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Grading the Vatican abuse summit

Pope Francis, background third from left, attends a penitential liturgy at the Vatican on Feb. 23, 2019. The pontiff hosted a four-day summit on preventing clergy sexual abuse, a high-stakes meeting designed to impress on Catholic bishops around the world that the problem is global and that there are consequences if they cover it up. (Vincenzo Pinto/Pool Photo Via AP)

The consensus view is that the Vatican pretty much flunked its summit on the protection of minors. Yes, there was some good rhetoric, some powerful statements above all by women presenters, but what was accomplished? Where were the concrete steps that Pope Francis called for when he opened the meeting?

As a New York Times editorial concluded, “[A] malignancy whose primary victims are trusting children must be treated by immediate and radical measures, not by appeals or hand-wringing.”

Part of the explanation for the consensus is that news stories about anything to do with clergy sexual abuse almost invariably quote the reaction of leaders of victims’ groups. And these leaders find it very hard to say anything good about the church.

For example, in welcoming the conviction of Australian cardinal George Pell earlier this week, David Greenwood, secretary of the U.K.-based Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors (MACSAS), told Newsweek, “We have tried to work with and encourage Catholic organizations to make changes to their treatment of children and survivors of abuse but have been rebuffed. It has become clear to us that the Catholic Church is incapable of change from within.”

Actually, that depends on what you mean by “from within.” Over the centuries, the impulse for change—reform—has indeed come from the outside: the Swabian monarchy in the 11th century, popular heresy in the 13th, the Protestant Reformation in the 16th,  modernity in the 20th.

But in each case, the reform was not imposed from without. It came from within, as it must.

We’ve seen such a process take place in this country. After the Boston Globe‘s Spotlight Team ushered in a nationwide firestorm of exposés in 2002, the country’s bishops put in place what can only be called “immediate and radical” measures to get the sexual abuse of minors by priests under control.

If you don’t think the Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People worked, consider that the lists of priests credibly accused of abuse now coming out of dioceses around the country include just a handful of cases since 2002.

The 21 points presented “as an aid to reflection” at last week’s summit are in fact the “protocols” that Pope Francis promised would guide the heads of national bishops’ conferences in devising “general programs”  of their own. Assuming they adhere to the protocols, as Frances said they must, each country will have a Dallas Charter of its own—and then some.

Reflection Point 7 is: “Establish specific protocols for handling accusations against Bishops.” Such a protocol was not included in the Dallas Charter, and is its greatest weakness. Indeed, the church’s great failing altogether in this crisis has been its inability to discipline bishops for covering up and otherwise mishandling abuse cases.

Pope Francis himself has taken steps in the right direction, mandating that the Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith take charge of such accusations and then, after the CDF said it couldn’t do it, transferring responsibility to the four Vatican offices charged with overseeing bishops and other ecclesiastical superiors. In 2016, his apostolic letter “As a Loving Mother” lowered the bar for removing bishops from office, from malice in stewardship to inability or incapacity to do the right thing.

For all that, the Vatican officials in these offices have dragged their feet in establishing procedures for removing a bishop and making these known and available.

On Wednesday, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, one of the organizers of the summit, told Joshua McElwee of the National Catholic Reporter that bishops had in fact been removed from office under the law but wouldn’t say which ones. The four offices, he said, need to have a common way of holding bishops accountable. “So they’re working together right now, I understand, on making that happen.”

Two years after “As a Loving Mother,” five months after the announcement of the summit, you’d think the Vatican would have been able to get its own act together by way of providing an example to the national bishops conferences. Much still needs to be done to blast clean the embarnacled Barque of Peter.

Still, bottom line, I’m far from giving the Vatican an F in the course it’s taken on the protection of minors. I’m giving it an Incomplete.

About the author

Mark Silk

Mark Silk is Professor of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College and director of the college's Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life. He is a Contributing Editor of the Religion News Service

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  • Pope Francis’s super-duper conference on child sexual
    abuse in the church has concluded, with predictable results. The conference
    called for an all-out war on this most Catholic, centuries-old problem, but
    apart from an eight-point set of guidelines, lacked any specific details about
    what would be done. There were a general wringing of hands, and a really stern
    finger-wagging. But that was about it.

    What were most conspicuous— by their absence, of course—
    were the two most useful, most obvious points. First and foremost, before
    anything else: CALL THE POLICE. The church has proved incapable for centuries
    of dealing with this problem itself. St. Peter Damien complained about it 1000
    years ago. It’s in Chaucer and Boccaccio.

    Second, stop blaming the sexual revolution, which is far
    more recent than this problem. Stop blaming gay men in the larger society. We
    are as horrified by sexual abuse as anyone with an ounce of morals and empathy
    would be. The sources of your problems are clericalism, a failed process of
    discernment regarding vocations, sexual predators, pedophiles, sexually
    confused and immature men, and a hierarchy willing to enable and coverup their
    depredations.

    Not us.

  • I would add the inability of priests to live out their vows and the looking away at that sad state of affairs.

    I know being celibate is never easy and goes against natural tendencies. However, if they fail to get across to not only those entering, but those already priests that breaking a vow taken is a serious matter, then there needs to be a protocol in place to either get them to observe their vows or if they cannot, leaving is the only option. Being a priest or any vowed member of the church is not a job where you can get away from it when you get home or go on vacation. It is a way of life.

  • Though I am an atheist, I am 100% in agreement with you concerning making vows and the priesthood. Especially if you are a believer. My word is extremely valuable to me. If I can’t keep it, I won’t give it. If I already gave it but can’t keep it, I will inform the person to whom I gave it, and not only accept the consequences for not keeping it, but do what I can to makes amends for not keeping it. It’s not a place I relish being in, and fortunately, for most of my life, I haven’t been.

    That being said, I don’t think the problem is the celibacy requirement directly, as I have said before. The celibacy requirement, I believe, is one of the things that attracts sexually disordered men to the priesthood. “maybe if I make a promise to god, I won’t be (choose one or more) tempted, predatory, homosexual, heterosexual, kinky, a pedophile, unable to maintain boundaries, suspected…” and on an on.

  • The February 21-24 “Meeting on the Protection of Minors in the Church” was not intended to provide explicit directions to the 5,500 plus Catholic bishops on precisely what measures should be adopted in the 190 plus countries in which the Catholic Church has parishes.

    It was intended to be a retreat for the entire Church, including 114 presidents of bishops’ conferences, patriarchs of the Eastern Churches in communion with Rome, bishops of missionary territories, the heads of the male and female religious orders, to get on the same page as to what they need to keep in mind in implementing their own rules, protocols, and procedures.

    Since that was all it was supposed to accomplish, and by all accounts it did, it earns a passing grade.

    Now it is up to those in the field to implement their own programs.

    The New York Times should address “[A] malignancy whose primary victims are trusting children must be treated by immediate and radical measures, not by appeals or hand-wringing.” to those implementors, and a grade should be assessed AFTER they’ve done their work.

  • According to the Vatican, Pope Francis is going to appoint a task force. If that is not concrete action, what is?

    Of course, there was a time when he was going to appoint an Abuse Tribunal. The Vatican oligarchs did not let him do that, but maybe they will let him appoint a task force. This will show that they are way ahead of the curve on this abuse thing.

  • As to “the Vatican oligarchs did not let him do that …”, they are all his appointees who he can dismiss anytime.

  • I see the conference as a PR stunt and nothing more. A stunt to show how concerned they are. Someone said the real solution to the problem is to bypass the church officials completely and report all abuse directly to the police.

  • Re: “Part of the explanation for the consensus is that news stories about anything to do with clergy sexual abuse almost invariably quote the reaction of leaders of victims’ groups. And these leaders find it very hard to say anything good about the church.” 

    Wow. Imagine that! The Church’s victims don’t lavish praise on the Church that abused them. How dare they!? Why, the insolence of it! Don’t they know they’re required to fawn over the Church’s every utterance and deed!? 

    </sarcasm> 

    Re: “If you don’t think the Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People worked, consider that the lists of priests credibly accused of abuse now coming out of dioceses around the country include just a handful of cases since 2002.” 

    Sorry but I’m not buying that abuse magically stopped in 2002. It’s happened plenty of times, after that: 

    http://www.votfbpt.org/Priest_routinely_renewed_permits.pdf
    https://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/2011/07/13/so-much-for-it-being-a-historical-problem/
    https://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/2011/08/13/the-historical-problem-that-just-keeps-happening/
    https://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/2013/07/15/and-yet-another-example-of-the-historical-problem-that-just-wont-go-away/
    https://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/2016/05/23/no-its-definitely-not-a-historical-problem/
    https://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/2018/09/02/more-accusations-rock-another-catholic-diocese/
    https://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/2018/11/10/dc-parish-mired-in-priestly-pedophilia-scandal/

    The above are just a small number of post-2002 cases, ones I happen to have heard of and recalled, just now, so this list can hardly be called exhaustive or even thorough. 

    Re: “Reflection Point 7 is: ‘Establish specific protocols for handling accusations against Bishops.’ Such a protocol was not included in the Dallas Charter, and is its greatest weakness. Indeed, the church’s great failing altogether in this crisis has been its inability to discipline bishops for covering up and otherwise mishandling abuse cases.” 

    And the scandal will never go away until this changes. It’s the crux of the problem! So long as the bishops and heads of orders are the canonical detectives, judges, and juries within their dioceses or orders, there’s literally no way, within the Church, to alter their behavior. The only way any of these hierarchs is held accountable is if they’re prosecuted by secular authorities, as Cardinal Pell found out in December — and the Church works as hard as it can to prevent this from ever happening. 

    The Church can apologize, profess contrition, and pay lip service to victims all day long … but until accountability is imposed on the hierarchs, it’s going to continue. There’s just no way around it. 

    Re: “Still, bottom line, I’m far from giving the Vatican an F in the course it’s taken on the protection of minors. I’m giving it an Incomplete.” 

    A couple decades after this scandal blew wide open, it’s unconscionable that it’s droned on this long with continuing inaction from the Vatican and repeated stammering about how there’s nothing to be done and change is just too hard and those gays are awful and yada yada yada. At this point, an “incomplete” is an “F.” To say anything else is to excuse the Church’s malevolence. 

  • Funny how that option never seems to come up in all their conferences, position papers, and announcements.

  • Fully agree, Mark Silk. Thank you.

    I think Pope Francis is dealing with a worldwide church where only some geographical areas are trying to deal with child sex abuse and many others are ignoring it or trying to deal with it using the same failed approach tried in places where the scandal has become almost a definition of what Catholicism stands for. How could Chile be so stupid after the examples of the U.S., Ireland, Australia, Canada, etc?

    Francis is trying to get them on the same page. I suspect part of that is because he knows he needs to create some accountability of bishops, who for just about forever in the life of the Catholic Church, haven’t had to answer to any power but that of the Pope. In other words, Pope Francis needs to make some structural and Canon Law changes that are going to impact the independence of bishops and he needs for them to buy into what he knows he needs to do.

    Bishops need oversight that is not coming from the Vatican. It can’t because there are more than 5000 bishops and they are operating in very different cultures. More, the culture within the hierarchical Church is very out-of-sync with that of many nations/cultures now that used to be where they were strong, powerful, far more influential than they are now. Face it, folks. The Catholic Church just doesn’t know how to deal with populaces where most people have a good education, where women are as powerful as men, where democracy has taught people they need to have a voice in how they are governed, where instant communication makes it harder to keep secrets.

    I hope Francis recognizes he must give laity a greater voice within the Church, a greater ability to tell their stories about what it is really like to live in the world of today. And, I hope he gives them a voice and some power in the selection and oversight of bishops. They have failed to do that from within the closed clerical/hierarchical system. It is time to open the door.

  • I agree with your assessment in the second paragraph.

    I also believe that the priesthood attracts sexual predators because it provides the authority, access and environment. The same with teachers, coaches, counselors, etc. who go into those careers to hunt.

  • Thanks,

    I am not sure exactly how much I agree with this being a conscious choice to find a hunting ground, though it might well be true. I am wondering if there is any research on the subject? My gut feeling, which may not be based in reality, is that there isn’t a conscious decision to find a hunting ground. Rather, the hunting ground appears because that is the direction the person is going to be going. One thing I have been observed for many decades is that where you put your attention is what appears in your life. This would be one more example of that.

    but I admit, I don’t know

  • “Sorry but I’m not buying that abuse magically stopped in 2002.”

    Sorry, but you’re not buying impacts neither the church nor anyone other than yourself.

  • Michael Sean Winters?

    https://www{dot}americamagazine.org/content/all-things/vatican-responds-michael-sean-winters

    https://www{dot}lifesitenews.com/news/dissident-catholic-journalist-ill-enjoy-watching-conservatives-executed-for

    Upgrade your reading material.

  • Indeed, and while all this fuss goes on about those nasty Catholics, only a handful of investigative reporters have had the chutzpah and backing of their newspaper to tackle the much bigger problem in the public schools and their protectors, the school teachers’ unions.

  • Certainly not little things like “reality,” either. Like, the fact that pedophilia is a criminal act and that covering up for it is also a criminal act. Those things don’t change the Church either. 

  • Grading the Vatican abuse meet-up? Well, in the photo above…I give them A+ for the contrasting colors of the Zucchetto (skull caps). Francis in white and in front clearly shows the hierarchy. Visual job well done !! But, for the bad news…

    …The Pope has raised the specter of Satan being the real villain here. So grade F for Bearing False Witness.

    As for making policy changes to fix the problems…women clergy, modern approach to loving LGBT couples, and tossing the sex hangups….sorry, RCC and Francis get grade F !!

    So it is a form over function RCC church I would say. Looking great but passing the buck to Satan, while making no changes. Right now their GPA is 1.33

  • Goshes, Art. You sound just like bob arnzen and Mark Connelly, both of whom seem to be huge pierres that say exactly the same thing…”WHAT ABOUT THEM PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS, EH? WHAT ABOUT THEM?!?!?!?”
    Do they know you are plagiarizing them?
    Now I’ll go back to ignoring you, because you are not Bob, not Robert, not Jose, not Bob, not Mark, not DR, not Draco, Not david, not Utah.

  • Probably the single most useful principle of thinking is Occam’s Razor: to understand some phenomenon, always start with the simplest explanation, unless there is some overriding reason to look for more complex explanations.

    Seems to me that in this case, the simplest explanation is that the church does not WANT to institute any kind of change.

    Why? Again, seems to me that the simplest explanation is that any change would dilute the power the church has over the minds of members.

  • I think there is no doubt at all that only men who have some kind of sexual or interpersonal problem would join Catholic clergy.

  • And just how can you be so certain that the public school present a much bigger problem?

  • I would doubt that. I have known some good and kind priests who definitely believed they were called by god. I’ve also met a quite a few who thought they WERE god.

    On a similar note, however, there was a priest in San Francisco at a church that I would occasionally work at. He was a total ahole in just about every way possible. Many photographers I knew, like me, eventually refused to work at the church.

    Cut to about 15 years later. A friend of mine lives at an upscale retirement community in San Francisco. Two years ago, I was having dinner with her in the dining room when I heard a voice bellowing out something abusive at the wait staff, all of whom are very nice and attentive people. I asked my friend who that was, and she said he was a retired Catholic priest that had recently joined their community. I asked his name, sensing he was familiar. And sure enough, it was him.

    Last year, when he died, she said that the whole community heaved a sigh of relief.

  • Ben, with respect, I disagree.

    I said “men who have some kind of sexual OR interpersonal problem…”.

    Why on earth would an individual join an organization like the Catholic clergy, presumably to do god’s will in some way, but giving up normal human contact, when there are hundreds of other ways of carrying out god’s wishes without giving up normal sexual or interpersonal contacts?

  • I understand why you feel that way, and I can’t disagree with you except from experience. And that experience says some people feel they are genuinely called by god. I can’t dispute that with them, other than to say that I have no belief in any gods. But that’s not their experience, it’s mine.

    And if they are doing good in the world, and this is the reason for doing good, I can’t dispute that either.

    I have to repeat something I just said to HpO, in another context. The issue for me is not religion, even though I don’t share those beliefs. The issue for me is what people do with their religion.

  • I’d like to see more details of your idea.

    In fact, it seems to me that the church might SAVE money if it were able to show that it somehow acted in such a manner as to satisfy civil requirements, and thus avoid paying out claims. Every claim paid out by insurance for any diocese undoubtedly raises insurance premiums for the church, so if the church could take some action that would minimize payouts or liability, that would be to its advantage.

    Of course, I think it’s also true that the church is stunningly ignorant of how the real world works; and, similarly, is extremely resistant to listening to practical advice from non-clergy, e.g. financial advisors, insurers, etc.

  • I do not dispute the notion that some men (and women) feel genuinely called by god etc etc. My point is, why would a normal human being –male or female–give up normal human interaction in order to “serve god” as a priest or nun, when they could serve god as well in some other job and still have normal human interaction?

    And of course, i agree with your last sentence above.

  • Why would they Give up normal human interaction in order to serve God? Well, the obvious reason, to me at least, is that they think that they’re serving God. And if they are the kind of people that believe in that kind of God, that is a very high calling indeed.

    On the other hand, I can also conceive of some “lesser“ meanings to it, which come naturally is a corollary to the first. Last night, I saw a play that included as a major incident, an encounter with faith healer. The guy playing the faith healer was quite good; the downside was that you never really understood whether he actually believed what he was selling. the overall impression was that he did not. But you could see that he thoroughly enjoyed being the puppet master for God, calling down God‘s healing powers to heal this person and that person and you just had to have faith and barely a mention of money at all. The whole show seem to restaurant has this interest in actually healing anyone; he was far more interested in demonstrating his power. The show was the thing. The major character commented on precisely that.

    The faith healers I have seen on TV and in videos – I’ve never seen one live in person – have all seemed to be frauds from the outset. Perhaps they are not as good actors as the man I saw last night.

  • My guess is that most of the faith healers are well-aware that they are frauds and charlatans; the ones who are not, almost certainly have all kinds of excuses and “peculiar” ways of seeing the world.

    Mormons, by the way–at least the ones I’ve known, and I think I’ve known a cross-section–strike me as mostly “innocent charlatans”. That is, most of the Mormons with whom I’ve discussed matters of health-and-belief, tend to believe that a devout Mormon believer who dies (early) of some nasty disease, e.g. Ca, did not really have “true, deep faith”. This is sort of similar to testing women for being witches, of course.

    As to your first para, it seems to me that there if you’re a believer, you’ll see all sorts of alternative ways of serving god that do not require giving up normal human contact.

  • There have been a series of investigative reports from cities like Chicago, and editorials by experts in the field of education and students’ rights in national publications, for at least ten years that I am aware of.

    They have not gotten national attention yet.

  • So what you’re saying is that if I say something like “Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence which contains ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’”, I am plagiarizing every single person before me who pointed that out to you are anyone else?

    I have a better idea of what is going on.

    An aging homosexual has been pontificating (36,032 posts as of right now) on the internet for not quite six years (Joined May 30, 2013), attacking those pesky Christianists, and is getting some serious pushback on his puerile sophistries, and has concocted a vast right wing conspiracy to explain why and why he can’t respond coherently.

  • You never can get your arguments straight, can you bill?

    Bob, You claim that “natural law”— not actual natural law, but the fake natural law that is made up of whole cloth—which you claim is a thing, endows me with inalienable rights, among them Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, by some god’s will. (I prefer to call it godswill, it that’s just me).

    Then Art, like the Pierre you are, you claim out of the other side of your mouth that you are entitled to restrict those god given natural rights in any way you wish simply because there are more of you than there are of me.

    So why should I believe what you have to say when you don’t believe it yourself?

    No need to answer. we’re back to ignoring all of your personalities.

  • Write it up and send it to the Vatican.

    https://www{dot}newwaysministry.org/advocate/contact-pope-francis/

    Be sure to tell them who came up with the idea.

  • You claim you can force an entire society to accommodate your personal preferences in a public way, but then claim that a democratic society cannot – by any means whatsoever – tell you “no”, but are completely unable to provide any basis for that other than it would inconvenience you.

    As to natural law, you’re completely clueless except to note that what the entire world recognizes – not necessarily agrees with – would also inconvenience you.

    The rest of yours is mere posing.

  • Goshes, Art, you’re as obsessive as Mark Connelly!!! I’m STILL not reading your posts.

  • I am 100% confident that my comment would be ignored, but that my name would be added to some database.

  • On the up side you’d be ignored by a better class of people than you’re currently ignored by.

  • Even assuming that you are correct, what does that have to do with the fact that the church has clearly failed to protect members of its congregations, has covered up felonies repeatedly, have protected men who violated their vows, etc etc etc?

    And it would be helpful to your credibility if you could provide some links or citations or references.

  • Well done, Ben. You’ve caught lyin Bob – Arzen Carioca Connelly Whatever at his usual game, again.

  • I am sure you understand that individuals did the things you attribute to their church, against their church’s teachings, against their church’s laws.

    As to “has covered up felonies repeatedly”, the lack of indictments in the 50 states and the District of Columbia suggests otherwise.

    For “links or citations or references”:

    http://www{dot}scborromeo.org/ccc/ccc_toc2.htm

    http://www{dot}vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/_INDEX.HTM

  • Thanks, but It’s not like it is all that difficult. He always reveals himself very quickly, because He is certain he is the smartest guy in the room.

    Unfortunately for him, it’s Romper Room.

    I do wish, though the RNS would take their moderation duties seriously, but they don’t.

  • I agree with your first sentence.

    As to covering up, that’s exactly what bishops did in transferring offending priests to different dioceses and churches.

    How can in individual be indicted without a complaint against him or her? The church has apparently, somehow, implanted in the minds of victims and their parents (at least in the past) that complaints should be made to the clergy, not civil auithorities.

  • I see, it’s a magic cover-up.

    There’s no complaints, and no convictions, but that MUST be because the victims and their parents were brainwashed.

    That also ends any need for evidence, since we know that – like the Martians visiting the house next to you – they use mind probes to erase all the memories, co-opt law enforcement, and on and on and on ….

  • What on earth are you talking about???

    Until the past year or so, there were very few complaints to civil authorities–probably because the church trained members into thinking the first complaint should be to clergy, and not to civil authorities.

    NOW, however, finally, we do see victims complaining to civil authorities, and in some cases the civil authorities are moving against the church, (not often enough, unfortunately, due to the crimes being committed too long ago) and in others the church is FINALLY acknowledging that priests have abused kids and is dealing with priests, in some cases kicking them out, in some cases turning the names over to civil authorities.

    IOW, I was not sufficiently precise in my language, and there have been prosecutions and convictions by civil authorities.

  • “What on earth are you talking about???”

    That is precisely what I was asking you.

    An example of your approach: “probably because the church trained members into thinking the first complaint should be to clergy, and not to civil authorities”.

    Your speculations are not facts.

    Cite ONE case in which ” the civil authorities are moving against the church”.

    I follow this pretty closely.

    There are none.

  • No one has denied that individual priests – all your articles – did bad things, or teachers, or ministers, or rabbis, or scoutmasters.

    What you’re claiming is something else:

    “The church has apparently, somehow, implanted in the minds of victims and their parents (at least in the past) that complaints should be made to the clergy, not civil auithorities.”

    That dog will not hunt.

  • OK, I think I see your point.

    But in fact, the church as an organization has in its rulebook–i.e., Canon law–provisions for dealing with abusers, and with those who shield them.

    Yet it seems to have largely ignored those rules.

    The church as an institution has known for decades–for centuries–that that there were priests abusing kids, abusing nuns, who were non-celibate, etc.

    Yet, it did little or nothing to deal with those problems. It could have dealt with bishops who protected priests–and if it had, there would have been a lot less abuse, a lot less payout, etc.

    For example, the church could have told bishops that any parishioners reporting abuse should be directed to report to civil authorities immediately. Yet clearly no such direction was issued.

    The church as an institution has acknowledged, if I am recalling correctly, that it promoted respect for clergy such that parishioners regarded them as near-gods.

    And you are correct, of course, that others, e.g. Protestant clergy, rabbis, teachers, etc have engaged in abuse. But those organizations differ radically from the RCC, so your statement is clearly an attempt on your part to minimize the abuse committed by Catholic clerggy.

  • “Yet it seems to have largely ignored those rules.”

    With 5,500 bishops I would tend to agree with had – say – 2,000 been found at fault.

    But it has been in the low dozens, and in several of the cases the bishop in question was convinced that abusers could be cured.

    As to “But those organizations differ radically from the RCC”, are you suggesting that abuse by a public school teacher is less abusive than by a priest?

  • Re your last sentence, one very important difference betw a public school teacher and the church is that public school teachers do not presume to lecture the public on morality–unlike the RCC and Southern Baptist Convention. (In my observations, Judaism of course is also concerned about “morality”, and of course there have been charges against some rabbis, but at this moment I cannot think of any synagogue or rabbi that has presumed to lecture the entire society, non-Jews as well as Jews, about morality. )

  • If you’re saying that public school teachers are deficient in morals or that public schools are bereft of them, I might tend to agree with you.

    But you’re getting closer to your problem with Catholicism.

  • Only a person determined to defend the RCC and its clergy at all costs would talk about public school teachers being deficient in morals.

    Given the way you think, and the way you are determined to defend the church at all costs, regardless of any reality, this conversation is over. You’ve already told us volumes about the way you and those of your ilk think.

  • “Only a person determined to defend the RCC and its clergy at all costs
    would talk about public school teachers being deficient in morals.”

    https://www{dot}chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-met-cps-sex-abuse-bills-20190204-story.html

    https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/chicago-public-schools-cps-city-council-hearing-complaints-sexual-abuse-department/

    Only a rabid anti-Catholic would deflect discussion of the abuse problem in the public schools – this one city alone had MORE abuse in the last five years than the AG in Pennsylvania found in that entire state in the Catholic Church in 70 years!

    You are determined to attack the Catholic Church at all costs, regardless of any reality. That tells us us volumes about the way you and those of your ilk think.

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