Columns Opinion Thomas Reese: Signs of the Times

What Catholics and Southern Baptists can learn from each other about sex abuse crisis

This collection of mug shots includes a portion of the 220 people who, since 1998, worked or volunteered in Southern Baptist churches and were convicted of or pleaded guilty to sex crimes. The Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News published the first part of an investigative series on SBC abuse on Feb. 10, 2019. Screenshot from Chronicle website

(RNS) — Seventeen years after the Boston Globe exposé of sex abuse in the Catholic Church, two Texas newspapers have published a similar exposé of abuse in Southern Baptist churches.

Although the National Catholic Reporter had reported on sex abuse by priests since the mid-1980s, it was the Boston Globe reporting in 2002 that captured the attention of the nation. Likewise, there have been stories about Baptist ministers in the past, but they had not captured national attention like this month’s coverage by the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News.

The existence of clergy sexual abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention provides no satisfaction to us Catholics, but it does allow us to test our theories about the causes of abuse.

The Baptist scandal shows us that at least five explanations of the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church don’t hold up:

  1. It is not celibacy. Many liberal critics tried to blame the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church on priests’ vow to abstain from sex, yet Baptists are having the same problem, and there is no equivalent requirement for SBC ministers. Most Baptist predators are married men. There are good reasons for married priests in the Catholic Church, but marriage does not prevent a man from abusing.
  2. It is not homosexuality. Many conservative critics tried to blame the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church on homosexual priests, but most of the Baptist ministers alleged to have committed abuse are heterosexual. Studies have also found that most of the priests abusing boys were heterosexual.
  3. It is not just the hierarchy. Most commentators, myself included, have quite rightly been very hard on the Catholic bishops for not dealing with abusive priests. But the SBC is very decentralized in governance, and it has also had problems. Neither governance structure has done well in dealing with abusive clergy or protecting children.
  4. It is not the liberal reforms of the Second Vatican Council. Many conservative Catholics tried to blame the sex abuse crisis on the reforms that came from the Second Vatican Council, the meeting of bishops from all over the world from 1962 to ’65 that attempted to update the church to deal with the modern world. Southern Baptists had no council, and they are having the same problems.
  5. It is not the lawyers. Many priests and bishops blame the crisis on lawyers who have gotten very rich from suing the Catholic Church on behalf of victims of abuse. So far, lawyers have not played a major role in the Southern Baptist crisis. Baptist finances are very decentralized. There are few deep pockets. There is little incentive for a lawyer to sue a small Baptist congregation. Survivors have come forward without lawyers, just as they did early in the Catholic crisis before episcopal stonewalling forced them to get lawyers.

Pope Francis attends the traditional greetings to the Roman Curia at the Vatican on Dec. 21, 2018. Francis vowed that the Catholic Church will “never again” cover up clergy sex abuse, and he demanded that priests who have raped and molested children turn themselves in. (Filippo Monteforte/Pool Photo via AP)

Just as important is what Southern Baptists can learn from Catholics about how to deal with the sex abuse crisis. How can they avoid making the same mistakes that Catholics made?

  1. Don’t think it is going to blow over. When victims come forward and scandal erupts, it is just beginning, not ending. As bad as the reports in the Texas newspapers sound, this is the tip of the iceberg. After the Boston Globe exposé, several thousand more victims came forward to tell their stories. Victims get angry and empowered by seeing stories of abuse survivors. There is every reason to believe that the current media coverage of abuse in Southern Baptist churches will stimulate more survivors to come forward. Get ready.
  2. Report all accusations of abuse to the police. Abuse is not just a sin, it is a crime. Don’t think it can be dealt with internally by the church.
  3. Adopt and implement a zero-tolerance policy toward abusive clergy. Christians are supposed to be forgiving, but that does not mean returning abusive men to ministry. No one has a right to be a minister. No one is indispensable. The protection of children is paramount.
  4. Establish a system for transparent and credible investigations of clergy accused of abuse. I don’t know enough about the governance of the SBC to recommend a procedure, but I can tell you that leaving it to the other clergymen or members of the accused’s congregation will not work.
  5. Put the victims first. In every discussion, the central issue should be what will help the survivors of abuse in healing and recovery. The reputation of the church, the rehabilitation of the minister, church finances, and the possibility of scandal must give way to the priority of helping the victims.

Sex abuse is not just a problem in the Catholic Church. Sex abuse has now been exposed in almost every denomination and religion. Anyone who thinks their religious tradition is exempt is blind to the facts.

Nor is it just a religious phenomenon, since it has been seen in schools, scouting, coaching, counseling, daycare, families, and many other settings. According to the National Center for Victims of Crimes, one in five girls and one in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse. If this were the measles, it would be declared an epidemic.

Although Baptists and Catholics are currently in the middle of the storm, hopefully someday they will be able to unite in being part of the solution to this crisis, rather than part of the problem.

About the author

Thomas Reese

The Rev. Thomas J. Reese, a Jesuit priest, is a Senior Analyst at RNS. Previously he was a columnist at the National Catholic Reporter (2015-17) and an associate editor (1978-85) and editor in chief (1998-2005) at America magazine. He was also a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University (1985-98 & 2006-15) where he wrote Archbishop, A Flock of Shepherds, and Inside the Vatican. Earlier he worked as a lobbyist for tax reform. He has a doctorate in political science from the University of California Berkeley. He entered the Jesuits in 1962 and was ordained a priest in 1974 after receiving a M.Div from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley.

115 Comments

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  • Fr. Reese tells us what it’s not about. What it is about is power – traditionally bestowed on men by a patriarchal society which has allowed powerful men to use other men, women, boys and girls as sexual objects for the sake of their own sexual satisfaction. After the awful truth is exposed it then becomes all about circling the wagons in order to protect the delinquent institution which should have protected victims (church, Boy Scouts, Penn State, etc.) from scandal. That’s what it’s about. The rest is just detail, which differs from case to case.

  • What the U.S. could learn from Australia: Australian states and territories provide legislation, regulations, and checks designed to help protect children. Each Australian state and territory requires church leaders and members who work with children to register for a background check and obtain a “working with children” authorization before starting to work with children. Each U.S. state should do this or something equivalent.

  • What Catholics and Southern Baptists can learn from each other about sex abuse crisis…
    how to hide it better?

  • Not happening, Presstitutes! Eat your hearts out, Presstitutes! NO, Catholicism and Southern Baptist Evangelicalism are NOT in a “sex abuse crisis”! Because they’ll die off if and only if their religions are substantially NOT true!

  • YAH MAHN – just like Jussie Smollett, Ed Buck, Kevin Spacey, Terry Bean & Ed Murray have all learned “how to hide it better?” So like, c’mon, Catholics & Southern Baptists, what’s wrong with y’all: Learn the best from the LGBT or just homosexual community?! GOOD ONE, Ben in Oakland!

  • Are you in a “crisis”-mode, too, LB? Why, because the headline – “What Catholics and Southern Baptists can learn from each other about sex abuse crisis” – left you Mormons out? For if memory serves:

    (1) “McKenna Denson … attend[ing] a Mormon Church service in Chandler, Ariz. … didn’t waste time telling the congregation why. … [She] strode up to the pulpit … introduced herself … then … accused a former church leader of raping her more than 30 years ago. … ‘The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are covering a sexual predator that lives in your ward,’ she told the congregation … ‘His name is Joseph Bishop. He was the [Missionary Training Center] president in 1984 when he raped me in the basement of the MTC.’ Denson, 55, had previously sued Bishop and the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in April, claiming the church failed to protect her from a known ‘sexual predator.’ Bishop has denied raping her.”

    (2) “Michael Jensen preyed on children in the close-knit Mormon community around Martinsburg, West Virginia. … Five years ago, Jensen went to jail for abusing two children. But a group of parents say now that it’s not just Jensen who should be held responsible; it’s the much larger Mormon hierarchy in West Virginia that they believe failed to respond appropriately to complaints about Jensen. The six families, who all say their children were abused by Jensen, are suing local Mormon leaders and the global church.”

    Source: (1) Meagan Flynn, “Woman crashed Mormon Church service and accused former leader of raping her in 1984”, Washington Post, September 6, 2018. (2) Julie Zauzmer, “Sexual abuse case against Mormon church begins in West Virginia”, The Washington Post, January 19, 2018.

  • When you can point to an organized conspiracy by established organizations composed of the people who represent god– or claim they do– to hide suspected sexual abuse by members of that organization, you can talk.

    Jussie Smallett– not a sexual abuser, and the apparent source of the alleged conspiracy by him is–wait for it– right wingers. The jury is out./

    Kevin spacey? Always has been a creep, and not protected by anything except his wealth and position.

    Terry Bean? Charges dismissed once. Only recently refiled. The victim was not interested.

    ed Murray? Ed Buck? More creeps.

    When you can point to an organized conspiracy by established organizations composed of the people who represent god– or claim they do– to hide suspected sexual abuse BY THESE PEOPLE, you can talk.

  • Biblical Christians do not rely on denominations to worship God or have a relationship with Jesus.

  • Decades later and you can’t point to an organized conspiracy by any denomination to hide abuse. No RICO indictments, no criminal conspiracy charges, nada.

    Let’s take one church, the Catholic Church.

    It has over 5,500 bishops. How many have been credibly accused – I am not even requiring a conviction – of hiding abuse?

    100?

    100/5500 = 1.8%

    Let’s get some perspective. Let’s begin by looking at public schools in the USA.

    If your concern is abuse of children, not attacking religion, you should be interested in seeing where all the problems are.

  • Do you see any issues with that conflicting with the First Amendment?

    I do.

    Australia, in common with the rest of the former English-speaking Commonwealth, lacks a Bill of Rights.

  • If the state gets into licensing church workers based on doctrines, that would be a huge First Amendment issue.

    If it is limited to a religiously neutral background check for past or current sexually abusive criminal behavior towards children, I don’t see how there is a First Amendment issue. The First Amendment is not a license to sexually abuse children.

  • The moment a church which teaches children in Sunday School says “no thanks” to background checks to continue teaching Sunday school, you’ll see the issue.

    If children are abused, there is a legal process to deal with it already.

  • “She said one young nun had been forced to leave her order after becoming pregnant, while the priest who fathered her child had remained in his post without ‘any serious consequences for his behaviour.'”

    “She” is Sister Jolanta Olech, OSU, secretary-general of the Warsaw-based Conference of Higher Superiors of Female Religious Orders.

    https://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/11373/prominent-nun-says-polish-priests-must-stop-abusing-women-religious

  • You nailed it, Elagabalus. It’s about patriarchy, the toxic male domination system, and all its concomitant ills.

  • The door is open now for any church corporation to be sued right into bankruptcy when it allows something bad to happen. That is what they have all learned from each other. Churches must now be very, very suspicious of everything and form their “Ministry of Protection” committees with off-duty LE members and such folks for everything from “shooters in the front door” to “perverts in the basement”. All of this is a very good reason to not be there.

  • Hardly a crisis mode, with two cases instead of many hundreds, though two is two too many. With over 16 million members and over 30,000 congregations, there will be some tragic failures. Those accused should be tried according to the law, and if found guilty, punished to its full extent and excommunicated by the Church. Every demographic or organization with families and children, religious or otherwise, faces the danger of child abuse. The Church has strict policies and practices aimed at preventing and responding to abuse. The LDS record and policies, while not perfect, compare favorably with the very best secular and religious organizations.

    For decades, the Church has repeatedly, publicly, and unequivocally denounced child abuse as a “sin of the darkest hue.” Church leaders at the highest level began making such statements and aggressively addressing the issue even before clergy-abuse cases raised public awareness in the mid-1980s. Since 1976, more than 50 articles have appeared in Church publications condemning child abuse or educating members about it. As wrenching as the topic is, Church leaders have given sermons about it more than 30 times at the Church’s worldwide conferences. Preventing and responding to child abuse is the subject of a regular lesson taught during Sunday meetings. The Church has produced and distributed extensive training materials for local leaders and members. The Church’s official instructions for ecclesiastical leaders sums up the approach: “Abuse cannot be tolerated in any form.”

    LDS congregational leaders, known as bishops, have typically lived in their community for many years and thus are well known to Church members before they are selected. Bishops are called by more senior ecclesiastical leaders, but before a bishop is installed members of the congregation first vote to sustain his selection. The Church takes abuse allegations so seriously that even one member with a credible concern can derail the selection. Even after a bishop assumes office, any credible allegation of abuse against him would quickly result in the Church’s terminating the calling and selecting another bishop. Because termination does not result in loss of salary or living arrangements (local clergy are uncompensated), there is no need for a lengthy internal process. This zero-tolerance approach risks problems with false allegations, but the Church has chosen to err on the side of caution. The result is that abuse by LDS clergy is very rare and swiftly addressed when discovered.

    LDS clergy also have powerful incentives to protect children from abusers within their congregations. All bishops are married and most have children of their own, often young ones, who attend their respective congregations and participate in their activities. Bishops are therefore personally invested in the safety and well-being of their Church community. When a child abuser threatens the safety of his congregation, a bishop has no incentive, financial or otherwise, to do other than protect his Church family as he does his own.

    The Church takes significant precautions to guard against abuse within its congregations. Official Church policy states: “All members, especially parents and leaders, are encouraged to be alert and diligent and do all they can to protect children and others against abuse and neglect.” Members are taught to be aware of the issue and to alert law enforcement and Church leaders if they believe a child is in danger. The Church fully supports compliance with child abuse reporting laws and regularly encourages members to report. At great expense, the Church has installed windows in the classroom doors of thousands of its meetinghouses so that children are never out of sight. As a result of these and many other efforts, abuse on Church properties or during Church activities is very rare.

    When local clergy learn of alleged abuse, Church policy states that their first priority “is to help those who have been abused and to protect those who may be vulnerable to future abuse.” Because its clergy are laymen without professional training in social work, in 1995 the Church established a 24-hour Help Line and instructed its ecclesiastical leaders to call it immediately whenever they learn of abuse. The Help Line is staffed by licensed social workers with professional experience in dealing with abuse. They advise clergy about how best to protect the victim from further abuse, protect others from abuse, deal with the perpetrator, and aid the healing process for victims. Child abuse is a crime with serious legal consequences. The Help Line provides legal counsel to aid clergy in complying with the law and working with law enforcement. The Church routinely reports child abuse to law enforcement. And even where reporting is not mandatory, the Church usually finds ways to get abuse reported while still respecting the victim’s desire for privacy.

    The Church disfellowships or excommunicates members for child abuse. Excommunication terminates a person’s membership in the Church, the harshest ecclesiastical punishment possible. Its purpose is to induce the person to stop his crimes and seek forgiveness from God, to protect other Church members, and to demonstrate institutional condemnation of such evil conduct. After many years, perpetrators who truly change their lives can be readmitted to Church membership, but their membership record is permanently marked with an annotation that precludes them from ever again associating with the Church’s children or youth.

    The Church’s policies and practices have evolved over the years. The Help Line has been highly successful since its creation over 15 years ago. The LDS Church continues to look for ways to refine and improve its approach to abuse. To be sure, tragic situations have arisen. At times the Church has to defend itself in court against spurious allegations and overreaching demands, most arising from situations that allegedly occurred decades ago.

    The Church has not taken these measures to protect its reputation but to protect children. Church leaders and members treasure the innocence of childhood and take seriously Jesus Christ’s severe condemnation of anyone who harms a child. See Matt. 18:6 The Church’s deep concern for children has led to a system that, while not perfect, is highly effective at preventing abuse, protecting and helping victims, ensuring that Church clergy comply with the law, and disciplining and expelling abusers.

  • I think if parents expect their children’s hockey coaches, Boy Scout leaders, gym coaches, day care providers teachers etc. to have background checks conducted as a way of protecting children from predatory adults, they will expect the same as to youth group leaders and Sunday School teachers. Parents are more interested in strategies that reduce vulnerability of their children to being subject to abuse rather than relying on legal processes after their children are abused.

  • And I believe that, by insisting that priests and hierarchy are “servants of the people” and by refusing to recognize the power that the priests and hierarchy exercise within the Church, the Catholic Church is reinforcing their power and enabling the abuse to continue.

  • NY will be on the hot-seat soon. If indeed that law makes it possible to sue public schools, there should soon be some financial difficulties in the public sector.

  • HereUGo St. Ben, just for starters. Let’s start with:

    “‘Empire’ Actor Jussie Smollett Orchestrated Attack, Source Says”, CBS Chicago, February 14, 2019, by Brad Edwards.

    “Sources: Police investigating whether Jussie Smollett staged attack with help of others, allegedly being written off ‘Empire'”, ABC7 Eyewitness News (Chicago), February 14, 2019.

    “Jussie Smollett’s neighbors cast doubt on his attack story”, New York Post, February 11, 2019, by Gabrielle Fonrouge.

    –> CBS, ABC & NYP – all “right wingers” now in the beamed-up eyes of the ElleGeeBeeTees?

    GOOD ONE.

    Up next …

  • What can Catholics and Southern Baptists can learn from each other about their respective sex abuse disasters? Isn’t that like asking what can Ted Bundy and Charles Manson learn from each other?

    It is very unlikely that either institution can be reformed. They won’t take the reasonable advice to allow women clergy, which would immediately improve problem situation — Howls of outrage to my advice on another RNS post and comments about RCC seminaries allowing the girls in — from the usual fundy corners…

    …The most important thing to be learned is by people watching from inside these denominations or the outside…If you only show up on Sunday, put your rear-end in the pew and your money in the collection basket…you are an accomplice. We need less accomplices in these ossified fortresses.

  • Good thing it ain’t “like asking what can [Jussie Smollett, Ed Buck, Kevin Spacey, Terry Bean and Ed Murray from ElleGeeBeeTees Inc.] and [Neil deGrasse Tyson, David Silverman, Lawrence Krauss and Al Franken from Ashiest & Eggnogshtick Unlimited] learn from each other”!

  • I LIKE YOU ALREADY.

    “Clifford Ishii a year ago”: “Please antifa thugs, try to use violence against me so that I can try out my Jo staff on you … These Antifa thugs are one fry short of a happy meal.”

    “Clifford Ishii 15 days ago … 5 months ago … 2 years ago”: “Biblical Christians are ready to go underground and carry on God’s will in our lives if the Socialists win. … Biblical Christians will take church, evangelism, and resistance underground if need be. … Biblical Christians can choose the underground method and be more effective … Biblical Christians are ready to go underground to practice our faith and proselytize.”

  • If parents expect Sunday school teachers to have background checks conducted as a way of protecting children from predatory adults, they can – as Catholics did in the USA – adopt such rules within their denomination.

    What can’t done IMHO is for the government to REQUIRE that Sunday school teachers to have background checks conducted.

    The First Amendment shields churches from government interference.

    LB correctly noted “If the state gets into licensing church workers based on doctrines, that would be a huge First Amendment issue.”

    But that’s effectively what a background check requirement would. Mrs. Smith, who has been teaching Sunday school for the last 45 years, would suddenly find that unless she submits to a background check, she can’t teach. That, constructively, is a licensing scheme.

    The pastor, rabbi, priest, or minister would find out he or she couldn’t choose Sunday school teachers based on religious criterion, but only from a pool of background-checked individuals.

    The citizens of countries that were part of the former English-speaking Commonwealth are completely tone deaf to these issues since government mucking about in religion is baked into their histories.

    Government mucking about in religion is what led the American Founders to erect the First Amendment barrier.

  • The American Psychological Association is now so radically politicized as to be nearly useless except for cranking out what can only be described as propaganda.

    And the APA guidelines on the treatment of boys and men are just that: ideological propaganda.

  • Lets get another perspective—–Of the 1.8% of Bishops, plus countless numbers of Priests, how do you account for all the decades of sexual abuse and none of their colleagues came foreword to name and testify against their fellow Priests when they know what goes on in their churches???, More than likely, thousands of confessions from guilt ridden children and priests alike that were heard by other Priests and never exposed, which would have protected future innocent children that were to be molested??? How many Priests defended their colleagues in a Court of Law as opposed to the Priests that did not stand up for all these molested children?

    Please do not dodge these questions.

  • Public schools are a very import issue, but please do not use it to minimize what goes on in the Church.

  • As Ben stated the hoax view is being pushed by the conservative news sites. I read these daily and one of the things they do is print every claim of racism, bigotry that turns out to be a hoax (rare) and rarely report true incidents. It gives less discerning readers the wrong idea.

    I have no opinion on this incident as it is still under investigation but the conservative media is all over it as a hoax.

  • Perhaps schools can identify the overly aggressive and masculine young boys and begin administering hormones until we get the right level of masculinity.

  • I won’t be minimizing it. The percentages of lawsuits will shortly do so. Child abuse is a terrible thing wherever it occurs.

  • BREAKING NEWS?!

    “Jussie Smollett: Suspects held over attack on actor released: At least one worked on Empire, police confirmed”, BBC News, February 16, 2019.

    Jeff Taylor, “Dave Chappelle Says He Wants to Break a Dollhouse Over Jussie Smollett’s Head for ‘Lying’: The comedian reacted to breaking news suggesting the attack against the actor and singer was a hoax”, NewNowNext, February 15, 2019.

  • CBS, ABC, New York Post, BBC News & NewNowNext “all over it as a hoax” – AIN’T NO “the conservative media”, X-JW Ashiest!

  • It is particularly hard to account for in in PA, since at least 1/3 of the accused are dead! Most of the abuse was not reported until 30 years later.

  • Nice dodge TireCatholic! If enough people, with nothing to gain from a dead priest, all come up with the same written testimony, there may be a element of truth to it.

    The Gospels were written long after Jesus’ death, they were not written in his time, nor in his town, nor in the semitic language that he would have used to speak to his people, but I am sure you buy that story. They even said that Mary was a virgin at the time of Jesus birth. How in bleep can you verify that story?

  • You are still trying to minimize it. We are talking about the Church and their vast numbers of victims, and the large sums of Church money to defend these perpetrators/priests, and you say “Child abuse is a terrible thing wherever it occurs.” -What a revelation!

  • If churches are subject to complying with laws/codes/regulations to ensure that the physical building is safe for use, I do not see a difference. That is not mucking about in my opinion. If specific to only churches, that then would a different kettle of fish . But if a requirement for other situations both paid and unpaid (teachers to minor league baseball coaches), as well not interfering. Really no different than employment offers – make a decision as to preferred SS teacher, then verify through references but in this case a background check. Let applicants know that this will be the final step. and if they want to bow out they can.

  • Buildings do not teach.

    Buildings do not engage in ministry.

    Buildings are inanimate objects.

    Buildings do not have a right to free speech, to exercise religious beliefs.

    The reason you “do not see a difference” is that as a citizen of the former English-speaking Commonwealth, inured by a 500 plus year history of an established Church mucking about in people’s religions and religious beliefs, you’re unable to conceive of the problem as a problem.

    If the State can control who teaches Sunday School, there is no reason it cannot control who the Russian Orthodox Church ordains as priest.

    After all, no one wants a potential molester around children, women, hearing confessions, and so on.

  • “What can Catholics and Southern Baptists can learn from each other about
    their respective sex abuse disasters? Isn’t that like asking what can
    Ted Bundy and Charles Manson learn from each other?”

    Coming from you, that’s like John Wayne Gacy commenting on Bundy and Manson.

    There’s nothing more bitter than a loser on the outside hanging around carping to those on the inside.

  • The power that the ordained clergy exercised is clearly recognized by the Catholic Church.

    http://www{DOT}vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19641121_lumen-gentium_en.html

    I’d pick it up at:

    “CHAPTER III”

    “ON THE HIERARCHICAL STRUCTURE OF THE CHURCH AND IN PARTICULAR ON THE EPISCOPATE”

  • Okay. There already exists a clear answer to your first question. (But Thomas Reese — and James Martin, and Pope Francis — don’t wanna hear it, because it publicly refutes their pro-gay whitewashings.)

    “It seems clear in light of these recent terrible scandals that indeed there is a homosexual culture, not only among the clergy but even within the hierarchy, which needs to be purified at the root. It is of course a tendency that is disordered. It has been considerably aggravated by the anti-life culture in which we live, namely the contraceptive culture that separates the sexual act from the conjugal union.”
    — Cardinal Raymond Burke, LifeSiteNews.

    Want proof? Sure you do. The Archdiocese of Naples will get you (a tiny bit of the) proof, right now:
    https://davidgushee.religionnews.com/2018/03/05/allegations-about-40-gay-priests-in-italy-sent-to-vatican/

  • One would hope, Fr. Tom, that someone would learn some kind of lesson from how the Catholic Church in the U.S. has dealt with the crime and the scandal of child sex abuse. But I am not sure all that they may have learned is very helpful, given all the mistakes the Catholic Church made. Still, some things were done pretty well since 2002 – especially the protocols on child protection in the Dallas Charter.

    So those who look to learn from the Catholic Church need to distinguish from the good and the perfectly horrible things the Church did. The Catholic Church has had to be dragged kicking and screaming into being truthful about the past and their treatment of those who were abused in the past has been a hell for the victims. All this coverup of the past is a big reason why we don’t trust them to be honest now – there is a well earned suspicion that the bishop will hide anything he can hide and he will always take the side of the priest. May not be true now, but the suspicion has been very well earned.

    Maybe one of the things the Baptists can learn is that they should not depend on the “leaders” to do much that will really be helpful and the solutions lie in everyday members of the organization (not pastors or church workers) who step in to force the Powers-That-Be into a bit of honesty and transparency. And oversight. That should be somewhat easier to achieve at a local and conference level in Baptist churches and conventions than it is in Catholic parishes, dioceses, archdioceses, and at the national conference level. Catholics don’t let laity have power or voice anywhere.

    Still, maybe if the Baptists start working on how to deal with child sex abuse we will have another nation wide organization that can add to making a change in our whole society about how to deal with it. So far, we have had the Catholics, Boy Scouts, a bit of the Salvation Army, and women’s Olympic ice skating who have made an impact. Getting the Baptists into the fight can add some more power to the message.

  • Yes, the article in my link says that they were arrested and later released, but the same report quotes the Chi Town cops as stating they don’t believe that it is a hoax.

  • There is a clear clinical difference between gay men who are sexually attracted to gay men – teleophiles – as opposed to pedophiles who are attracted to boys. Many male pedophiles who prey on boys are considered to heterosexual with respect to adult relationships. Pro-gay whitewashing has nothing to do with that reality. http://individual.utoronto.ca/james_cantor/blog1.html

  • You should correct your claim to the fact that it is the local afiliates of CBS & ABC that have reported on the clain that it is a hoaz, NOT the national networks. As to the NY Post, you might is well link to the National Enquirerer!

    It’s interesting that you always make claims and HINT at sources, but never an actual link. I shouldn’t have to spend time searching to see if you’ve actually reported acurately. It is easy to provide a link, until then, your claims are specious at best.

  • “What Catholics and Southern Baptists can learn from each other about sex abuse crisis”?

    Join the Methodists? lol

  • The relevant and fairly well supported conclusion from your 17-year-old citation is “that gay men are no more likely to be pedophilic than are straight men”. The notion that “male pedophiles who prey on boys are considered to heterosexual with respect to adult relationships” is not well-supported. And a number of the citations he makes have since been generally discredited.

    But the Catholic abuse situation is unique.

    There the documented abuse is 80+% male-on-minor-male.

    The population being considered is all-male and celibate.

    There is considerable but not well-researched documentation that a significant minority of them are homosexuals.

    What is clear is that the weighing in of individuals objecting to the suggestion that a homosexual issue in the Catholic Church somehow imputes on them the notion that gay men are more likely to be pedophilic than straight men is misguided.

  • It would be more accurate to say that the church has a pedophile problem in terms of sexual abuse in certain, specific church settings.

  • “HINT”:

    Keith Griffith, “Jussie Smollett hires Michael Cohen’s criminal defense attorney as the two Nigerian Empire extras held in his attack are released suddenly without charges after police discover ‘new evidence’ during interrogation: Both men, Nigerian brothers, are friends of Smollett and said to be anti-Trump”, Daily Mail, February 16, 2019.

  • Daily Mail? The UK paper? The UK’s version of the National Enquirerer!

    You’re batting 1000 with the trash press. Still no actual links!!

  • THIS A BETTER ALTERNATIVE FACT, THEN?

    David Allen, “Jussie Smollett doesn’t hire Michael Cohen’s criminal defense attorney as the two non-Empire extras held in his attack are released suddenly with charges after police discover no ‘new evidence’ during interrogation: Both men aren’t friends of Smollett and said to be pro-Trump”, February 16, 2019.

  • No, it would be less accurate.

    If it had a pedophile problem the 80+% male-on-minor-male statistic would be much lower.

  • (your heart)BREAKING NEWS:

    Ryan Young and Brad Parks, “Police sources: New evidence suggests Jussie Smollett orchestrated attack”, CNN, February 16, 2019.

  • (LGBT-heart)BREAKING NEWS:

    Ryan Young and Brad Parks, “Police sources: New evidence suggests Jussie Smollett orchestrated attack”, CNN, February 16, 2019.

  • Still no actual links!

    “Loopy comments from goony poster HpO found to be falsefied.” CBS, ABC, CNN, NBC & BBC, 16 FEB 2019

  • Anthony Guglielmi, a Chicago police spokesman, posted on Twitter that ABC7’s sources are inaccurate.

    “Media reports [about] the Empire incident being a hoax are unconfirmed by case detectives,” he wrote. “Supt Eddie Johnson has contacted @ABC7Chicago to state on the record that we have no evidence to support their reporting and their supposed CPD sources are uninformed and inaccurate.”

    Pamela Sharp, a spokeswoman for Smollett, said the reports were “ridiculous rumors.”

    “He’s been very cooperative and very consistent,” she said.

    In a statement, Fox denied that Smollett was being written off the show.

    Variety – 14 FEB 2019

  • To be fair, all religions are the same with the men of cloth (aka garment of Esau) in all world religions. Without the real garment of righteousness, they are just dirty goats who work to impress the gullible. All religions are same (rhyme with Cain) without Bread of Life, Jesus, inside or outside of Christendom.

  • That’s Old News (by 2 days); this is Breaking News!

    Charlie De Mar, “Jussie Smollett Case: Brothers Questioned By Police Bought Rope Used In Attack At Actor’s Request, Sources Say”, CBS Chicago, February 16, 2019.

  • The Lemon Test is pretty much in the dumper.

    Your paper defends it, but the Court has realized that it can be used to justify anything and only gives the appearance of objectivity.

    What was described was a licensing scheme, a licensing scheme specifically designed to control who can teach Sunday School, a clearly sectarian religious function.

    As such it appears to be a prima facie violation of the First Amendment.

  • No one is arguing with that per se.

    What is NOT clear from your citations is that theoretical considerations derived from a general population apply to this particular subset. So when your author writes:

    “While research does suggest that the percentage of Catholic priests who are homosexual is much higher than found in the general population, we know that sexual orientation is not a risk factor for pedophilia.”

    he should have written:

    “… we know that in the general population sexual orientation is not a risk factor for pedophilia.”

    What is unusual about THIS population?

    1 – Each member of it knew that under Canon Law he should not be ordained.

    2 – He therefore knew that according to the Church he was being ordained to serve in his very act of being ordained he was committing a serious sacrilege.

    3 – His ordination placed him in a unique position of power over minors and granted a veneer of respectability.

    When the sh-t hit the fan over the John Jay report, the amended report tried to apply research derived from prison rape(!) to the data. Uh, no, that won’t work.

    In 2002 while the American bishops were devising a response to the abuse problem, Bishop Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska, wisely proposed that the issue of homosexuality in the priesthood be studied to see if that and the abuse were connected.

    That proposal was defeated by the leadership, led by none other than Theodore Cardinal McCarrick.

    And that points the finger at the exact problem: you can’t be objective if you’re part of the problem.

  • After a matter of minutes without oxygen to the brain, there is no coming back. What is the relevance between that and thousands of written testimonies describing the actions of all these Priests around the world? Please be very specific.

  • Because of the massive hypocrisy of the Church and Churches that emphasizes and reinforces the abomination of this kind of sin over and over and over again, and yet, no a week goes by in international news where we do not read about the constant persistence of this particular sin.

  • The obsession with sex in both religions seem to make the clergy in both want to commit perversions. It is the forbidden fruit thing. If their professions were more involved with other things, they would be healthier.

  • Propaganda has a tendency to do that. The media maximizes these numbers and this sin in order to counter the 25 MILLION abused and aborted infants in the US, that the Catholic Church stands up for. You may be a former Catholic. If you were taught the 10 Commandments and the Golden Rule, you know that child abuse is wrong. But you also know that there was only one Man who never sinned. The Church has had many types of awful sinners throughout history. However, the Good News — the message of Joy and Love from the Perfect God Man, Jesus Christ, still stands.

  • And yet the risen Christ was seen in the flesh by many witnesses, and later by Saul of Tarsus who was an enemy of Christians. I will be very specific. I think you don’t believe the Gospels, Correct? You will therefore not believe me because I believe them. Correct?
    We no longer have a first principle to agree on that is worthy of argument. Good bye!

  • It is you that just tried to spread religious propaganda, and again tried to minimize the specific worldwide problem of sexual abuse by Priests.

  • Tell me when to stop and that finally you’re getting the message loud and clear:

    Charlie De Mar, “Jussie Smollett Case: Brothers Questioned By Police Were Paid $3,500 To Stage Attack, Which Was Rehearsed Days Before, Sources Say”, CBS Chicago, February 16, 2019.

    “We can confirm that the information received from the individuals questioned by police earlier in the Empire case has in fact shifted the trajectory of the investigation. We’ve reached out to the Empire cast member’s attorney to request a follow-up interview”.
    – Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, February 16, 2019.

    The Associated Press, February 16, 2019, “Chicago police: Jussie Smollett assault case has ‘shifted’.

    ABC, WLS-TV Chicago, February 16, 2019, “Jussie Smollet Attack: New Evidence ‘Shifted the Trajectory’ of Jussie Smollet Investigation, 2 Brothers Cooperating”.

  • I do not believe the Gospels because there is no evidence that this story is true and it goes 100% counter to scientific knowledge of human existence. And you are correct, there is nothing more you can say.

  • Funny thing about deflecting to public schools (as apologetics for church related sexual abuse are prone to do), is there has never been evidence of system wide efforts to cover up such abuses, protect the abusers from criminal and civil liability or legions of apologetics looking to deny or avoid such stories.

  • Indeed, that worship of a manipulative deity enables the practice of manipulation. Unlikely they’ll learn anything from this, though, except better methods of concealment.

  • You’re so full of it, aren’t you, sweet tatooth? On the one hand, full of pop tabloid theories, I mean. (1) Now your pop tabloid theory is: “The obsession with sex in both [Catholic and Southern] religions seem to make the clergy in both want to commit perversions.” (2) “2 months ago”, your pop tabloid theory was: “Christians are [just] gonna … sexually abuse people.” (3) “3 months ago”, your pop tabloid theory was: “A church that makes men remain celibate attracts gay men, because straight men would rather get married.” (4) “8 months ago”, your pop tabloid theory was: “Fundagelicals only like females as slaves or sex objects.”

    On the other hand, full of hypocrisy, I must add. Because, “9 months ago”, you actually confessed, “I really don’t care about Trumps’s sexual escapades”! But you do about the clergies’?!

  • But if “that worship of a manipulative deity enables the practice of manipulation”, the non-worship of what and which “manipulative” non-deity, then, “enables the practice of manipulation” that is the #MeToo phenomenon of Neil deGrasse Tyson, David Silverman, Lawrence Krauss and Al Franken?

  • It’s actually pretty sweeping in most states. I believe its the sovereign immunity thingy. Therefore, not only child abuse, but any other number of things, such as false arrest of a student, etc. would come under that. Representatives for a student could not sue in such a public school case. How would that look on a student’s university application. Now, apply YOUR new-found apologetics to the Covington Student’s case. Mr. Phillips apparently trekked to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. On the Metro? Composing a statement as he and 50 companions went along? Hoping to get inside by calming drumbeats?

  • Deflector shields are up and at full power here.

    Your need to defend Catholic Church sexual abuse cover ups and catholic school kids acting obnoxiously is painfully evident.

    What makes this subject so difficult for you to address it?

  • No, asking how YOU defend. What about that case of Mr. Phillips at the Cathedral. Do you deny it happened?

  • Again, you are trying to minimize the problem with the Church and the sexual abuse of the innocent today, as in right now. With all the attention focused on the Church, it is still happening. On the other hand, last year, without waiting for instructions from the Vatican, dozens of bishops have decided to take action by releasing lists of the priests in their dioceses who were credibly accused of abuse. And they are being released at an unprecedented pace. That is a good sign after 2,000 years.

  • And the cases that Toomey and Manchin tried to prevent? What about it. “Be very specific.” For this sin did not start only 2000 years ago.

  • I guess the subject of the article is too much for you to address on the merits.

    “What about that case of Mr. Phillips at the Cathedral. Do you deny it happened?”

    Don’t particularly care, nor feel a need to deny or defend it. Unlike yourself I am not playing whataboutism games to defend obnoxious behavior of teenage boys caught on tape.

  • Wait for it Spuddie. Only until the 19th, when the Gov. signs the bill. The national media will be lined up, to see how the Church falls. There will be a flurry of reporting. Then slowly, slowly, the cases will start coming in from the public schools and be reported locally. More and more agitated parents will start to speak up. I believe the bill gives a 1-year window. See how you feel next year about it.

  • I don’t bother because I couldn’t care less. I don’t have to defend it. It was never relevant to anything. Teenagers acting obnoxiously is a given in most situations. Its funny how much nonsense you feel the need to defend out of obligation.

    So when are you going to address the subject of this article, rampant sexual abuse by church functionaries and organizational cover up efforts?

    Obviously never.

  • We have been back and forth at it for months. Don’t you remember our chats? Oh, Spuddie. I am so hurt.

  • Hardly. Have you been going under a different name?

    So what do you have against accountability of churches with legal authorities?

    Why should we be ignoring churches abusing authority and respect of communities to cover up ongoing victimization of youth?

    I certainly care more about that subject than a bunch of teenagers whose parents and school have the resources for PR and media spin artists.

  • Sorry buddy but the idea that Churches even oppose public schools is entirely the invention of cretinous conservatives who are looking to cash in on privatization efforts.

    Public school officials always had a duty to report sexual assault as a given. There is no evidence or history of systematic coverups of such things. As far as I remember whenever such things get reported, teachers get fired almost instantly and school districts start scrambling for settlements. They are not like the Catholic Church.

    So when have you stopped defending systematic child abuse by clergy?

  • It does now appear as if Smollett brought this whole thing upon himself and it had nothing to do with unethical right wing ideologues and everything to do with an unethical Mr. Smollett–who may now be facing justified criminal charges. So you got that one wrong. Dead wrong.

  • Looks like this one was a hoax. As were the claims by that fellow with the drum who bullied the kid with the MAGA hat–then made himself fictitiously out to be the bullied. So you might want to walk back that bigotry hoax being a rare thing line–two high profile such hoaxes in recent weeks have now been the equivalent of pie in the face of national media.

  • I’ll wait until the final information. But I don’t disagree with you if it is true, and I have no sympathy for him if it is true.

    This kind of stunt brings nothing but grief to real victims.

  • The twin are like the endings of Revelation chapters two and three looking at each other. If they heed to Jesus’ free gift of righteousness, they would not have fornicated with Jezebel or their own flesh.

  • Abuse happens everywhere. But churches are especially noted for their willingness to cover up the incidents and protect the abusers. Something you don’t generally see with public schools.

    BTW Pat Toomey is just the kind of corrupt conservative cretin I was speaking of. He supports efforts to gut public schools and divert tax money to private ones. The bill is sound, it would be nice if someone introduced the same for clergy. As a prerequisite to their tax exemption.

    Your deflection has been noted.

  • Once again, Stubbie:

    https://graphics.chicagotribune.com/chicago-public-schools-sexual-abuse/index.html

    https://www{DOT}washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/op-eds/rahm-emanuel-racism-and-chicago-public-schools-massive-underreported-sex-abuse-scandal

    https://www{DOT}chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-chicago-council-school-abuse-hearing-20181128-story.html

    That is MORE abuse, all recent, in one municipal public school system than the Grand Jury report found in the Catholic Church in the ENTIRE STATE of Pennsylvania in 70 years.

    Multiply by the number of public school systems.

  • What can the Baptists and Catholics learn?

    What they should learn is their religion is just a scam. There is no deity “indwelling” anybody. Nobody is “washed in the blood.” Religion makes nobody better or more moral than other humans. People who pray for guidance and discernment are talking to the ceiling and do not make better or wiser decisions as a result.

    Humans are humans and are responsible for their actions. Close knit groups of humans tend to protect powerful insiders at the expense of vulnerable outsiders, and only sustained outside pressure will change this dynamic. Ask victims of police abuse of power. Consider Penn State coaches.

    Christians are collectively no worse than any other humans. Likewise, they are no better.

    There simply is no deity to swoop in and make christian humans more moral, more brave, or more wise. However decades or centuries of unchallenged power has made some human groups hopelessly corrupt.

    Any person who gives obedience, deference or financial resources to a corrupt and abusive organization feeds that corruption and abuse and thus shares responsibility for the crimes and abuses perpetrated by that organization.

    This is what Baptists and Catholics should learn. And some will figure this out and flee.

    But others will refuse to see what is plainly before their face.

  • Once again you are trying to minimize the problem with the Church and the sexual abuse of innocent children today.

  • It seems to me that Fr Reese overlooked one principle that the Baptist and Catholic churches might do to minimize future scandals: teach parishioners not to have exaggerated respect for their clergy.

  • You’re right, of course, Peep.

    And consider this: occasionally, priests are suspected (by bishops) of stealing church funds. When that happens, they show no hesitation about handing those priests over to civil authorities for investigation and prosecution (if warranted).

    Yet when it comes to another felony–child sexual abuse–what have the bishops historically done? Why, they shift the suspected felons around to other churches, where they can continue their abuse!

    The explanation is simple, of course: the bishops (and higherups) are protecting the church at the expense of the members.

  • And how do you explain priests raping or abusing nuns?

    Oh, wait, I know: the nuns who’ve been abused are really transgender folks. Right?

  • “Anyone who thinks their religious tradition is exempt is blind to the facts.” And yet people still turn their children over to clergy members for some incomprehensible reason. If there were any other profession in which child abuse went this deep–say doctors, or teachers, or daycare workers–parents would never, never let their children near those people. Religion makes people blind.

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