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Friday, November 27, 2009

Is the Catholic clergy a glorified pedophile ring?

Whenever issues of alleged "morality" are being discussed, the Catholic Church seems to be front and center: Abortion, birth control, homosexuality, the right to die with dignity, etc. But one can only hope that the moral authority of the Church will be further eroded by the latest report into how the Archdiocese of Dublin "covered up" (read: aided and abetted) the sexual abuse of children by its priests over a period of some 30 years.

I have suggested in past blog posts on this subject that the Catholic clergy might actually be little more than a pedophile ring clothed in white robes. This might sound like hyperbole, but I wonder if it is. The report apparently puts the finger on just over 100 priests, but victim advocate groups say that there are allegations against 172 priests. A count of the number of currently serving priests in the Dublin Archdiocese (I had to count letter by letter from the priests listed on its Web site) comes out at a bit over 600. Of course, over 30 years there has been turnover and there were no doubt more than that, but the number of accused priests and the number of actual priests appear to be the same order of magnitude in statistical terms--and if those who were not caught are factored in, it would appear that a significant percentage of the clergy were involved either in the actual acts or in the coverups.

I am concerned that this worldwide scandal, which seems to have touched nearly every parish and every diocese in Europe and the United States, will continue to be seen as an aberration rather than the Church showing its true face. Catholics, along with non-Catholics, must ask themselves why high officials of the Church engaged in a coverup even though they knew better than anyone how widespread the abuses were. I suspect the answer is that pedophilia is endemic in the Catholic clergy, and not an exception. And that should be no surprise: Any religious order that prohibits its priests from marrying and engaging in normal sexual activity is bound to attract its share of perverted individuals--or to turn men who otherwise would have found healthy outlets for their sexuality into sexual predators.

Image: Front page of the Irish Independent after the release of a report earlier this year into the abuse in Catholic schools for poor and unwanted children.

4 comments:

Anne Gilbert said...

I have a couple of comments here. First, the historical reason for having celibate, unmarried priests has long gone(and never could really be enforced anyway, if you look through the pages of history). Originally, the rule was instituted to prevent a "caste" of priests from forming. I'm not sure why the Church cared at that point, but they did. In any case, that is not a problem now. Later, some people joined the priesthood, to get opportunities for things that they otherwise might not have had. Gregor Mendel, "the father of genetics", is one well-known example(or at least he became a monk, which amounts to the same thing, according to the rules). Again, people have more opportunities for these things, than they did in Gregor Mendel's day. IMO, the solution to this problem is to allow a married priesthood or clergy, just like every other religious tradition I know of, does.

Second, this kind of abuse is hardly confined to institutions run by the Cantholic Church, though I'm not excusing the abuses of those who were in their employ as priests. Similar allegations, if you want to get into the history there, can be found in the histories of the infamous "Indian schools" that were supposed to turn Native Americans and First Nations people(in Canada), into -- something. "Fake whites" is what I call them. There are people who are old enough to still remember their "experiences" in these schools. I should note that some of these "Indian schools" still exist, but their purpuse now is quite different -- usually to care for kids whose homes are too chaotic, due to the near destruction of the traditional cultures of their parental tribal groups, for the kids to live in.

Certainly, however, these abusing priests should be prosecuted just like anyone else who abuses the the trust and the innocents of the chldren who were placed in their care.
Anne G

Anonymous said...

I'm in total agreement. In fact, I had just read the article on Dublin and I was so mad that I Googled "Is the Catholic Church a front for pedophiles?"- and your blog came up first.

I am amazed at the incredible hypocritical attitude of all involved. You rarely see priests brought to justice like normal people. It seems that it's brought out - and swept under the rug. And that's that- a list of priests and an offer of money to the victims (if they are lucky).

It does seem like the Catholic Church hierarchy has it made. They have a ton of money, don't pay taxes, take a "vow of poverty", yet own these huge, expensive churches, and they can get away with child abuse. Then they just "pray for forgiveness" and everything is fine.

Thanks for your insight!

LunaMoth1 said...

It would appear to be one. But pedophilia is rampant everywhere. A recent article by Rev. Kevin Annett in The Agora newspaper (Vancouver) points the finger at churches, politicians, and the police who all work together making British Columbia a world centre for human trafficking.

axel g said...

Any institution must take full responsibility for its actions.

What would Christ have said about all the scandals?