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Source: (consider it) Thread: Lost your faith in Catholicism due to the sex abuse scandals?
Squirrel
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Not sure if this is the right board for such a discussion, but here goes...

This is not another debate over the clergy sex abuse scandal. Rather, I am interested in hearing if anyone else has had an experience like I have. I was raised and educated RC, and my uncle is a Jesuit. When I married a protestant I started going with her to her church, mostly because I didn't like the idea that she couldn't receive communion at an RC Mass- and because protestants serve refreshments after their services. But deep down, I still identified myself as a Roman Catholic, and was proud of it. Sure, there were some things I disagreed with, but they didn't stop me from being very defensive about Catholicism.

Two things shook me. The first was the election of the present Pope, whom I regard as a reactionary. The Holy Spirit was behind the election of this man? C'mon now!! But I calmed down after a while. Then the extent of the clergy sex scandal became widely known. It wasn't so much that some priests were bad apples, but that the Church, which I always considered to be holier than any other institution, was covering up and refusing to take responsibility for it. I was (and am) furious.

Now I'm at the point where I can no longer call myself RC. I've even put a provision in my will that my funeral NOT be done in a Catholic church. And I'm seriously thinking of "making it official" by joining an Episcopal, Lutheran or other mainstream protestant denomination. I feel like there is no longer any room for me in Catholicism.

Fellow Catholics (or ex-Catholics), how have you coped with the scandal?

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"The moral is to the physical as three is to one."
- Napoleon

"Five to one."
- George S. Patton

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Gramps49
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Squirrl, have you ever noticed how similar CoE and Lutheran Services are to the catholic mass? That's because we are of the catholic tradition, just not Roman Catholic.

Yes Pope Benedict is a reactionary compared to Pope John Paul II, John Paul I and John XXIII. But that is fairly common. The pendulum swings both ways. Frankly, I don't think Benedict will be around that long.

As the the sex scandal, it is most unfortunate that the Roman Church will not take responsibility. Here in the US many Dioceses have been sued and many have went bankrupt in covering the claims. Maybe that is what has to happen in order for the Romans to finally admit to the error of their ways (pun very much intended).

Nevertheless, you are most welcome to participate in the Anglican or Lutheran expressions of the catholic church.

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Squirrel
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Thanks, Gramps. I do like the similarity of the Episcopal and Lutheran services to the Catholic Mass. In fact, I'm on my way to a Lutheran service in a few hours.

I'll agree is that getting hit in the wallet seems to have been the only thing that caused the RC church to wake up and do something about the scandal.

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"The moral is to the physical as three is to one."
- Napoleon

"Five to one."
- George S. Patton

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Banner Lady
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squirrel, I am married to a Catholic and we are both comfortable worshiping in either his church or mine but we are conscious of the deep sorrows which mire both our traditions.

The Anglican church is as guilty of non-action regarding sin committed by its own as the Catholics, the Apostolics, the Pentecostals etc. etc.

It has driven friends of mine to lose their faith, consider suicide, sink into depression from which they have never escaped, leave the church and get so angry that they do what you have done.

Every way you look at it this is tragic. Those in oversight SHOULD have acted. But as a parent I am often the last one to find out what my adult children have really been up to - sin loves to operate in the dark. And then, as a Christian parent, I talk to them, pray for them, suggest other directions for them and hope they will turn to the light. As Christians we choose to believe that when it comes to clergy the good nature of God will prevail over our carnal natures; but it ain't necessarily so.

I feel so sorry for those having to deal with this mess at the top. Most of them have become victims too. Some have been hamstrung by processes, and even subtle forms of blackmail.
We are such an awful advertisement for God, and yet, strangely God continues throughout the catholic church to do all kinds of works of compassion and mercy.

Truly God's ways are NOT our ways.

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Women in the church are not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be enjoyed.

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Squirrel
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I had Catholic education clear through my BA, and they always talked about the Ecumenical movement and how great things were between the RCs and the protestants. I believed it. Then my fiance and I decided to get married. Not only was I told that she is unwelcome to take communion in my church, but the Jesuits prohibited my uncle from actively participating in our wedding, which was in an Episcopal church. So much for "One in Christ."

I contrast the above with the always welcoming spirit I have encountered in Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian and other protestant churches.

As for abuse by clergy in other denominations, I know that it occurs. But either there's a massive cover-up going on that's yet to be exposed, or it's much more common amongst the RCs.

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"The moral is to the physical as three is to one."
- Napoleon

"Five to one."
- George S. Patton

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Stetson
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In my twenties, I contemplated the RC priesthood. Eventually gave up on the idea, mostly because I couldn't honestly say that I believed in Catholic theology.

But even if I had believed in the theology, I think the stigma of criminality that was rapidly accruing itself to the RC priesthood would probably have been a pretty big stumbling block as well. Whether it was statistically justified or not, I don't know, but it was certainly getting to be the public perception that Catholic priest = pedophile. And the church wasn't doing its utmost to set the record straight in that regard.

Even without the scandals, I still wouldn't identify as Catholic, simply because I don't believe the theology, and I don't think being culturally Catholic is enough of a justification for adopting the label. I realize I'm probably in a minority on that one, since a lot of lapsed Catholics still continue to wear the label.

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I have the power...Lucifer is lord!

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Stetson
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quote:
As for abuse by clergy in other denominations, I know that it occurs. But either there's a massive cover-up going on that's yet to be exposed, or it's much more common amongst the RCs.


I know there are supposedly these stats demonstrating that sexual abuse by RC priests is no higher than among the general population. But I'm having a hard time believing that the apparent overrepresentation of priests in that particular category of crime is all attributable to selective media coverage.

I might be willing to believe that sex abuse among RC priests is within the same statistical ballpark as among other occupations which routinely have contact with minors.

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I have the power...Lucifer is lord!

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Zacchaeus
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I am not an RC, but I was a child abused by a member of my wider family.

I just wanted to say - don't blame the church too much, for their culture of cover up and for not understanding the nature of abuse 20-30 years ago.

Because that was what was the culture in the world at the time. When as a young adult I disclosed what had happened to my family, there was exactly the same reaction of disbelief and trying to minimise what had happened, even to the extent of blaming the victims.

Even the schools and social services where not as clued up then and the advice given to us as a family was very diffferent to what it might be now.

For instance my abuser had a family, and my concern was triggered, by him having children approaching the age I was when the abuse started. Out of concern I spoke to the children's school and they refused to make it official because they were a 'nice family' and if something like that went on the record. Then it would 'follow them around forever'

Even a few years back the world didn't understand how manipulaitve abusers were or how unlikley they where to change.

I'm not wanting to start a different debate here, and maybe there where factors that magnified things in the RC church and yes maybe they took too long to accept what had happened.

I just want to say the world's was different then and it is easy to judge then with the knowledge of now if you see what I mean.

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Welease Woderwick

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I've let this run a bit and it is now clear that this is more Purgatorial than it is AS material so off you go!

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What part of Matt. 7:1 don't you understand?

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Squirrel
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One of the things that hit me hard about the abuse scandal was the fact that, to fellow RCs and myself, the Church was supposed to be special- it was THE Church. At least that was what we were taught. Accordingly, we held it up to a higher moral standard than other institutions. If a school covered up abuse by a teacher, that was bad. But if The Church did it, repeatedly, well, what did that say about its claim to being God's representatives on Earth?

--------------------
"The moral is to the physical as three is to one."
- Napoleon

"Five to one."
- George S. Patton

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Zacchaeus
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I do understand why you are so hurt by it. As Christians we are all supposed to be God's hands and feet here on earth, but those feet are often feet of clay, and are a big letdown to fellow Christians and as ambassadors of Christ.

I am constantly hurt by the image that we anglicans give to the world - infighting and bickering, it's now wonder the world thinks Christians are loonies with an unnatural interest in the sexual habits of others and with reactionary views about women.

But on personal level I understand because our family is the one place where we are supposed to be safe from harm and go to when we are in trouble - but when our family is the place that hurts us and ignores us in our trouble.....

It is the same with our church, if it lets us down it hits us hard, I am glad that you managed to find a home elsewhere - it would be so sad if bad christian's decisions, put you off God.

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Evensong
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quote:
Originally posted by Squirrel:
One of the things that hit me hard about the abuse scandal was the fact that, to fellow RCs and myself, the Church was supposed to be special- it was THE Church. At least that was what we were taught. Accordingly, we held it up to a higher moral standard than other institutions. If a school covered up abuse by a teacher, that was bad. But if The Church did it, repeatedly, well, what did that say about its claim to being God's representatives on Earth?

Do you hold Christians up to a higher moral standard than non Christians?

If so, when they fail, how do you respond?

[ 30. May 2011, 14:00: Message edited by: Evensong ]

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a theological scrapbook

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moron
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quote:
Originally posted by Stetson:
I know there are supposedly these stats demonstrating that sexual abuse by RC priests is no higher than among the general population. But I'm having a hard time believing that the apparent overrepresentation of priests in that particular category of crime is all attributable to selective media coverage.

My gut hunch is 'media frenzy' is more probable than a particular population having an inordinate amount of criminals.
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Belle Ringer
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quote:
Originally posted by Zacchaeus:
I just wanted to say - don't blame the church too much, for their culture of cover up and for not understanding the nature of abuse 20-30 years ago.

Because that was what was the culture in the world at the time. When as a young adult I disclosed what had happened to my family, there was exactly the same reaction of disbelief and trying to minimise what had happened, even to the extent of blaming the victims.

Just want to say, without going into details, that still happens today. If the abuser is a Very Important Person in a closed society, the victim is disbelieved or accused of instigating (entrapping) because it's too costly to the closed community to lose the Very Important Person.

A family can be this kind of closed community, especially if the abuser is the sole breadwinner (if we kick out the abusive breadwinner we'll all starve, better for everyone if we ignore the complaints of the abused child).

A church can be this kind of closed community especially if the abuser is a major provider of money or talent, clergy is (can be) one of the categories of Very Important Person (if we kick out the clergy - or the moneybags - the whole church will suffer or die, better for everyone if we ignore the few people who complain of abuse, their complaints threaten to cause trouble for everyone, they are troublemakers).

(There are other closed communities, by which I don't mean no newcomers can join.)

It is not - never really was - about the victim being disbelieved so much as about not upsetting things for everyone else, the victim is told (by words or deeds) "the abusive one is more important than you are."

Related problem with some (not all!) charming people. I have friends whose churches sided with charming in public spouse, and ostracized the one who got tired of being abused at home. "Of course" the charming person is wonderful, anyone who accuses him/her of abuse "must" be lying.

Blame the victim lets us continue to pretend the world is as we want it. That still goes on today, in many ways.

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Zacchaeus
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There is just the natural human tendacy not to want to face up to the failings of those nearest and dearest to us. Whether it is in our family or our social groups.
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Roots
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Its not just the Catholic church or any "mainline" demonination which has these problems, its when authority is invested into certain people that they forget the reason they were there and think they own the church they are in.

Our Charismaniac community of stand alone churches have more than their fair share of problems, and our unwillingness to take action has led to things which are just as bad, but never reported in the name of being forgiving and restoring gently, and the perpetrators get to carry on in a different church.

Molestation took place in a church of a friend and they landed up having to pay out a settlement to get him off their backs as they had done it biblically but not giving him a notice period.

In our church it has happened twice where the person brought "baggage" with them and only once the person was dismissed from the church did it come out that they had done similar things in ther prior churches and it had just been kept quiet.

At times like this, it doesnt matter which church you are in or affilliation, there are bad apples everywhere, but at the same time, some extremely good ministers and priests.

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Just waiting for the end of the road....seems so far at times....

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teddybear
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I am a former Catholic, who presently considers myself an agnostic more than anything else. I am also a survivor of clergy sexual abuse. The abuse itself was quite traumatic and is something that I am still dealing with. However, the abuse wasn't what caused me to question my faith and the church, but the way the bishops handled my abuse was a factor i causing me to reject something that used to be very dear to me.

Myself and another young man turned in our abuser to our bishop. He promised us that he would deal with it and swore us to secrecy. However, it took the church another 30+ years to remove this man from ministry. And this was with numerous other reports of sexual abuse over those 30+ years.

The diocese where my abuse happened agreed to pay my insurance co-pays for psycho-therapy. However, it took ages for my therapist to get paid and often required several phone calls on my part to get that monthly $20. And after a couple of years they decided that I wasn't getting "proper care" from my therapist and quit paying anything. Interestingly enough, this was also the same time they lost a major court case that cost them millions of dollars and also required them to continue paying for therapy for people like me.

I have seen this sort of thing happen over and over with other people, both male and female. For example, in hell is a thread about the bishop of Kansas City, Missouri. Over a year ago a grade school principal reported the parish priest for inappropriate behavior of a priest toward little girls at the parish grade school. Nothing was done. Then six months later a computer tech finds child porn on the priest's personal computer. The tech turns it in to the diocese, who talks unofficially to a pet police officer (but who never actually sees the pictures), who says they aren't porn. The diocese then gives the computer to the priest's family (who destroys it) and sends the priest for therapy. When the priest comes back he is assigned to be a chaplain at a convent. Then six months after the photos are originally found, they turn them over to the local DA and charges are immediately filed. At this time it comes out about the grade school principal sending the letter and the bishop says he never read it, that the Vicar General just told him about it. Now everything is hitting the fan and the diocese and bishop is looking worse than ever.

I have seen stuff like this happening over and over. I've been lied to and others have been lied to, in order to cover their asses. If they can't be honest about this abuse stuff, what else have they lied about? Can we believe them when they talk about god and theology, when they lie about other things?

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Squirrel
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teddybear, I'm sorry to hear what you went through. The one person I've met who was abused by a priest was actually an adult when it happened, but she encountered a similar reception from the Church.

As for whether we can believe the church after such stuff happens, I can see why you'd be asking serious questions. For me, I can still believe much of what the RC church taught about God, but none of their claims of exclusivity and being God's representatives on Earth. I've adopted a rather liberal protestant view of clergy- they're just people.

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"The moral is to the physical as three is to one."
- Napoleon

"Five to one."
- George S. Patton

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anteater

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I'm not a catholic, although quite drawn to the RCC. That's not my main point.

But I do wish everybody could read what to me is the best overall book on the history of the church, and which reads so well, it's almost like a novel. It's "The sociology of religion" by Werner Stark, 5 volumes!

I read it in my twenties. He is a devout catholic with an unshrinking view of the failures of all the churches over 2,000 tears. So even before I finally became a christian, I'd seen all the dirty washing, and cannot imagine how intelligent people can have this dewey eyed view of a church without fault.

I would have thought the participation of some members of the catholic (and protestant) hierarchy in the holocaust (and BTW I think Pius XII gets a bad rap on this) could even have been worse! Apparently not.

And then there's Rwanda. Or if your a protestant, the annihilation of the American Indians, Apartheid, etc etc ad nauseam.

I can't help feeling that some people need a bit of mental iconoclasm.

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Schnuffle schnuffle.

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lapsed heathen

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I am RC, not lapsed, abstaining. I have taken the view that bums on pews are the big payback for the appalling abuse of power the institutional church has shown.
More than that, the double standard, the notion that they were above the law while all our failings were condemnable. I don't expect perfection or ask for it but some acknowledgement that their failings and sins of omission were the same as anyone else's. Not some but 'we did it for the greater good' 'we didn't understand the situation' bullshit that was trotted out to justify self protection.
I'm getting angry again so I'll stop. And their you have it, I've stopped as much to protect my fragile faith as in protest.
Dose that make sense?

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"We are the Easter people and our song is Alleluia"

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Horseman Bree
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The specific complaints of pedophilism were bad enough, but I think my attitude has been shaped more by the rampant abuse perpetrated on the children of aboriginals by several of the churches - forced separation from their parents, physical violence, sexual physical violence, cultural deprivation - all as the result of an ingrained racism, the belief that the kids were not really human even if they became sort-of Christians.

But some of the churches attempted to deal with their history. The United Church of Canada did formal apologies and set up healing processses, which at least made it clear that they realised the enormity of the problem.

The Anglicans were a bit slower, but have developed the ability to talk about the problem - there is now a bishop with specific oversight for northern Natives, for instance. And they are active participants in the Truth&Reconciliation Commission.

But the RCs do not seem to have admitted that there is a problem at all.

You'd think that, having lost Quebec as a result of the basically abusive attitude to the peasants, they'd have learned something in the last 50 years.

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It's Not That Simple

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The5thMary
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I gave up on Roman Catholicism a loooong time ago. The sex abuse scandal has been going on since the eighties so that had little to do with me abandoning ship, so to speak. My big pet peeves are the R.C.'s neanderthal views on the ordination of women and the Gay/Lesbian thing.

I consider myself a follower of Jesus and I happen to go to an open and affirming Protestant church but I don't consider myself Protestant. And that old saw, "Once a Catholic, always a Catholic" doesn't mean shite to me. I think the entire Catholic hierarchy should be dismantled and re-built from the ground up. Not likely to happen in what remains of my lifetime.

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God gave me my face but She let me pick my nose.

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Squirrel
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You mentioned two issues that also bugged me about Catholicism: ordination of women and the lack of acceptance of openly gay and lesbian Catholics.

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"The moral is to the physical as three is to one."
- Napoleon

"Five to one."
- George S. Patton

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art dunce
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My father was raised in a Catholic orphanage. Let me say that those who have caused children such pain are no worse than those who were knowing enablers and they have caused not only the affected to leave the church but their descendants for generations.

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Ego is not your amigo.

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Horseman Bree
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art dunce: one has only to mention the mystic words "Mount Cashel" to get the same reaction from most eastern Canadians.
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Belle Ringer
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quote:
Originally posted by lapsed heathen:
More than that, the double standard, the notion that they were above the law while all our failings were condemnable. I don't expect perfection or ask for it but some acknowledgement that their failings and sins of omission were the same as anyone else's. Not some but 'we did it for the greater good' 'we didn't understand the situation' bullshit that was trotted out to justify self protection.

The clergy/laity double standard - in any church - sends me running away screaming. And it's in a lot of churches - even if the clergy don't think themselves extra special, some of the laity do and try to enforce that attitude.
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Squirrel
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In Catholicism, we were taught that the priest was God's representative on Earth. That clearly made for a double standard.

--------------------
"The moral is to the physical as three is to one."
- Napoleon

"Five to one."
- George S. Patton

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Evensong
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quote:
Originally posted by 205:
quote:
Originally posted by Stetson:
I know there are supposedly these stats demonstrating that sexual abuse by RC priests is no higher than among the general population. But I'm having a hard time believing that the apparent overrepresentation of priests in that particular category of crime is all attributable to selective media coverage.

My gut hunch is 'media frenzy' is more probable than a particular population having an inordinate amount of criminals.
Apparently sexual abuse of minors is much higher in Sweden than it is in the U.S.

Catholicism is not strong there. In fact, it's purported to be one of the most secular countries in the world.

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a theological scrapbook

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Triple Tiara

Ship's Papabile
# 9556

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quote:
Originally posted by Squirrel:
In Catholicism, we were taught that the priest was God's representative on Earth. That clearly made for a double standard.

Very bad catechesis in that case. I have never regarded myself as God's representative on earth. An ambassador for Christ, like all Christians, yes.

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I'm a Roman. You may call me Caligula.

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Robert Armin

All licens'd fool
# 182

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TT, I'm not sure that distinction helps. If I, as a Brit, were living in France then to some extent everything I do or say will form the local opinion of the British. But that isn't going to weigh on my mind to such an extent that I consider every word I say to my neighbours. If I got annoyed with them, or even lost my temper, I am not going to worry that I have damged Britain's reputation. However, if I were the British Ambassador to France, things would be very different.

It seems to me that all Christians are "strangers in a strange land". But priests are called / appointed / chosen / employed (take your pick) as Ambassadors, and more is expected from them.

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Keeping fit was an obsession with Fr Moity .... He did chin ups in the vestry, calisthenics in the pulpit, and had developed a series of Tai-Chi exercises to correspond with ritual movements of the Mass. The Antipope Robert Rankin

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Alogon
Cabin boy emeritus
# 5513

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quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
Yes Pope Benedict is a reactionary compared to Pope John Paul II,

Really? I can imagine a reactionary cardinal who voted for Ratzinger being a bit disappointed in the record of Pope Benedict. Without, as an outsider, being able to give specifics, it seems to me that he is a little like Nixon going to China. Underneath his predecessor's rock-star charisma, wasn't he also a reactionary?

I would question, for instance, whether it were a reactionary move to permit the use of the Latin Tridentine mass on the part of those who already desire it.

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Patriarchy (n.): A belief in original sin unaccompanied by a belief in God.

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Squirrel
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# 3040

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quote:
Originally posted by Triple Tiara:
quote:
Originally posted by Squirrel:
In Catholicism, we were taught that the priest was God's representative on Earth. That clearly made for a double standard.

Very bad catechesis in that case. I have never regarded myself as God's representative on earth. An ambassador for Christ, like all Christians, yes.
I consider myself an ambassador also. But in the RC church in which I grew up during the period of Pope Paul VI priests were seen as far more. They alone had the power to perform sacraments, and they had the power to forgive sins. They were NOT seen as infallible, but they carried great authority.

--------------------
"The moral is to the physical as three is to one."
- Napoleon

"Five to one."
- George S. Patton

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Jengie jon

Semper Reformanda
# 273

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I suspect what Squirrel is getting at is neatly summed up in James 3:1
quote:
Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a [a]stricter judgement.
It is true in every denomination and it is a truth that also applies to the hierarchy. If one is in a position of teaching or leadership then higher standards will be expected of one. Not just by God but by the public in general. The more emphasis you put on this status (or the institution does) the higher those standards will be.

Jengie

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"To violate a persons ability to distinguish fact from fantasy is the epistemological equivalent of rape." Noretta Koertge

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Triple Tiara

Ship's Papabile
# 9556

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quote:
Originally posted by Squirrel:
quote:
Originally posted by Triple Tiara:
quote:
Originally posted by Squirrel:
In Catholicism, we were taught that the priest was God's representative on Earth. That clearly made for a double standard.

Very bad catechesis in that case. I have never regarded myself as God's representative on earth. An ambassador for Christ, like all Christians, yes.
I consider myself an ambassador also. But in the RC church in which I grew up during the period of Pope Paul VI priests were seen as far more. They alone had the power to perform sacraments, and they had the power to forgive sins. They were NOT seen as infallible, but they carried great authority.
That is a very significant modification of your original assertion.

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I'm a Roman. You may call me Caligula.

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Evensong
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# 14696

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quote:
Originally posted by Squirrel:
I consider myself an ambassador also. But in the RC church in which I grew up during the period of Pope Paul VI priests were seen as far more. They alone had the power to perform sacraments, and they had the power to forgive sins. They were NOT seen as infallible, but they carried great authority.

Performing sacraments does not equate with holiness. Recall the Donatist heresy. The character of the priest has little bearing on the effectiveness of the sacrament.

And in terms of the power to forgive sins, the disciples in the NT were given this power. They were normal people. They constantly misunderstood Jesus' teachings and deserted him when he was crucified.

Indeed, Peter denies Jesus three times.....

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a theological scrapbook

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Sir Pellinore
Quester Emeritus
# 12163

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quote:
Originally posted by Squirrel:
I had Catholic education clear through my BA, and they always talked about the Ecumenical movement and how great things were between the RCs and the protestants. I believed it. Then my fiance and I decided to get married. Not only was I told that she is unwelcome to take communion in my church, but the Jesuits prohibited my uncle from actively participating in our wedding, which was in an Episcopal church. So much for "One in Christ."

...

As for abuse by clergy in other denominations, I know that it occurs. But either there's a massive cover-up going on that's yet to be exposed, or it's much more common amongst the RCs.

Squirrel, may I ask when you got married?

The Jesuits these days are regarded as being extremely progressive and I would be surprised if this would happen today.

I'm not sure what the situation is in North America, but, here in Australia, all major denominations have a tale of shame to tell about inaction and suppression of details on cases of paedophilia.

The former Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane had to resign as Governor-General because of a statement he made on TV about a then 14 year old girl being seduced by a then 34 year old cleric who was the warden of a hostel she lived in at the time and his poor treatment of victims of clerical paedophilia. That cleric went on to become a bishop. He has since been defrocked. The former Anglican Archbishop of Adelaide was also obliged to resign because of his inaction over paedophilia by priests in his diocese.

There is, I believe, a particular sort of clericalist mindset amongst some clerics, particularly many in the hierarchy, which led them to turn a blind eye to this.

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Well...

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Belle Ringer
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# 13379

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quote:
Originally posted by Sir Pellinore (ret'd):
...paedophilia by priests in his diocese.

There is, I believe, a particular sort of clericalist mindset amongst some clerics, particularly many in the hierarchy, which led them to turn a blind eye to this.

I think that's looking at the issue too narrowly.

Every organization I've been in, the instinct of management is to protect the managers.

Complain to a boss that one of his senior staff is doing something wrong, the instinct is to scorn the complainer to protect "the integrity of the organization" - integrity meaning not moral uprightness but a different meaning, smooth functioning meshing of all the parts. Firing or even severely disciplining a significant staff person disrupts the normal flow of work of the organization, disrupts the integrity of the organization in that sense, the parts are no longer smooth gears well integrated with each other.

The higher less replaceable the staff person, the greater the disruption if s/he is removed, the greater the defense of that person no matter what the accusations in an effort to avoid disruption.

If a staff person is removed (other than by organizational planning), chaos results, minor and local or major and general depending on the importance to the organization of the missing staff person. Who's going to run that branch office or that congregation if we remove their head person? Move someone from another location, now two locations suffer adjustment pains. "The disruption is all the complainers fault," "things (organizationally) were fine until that complaint."

"He should have kept his mouth shut instead of upsetting things for everyone." So complainers are ignored or silenced "for the good of the organization." "For the good of the church." Church meaning the formal staffing and division of staff labors, not the general members.

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Horseman Bree
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# 5290

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But there is the tendency among those who spend too much time in or near the Bishop to think that they ARE the Church - certainly quite noticeable in my diocese. Anyone who does not live within a certain number of kilometres of the Cathedral is just part of the peasantry, and should have no publicly-expressed opinion on Church matters.

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It's Not That Simple

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Sir Pellinore
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# 12163

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quote:
Originally posted by Belle Ringer:
quote:
Originally posted by Sir Pellinore (ret'd):
...paedophilia by priests in his diocese.

There is, I believe, a particular sort of clericalist mindset amongst some clerics, particularly many in the hierarchy, which led them to turn a blind eye to this.



I think that's looking at the issue too narrowly.

I think your point on general organiational behaviour is quite relevant, Belle Ringer.

However, there is a sort of clericalist mindset, as exemplified in the actions of most clerical characters in the novel 'Barchester Towers' or the Mother Superior and nuns in film 'The Magdalen Sisters'. Both works are fictional but based on very real goings on.

This mindset seems to assume that, because the Church and its profesionals are special and set apart to do the work of God, their actions are not questionable by those in their care or those outside.

I think this is the sort of mindset Squirrel and Horseman Bree were alluding to.

This attitude seems to be a medieval hangover from the time when clergy were tried in ecclesiastical courts for civil crimes and often let off with relatively lightly.

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Well...

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Belle Ringer
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# 13379

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quote:
Originally posted by Sir Pellinore (ret'd):
...there is a sort of clericalist mindset...seems to assume that, because the Church and its profesionals are special and set apart to do the work of God, their actions are not questionable by those in their care or those outside.

I'm abstaining from commenting on what any (few or many) clergy think of themselves. I will make two observations from a different viewpoint.

1. Many children are taught - in the simplified way we teach children - that clergy are "God's representatives" or "the man of God" or "not to be questioned." Hey, we also teach kids that poetry rhymes and prose doesn't: we teach simplified versions of truth. I know adults who still believe poetry rhymes and I know adults who still think clergy are closer to God than anyone else and not to be questioned. Not surprising if a few of those adults become clergy, although the ones who have told me they hold this view are laity.

2. "their actions are not questionable by those in their care or those outside" to quote you, sounds like a lot of doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc. I have a theory one thing many (all?) professional schools teach is arrogance, along with medicine or whatever topic, "you are better smarter more valuable more capable than people who didn't seek this training." A musician I know is furious that I write music, how dare I think I can do what he had to go to school to learn how to do. Not surprising if some clergy think "how dare you think you can pray and be heard by God just as well as I can, how dare you question my interpretation of a Bible passage, you didn't go thru all the training I did."

Neither of these observations is limited to RCC.

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Squirrel
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# 3040

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quote:
Originally posted by Sir Pellinore (ret'd):
[[/qb]

Squirrel, may I ask when you got married?

The Jesuits these days are regarded as being extremely progressive and I would be surprised if this would happen today.

[/QB][/QUOTE]

I was married in 1994. And it really shocked me how little my Jesuit uncle was allowed to participate in the Episcopal service which we decided to have.

--------------------
"The moral is to the physical as three is to one."
- Napoleon

"Five to one."
- George S. Patton

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Sir Pellinore
Quester Emeritus
# 12163

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Once again, Belle Ringer, I take your points which I think tend to elucidate and qualify what I was attempting to say rather than directly contradicting it.

As one of the matters raised by Squirrel was clerical paedophilia and the way it was dealt with by a certain religious body I wrote about what I knew about the matter in the hope it may be of some use.

Squirrel, I'm horrified to hear about the limits placed on your Jesuit uncle at your wedding.

This article shows another approach being taken by another religious order, the Benedictines, to a priest participating in an Anglican wedding in England where the bride was a Catholic.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article714159.ece

I thought the treatment meted out to you harked back to the really bad days of the RCC pre Second Vatican Council. I'm very sorry certain elements in the RCC still behave that way. Irrespective of their beliefs they seem to have acted ungraciously and with little charity.

I can understand how angry, embittered and displaced you feel and hope you find your way to somewhere you feel at home, accepted and at peace.

--------------------
Well...

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Squirrel
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# 3040

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I am glad to hear that at least one order of priests let a member participate in an Anglican wedding.

My fiance and I eventually had our Episcopal wedding, with my uncle the Jesuit saying a few words and a brief blessing at the end. He himself was disappointed that he could not do more. Later they told him to remind us that we could, if we want, go through a procedure to get our marriage "recognized" by the Catholic church. Huh?! I guess we're not "really" married in their eyes.

Eventually I decided there was really no place for me in the RC church. For a while I thought of asking to be removed from the church rolls, but found out that this is actually difficult to do. Not wanting the aggravation, I just started going to mainline Protestant churches. I go to RC churches nowadays only for occasions such as weddings and funerals, but I don't take communion. If my wife isn't eligible to receive it in an RC church, I won't either.

--------------------
"The moral is to the physical as three is to one."
- Napoleon

"Five to one."
- George S. Patton

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Belle Ringer
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# 13379

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quote:
Originally posted by Sir Pellinore (ret'd):
Once again, Belle Ringer, I take your points which I think tend to elucidate and qualify what I was attempting to say rather than directly contradicting it.

...I thought the treatment meted out [to Squirrel] harked back to the really bad days of the RCC pre Second Vatican Council. I'm very sorry certain elements in the RCC still behave that way. Irrespective of their beliefs they seem to have acted ungraciously and with little charity.

Quite right that I'm not intending to contradict you at all, only to point out that the abuse of power to protect the "important" staff seems to be almost inherent on the nature of organizations. It's not, as usually claimed when things get bad for the organization, "a few bad apples." (By which I don't mean all or even most in any organization are bad eggs, just that an organizations self-interests usually seems to be protecting the bad eggs so the organization doesn't have to find and train replacements.)

Which, alas, is why whatever "protect the organization even if it means non-staff get hurt" abuse one runs into is rarely unique to a particular time or place.

To any organization a staff person is worth far more than any (or many) of the non-staff people the organization is officially intended to serve. Staff are harder to replace than any customer or non-staff member.

Our job as the "somewhat expendable" little people is to find ways to convince the organizations we deal with (including churches) that it's in the organization's own best interests to treat us fairly and kindly. Lawsuits are a harsh and expensive way to do that, but they (sometimes) work.

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Sir Pellinore
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# 12163

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A most perceptive post Belle Ringer. [Cool]

I think, in cases such as these, the situation should be handled, not by the organisation concerned, but by the proper legal authorities.

The churches should have learnt this by now. Attempting to keep things quiet and inhouse are counterproductive and have come at a terrible cost to them, in terms of credibility and money.

--------------------
Well...

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Triple Tiara

Ship's Papabile
# 9556

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Forgive me Squirrel, but I find that all rather confusing.

1. Catholics should be married in a Catholic Church before a Catholic minister - surely nothing unusual about that. You get married in another Church. Now, this is quite permissible for Catholics, providing they get the necessary dispensation. You decide that you won't do any of this, then take umbrage because the Church says "Well, you are not in a Catholic marriage". The Church did not force you into anything - of your own free will you decided to act as you did.

2. So you get married in another Church, before a minister from that Church, and then take umbrage because your uncle could not do whatever it was you imagined he would do. Well that's a bit odd because you chose to walk away from your uncle's Church, but because he is related to you you think the rules should not apply to him. You said ya boo sucks to the Catholic Church, then expect to have a Catholic minister participate. Odd.

3. It is quite possible for a Catholic priest to participate in marriages in other Churches - with the necessary dispensation, not just some private arrangements. After all, a priest is an official representative of the Church: you were asking your uncle to do something because he was a priest - not just because he was your uncle. The fact he is your uncle doesn't suddenly mean his obligations as a priest evaporate. I have participated fully in several marriages in other Churches (including even at HTB!) - but then the Catholic parties had always made sure beforehand that their marriage was also a Catholic marriage by getting a dispensation.

4. Your uncle still seemed to have participated in some way. You say he said a few words and gave a blessing. What more did you want him to do? You were getting married in an Episcopal Church using Episcopal rites. What else were you expecting a Catholic priest to do in that context?

5. Whatever Sir Pellinore happens to say about maverick priests, is that what you wanted your uncle to be? A maverick who compromised his duty because his nephew wanted nothing to do with the Catholic Church?

6. I respect your integrity in not receiving communion in the Catholic Church, but I do not respect the little bitter reason you give. Let me put it another way, if your wife wishes to belong to a Church which broke away from the Catholic Church and continues to be in significant divergence from the it, why would she want to receive communion in the Catholic Church? Trust me, it's not personal.

--------------------
I'm a Roman. You may call me Caligula.

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Invictus_88
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# 15352

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quote:
Originally posted by Squirrel:

Fellow Catholics (or ex-Catholics), how have you coped with the scandal?

By looking to the facts and truth of the situation.

Fun Fact #1: The Truth of the Church does not depend on the personal conduct of any particular priest.

Fun Fact #2: If you read what the Pope says rather than is reported to have said, all is well.

Fun Fact #3: Serious sexual misconduct is more common in Protestant than in Catholic Churches.

Stop reading the rhetoric, turn to the light, and you can see the problem as it is. As something to be torn out and guarded against, but not something powerful enough to overcome God.

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Sir Pellinore
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I'm not sure Dom Anthony Sutch is in any way 'á máverick priest', TT. As a former Headmaster of Downside he would seem to have considerable status in both the English Benedictine Congregation and your Church. I am quite sure he acted perfectly correctly in every way.

If you described him this way to the Cardinal in Westminster I suspect the latter would not be amused. Could even have unpleasant ramifications for your career.

--------------------
Well...

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Triple Tiara

Ship's Papabile
# 9556

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Nonsense. I have no "career", whatever that was meant to suggest.

In the case of the Parker-Bowles marriage, he was a Catholic and married in a CofE Church with the necessary dispensations - just as I said was entirely possible. He did not reject the Catholic Church and then say "Oh, but I still want a Catholic priest to take part in the ceremony, because he is my friend you see".

Suggesting some priest should just make up the rules for himself otherwise he is being "ungracious" and harking back to some dark age is certainly promoting maverick behaviour.

--------------------
I'm a Roman. You may call me Caligula.

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Anselmina
Ship's barmaid
# 3032

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quote:
Originally posted by Sir Pellinore (ret'd):
A most perceptive post Belle Ringer. [Cool]

I think, in cases such as these, the situation should be handled, not by the organisation concerned, but by the proper legal authorities.

The churches should have learnt this by now. Attempting to keep things quiet and inhouse are counterproductive and have come at a terrible cost to them, in terms of credibility and money.

I, too, think this is where the churches continued to go wrong, even after it was clear there were serious problems of cover-up etc. The points both you and Belle Ringer make about the nature of the institutions' response to the 'threat' of exposure, and therefore its smooth-running and apparent ascendancy in the lives of believers, and the 'clericalist mind-set' were, imo, major evils in the abuse scandals follow-on.
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