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Community => Religion and Philosophy => Topic started by: dpareja on July 28, 2018, 04:01:33 pm

Title: Why the Catholic Church is even more morally bankrupt than we thought
Post by: dpareja on July 28, 2018, 04:01:33 pm
(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.)


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

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.

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:

"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.

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".

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.

"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.


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

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.


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.

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.

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.

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...


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.


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.
Title: Re: Why the Catholic Church is even more morally bankrupt than we thought
Post by: Askold on July 29, 2018, 11:18:38 am
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.
Title: Re: Why the Catholic Church is even more morally bankrupt than we thought
Post by: RavynousHunter on July 29, 2018, 06:08:41 pm
Alternatively, we could raid the Vatican and hang the Pope.
Title: Re: Why the Catholic Church is even more morally bankrupt than we thought
Post by: dpareja on July 29, 2018, 06:15:33 pm
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?
Title: Re: Why the Catholic Church is even more morally bankrupt than we thought
Post by: RavynousHunter on July 29, 2018, 06:53:38 pm
It'd liberate the no doubt vast cache of stolen historical artifacts they've been hoarding for the past 2,000 years.
Title: Re: Why the Catholic Church is even more morally bankrupt than we thought
Post by: dpareja on July 29, 2018, 09:46:58 pm
Just saw this on another forum (from someone watching He-Man with her young daughter):

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.
Title: Re: Why the Catholic Church is even more morally bankrupt than we thought
Post by: RavynousHunter on July 29, 2018, 11:07:48 pm
You'd be better off telling a random adult on the street.
Title: Re: Why the Catholic Church is even more morally bankrupt than we thought
Post by: dpareja on August 16, 2018, 01:20:37 am
And it gets even worse.


A grand jury in Pennsylvania has issued a report detailing sex abuse in six Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania.

In one case, a priest who had been, by his own request, laicized in order to get married, had had child sexual abuse alleged against him prior to his laicization, but nonetheless received a reference from his former diocese to work at Walt Disney World, where he remained for 18 years as a train driver.

Five bishops submitted written statements; one appeared in person.

In total, the grand jury found credible allegations against over 300 priests and identified over 1,000 child victims, although they believe the real number of victims is higher.

EDIT: The first five paragraphs of the grand jury's report.

We, the members of this grand jury, need you to hear this. We know some of you have heard some of it before. There have been other reports about child sex abuse within the Catholic Church. But never on this scale. For many of us, those earlier stories happened someplace else, someplace away. Now we know the truth: it happened everywhere.

We were given the job of investigating child sex abuse in six dioceses - every diocese in the state except Philadelphia and Altoona -Johnstown, which were the subject of previous grand juries. These six dioceses account for 54 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties. We heard the testimony of dozens of witnesses concerning clergy sex abuse. We subpoenaed, and reviewed, half a million pages of internal diocesan documents. They contained credible allegations against over three hundred predator priests. Over one thousand child victims were identifiable, from the church's own records. We believe that the real number - of children whose records were lost, or who were afraid ever to come forward - is in the thousands.

Most of the victims were boys; but there were girls too. Some were teens; many were prepubescent. Some were manipulated with alcohol or pornography. Some were made to masturbate their assailants, or were groped by them. Some were raped orally, some vaginally, some anally. But all of them were brushed aside, in every part of the state, by church leaders who preferred to protect the abusers and their institution above all.

As a consequence of the coverup, almost every instance of abuse we found is too old to be prosecuted. But that is not to say there are no more predators. This grand jury has issued presentments against a priest in the Greensburg diocese and a priest in the Erie Diocese, who has been sexually assaulting children within the last decade. We learned of these abusers directly from their dioceses - which we hope is a sign that the church is finally changing its ways. And there may be more indictments in the future; investigation continues.

But we are not satisfied by the few charges we can bring, which represent only a tiny percentage of all the child abusers we saw. We are sick over all the crimes that will go unpunished and uncompensated. This report is our only recourse. We are going to name their names, and describe what they did - both the sex offenders and those who concealed them. We are going to shine a light on their conduct, because that is what the victims deserve. And we are going to make our recommendations for how the laws should change so that maybe no one will have to conduct another inquiry like this one. We hereby exercise our historical and statutory right as grand jurors to inform the public of our findings.

(emphases in original)

EDIT #2: It's a long report. But at least read the introduction.
Title: Re: Why the Catholic Church is even more morally bankrupt than we thought
Post by: ironbite on August 16, 2018, 07:54:08 am
I'd shake my head but all I'm filled with is rage.
Title: Re: Why the Catholic Church is even more morally bankrupt than we thought
Post by: RavynousHunter on August 16, 2018, 09:52:38 am
Remind me again why decent, honest humans allow the Catholic Church to exist?  By this point, the few real people that work for the RCC are either so quiet as to be complicit in these atrocities (and many, MANY more throughout history), or so few in number that they can do nothing.  The rest are monsters parading around in human-style flesh-suits; up to and including the Pope, itself.
Title: Re: Why the Catholic Church is even more morally bankrupt than we thought
Post by: dpareja on August 16, 2018, 10:17:15 am
At this point, given how systematic the coverup was, the Catholic Church should be hauled in front of the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

I'd shake my head but all I'm filled with is rage.

Have you started reading it? (I'm at p. 171 of the PDF.) If not, you don't know rage yet.
Title: Re: Why the Catholic Church is even more morally bankrupt than we thought
Post by: RavynousHunter on August 16, 2018, 11:11:19 am
The Roman Catholic Church is, has been, and always will be the longest-running, most powerful organized crime syndicate on the planet.
Title: Re: Why the Catholic Church is even more morally bankrupt than we thought
Post by: dpareja on August 16, 2018, 11:17:51 am
McAndrew wrote, "(REDACTED) said Father Long sought to have sex with her four years ago when she was 17 years old. (REDACTED) refused his advances." McAndrew continued, "In conversation Father Long admitted to (REDACTED) that he has had sexual relationships with 'four or five' girls since he was stationed in Baltimore. Father Long told (REDACTED) 'God wants us to express our love for each other in this [sexual] way.' When, in response, (REDACTED) told him the Bible warns that such conduct will be punished by God, Father Long said, 'there is no hell.'"

(p. 178)

Note: Long was a Jesuit working for some time in the Diocese of Harrisburg.

(It seems to me like some of them know their doctrine is nonsense...)


The Diocese received more than one complaint about Pease. Pease had been in ministry since 1961. A thoughtful consideration of these facts, and a real concern for the welfare of children, should have resulted in a report to law enforcement, notice to Pease' s past parishes, and a meaningful investigation into the existence of additional potential victims. Instead, the Diocese began plans to utilize a "treatment facility" to treat priests, such as Pease, who were accused of sexual abuse. These facilities were observed throughout the Grand Jury's investigation. Commonly used facilities were St. John Vianney Center in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, St. Luke's in Suitland, Maryland, and the Servants of the Paraclete in Jemez Springs, New Mexico. These entities relied almost entirely on the priests self -reporting their request for treatment. When a priest denied allegations of sexual abuse, he usually avoided any diagnosis related to the sexual abuse of children. Moreover, these institutions focused on a clinical diagnosis over actual behavior as reported by the victims. Put plainly, these institutions laundered accused priests, provided plausible deniability to the bishops, and permitted hundreds of known offenders to return to ministry.

(p. 192)

EDIT #2:

On May 1, 1962, Father Edmund Sheedy, the Pastor of St. Monica where Paone was serving as Parochial Vicar, notified Bishop John Wright that he had interceded to prevent Paone from being arrested for "molesting young boys of the parish and the illegal use of guns with even younger parishioners." Sheedy advised Wright that Paone was involved in "conduct degrading to the priesthood" and "scandalous to the parishioners." In response, the Diocese reassigned Paone to Madonna of Jerusalem, in Sharpsburg.

(emphasis mine; p. 218)

Even those who got that there was something wrong happening still elevated protecting the Church above ensuring justice for the victims.

EDIT #3:

On August 4, 1964, Robert Masters, the District Attorney of Beaver County, sent a letter to Bishop Vincent Leonard of the Diocese of Pittsburgh with respect to a sexual abuse investigation of Paone. The District Attorney advised the Diocese that "in order to prevent unfavorable publicity," he had "halted all investigations into similar incidents involving young boys." No further action was taken against Paone.

On September 15, 2017, Masters testified before the Grand Jury. Masters was confronted with his letter which the Grand Jury obtained from Diocesan files. When asked by the attorney for the Commonwealth why he would defer to the Bishop on a criminal matter, Master [sic] replied, "Probably respect for the Bishop. I really have no proper answer." Masters also admitted he was desirous of support from the Diocese for his political career.

(pp. 218-9)

And secular authorities were also complicit in the coverup, partly because of the political influence of the Catholic Church. (33% of the population in the area covered by the Diocese of Pittsburgh is Catholic; I don't know what that would have been in 1964.)

EDIT #4: http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/vatican-response-pennsylvania-grand-jury-report-1.4788183

The Vatican response to the Grand Jury's report.

Way too little, way too late.