“All I can say is, I’m so sorry. I see myself as a mere scumbag paedophile who took advantage of a situation and used my power to abuse young people.”
Such honesty is downright refreshing. If only the Pope and the rest of the church could come as clean, it would really help bring some closure for the victims. If they were told by their rapists, such as the former Father John Sydney Denhem, that the men they looked up to as guiding examples of morality were mere humans, capable of horrible acts on other humans, it might not make up for what they did, but it might help them understand that their reliance of their religion was misplaced. Evil, perpetrated by scumbag humans is not the work of the devil, and can’t be prevented by placing all one’s trust in god.
Instead, the church is too busy covering its ass. With a strategy of “The best defense is an offense”, the church, instead of cooperating with authorities in countries where prosecutions and civil suits are being pursued, has chosen to stonewall and actively oppose what they should have done themselves, years ago. Recently, the Pope dressed down Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn of Vienna who had the audacity to criticize the church for not doing more about the child abuse scandals, and for even suggesting that the church rethink it’s policy on priestly celibacy. Instead of fostering admiration for such an attitude, the Cardinal was publicly rebuked. That should go a long way towards making the victims of priestly abuse feel , well … like victims.
“With his words, Benedict professes concern for victims. But by his actions, Benedict shows concern for his colleagues,” said David Clohessy, executive director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
Then, when Belgian authorities raided church offices last week, the Vatican called in the Belgian ambassador for another dress down, ostensibly to lodge a formal complaint. One would think that if the Pope was really concerned with justice for the victims, his conversation with the Belgian Ambassador would have gone like this:
Belgian Ambassador: You’re Holiness, I understand you wanted to see me about the police raids on the Archdiocese of Mechelen?
Pope Ratz: Correct. I just wanted to let you know that a “raid” was not necessary. All you had to do was ask and we would have opened up our records for inspection. Are there any other records you would like to see? Perhaps here in the Vatican? My personal papers? Anything at all is at your disposal.
But that’s not the way it went down. Instead, the Vatican “continued to voice shock and outrage at the incident.”
More and more the hypocritical actions on the part of the church are looking like those of an extremely guilty non-penitent church, professing sympathy for the victims, but doing nothing to their abusers, while actively challenging any attempt to secure justice.
I really don’t understand. Why are people so surprised? The Church is a giant, multi-national organization with a strong, central government, and like all such organizations, it is absolutely dedicated to its own surival above all else.
Daylight Atheism put it well; basically these super-entitled people are livid that they’re being treated like they’re not above the law and that the rules that apply to everyone else apply to them too.
It is nothing new, the previous commentors pretty much said it.
What has changed is the toleration level of the people abused by it, and their reaction.
I have some elderly cousins who were told, about the time they hit puberty, that if they were wanted to “comfort the father” they must do it without cavil or comment.
THEY would get in trouble and disgrace the family.
THEY would be dishonoring “The Church” by kicking up a fuss.
It is the ploy of all bullies and arbitrary authority, trouble that comes to light is always the fault of those “troubled” by them. And the pew sitter, he’s got to have that “rock to cling to”. Besides, it seems in this area that if it is “good” to be powerful, wealthy, and have authority, then those who have those assets must be “good”. The dignity of man only goes so far.
At the Gettysburg reenactment over the weekend we saw a fairly large group of boys with preists in cassocks, they were enjoying the event. The priests were probably at least as hot as we were wearing wool.
One of the priests and another adult with the group asked if they could bring a couple of the boys who were having problems with the heat into our camp to cool off under our flys, and sit and recover.
Our group has three nurses and one EMT so we brought them in cooled them off and rehydrated them.
The priest was telling me that they were getting a lot of “stink eye” from the public. He knew why, was quite angry with some of his colleagues that their appetites had somewhat tainted what should have been a great experience for everyone.
In a way, I hope that the Catholic Church continues in its obstinate, deluded and self-righteous posture. I am reminded of the Ku Klux Klan which, if I’m not mistaken, lost significant influence and popularity in the early 20th century due to issues of corruption. In other words, it wasn’t changing attitudes, but rather corruption concerns that led to the organization’s shrinkage.
If more people can have second thoughts about Catholicism because of this episode alone, they can start questioning the Church and the Church’s doctrine on other issues, too. Child rape might be the historical straw that breaks the Church’s back, by opening the door to a broader questioning attitude–“since the Church is so obviously wrongheaded on this issue, what else might it be wrong about?” That’s when things can really start to get interesting. So, in spite of itself, the Church is so far just speeding its own demise.
Unfortunately, there are many Protestants who look at the Catholic scandals as something removed from them, the Real Christians. Then, when Protestants are caught with their pants down, the Real Christians distance themselves from the Not Real Christians. The advantage of rampant sectarianism is that it always allows one group to continually differentiate between itself and all those other wrong-headed groups. And, if sin arises in the True Christian group, then the True Christians within that group split off from those who have gone astray.
Still, I agree with Justin that asking questions on one point may lead one to ask questions on other points. I hope he’s right that the Church is contributing to its own demise, and I hope that demise includes all Christendom. Other religions are welcome to join the self-destructive frenzy. The sooner the better.
I am told that this joke actually originated in Arkansas, but some of us trapped in the Southern Baptist gestalt in Virginia used it as well:
Country boy applies to SB Divinity School, has an interview with the admissions folks who ask him just what he thinks makes his “call” real.
He says that he’s got the biggest pecker in three counties, and an insatiable craving for fried chicken.
From what I saw and heard “in those high and far off times”, this might have been a ringing endorsement.
Naw, mainstream protestants have clergy that likes it’s no-no as much as the catholics. They don’t go the celebacy route so they can fly a bit under the radar, but they get caught with no-no’s and with their no-no’s in someone elses’s no-n0, or drinking or injecting no-no with a certain frequency.
My wife and I were discussing these boys and priests on the way home on Monday evening, and my wife gave me the slantendicular, gooseberry-eyed look of wives to husbands when husband is under suspicion.
She told me that I’d been sent on an errand out camp after the folks needing help had been there awhile.
Everyone KNEW that some joke that involved, “want some hardtak, little boy”? was almost ready to burst from lips, so I was removed from temptation.
Luckily, my face is sun and wind burned, or my blush would have been evident.
Yes, if the church were to come out and say, “You were wronged by perverts. It wasn’t your fault. They’re responsible because they were the adults and you were children.”
That would bring healing to so many who were abused as children and carry the guilt. Since guilt, in fact, is the most damaging symptom exhibited by people sexually abused in childhood.
By protecting the perverts, the church is dishing the responsibility onto the children who were hurt, and that’s highly reprehensible.