Author Topic: Why the Catholic Church is even more morally bankrupt than we thought  (Read 208 times)

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Online dpareja

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(I posted this first in Preaching and Worship because we've got a neo-feudal Latin-Rite-Catholic fundamentalist chewtoy there, but I figure I should put it here too for those who ignore P&W.)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/metoo-vatican-nuns-denounce-priests-1.4765021

This time, it's nuns speaking out about sexual abuse from priests.

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Revelations that a prominent U.S. cardinal sexually abused and harassed his adult seminarians have exposed an egregious abuse of power that has shocked Catholics on both sides of the Atlantic. But the Vatican has long been aware of its heterosexual equivalent — the sexual abuse of nuns by priests and bishops — and done little to stop it, an Associated Press analysis has found.

An examination by the AP shows that cases of abused nuns have emerged in Europe, Africa, South America and Asia, demonstrating that the problem is global and pervasive, thanks to the sisters' second-class status in the church and their ingrained subservience to the men who run it.

Yet some nuns are now finding their voices, buoyed by the MeToo movement and the growing recognition that even adults can be victims of sexual abuse when there is an imbalance of power in a relationship. The sisters are going public in part to denounce years of inaction by church leaders, even after major studies on the problem in Africa were reported to the Vatican in the 1990s.

"It opened a great wound inside of me," one nun told the AP. "I pretended it didn't happen."

Wearing a full religious habit and clutching her rosary, the woman broke nearly two decades of silence to tell AP about the moment in 2000 when the priest to whom she was confessing her sins forced himself on her, mid-sacrament.

The assault — and a subsequent advance by a different priest a year later — led her to stop going to confession with any priest other than her spiritual father, who lives in a different country.

A nun was effectively shut out of one of the sacraments because of sexual abuse--a sacrament that, as I understand it, Catholics consider essential for entry into Heaven.

Whistleblowers get suspended over it, too.

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In 2013, for example, a well-known priest in Uganda wrote a letter to his superiors that mentioned "priests romantically involved with religious sisters" — for which he was promptly suspended from the church until he apologized in May.

And here's what one Vatican official had to say about it:

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"Consecrated women have to be encouraged to speak up when they are molested," the official told AP. "Bishops have to be encouraged to take them seriously, and make sure the priests are punished if guilty."

That's going to require a gigantic cultural shift within the Church, of course.

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But being taken seriously is often the toughest obstacle for sisters who are sexually abused, said [Karlijn] Demasure, until recently executive director of the church's Center for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University, the church's leading think-tank on the issue.

"They (the priests) can always say 'she wanted it,'" Demasure said.

Ah yes, the claim of the victim-blamer: "she wanted it".

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Demasure said many priests in Africa, for example, struggle with traditional and cultural beliefs in the importance of having children. Novices are particularly vulnerable because they often need a letter from their parish priest to be accepted into certain religious congregations.

"And sometimes they have to pay for that," she said.

And when these women become pregnant?

Good question.

I would think that, given Church doctrine on reproduction, that the nun would probably be sequestered, perhaps after her pregnancy was discovered, perhaps only when it becomes too noticeable to hide under even the largest habit she can reasonably wear. Once the child is born, he or she might be given up for adoption--with, I would hope, the mother's consent--or the mother would be supported by the Church to raise her child.

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"Mainly, she has an abortion. Even more than once. And he pays for that. A religious sister has no money. A priest, yes," she said.

Oh.

And why are priests using nuns as outlets for their sexual frustrations?

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The reports in the 1990s were prepared by members of religious orders for top church officials. In 1994, the late Sr. Maura O'Donohue wrote about a six-year, 23-nation survey, in which she learned of 29 nuns who had been impregnated in a single congregation.

Nuns, she reported, were considered "safe" sexual partners for priests fearing infection with HIV from prostitutes or other women.

The reports were never meant to be made public, but the U.S. National Catholic Reporter put them online in 2001. To date, the Vatican hasn't said what, if anything, it ever did with the information.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/vatican-nuns-cheap-labour-1.4557658

This all came out not long after Women Church World, the monthly women's magazine associated with L'Osservatore Romano, published an exposé in its March issue on how nuns are treated as indentured servants by priests, cooking and cleaning with little to no pay.

It's little wonder to me, then, that they'd be treated as sex slaves, too.

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A nun identified only as Sister Marie describes how sisters serve clergy but "are rarely invited to sit at the tables they serve."

This is despite the current Pope's calls for women's equality, especially in his home continent of South America.

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During his recent trip to Peru, Francis denounced femicide and gender-based crimes that have turned his home continent, Latin America, into one of the most violent places on Earth for women. He also has frequently called for dignified work — and dignified pay — for all. And in a recent prologue to a book on women's issues, Francis acknowledged that he was concerned that in many cases, women's work in the church "sometimes is more servitude than true service."

Very nice words, but only that without action behind them.

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Other sisters, meanwhile, show remarkable intellectual gifts and earn advanced degrees, but aren't allowed to put them to use because the collective nature of religious communities often discourages personal advancement, another nun, Sister Paule, told the magazine.

"Behind all this is the unfortunate idea that women are worth less than men, and above all that priests are everything in the church while sisters are nothing," she said.

Sister Marie noted that many nuns from Africa, Asia or Latin America who come to study in Rome hail from poor families, whose extended care is often paid for by their congregations. As a result, they feel they can't complain about their work conditions, she said.

"This all creates in them a strong interior rebellion," Sister Marie reported. "These sisters feel indebted, tied down, and so they keep quiet."

The second paragraph there is especially telling. "[T]he unfortunate idea that women are worth less than men, and above all that priests are everything in the church while sisters are nothing."

I know some have said that they want to see women ordained as deacons and thus be eligible to be cardinals. That will not help the underlying issue. So long as the priesthood is closed to women, even if they can be elevated to cardinals (and cardinal-deacon is, let us recall, the lowest rank among cardinals) they will still be seen as lesser, as the higher ranks of the clergy will remain closed to them. Addressing the problems the Church has with the abuse of women (and children) demands full gender equality in the priesthood so that women are truly seen as equals and have an equal voice to men in all matters, and are not relegated to the lowest ranks of the College of Cardinals, if any even get there.

And furthermore, per the 1917 Code of Canon Law (strengthened in 1962), only priests and bishops can be created cardinals. (In 1962 this was changed so that all cardinals either had to be already ordained as bishops or created such upon elevation to the cardinalate.) So long as that remains in effect and the priesthood is closed to women, they cannot be made cardinals.

The Catholic Church desperately needs full gender equality in all aspects of its functioning, including the priesthood. Without that, it will never get past its current scandals, and those will ultimately be its downfall.

(That last, of course, being something I greatly look forward to seeing.)

EDIT: And for some more...

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/vatican-accepts-resignation-of-u-s-cardinal-accused-of-sex-abuse-1.4765604

Meanwhile, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, former Archbishop of Washington, D.C., has resigned from the College of Cardinals after he was alleged to have fondled a young boy over 40 years ago when in New York City. The man claims that he was 11 when the abuse started and the sexually abusive relationship continued for twenty years.

However...

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Besides agreeing to McCarrick's stepping down as a cardinal, Francis ordered him to conduct "a life of prayer and penance" until sex abuse accusations against him are examined in a Catholic church trial.

No. No, no, no. No "Catholic church trials". The Catholic Church doesn't get to do that. Hand him over to the secular authorities.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2018, 04:55:39 pm by dpareja »
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It doesn't concern you, Sister, that kind of absolutist view of the universe? Right and wrong determined solely by a single all-knowing, all powerful being whose judgment cannot be questioned and in whose name the most horrendous acts can be sanctioned without appeal?

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Being required by someone else’s religious beliefs to behave contrary to one’s sexual identity is degrading and disrespectful.

Offline Askold

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Yeah, there is a lot of shady stuff happening in the Catholic church and they really should do something about it. But with such a massive and old fashioned organization it would either have to be slow and gradual change that needs to be constantly reinforced so that the well established and high ranked creeps won't stop it or a massive upheaval which will either heal or destroy Catholic church.
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Offline RavynousHunter

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Alternatively, we could raid the Vatican and hang the Pope.
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Online dpareja

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Alternatively, we could raid the Vatican and hang the Pope.

Christianity is an apocalyptic doomsday cult with a persecution complex. You think that'd help anything?
Quote from: Jordan Duram
It doesn't concern you, Sister, that kind of absolutist view of the universe? Right and wrong determined solely by a single all-knowing, all powerful being whose judgment cannot be questioned and in whose name the most horrendous acts can be sanctioned without appeal?

Quote from: Supreme Court of Canada
Being required by someone else’s religious beliefs to behave contrary to one’s sexual identity is degrading and disrespectful.

Offline RavynousHunter

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It'd liberate the no doubt vast cache of stolen historical artifacts they've been hoarding for the past 2,000 years.
Quote from: Bra'tac
Life for the sake of life means nothing.

Online dpareja

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Just saw this on another forum (from someone watching He-Man with her young daughter):

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He-Man  and She-Ra just told me to tell my priest, minister or rabbi if someone was touching me in a bad way.   :o

That's really bizarre when viewed through the light of the present day TV.

Gotta say, that's not just bizarre, that's downright terrible advice (even for the time) considering what we know about clerical sex abuse now.
Quote from: Jordan Duram
It doesn't concern you, Sister, that kind of absolutist view of the universe? Right and wrong determined solely by a single all-knowing, all powerful being whose judgment cannot be questioned and in whose name the most horrendous acts can be sanctioned without appeal?

Quote from: Supreme Court of Canada
Being required by someone else’s religious beliefs to behave contrary to one’s sexual identity is degrading and disrespectful.

Offline RavynousHunter

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You'd be better off telling a random adult on the street.
Quote from: Bra'tac
Life for the sake of life means nothing.