February 17, 2004

4,450 Priests Accused of Sex Abuse According to this report, "Children accused more than 4,000 priests of sexual abuse between 1950 and 2002, according to a draft survey for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops."
  • You know, the Papal embassy and residence in New Zealand is a suburb over from where I live. I now have to keep reminding myself that forming a mob and burning it to the ground really isn't an appropriate response.
  • Seriously rodgerd. I felt bad about not commenting about this, but it's so infuriating and so wrong that there's not much I can say beyond how infuriating and wrong it is. I also think it's a real shame because I was raised Catholic. I knew some very kind and generous priests. I also have many Catholic relatives and not a few priests in the family and it's an insult to them that the church has allowed this to go on.
  • But we do need some perspective - sexual abuse went on, unreported - or worse, ignored when it was reported - in many many places, not just the RCC. Abuses have been coming to light in Canada from Catholic orphanages and Protestant residential schools alike. I'm not trying to excuse the Church - it is a very serious thing that they chose not to act more strongly in reaction, and knowing allowed priests who had multiple accusations to continue to minister to children - but we also have to have some perspective for the fact that few institutions or even individuals in our society was willing to acknowledge and deal with sexual abuse until recently. I also noted that of the 4,450 priests accused of sex abuse, "more than half of the accused priests had only one allegation against them". Though that one allegation should, of course, have been seriously investigated, one allegation does not make guilt. Even children are capable of lying for their own reasons - this happened not just once, but twice in Saskachewan, itself not a very large province. The potential for witchhunts can be just as damaging as whitewashing or ignoring allegations. I've always thought that with this sort of thing, though blame is understandable cathartic for the victims, for the rest of us it is unproductive - Instead, we must focus on a)what went wrong, and b) how can we change it for the future.
  • I don't see why anyone still puts their trust in this orginisation. There's something fundamentally wrong with it.
  • I can repect the Church's position, I guess. I mean, they have this thing about giving people unconditional second chances, and if it's a part of their philosophy, so be it. But the consumer/parishioner needs to be aware that that's what the position is; that if they choose to leave their kids alone at church activities they're taking the risk of trusting them to people they shouldn't. The idea that you can implicitly trust any individual affiliated with a certain institution simply because you love that institution is sweet, but dangerous.
  • It's spelled out pretty explicitly in the article that The Church would rather have more priests (and collection plates) than impliment possibly effective messures to assure pedophiles aren't working with children. I don't see what's respectable about that. If you mean to imply the new policy was put in place so The Church could continue to handle pedophiles in their own way because they are so forgiving, I would find fault with that too. Their attitude toward pedophiles doesn't really have much to do with forgiviness. They intimidate the victims into not talking. They pay for lawyer to defend people they know are guilty with parishoner's money. It's about protecting an image of the priest and his special connection with God. You can tell in the way The Church deals with the public whenever it makes any demands for change that The Church still believes that its clergymen exist in some higher state than laymen and that we should know our place bellow them. So much of the mass is about producing and maintaining that image around the priest. A criminal conviction for a predophile priest would shater that image. They'd just be people like us. The kind of Holy gestalt they've used for centuries to control people without any fear of reproach is finally fading and they're scrambling to protect it. That's what this is all about. I understand The Church means a lot to some people, but that's no reason not to point out that it's a pretty rotten organisation and it's still fucking people over to protect its members' status.