Advice on Responding to Anti-Catholic Remarks Regarding Church Scandals


#1

I am writing to request advice. I went out to dinner with several coworkers. One coworker lives with her boyfriend and is very open about it. She often goes on about how she is against all organized religion, says religion is the cause of all wars etc. She is young and emotionally immature but overall is nice. However, tonight she made comment that I won`t repeat here referring to Catholic priests, boys, and the sexual abuse scandals. I was so shocked that a

I was so stunned that I didn`t say anything and then the conversation shifted. One of my other coworkers is Catholic too and I think she felt uncomfortable. Normally I try to say how the majority of priests are wonderful etc and that the church is made up of sinners. I feel like whenever I try to defend priests of integrity with non-Catholics, it is interpreted as defending the few priests that have sinned. I agree it was wrong of church leaders to have moved priests from parish to parish when they knew those priests had abused children and I agree more needs to be done to preven this from happening.

I am embarrassed and ashamed about all of the scandals and I am praying for all priests, for the church, and for victims of abuse.

Does anyone have advice on how they have responded to rude comments regarding the Church and our priests? I am trying to think of a one or two sentence response. Is it better to just say “I find that remark/comment offensive” and leave it at that?

Sincerely,

Maria1212


#2

Something I would personally say is, "Yes, the scandal is devastating to all Catholics. It's a black eye that the church has recieved. Having said that, 90 percent (just a number pulled out of the air, I admit that) of priests are as devastated as the lay people are!"

That might help. I try to understand where these people are coming from, because the scandal really boils me.


#3

Thanks. That is a good response. The abuse scandals make my blood boil too. I fear for the souls of priests who abused children. And I pray for the victims and understand the experience has lead many of them to lose their faith. The whole thing makes me so sad and angry. But rude comments and crass jokes don`t help make anything better. Sigh.

Sincerely,

Maria1212


#4

You may find something of help in this interview with Abbot Christopher Jamison of Worth Abbey in the U.K. He is wise and has a gift for balanced statements that do justice to both victims and to the Church:
independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/christopher-jamison-the-pope-has-a-friend-in-father-christopher-1935431.html?action=Popup


#5

I am also embarrassed and ashamed about all of the scandals.

The other day, my sister (who is a former Catholic) was telling me about a documentary she watched about Residential Schools and this man was discussing about the first thing he saw when he stepped into a Catholic Church as a young boy...This may not be the exact quote

"The first thing I saw was a man hanging there, his head was full of blood, both of his hands had blood on it, his feet, and his body was full of blood. I thought this is what they do to people in church and I was so scared."

Then my sister held up a picture of Our Lord and said, "I mean look at this picture. This is an awful picture. Awful, awful, awful..."

My grandmother and some of my other family members went to Residential Schools. Sometimes, I wonder if my grandmother was alright (she has alzheimer's disease btw) would she still remain Catholic? would she forgive?

Going back to the picture of Our Lord that my sister said was "awful" Yes, Our Lord suffered and died an awful, humiliating death for all of our sins even the sins of the many Priests, Religious Sisters, Brothers, and so forth.


#6

If I had co-workers or friends do what that girl did I would pay my part of the bill and leave ASAP. If all I had was a drink, I would pay for the drink and leave. If there was no bill to be paid, I would just leave. No sense socializing with people that insult you or your religion. Many co-workers try to keep religion and personal life out of their professional circles just for this reason. Usually it comes back to haunt you at some point if you have any kind of negative views about any viewpoint. Bosses typically do not like workers that have such openly disparaging view about different groups since it breeds conflict in the work place.


#7

I too, have been trying to find a good response to these types of remarks.

It seems to me that for the last 20 years or more, Our Church has been constantly under attack. The media pounces on every miniscule error made by any member of the Catholic clergy and can't wait to bash the church. Talk is cheap when the story is good.

For me, the first things I recall as "in your face Catholic bashing" began with stupid people believing that a.) All nuns/sisters unmercifully beat Catholic school children with rulers b.) We pray to graven images c.) We believe that where abortion is concerned we should always let the mother die and the baby live...and on and on...ad nauseum.

Yes, the abuse scandal is/was horrific for ALL OF US. Yes, there are priests who totally abused their authority and were wrongly transfered around by those in higher places. Yes, those in authority as just as culpable as the actual perpetrators and should be held accountable and dealt with to the full extent of the law. Yes, the actions of these FEW had devastating effects on the victims. I think we all are in agreement on this. Anyone with any sense (Catholic or not) can see the severity of this issue and know that something needs to be done about it...and the church IS doing JUST THAT...but that appears to be being ignored by those in favor of trashing the church.

HOWEVER: Stereotyping and profiling ALL priests as fitting this description is insane. It's just as insane as claiming that ALL policemen are abusive and brutal...or that ALL blacks are gangsters and rapists...or that ANYONE of Middle Eastern descent is a terrorist. A few "bad apples" don't spoil the whole bunch. EVERY profession, vocation and career has it's bad seeds. To think otherwise is naive and stupid. There have been, and still are, plenty of less than honorable members of ANY given institution and/or level of government. We all know that. The church is no exception, unfortunately, and never will be. There is corruption in EVERYTHING, somewhere.

Priests, bishops etc. are human (duh ! ) and are, therefore, not "perfect" and capable of sin. We are ALL sinners. Being human FIRST, does not make priests or the clergy "immune" to sin. They are "man" and just as vulnerable to sin as the rest of us.
The last time I looked, there wasn't a human being on the planet that was free of sin. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the only one to ever meet that description and the only one who ever WILL. There are "bad" clergy members in EVERY religion, not just the Catholic church. NO religion has been spared it's share of bad apples.

The Catholic Church IS making great efforts to resolve this issue and people need to realize that. Policies have been established to weed out the bad and we need to pray fervently for these wayward priests. Our church WILL survive this scandal with our prayers. The gates of hell will not prevail against it.


#8

My Church has sinners in it. I will never be embarrassed by Holy Mother Church. She remains pure in spite of sinners like me.


#9

[quote="Rascalking, post:2, topic:194174"]
Something I would personally say is, "Yes, the scandal is devastating to all Catholics. It's a black eye that the church has recieved. Having said that, 90 percent (just a number pulled out of the air, I admit that) of priests are as devastated as the lay people are!"

That might help. I try to understand where these people are coming from, because the scandal really boils me.

[/quote]

I think this is an excellent response. To get all defensive would be counter-productive because, lets face it, in the view of most people, the Church has the stink of scandal all over it.


#10

Sinners like you and sinners like me. But as for the sinner high in the leadership of the Church…

When a church claims the moral high ground, declares that it is in sole possession of “the Truth,” and professes to be the only route to eternal salvation, it is not at all unreasonable to expect a much higher standard from its leaders. Sadly, the purity of the Church has, in the view of most of the world, been badly stained.


#11

I am not embarrassed to be Catholic. But I am embarrassed by how senior leaders in the Church have behaved.

Sincerely,

Maria1212


#12

I haven’t had the chance to talk to anybody about this, but its been on my own heart and I was wondering if a person should remain Catholic while this has be going on in the Church for a long time.

I decided this for myself…
Yes, I SHOULD remain Catholic. I truly believe in the faith and I know too many WONDERFUL priests to assume that ALL priests are like this. I’ve always realized that a very SMALL number of priests have done these crimes.

Some stats…

The report found that 10,667 people had made allegations of child sexual abuse between 1950 and 2002. Of these, 3,300 were not investigated because the allegations were made after the accused priest had died; 1,021 survived at the date of the report. After investigating the remaining 7,700 allegations, the dioceses were able to substantiate 6,700 accusations against 4,392 priests in the USA, about 4% of all 109,694 priests who served during the time period covered by the study. The known number of abuses increased in the 1960s, peaked in the 1970s, declined in the 1980s and by the 1990s had returned to the levels of the 1950s.[16]
Police were contacted regarding 1,021 of the surviving 1,092 priests, of whom 384 were prosecuted, resulting in 252 convictions and 100 prison sentences. Thus, 6% of all priests against whom allegations were made had been convicted and about 2% sentenced to prison at the date of the report

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_sex_abuse_cases

I will not give up on my Church because a few priests screwed up royally. I will stand by those priests who are innocent and do their very best to be Christ on earth. And I will pray for the souls of those who did the abusing and those who were abused. Those priests who did abuse DO deserve forgiveness. (And please do not bash me for that— I am a victim of severe abuse from ex-boyfriends and I STILL found that my heart could forgive them.)


#13

[quote="Angelic_Rose, post:12, topic:194174"]
I haven't had the chance to talk to anybody about this, but its been on my own heart and I was wondering if a person should remain Catholic while this has be going on in the Church for a long time.

I decided this for myself...
Yes, I SHOULD remain Catholic. I truly believe in the faith and I know too many WONDERFUL priests to assume that ALL priests are like this. I've always realized that a very SMALL number of priests have done these crimes.

Some stats..
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_sex_abuse_cases

I will not give up on my Church because a few priests screwed up royally. I will stand by those priests who are innocent and do their very best to be Christ on earth. And I will pray for the souls of those who did the abusing and those who were abused. Those priests who did abuse DO deserve forgiveness. (And please do not bash me for that--- I am a victim of severe abuse from ex-boyfriends and I STILL found that my heart could forgive them.)

[/quote]

Do you happen to have statistics of the Church worldwide? I want to know just how many of our priests did these disgusting crimes.


#14

I’ve pointed out the hypocrisy of the media, and the gullibility of the rest of us.

Pornography and filth is beamed into our homes at all hours of the day, including rape scenes at 11am on Saturday. The magazine racks are stuffed full of nearly-naked women, innuendo, and outright porn, out next to the candy rack at the cashier aisle where we have to go. The culture pushes homosexuality as “normal” and every bit as wholesome as June and Ward Cleaver. Perversion is winked at, and promoted in shows (Alec Baldwin and that Murphy Brown chick making references to bestiality), and now even references to children having incestuous relationships with thier parents. No perversion is off limits. None.

Teachers, policemen, doctors and every other occupation under the sun has been plagued with this problem. Even Protestant churches, synagogues and the like. No one ever uses these incidents to fault the institution.

But, somehow, when it happens inside the CC, all of a sudden it’s a: wrong, b: proof that the institution itself is hopelessly flawed, perverse, etc.


#15

[quote="Maria1212, post:1, topic:194174"]
I am writing to request advice. I went out to dinner with several coworkers. One coworker lives with her boyfriend and is very open about it. She often goes on about how she is against all organized religion, says religion is the cause of all wars etc. She is young and emotionally immature but overall is nice. However, tonight she made comment that I won`t repeat here referring to Catholic priests, boys, and the sexual abuse scandals. I was so shocked that a

I was so stunned that I didn`t say anything and then the conversation shifted. One of my other coworkers is Catholic too and I think she felt uncomfortable. Normally I try to say how the majority of priests are wonderful etc and that the church is made up of sinners. I feel like whenever I try to defend priests of integrity with non-Catholics, it is interpreted as defending the few priests that have sinned. I agree it was wrong of church leaders to have moved priests from parish to parish when they knew those priests had abused children and I agree more needs to be done to preven this from happening.

I am embarrassed and ashamed about all of the scandals and I am praying for all priests, for the church, and for victims of abuse.

Does anyone have advice on how they have responded to rude comments regarding the Church and our priests? I am trying to think of a one or two sentence response. Is it better to just say "I find that remark/comment offensive" and leave it at that?

Sincerely,

Maria1212

[/quote]

Sexual abuse of any child is terrible. Here is a recent news story lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/apr/10040101.html that refers to a study on school children which says that sexual abuse of children in schools by educators is 100 times more likely than sexual abuse by a priest. That report certainly doesn't excuse priests, but when the media focusses on the sexual sins of priests while virtually ignoring abuse by teachers, people loose perspective.

In the last several weeks such a quantity of ink has been spilled in newspapers across the globe about the priestly sex abuse scandals, that a casual reader might be forgiven for thinking that Catholic priests are the worst and most common perpetrators of child sex abuse. *
*But according to Charol Shakeshaft, the researcher of a little-remembered 2004 study prepared for the U.S. Department of Education, "the physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests."

After effectively disappearing from the radar, Shakeshaft’s study is now being revisited by commentators seeking to restore a sense of proportion to the mainstream coverage of the Church scandal. *
*According to the **2004 study *
“the most accurate data available at this time” indicates that “nearly 9.6 percent of students are targets of educator sexual misconduct sometime during their school career.”...*


#16

This has been my answer to the situation - I have posted it a few times:

Anytime there is good, there will be a great force of evil to destroy. Nothing is better than or more good than the One True Church, Christs Church. Evil has gotten Her by affecting her reputation through scandal caused by temptation from within. We as members of Christ's Church must recognize the difference between reprehensible actions of a few that cause great scandal and the good day to day actions of many that go unnoticed. This type of scandal has the ability to destroy the laity's faith in the Priesthood. Once that is destroyed so is the Priesthood. Once the Priesthood is gone so is the Eucharist. If we cannot learn to seperate these actions evil will win by removing the True Presence of Christ from our midst on our Earth. We must protect our Priesthood by recognizing that these are the actions of a few lead by evil and not the norm for the good actions of the priesthood done on a day to day basis.

Of course I wonder if we are so bad - why is the media giving us so much air time while letting those hate mongers from Westboro Baptist have only their fifteen minutes of fame. It is simple - evil attacks the things that are the closest to God the hardest.


#17

[quote="Rascalking, post:2, topic:194174"]
Something I would personally say is, "Yes, the scandal is devastating to all Catholics. It's a black eye that the church has recieved. Having said that, 90 percent (just a number pulled out of the air, I admit that) of priests are as devastated as the lay people are!"

That might help. I try to understand where these people are coming from, because the scandal really boils me.

[/quote]

actually the physical offenders are at less than 1% of all clergy. If you include the bishops who did nothing to stop (and made matters worse by spreading the priests around) then that figure jumps to over 1% but still not enough to say 2%. That's of clergy, not of practicing catholics or anything.

(And as a statistical point NEVER to be said in a conversation attacking the church, but a stat that's good to know it's been estimated that the population offends at a 2.5% rate (five in every 200) and schoolteachers at a 9% rate.)


#18

Maria, My advice is to ignore and forget and foregive any bad comments that are directed at us Catholics. When I am eating with people at dinner time I have learned to say that I prefer not to discuss politics or religions. I tell everybody we can discuss those topics later.
Child abuse is not a great conversation at dinner with co-workers. It is best to just say lets change the subject. If they don't change the subject you pay your bill and walk out.

We Catholics don't have to defend our religion to anybody. I am proud to be a Catholic and I show it by making it clear that I am Catholic.

I once went on a cruise..... an old senior Jewish couple sat at my dinner table. The husban was 94yrs.old and he loved to tell jokes about the rabi and the priest. The jokes were always in favor of the rabi. It didn't bother me at all because the old man was 94yrs. old and he was not demented and had a clear mind. His senior wife had bionic legs.
They were survivors of old age and were still full of life. We became fast friends on the ship and one day we were eating brunch together on the ship and we were acting like we had known eachother a long time. A lady was amazed that we had just met on the cruise ship.

I am a senior myself now and I have learned to just let things pass instead of having an ugly conversation at dinner time.

My main point is that we all have to learn to get along and just feel sorry for people like your co-worker who doesn't believe in any religion. The time will come as she gets older that she has said many stupid things to people and will also have to face present and future problems and not have God there to help her because she has turned her back on God. It is not our job to judge others or make them see God's light if they are not willing.

Maria, next time you go out with friends for lunch or dinner and a certain topic comes up that you don't agree with... just stay quiet and try to change the subject.

I have a close friend that I disagree a lot with.... but I have learned to just back off and let her be with her beliefs. We each have our own way of seeing things.


#19

Someone close to me in my family called to say Happy Easter on Easter Sunday. In our pleasant conversation about this and that, getting caught up on each other, she asked what we were doing for the day… and I in turn asked her if she was going to church. I was ill and not able to go that day and wished I could.

She was raised a Catholic, attended a family member’s funeral and received Holy Communion so I assumed she was still going to church… just making conversation, I thought!
She then blasted me with how angry she is at the church for the scandal, the coverup… going on about how the church is saying it is like antisemitism and how this is like the holocaust… etc…

I was very upset with her tone at me, number one…as if she was so angry and even angry at me. I sat there on the phone and said I had heard of the headlines but we have no TV and I had read only headlines online about the situation.
She went on going on and on… I listened hoping she would get over the yelling quickly and then apologize for raising her voice at me perhaps./… but instead… it just got worse. She said the Pope was a nazi, being in nazi youth. I remember reading that and told her , well were not all the young people in that at one time in Germany?

She did quiet down after that and I said… the church that we go to had classes to train all the volunteers /parents so that no one would keep quiet if something was going on that should not be…etc…
she went on to yell and yell… and then seemed depressed…
I felt bewildered as to what I could have said to prevent this blasting I received… I know that it is because the Church is doing good that evil is attacking…
but when it is close family members who believe and take in all the bad news they read in things like the NY times… it hurts me.
I pray continually for my relatives’ return to the church… even though I get sent emails about how glad they are about this happening to the church!

Thank you for the thread here, it does help to know that many are hurting by this… yet we have the life experience and miracles from our connection to Jesus and the Catholic church… I am not giving it up … abuse happens in every sector… I too was abused by “boyfriends” and husbands. One even while I was only 16 and he was 21… then he took me to get an abortion… so in some states now… that is felony.

I hope he hears of that new law and thinks about what he did to me.
I have since confessed the abortion, but the early abuse and lies and subsequent isolation that this did to me… well, long story… but God loves me and I know He has a role for me.
Praying for the church.


#20

Thanks for everyones very useful replies. Hopefully this topic wont come up again from my coworker, but if it doesn`t, I will be better prepared to handle it.

Sincerely,

Maria1212


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