November 21, 2006

News item: “US Catholic Church seeks to find root of priest sex abuse” (Hat tip: Free Republic). Here’s the gist of the story:

The US Roman Catholic Church has asked a criminology school to delve into the darkest pages of its history by probing the causes of a priest sex abuse scandal.

At a meeting due to end Thursday in the eastern city of Baltimore, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops voted to disburse 335,000 dollars to fund the first three phases of a study by New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

“It will be a groundbreaking study, never done before in the US, nor in the world,” Bishop Gregory Aymond, who chairs the Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People, told AFP.

“We don’t know what would come out of it, but we are going to tell the truth,” said Aymond, of Austin, Texas.

$335,000 for a study into the whys behind clergy sexual abuse. Are you kidding me? What a freakin’ waste of money, time, and effort. Note to Bishop Aymond: if you REALLY want to find out the “root cause” of the clergy sexual abuse scandals, it don’t take no genius (or $335K) to figure it out – heck, all you have to do is read further down in the same damned article (my boldings):

The majority of priests accused of sex abuse were trained in the 1960s and 1970s in seminaries where psychological tests and sexuality education have since been introduced.

A final phase of the study will make proposals on how to prevent sex abuse and help victims.

“Our goal is to ascertain the causes of the clergy sexual abuse crisis and if we need to change any method we have now,” said Teresa Kettlekamp, the executive director of the bishops conference’s Office of Child and Youth Protection, which was created in 2002, in the wake of the sex abuse scandal.

But the study would also be useful to schools and youth groups, Church officials said.

“The pathology of abusing children isn’t unique; it’s a societal problem,” Kettlekamp said.

“We are hoping it will be a big, big help to the society in general,” she said.

The idea of the US RC Church spending that kind of money to find out why priests trained in the ’60s and ’70s abused children in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s is not only laughable, but a terrible waste of time and money on everyone’s part as well. How about this, Bishop Aymond, I’ll tell you what lies at the core of your clergy sexual abuse scandal, and it won’t take weeks, months, or even years for a report; and, better than that, I won’t even take a nickel of your money to produce it.

Here it is in a nutshell, Bishop: it’s called sin. Perhaps you’ve heard that term once or twice around the mulberry bush?

The fact is, every human being has their dark side and within them the potential or weakness to succumb to temptation and do very bad things, and, believe it or not, these impulses don’t go away simply because one feels or acts upon God’s call to ordained ministry in the Church. (Heck, I’ve been around A LOT of ordained people in the Church, and I can tell you that there’s no shortage of flaws and weaknesses there!) Because of this, the Church has a responsibility to those it serves to have in place processes and procedures to identify and winnow out those who, for whatever reason, actual or suspected, pose potential harm to the standards and credibility of that institution in any way. In this case, we’re talking clergy sexual abuse, but it could be any kind of clergy misbehavior or dereliction of duty. Without effective forms of administrative oversight and attention to performance, one should not be surprised when bad things are allowed to happen.

In this particular case, the RC Church was vulnerable to this kind of criminal misbehavior and scandal because of certain pre-conditions and societal developments that resulted in a “perfect storm” that hit the Church’s seminaries in the late ’60s and early ’70s:

* The vow of celibacy required by anyone seeking ordination to the priesthood in the Church;
* The sexual revolution of the late ’60s, where certain behaviors once frowned upon and/or kept “in the closet” were, if not legitimized, were certainly not held up to the same level of critique or condemnation as in the past;
* The post-Vatican II easing of restrictions on gays entering the Catholic priesthood (Stanley Kurtz of National Review Online has written a fine article about this in detail);
* In this new climate, RC seminaries became havens for predatory homosexuals (and heterosexuals, for that matter) looking to surround themselves with like-minded men who they could feel comfortable and safe around.

Add to this a male-dominant, top-heavy institution inherently slow to react and respond to complaints and criticism from its parishioners, resistant to self-correction, and prone to “circling the wagons” whenever things got dicey, and you have a climate perfect for abuse and protecting clergy with a history of abusing children. That this climate, in fact, existed has no better poster-child than the Archdiocese of Boston’s Bernard Cardinal Law, who not only was aware of abusive priests operating in his diocese, but had them transferred from parish to parish to avoid having to deal with the problem directly or publicly.

The point I’m getting at here is that, if the US RC Church REALLY wants to find the cause of the clergy sexual abuse scandals, it doesn’t need to spend money for high-falutin’ academic studies into its psychological or sociological aspects, it need only admit that it was slow to identify the magnitude of the problem and deal with it harshly and directly early on at the first sign of trouble. If the Church had perhaps stripped a few priests of their orders publicly, instituted no-nonsense policies and processes dealing with sexual abuse that included immediate suspensions of all priests accused of sexual abuse until their cases could be effectively (and fairly) investigated and penalties for bishops who refused to act swiftly and publicly (I know, I know, all these things easier said than done), things never would have been allowed to spiral out of control as they did.

So Bishop Aymond, keep your $335K and your “groundbreaking study” and invest it somewhere else where it will do far better good. Like, for example, mirrors for the bishops charged with overseeing RC seminaries, archdioceses and dioceses, because in that way, you just may find the cause of the clergy sexual abuse scandals staring you straight in the face.

Filed in: Religion & Culture by The Great White Shank at 01:28 | Comments Off on A Waste of Time and Money
No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Search The Site

Recent Items


September 2021
April 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006



4 Goodboys Only

Site Info