23 Mar 2011

New York archbishop says attacks over child abuse motivated by money and critics who want to ruin the church



Pharyngula - Science Blogs March 20, 2011

The Catholic Church still doesn't get it


No matter how many revelations of child sex abuse by Catholic Priests come out, the Catholic Church still doesn’t get it. Take, for example, this story told by the Archbishop of New York, in which he recounts a (probably apocryphal) encounter with an angry man at an airport.

According to the Archbishop, the ex-Catholic said that he cannot look at a Catholic Priest without thinking “sexual predator”. The Archbishop’s response is telling, as he thinks only of the “shame and damage of the wound” that had been inflicted on himself with those words, rather than the far worse damage inflicted upon countless children by the Church’s actions.

Archbishop Dolan considered yelling and swearing at the guy, but instead proceeded to excuse the Church from all misconduct — taking the common line that sexual abuse is everywhere, so the Catholic Church should not be singled out. The Church just doesn’t get it, still treating child sexual abuse as just another sin on par with consensual homosexuality, rather than as a crime. They are also ignoring their own records, which suggest that Catholic Priests are more than 100-fold more likely to be a child sex offender than an average member of the public. There is a real genuine problem of child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church that just cannot be eradicated until the Church accepts that the problem is within Catholicism itself, rather than just being a society-wide problem that has reached into the Church.

Most revealing of all is the musings by the Archbishop on the reasons why the Catholic Church is attacked over child sexual abuse. The Archbishop gives three reasons:

1. “For one, we priests deserve the more intense scrutiny, because people trust us more as we dare claim to represent God, so, when one of us do it – even if only a tiny minority of us ever have — it is more disgusting.”

I have to say, I think the Archbishop has a point here. Not about “a tiny minority”, the Church’s own figures suggest that ~9% of Catholic Priests ordained in 1970 were child sex offenders. But it is true that the crime is more horrific when the same monster who is abusing children is also telling adults in a loving consensual relationship that their act is a crime against God. The solution is simple, however – until the Church achieves some semblance of morality itself it should cease from condemning others.

2. “Two, I’m afraid there are many out there who have no love for the Church, and are itching to ruin us. This is the issue they love to endlessly scourge us with.”

Ah yes, the Church is the victim of a witch-hunt (a term which originates, incidentally, from the practice of the Catholic Church in persecuting innocent women and executing them without evidence). America does indeed have a history of Protestant discrimination against Catholics, but the child sex abuse scandal is not limited to America. There has been scandal and outcry in staunchly Catholic European countries, such as Belgium and Ireland. The rise of anti-Catholicism in these countries is not due to historic prejudice, but rather is being directly created by the actions of the Church. The Archbishop has cause and effect the wrong way around – child sex abuse is driving anti-Catholic sentiment, not the reverse.

3. “And, three, I hate to say it, there’s a lot of money to be made in suing the Catholic Church, while it’s hardly worth suing any of the other groups I mentioned before.”

This is contemptible, the Archbishop is making the outright accusation that cases of child sex abuse are being invented for profit. Once again, the Church is considering itself to be the victim rather than the culprit. Not only is this a disgusting slap in the face to all those people abused by Catholic Priests, but it is certifiably wrong. The John Jay Study, commissioned by the Catholic Church, detailed that Church investigations of sex abuse allegations found that 80% were “substantiated” and only 1.5% were “false”. So even when the Church investigates itself, using a Canon Law process that is judged by the local Bishop and does not allow for forensic evidence, they agree that only the tiniest minority of cases are made up.

The Church needs to stop assuming that the outrage against child sexual abuse is confected for political or monetary gain. The outrage against child sexual abuse is genuine outrage at the horrific nature of the crime itself.

I have suggested before the five steps that the Church needs to take in response to these crimes:

1) Admit that child rape is a wide-spread crime being perpetrated within the Catholic Church by a substantial proportion of Priests, reaching across continents and as far back as records exists.

2) Admit that this child rape has nothing to do with homosexuality or secularism or any such, and is instead a problem disproportionately within Catholicism.

3) Admit that the Church knew for a long time that this was a problem but chose to cover it up, and that Church doctrine is still preventing cases being reported directly to the secular authorities.

4) Admit that the Church has spent, and still spends, far more time devoted to petty concerns such as preventing contraception than it has to preventing child rape by its own members.

5) Fix the damn problem. Sell a few pieces of art and pay restitution to the victims. Make it official Church policy to report every incident to the police. Investigate Priests with the zeal shown during the Spanish Inquisition. Shut up about other people's "sins" until the Church is clean. Change those aspects of doctrine or theology that drive child rape. Show some humility.

Unfortunately, decades into the scandal the Church is still failing to grasp step 1. 


This article was found at:




RELATED ARTICLES ON THIS BLOG:



Leaked confidential letter reveals Vatican's intention to prevent reporting of abuse to criminal authorities


1963 letter by church expert on pedophile priests shows Pope Paul VI and Vatican officials ignored warnings to expel problem priests


Pope John Paul authorized 2001 letter to all bishops praising French bishop for hiding rapist priest from authorities


Bishops were warned of abusive priests as early as the mid-1950s





Dublin Archbishop says church self-centred, arrogant, failed children and rarely empathised with their pain



Of course popes, cardinals and bishops covered up crimes against children, but can the Church be reformed while leaders are in denial?


Catholic diocese bankruptcies protect assets from abuse survivors but provide no relief for moral bankruptcy of church leaders


Pope's 2010 Christmas message reveals broken moral compass, again fails to adequately address clergy abuse and cover-up


Dublin Archbishop admits frustration over failed effort to promote major reforms in Catholic Church


New rules on clergy sex abuse shows there is still no moral awakening in the Catholic church


If the Pope is infallibly moral why did he enable and cover-up the systematic rape of children across the globe?



Pope calls on Catholics to repent, but condemns critics, while Vatican attempts to rewrite history 




Pope refers to sex crimes against children as "sin within the Church" requiring prayer and penance rather than prison


Vatican's exorcist says criticisms of pope prompted by devil, priests who molest & rape children are merely succumbing to worldly temptations


Vatican officials and Catholic university students attack the messengers who report abuses and neglect, downplay pope's role


Unholy week of political spin by church hierarchy shielding pope from personal responsibility for failing to protect children 


As one bishop blames Jews for current criticisms of Catholic church, another blames homosexuality for pedophile priests


Bad Friday: Pope's personal preacher plays persecution card, compares criticisms of church to anti-Semitism


Vatican's top Cardinal blames sex crimes scandals on homosexuality in speech in Santiago, where Chilean priest raped girls 



Head of church-backed probe into Belgian clergy crimes says the Pope must set an example and resign


Irish priest calls for Archbishops and investigators to pin blame on Vatican for central role in global clergy crimes crisis


Retired Archbishop blames protective church hierarchy for clergy abuse scandal


Irish priests say there is a difference between pedophile priests and those who commit "minor indiscretions" with a teenager



Higher incidence of male victims of sex abuse in Anglican and Catholic churches than in the wider community




The Catholic League downplays the evils of child abuse


New book shows church's efforts to downplay crimes of Australian priest who terrorised and raped children for 50 years


Mother Teresa failed to protect teen boys from her spiritual adviser, the Jesuit order's most notorious convicted pedophile




Hundreds of admitted or credibly accused pedophile priests who escaped justice are unsupervised by church or police


Catholic church spends millions protecting predators and keeping victims out of court by fighting time limits law reform


US clergy abuse lawyer says lawsuits only way to force churches to end secrecy, protect children, compensate survivors


Prominent Catholic clergy abuse lawyer says lawsuits needed to force church to disclose secret files that reveal abusive priests, policies and practices


International humanist group accuses UN committee of neglecting Vatican's violations of children's rights


Humanists ask UN to hold Vatican accountable for violating children's rights by shielding abusers & obstructing justice


UN publishes International Humanist and Ethical Union statement on child abuse and the Holy See


German lawyers file crimes against humanity charges alleging spiritual coercion and abuse cover-up by the Pope


Holding Bishops Accountable: How Lawsuits Helped the Catholic Church Confront Clergy Sexual Abuse [Book Review]


Litigating clergy sex abuse - 3 book reviews


Irish head of Amnesty International says addressing past human rights violations prevents future abuse


Thousands of children raped by priests is a human rights atrocity, Pope should resign to give survivors more than mere words


Catholic Church ignores Amnesty International's call to comply with international children's rights law


New book by UN judge says Vatican should be treated as a rogue state until it abandons canon law and stops protecting abusers


Christopher Hitchens: holding the Catholic Church accountable for its crimes takes earthly justice


Hitchens says Pope responsible for obstructing justice & enabling the rape & torture of children, an apologist responds


Humanists ask UN to hold Vatican accountable for violating children's rights by shielding abusers & obstructing justice


Deaf man suing Vatican tells his story in CNN report on Pope's role in protecting pedophiles and covering-up clergy child rape


U.S. lawsuit accuses Pope Benedict and other Vatican officials of negligence for enabling abuse at school for deaf

 

No comments:

Post a comment