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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 5:33 pm 
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 9:38 pm 
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The purpose of this thread is not to discuss one's opinion of Catholic theology or what Catholics believe. I would very much appreciate if people would avoid doing so. If it continues, I will edit the posts.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:04 pm 
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Today I got my hands on a leaflet about the sexual abuse scandal, published by the Cardinal of the Cologne diocese.

There were the guidelines for dealing with sexual abuse printed. They originate from 2002 and they are about to update them.

The guidelines clearly express that the church will try to convince the priest to turn himself in to the police or they will do it, after having the forensic examination conducted.

There was an interview with the psychologist who did the examinations and since 2002 17 priests were handed over to them under suspicion of child abuse. 10 were guilty and one of those was mentally ill. He lost his clerical status at once. The other 9 were suspended and had to undergo therapy. Depending on the result of the therapy and a new examination they might be allowed to do service, but not with children. There were 7 left whose deeds turned out to be borderline, like going to the sauna together with adolescents. The doctor had recommended that 5 of them could continue working as before and two should also be removed from services including children and receive therapy. The church had suspended those 7 too.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 3:11 pm 
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And now, there is this:

Top cardinal, Tarcisio Bertone, blames paedophile crisis on homosexuals

I just...have no words. The RCC seems to be digging themselves in deeper and deeper. :(

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 12:00 am 
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Jewel, pederasty, which is what many of the abuse cases involve, is an expression of homosexuality. Pedophilia, the sexual abuse of pre-pubescent children, is neither linked to homosexuality nor heterosexuality IIRC.


For those who are interested in learning a little bit about Vatican politics, this article from the National Catholic Reporter (a liberal-leaning American publication) should offer some insight into what has changed in the past decade or so:

Will Ratzinger's past trump Benedict's present?

The discussion of Marcial is really relevant. The Legionaries have a lot of support, and many many members who claimed their leader did nothing wrong, was framed, it was all just made up by people who wanted to defame him, etc. When the bishop of my diocese considered banning the Legionaries of Christ from our diocese (not for abuse; for other reasons), he got phone calls from Rome asking him to reconsider, to give them a second chance, etc. The 'friends in high places' was very evident, and they're still here (though perhaps not to stay).


One of the larger questions is not what will be done with the priests who commit abuses (I think they are much less likely to be let off the hook), but what will be done with bishops who don't deal with priests who commit abuses? If bishops don't enforce policies, they aren't effective. And obviously there are a lot of instances of bishops failing to act pre-scandal (hence the scandal), but...what if that keeps happening? Will the bishops be disciplined? I'm not sure what Rome intends to do about that. Cardinal Law of Boston was removed from his diocese (he is no longer serving as a bishop), but for the most part, bishops have stayed in place.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 12:19 am 
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MithLuin wrote:
...obviously there are a lot of instances of bishops failing to act pre-scandal (hence the scandal), but...what if that keeps happening? Will the bishops be disciplined? I'm not sure what Rome intends to do about that. Cardinal Law of Boston was removed from his diocese (he is no longer serving as a bishop), but for the most part, bishops have stayed in place.


Exactly.

Yes, pederasty can be an expression of homosexuality, but in these cases, it is an abuse of power. If it was simply homosexual priests wanting to have sex, well, they could (and do!) have it with each other.

The whole structure and hierarchy of the RCC is based on power....women and children at the bottom, men at the top and everyone fighting to get one step ahead on the ladder.

Cardinal Law finally resigned, yes...but only after a HUGE battle and very little remorse on his part. He is no longer serving as bishop, but he holds the title of "Archpriest" in Rome.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 12:59 am 
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Four of the bishops in Ireland have also said they will resign.

I would not characterize church politics quite the way you have put it. Certainly, there are politics, but it's not necessarily a colossal power struggle.

I think in most cases pederasty is an abuse of power - an older person taking advantage of the innocence/naivety of a much younger person, preying on vulnerabilities, etc. Certainly, if the older person is in any position of power (a boss, a teacher, a priest, a military commander, etc), it only makes it worse - much more clearly abuse and not 'just' statutory rape.

I hardly think it's okay or somehow 'not a problem' - it is the problem! Just as it's a problem if a priest rapes a young woman. This 2002 article drew attention to the fact that the majority of victims of abuse in the scandals (in Chicago, anyway) are teenagers, not children. There are priests who are pedophiles, and that is a serious problem (particularly if they are not stopped), but there are many other problems as well, and what's going on there is something different. Obviously, not all homosexuals are pederasts or have any interest in taking advantage of younger people. But I can't see how the majority of pederasts wouldn't be identified...as homosexual. I imagine that was the reference Cardinal Bertone was making.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 2:27 am 
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MithLuin wrote:
But I can't see how the majority of pederasts wouldn't be identified...as homosexual. I imagine that was the reference Cardinal Bertone was making.


Well, this is the quote:
Quote:
Speaking on a visit to Chile, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State, said: “Many psychologists and psychiatrists have demonstrated that there is no relationship between celibacy and paedophilia. But many others have demonstrated, I have been told recently, that there is a relationship between homosexuality and paedophilia. That is true. That is the problem.”


What he is saying is that homosexuality, per se, is the problem. Presumably, if we got rid of all the gay priests, the problem would resolve itself. (I also think the RCC would lose about 50% of its priests, but that's another story.)

Also, apparently the age of consent for sexual activity in Vatican City is 12. Which makes me go :shock:

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 2:44 am 
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JewelSong wrote:
MithLuin wrote:
But I can't see how the majority of pederasts wouldn't be identified...as homosexual. I imagine that was the reference Cardinal Bertone was making.


Well, this is the quote:
Quote:
Speaking on a visit to Chile, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State, said: “Many psychologists and psychiatrists have demonstrated that there is no relationship between celibacy and paedophilia. But many others have demonstrated, I have been told recently, that there is a relationship between homosexuality and paedophilia. That is true. That is the problem.”


What he is saying is that homosexuality, per se, is the problem. Presumably, if we got rid of all the gay priests, the problem would resolve itself. (I also think the RCC would lose about 50% of its priests, but that's another story.)


It seems a bit like arguing that, in cases where men molest young girls, that heterosexuality is the problem.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 1:54 pm 
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I'm pretty sure that abuse is the problem....


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 2:38 pm 
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LM wrote:
It seems a bit like arguing that, in cases where men molest young girls, that heterosexuality is the problem.


That's exactly it, but not "heterosexuality", it's just SEXUALITY in general. Humans are, first and foremost, sexual beings. It is the most powerful part of our makeup - and because it is so powerful it has been used by the socially powerful as a tool to oppress others for millennia.

The RCC, in particular, has wildly inhumane views and ethics surrounding human sexuality (IMHO) and it's no flaming wonder that sexual misbehaviors are common in the clergy. When the highest ideal for a human woman is held up as a virgin who gave birth to god, and the best and holiest life for a man is to never have sex at all?

It's just plain bizarre that anyone would expect anything but trouble. We aren't sexual as some kind of holy test, it's the way we're made.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:01 pm 
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Guess whose fault it is now?

Anti-Semitism rears its vile head once again.

I can't begin to post on this without my keyboard bursting into flame, so I'll just leave it for someone else.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:16 pm 
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I am unaware of any study that suggests incidences of abuse are more common among Catholic priests than among clergy of other religions, or indeed of the population at large. What made the scandal unique was that all the cases came out at once, and that it revealed an institutional failure to act.

Of course sex is a fundamental part of our human identity, and of course it can be abused and misused. Catholic theology is very clear on the difference between an appropriate expression of human sexuality and an inappropriate one. While celibacy is an ideal...so is marriage. It shouldn't be any secret that Catholics also celebrate large families. ('Be fruitful and multiply' is the one commandment humans consistently followed throughout history....) Both celibacy and marriage are considered signs of heaven, and therefore of God's relationship with humanity.

The idea that sex (in and of itself) is a bad thing is tied to the Manichean heresy, which has been condemned in the Church since at least the time of Augustine (he was a convert from that sect). Any sex that uses another person as an object is condemned because sex is supposed to be an expression of the unity of persons.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:26 pm 
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MithLuin wrote:
What made the scandal unique was that all the cases came out at once, and that it revealed an institutional failure to act.


I think what also made the scandal "unique" is that the RCC has long held itself up as inviolate and sacred - an institution not to be questioned. To question the institution was to question God. Questioning was discouraged. Obedience was paramount. The Pope was infallible and therefore, so were his emissaries - the bishops and the priests. There was no way to ask "What the hell is going on here?" without being branded unfaithful, a heretic, someone who wanted to destroy the church.

And it is THIS attitude that (IMHO) still permeates the scandal and why people are so angry and upset at articles like the one above which seek to "blame" a specific group of people for the abuses, or insinuate that certain groups of people are simply "out to get the church" or "enemies of the Pope" or etc.

The RCC has portrayed itself as "the one true church" and a bastion of morality for a long time. It has been a VERY POWERFUL institution with lots of money and lots of influence. Almost untouchable.

Until now. Yes, people are angrier than they would be if this had happened to another institution, another group. Because the RCC put itself up so high and was so righteous and so smug about that righteousness.

In my opinion, having the organization collapse and have to rebuild itself from the ground up would not be a bad thing.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:42 pm 
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vison, what that bishop said was disgusting and vile. And so awful as to be almost unbelievable. I hope he is duly censured or whatever they do.

He seems to be speaking as an individual, though, and not as a spokesperson for the RCC.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:12 pm 
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vison wrote:
Guess whose fault it is now?

Anti-Semitism rears its vile head once again.

I can't begin to post on this without my keyboard bursting into flame, so I'll just leave it for someone else.


Oh boy. Well, it was only a matter of time, wasn't it.

I swear, the joke the article quotes was the first thing that popped into my head, although the version I has heard was less grim, having being adapted for Perestroika.

Quote:
A German Jew in Berlin sees a Jewish friend sitting on a park bench reading the anti-Semitic Nazi rag, Der Stürmer. "Yitzak," he says, "how can you read such a thing?" 
"Well, David," Yitzak replies, "I find reading the ordinary newspaper to be terribly depressing: it's full of stories about gangs attacking synagogues, old Jews getting beaten to a pulp in the street, anti-Semitic slogans painted on Jewish shops. But here in this newspaper, the news is all excellent. It says here that we Jews own all the banks and newspapers and run all the world's governments!"

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 10:31 pm 
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He seems to be speaking as an individual, though, and not as a spokesperson for the RCC.


Since he's retired, that's a given. A revolting opinion.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 10:36 pm 
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Maureen Dowd's op-ed in the New York Times this morning, about the scandal, women, and the Catholic church, is the sharpest and most powerful piece of writing I've read from her in years


Yopu think so, Prim? Really? I'm disappointed in you. Her comparison of Catholicism to Wahabist Islam and its treatment of women was, to me, offensive and ignorant.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 10:55 pm 
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Hmmm? I didn't read the column last week when it was first posted, but I did so now. Frankly, I found it nonsensical. There might be an argument supporting the position that "negating women is at the heart of" the abuse scandal. But if there is a such an argument, I still don't know what it is, because Dowd never makes it. She simply makes the assertion (along with a serious of extremely off-putting hyperbolic labels, thought that is neither here nor there) with nothing whatsoever to support it. And the gratuitious reference to female genital mutilation was, in my opinion, extremely inappropriate and misleading.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 10:58 pm 
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I have edited out a rude remark and wish to apologize to Voronwë and solicitr. I really had better not have posted when I did, in the state of mind I was in. I concede all your points and Mith's as well, and withdraw any assertion that the column I posted about deserved anyone's attention.

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Last edited by Primula Baggins on Mon Apr 19, 2010 2:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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