Sexual Abuse



I’m sorry to bring up a painful chapter in the Church’s history, however I was neither a practicing Catholic when much of the news of abuse broke, nor am I from a really devoutly Catholic family.

So, I’m kind of in the dark. I live in the Bible belt, so fundamentalists rarely miss an oppertunity to bring it up, however I never really knew what happened.

Was it a cover up? What was the deal with Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Law etc.

Like I said, I’m not trying to cause trouble, however I’m really concerned.

How much did Pope John Paul II know?


First off, you must remember that none of us (as far as I know) is privy to the inner workings of the Holy See. There is no way of knowing what any pope knows about the day-to-day operations of parishes and diocese(s?), other than what he reveals.

I do not know what John Paull II has said about his knowledge of what was going on, but I would find it hard to believe that he was aware of the shufflings of accused priests. Any pope as busy as he was has far too much on his plate to be micromanaging personnel, so it’s entirely plausible that he had no first-hand knowledge until it was too late.

In any case, I recommend that you read this article on It’s very informative.



ah, did you discover that midway through life’s appointed span;)?

Thank you very much seriously though:D


Indeed – as I wandered in a dark wood. :wink:



Fellow Bible Belt Catholic greetings to you.

A couple of points which help:

  1. The Catholic Church is very large and responds quickly to nothing. There is usually great wisdom in proceeding slowly. Often there is a significant political disadvantage in not appearing to do something quickly.

  2. The Catholic Church has been under attack since Pentecost. The constant attacks lead to a skepticism when legitimate claims are raised.

  3. The Catholic Church historically is susceptible to great abuses when there is great difficulty in filling its vocations. This was true in the early 16th century, when plague led to filling the priestly ranks with less worthy candidates like Martin Luther—that didn’t wind up working so well. It was true in the 1970s, when many of the accused priests were beginning their vocations.

  4. As the Catholic Church is a hospital for sinners, responses to individual abuses tend to focus on the treatment of sin. This combined with a suspicion of secular authority (the result of 2. above) lead to such actions as removing a suspected priest from a diocese rather than giving them up to the authorities.

  5. Many of those who make allegations against the Church and her clergy do so falsely.

  6. Priests are trusted. These are men to whom we confess our sins. They are men of God. This puts them in a unique position to abuse our trust.

All of the above I believe contributed to the sexual abuse scandal.

The Church continues to respond and to implement policies to prevent a recurrence.


Some believe that what occured was God’s way of purging His church.

It is a shameful chapter in church history and hopefully one that will soon be behind us.

However, you should point out that it isn’t only the Catholic Church that is responsible. Other preachers have offended as well.


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