An Act of Contrition: “You Don’t Play With Children’s Lives”

By Mark Esposito, Weekend Contributor

 

Well, will miracles never cease? In a church known for compelling confession from its followers, a remarkable one from its chief advocate came across the wires on Friday. That’s right, after decades of lying, obfuscating, blocking, destroying evidence and covering up in the most un-Christian way, Pope Francis has done what many Catholics hoped his predecessors would have done years ago — apologize AND beg forgiveness. Oh, lots of Popes apologize but it’s always with a condition … a term … a little euphemism about one bad apple not spoiling the great work of the barrel, or that the church’s pedophile problem isn’t really any worse than anybody else’s. (Really, every church has a decades old issue of unmarried priests molesting little boys and girls on an institutional level?) Or that it’s just American culture fueling the problem. (Damn justice seekers reading those beatitudes so literally!)

And in an even more remarkable statement from the most protective of secret societies, the new Pope owned it. He owned it in every sense from the philandering priests to their bishop protectors who covered for them and then unleashed the wolves on another unwitting flock. “I feel compelled to personally … ask for forgiveness for the damage they have done…. I feel called to take responsibility for all the evil some priests — large in number, but not in proportion to the total — have committed and to ask forgiveness for the damage they’ve done with the sexual abuse of children,” the Pontiff proclaimed loudly an in public. “We don’t want to take a step backward in dealing with this problem and with the sanctions that must be imposed,” the pope said. “On the contrary, I believe we must be very strong. You don’t play with children’s lives!”

To understand how remarkable this statement is you have to look back to the church’s position on the now world-wide scandal of priest pedophilia. The scandal blew up in 2002 when the Boston Globe published a series of articles exposing the problem and the church’s almost cavalier approach to dealing with pedophiles in its midst. The series created a stir in Europe too where the crimes were just coming to light. The public reaction from Rome was a curious and deafening silence. It was up to the bishops in the diocese to cleanup their own messes came the private word from Rome to the provinces. The US Conference of Bishops did what every bureaucracy does when accused of scandal — they studied it. And they issued a proclamation stating what we Catholics thought was policy all along, namely that the church owes its child members a”safe environment” in all church activities. Not exactly a mea culpa or even a “we’ve got a hell of problem here Brownie.” Just a statement of the obvious.  Old men talked, procedures were adopted, the laity listened and the cover up and abuse continued.

As more and more victims came forward, the church felt the need to react again. And when over 3000 cases were filed seeking billions in damages for victims, the action needed to be higher than at a diocesan or even national level. The reaction from the seat of power was now denial, diminish, and defend. A study was published claiming that only 4% of priests over a 50 year span were suspected of abuse. Then a pious statement in 2003 from then Pope John Paul II: ” there is no place in the priesthood and religious life for those who would harm the young”. But behind the scenes the Church had no intention of doing anything besides battening down the hatches. Cardinal George Pell described the mood in Rome:

…The attitude of some people at the Vatican was that if accusations were being made against priests, they were being made exclusively or at least predominantly by enemies of the church to make trouble and therefore they should be dealt with sceptically. I think there was more of an inclination to give the benefit of the doubt to the defendant rather than listen seriously to the complaints…

Publicly, the church was saying all the right things. Adopting procedures for kids to come forward, training laity and priests alike about what to look for when abuse was suspected, but in the litigation wars where the rubber met the road, the rule was scorched earth.  A 2014 United Nations report issued scathing criticism of the Vatican’s historical efforts to block investigators and coverup crimes during those times. At the hearing, Sara Oviedo, the chief UN investigator pressed the Vatican delegation on the frequent ways abusive priests were transferred rather than turned in to police. Given the church’s “zero tolerance” policy, she asked, why were there “efforts to cover up and obscure these types of cases?” The church demurred with Monsignor Charles Scicluna, the Vatican’s former sex crimes prosecutor,  politely telling the committee, “The Holy See gets it. Let’s not say too late or not. But there are certain things that need to be done differently.” Not all in scarlet vestments were so sanguine, however, with one Vatican emissary issuing this dodge: “Priests are not functionaries of the Vatican,” Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s U.N. ambassador in Geneva, told the committee. “Priests are citizens of their own states, and they fall under the jurisdiction of their own country.” 

And some in the Curia (the Vatican’s governing bureaucracy) said all this fuss about abusive priests was an American culture problem and its perceived anti-Catholic prejudice and even its ambulance chasing lawyers. A reporter from the National Catholic Reporter put it this way:

No one [in the Vatican] thinks the sexual abuse of kids is unique to the States, but they do think that the reporting on it is uniquely American, fueled by anti-Catholicism and shyster lawyers hustling to tap the deep pockets of the church. And that thinking is tied to the larger perception about American culture, which is that there is a hysteria when it comes to anything sexual, and an incomprehension of the Catholic Church. What that means is that Vatican officials are slower to make the kinds of public statements that most American Catholics want, and when they do make them they are tentative and halfhearted [sic]. It’s not that they don’t feel bad for the victims, but they think the clamor for them to apologize is fed by other factors that they don’t want to capitulate to.

Nasty ol’ Americans with all this sentiment for justice and protecting kids! Who the Hell are they … these sexual deviates?

In ten years following the Boston Globe reports more than $2 billion has been paid out to victims either by way of verdict or settlement; cases of coddled abusers have been reported in  Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Belgium, France, Germany and Australia; and several catholic diocese have faced the prospect of bankruptcy to protect assets from attachment.  Justice seekers exact a high price it seems.

This is the second time Pope Francis has apologized, but the first time he’s condemned the church’s reaction to the scandal. He was not alone. In 2010, then Pope Benedict criticized the church for not being vigilant enough or quick enough in responding to the problem of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy. A representative of SNAP, a victim’s advocacy group,  responded that the criticism was “disingenuous” because, in her opinion, the Church had in fact been “prompt and vigilant” in concealing the scandal.

Still this Pope Francis seems to actually “get it” and as every Catholic learns about the sacrament of penance “there is no forgiveness without contrition, and no contrition without confession.”  Now, the church’s work of emotional and spiritual satisfaction to its victims can begin.

Sources: CNS; SNAP; Huffington Post

~Mark Esposito, Weekend Contributor

84 thoughts on “An Act of Contrition: “You Don’t Play With Children’s Lives”

  1. I am not Catholic, but I liked this Pope from the beginning.

    Now he is showing something all leaders should have.

    Courageous post Mark E.

  2. It’s not just the Catholic Church. Every month for decades Freethought Today has referenced newspaper articles from across the country on serious crimes committed by clergy from a wide array of denominations. As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, It’s hard to understand why people today still support a church that has such a long and prurient history filled with such huge numbers of atrocities against children.

  3. “a church known for compelling confession from its followers”

    I stopped reading after that sentence. Why waste my time reading the rants of someone who is so obviously and deeply ignorant of the subject on which he writes?

  4. OXA:
    “a church known for compelling confession from its followers”

    I stopped reading after that sentence. Why waste my time reading the rants of someone who is so obviously and deeply ignorant of the subject on which he writes?

    ****************************
    The Catechism of the Catholic Church requires all Catholics to particpate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation (nee Penance) at least once per year.

    See what 8 years of Catholic school will do for ya! (Part II, THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY, Section 2, Chapter 2)

    Your bias is showing!

  5. oxa – you have two prime duties as a Roman Catholic 1) go to confession once a year and 2) do your Easter duty. The author is right.

    Oddly enough, there has been an attack on the Church for covering this up, which is warranted. But there is no attack, as a group, on the number of gay priests who committed these acts.

    And almost daily I read an article of another female teacher arrested for having sex with an under-age student. There is no movement to shut down the school system.

  6. Oxa:

    Of course you’re right! Why would anyone associate mandatory eternal damnation into the fires of Hell with being “compelled” to do someting. You’re just “required” to go to the confessional annually. That Hell stuff for comitting a unabsolved mortal sin is just optional in your version of Catholic ideology. I’ll cite you to St. Peter.

    Admit you were wrong and move on. Maybe even read the piece.

  7. I have long said there were 2 groups attacking the church on the pedophile priests. The first group was righteous. They were comprised of Catholics and non-Catholics who were disgusted by the actions of the priests, and even more so the hierarchy covering up and moving priests around to strike again. The second group did not so much care about the victims, they just hate the church and saw a great opportunity for vengeance. You’re seeing that here. Great post, mespo.

  8. Mark,

    As I have written before, this Pope truly seems genuine and guided by the best of values of the Catholic Church. I have always found it remarkable that there are many pushing for deification of the last Pope when Pope Francis has transformed this Church and its priesthood in a relatively short time.

  9. Here is an example of what I mean by his leadership qualities.

    President Jimmy Carter recently said what other leaders of our nation have been afraid to.

    Like the Pope, he tells it like it is:

    The rest of the world, almost unanimously, looks at America as the No. 1 warmonger. That we revert to armed conflict almost at the drop of a hat — and quite often it’s not only desired by the leaders of our country, but it’s also supported by the people of America.

    (Salon). Leaders must tell their people when they are adrift off course, so that they can get back on track.

    It is an act of love, not hate.

  10. Paul,

    The reason there has been no attack on gay priests, as a group, is because homophobia is not politically correct, while faithphobia is. It is the same templated culture when it comes to female pedophiles, or female anything, for that matter. When Hillary, Sebelius, or Napolitano screwed up, no one labeled them old women, unlike the politically correct fashion against men where it is open season on anything that can be tied to male gender.

    Dredd, the politically correct definitely need some leadership, too.

  11. I am not impressed. 1. No one has been excommunited for covering this scandal up and allowing these criminals to continue abusing children. ( They have for ordaining women and fighting for women’s rights.) 2.. The Italian church has issued its policy and it says that priests who offend In this manner WILL NOT BE TURNED OVER TO THE POLICE. 3. Americna Bishops are still trying to use bankruptcy filings to avoid liability just the way NYC Cardinal Dolan did at his las posting.

    Until Dolan and the like are demoted and defrocked and the Vatican orders all documents releasesd, oveffers up all church officials for depostion including the reired Pope and reports all abusers and accomplices to the authorities I will believe this is a sincere act of contrition. It is all PR. Just remember how this same man reacted to the UN report. It is all about protecting the institution. The church wont give you absolution unless you are contrite why should they be forgiven with out evidence that they are.

  12. Sometimes I wonder if being a molested alter boy would have been a blessing in disguise. Especially with a big payout settlement. Investing in stocks that have good dividend yields. In the mean time, NY Tim Dolan has a plan. “Hide the money”. Poof gone….we can’t pay.

  13. I missed a very important word. My comment should read I will NOT beleive this is a sincere act of contrition. Again, NOT believe.

  14. I’m amazed at what the new pope has accomplished…. However….. There is much to do…. But to say that something’s cannot be changed because of the canonical law…. Is not a good reason…..excellent article…

  15. paul schulte:

    Why do you think this is gay priests? my understanding is that pedophilia is a condition all to itself.

    A pedophilia priest may not be attracted to adults so it is rather hard, at least in my mind, to say this was done by exclusively homosexual priests.

  16. The whole “gay priests” agreement was to excuse the church the same way the “this problem is a pr problem started by haters of the Catholic Church” was used to avoid the truth!

  17. samantha

    Dredd, the politically correct definitely need some leadership, too.
    ==============
    What Byron said, and this is a good beginning, but it must go all the way to backing it up with very serious action.

    Do everything correctly.

  18. We’ve covered this before and if you take the emotion out of it, it’s quite simple. Perverts[can we use that judgmental term?] who prey on children and adolescents break down pretty much the way all people break down vis a vis sexual preference. About 4% of people are attracted to the same sex. I think it’s a bit lower than 4% but that’s the new figure, after EVERYONE realized the 10% figure thrown out there by gay activists was propaganda. So..if the priest scandal held to the normal breakdown, there should have been many more female victims. The fact is the overwhelming number of victims were male. So, this makes this primarily a homosexual priest problem. Can we put the freakin’ PC aside and accept the obvious facts regarding the priest scandal??? It DOES NOT MEAN most pedophiles are homosexual.

  19. Justice, This scandal was started by the righteous, parents who’s sons, in large number, were victims of priests. The haters were happy to join in and are easy to identify.

  20. Just one other operator in this whole mess. Hint:

    2Co 11:14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
    2Co 11:15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

    Jud 1:9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.

    Job 2:4 And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.
    Job 2:5 But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.

    1Pe 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

  21. nick:

    I think pedophilia is a behavior unto itself. I am pretty sure pedophiles abuse male and female children, it isnt the sex of the child that matters but the age.

    In my mind, a confirmed pedophile should either be shot or put away for life. You cant change them and they are predators.

  22. Nick Spinelli,

    Can we put the freakin’ PC aside and accept the obvious facts regarding the priest scandal??? It DOES NOT MEAN most pedophiles are homosexual.
    ===============
    You are the one who can’t lose the PC thingy.

    It is a myth you bring up daily.

    Everything should be done right.

    Religion (RC religiously correct), politics (PC), science (SC), and analysis (AC analytically correct).

    This PC hangup you bring up is utterly meaningless.

    Perversion is not correct on any wavelength, including the PC wavelength that is always bursting your balls.

    So, yeah, see if you can lose it and not bring it up so you don’t have to get mad at yourself.

  23. Byron:

    “In my mind, a confirmed pedophile should either be shot or put away for life. You cant change them and they are predators.”

    **********************

    I really think you’re limiting yourself. Why not both?

  24. Bron, Pedophiles do have sexual preference. My wife did MANY presentences of child porn beasts. The large majority have a specific age group and SPECIFIC sexual preference. It is a myth that pedophiles go after both sexes. That’s not to say some aren’t bisexual, just like some normal people are. I sense this myth is PC. AGAIN, most pedophiles are hetero, just like most normal people.

    As Dennis Miller says, if you can’t keep yourself from hurting kids you have to do the right thing. You need to kill yourself.

  25. Time to be PC (pedophillia correct:

    The empirical research does not show that gay or bisexual men are any more likely than heterosexual men to molest children. This is not to argue that homosexual and bisexual men never molest children. But there is no scientific basis for asserting that they are more likely than heterosexual men to do so. And, as explained above, many child molesters cannot be characterized as having an adult sexual orientation at all; they are fixated on children.

    (Facts About Homosexuality and Child Molestation).

  26. JT:

    “As I have written before, this Pope truly seems genuine and guided by the best of values of the Catholic Church. I have always found it remarkable that there are many pushing for deification of the last Pope when Pope Francis has transformed this Church and its priesthood in a relatively short time.”

    *********************

    Not so remarkable. No good deed (against the power structure) ever goes unpunished and no bad deed (on behalf of the power structure) goes unrewarded. Cui bono? Payoff for covering up? Benedict was, after all, the guy who headed up the Holy Inquisition and told priests not to report abuse. Call me Machiavelli but I recall “Judge Bybee’s reward.

  27. For anyone unfamiliar with Catholic confession:

    http://catholicism.about.com/od/beliefsteachings/p/Why_Confession.htm

    Catholics can make an act of contrition privately, without involving a priest. They are supposed to go to Confession when they have committed a mortal sin, or at least once a year.

    The confessional has 2 options: a screen which hides the identity of the person confessing, or an open window where the priest and parishioner can speak fact to face. The person confessing chooses which he or she would prefer.

    Catholicism is the only major religion I am aware of that requires an annual confession with a priest. Jewish Confession, I believe, requires that no one else be present, and that it is private between God and the person.

  28. We should address the dynamic of prosecution and sentencing. First, any pedophile priest should be prosecuted in a court of law, not in some ecclesiastical court. Sentencing should be an eye for an eye sort of thing. Speaking of thing, pardon the pun, but cut off the thing. The other moving parts as well and we are not talking ball bearings here. Once you have punished a pedophile priest in this manner he is unlikely to assault a child again and he is likely to be an example to others as to what lies in store. Two offenses should be a capital crime. Hang em. By the ……

  29. Oh, and to clear up the “gay pedophile” issue:

    Heterosexuals prefer adult partners of the opposite sex.
    Homosexuals prefer adult partners of the same sex.
    Pedophiles can be broken down into subgroups: those who prefer opposite sex victims, and those who prefer same sex victims. There are more heterosexual pedophiles, and most incest cases fall in this case. There are less homosexual pedophiles, but those who prey on male children are more prolific, and have a higher number of victims.

    So a gay man is not a pedophile. A homosexual pedophile is more attracted to male children than to male men. A heterosexual pedophile is more attracted to opposite sex children than to adults.

    I hope I am explaining this clearly. If someone is attracted to men, he will not be attracted to young boys, and vice versa. However, pedophiles can try to “pass” by engaging in relationships with adults to hide their true nature.

  30. And I absolutely agree that pedophile priests should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

    Isn’t there a law by which we can prosecute anyone who fails to report suspected child molestation to the police? I think that certain job positions require it, like teachers, but shouldn’t it be true of anyone?

  31. Karen, Yes. They are referred to in some states as “mandated reporters.” They are required to report, w/ sanctions if the don’t. Teachers, counselors, medical professionals are all mandated reporters.

  32. The pedophile priest scandal has been a huge wound in the Catholic Church. These were an unfortunate incidents that have left a noticeable scar on the church that we will have to live with forever.

    When it happened, I personally think it was shock wave that ran through the church and the leaders didn’t know how to handle the problem. That’s why it seemed to the public to take so long for the church to face the problem, when in fact, the church leaders were drawn together to determine the problem and how to handle it. They didn’t handle it correctly at first, but over the last 12 years, they have getting to the crux of the problem and improving on handling this humiliating situation.

    At this point I could mention that it happens in every walk of life, but the fact is it is within our own family of church believers and needs to be addressed and prevented in the future. I don’t know if it’s a gender problem or a psychological deviant problem, but it must be addressed. Many priest hid behind the sanctity of the church for their own abnormalities.

    It has always been the churches belief that no matter how bad an action is, God is ready to be merciful and forgiving. Non-Catholics and faith haters used this as an opportunity to say that the church hid behind it’s “secret society.” Yes, in some cases it did, but the church was also taking time in analyzing, debating and searching for a way to rehabilitate these priests rather than condemn–unfortunately with little to no success.

    Although some priests have not been defrocked, most have had duties suspended, forced to resign and retire, and of course, several have been given considerable lengthy prison time–rightfully so. When we compare their prison time to the recent two American layman pedophile’s–one who got 1 year in jail and the other who got probation, the priests are serving their penance far more.

    As for some Catholic Diocese’s filing bankruptcy cases, my answer to Justice Holmes is, wouldn’t you do the same to protect your assets? Isn’t that what we pay you lawyers to do? Would you be willing to give up all your assets to pay contrition for your sins. I think not. Stop pointing your finger at one institution (that you dislike) while protecting others that hurt our entire society.

    Justice Holmes, your spite and hate for Christianity is showing again. Why don’t you stop living in denial and take a good look at our own government, which is filled with corruption, lies, and is raping the whole American society of it freedoms and constitutional rights. Yet you continue to defend the current corrupt government in Washington, particularly your own party. As for the UN, they have committed more fraudulent acts, personally and collectively, and we’re supposed to listen to them? I think not.

    What the priests’ did was wrong and against God. We Christian’s are slam blasted every time priest pedophilia is brought up. We are filled with shame, and pray for mercy, forgiveness, and healing for the victims and those priests.

    NO CATHOLIC OR ANY CHRISTIAN is out to abuse children. Children are our most precious blessing on this earth, and we all strive to protect, love, and nurture them. I have always found it so curious that the folks who slam the church and call it an institution of child abusers, have no problem supporting abortion–seems like an oxymoron to me.

    The last THREE popes have apologized and asked for forgiveness. All three popes have been working to take care of this horrible problem. The diocese and church administrators have been taking extra precautions to train their staff and all those who work with all people, particularly children.

    However, it is those filled with hateful hearts who keep rehashing this sensitive situation in an effort to spew their vengeful words towards the church, which was founded by Jesus Christ. Yet, Jesus still loves you, even though you turn your backs on Him.

    It’s Easter week–what perfect time for the rancorous to keep pounding the nails deeper into His hands and feet.

  33. Produce Cardinal Law for trial , or quit. Then we will know this pope.

    “Yet, Jesus still loves you, even though you turn your backs on Him.” — Happy Easter to you too, Judge, Jury and Executioner De La Paz

  34. The Catholic Church hid the truth for decades. Diocesan officials often moved known sex abusers from one parish to another–where they continued to abuse children. The church hid the truth. These weren’t mere “incidents.” These were heinous crimes committed against children–and they were covered up by the church for years.

    *****

    Here’s just one of many stories of clergy sex abuse from my state of Massachusetts:

    Church allowed abuse by priest for years
    Aware of Geoghan record, archdiocese still shuttled him from parish to parish
    January 06, 2002
    Boston Globe Spotlight Team
    Part 1 of 2
    http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/special-reports/2002/01/06/church-allowed-abuse-priest-for-years/cSHfGkTIrAT25qKGvBuDNM/story.html

    Excerpt:
    Since the mid-1990s, more than 130 people have come forward with horrific childhood tales about how former priest John J. Geoghan allegedly fondled or raped them during a three-decade spree through a half-dozen Greater Boston parishes.

    Almost always, his victims were grammar school boys. One was just 4 years old.

    Then came last July’s disclosure that Cardinal Bernard F. Law knew about Geoghan’s problems in 1984, Law’s first year in Boston, yet approved his transfer to St. Julia’s parish in Weston. Wilson D. Rogers Jr., the cardinal’s attorney, defended the move last summer, saying the archdiocese had medical assurances that each Geoghan reassignment was “appropriate and safe.”

    But one of Law’s bishops thought that the 1984 assignment of Geoghan to St. Julia’s was so risky, he wrote the cardinal a letter in protest. And for good reason, the Spotlight Team found: The archdiocese already had substantial evidence of Geoghan’s predatory sexual habits. That included his assertion in 1980 that his repeated abuse of seven boys in one extended family was not a “serious” problem, according to an archdiocesan record.

    The St. Julia’s assignment proved disastrous. Geoghan was put in charge of three youth groups, including altar boys. In 1989, he was forced to go on sick leave after more complaints of sexual abuse, and spent months in two institutions that treat sexually abusive priests. Even so, the archdiocese returned him to St. Julia’s, where Geoghan continued to abuse children for another three years.

    Now, as Geoghan faces the first of two criminal trials next week, details about his sexual compulsion are likely to be overshadowed by a question that many Catholics find even more troubling: Why did it take a succession of three cardinals and many bishops 34 years to place children out of Geoghan’s reach?

  35. Records show a trail of secrecy, deception
    By Walter V. Robinson and Stephen Kurkjian
    | Globe Staff
    May 01, 2012
    http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/special-reports/2012/05/01/bgcom-inv-clergy-side/gCUuvYojnYSuIvbwyzHayJ/story.html

    Excerpt:
    When it came to the Rev. Robert M. Burns and his sexual attraction to boys, the first consideration of the Archdiocese of Boston was secrecy.

    In the early 1990s, keeping Burns’s crimes secret preoccupied top aides to Cardinal Bernard F. Law. They plotted how to mislead inquisitive reporters who might ask about Burns. And when a lawsuit against Burns was filed, the Rev. John B. McCormack, now a bishop, noted emphatically, “Papers are impounded – temporarily!”

    The bishops also worried about how to squelch rumors. When Bishop Alfred C. Hughes expressed concern about an anonymous letter citing knowledge about Burns’s abuse, McCormack wrote back: “Shall we trace it?”

    The cardinal’s aides even drafted a misleading press release, which minimized Burns’s ties to the archdiocese. And when Law ultimately moved to seek Burns removal from the priesthood, his request to the Vatican focused as much on the harm Burns had done to the church’s reputation as it did on the harm Burns had done to children.

    “The immoral and illegal activities of Father Burns during his stay in the Archdiocese of Boston are the cause, potential and actual, of grave scandal,” Law wrote to the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Angelo Sodano.

    That penchant for secrecy and fear of scandal was shared by Law’s predecessor Cardinal Humberto S. Medeiros and his bishops. It eased the way for Burns to molest children undetected for nine years in parishes in Jamaica Plain and Charlestown.

    Medeiros and at least two of his top bishops – Hughes and Thomas V. Daily – knew that Burns had a history of sexual abuse. Even so, they dispatched him to a parish where he would have contact with children – and decided that the pastor should be told nothing of his problems.

  36. James Knauer

    “Produce Cardinal Law for trial , or quit. Then we will know this pope.”

    *****

    I agree. The Catholic Church has much to atone for. Actions speak louder than words.

  37. More clergy abuse, secrecy cases
    Records detail quiet shifting of rogue priests
    By Thomas Farragher and Sacha Pfeiffer
    | Globe Staff
    December 04, 2002
    http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/special-reports/2002/12/04/more-clergy-abuse-secrecy-cases/O5QkXOZG73XodD0X5hcPzJ/story.html

    Excerpt:
    Desperate to contain the burgeoning scandal in the priesthood, the Archdiocese of Boston for years dealt in secret with allegations that a priest had terrorized and beaten his housekeeper, another had traded cocaine for sex, and a third had enticed young girls by claiming to be “the second coming of Christ,” newly released church records show.

    In some cases, church officials – including Cardinal Bernard F. Law – reacted to the explosive charges by quietly transferring rogue priests to other parishes and treating them with a gentleness and sensitivity apparently unshaken by the heinous allegations against them.

    In 1999, Law, for example, held out the prospect of a return to “appropriate” ministry to a priest who had, years earlier, told church officials that he knew one of his abuse victims had killed himself.

    The reports of out-of-control clerical conduct – locked for years in secret church personnel files – became public yesterday after lawyers for alleged victims of the Rev. Paul R. Shanley made 2,200 pages of internal documents on eight priests part of their courtroom file.

    They believe the mountain of paperwork, provided by the church under court order, confirms their contention that the church’s mishandling of notoriously abusive priests, including the now-defrocked and imprisoned John J. Geoghan, was standard procedure. They charge that the archdiocese worked furiously to hide its problem without concern for whether the priests would, in later assignments, abuse others – as they often did.

    The archdiocese, racked by scandal and pondering bankruptcy, is now faced with the public airing of an archive that describes in sometimes stunning detail how it acted when it learned of sexual attacks by some of its clergy.

    Donna M. Morrissey, the spokeswoman for the archdiocese, acknowledged last night that the revelations in the documents are “truly horrendous.” The archdiocese, she said, is “committed to the protection of children.”

    Asked whether that was the case during the years covered by the documents, Morrissey replied: “I wish the policy we have now had been in place for the last 50 years. I don’t know what more I can say.”

  38. The history of this scandal is WELL KNOWN! The continual links to the Boston Globe series is curious. The question, even here amongst commenters isn’t what occurred, that is agreed upon. The question is what needs to be done. James saying Cardinal Law needs to be prosecuted would be a big step in salvation. He needs to experience some fanny love in a Ma. prison. But, that isn’t going to happen. Law is a golden boy.

  39. Why Pope Francis’s Apology Isn’t Good Enough for Sex Abuse Victims
    Pope Francis asked forgiveness Friday for the sins of priests who abused children. But victims’ groups say it is too soon for apologies—because the abuse and cover-ups haven’t stopped.
    4/11/14
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/04/11/why-pope-francis-s-apology-isn-t-good-enough-for-sex-abuse-victims.html

    Excerpt:
    SNAP, a 25-year-old survivor group with more than 15,000 members worldwide, has been lobbying to get the church to stop talking and start taking concrete steps toward the goal of removing every priest now accused of abusing a minor from active priesthood. They also want the church to punish bishops who knowingly moved or continue to move abusive priests from parish to parish, and to turn over church records on abusive priests to local secular authorities.

    The number of abuse cases has dropped drastically in the last decade or so, since major sex abuse scandals in Los Angeles, Boston, and Ireland have come to light. But SNAP says cases of Catholic priest child sex abuse are still being reported on a regular basis. And many cases are being hidden, especially in the developing world. “To us, when church officials talk about forgiveness, they implicitly imply that the crisis is over,” said Clohessy. “That’s just wrong.”

    A number of victim websites, including SNAP and Bishop Accountability in the United States, and One in Four in Ireland, track ongoing criminal cases against priests and bishops. Clohessy said he hopes the pope’s words act as a warning shot across the bow. “This is the first time a pope has talked about sanctioning bishops,” he said. “If there are half a dozen bishops on this planet who feel the slightest tinge of fear and respond today with even a scintilla of action, then his remarks helped.”

  40. “Let’s not discuss it” will not help to prevent it from happening again. Those who want others to stop talking about what happened seem as if they want it buried and forgotten. It’s not “pounding nails” into Christ’s hands when the abuses are discussed. Jesus didn’t do anything wrong, it was Catholic priests and those who engaged in a cover up that allowed these priests to continue their disgusting activity for years in different parishes who were the sinners and they most certainly didn’t represent any Jesus I ever learned about.

  41. Mr Turley, I subscribed to your newsletter months ago because I value your opinion on legal matters, legislation, and the like. You, and the many who write on your blog, impressed me as clear-headed thinkers who want to advance the rule of law and who write thoughtful opinions and respectful responses. But you’ve allowed your weekend contributor, Mr Esposito, to wander into the realm of “internet rant”. His article, above, degrades the quality of this blog, your website and, frankly, you. You’ve got some work ahead of you in regaining my respect and admiration.

  42. Steve H., I was unable to locate any untruths in the author’s post.

    Perhaps you do not approve of his style; that is a subjective standard. But the style is one that does not cede the author’s personal authority to anyone, nor is he going to be distracted by magic-thinking when it comes to speaking about this serious issue. It’s hard to see, in that light, how it approaches anything like an “internet rant,” whatever that happens to be.

  43. When it comes to crime and punishment, the judicial system focuses on bringing to justice the defendant(s), certainly not his family, his friends, his employer, his political party, his gender, his ethnicity, or his creed. Anyone attempting to demonstrate guilt by association is a biased vigilante. I find it embarrassing belonging to a human race with every other person, it seems, an agenda-driven vigilante, wholesale condemning or handing out free passes, according to the prospects for gain.

  44. Good point Annie, however, it does seem to continue to resurface over and over again, when everyone knows what happened and that the church has faced the problem since that time. Not only have legal matters been put into place, but the church has completely revamped their procedures in dealing with such cases.

    You referred to the matter being swept under the rug, but the Catholic bishops tried to get many of these priests psychological help years before this problem surfaced. Obviously the treatments didn’t work. Pedophilia, we’ve ALL come to learn, can not be helped by present day modern psychology/psychiatry.

    And yes, it is pounding nails when you continuously condemn one faction of society and ignore other others. It’s also pounding nails when a person’s adrenaline get excited about speaking destructively about the church and Christianity as a whole.

  45. I think that the defensiveness about Christianity doesn’t help. Christians criticize other religions or non Christians at will. As I said, why not live and let live? I’m not in favor of legislating my non belief system on believers, so why not reciprocate? I see many non believers voicing concern over the push to inject religion in secular areas, I think the concern is based in reality, hence some push back from non believers.

  46. There is a link between being gay and pedophilia. The Kinsey report found that 37% of gays admitted to having sex with someone under 17 years old. This is not to say that being gay makes one a pedophilia. It just means that age is less of a boundary for them, probably because of the hedonistic nature of that lifestyle.

    If we consider that most pedohiles are male, and that the victims of pedophilia are about one-third male and two-thirds female, that means that a disproportionate number of victims are same sex victims. Homosexuals make up about 3% of the population but commit about 30% of the pedophilia. That means that pedophiles are 10 times more likely than heterosexuals to be engaging in homosexual activity.

    The interesting thing about priests is that about 80% of their victims are male (same sex behavior). This is what has led the church to considering their problem a homosexual problem more than a pedophilia problem. See:

    http://www.faithstreet.com/onfaith/2010/07/22/catholic-churchs-issue-is-homosexuality-not-pedophilia/6536

  47. Another argument of the church for the thesis that their problem is primarily a homosexual problem instead of a pedophilia problem is the fact that 75% of the victims of priests have been post pubescent, thus not matching the clinical definition of pedophilia. Human sexuality is a very complex issue.

  48. Annie wrote:

    “I’m not in favor of legislating my non belief system on believers, so why not reciprocate?”

    Legislation already exists separating church and state. Exactly what sort of reciprocity are you looking for?

    I don’t know a single soul who’s in favor of passing legislation to force you to go to church or whatever, short of Islamic extremists that I hear of in the media. But I do know lots of people that, on the surface, would outlaw, if in their power, religion of all stripes. Some would also like to see jailed those who don’t get in politically correct lines.

  49. Samantha, there at those that would be in favor of legal means to get Creationism taught in public schools. In Arizona we almost had discrimination against homosexuals and anyone else a Christian business owner may have objections to serving. Personhood laws have been attempted for years now based on a Christian beliefs of life beginning at conception. Hobby Lobby is using legal means in an attempt to deny reproductive preventative health care to their employees. I don’t think that it’s rational to be surprised by pushback from non religious people. Some examples of what I mean by legislating religion into the secular areas of our society.

  50. “We almost had” discrimination in Arizzona. Almost only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades and govt. work. There are plenty of injustices in this world to fret about, how ludicrous to continually harp on something that “almost happened.”

  51. How ludicrous to pretend it never happened and not be cognizant of the fact that once the desire to enact such legislation is present, the likelihood that there will be continued attempts is also possible. Head in the sand syndrome can be dangerous.

  52. Did the “Deviant” Behavior of the 1960s & 1970s in the US Lead to an Increase in Catholic Clergy Sex Abuse of Children?
    Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger
    http://jonathanturley.org/2011/05/29/did-the-deviant-behavior-of-the-1960s-1970s-in-the-us-lead-to-an-increase-in-catholic-clergy-sex-abuse-of-children/

    Recently, the findings of a controversial five-year study into the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church were released. The study, commissioned by the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops, was conducted by researchers at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York. The study concluded that homosexual priests were no more likely to be abusers than heterosexual priests. It also found that celibacy was not to blame for the sexual abuse of children. Authors of the study wrote: “The most significant conclusion drawn from this data is that no single psychological, developmental, or behavioral characteristic differentiated priests who abused minors from those who did not.’’

    Karen Terry, PhD., John Jay’s principal investigator for the report, claimed that the bulk of the cases occurred decades ago. Terry said: “The increased frequency of abuse in the 1960s and 1970s was consistent with the patterns of increased deviance of society during that time.” She added that “social influences intersected with vulnerabilities of individual priests whose preparation for a life of celibacy was inadequate at that time.” The poor training of priests combined with social isolation, job stress, and few support systems were also said to have been contributing factors to clergy sex abuse of children.

    From the report: “The rise in abuse cases in the 1960s and 1970s was influenced by social factors in American society generally. This increase in abusive behavior is consistent with the rise in other types of “deviant” behavior, such as drug use and crime, as well as changes in social behavior, such as an increase in premarital sexual behavior and divorce.”

    Speaking for myself, I find it hard to believe that drug use, premarital sex, and divorce outside of the priesthood in the 1960s and 1970s could be societal factors that could have contributed to an increase in the incidence of Catholic clergy sexually abusing children. I also fail to see how the insufficient training and preparation of priests could have been a cause of the sexual abuse of children. Wouldn’t anyone with a conscience—anyone who knows right from wrong—understand that sexually abusing children is an abhorrent crime?

    Fr. Thomas Doyle, a Dominican who is an advocate for victims of clergy abuse, said he believes the report is missing data “about the increased number of cases of abuse that are coming forward that occurred before the 1960s.” He has worked with lawyers in this country and said that he has seen “cases of hundreds of adults in their 60s and 70s that have only begun coming forward.”

    Fr. Doyle noted that the study conducted by John Jay was limited to the United States and the years from 1950 to 2010. He said there are indications that clergy abuse occurred in other countries as well—and before the period studied. Evidently, scores of people in their 60s and 70s who live in the United Kingdom are just beginning to tell stories of their abuse by members of the clergy in private Catholic schools. Fr. Doyle claims that these incidents of abuse “had nothing to do with sociocultural changes in the ’60s and ’70s.”

    He said the John Jay study focuses on the behavior of priests but really does little to address the behavior of bishops. “In that sense, he said, the report ‘misses the essential point, which is: When the abuse and abuser became known to church authorities, why were they allowed to continue doing what they did?’”

    Fr. Doyle said that continuing reports of sexual abuse in other countries “throws a monkey wrench in the theory” of the causes of the abuse that were reported in the study. He added: “The patterns we’ve seen are similar in every country: significant amounts of sexual abuse of vulnerable groups and the pressure of a religious culture on victims and parents against saying anything.”

    Other critics of the report claimed that it downplayed the “church’s responsibility for creating conditions where abuse flourished, relieving church leaders of an obligation to make fundamental changes.” In his statement, David Clohessy of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests said: “Predictably and conveniently, the bishops have funded a report that tells them precisely what they want to hear: It was all unforeseeable, long ago, wasn’t that bad, and wasn’t their fault.’’

    One more thing about the clergy sex abuse study: The study reported that fewer than 5% of the abusers were pedophiles. To reach that conclusion, however, it appears the researchers “redefined” what constitutes pedophilia. In a Boston Globe article, Lisa Wangsness wrote: “Major associations of psychiatrists typically define pedophilia as interest in children 13 and younger, calling them ‘prepubescent.’’’ Wangsness added that the authors of the report reached the conclusion of the low incidence in pedophilia in the abusers by suggesting that “the prepubescent period ends at age 10.” One has to ask why the authors of the report chose to “redefine” pedophilia in that way.

  53. Elaine wrote: “The study concluded that homosexual priests were no more likely to be abusers than heterosexual priests.”

    This is a questionable statement considering that the study found that 81% of the victims were male. Is your source defining homosexual as something other than male to male sexual relations? The link to the Boston Globe article that you had does not work.

    Here is a link to an easy to follow summary of the facts of the John Jay Study:

    https://www.americancatholic.org/news/clergysexabuse/johnjaycns.asp

  54. david,

    If you read my Turley Blawg post, you’d see that others–as well as I–are critical of that John Jay study–which appears to be flawed.

    I’ll repost an excerpt from it:

    One more thing about the clergy sex abuse study: The study reported that fewer than 5% of the abusers were pedophiles. To reach that conclusion, however, it appears the researchers “redefined” what constitutes pedophilia. In a Boston Globe article, Lisa Wangsness wrote: “Major associations of psychiatrists typically define pedophilia as interest in children 13 and younger, calling them ‘prepubescent.’’’ Wangsness added that the authors of the report reached the conclusion of the low incidence in pedophilia in the abusers by suggesting that “the prepubescent period ends at age 10.” One has to ask why the authors of the report chose to “redefine” pedophilia in that way.

  55. Annie wrote: “Samantha, there at those that would be in favor of legal means to get Creationism taught in public schools.”

    I am one of those people, because I do not believe in censorship in education. The book burning practices by the Nazi’s was revolting. There is a scene in the recent movie, “The Book Thief.” How revolting.

    I object to the federal government classifying creation models of origins as religious and thereby they rationalize that they should be banned from schools. I object to scientists who object to any criticism of the evolutionary models of origins and arguing that such critics should be banned from publishing or teaching. I object to those who claim creationists should be banned from running for public office and expressing the viewpoint that they would never vote for a creationist.

    On the other hand, I do not favor the legislation that some have attempted to pass that forces creationism to be taught in public schools. The courtroom is not the place to decide what is and what is not allowed to be taught in our public school system. Teachers, principals, and school boards can best determine the curriculum because they are more in touch with the community, and they are more knowledgeable about the issues involved.

  56. Elaine, I read that, but reporting that the abusers mostly were not pedophiles is based upon the clinical definition of pedophilia that you posted previously. Also, it was not 5%. The report said that 22 percent of the victims were 10 and under 10, 51% were 11 to 14 years old, and 27% were 15 to 17 years old. To get close to that 5% number, it would be 6.1% were age 7 or under.

  57. david,

    You read incorrectly. I’ll post that excerpt once again:

    One more thing about the clergy sex abuse study: The study reported that fewer than 5% of the abusers were pedophiles. To reach that conclusion, however, it appears the researchers “redefined” what constitutes pedophilia. In a Boston Globe article, Lisa Wangsness wrote: “Major associations of psychiatrists typically define pedophilia as interest in children 13 and younger, calling them ‘prepubescent.’’’ Wangsness added that the authors of the report reached the conclusion of the low incidence in pedophilia in the abusers by suggesting that “the prepubescent period ends at age 10.” One has to ask why the authors of the report chose to “redefine” pedophilia in that way.

  58. Annie wrote:

    “Samantha, there at those that would be in favor of legal
    means to get Creationism taught in public schools.”

    So, your world view of the origin of life is somehow more valid than creationism? Under what and whose aegis? What is the basis for your addiction for thought control of students? Disassociation with the faith crowd? Personally, I see no harm with teaching multiple versions of the origin of life, providing each student the opportunity to make up his or her own mind, as is the case for all of life, the outcome of which is unique personality, not cloned thought and obedience. You said earlier you were not in favor of legislating your belief systems. Are you making an exception now, the heck reciprocity, or are you just running your thoughts again?

  59. Samantha, there is a distinction between science and creation stories. One belongs in a science class one belong in a comparative religion class. I don’t want my tax dollars being wasted on teaching my children that fairy tales are science.

  60. Wait a minute! You mean to tell me there is still a Catholic church? You mean to tell me there are STILL people gullible enough to buy the “God” thing after HE let those kids be raped right inside the sanctuary? That dudn’t make any sense!

    I guess it’s true; the church was created by the congregation, not the clergy. Oh yeah, I forgot, religion is real – real in the political dimension. Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive. But it makes lots of money, right?

    Have you ever been to a convention of physicists? Ask them if God exists – take a poll. They’re fairly rational, intelligent people, wouldn’t ya say?

    Funny! Religious folks and communists (i.e. progressives, liberals, etc.) are a lot alike, aren’t they? They don’t believe in man. And they sure as hell don’t believe in FREE men.

  61. cant help but laugh at the giovannas and stevehs of the world. one wants us to forget or accept the lies told by the catholic church and the other claims its all a internet rant… well i will take what they say into consideration just as soon as either one can explain to me. what Jesus who is supposedly jewish and the catholic church have in common and for those who dont understand what i mean/…….

    I’m trying to figure out how it is that Jesus who jewish and they are the chosen people. so we are told .. yet it is the catholic religion that is the most powerful religion in the world…. jewish people follow Judaism or most of them do.. that sure doesnt sound anything like catholic or christianity to me yet it is the catholic church who carries the most weight with the worse scandals while christians are the ones responsible for the worlds and histories most atrocious crimes re: slavery which was instituted by the pope ( bet none of you knew or will admit that) re: the spanish inquisitions. and 3 of the worlds worse wars wonder who knows which wars they were….the catholic church is responsible for the lies of history re: america was discovered by marco polo. lol to funny, re: hundreds of years of pedophilia and homosexuality along with triple digit numbers of children who are in the system. and definitely play a huge part of mental illness thanks to their pedophilia and homosexuality..

    yes yes i know i’ll probably be banned from the site but until and unless the people begin to truly learn the truth and understand it THEN THE DEVIL WINS and the devil would be those who run catholics and christianity along with all other so called religions that advocate hate, chaos, confusion and dissent

  62. Nick, the scandal was started by the priests who abused the children and the bishops and cardinals who looked the other way or worse sent them to new parishes so that they could have a new crop of victims. As to the “hater” claims the Church is always blaming others when it should buckle down and clean its own house. In this context and many It has never been concerned about anything but protecting the Church or expanding its power. That is hardly what Christ would want it to do but then he didn’t wear special shoes or live in a palace either.

  63. I would attempt to post what might perchance be a scientifically useful comment here, only anything and everything I can imagine writing and posting which I can regard as being in accord with the Code of Ethics of the National Society of Professional Engineers (of which I am a member) is, like what I attempted to post a very short while ago, apparently doomed, at least initially, to be Askimeted into the Internet Bit Bucket, or otherwise into practicable oblivion.

    In my view, the only way out of the enigmatic human predicament which I have a hunch underlies the existential foundation of the topic of this thread is rigorously honest dialogue, something human society in its present incarnation appears to absolutely prohibit.

    So, I am herewith attempting to post this comment…

  64. I would attempt a comment here, based partly on using paraphrases of the content of the most recent college textbook in my library regarding child abuse and neglect, to wit, Monica L. McCoy and Stefanie M. Keen, Child Abuse and Neglect: Second Edition, Psychology Press, Taylor and Francis Group, New York and London, 2014.

    I am not (yet?) making that attempt because I find my chances to be negligible for my successfully posting anything I can regard as scientifically accurate and honest enough to be ethical for a Wisconsin Professional Engineer to post, that will not be stopped dead in its tracks by WordPress.

  65. Elaine M wrote: “You read incorrectly. I’ll post that excerpt once again.”

    Some day I hope you just say what you are actually thinking rather than posting what somebody else thinks. I read the post just fine as far as I can tell. Reposting it doesn’t make your thoughts any more clear.

  66. Elaine wrote: “Who is to choose which creation myth should be taught as science in public schools?”

    Not all creation myths have a scientific basis. Only models of creation that look at empirical data and are falsifiable by empirical means should be taught in the science classroom. The other creation myths could be taught in anthropology, literature class, history class, or wherever it might be deemed appropriate. It should not be discriminated against because it might be classified as religious.

  67. david,

    I posted a criticism of the article. Your rereading of it hasn’t made your understanding of what it said any clearer.

    You keep telling us about empirical scientific data the proves “the creation” as you believe it happened. I haven’t seen any of that data to date.

  68. ho hum…

    Let us know when the Pope decides to release all of the evidence (all of it…) in the church’s possession including dates, places, individuals, number of occurrences etc directly to the proper local authorities so that prosecutions can begin.

    Until then, it’s just smoke.

    And still no mention of the Whore Court’s McCutcheon decision.

    This blog is becoming extremely trivial.

  69. Elaine wrote: “Who is to choose which creation myth should be taught as science in public schools?”

    Well, we know you are not an astronomer. Who chooses the astronomy myths, falsified as science, that change more often than underwear?

    The origin of life has foundation on only DNA! That is scientific fact that is not disputable. What is disputable is whether you believe that a filing cabinet full of genetic code evolved on its own or was intelligently designed.

    Show us the data that you ostensibly used (and insist upon) before concluding that DNA evolved on its own!

  70. justice, If you read all I have said on this an other posts I am EXTREMELY tough on the church. However, my motivation is caring about the victims[I worked civil cases involving priest abuse], and being disgusted about the hierarchies criminal coverup. The haters of which I speak care nothing about the victims. They merely see this as an opportunity to attack religion in general, or the Catholic Church specifically. If you read comments here and elsewhere, they’re easy to pick out. I do agree the church and its minions have tried to make people believe ALL those speaking out on this topic are haters. Those people claiming that go to Dante’s lowest level of hell.

  71. Elaine M wrote: “I posted a criticism of the article. Your rereading of it hasn’t made your understanding of what it said any clearer.”

    The problem is they use bogus numbers like 5% which you apparently want to gloss over and think you will correct the problem by repeating the error ad nauseum.

    Elaine M wrote: “You keep telling us about empirical scientific data the proves “the creation” as you believe it happened. I haven’t seen any of that data to date.”

    You are not listening very well. As a well trained scientist who has published in scientific journals, that sentence about “proving” a theory that I believe is not even in my vocabulary. I have never spoken of data that “proves the creation as I believe it happened.” I have spoken again and again that science in this area of theories operates with INDUCTIVE logic which cannot prove anything. We use the method of Strong Inference to DISPROVE hypotheses. Only DEDUCTIVE logic can lead to proof. Perhaps you should read Karl Popper’s, “The Logic of Scientific Discovery” and “Conjectures and Refutations.” Another good read is Thomas Kuhn’s “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.” I’ve also mentioned John Platt’s paper on “Strong Inference” in the past.

    What I have said is that some creationist models of origins fit the data better than the positivist evolutionary models. It is not about finding that magic bullet evidence, but about what model best fits all the empirical data. A scientist must be open to having his model falsified, and guys like Tyson are clearly not open to criticism or any attempt to falsify the model that he believes is the right one.

    Investigators attempt to construct a model of what happened using assumptions about the data. For example, the positivist scientists dismissive of creationist models ignore a lot of data. They ignore polonium halo research, or research into other explanations for the redshift, they ignore the fossil record for the most part, they ignore a plethora of biological difficulties to present their story, and ignore the issue of abiogenesis. They focus instead of confirmation bias and weaving a nice story that is superficially plausible but becomes increasingly problematic the more one investigates it seriously. Their only recourse is to censor critics, and they use the similarity between an Intelligent Design model and religious theology to argue for their right of censorship of competing viewpoints. For those who are only superficially familiar with the science of it, that seems to work. For the scientists who are more serious about establishing issues through empirical means, it does not work. I believe that time will show you are on the wrong side of this issue as newer generations become dissatisfied with the status quo and as more empirical research is accomplished.

  72. nick:

    “ustice, If you read all I have said on this an other posts I am EXTREMELY tough on the church. However, my motivation is caring about the victims[I worked civil cases involving priest abuse], and being disgusted about the hierarchies criminal coverup. The haters of which I speak care nothing about the victims.”

    ********************************

    I have no problem with your distinction between people righteously offended by the church’s conduct and those looking for any excuse to criticize. There is a sincerity gap there to be sure though both may make valid points. Motivation does matter in the credibility debate.

    Personally, I ‘m a critic of religion (which I find irrational and somewhat corrupt at all but the highest spiritual levels) and the church’s handling/covering up of these crimes. I guess that puts me in both camps, but I’ve tried to present only my criticism of the sexual abuse scandal in this piece and show some modest praise for the adults who really are trying to do something about it.

  73. My understanding is that the confession must be accompanied by penance and contrition. While I am moved by the current Popes willingness to admit the obvious I believe there needs to be a demonstration of sincerity. I would suggest that the church order each of its bishops to immediately release any and all documentation regarding complaints, investigations and attempts to cover up the crimes of child abuse, sexual and otherwise.

    Here in Minnesota the local Diocese is in a protracted battle to hide documentation, using the courts to prevent a full and complete account of their crimes. Until the beautiful words are followed by meaningful actions they are just beautiful words.

  74. Mespo, If folks were as forthright as you I would have much less of a problem w/ the second category folks. But, unfortunately you are a rarity..

  75. To Giovanna De La Paz

    When it happened, I personally think it was shock wave that ran through the church and the leaders didn’t know how to handle the problem. That’s why it seemed to the public to take so long for the church to face the problem, when in fact, the church leaders were drawn together to determine the problem and how to handle it. They didn’t handle it correctly at first, but over the last 12 years, they have getting to the crux of the problem and improving on handling this humiliating situation.

    Oh, really? They “didn’t know how to handle the problem” huh? As if commonsense didn’t exist until the year 2008.
    If you really are stupid enough to believe this line that the poor catholic church were just innocently moving pederasts from one parish to another, smearing complainants, and ostracizing anyone who spoke out about the problem, then
    I’ve got a business proposition for you that involves giving your bank account details so I can deposit a million dollars into your account from a relative in Nigeria.

    It has always been the churches belief that no matter how bad an action is, God is ready to be merciful and forgiving. Non-Catholics and faith haters used this as an opportunity to say that the church hid behind it’s “secret society.” Yes, in some cases it did, but the church was also taking time in analyzing, debating and searching for a way to rehabilitate these priests rather than condemn–unfortunately with little to no success.

    No. They were covering the problem up. Pure and simple. Unless of course you can explain to me how exactly pressuring victims to keep quiet, paying out hush money, and issuing denials, and basically flat out lying whenever the scandals surfaced played a role in “rehabilitation”.

    Although some priests have not been defrocked, most have had duties suspended, forced to resign and retire, and of course, several have been given considerable lengthy prison time–rightfully so. When we compare their prison time to the recent two American layman pedophile’s–one who got 1 year in jail and the other who got probation, the priests are serving their penance far more.

    “As for some Catholic Diocese’s filing bankruptcy cases, my answer to Justice Holmes is, wouldn’t you do the same to protect your assets?”

    Err….No, i wouldn’t. Not if people in my employ were comitting rape or sexual assualt. I would cough whatever compensation to the victims that the courts deem they should get.

    “Isn’t that what we pay you lawyers to do? Would you be willing to give up all your assets to pay contrition for your sins. I think not.”

    If I concealed those sorts of crimes in the first place, i would have sacrificed any moral claim to have any right at all to protect my assets. Justice would demand that if i had to bankrupt myself to make financial amends to do so under those circumstances, then that is what i would morally have to do. Whether or not i would be willing to do so is irrelevant.
    Funny how someone who brandishes religious faith seems unable to grasp this simple point about legal and moral justice.

    “However, it is those filled with hateful hearts who keep rehashing this sensitive situation in an effort to spew their vengeful words towards the church, which was founded by Jesus Christ. Yet, Jesus still loves you, even though you turn your backs on Him.
    It’s Easter week–what perfect time for the rancorous to keep pounding the nails deeper into His hands and feet. ”

    Oh, gee, you make me feel really guilty for not respecting an institution that shelters pederasts. But i guess that’s just my “hateful heart” talking You people play the part of victim so well don’t you? As for turning my back on Jesus…well that leaves me almost speechless.
    If Jesus were indeed real I don’t he would appreciate you using him as a human shield for an institution that sheltered rapists, and treated their victims like shit.

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