Sunday, February 10, 2013

Rampant Sexual Abuse: What Went Wrong in the Catholic Church?

This blog looks at the true filthy story of the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church for several reasons, not the least of which is a desire to expose the rank hypocrisy and moral bankruptcy that permeate most of the Church leadership from the Pope on down.  Then, of course, there is the harm that the leadership continues to inflict on LGBT individuals around the globe as it opposes our civil rights and strives to depict us as "inherently disordered" and "inclined toward evil."  As the recent news stories out of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles underscore, if anyone is inherently disordered and outright evil, it is the members of the Church hierarchy who have placed the protection of child rapists and obstruction of justice above almost all else.  The common question that one hears is how did such horrors come to be not only allowed to occur but protected.  Michael D'Antonio who has authored a book, "Mortal Sins: Sex, Crime and the Era of Catholic Scandal," which will be released in April has a column in the Los Angeles Times that seeks to answer these questions.  Here are column excerpts:

The files released last week by America's largest Catholic archdiocese revealed new and disturbing details about how church officials schemed to protect priests accused of molesting children. But was the scandal in Los Angeles really so much worse than in other places?

Sadly, no. The details emerging from the documents mirror what happened in archdioceses across the country, as church officials time and again put their own concerns above the needs of victims.

For the last three years I have investigated the Catholic sex abuse scandal in the United States and abroad. I have seen only a few cases in which the church willingly came clean about its actions. Instead, victims have had to use the courts and the news media to pressure the church for the truth. .  .  .  .  . a recent investigation by police in Australia, have made it clear that it wasn't just in North America that church officials tried to evade authorities, deflect scandal and conceal facts.

Los Angeles is an exceptional case because of the volume of documents made public (thanks to this newspaper, other media and legal pressure from victims), but what those documents reveal is consistent with behavior seen around the world. Time and again church leaders have responded to complaints against priests with cover-ups and deflections, and they have been unable to deal with scandal in an honest and convincing way.

But why? It clearly would have been better for the church, both morally and practically, to react aggressively and report molesters immediately, while at the same time doing everything possible for the victims. So why didn't it?   I've done a lot of thinking about that question.

One part of the answer, I believe, has to do with the nature of the priesthood. To be ordained is to be elevated, to be taken into a special and higher relationship with God. That's something Catholic officials had a hard time letting go of when it came time to see molesting priests in their ranks for what they were: criminals.

Another factor, I believe, was Catholicism's attitudes toward sex. On the one hand, it is something sacred when part of marriage. But church teachings forbid virtually all sexual expression outside of marriage and condemn homosexual sex without exception. Moreover, priests are expected to be celibate, which puts them at an even greater distance from the realities of ordinary life. All of this undoubtedly complicated things when church officials were confronted with extreme sexual deviance in their own ranks.

Sex and power. These are two factors that Catholic leaders have failed to confront, even as the church falls down around them. Any recovery from the great scandal will require change in both areas. Thirty years on, even under the threat of criminal prosecution, they seem incapable of the kind of self-examination that would allow such change. Instead they fight against truth-telling and suffer further ignominy. No wonder this is a scandal without end.

The scandal will only end when decent moral people walk away from Catholicism.  Keeping one's eyes closed to the horrible reality of what the institutional Church is in fact does not solve the problem.  As long as sheep like cretins fill the pews and worse yet financially support the Vatican's worldwide criminal conspiracy, the hierarchy feels no need to clean house, starting with the abdication of the current Pope. 

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