive sex education in schools, lift the artificial requirement of celibacy (which no one follows, anyway), believe victims of abuse when they come forward, and generally stop denying reality. Can you handle that?

  • Yes, in reply to both questions. By definition, a priest mediates between people and their divinity. As a Catholic, what I find most interesting is that Jesus never said he was any kind of priest, and the earliest Christian community/worship leaders were not cultic priests. This official priesthood, not to mention ministerial ordination, were later developments. Truly, the pre-Vatican II Church of Rome elevated the ordained and subordinated the laity. Today, we have progressive Catholics who don’t bother to challenge this self-serving, self-aggrandizing theology of ordained ministry, i.e., so-called “ministerial priesthood”, and we have self-described “orthodox/traditionalist” Catholics who cling to, and drool over, this mindset. Vatican II bishops retrieved the term ‘presbyter’ but apparently were unable to reconcile it with official doctrine. Thus, we have “ordained priests” who comprise a local “presbyterate”. The two terms have different meanings. The need to reject a notion of a “ministerial priesthood” and replace it with “presbyter” is the proverbial “elephant in the room”. Unless the Church of Rome repudiates its priestly caste system, we can expect the clerical culture to continue. As one writer noted, it takes two to tango: the Vatican to continue current doctrine and practice — and a laity willing to go along (or at least not object) to the status quo.

  • I don’t have THE solution. I think Catholics must employ a multi-pronged approach including, inter alia, stop giving money to the church and jettison the current doctrine that ordination is to a *cultic priesthood* rather than to the *presbyterate*. The former is self-serving, self-aggrandizing; the latter can better promote the notion of ordained ministry being service-oriented. For some relevant history, see Robert Egan’s “Why Not? Scripture, History & Women’s Ordination at https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/why-not.

  • Canon law: Of, by, and for the hierarchs. This “alter Christus” verbiage is pure, unadulterated bull crap, just one more excuse to elevate the ordained at the expense of the bill-payers. The “ministerial/ordained priesthood” is, historically speaking, a human invention that cannot be justified by Jesus’ own self-identity. It is self-serving, self-aggrandizing and appeals to those Catholics who gravitate out of FEAR toward authoritarian figures. “Traditionalist” Catholicism is toxic.

  • You write that “men that enter the seminary know what the expectations are.” Do they? I’m reminded of the difference between a virgin and a spouse: A virgin *knows about* sex; a spouse *knows* sex. Until the ordinand reenters the real world, he has been living in an isolated, sheltered environment. I’m reminded of a pastor and associate who left the same parish at the same time: one to marry the secretary, and the other just to leave ministry.

  • Typical trash peddled by Bill Donohue and the Media Report. Not even very interesting. Doyle got tossed as a chaplain because of his numerous criticisms of the hierarchy? No surprises there. The Catholic Church is the last functioning monarchy? Absolutely (no pun intended).

    Do better. Actually don’t. It’s painful to watch. Ciao.

  • From your comments, it’s unclear to what you are referring in mentioning an “80 percent figure” vis-a-vis homosexuality associated with the John Jay Report. I would appreciate your giving us a specific link to the Report itself. Thanks.

  • Male-to-male sex does occur in prisons. This phenomenon, whether voluntary or coercive, is not per se indicative of a prisoner’s sexual orientation.

  • I joined the marines. I knew there was the possibility of combat. I didn’t know how I would react, but I knew it was possible.
    Anyone who enters the seminary knows that are not allowed to knob the secretary, priest, alter boy or the hot mom in the front pew.
    I’m tired of the church and everyone else making excuses for their lack of self control, bad judgement, confused orientation or plain evil ways. If they can’t keep their hands to themselves, then they should resign and move on.

  • There’s nothing to respond to. There is something evil that lurks in the church and I want it to stop. I don’t care who it is.

  • Not always true. There are plenty of seminarians that were not ordained because they didn’t fit the mold of the softer gentler church.

  • Your comments, “R.A. Bob”, tell us that you’ve been in your bedroom far too long.

    “Come on out ‘n play [marbles]!”

  • Not at all. Same-sex attraction is not the perversion/disorder described in this new report.

  • “I didn’t know how I would react, but I knew it was possible.”

    Precisely my point.

    (thanks for your service)

  • I would suggest FEARful people equate homosexuality with pedophilia. They are thus blind to facts.

  • “…and I want to stop it.”

    The heart of the clerical abuse scandal is the cultural subordination — reinforced by doctrine, canon law, historical ignorance, and blind acceptance — of the laity. The parish minister is the “priest” that, by definition, stands between the people and God; he is the “alter Christus” who has the “power” to confect the eucharist, forgive sins and has the final say on parish matters.

    Never mind that the official doctrine ignores Jesus’ own self-identity as well as the understanding of his person by his earliest followers. Never mind that the earliest Christian churches/ecclesiae/assemblies did not have a cultic priesthood or ministerial ordination. Never mind that the notion of sacrifice was one of helping others in need and that the understanding of priesthood corresponded to the example of Jesus during his earthly ministry, especially Matthew 25. Never mind there is no evidence the Twelve served as heads/bishops of local churches or ordained anyone to serve in this capacity. Never mind that the Apostles (upper case ‘A’) exercised a unique and unrepeatable ministry because (a) they observed Jesus during his earthly service and (b) were commissioned by Jesus himself to go forth, teach, and baptize.

    Catholics need to examine the actual history of Christianity to separate the wheat from the chaff. It wouldn’t hurt, too, to withhold money from parish and bishop. Money talks, and the hierarchs know it. The main theme of Vatican II was ecclesial renewal, i.e., to make the church “new again”.

  • Sex, Priests, and Secret Codes: The Catholic Church’s 2,000 Year Paper Trail of Sexual Abuse (Doyle, Sipe, & Wall)

  • COMPARE:

    + A virgin “knows about” sex
    Parker12 “knew about” combat (from TV, film, training, etc.)

    + A spouse “knows” sex
    Parker12 “knows” combat [assuming you were in combat]

    + Reading a manual
    Living the experience

  • No, let’s call it what it is. A culture that permits and enables and covers up for abuse. It is a catholic problem, a priest problem, a cultural problem. I’m not interested in people to scapegoat and people to excuse. The Bishops are already doing that, and you are attempting to.

    all the deflection and scapegoating in the world is not going to change the fact that you know, I know, and the public knows it is not unusual for celibate, called-by-god Catholic priests to have sexual relations with adolescent boys, or girls, young children, or each other. All the while railing about the evil geyz, same as you. The difference is you aren’t molesting children.

    And I only brought up my friend because I knew it to be true. The stories about McCarrick, and other stories I have read, the nasty comments of your fellow traveler about Cardinal Spellman– all of this has been known for decades. Nothing special in what I had to say at all.

  • Many yrs ago, a story in the NJ (USA) papers told of the priest/superior of a local RC missionary outpost who was counseling, ” laying-on-of-the-hands ” 3 young single mothers with financial and drug problems. Over a period of time, he became intimate w/all 3. He would take them to Manhattan – to the best restaurants, Bway shows and hotels – all on the order’s credit card. Over a period of time he got all 3 pregnant and took them to, and paid for their abortions – again with the order’s credit card.

    When the story made the front page of the local paper. The priest screamed ” Lies – All Lies ! ”

    I knew the priest/administer of the order who paid the order’s CC statements. He filled me in. The other 6 or so priests stationed there also knew what was going on.

    His name is Fr Aristide Bruni.
    http://www.awarenesscenters.com/father_bruni.htm

  • No problem. Long story short, for BOTH the 2004 John Jay Report and the updated 2011 Report, 81 percent of the Child-Sexual-Abuse gigs, were homosexual, the priests targeting primarily post-pubescent boys. The 81% figure from 2004, wasn’t a fluke.

    What does that number mean? Without ignoring the female victims, Fr. Regis Scanlon wrote in Homiletics & Pastoral Review (08-30-2012), “… (The) data from the John Jay study strongly suggests that a homosexual influence in the clergy is a key factor in the sex abuse crisis.” That’s what the 81% means.

    Okay, here’s the original 2004 John Jay Report:
    http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/child-and-youth-protection/upload/The-Nature-and-Scope-of-Sexual-Abuse-of-Minors-by-Catholic-Priests-and-Deacons-in-the-United-States-1950-2002.pdf

    Look at page 6 under “Offense Characteristics”, 81 percent of the victims were male, 19 percent female. In other words, 81 percent of this stuff was homosexual, targeting males.

    And here is the updated 2011 John Jay Report:
    http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/child-and-youth-protection/upload/The-Causes-and-Context-of-Sexual-Abuse-of-Minors-by-Catholic-Priests-in-the-United-States-1950-2010.pdf

    Look on page 9, the updated Report says “The majority of victims (81 percent) were male.” Also see the bar graph on page 11, boys versus girls. The targets are overwhelmingly boys, especially post-pubescent boys.

  • Where is the outrage !

    Why aren’t the parishioners in these dioceses flogging the bishops and priests and forming their own places of worship ?

    Where is the outrage !

    If an employee of a local McDonalds was sexually abusing any of the young patrons, and the manager became aware – and instead of notifying the police, notified the district mgr who transferred said employee to a McDonalds in another city – where he molested other youth !

    And this was corporate policy within the corporate structure – and the execs would place those employee’s reports under lock & key w/o notifying authorities.

    Would the patrons of McDonalds continue to spend their $$$$ there ?

    Or would there be widespread howls of protest – and massive boycotts – and calls to PROSECUTE & IMPRISON the execs, mgrs and molesting employees ?

    And widespread window-smashing and torching of the restaurants ?

    Or would an apology (as heartfelt as the apology John Belushi gave after smashing the guitar in Animal House) suffice ?

    Where is the F—-ing outrage !

  • “….especially children, are easily susceptible to exploitation….”

    YOU FRAUD – YOU BRAIN-WASHED FRAUD

    NO INSTITUTION AND IT’S MINIONS HAVE EVER EXPLOITED CHILDREN AS THAT MOST CORROSIVELY-CORRUPT INSTITUTION – THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH

    YOU FRAUD – WHY THE HELL DO YOU THINK WE’RE HAVING THIS DISCUSSION

  • If background information about Pastor Regis Scanlon in your citation is accurate, he is not a psychologist. He was a prison chaplain about ten years. He has also ministered in non-correctional settings (https://www.hprweb.com/2012/08/clergy-sexual-abuse-questions-remain/). It should be noted that HOMILETIC AND PASTORAL REVIEW is one of the more conservative Catholic publications in the USA. It is published by Ignatius Press, which promotes itself as “the primary publisher of the English language editions of the works of Joseph Ratzinger, now known as Pope Benedict XVI” ( https://www.ignatius.com/promotions/benedictxvibooks/default.html).

    Pastor Scanlon, not being a psychologist, nonetheless quotes approvingly Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons who, it should be noted, did not claim professional board certification as a psychiatrist several years ago. On the other hand, Dr. Fitzgibbons did work with an organization that defended Catholic clerics accused of child molestation. In this capacity, he evaluated Pastor Shawn Ratigan of the Catholic diocese of Kansas City, MO. Ratigan was accused of taking “up-skirt” photos of little girls (the NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER should have several articles about Pastor Ratigan who, at last report, was serving a 50-year sentence in federal prison on child porn charges). Dr. Fitzgibbons determined that Pastor Ratigan was suitable for return to ministry!!! Ratigan’s evaluation was requested by one of the most conservative bishops in the USA, Robert Finn, who failed to comply with a state court agreement and was later removed by Pope Francis (Pope Benedict apparently took no action). Dr. Fitzgibbons has also been a board member of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, which promotes so-called “conversion therapy” even though mainstream professional organizations have seriously questioned its validity. According to Wikipedia, “[NARTH] has operated under the name Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity (ATCSI) since 2014.”

    On the other hand, Thomas G. Plante, PhD, ABPP, writes in relevant part:

    “The report concludes that the vast majority of clergy sex offenders are not pedophiles at all but were situational generalists violating whoever they had access to. Pedophiles, by definition, seek sexual gratification from pre-pubescent children of one gender and target this age and gender group (especially while under stress). Clergy sexual offenders in the Church were more likely to be targeting whoever was around them (and they had unsupervised access to) regardless of age and gender.

    “The researchers conclude that there is no causative relationship between either celibacy or homosexuality and the sexual victimization of children in the Church. Therefore, being celibate or being gay did not increase the risk of violating children. So, blaming the clergy abuse crisis in the Catholic Church on gay men or celibacy is unfounded” (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/do-the-right-thing/201105/the-new-john-jay-report-clergy-abuse-in-the-catholic-church).

    Biographical information about Dr. Plante may be accessed at https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/do-the-right-thing/201105/the-new-john-jay-report-clergy-abuse-in-the-catholic-church. It should be noted that Dr. Plante’s designation of “ABPP” shows professional board certification (https://legacy.abpp.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3341).

    You quote Pastor Scanlon: “(The) data from the John Jay study strongly suggests that a homosexual influence in the clergy is a key factor in the sex abuse crisis.” You add, “That’s what the 81% means.” I remind you: Correlation does not imply causation. I would not rely on Pastor Scanlon’s opinions. The John Jay researchers are professionals in their field(s). They acquired the data, examined it, and reached their conclusions.

  • Clearly, we’re not communicating here if you think I’m in any way trying to justify child abuse. Moving on.

  • As always, thoughtful observations, and stuff I will print out and think about. (And I will remind you that I am a heathen of many decades’ standing, and also very leery & skeptical of RCC.)

    My hunch is that many religious organizations (i.e. clergy) are a mix of individuals (priests) who really do care about the sheeple, and others with a strong interest in exercising control over the sheeple (and those 2 are not mutually exclusive). And a few splinter organizations whose clergy are interested in self-aggrandizement (prosperity churches/pastors).

    RCC and Mormon “church” strike me as especially strong in the “controlling others’ behavior” aspect.

  • Such nonsense. That’s another example of “whatabout=-ism”–attempting to divert attention from the issue under discussion. Typical of him.

  • Or

    The institution is rotten…it should essentially be wound down, then let the laity (the ones with integrity, mostly likely women), restart the church from scratch. and left to rot on the rumble heap of history.

    FTFY

  • Yes, child rapists are found in other locations, pretty much anywhere that children are found. And yes, sometimes schools quietly fire an abusive teacher rather than deal with the problem. But there are no efforts to protect abusive teachers anywhere near the scale of that found in the catholic church. Every catholic diocese in every state and every country on the planet protected and facilitated child rapists.

  • Why do you think I should be sorry?

    I am devout…..a devout empiricist. If I can;t measure it in some way, I don’t believe it. (There’s a clue for you on how to challenge me.) And to amplify this, if there is no possibility of falsifiability (and as a science/math person, I know you know what that is–Karl Popper etc), I am deeply suspicious.

    I am pretty sure that there are lots and lots of folks like me. And like you.

    I suppose you could argue that this (my) way of thinking means I lack a dimension of humanity;. But bottom line to me is, I look to science (especially behavioral science) for into about how to make my way in life and eliminate at least some of the stumbling that characterizes the journey of all of us through life.

  • And yet, apparently, you continue to support this pedophile protection racket with your time and money.

    Every time a child is told by a priest “God wants you to do what I tell you to do. You will go to hell if you don’t.” look in the mirror. You funded and facilitated the system that system. You even admit to writing the materials priests use to enforce obedience.

    Your “cherished,” “beautiful,” and “coherent” belief system is built on the broken bodies of raped children. And you did your part.

  • Bovine Hockey Pucks.

    The church claims inside knowledge of god’s perfect, eternal, absolute morality. The church throughout it’s history claimed power to know/decide who god would send to hell and for what sins.

    And now it’s “Oh, how were we to know it’s wrong to rape children?” Seriously!? If the church can figure out important stuff like when to eat meat, expecting them to figure out child rape is bad isn’t too much to expect.

  • Yes, the recognition of basic human rights by human societies has been long in coming.

    The catholic church is no different because the catholic church is no different. It is nothing more than a human society with no special knowledge or discernment or morality. Just humans behaving like humans do when they have absolute power over the lives of others.

    There is no power in the blood.
    There are no new creations.

    Christianity is all a lie, sold to the gullible by people who like wealth and power.

  • But my point still stands, which is that religious institutions reflect their times and greater societies.

    Ding. Ding. Ding. Give the man a Kewpie doll.

    Religious institutions reflect their times because they are just human institutions. They have no special supernatural insight or power. It’s all a scam.

  • a day ago
    The catholic church needs to shut the hell up about being “prolife” and judging “sexual morality”.

    FTFY

  • You don’t appear to be in the same discussion as everyone else.

    You do realize there are anti-Catholic sites that are probably right down your alley?

  • The church created a culture where:

    1. Priests are respected. People who criticize priests are threatened with supernatural punishment.
    2. Priests are obeyed without question. People who disobey priests are threatened with supernatural punishment.
    3. People are taught to believe nonsense without question. Say some magic words and a cracker becomes the flesh of a 2000 year old zombie. Seriously.
    4. The organization protects its reputation and its members above all else.
    5. Members are given unsupervised access to children taught to obey without question and believe nonsense.
    6. Members cannot publicly have a mature relationship with another adult.

    This is a pedophile’s delight. Of course pedophiles are attracted to the priesthood. And if you remove item #6 and let priests marry, all that will happen is that even more pedophiles will want to become priests.

  • Why would you say “society” is responsible for what abusers do, if you’re not trying to do so? Your contention is nonsensical, otherwise. 

  • Catholic seminaries are populated 100% by young men who don’t envision themselves ever marrying a woman. So yes, more gay men than straight men choose to become priests. Duh.

    This is self selection.

    Also, pedophiles who want access to children see becoming a priest attractive. Also self selection.

    Men who want to marry and abuse children abuse don’t become priests. They abuse their own children, become scout leaders, become coaches, become sports medicine doctors and so forth.

    If you let married men become priests, you will merely increase the number of pedophiles who want to become priests.

    The only solution is to change the cultural factors that make it easy for catholic priests to abuse children without fear or restraint. And for that, you will need to raze the church into a pile of rubble.

  • Pedophiles who want access to children will pick a venue they find attractive.

    The percent of subcategory A pedophiles that choose the priesthood rather than sports medicine is irrelevant. If you remove all the category A pedophiles from the priesthood, but leave the protection racket in place, all that will happen is that different categories pedophiles will come in to take their place.

    The church must change the “obey priests or go to hell while believing nonsense” culture. And it must turn every accused priest over to legal authorities.

    It must make being a priest unattractive to pedophiles. They’ve had 1700 years to do this and haven’t bothered, so don’t hold your breath.

  • Good afternoon, Howard – I wish you all the best in your journey. As you and Popper would agree, the fact that you call this life a “journey” is non-falsifiable. Take care – Monica.

  • As usual, Bob Jose Arnzen Carioca, our resident as$hole poster, can’t resist taking a mean swipe at a sincere poster.

    Bob Jose, you suck.

    And great post, patrick. Keep it up, and don’t let as$holes like Bob Jose deter you from exposing the truth.

  • And there we have yet another insulting remark from resident as$hole Bob Jose Jack Arnzen Carioca.

  • I agree. There is something evil that lurks in the church. But I want it to stop because I care about kids and I care about this slander directed towards gay people for centuries. It’s not true. It has never been true. And yet, there are people on these very pages who want to make it true. If you care about evil, then care about that evil as well.

  • Probably 90 plus per cent of the sexual abuse is sodomy which is primarily homosexuality. Get the garbage out of the Catholic Church.

    Here is a quote from one of the greatest saints ever regarding homosexuality. St. Catherine relays words of Our Lord, about the vice against nature, which contaminated part of the clergy in her time. Referrng to sacred ministers, He said: “They not only fail from resisting this frailty [ of fallen human nature]…but do even worse as they commit the cursed sin against nature. Like the blind and stupid having dimmed the light of the understanding, they do not recoginze the disease and misery in which they find themselves. For this not only causes Me nausea, but displeases even the demons themselves, whom these miserable creatures have chosen as their lords. For Me, this sin against nature is so abominable that , for it alone, five cities were submersed, by virtue of the jugdment of My Divine Justice, which could no longer bear them…It is disagreable to the demon, not because evil displeases them and they find pleasure in good, but because their nature is angelic and thus is repulsed upon seeing such an enormous sin being commited. It is true that it is the demons who hit the sinner with the poisoned arrow of lust, but when a man carries out such a sinful act, the demons leave.

    St.Catherine of Siena, El diabolo, in Orbas de Santa Catarina de Siena

  • 1. Rock said he/she wrote/contributed to catechism materials.

    2. Catechism materials teach children that priests are gods representatives, speak for god and must be obeyed.

    3. The Report states that priests regularly used this culture of obedience and supernatural threats to make their rape victims compliant.

    Them’s the facts. Deal with it.

  • There are massive overlays clearly evident in this report — similarities not only of action, but of strategy and even language — and they also match up with the same elements discovered in other investigations into the R.C. Church around the world. One cannot help but conclude there must have been some sort of coordination, at a level above that of the local dioceses and religious orders, going back decades. There are also similarities in how the Church has reacted to these investigations, e.g. litigating to end them or prevent the release of findings. 

    It’s time for people to admit the R.C. Church, as a whole, is a plainly and deeply corrupt organization. As such, within the US at least, it should be the subject of a RICO investigation. The kind of coordination we see in how the various dioceses and orders dealt with “scandal” closely parallels the Mafia, among other criminal entities that have been the targets of RICO prosecution. 

    Given the Religious Right controls the federal government, I don’t anticipate any such investigation being undertaken, though. The R.R. protects religious groups from having to be held accountable for what they do — and they do so quite happily. More’s the pity. 

  • Indeed! All these public-school teachers that Catholic apologists are so frenzied about, can’t really compare with Catholic clergy. They forget that teachers are answerable to, and hired and fired by, local school districts. There is no overarching institution to which all those school districts belong or which can act as a kind of “backstop” to help the districts protect abusive teachers or scurry them off quietly to some other locale. 

    It’s true that one district might fire an abusive teacher, and possibly even provide him/her a dishonest letter of recommendation so s/he can get hired elsewhere, but there is nothing beyond that to protect the teacher. I suppose it’s possible a district might hire some abusive teacher as a favor to the district that let him/her go, or out of some sense of “educational camaraderie” … but that would have to be rare in the extreme, since school districts don’t really owe anything to one another. And it’s even possible that teachers’ unions might protect an abusive teacher, but that too can only just go so far, since as with school districts there is no single teachers’ union covering the entire country to which all the union locals belong. 

    The final consideration is that the administration of all those local school districts typically answer to their municipal or county governments. Those school boards/committees don’t necessarily owe anything to their peers elsewhere, either. 

    Honestly, it’s an “apples-to-oranges” comparison. Catholic apologists need to grow up and just put it away already. 

  • Re: “Sure, let’s call it a 20% Heterosexuality Problem …” 

    Let’s not. Let’s call it a 100% criminality problem … and then stop obsessing over percentages. 

    Re: “And then let’s accept the John Jay Report figure of 80% Homosexuality Problem …” 

    The John Jay Report was commissioned by the bishops, and says exactly what they paid for it to say. It dismissed Catholic clerical child abuse as a gay problem, and a product of the “sexual revolution,” and waved it off it as “historical” in nature (i.e. it’s part of history and no longer ongoing). But it IS ongoing, and blaming it on gays and the “sexual revolution” is irrelevant (except to use as added fuel against gays and feminism). 

    In sum … the John Jay Report isn’t worth the paper it was printed on. Even using it as toilet tissue would grant it more credibility and dignity than it deserves. 

  • Gee…no observations on empiricism? On the fact that key precepts of religion are non-falsifiable? Or, most important, on the dangers of accepting ideas or claims “on faith”? I’m disappointed.

    I was thinkg about the situation in Pennsylvania, which is what started this entire discussion.

    It occurs to me that events in the church could not have played out any differently–not in Penna, or any other state or country. And I think we will continue to see stuff like this happening FOREVER, until the church changes some of its key ideas, e.g. re sex.

  • I’m sorry, but you ain’t makin’ no sense here Lark. No diss, but you honestly ain’t. Gotta get back on track. There’s not one lick-o’-sense in your attack on RCW.

    And really, if I were a Catholic Christian, I’d be highly honored to be asked to contribute even a MICROSCOPIC bit of Catechism-related teaching material. RCW really gotta have something on the ball, to get that far.

  • I’m stunned by all these comments and the complete denial about this homosexual sex abuse scandal. Refusing to acknowledge the dominant homosexual culture in the Church and the lying and deceitful cardinals and bishops trying to cover it all up – is beyond belief!

  • -> “… not only of the quantum world in which physics’ equations don’t work,”

    What do you mean the physics equations don’t work? – The quantum equations from Schrodinger, Dirac, Heisenberg, Feynman, Schwinger, Weinberg, Higgs? They work just fine !!

    -> “… as far as I can tell, there’s a non-rational dimension of our lives that can’t be explained…”

    How do you know this? Can you demonstrate this dimension?

  • It’s not mythical that the overwhelming abuse was homosexual abuse and the enabling hierarchy, which is many cases shared their disordered orientation, was complicit in covering for these crimes.

  • It’s not “gay-bashing” to acknowledge that the majority of abuse victims were teenage boys and young men. Facts are facts. And of course, we cannot assume that all gay people are abusers but in this case the majority were. Only truth will set the Church free. And this is nothing new. The Church throughout of history has undergone scandal and abominations but Christ assured us that the “gates of Hell will never prevail against it”.

  • I agree with the part about the church needing to change its ideas about sex. And its people.

  • Well, there is a whole body of literature that speaks about it, dating from Plato, Aristotle, etc.

  • Oh, sure. (Hey, I like sex education. I tell young folks: (1) Keep your raggedy pants zipped and use Super Glue if you have to. (2) Don’t mess with ANY mess that looks like your own mess. (2) Somebody wrote your gender on your DNA, so go look in your school’s biology microscope & write it down. Make tattoo if needed.)

    But I sincerely wanted to hear what your proposed solutions were, since I honestly didn’t know what your thoughts were. I do appreciate you candidly sharing your considered response.

  • The church is an organized pedophilia ring. They welcome, support and protect pedophiles. Most pedophiles will rape either boys or girls. Their choice is based access and not getting caught, not sexual orientation.

    If the church changes the requirements for priests, they will merely attract different pedophiles.

    The only way to stop attracting pedophiles is for the church to stop giving priests access to children, stop teaching children to obey priests, and to have a 100% track record of reporting abuse and assisting in prosecutions.

    Not holding my breath. I would never allow my children to be in the presence of a priest.

  • I was being facetious because of Ben’s description of God. None of this is actually mythical of course, including the spirit that Ben works for.

  • …and the RCC and its “faithful” like to hold up the Church as a moral teacher and leader.

  • Lark62 makes perfect sense to me. You sound like the pedophile protectors who run your organization.

  • Thank you. My impression is that religion — whatever its merits (and I embrace Christianity in the Catholic tradition) — is too often very much about control. Vatican II tried to change this picture in the Church of Rome with respect to its doctrine on religious freedom and supremacy of conscience. Unfortunately, the more conservative (I would say “reactionary”) elements in the Church were buoyed in their opposition to ecclesial renewal by the authoritarian behaviors of JPII and B16. Even Francis, who has encouraged national bishops’ conferences to exercise their rightful authority in liturgical matters, has faced opposition from hierarchs appointed by the last two popes for their more “traditional” notions of church governance (we should remember that resistance can take the form of passive-aggression, a behavior I see in too many U.S. Catholic bishops: Simply do nothing).

  • You don’t know me. You have no idea what I’ve written, what causes I support with my money or how I spend my time. Yet you presume to pass judgment on me from your position of ignorance.

    I don’t have to justify myself to anybody. I know what I’ve done for more than 20 years to combat clerical abuse in my church and what I continue to do today. I know the price I’ve paid, professionally and personally, for speaking my mind about the cancer of patriarchy and institutional secrecy in the Catholic Church and what it’s wrought. My conscience is clear.

    I wonder what others on this board have done besides bitch and moan.

  • There are times when I agree with you, but this isn’t one of them. For as long as I’ve known RCW, this blogger is not one who would knowingly and willingly facilitate abuse of children. That said, “Lark62” does pose a key predicament for Catholics who still give *money* to the Church of Rome. Money talks. The hierarchs know it. Catholics, regardless, still fork over their shekels to the parish every weekend and to the local bishop’s collection once or twice a year. Catholics still bequeath their estates to the Church. Under canon law, the laity have no substantial rights in church governance and oversight, arguments to the contrary notwithstanding. They remain “sheople” (sheep+people). The only influence that lay Catholics have is their pocketbook, and even this influence — if exercised by the laity in withholding money to the hierarchs — can be diluted by bishops willing to impose *interdict* on local churches —

    + https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interdict

    + http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/_P53.HTM

    + http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08073a.htm (older description from 1910)

    It should be noted that any Catholic cleric who ignores his bishop’s interdict, etc. can possibly end up kissing his presbyteral ministry goodbye. And, of course, there are still Catholics who, regardless of their opposition to episcopal behavior, would “bend” or “yield” to an interdict such that money (how much, who knows?) would still be flowing into church coffers.

    I left the Church of Rome the end of CY 2006, just two months before my 59th birthday and after a lifetime of participation in the church. I left because of the determined efforts of B16 to reinforce a minimalist interpretation of Vatican II. His opposition to homosexuality (I’m straight, btw) vis-a-vis pronouncements on gay clerics and seminarians was too much for this progressive Catholic. I’d like to return to the Church of Rome someday, but it would only happen in response to serious disciplinary and doctrinal reforms.

  • I think Bluto said it better:

    “Over? Did you say ‘over’? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!…”

  • Aside from centuries of indoctrination, I cannot understand how people can support such an institution.

    #CognitiveDissonance.

  • “Pedophiles who want access to children will pick a venue they find attractive.”

    That would probably include homosexuals with pedophilic tendencies, eh?

  • “Catholic seminaries are populated 100% by young men who don’t envision themselves ever marrying a woman.”

    Except, of course, for the rites in which they marry, eh?

  • I firmly believe that anyone who contributes to the RCC at this time is complicit in this problem — whether or not they realize it.

  • Of course were the church as smart as you apparently think you are, it would have created a culture where:

    1. Priests were hated and feared.

    (In the Real World Canon Law gives every Catholic a right to bring their concerns to their pastors and bishops without being “threatened with supernatural punishment”.

    2. Priests aren’t listened to and in fact are considered idiots.

    (In the Real World there is no requirement to obey priests, bishops, or even the Pontiff except in matters of faith and morals, and then only involving a teaching which binds in conscience, nor are Catholics threatened with supernatural punishment for other matters.)

    3. People would taught to treat teaching as though Lark62 concocted it.

    (In the Real World Orthodox, Catholics, Assyrians, Non-Chalcedonians, and a host of other believe that the sacraments transmit the grace they signify. Seriously.)

    4. The church would throw its clergy, employees, and members under the bus rather than respect privacy, provide due process, and all that sort of nonsense.

    5. Members would be given unsupervised access to children without the current requirement for background checks.

    (I assume when you write “ taught to obey without question and believe nonsense” you’re referring to your own frequent citations of complete nonsense as though they had a basic in fact.)

    6. The Church would scrap its current teaching requiring relationships to be non-exploitive, dedicated to mutual good (the highest good being the salvation of both parties’ souls).

    Were it a pedophile’s delight, the Canon requiring dismissal forthwith from the ministry, which unfortunately was disregarded by several bishops, would be discarded.

    The Church of England let priests marry:

    https://pantheon-live.religionnews.com/2018/07/20/church-of-england-to-test-aspiring-clergy-for-skill-aptitude-and-narcissicism/

    “Anxiety about the quality of those who aspire to become clergy is rooted in the series of child sex abuse scandals that have emerged from Anglicanism’s mother church over the past 20 years.”

    At your very earliest convenience you should arrange to make the acquaintance of one fact to see if you like it or not.

  • I would add as well (at a minimum) that it needs to start educating clergy in “how the world really works”–things like “you cannot cover up a scandal for very long, and if you try, the results when uncovered will be far worse than if you owned up in the first place”.

    Business people learned this lesson 15 or 20 years ago. How can the church dare to tell people how to behave, if its own clergy do not know how the real world really works? (I guess the answer is that well-known word, “chutzpah.”)

  • I don’t think you need to raze the church. How about we rewrite cannon law to mirror local law so that if the church’s internal investigation proves misconduct; then the offender is turned over to local authorities for prosecution.

  • The majority 81% were male with 5% pedophilia and the rest homosexual abuse. Of course, one is too many and an abomination. But girls were not the primary victims….

  • No. Absolutely not. The police are called to investigate immediately, the moment the church learns about possible abuse. Period. Full stop. No discussion.

    Police investigate. That’s what they are trained for. Churches do not investigate. They don’t have the training, skills or independence. That’s simply absurb.

    We have seen the result of “let’s keep this in house.”

  • Hi, Howard – It’s late again….In my (limited) experience, most bishops relied on their lawyers and insurance companies, who told them that if they didn’t fight complaints a certain way, they would never get coverage again. So, being untrained in the ways of the world (that matter), they checked with their local hierarchy and went along.
    Unfortunately, I think we’re about to see a witch hunt that goes well beyond finding the real culprits. Nite – M.

  • I agree. My thought was that any organization will conduct some type of investigation (if they have something reported to them) before calling the police. If they catch a guy in the act; definitely call the police.

  • So what do we have :

    The purpose of the RCC’s teaching has been for the pious to follow and emulate Jesus.

    “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.”

    Of course, with the RCC and it’s hierarchy, clergy et al as the requisite intermediary(s).

    771 “The one mediator, Christ, established and ever sustains here on earth his holy Church, the community of faith, hope, and charity, as a visible organization through which he communicates truth and grace to all men.”184 The Church is at the same time:- a “society structured with hierarchical organs and the mystical body of Christ;
    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p123a9p1.htm

    So ladies and gentlemen – these RCC ” hierarchical organs ” and their hierarchy and clergy are the one’s who criminally raped and sodomized your children – and colluded to perpetuate this horror – thereby betraying you – and betraying God’s mandate – and most importantly – the Roman Catholic Church betrayed – Jesus – and ” the mystical body of Christ “.

    ” Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me. ”

    So, the Roman Catholic Church, it’s hierarchy and clergy – raped and sodomized Christ – by Christ’s own teaching ! ! !

    Is this the institution through which you will achieve Salvation – as God promised – and gave his only Son to be crucified to take-away the sins of Man ?

    The Roman Catholic Church ?

    There are other Christian churches who offer Salvation – without betraying Jesus.

    Think about it….

    When you die and meet Jesus, for judgement, in ” the Kingdom of the Father ” and he says to you :

    ” Whatever abomination you condoned that was done to the least of my brethren – you also condoned that abomination done to me. ”

    And you will reply ?

  • You stated that you have been associated with the Church for some 60 yrs.

    How far has your head been up your ass for you to not have known what was going on….

  • No. No. No.

    They are not investigators, they are mandatory reporters.

    Mandatory reporters report to investigators. Then investigators investigate.

    There is nothing to investigate from the church’s point of view. Someone has told them a child was sexually assaulted. That is all of the information they need to call the police.

    Read the article about Willow Creek church. Their governing board did an internal investigation. The governing board has since resigned en masse for incompetence.

    Read the PA report. Many, many people reported assaults to the church. The church decided they didnt need to do nuttin’. That’s why there are thousands of victims.

    So, no. There is no quiet investigating in house. Victims care believed and police are called. Period.

  • Quick question:

    How do you manage to see the screen on your computer to post through the white pointy hood with eyeholes?

  • “Someone has told them a child was sexually assaulted. That is all of the information they need to call the police.”

    Sure, if they want to be sued.

    There are credible allegations and there are non-credible allegations.

    The 49th allegation from the crazy guy on the corner recently released from the sanitarium should not result in a call to the police.

  • The Pennsylvania report makes it VERY clear that they were not only covering up, but GROOMING VICTIMS TO PASS FROM ONE ABUSER TO ANOTHER.

    It had very little to do with lawyers and insurers. And how stupid can you be not to know that sexual abuse is a FELONY? The church obviously understands about that–venal sins vs mortal ones???

    And this was the case in Australia, Canada, Ireland, Massachusetts….shall I continue?

    It was a PATTERN. Because this church is evil. I have been following its actions for many decades, and I’ve seen numerous examples of how evil it is.

    Does it do some good? Sure. What must the balance of good to evil be to overlook the evil? What kinds of evil? ETC.

  • Good afternoon, Howard. Can’t follow you on this one. In my experience, every human institution contains good and evil, including my beloved Italy (except for the food). We happen to be living through a dark period in the life of the church — one of many such periods, to be sure. But to paint all clergy with the brush of sexual offender, or all Catholics with the brush of general evil, isn’t a conclusion an empiricist would draw. An empiricist would have to say there’s more wheat than chaff, but the chaff must be rooted out before it ruins the harvest. – Monica.

  • No. That allows for false accusations. I am not talking about doing an extensive investigation. I’m talking about doing a 60 second analysis to determine what happened. Then call the police if necessary.
    I understand your concern about the superior covering up. I agree that is a possibility. Why would there be a cover up? We discussed that before.
    I used to work for a very large corporation where people accused others of wrong doing -theft, damage to property, sexual harassment. You can’t call the police on anyone until you yourself knows what (may have) occurred.
    To do otherwise falsely incriminates the innocent.

  • You are using every excuse used by the church to protect itself and child rapists.

    Read the Grand Jury report. And stop protecting child rapists.

  • 1. I have NEVER spoken about “Catholics in general”–I have spoken about PRIESTS in general.

    2. The Catholic church has a clear, non-arguable history of attempting to control the behavior of the sheeple, while ignoring bad behavior of clergy–unless, of course, .that “bad behavior” is stealing money from the church. THEN, watch clergy run to civil authorities!

    3. Given what we know about the behavior of all RCC clergy everywhere in the world, the only sensible approach any reasonable person can take to this entire matter, and to the church as a whole, is that they are all guilty until proven otherwise.

    Church officials are really quite good at making pious, sincere-sounding apologies and declarations which they have no intention of ever following. Again, this is simply unarguable history.

  • Are you in denial? Most abuse was committed against teenage boys covered-up by gay affirming or gay practicing Bishops/Cardinals. Guess what that’s called: homosexual abuse.

  • Well if the truth hurts…I’m truly sorry. Of course, not all gays are abusers but in this situation they were.

  • The bottom line is simple: overall, it’s an evil institution, and always has been. Power hungry, seeking to induce guilt in people for inappropriate reasons, seeking to control people, ignorant of how the real world works; calling homosexuality “objectively disordered”? Do you know the Italian word *chutzpah*?

  • Obviously, you don’t appreciate the conclusions of professional staff at John Jay College or other institutions of higher learning who have studied such matters. Your “homosexual abuse” occurs in prison settings, but it doesn’t mean the participants are homosexuals. Guess what your comment demonstrates: it’s called ‘ignorance’.

  • Chutzpah isn’t Italian. It’s Yiddish. The only Italian equivalent I can think of would be “spavalderia.”

  • Monica, you missed the irony in my statement. I’m in the USA, of course (like most posters here), and in the US, chutzpah is one of many Yiddish words that have entered common usage, along with words like “maven” and many others. The construction of “chutzpah” alone tells you at a glance it’s not Italian.

    Your comment makes me wonder whether you detect sarcasm, irony, and other such constructions in other material you read.

  • I’m afraid you’re the one who fell into the trap. You said you were an empiricist. If you use nuance and irony in your conversations, you’re not an empiricist. You’re using language as symbol — which is precisely what religion does.
    You’re a lousy empiricist, Howard.

  • Oh. So you mean, I must be an empiricist in everything, every minute of the day?

    (I don’t blame you for not addressing the point I made….we all sometimes overlook irony, satire, etc.)

    As to “what religion does”…everything about religion that I’ve read (e.g. Scott Atran) and observed tells me that the original purpose of religion was to comfort people–“I never did anything bad, why did my crops fail?” “why did my son die?” and so on.

    To get back to the main topic of this discussion….it’s clear to any observor that the “strict” religions–Mormonism, the Amish, Orthodox Judaism, Catholicism, and so on–have 2 purposes: to control the behavior of others, primarily through fear; and to deliver in the hands of certain individuals, power over others.

    It should be equally clear that the Catholic church will continue to issue pious pronouncements about its desire to deal with abusers and protect the sheeple, but will continue on its centuries-long path of protecting clergy at the expense of the lay victims.

  • It may be clear to you, but it’s not clear to observers of empirical data, who provide a much more nuanced portrait of the church — much of it good, mixed in with too much bad. There isn’t an objective study of the church that would agree with your one-sided analysis.
    By the way, I no longer participate in the institutional church. I have presided over an intentional community of faith for the past ten years, largely because of the mixed bag the church has become. Empirically speaking, that is.

  • The original John Jay Report claimed 81% male abuse with 5% pedophilia and guess what the 76% was? Homosexual abuse. Oh, and now we’re claiming that it depends on the meaning of what “is” is, oh I mean homosexuality is…Who’s in denial?

  • It’s obvious you have made up your mind, and not even my observation about prison M-to-M sex seems intelligible to you. As far as you’re concerned, all M-to-M sex is “homosexual”. You’ve not demonstrated knowledge of the subject-matter.

    “The report concludes that the vast majority of clergy sex offenders are not pedophiles at all but were situational generalists violating whoever they had access to. Pedophiles, by definition, seek sexual gratification from pre-pubescent children of one gender and target this age and gender group (especially while under stress). Clergy sexual offenders in the Church were more likely to be targeting whoever was around them (and they had unsupervised access to) regardless of age and gender.

    “The researchers conclude that there is no causative relationship between either celibacy or homosexuality and the sexual victimization of children in the Church. Therefore, being celibate or being gay did not increase the risk of violating children. So, blaming the clergy abuse crisis in the Catholic Church on gay men or celibacy is unfounded” (Thomas G. Plante, PhD, ABPP; article linked below).

    See:

    + https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/do-the-right-thing/201105/the-new-john-jay-report-clergy-abuse-in-the-catholic-church

    + https://www.scu.edu/tplante/

    + https://nationalpsychologist.com/2012/05/catholic-church-sexual-abuse-a-decade-of-crisis/101681.html.

  • It would be a big help to me if you could take a few minutes and explain this to me. I realized I don’t understand what you mean in saying that using language as a symbol is not empiricism. I don’t understand that at all.

    To me,. empiricism means, if you make a claim, show me your data.

  • This comment is not germane to the above discussion, but I wanted to make an observation to get your comments:

    it seems to me that the church’s renewed claims about protecting the sheeple and rooting out abuse and so on, will be nothing more than words, –as they have been every time in the past–until we see the church start turning over clergy who it believes have been abusive.

  • Well, that’s not the only definition of empiricism, but let’s work with it anyway. When we fall in love with someone, do we show them empirical proof? When we ask someone to marry us, do we sit down and show them equations that prove we’d be good spouses? When someone we care about is sick and we care for them, do we show them data, or do we simply perform all kinds of acts that, although imperfect, point to our underlying care and concern?
    Human beings can’t be reduced to empirical data. Most of what we do that’s important has no empirical data to back it up.
    Going out to dinner with Gianni. Not data, but love.:)

  • Tnx for your reply.

    Lots of interesting stuff to discuss here. To facilitiate this discussion let’s do these ideas 1 at a time; I will now address only 1 part of your msg, and later the rest.

    Congratulations–you raise almost exactly the question I hinted at earlier–empiricism and love.

    And you have partly answered your own question. We do show *something*–not an equation, but aren’t there other “things” that are empirical, e.g. behavior?

    If you have a romantic partner (Gianni?), I assume you behave differently towards that partner than a random clerk (for expl) you might see often.

    Isn’t that behavior, and the differences in it vis-a-vis different individuals, a form of empirical data?

    The most important and useful thing I ever learned as an undergrad was from psych. Prof. Kling, who used to say to us often, “the data are trying to tell you something.”

    Data can take different forms, can it not?

    More later (time to prepare dinner).

  • A short, and I hope simple (and of course, I also hope honest) question re empiricism for you:

    if you state a claim –“people who get fat, on average eat more pasta than others”, or “God wants you to do X”–isn’t it reasonable for me to ask “show me your data” ? And if you can’t show me your data, isn’t it reasonable for me to ask “then, how do you know?”

    And isn’t it similarly reasonable for me to ask “but there are similar situations in which the claims are radically different”–for example, “But your holiness, Protestants believe in the same bible you do, and they don’t say that clergy must be celibate” ?

  • I see you’ve been drinking, thus mixing your metaphors. We have no way of knowing whether people who get fat eat more or less pasta than others. They could be eating Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups by the dozen. More to the point, you’re making a judgment by deciding that the individual is fat, and that judgment implies a standard model that exists only in each person’s mind. What is fat for you may be shapely for my husband.
    Second, you seem to believe the bible is not an authority, but you use it to try to disprove Catholic requirements for celibacy. If it’s an authority, then I must ask whence it’s authority. If it’s not, your question doesn’t make sense.
    So let me ask: empiricists hold that the only real knowledge comes through the senses. Are there things in your life you’ve known without using your senses — and been right about?
    Lay off the Reese’s. They say they’re fattening.
    It’s after midnight. Ciao.

  • When you speak of “observers of empirical data”–I could point you to lots of commentary from Catholic clergy in good standing–for example, at http://www.americamagazine.org–who agree with me about the large amount of evil in the church, and that it needs to be seriously reformed.

    And as far as my comment, I am relying on things like the empirical data in the books of anthropologist Scott Atran, religion prof. Bart Ehrman, and so on.

    When you have some time, I’d be interested in reading more about your intentional community of faith.

  • It should be possible for LGBTQ+ people to have civil rights and not get lynched by Christians, then.

  • I agree wholeheartedly with your statement about the church needing “to be seriously reformed.” My concern is with your statements that dismiss it as almost entirely evil. On balance, the church has done more good than evil, even if we have to admit that’s a pathetic way to speak of a religious institution.
    Intentional communities have existed for a long time, but have received new impetus from the 1983 revised Code of Canon Law, which states:
    “A personal parish is designated under Canon Law 518: “personal parishes are to be established based upon rite, language, the nationality of the Christian faithful within some territory or even upon some
    other determining factor.”
    Personal parishes serve specialized groupings of people with particular pastoral needs, often without regard to territorial boundaries. These needs include, but are not limited to: language (e.g. Spanish or American Sign Language), Rite (e.g. extraordinary form of the Roman Rite), and special purposes (e.g. Anglican Use or charismatic worship). Some personal parishes may be called “national,” “ethnic,” or “pastoral provision” parishes. ”
    I was born deaf, so I qualify as someone who can create a personal parish or intentional community. Canon Law, of course, envisions that such a community would depend on a local priest for the sacraments. Ours doesn’t. We depend on our belief that when two or three come together and break bread, something holy and good happens (non-specific). Our community usually consists of 10-15 families (25-50 members), meets in our homes (I had a big place in L.A.), and prays/worships in ways we find meaningful, generally following the Roman Missal, but not slavishly. Our celebrations usually take two hours, followed by good food and fellowship that goes on into the afternoon, including football in the Fall. When a community gets too big, we break off a new one and help it form and grow.
    At the moment, our communities number around 300 and have spread from southern California to different places, including the one Gianni and I are forming here in Padua. No one can resist my risotto.

  • Monica, buon giorno. But with respect, you’ve missed the point. I was using that as an *example * of a possible *hypothesis* or claim.

    Nor is “fat” entirely subjective–but it would be a diversion to get into this.

    I suspect you are also not very familiar with the scientific literature on food and its effects. The data seem to show almost overwhelmingly that refined carbs are bad–but, again, this is going off on a tangent.

    It’s clear that ALL religions and denoms that use the bible (except *possibly* inerrantists) regard it as problematic and not at all as authoritative as they like to think. This is why, for example, Jews started the Talmud–gotta find some way around those inconvenient parts, after all; why the RCC says “tradition is important” in understanding the bible–gotta find some way to diminish or disparage sex and sexuality, for example;, and so on. ALL groups that use the bible are eager to bend it to suit their own social and political views. And of course, this has been true throughout history.

    As to empiricism, I am unable to say whether empiricists rely *only* on the senses. There are many ways of measuring beyond the 5 senses–e.g., is measuring BP empirical, since it uses vision or hearing mediated through an instrument?; and some that use the 5 senses to collect acceptable empirical data, though what constitutes that data is not always obvious *immediately*–for example, counting instances of behavior (“how many times did you engage in compulsive hand-washing?”).

  • Thank you for the info on intentional communities. Interesting.

    As to whether the church does more good than bad, etc etc, that’s clearly a matter of judgement. I wonder what the results would be if you polled abused individuals –especially those who were rebuffed by clergy when they reported it.

    I have observed RCC behavior here in the US for many decades, and I agree (as I said a few days ago) that there is lots of good–but also lots and lots of bad stuff.

    To mix a metaphor, though I hope appropriately so, is the RCC making the trains run on time? [grin]

  • If we poll any aggrieved group, the results will be skewed. We could ask the millions of kids who have gone to Catholic schools, many of them without cost, but that too would be skewed. I think, on balance, we have to take a long view and say that the Church has done more good than harm, just like any other institution in history, except the Red Sox.

  • There are data that show that you’re not entirely correct. Here in the US, I’ve read of (and spoken with) PLENTY of people who were themselves abused, or who have friends or relatives who were abused, and they have not left the church, and do not believe it is more bad than good.

    And for sure I know plenty of people who attended Catholic schools (elementary, high school) who are absolutely FURIOUS with the church as a result: beating by teaching brothers (very common in NYC, years ago), lies taught to students, and so on. Don’t take my word for it: you can read about it in plenty of places. Do some Googling.

    I grew up in NYC, decades ago. I saw the evil done by the power-mad Cardinal Spellman: trying to censor–for EVERYONE–books and movies he was not acquainted with; fomenting hatred against Jews, Protestants, and others; seeking to influence almost every aspect of life in NYC.

    And we know, of course, about the allegations of his sexual pleasures (uincorroborated, of course).

    These things, along with stories I’ve heard from friends who still regard themselves as devout Catholics; the behavior of Cardinal Law, who left Boston one step ahead of the police; and so on, –all make me wonder if the (real) good done by the church isn’t regarded as the church as the “price it must pay” for the evil it does.

  • That’s not data. That’s anecdotal information gathered by one person (you). If you want objective surveys of Catholic opinion, you might try the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University. In their most recent survey of people who self-describe at Catholic, 56% strongly agree with the statement “I am proud to be Catholic,” while “77% agree or somewhat agree. (https://cara.georgetown.edu/beliefattitude.pdf)
    Of those surveyed, 69% of people born prior to 1962 agreed, 56% of those born during the 60s agreed, 53% of those born in the 70s or 80s, and 52% of those who self-describe as Millennials.
    Where your observations would be accurate: less than 30% of Catholics overall say that the bishops are the source of moral authority.

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