allrite From Australia, joined Aug 2007, 1409 posts, RR: 4 Posted (6 months 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 648 times:
The Australian Government has just announced a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Institutionalised Child Abuse. One institution currently under a very heavy spotlight is the Catholic Church for protecting paedophile priests and trying to hide abuse. The head of the church in Australia, Cardinal George Pell, has come out stating that many claims are exaggerated and historic, angering many victims groups.
Detective Inspector Peter Fox who recently revealed police cover ups of Catholic child abuse, was forced to leave the police after threats were made by other members of the force.
The NSW Premier, himself a Catholic (hopefully that's irrelevant), initially resisted setting up a state Royal Commission into Catholic abuse, unlike his Victorian counterpart, restricting investigations into a single region of the state.
Child abuse certainly isn't limited to a single religion or institution. Indeed, much is perpetrated by family members. But from their public pronouncements it seems like to me the Catholic church is far more concerned about issues like two consenting adults of the same sex wanting to marry than it is about child abuse. (And while we are at it, they'd apparently rather people starve and live in poverty than use contraception). There is also the question of mandatory reporting of child abuse revealed during confession.
I'm curious to know what others think. Does any organisation have the right to try to protect its reputation over that of abuse victims? Is paedophile activity a forgivable sin, so long as the person is otherwise an "upstanding" church or community member? (My personal opinion is no, that the person is often doing those other deeds to gain access to victims or hide their activities. I look at the sentences given to some institutional child abusers and wonder why they are so short compared to the lifetime of suffering that many of their victims endure).
kaitak From Ireland, joined Aug 1999, 11948 posts, RR: 37 Reply 1, posted (6 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 648 times:
We've been through this same process (obviously not with a "Royal Commission", but similar) in Ireland and it has resulted in massive damage to the Church; you also have to consider that in Ireland, being a Catholic country (then, if not now), the state was more more in thrall to the Church and there was a huge level of deference - so much so, that many young Irish women ended up in Church run laundries (Magdalene laundries) for years, just for having children out of wedlock; they were totally ourside the state's protection.
To answer the questions in your last paragraph: "no" and "hell, no". At the end of the day, any organisation, indeed any human being, will take as much leeway and power as they can get and if the civil authorities don't intervene, then they'll take a lot - as happened in Ireland. My personal view is that the church is an extremely unhealthy organisation, in the sense that it is forcing people to suppress their own sexuality; this goes back to a time when we know far less about human sexuality than we do now. Combine that with the fact that many people were "pushed" into the priesthood in the hope that this might help to control their aberrant ways and then, give these people access to children in orphanages and other organisations and ... Then, on top of that, put a legal structure and Church leadership which is wilfully blind to this possibility, even when presented with the evidence, and you have a large number of people who have been affected.
Unfortunately (from the Church's perspective), the damage has been massive, in the sense that the Church's moral authority has been almost totally undermined; there was a time when the most powerful figure in Ireland was the Archbishop of Dublin (one John Charles McQuaid). Now, although a lot has been done within the Church to challenge its ways, the Church is still a badly damaged organisation and its ability to control social issues (which it held right up until the mid 1980s) is pretty much gone. They still have not evolved completely, in the sense that there is still celibacy and there is no chance of vocations for women; and that's not going to happen with Pope Benedict or indeed any of his likely successors. However, that's a debate for another day ...
What the Irish example teaches, I think, is that even if it's 30-40 years too late, justice should be done and be seen to be done. Many victims of child abuse (and indeed perpetrators) may be too old or even dead, but they (or their descendents and relatives) deserve to see that justice is done. It is also important for there to be an understanding of what happened and why; how could one organisation have such power and why did the state wilfully ignore its responsibilities. So, I'm glad to see Australia (and anywhere else) go through this process. It may seem, reading through what I've written, that I'm anti-Catholic, but I'm not. I was raised a Catholic and am still a (badly) practicing Catholic today, but I am of the view that it's an organisation in dire need of change and that being run exclusively by men, it's not a particularly helpful or constructive leader in modern society. There are a lot of good leaders and people in the Church, at all levels, but they are being let down and as far as I can see, the organisation is on a downward spiral, a reality not recognised at the top levels.
PHX787 From Japan, joined Mar 2012, 4936 posts, RR: 15 Reply 2, posted (6 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 648 times:
Well this is part of the reason why I left the church, but I have some interesting insight about this.
Where I'm from in Ohio, there's a LOT of catholic churches. One priest in particular at one of the churches happens to be married thanks to a few technicalities/lawsuits won in his favor.
He says that, while being married AND a priest, he feels like he is much more secure in his work. He interviewed jailed priests that have been convicted of child abuse, and they say that sexual tension/excessive desires/frustration is what caused them to turn into sexual predators in the first place.
The main issue is the ban on priests getting married, except for this one priest that I know who is.
I wonder if the church reversed its policies on marriage of priests, if the abuse cases will drop......
mariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 22695 posts, RR: 88 Reply 4, posted (6 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 650 times:
Quoting allrite (Thread starter): I'm curious to know what others think. Does any organisation have the right to try to protect its reputation over that of abuse victims?
No. No one and no institution has the right to harm others others, by it physical, psychological or sexual harm, for any reason.
If the Catholic Church cannot police itself, then it must be policed by others.
That said, it has been starting to smell of witch hunt, just a bit, as has happened in the UK with the celebrity pedophiles - the accuser is always holy - and I hope the Royal Commission lances that boil.
iFlyLOTs From United States of America, joined Apr 2012, 380 posts, RR: 0 Reply 5, posted (6 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 650 times:
Quoting PHX787 (Reply 2): I wonder if the church reversed its policies on marriage of priests, if the abuse cases will drop......
I have always wondered the same thing. I come from a mixed Presbyterian and Catholic family, and it's always been in the back of my mind that maybe if they would let the priests get married they would have less problems.
I mean, I've talked with Catholic priests and brothers (I go to a Lasallian university so I have a lot of opportunities to talk to people from all over the Catholic faith) and they all say the main reason it was established that the priests couldn't get married was because the Catholic hierarchy was worried that the priests would will away certain possessions to their children and spouse and the church would be lose property. I don't think that would be a problem anymore. Is that a problem with any other denomination of Christianity?
Quoting allrite (Thread starter): Does any organisation have the right to try to protect its reputation over that of abuse victims? Is paedophile activity a forgivable sin, so long as the person is otherwise an "upstanding" church or community member?
I was told at a catholic grade school that the moratorium on married priests was because Christ was purportedly unmarried.....which, according to a large amount of historical analysis, is being challenged...personally, I think it's all a bunch of crap for the time being
DocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 16798 posts, RR: 57 Reply 7, posted (6 months 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 648 times:
Quoting allrite (Thread starter): I'm curious to know what others think. Does any organisation have the right to try to protect its reputation over that of abuse victims? Is paedophile activity a forgivable sin, so long as the person is otherwise an "upstanding" church or community member? (My personal opinion is no, that the person is often doing those other deeds to gain access to victims or hide their activities. I look at the sentences given to some institutional child abusers and wonder why they are so short compared to the lifetime of suffering that many of their victims endure).
Of course they don't. Of course being a church doesn't (or shouldn't) give you immunity from the law, especially when it comes to violent crime (and I would define all sexual abuse --especially of pre-adolescent children-- as a violent crime).
The question is: what are you going to do? Ban the Catholic Church?
Quoting PHX787 (Reply 2): I wonder if the church reversed its policies on marriage of priests, if the abuse cases will drop......
Doubt it. Pedophiles, for all the attention they garner, are quite rare. They tend to gravitate towards positions in which they have access to children. Teachers, religious leaders (not just Catholic Priests), Scout leaders, sports coaches, pediatricians (there have been a few high-profile cases), etc.
The Catholic Church is exceptional in these cases for two reasons:
1) The Catholic Church claims to have a monopoly on (or at least a significant claim to) morality. So for the Catholic Church to have priests abusing children would be an admission that there is evil within the Church. This would fundamentally undermine the Church's credibility with its followers, so it cannot be permitted. As a result...
2) The Catholic Church compounded the immorality of individual Priests by then trying to cover the abuses up as an institution, elevating the individual moral failings of its Priests to the level of the entire institution. It was ridiculously short-sighted of them. Whenever you try to cover up a relatively small problem,* it becomes a very big problem once it gets exposed. And it always gets exposed.
However, let us not think that child sexual abuse is somehow concentrated within the Catholic Church. It is rare, but ubiquitous where there are children.
*I am not calling child abuse a "small problem." However, on the grand scheme of 1-2 billion Catholics or so in the world, a pedophile Priest in a given parish should have been expelled from the Priesthood and turned over to the local authorities on discovery. Had this been done, it would have caused a self-limited local storm, rather than a global one.
Quokkas From Australia, joined Jan 2012, 1355 posts, RR: 9 Reply 8, posted (6 months 5 days ago) and read 648 times:
An area that I think needs to be looked at is the issue of mandatory reporting. The fact that the Church knew of instances of child sexual abuse and covered it up is something that should not have happened but it was perfectly legal in some jurisdictions.
Here in Australia the requirements for mandatory reporting vary from State to State both in terms of who is to report and what is reportable. In some States a report must be made by Medical Practitioners, in others teachers may be required to report suspicions. In some States any person with a reasonable suspicion may report a child as being potentially a victim of abuse. In South Australia ministers of religion are specifically included as required to report but with the exception of disclosures made in the confessional.
Perhaps the Royal Commission (depending on its terms of reference) can make recommendations on uniform legislation in place of the rather diverse provisions adopted by the States. The question of confessional confidence also needs to be considered as in the past it seems to have allowed the Church to be an accessory after the fact.
“Not to laugh, not to cry, not to hate, but understand.” Spinoza
ltbewr From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 12325 posts, RR: 12 Reply 9, posted (6 months 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 650 times:
I think one area of law as to the sexual abuse by Roman Catholic and other religious institutions, especially in English Common Law countries that needs to be reconsidered is that of the priest-penitent (confession) privilege. Although some governments now require disclosures by religious and other institutions to police and justice authorities of sexual and other assaults, the priest-penitent rule presents a serious conflict in the faith beliefs for religious authorities. The seal of Confession is seen as absolute within the RC and other faiths and for good reason should not be easily pierced.
It may take threats as to the tax free status and certain legal protections, cutting funding from government as to certain services they provide like schools, community services especially to the poor, hospitals and medical care to make a necessary deal as to the priest-pententant rules to change them to prevent sexual abuse in the Church and make sure victims have protections.
Aesma From France, joined Nov 2009, 4762 posts, RR: 9 Reply 10, posted (6 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 648 times:
Quoting iFlyLOTs (Reply 5): the main reason it was established that the priests couldn't get married was because the Catholic hierarchy was worried that the priests would will away certain possessions to their children and spouse and the church would be lose property.
I read it was not about property but rather to avoid priests being children of priests.
Quoting ltbewr (Reply 9): It may take threats as to the tax free status and certain legal protections, cutting funding from government as to certain services they provide like schools, community services especially to the poor, hospitals and medical care to make a necessary deal as to the priest-pententant rules to change them to prevent sexual abuse in the Church and make sure victims have protections.
Would it lead to anything, though ? At least currently the priest can try to convince the delinquent/criminal to give himself/herself up. If such laws are passed, the confession of crimes will just stop and nothing will have been accomplished.
I agree that there has been a tradition of cover-up but I believe the church has learned its lesson now (inquiries should continue of course). When I see evangelical mega-churches with millionaire leaders, and many cults that are left alone (like Raëlism, that could not strive in France), I'm sure many untoward things happen there.
Now about contraception and sex in general that's another matter and I will always fight the church on this, in fact that's what made me leave it to begin with (I never believed but I liked churches activities for the youth, my first and only 747 flight so far was largely paid for by the church).
New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
na From Germany, joined Dec 1999, 9597 posts, RR: 10 Reply 11, posted (6 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 648 times:
Imho pedophiles are the scum of the Earth. I dont know if its a genetic disposition to some part, but even if so, its a sign of a lack of control and mental health if someone like that succumbs to it.
The traditional Catholic Church´s treatment of sexual the side is still sick and denying the reality. I am still a Catholic, despite that, as its only a small part of the Church which overall does a lot of good. But I have witnessed that quite a number of people, men and women, who join the Church as priests or nuns, do in fact have a seriously oppressed sexuality, and often enough homosexuality. While I believe its is possible to limit sexual activity to practically zero its very sad that some sick-minded men obviously joined the Church as a means to live out their perverted sexuality by harming children. And its so sad to see that still such "fallen" priests are better cared for by the church as compared to their victims. Imho the Pope should openly threat pedophiles with excommunication.
Quoting DocLightning (Reply 7): Doubt it. Pedophiles, for all the attention they garner, are quite rare.
I just heard the other week that its estimated that in a population of about 80 million Germans there are between 200-300.000 pedophiles, 90% of it men. I dont know if that are active pedophiles, but if so its a frightingly huge number. Especially if its about misusing small children I think it should be punished much stronger than law does now.
PHX787 From Japan, joined Mar 2012, 4936 posts, RR: 15 Reply 12, posted (6 months 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 650 times:
Quoting DocLightning (Reply 7): Doubt it. Pedophiles, for all the attention they garner, are quite rare. They tend to gravitate towards positions in which they have access to children. Teachers, religious leaders (not just Catholic Priests), Scout leaders, sports coaches, pediatricians (there have been a few high-profile cases), etc.
Now hold on, Doc. Scout Leaders are subject to extensive background screening and training, and if that screening and training is not followed, then those involved are kicked out and banned from anything regarding Scouting.
I became an Assistant Scoutmaster in 2009 after i became an Eagle Scout and I was required to submit a number of forms allowing the Scouts to run extensive background checks on me. The issues we saw with the Scoutmasters in the past were the result of lax screening.
In Cincy, the scout leaders are always parents of the current Scouts. When a Scout stops attending or reaches Eagle Scout, typically the parent would "retire" with them, but sometimes they stay around because the parent is also a very involved member of the church that the troop is stationed in.