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Source: (consider it) Thread: Hell: Come on down, Trisagion
moron
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quote:
Originally posted by Justinian:
Do you want us ...

I'm hoping he does - the discussion has potential.

And please pardon the tangent but who is us?

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IngoB

Sentire cum Ecclesia
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quote:
Originally posted by Justinian:
Do you want us to talk about the Banquet of the Chestnuts? Or Simony and the 95 Theses? Or the Great Schism? Or selling out to Constantine 1700 years ago? Or the Holy Inquisition? Or...? Or do you want us to talk about unquestioned offices like the Divine Right of Kings? And either Oliver Cromwell or Mme. La Guilotine? It is hardly petty to talk about things that are here and now. But the history of the Papacy is a long and dishonourable one - like people in any other office that is assumed to be above reproach.

Firstly, I likely would evaluate quite a few of these events rather differently from you, in particular concerning how they reflect on the papacy. Secondly, the rate of papal scandals is very low by worldly standards, even if we go all anachronistic. And that even the Borgias left no more stain on the papacy than some nepotism and debauchery suggests a truly superhuman trustworthiness of this office. Measure it by the bunga bunga standards of modern Italian politics, if you must.

quote:
Originally posted by Justinian:
Now you might have an argument that the RCC looks good by the standards of a 16th century monarchy. As indeed it does. But is that the standard you think the Roman Catholic Church should be judged by.

If we are talking about the 16thC papacy, then yes, most definitely. Popes are human beings and they are children of their time. There is a false idea behind this, which considers Divine law to be a kind of inflexible measuring rod. Then the papacy would have to be judged by some fixed criteria, and if we are arrogant enough to believe that we know much better now what these might be, we may easily conclude that it fell well short throughout most of history. But that's not at all what we see in salvation history. God measures by what we actually are and realistically could become. An ancient Israelite did not have to follow Christian morals, much less some UN charta, to be an Israelite pleasing to God.

quote:
Originally posted by Justinian:
If you make it about the moral authority then don't be surprised when it blows up in your face.

Except I don't make it about that. Firstly, if I use the authority of the RC hierarchy as an argument at all, then it will be about their apostolic - not moral - authority. Secondly, I point to such authority only where it is obviously appropriate. If a Roman Catholic says that contraception is perfectly fine, then it is fair to point out that this is not what the pope says. Because part of being RC is being under the authority of the pope. If some Anglo-Catholic claims that he is following the apostles as much as any RC, then it is fair to point that this is not what the pope says. Because a claim about his authority is under discussion. If some Protestant claims Sola Scriptura, then I can counter with claims about apostolic succession, because we are discussing how Divine authority is brought into this world. However, I do not simply say "Rome has spoken, the case is closed" to just anything. I may well consider what Rome has said as what I have to defend, but I do not defend it simply by saying that Rome has said so. That really is a false accusation.

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

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Justinian
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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
If we are talking about the 16thC papacy, then yes, most definitely. Popes are human beings and they are children of their time.

My point exactly. The Papacy falls far short of the moral standards of the early 21st Century. A doccumented 50 year coverup of kiddy fucking in any organisation with the same person in charge for more than a quarter of a century would have lead to that person being hounded from any role you care to name if he didn't have the decency to resign first, change his name, and hide. Mysteriously, JPII stayed.

The Papacy was morally superior to most 16th century monarchs. That I will grant. But even by the standards of 21st Century Politicians (from the latin 'poly' for many and 'tic' for bloodsucking insect) the Papacy ends up looking pretty awful. You cite Belusconi as probably the worst long term leader in Europe. I claim that even the worst long term leader in Europe would have been forced out of office by such a wide ranging and deep scandal over child abuse.

quote:
God measures by what we actually are and realistically could become.
And Ratzinger would be moving a step up if he stepped down as Pope and instead started writing letters to the Daily Mail. That is the point.

quote:
An ancient Israelite did not have to follow Christian morals, much less some UN charta, to be an Israelite pleasing to God.
And by modern standards, those at the top take responsibility. And the way they take responsibility includes accepting responsibility and resigning. I have seen this multiple times in my life with individuals far less responsible than the Pope. Yet the Pope gets a free pass and his successor then even fast tracks the beatification of the leader of an organisation with such deep rot. (Seriously? 4% in the John Jay Report?)

This is the behaviour of a 16th Century Prince, not that of a decent human being in the 21st Century.

The Pope should be following 21st Century Morals. And on the abuse scandal alone the last one failed dismally to even resign the way a decent 21st century leader would have. And the current one fast tracked his beatification.

quote:
Except I don't make it about that. Firstly, if I use the authority of the RC hierarchy as an argument at all, then it will be about their apostolic - not moral - authority. Secondly, I point to such authority only where it is obviously appropriate.
I remember you using it as to why non-Catholics should listen to what the Pope has to say. (And I don't think it was my question).

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My real name consists of just four letters, but in billions of combinations.

Eudaimonaic Laughter - my blog.

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IngoB

Sentire cum Ecclesia
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quote:
Originally posted by Justinian:
The Papacy falls far short of the moral standards of the early 21st Century.

I don't think so at all, I think the papacy has been doing quite well. As for the child abuse scandals, they may be for you the only thing worth considering, but for me they are at most a medium size issue in the context of all that has been going on in the 20th and 21st century. I fully accept the devastation these crimes have brought to some individuals and indeed the disruption all this has caused to the general trust so necessary for healthy religious communities. But let's have a bit of perspective there concerning a global Church in one of the busier times of human history...

Furthermore, it is simply true that this problem did not occur at the usual level of papal operation and legislation. It occurred, was handled and sometimes unfortunately mishandled primarily at the diocesan level of the local bishop. There's at least the level of episcopal conference to be considered in between that and the pope, and indeed it is these conferences which essentially sign responsible for adjusting national policy. One thing that has occurred here in the last decade or so - largely on the initiative of Cardinal Ratzinger / Pope Benedict - is actually a papal power grab with the aim to gain at least some measure of control over these matters for Rome. But once you realize just how flat and thin the Catholic hierarchy is, you can have no illusion that Rome ever could be the one practically "in charge" of these matters. Rome never really is in charge of anything in the manner of a state government or business management. The pope's role is really a unique mixture of powerless figurehead and absolutist ruler.

quote:
Originally posted by Justinian:
I remember you using it as to why non-Catholics should listen to what the Pope has to say. (And I don't think it was my question).

Excuse me for not relying on your memory. Whether they are right or wrong, my arguments rarely miss their target on principle. Point to a concrete case, and we will discuss it.

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

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Yorick

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I suppose it's worth noting that the Roman Catholic Church cannot claim sole absolute authority in the sexual abuse of children by its priests.

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این نیز بگذرد

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Yorick

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Can anyone suggest to me how a clergyman might find a way to live with his conscience for decades after sexually abusing dozens of children? Presumably, living in Christ, for that matter. I mean, how do they actually do it? Is it Satan, who makes them capable of living with it all? Or is it their belief that they are forgiven?

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این نیز بگذرد

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Sir Pellinore
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quote:
Originally posted by Yorick:
I suppose it's worth noting that the Roman Catholic Church cannot claim sole absolute authority in the sexual abuse of children by its priests.

I would suggest you dig deeper, Yorick.

There may be a similar list to this in Britain:
http://www.mako.org.au/holyhell.html

Regarding your next question I would suggest the answer lies in the realms of abnormal psychiatry.

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Well...

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Boogie

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quote:
Originally posted by Yorick:
Can anyone suggest to me how a clergyman might find a way to live with his conscience for decades after sexually abusing dozens of children?

I thought paedophiles tended to rationalise their evil deeds as 'love'?

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Garden. Room. Walk

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Yorick

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Yes, I'm sure they do, but I was particularly looking for an insight into how they might theologically reconcile their deeds with their belief in the teachings of Christ. Is there Scripture, say, that commands priests to rape the little bottoms of boys?

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این نیز بگذرد

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Sir Pellinore
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quote:
Originally posted by Yorick:
Yes, I'm sure they do, but I was particularly looking for an insight into how they might theologically reconcile their deeds with their belief in the teachings of Christ. Is there Scripture, say, that commands priests to rape the little bottoms of boys?

Woefully unfunny and trivialising the issue.

As is your wont, I believe.

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Well...

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Yorick

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Oh, I'm sorry, have I failed to express how utterly incensed with rage and despair I feel about this? I'm happy to oblige if my posts are in any way ambivalent.

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این نیز بگذرد

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Yorick

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Perhaps I’m not putting my point very well. It strikes me as amazing that even the most sadistic evil bastard could live for long periods of time with their guilty conscience, having sexually abused children. Presumably, they find a way to deny the crime to themselves, or to justify it in some way or other so that they can live with it.
It strikes me as utterly inexplicable, however, that a priest, of all people, could manage to do this, given the central tenets of their faith. Either their faith isn't bona fide, or they somehow find a way to interpret the teachings in a way that enables them to live with their conscience. I’d like to understand how they might do that.

(Or, of course, the Bible actually says somewhere that it’s okay to fuck children. I shouldn't be surprised.)

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این نیز بگذرد

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by Yorick:
Presumably, they find a way to deny the crime to themselves, or to justify it in some way or other so that they can live with it.

Yes, that was what Boogie said.

quote:
It strikes me as utterly inexplicable, however, that a priest, of all people, could manage to do this, given the central tenets of their faith. Either their faith isn't bona fide, or they somehow find a way to interpret the teachings in a way that enables them to live with their conscience. I’d like to understand how they might do that.
The same way as everyone else who does such things.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Yorick

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The same way as everyone? Really?

But not everyone believes in a God who knows all the secrets of our thoughts and minds, who commands us not to sin. How do they live in the constant light of his gaze? Is it because they also, unlike some of us, permit themselves to feel that they are forgiven? Maybe their religion actually makes it easier for them to live with their despicable acts, not harder? Maybe their absolute morality counts for nothing because they can simply repent, and get out of jail free. They rest of us cannot.

Looking at this person's photograph, peering into his eyes, I can tell nothing.

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این نیز بگذرد

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Trisagion
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quote:
Originally posted by Yorick:
Perhaps I’m not putting my point very well. It strikes me as amazing that even the most sadistic evil bastard could live for long periods of time with their guilty conscience, having sexually abused children. Presumably, they find a way to deny the crime to themselves, or to justify it in some way or other so that they can live with it.
It strikes me as utterly inexplicable, however, that a priest, of all people, could manage to do this, given the central tenets of their faith. Either their faith isn't bona fide, or they somehow find a way to interpret the teachings in a way that enables them to live with their conscience. I’d like to understand how they might do that.

(Or, of course, the Bible actually says somewhere that it’s okay to fuck children. I shouldn't be surprised.)

From what I know of the subject (see posts passim), the individuals who do this kind of thing display very dramatic psychological pathologies when they submit to analysis. Some of them rationalise it away, some of them have so completely compartmentalised themselves that they almost perceive the acts as being of someone else, some of them simply remain in denial, some of them repeat narratives about willingness or victimhood. All the reports that I have read, and much of the professional literature suggests that the individuals concerns are extremely damaged.

Until the late 80s, there was a belief amongst many psychologists that these pathologies could be more or less treated with appropriate counselling, group therapy etc. The psychiatrists started to depart from this in the mid 80s and by the mid 90s nobody thought that these pathologies were anything other than deep-seated, all but incurable and only susceptible to management by control of access to likely victims. Lately there has been some psychiatric evidence of pharmacological interventions ("chemical castration") having very significant effect in many individuals.

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ceterum autem censeo tabula delenda esse

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LeRoc

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One of the problems for me is: I like the Catholic Church, at least at the base level. I often meet with padres in Latin America, and am deeply impressed in how they're trying to live their faith, building up their community in various senses, often at the cost of huge personal sacrifices. In this way, the Church has made huge contributions for the people in Latin America.

I have seen the beauty of its Liturgy, and as a Protestant I have to admit a certain envy of their sense of continuity. I also like some forms of Catholic folk devotion. And at least in the Netherlands, compared to Protestant people in the North, the Catholics living in the South have a kind of bohemian attitude that I rather like.

Spending an evening with a padre, when he's talking about his faith and the passion he puts in his work, about the community and their successes, can be hugely rewarding. Of course in these conversations, he will also be talking about the obstacles he encounters. And despite all the hardships, the poverty within the community... the biggest obstacle always turns out to be: his own Bishop, and the higher hierarchy of the Church.

So to me, the paedophily scandals only reinforce an image of the Church I already had: there's still a lot of good in its base, but above that it's rotten. And I have to admit that part of me would like to see it all come crumbling down. Only to be built up again from the base, because that's where its strength is.

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I know why God made the rhinoceros, it's because He couldn't see the rhinoceros, so He made the rhinoceros to be able to see it. (Clarice Lispector)

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Yorick

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Thanks Trisagion. Are you talking about paedophilia in general, or specifically peadophilia in the clergy?

I'm curious about exactly how a person can manage to be a paedophile and a priest.

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این نیز بگذرد

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Trisagion
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quote:
Originally posted by LeRoc:
...there's still a lot of good in its base, but above that it's rotten. And I have to admit that part of me would like to see it all come crumbling down. Only to be built up again from the base, because that's where its strength is.

The problem with this analysis, LeRoc, is that almost all the evidence suggests that the crimes we're here discussing have been committed by those at the base, often by charismatic individuals who have talked with great passion about their faith, in the manner you relate, and have worked great good, whilst at the same time as doing these appalling things. The cover-ups, which so anger and astonish us all, have almost all taken place very close to the base too: by diocesan bishops, local religious order superiors and church functionaries. One of the interesting observations in the Dublin Report and in the Ferns Report was that individuals at this 'middle-management' level failed consistently to operate within the rules of the institution and attempted informal, so-called "pastoral" solutions. The evidence also suggests that this rottenness was and is extremely patchy locally. In some dioceses and in some provinces of some religious orders there is evidence of quite a lot of this happening, but in others the evidence shows that on become aware, those in positions of responsibilities acted properly. In my own diocese over the last 50 years we have had four bishops: one of whom covered-up things when they came to his attention, one of whom attempted to report these crimes to a police who were not interests and didn't believe the allegations and who then never appointed the priest to another ministry, one who insisted on prosecution despite police reluctance and one (our current bishop) who has consistently reported these things to the police, suspended priests and sought the swift laicisation ("defrocking") of these men from a readily compliant and co-operative Vatican. I dont know whether that means that we're rotten to the core from a diocesan level upwards or whether we're institutionally complicit or what.

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ceterum autem censeo tabula delenda esse

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Trisagion
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quote:
Originally posted by Yorick:
Thanks Trisagion. Are you talking about paedophilia in general, or specifically peadophilia in the clergy?

I'm curious about exactly how a person can manage to be a paedophile and a priest.

No, Yorick, I was talking about those cases where I have been involved in reading the files: almost all priests or religious brothers. The latter points about interventions are more general.

FWIW, I have read a large number of files containing psychological reports of assessments for these men. On being asked, almost none of them said that they had ever discussed their behaviour with anyone, not friends, not spiritual directors, not confessors. I think what we are talking about is individuals who are so damaged that normal criteria of human integrity are all but redundant in trying to understand their behaviour.

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ceterum autem censeo tabula delenda esse

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
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quote:
Originally posted by Trisagion:
I think what we are talking about is individuals who are so damaged that normal criteria of human integrity are all but redundant in trying to understand their behaviour.

I think you're right about that. And I also think that Yorick's question should not be "how can a priest become such a person?", but "how can such a person become a priest?".

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Hail Gallaxhar

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LeRoc

Famous Dutch pirate
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quote:
Trisagion: The problem with this analysis, LeRoc, is that almost all the evidence suggests that the crimes we're here discussing have been committed by those at the base, often by charismatic individuals who have talked with great passion about their faith, in the manner you relate, and have worked great good, whilst at the same time as doing these appalling things.
I know that. But to me, the principle of "you can't accuse everyone because of the sins of a few" still applies at the base level.

quote:
Trisagion: The cover-ups, which so anger and astonish us all, have almost all taken place very close to the base too: by diocesan bishops, local religious order superiors and church functionaries.
I'm not just talking about the cover-ups, bad as they are. It's the reaction of the Church as a whole, and one that continues into the present day. It gives me a very strong impression of a knee-jerk defensive reaction, aimed at protecting the power structures at all costs, instead of a sincere attitude of repentance, of humility, of self-reflection. That's what I call rotten, and it goes right up to the top.

I'm not the judge of the Church, but I think I'm entitled to say what impression it makes on me, as someone who deeply cares for what it's doing for many communities at the grass-roots level in Latin America.

Personally, I don't think the Church can argue its way out of this, to me the only way is to geniunely show repentance, humility and self-reflection.

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I know why God made the rhinoceros, it's because He couldn't see the rhinoceros, so He made the rhinoceros to be able to see it. (Clarice Lispector)

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Uncle Pete

Loyaute me lie
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:

I also think that Yorick's question should not be "how can a priest become such a person?", but "how can such a person become a priest?".

Denial is a human failing. That's how we get priests and ministers, lay and religious, of whatever community, who are failed people. It is not just sex offenders, it also cover fiscal irresponsibility, gambling, alcohol and narcotic addition.

Denial also helps these "persons of God" to pass every test that thrown at them. Because it doesn't happen to them. And they've compartmentalised their behaviour to such an extent that it doesn't exist,

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Even more so than I was before

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Erroneous Monk
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quote:
Originally posted by Yorick:


I'm curious about exactly how a person can manage to be a paedophile and a priest.

Do you find this harder to understand than how a person can manage to be a paedophile and a mother? And yet some do. Fathers too and more often, but most of us find the idea of maternal abuse *even* harder to accept.

Also some people manage to be both police officers and criminals, both husbands and wife-beaters, both Members of Parliament and fraudsters.

How? How???

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And I shot a man in Tesco, just to watch him die.

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womanspeak
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The Australian National Council of Churches has established a joint Safe Church Training Agreement which offers approved awareness courses for clergy and laity on child protection and creating safe ministries.

It is notable that very very few Catholic Diocese have joined. In some states this lack of awareness continues to hamper the provision of safe churches with the Catholic church appearing to be afraid of a backlog of abuse which may appear if their lay leaders are fully trained and aware.

In NSW clergy and people working in voluntary or paid lay roles for the church are all mandatory reporters for child abuse. It is with a greater awareness of the laity and clergy together that ministry can be supervised and planned to be safe, and the reporting of issues transparent and externally evaluated.

Unfortunately some Catholic Diocese down under are still encouraging internal review and"healing" and failing to report claims of abuse to authorities to the detriment of all Christians.

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from the bush

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Moo

Ship's tough old bird
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quote:
Originally posted by Yorick
It strikes me as amazing that even the most sadistic evil bastard could live for long periods of time with their guilty conscience, having sexually abused children. Presumably, they find a way to deny the crime to themselves, or to justify it in some way or other so that they can live with it.

Many pedophiles insist that they are doing the children a favor by introducing them to sex. The concept of a guilty conscience does not come into it. There is an organization, NAMBLA, that advocates these views.

Moo

[NOT SAFE FOR WORK LINK, T², Hellhost]

[ 28. June 2012, 19:56: Message edited by: Think² ]

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Kerygmania host
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See you later, alligator.

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Evensong
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quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
Many pedophiles insist that they are doing the children a favor by introducing them to sex. The concept of a guilty conscience does not come into it.

I haven't heard that one.

But I have certainly heard from prison chaplains working in this area that say pedophiles think they have done nothing wrong.

quote:
Originally posted by Trisagion:
I think what we are talking about is individuals who are so damaged that normal criteria of human integrity are all but redundant in trying to understand their behaviour.

Yeah.

[ 28. June 2012, 13:27: Message edited by: Evensong ]

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Trisagion
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
I think you're right about that. And I also think that Yorick's question should not be "how can a priest become such a person?", but "how can such a person become a priest?".

Or, perhaps, "how can such a person be stopped from becoming a priest?"

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Trisagion
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quote:
Originally posted by womanspeak:
Unfortunately some Catholic Diocese down under are still encouraging internal review and"healing" and failing to report claims of abuse to authorities to the detriment of all Christians.

The "Towards Healing" document is certainly not without it's critics but it makes clear what the Catholic Church in Australia expects in this field. This, from the explanatory notes to Towards Healing from the Melbourne Archdiocese.

quote:
Involvement of Police
The Church encourages those with a complaint of criminal abuse to go to the police and will assist them to do so. It realises that for many reasons some victims choose not to do this. Nevertheless the Church will take the complaint seriously and take such other steps as are necessary to ensure no person is at risk.
TH 37.1 When the complaint concerns an alleged crime, the contact person or Director of Professional Standards shall explain to the complainant that the Church has a strong preference that the allegation be referred to the police so that the case can be dealt with appropriately through the justice system. If desired, the complainant will be assisted to do this. Where it applies, the contact person shall also explain the requirements of the law of mandatory reporting.
When a complainant does go to police, the Church still offers counselling and other assistance and advises the person that they may approach the Church again when any criminal process is concluded (cf TH 37.2)
Even where a complainant insists that he or she will not go to police, the Church believes that it has an obligation to pass intelligence to police (not identifying the complainant) and is currently working on protocols and structures which will enable that to extend to all states and territories (TH 37.4).
The Church complies with all state/territory laws concerning mandatory reporting of abuse and concerning oversight of investigations, including in New South Wales the Ombudsman's Office (TH34.6, 37.5).[/QB]



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Tortuf
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Life, and the Bible, teach us that flawed persons can also do good things. David slew Goliath, was a mighty king, and so forth. David also had a loyal soldier offed so he could bang the soldier's hot wife.

David is an archetype for all of us. We all have the potential for good, and bad, in us. Some of us have a potential for bad that is terrible in its scope and dimension. The priests who commit pedophilia may be quite wonderful people apart from their hideous desire. I don't know that any of us are capable of looking into another human beings soul and determining that kind of thing until it makes itself evident through behavior.

Hopefully, behavior that evidences itself in small ways first. That is why training about this kind of issue is so important.

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by Trisagion:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
I think you're right about that. And I also think that Yorick's question should not be "how can a priest become such a person?", but "how can such a person become a priest?".

Or, perhaps, "how can such a person be stopped from becoming a priest?"
Indeed.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Yorick

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quote:
Originally posted by Erroneous Monk:
Do you find this harder to understand than how a person can manage to be a paedophile and a mother? And yet some do. Fathers too and more often, but most of us find the idea of maternal abuse *even* harder to accept.

We’re not talking about mothers and fathers here, or anybody in general, we’re talking about priests. I’m specifically interested in how a priest reconciles his acts with his own beliefs.

And it’s no good telling me that priests are the same as anyone else. They’re not the same as me because I can rape anybody I like without believing that God knows all about it, and that it’s absolutely wrong because He says so, whilst having to continue to act like a priest.

So, what I’d like to know is how people imagine priests find ways to live with their own terrible sins. Do they tell themselves they’re forgiven, so it’s okay? Do they have no conscience, and psychotically fail to see their acts as sinful at all (as has been suggested here)? Do they lie awake at night in torments of anguished conscience, suffering more than any heathen could because they know God is fully aware of their sins and will judge them for it?

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این نیز بگذرد

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Erroneous Monk
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quote:
Originally posted by Yorick:
quote:
Originally posted by Erroneous Monk:
Do you find this harder to understand than how a person can manage to be a paedophile and a mother? And yet some do. Fathers too and more often, but most of us find the idea of maternal abuse *even* harder to accept.

We’re not talking about mothers and fathers here, or anybody in general, we’re talking about priests. I’m specifically interested in how a priest reconciles his acts with his own beliefs.

And it’s no good telling me that priests are the same as anyone else. They’re not the same as me because I can rape anybody I like without believing that God knows all about it...

But that's why I raised the issue of parental abusers. A mother who abuses her own children does it under the watchful eye of both those childrens' *mother* (herself) and her own children. How does she do that? And I think the answer is covered in various ways above by Moo, and Tortuf and Evensong and others.

Also I for one am more comfortable with God knowing about my sins, sexual and otherwise, than I would be with my any other person knowing about them. I don't think that makes me any more likely to be an abuser.

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And I shot a man in Tesco, just to watch him die.

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RuthW

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quote:
Originally posted by Trisagion:
In my own diocese over the last 50 years we have had four bishops: one of whom covered-up things when they came to his attention, one of whom attempted to report these crimes to a police who were not interests and didn't believe the allegations and who then never appointed the priest to another ministry, one who insisted on prosecution despite police reluctance and one (our current bishop) who has consistently reported these things to the police, suspended priests and sought the swift laicisation ("defrocking") of these men from a readily compliant and co-operative Vatican. I dont know whether that means that we're rotten to the core from a diocesan level upwards or whether we're institutionally complicit or what.

I have no idea where this is, and it's none of my business, but to me this sounds a lot like how our whole societies' views of the sexual abuse of children have developed, but with the church authority in this case ahead of the times.

As for Yorick's inquiries: it always amuses me that he rails against religion as a horrible thing and then turns around and wonders why religious people aren't better than they are.

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Yorick

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quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
As for Yorick's inquiries: it always amuses me that he rails against religion as a horrible thing and then turns around and wonders why religious people aren't better than they are.

You can talk directly to me, RuthW. It's not contagious.

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این نیز بگذرد

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Trisagion
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quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
I have no idea where this is, and it's none of my business, but to me this sounds a lot like how our whole societies' views of the sexual abuse of children have developed, but with the church authority in this case ahead of the times.

My bad, RuthW. I didn't list the bishops and their characteristic responses chronologically. Would that it were that simple. They went like this:
1941-1965 Bishop insisted on prosecution despite police reluctance.
1965-1975 Bishop covered-up, moved and shuffled.
1975-1987 Bishop attempted to get police involved and then removed priest from ministry.
1987 to date Bishop suspends, refers to police and gets man laicised.

quote:
As for Yorick's inquiries: it always amuses me that he rails against religion as a horrible thing and then turns around and wonders why religious people aren't better than they are.
I don't think - at least as far as this thread goes - that this is a fair characterisation of Yorick's position. He seems to be to be struggling to understand how a normal, sane person with even an ounce of integrity could believe himself to be standing in the place of Christ, preaching the Gospel, celebrating the Sacraments and providing pastoral care, whilst at one and the same time committing these horrendous sins/crimes. I think that's a perfectly normal and reasonable bewilderment and one that I, every Catholic and every Catholic priest I have spoken to shares. As I have suggested, I think the answer lies in a pathologically damaged mind.

[ 28. June 2012, 16:23: Message edited by: Trisagion ]

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Edith
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I think Trisagion is right. The answer is the minds of these people are seriously disordered. Sadly, they have no insight into it and they frequently pursue those occupations or professions, which give them access to children such as the priesthood, sports coaching scout mastering or teaching. In all of these the natural and horrified response is 'How could a ...... do such a thing. I have had personal experience of a young teacher who was adored by his pupils and by the parents. I remember one parent saying 'Mr So and So is wonderful, the children love him to bits, he's just like one of them'. That should have set alarm bells ringing but it was some months later that he was discovered and prosecuted. Of course the priesthood is different especially to Catholics like myself, and it's not the fact of the crime that is so surprising but the failure to deal with it effectively. This has been discussed thoroughly here and elsewhere, but I don't really understand Trisagion's description of the bishops and superiors as 'middle management'. As one who remembers being made to kneel down to kiss the bishop's ring, they seem to me to very close to an absolute authority. If they are middle management then senior management is seriously at fault for allowing them to much autonomy and not enough accountability.

I think the question of how to identify these paedophiles and prevent them from entering any profession or place where they can indulge their vile habits is crucial, especially as Trisagion says, often they are charismatic and attract a big following and great loyalty, not to mention total disbelief when amongst many of those followers when they are eventually identified.

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Edith

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Anselmina
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quote:
Originally posted by Evensong:
quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
Many pedophiles insist that they are doing the children a favor by introducing them to sex. The concept of a guilty conscience does not come into it.

I haven't heard that one.


I watched some of those 'To Catch a Predator' programmes on satellite. It was surprising the number of men who were arranging to meet virgins (as they thought), to do them the favour of being their 'first'. Much better to do it with someone experienced and willing to make it a really special thing, you see. Most of them also claimed that they really only wanted to be friends or mentors, with only a few admitting that the relationship would only become sexual if the minor wanted it.

Even with the evidence of internet transcripts of their x-rated conversations with potential victims staring them in the face, many just point-blankly said 'well, I would never do that'.

Yorick's certainly got a point about the particular dynamic of corrupted religious morals where priests (and for that matter other kinds of religious leaders are concerned). The common factor is the capacity for human beings to be in denial, to compromise conscience - and in the case of religion even make God fit into a perverted rationale for sin. I suppose in the same way a parent who kills his child perverts his parental impulse to justify the act.

Of course, there is always the old-fashioned but ever popular thing about not knowing it's wrong but doing it anyway.

[ 28. June 2012, 17:31: Message edited by: Anselmina ]

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Trisagion
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quote:
Originally posted by Edith:
...but I don't really understand Trisagion's description of the bishops and superiors as 'middle management'. As one who remembers being made to kneel down to kiss the bishop's ring, they seem to me to very close to an absolute authority. If they are middle management then senior management is seriously at fault for allowing them to much autonomy and not enough accountability.

I understand exactly what you mean but that wasn't really how I was using the expression. I was using it to suggest that the fault in cover-ups seems to be really quite close to the local. As for the autonomy: it isn't granted from above in some kind of delegation from above but is intrinsic to the office of bishop.

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Moo

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quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
There is an organization, NAMBLA, that advocates these views.

Moo

[NOT SAFE FOR WORK LINK, T², Hellhost]

I apologize.

Moo

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See you later, alligator.

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John Holding

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quote:
Originally posted by Trisagion:
quote:
Originally posted by LeRoc:
...there's still a lot of good in its base, but above that it's rotten. And I have to admit that part of me would like to see it all come crumbling down. Only to be built up again from the base, because that's where its strength is.

The problem with this analysis, LeRoc, is that almost all the evidence suggests that the crimes we're here discussing have been committed by those at the base,
The thing is, there are two issues, not one: Paedophlia and cover-up.

With respect to the first, you are probably right.

With respect to the second, not so much. Coverups through the decades -- and there is lots of evidence of coverups for several decades (in Canada for example, from the 30s and 40s) and in many countries, all show a similar culture at the level of local bishops and others in the hierarchy. How can there be this longstanding international shared culture among (some) bishops without those in authority having responsibility.

I agree that acts of paedophilia, while vile, reflect primarily on the perpetrator and only secondarily on the church of which he is a member.

But the loss of moral authority of which most of us are speaking or thinking is the result of the culture of coverup in the councils of bishops in many countries over many decades.

Again, how can it be that the authorities in the church do not have to answer and take responsibility for that culture of coverup?

John

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
And that even the Borgias left no more stain on the papacy than some nepotism and debauchery suggests a truly superhuman trustworthiness of this office.

It seems at least plausible that the stain of the Borgias contributed greatly to the overall disgust with the Catholic Church that erupted into the Reformation. I think triumphalism about the papacy's ability to bounce back from the Borgias is grossly unwarranted.

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This is the last sig I'll ever write for you...

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Trisagion
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# 5235

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quote:
Originally posted by John Holding:
But the loss of moral authority of which most of us are speaking or thinking is the result of the culture of coverup in the councils of bishops in many countries over many decades.

Again, how can it be that the authorities in the church do not have to answer and take responsibility for that culture of coverup?

John

John, I get that, but believe the analysis you offer doesn't reflect the reality of the organism. It fails to recognise how patchy the response of different bishops in different places and at different times was and it seeks to judge today the moral authority (a slippery notion ISTM) of today's man by reference to the actions of his predecessors. We dont judge the moral authority of our politicians or public administrators or headteachers on that basis: we seem to be quite capable of distinguishing between the office and the man.

The nub of the argument that gave rise to this thread was that, because some (many but by no means even a majority) of bishops in some places behaved disgracefully, then other bishops have lost their authority to discipline those under that authority. All analogies are inadequate but I would suggest the following parallel as being at helpful. Some police officers in the Metropolitan Police were manifest racists who let their prejudices get in the way of properly investigating the Stephen Lawrence murder and the Met were found to be "institutionally racist". This does not mean that the Chief Constable of Hampshire should be thought to lack the authority to reform the workings of the Lyndhurst Neighbourhood Watch.

If the Catholic Church was, looked and felt like a single, unitary corporation, then much of this criticism would have hit the mark. Sure we can argue whether this or that Canadian bishop in the 1930s behaved dreadfully or should or should not be held to different standards from school principals or the boards of residential schools at that time, but to suggest that an organism that is more like a federation or one bound by familial ties should be judged by criteria appropriate to a corporate or military hierarchy seems to be a category error. That is, I think, at the heart of the difference.

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Anselmina
Ship's barmaid
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
And that even the Borgias left no more stain on the papacy than some nepotism and debauchery suggests a truly superhuman trustworthiness of this office.

It seems at least plausible that the stain of the Borgias contributed greatly to the overall disgust with the Catholic Church that erupted into the Reformation. I think triumphalism about the papacy's ability to bounce back from the Borgias is grossly unwarranted.
OTOH, the Borgias have provided some stonking good biographies! Without the Medicis, the Borgias, the del Roveres and their ilk, Italy would probably be as interesting today as Belgium or Luxembourg (no offence to either), and historically relegated to a bit of a footnote on WWII about Mussolini, and maybe a passing nod as a pilgrimage to the death site of Peter the Fisherman. (No doubt the colosseum would still get some visitors...)

There's something to be said for that Constantinian lust for absolute power wedded to a bishop's mitre! Although I think I agree with Mousethief that in the quote above IngoB hasn't really said that particular thing. [Big Grin]

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IngoB

Sentire cum Ecclesia
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
It seems at least plausible that the stain of the Borgias contributed greatly to the overall disgust with the Catholic Church that erupted into the Reformation. I think triumphalism about the papacy's ability to bounce back from the Borgias is grossly unwarranted.

I don't think that "contributed greatly" is particularly plausible. But you fail to appreciate my actual point. From a wordly perspective, there is nothing to stop the pope from declaring irreformable dogma that is wrong, evil and/or inconsistent with other dogma. From a worldly perspective, there is nothing to stop the pope from attacking the structure of the Church by all kinds of bad governance. One could argue that most popes do not do that, because they are really embedded into structures that maintain ecclesiastic sanity. But the Borgias are not suspect of allowing limits to their powers. Yet instead of wrecking the Church on a fundamental level, we see them sinning in rather commonplace fashion. Sure, they may have damaged whatever reputation of saintliness the papacy may have had. But their effect on the Church was strangely limited. And so it has been throughout history. In spite of an office so frequently identified as absolutist monarchy, i.e., a terrible disaster waiting to happen through an evil or even just incompetent occupant, there never seems to be anything happening that cannot be corrected with straightforward moves later on. And the Borgias show that there sure was plenty of potential for something worse to happen. It is not that all popes were saints, it is rather that Someone is containing the occasional papal meltdown, preventing major leaks of evil into the Church from that powerful source.

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

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Mary LA
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IngoB when you say "One could argue that most popes do not do that, because they are really embedded into structures that maintain ecclesiastic sanity" I take it you're not talking about the Vatican curia?

Mary, who is busy reading about that loquacious butler and Vatileaks while musing on the ecclesiastical insanity of the Roman Curia.

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“I often wonder if we were all characters in one of God's dreams.”
― Muriel Spark

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Mary LA
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That was probably a little too facetious, but there is such a danger in sacralising or idealising structures or offices in and of themselves -- it was only in 1983 that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith dropped the Sacred from its title. It had previously been known as The Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office. Before that it was known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition.

I agree that structures and legislation can mitigate against the abuse of power and ensure a certain stability, but they are not foolproof.

Edited for typos

[ 29. June 2012, 08:13: Message edited by: Mary LA ]

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“I often wonder if we were all characters in one of God's dreams.”
― Muriel Spark

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JoannaP
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quote:
Originally posted by Trisagion:
We dont judge the moral authority of our politicians or public administrators or headteachers on that basis: we seem to be quite capable of distinguishing between the office and the man.

Given the current public opinion of ALL politicians, I am not sure that this is true.


quote:
If the Catholic Church was, looked and felt like a single, unitary corporation, then much of this criticism would have hit the mark. Sure we can argue whether this or that Canadian bishop in the 1930s behaved dreadfully or should or should not be held to different standards from school principals or the boards of residential schools at that time, but to suggest that an organism that is more like a federation or one bound by familial ties should be judged by criteria appropriate to a corporate or military hierarchy seems to be a category error. That is, I think, at the heart of the difference.

The problem is that, from outside it, the RCC DOES look like a single, unitary entity. For me, your analogy failed because I believe that the police forces are very much more separate from each other than Catholic dioceses. I may well be wrong but that is the impression I have.

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"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." Benjamin Franklin

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IngoB

Sentire cum Ecclesia
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quote:
Originally posted by Mary LA:
IngoB when you say "One could argue that most popes do not do that, because they are really embedded into structures that maintain ecclesiastic sanity" I take it you're not talking about the Vatican curia?

I sure am. Plus the rest of the hierarchy... and indeed the laity.

quote:
Originally posted by Mary LA:
That was probably a little too facetious, but there is such a danger in sacralising or idealising structures or offices in and of themselves -- it was only in 1983 that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith dropped the Sacred from its title.

Who is idealising anything here? I was raising a potential counterargument against myself, namely that if an insane / truly evil pope tried to throw his ecclesiastic weight around, he would be limited in the damage that he can cause by the organisational structure and institutional inertia of the rest of the Church (rather than by the Holy Spirit as I was suggesting). That counterargument requires nothing about the rest of the Church other than that she is not as insane / truly evil as that pope. And furthermore I actually stated that I do not think that this counterargument works, because insane / truly evil people can be very crafty (ecclesiastic) politicians.

Furthermore, it is a pity that "Sacred" was dropped from the title of the CDF. I guess we will stop calling the Holy Father "Holy" next. This is confusing the morality or performance of office holders with the office itself. That's stupid. That's pandering to the Zeitgeist. That's Protestant. My Church is indeed Holy, and Sacred in all her offices, and a Glory to the world, simply because she is the Body of Christ. And if one cannot see this in spite of the Borgias and child abusers and whatever, then one can just give up on the whole Christian enterprise IMHO. Because we cannot engineer our own salvation. The tower of Babel will not reach heaven. The cross does.

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

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Sir Pellinore
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# 12163

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quote:
Originally posted by Yorick:
Thanks Trisagion. Are you talking about paedophilia in general, or specifically peadophilia in the clergy?

I'm curious about exactly how a person can manage to be a paedophile and a priest.

To be brutally honest many seem to have done so quite easily in the past.

The sagas from both the Anglican and Roman Catholic archdioceses in Brisbane recently, including the defrocking of a former Anglican Bishop of Grafton, make horrific reading.

There seems to be something about this type of mental pathology which allows those who suffer from it to blank out any sense of guilt, even to blame the victim.

In the old days, in both the Roman Catholic Church and Anglo-Catholic Queensland, a priest was considered a man somehow set apart and sanctified. The equivalent of a Brahmin by ordination as it were. Someone not to be questioned by the hoi polloi (ordinary folk) like you and I.

Couple that with the idea that sin could be forgiven in the confessional and that was all that was needed: a view which didn't really take into consideration the psychological factors involved in paedophilia and addiction.

Both Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches up here were hierarchical and authoritarian.

A recipe for disaster and it came.

The recent Catholic Archbishop and the current Anglican one have done a tremendous job of bringing the darkest deeds to light and assisting victims.

There are several lessons to be learnt from both the former failure to deal with the problem and the recent success in Queensland. Of course, not every crime has been brought to light and the situation requires eternal vigilance and built in safeguards. How effective these are only time will tell.

I am not sure the best protocols or training, good as they may be, can prevent further incidences of child molestation and rape.

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Well...

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Mary LA
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# 17040

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IngoB: "My Church is indeed Holy, and Sacred in all her offices, and a Glory to the world, simply because she is the Body of Christ. And if one cannot see this in spite of the Borgias and child abusers and whatever, then one can just give up on the whole Christian enterprise IMHO. Because we cannot engineer our own salvation. The tower of Babel will not reach heaven. The cross does."

I might not agree with you (well, I don't) but I enjoyed reading this, such fervour and certainty.

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“I often wonder if we were all characters in one of God's dreams.”
― Muriel Spark

Posts: 499 | From: Africa | Registered: Apr 2012  |  IP: Logged



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