Church Abuse


#1

I have tried to post this question before in the “Ask the Apologist” section, but no one ever responded. As a new Catholic, I have been “hammered” by some relatives regarding the cases of molestation. While I have argued for individual responsibility and accountability, it has been charged that the church bears some serious blame for failing to report these crimes to law enforcement and shifting the accused priests around from parish to parish. How does a Catholic respond to these charges? Any suggestions?


#2

[quote=Writer]…it has been charged that the church bears some serious blame for failing to report these crimes to law enforcement and shifting the accused priests around from parish to parish.
[/quote]

Who do they mean by “The Church”? Certainly the bishops who shirked their responsibility should be ashamed and should be punished. Some are dead, some have retired, many of the worst have been removed from office, a few are still there.

Don’t deny the shame and evil that they brought on us. It is a fact and there’s no denying it.

But do point out that the behavior of a handful of bad Catholics (and it was never more than 2% of the clergy involved) does not detract from the truthfulness of the gospel or from the authority of the Church that comes from Jesus, who is all good.

Jesus predicted that there would always be bad Catholics, including bad clergy, but they cannot escape God’s justice:

Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field.

"But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away.

"But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also.

"The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’

"And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves *said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’

"But he said, 'No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them.

‘Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.”"’ - Matthew 13:24-30

It is up to each person whether he will be wheat or tares.
God love you,
Paul


#3

Individual Bishops may hold some responsibility.l also hold some of the phsycologist who told the Bishops they could be “cured”,but in a society that says computer imaged child porn is protected under the freedom of speach, I don’t know why they are so shocked. The fact is that if this scandal had hit any other Church it would not have gotten nearly the media attention.Satan knows who the enemy is. God Bless


#4

[quote=PaulDupre]But do point out that the behavior of a handful of bad Catholics (and it was never more than 2% of the clergy involved) does not detract from the truthfulness of the gospel or from the authority of the Church that comes from Jesus, who is all good.

[/quote]

The John Jay report commissioned by the bishops puts the number of priests against whom allegations were made at between 4% and 4.3% for the period from 1950-2002. There is some difficulty in determining the total number of priests active at this time. The total number of victims is 10,667.

usccb.org/nrb/johnjaystudy/index.htm

I think it best to admit that horrible, horrible sins were committed and some bishops contributed to the evil (knowingly, negligently or otherwise) including by not reporting abuse to law enforcement. The Church has always had sinners in its midst (in fact it exists for the redemption of sinners) but it has always acknowledged the sinfulness of sexual abuse. It is taking action to reform itself to prevent the abuse in the future.

As sadly true as it is that some priests abused minors, it is also true that the overwhelming number of priests are faithful, humble, self-sacrificing men of character. There is so much more good in the Church, that the sin there is seems exaggerated. The Catholic Church still safeguards the fulness of the truth of the Gospel in spite of the sinfulness of its members. That it has survived its own mismanagement is a sign of its divine protection.


#5

I agree, this is horrible what has happened. But, I am not surprised, unless you live in a bubble, you might be effected by the trash out there,and true pedifiles look for occupations that would give them access to children.Plus the media cannot accept or undrestand celibacy and of course they will blame the actions on celibacy. Sad,in times like these we have to remember that the gates of hell will not prevail against Our Church.:blessyou:


#6

catholic.com/library/A_Crisis_of_Saints.asp

reformation.com/

Sometimes, no matter what you say, it won’t be enough for some people. They’re going to hate the church regardless.

Pray for all RCIA candidates and new Catholics! They always face temptation and evil. The otherside is not pleased with you.

Keep up the good work:thumbsup:


#7

What the Pope said that the media never mentioned:

[/font]http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/speeches/2002/april/documents/hf_jp-ii_spe_20020423_usa-cardinals_en.html

More that the media never mentioned:

Hofstra University professor Charol Shakeshaft was commissioned by the Bush administration to do a literature search of existing studies on this subject; this was to be the groundwork upon which a national study would be launched.

She concluded that “the physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests.”

Where was the media?

The *Christian Science Monitor *summed up the surveys’ conclusion as follows: ‘Despite headlines focusing on the priest pedophile problem in the Roman Catholic Church, most American churches being hit with child sexual-abuse allegations are Protestant…. catholicleague.org

The Christian Science Monitor is NOT a Catholic publication.

In a survey for the Wall Street Journal-NBC News, it was found that 64 percent of the public thought that Catholic priests frequently abused children. This is outrageously unfair, but it is not surprising given the media fixation on this issue. While it would be unfair to blame the media for the scandal in the Catholic Church, the constant drumbeat of negative reporting surely accounts for these remarkably skewed results.
[size=4]http://www.catholicleague.org/research/abuse_in_social_context.htm[/size]


#8

I just wanted to say thank you for the wonderful input on this topic. Did most of the abuse take place after the “sexual revoultion” of the 1960s? It seems that the culture of “if it feels good, do it” seeped into these few misguided members of our clergy. Anyway, thanks again for assisting me in understanding this issue better!


#9

[quote=aridite]The John Jay report commissioned by the bishops puts the number of priests against whom allegations were made at between 4% and 4.3% for the period from 1950-2002. There is some difficulty in determining the total number of priests active at this time. The total number of victims is 10,667.

usccb.org/nrb/johnjaystudy/index.htm

I think it best to admit that horrible, horrible sins were committed and some bishops contributed to the evil (knowingly, negligently or otherwise) including by not reporting abuse to law enforcement. The Church has always had sinners in its midst (in fact it exists for the redemption of sinners) but it has always acknowledged the sinfulness of sexual abuse. It is taking action to reform itself to prevent the abuse in the future.

As sadly true as it is that some priests abused minors, it is also true that the overwhelming number of priests are faithful, humble, self-sacrificing men of character. There is so much more good in the Church, that the sin there is seems exaggerated. The Catholic Church still safeguards the fulness of the truth of the Gospel in spite of the sinfulness of its members. That it has survived its own mismanagement is a sign of its divine protection.
[/quote]

Just making sure I am reading this correctly… 4% of US priests and clergy and not 4% of total priests and clergy (including other countries), right?


#10

[quote=Writer]I just wanted to say thank you for the wonderful input on this topic. Did most of the abuse take place after the “sexual revoultion” of the 1960s? It seems that the culture of “if it feels good, do it” seeped into these few misguided members of our clergy. Anyway, thanks again for assisting me in understanding this issue better!
[/quote]

Take a look at the John Jay study. They break it down by age of the abuser, year of ordination, date of first offense. The study notes a surge in the 1970’s (a large number of abusers were ordained in 1972) and a decline in incidents in the 1980’s. It is a sad testament to the failure of lowering standards (theological, institutional, spiritual). There is also supposed to be a report on the “Causes and Context” of the abuse. Among the things they are to examine are

–the content and influence of seminary admission policies and priest formation programs before and after the 1980s

–the ecclesiastical environment and the ways in which the Church responded to reports of sexual abuse

–cultural, social and psychological factors in American Society and the Catholic Church which contribute to sexual abuse of children, particularly during the surge of incident sin the 1970s

It should be interesting when it comes out.


#11

[quote=aridite]The John Jay report commissioned by the bishops puts the number of priests against whom allegations were made at between 4% and 4.3% for the period from 1950-2002. There is some difficulty in determining the total number of priests active at this time. The total number of victims is 10,667.
[/quote]

Bear in mind that this simply represents the total number of allegations, not the proven cases of abuse.


#12

You know, you will never read about a priest that has been accused, and then later been found innocent. The media doesn’t like to publish those things. They will use any excuse to run down the church. Yes, the scandels have been terrible, but it has been greatly overdone by the mainstream media. God bless and pray for vocations.


#13

Isn’t it true that this is largely an American phenomenon? Or is it just that in the rest of the world it is hushed?


#14

The Church is the “body of Christ”. If you get cancer in your pinky toe and you fail to get treatment, it’ll spread like wildfire throughout your whole “body”. Then the whole “body” suffers. Name one church on the face of this planet that functions like said “body”. The sexual abuse scandal is world wide because the Catholic Church, the “Body of Christ” is worldwide. Even the sins of her members proclaim the truth of Her vocation. The Church is the spotless “bride of Christ” and like Her Spouse, She is innocent, but She bears the wounds inflicted on Her by the sins of Her children to the point where the world calls Her criminal. So I wouldn’t point any fingers, manipulate any staistics or make any excuses. I would just apologize and ask forgiveness for those of us who have failed to live the awesome privilege of being members of the “Holy Catholic Church”, culminating in this present scandal.


#15

[quote=Yaegel]The Church is the “body of Christ”. If you get cancer in your pinky toe and you fail to get treatment, it’ll spread like wildfire throughout your whole “body”. Then the whole “body” suffers. Name one church on the face of this planet that functions like said “body”. The sexual abuse scandal is world wide because the Catholic Church, the “Body of Christ” is worldwide. Even the sins of her members proclaim the truth of Her vocation. The Church is the spotless “bride of Christ” and like Her Spouse, She is innocent, but She bears the wounds inflicted on Her by the sins of Her children to the point where the world calls Her criminal. So I wouldn’t point any fingers, manipulate any staistics or make any excuses. I would just apologize and ask forgiveness for those of us who have failed to live the awesome privilege of being members of the “Holy Catholic Church”, culminating in this present scandal.
[/quote]

While I agree with the gist of what you’re saying here, I don’t think what has been previously written on this thread necessarily constitutes making excuses. Instead, it is understanding the sins in light of what is also taking place within other sections of our society and communities. This doesn’t diminsh their terrible destructive nature of the said sins, and we should be on our knees begging for divine aid to protect and preserve the church and rid it of all abusers. As was mentioned in one of the offered links, one has to have a baseline in order to interpret the significance of the abuse statistics. Otherwise, we’re simply studying something in a vacuum–in isolation from other related parts. That doesn’t help us understand the issue any better–or take steps to correct the issue at each level of the church.

One observation, for example, which was of particular use to me was the reference to popular psychology. In earlier decades, some in leadership positions in the Catholic Church believed (incorrectly) that confronting the abusers with their sin, offering counseling and therapy, and moving them to a new environment for a fresh start was the answer. History has shown that this reliance on psychologists (and their ability to “cure” the abusers) was ill placed, but the best way to avoid this problem in the future is to understand its context within our permissive culture.


#16

A good book that offers some explanation of the background on this problem is Good-by Good Men “How Liberals brought Corruption into the Catholic Churcy” by Michael Rose. This book examines how liberal ideas, particularly homosexuality, impacted many diocese and seminaries. One thing that the author brings out is that the problem was much worse in some places than others. Some diocese escaped the problem alltogether.

Another book that covers the same topic is From Scandal to Hope by Fr. Benidict Groeschel.


#17

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