Boys your age are profane. I know. I’m one of them (well, a year older). This doesn’t excuse them from doing so in your presence.
There are a few things you can do. The first thing is to be prepared to defend yourself. First, on the issue of priests and priest abuse. I suppose that was what he was cracking a joke about?
There is absolutely no evidence that Catholic men (or more specifically, Catholic priests) are more likely to be pedophiles than anyone else. These are my words with reference to other sources:
The only person who I’ve ever heard try to put statistics onto this is the Anglican writer Philip Jenkins (Pedophiles and Priests) who puts the rates at similar to prevailing rates in society. Something like 0.3% for the incidence of pedophilia among priests, I believe. So, when we’re talking about very young children, which pedophilia is, it is extremely uncommon. Ephebophilia is what most of the problems have been, i.e., adults to teenage boys. I believe he finds that the incidence is 2%, which is supposedly comparable to the rate of the same incidents among married men.
What accounts for the differences in perception?
I think [media bias] might possibly be a latent cause, more of a reflexive, knee-jerk type thing than overtly.
But the difference is also in the structure of the Catholic Church. It is centralized, things get reported. Protestants are highly uncentralized. Since this information implicates the rate among Protestant clergy, I read this (in a review of the book):
[QUOTE]Notwithstanding the difficulties that such data comparisons hold, the available information on clergy sexual misconduct shows that the problem is bigger among Protestant clergy. For example, the most cited survey of sexual problems among the Protestant clergy shows that 10 percent have been involved in sexual misconduct and “about two or three percent” are “pedophiles.” With regard to the “pedophile” problem, the figure for the Catholic clergy, drawn from the most authoritative studies, ranges between .2 percent to 1.7 percent. Yet we hear precious little about these comparative statistics.
I don’t know how accurate these are, I’m just saying, it’s not as if people are putting these in context. Whenever adults regularly come into contact with children, I can imagine rates of these horrible things are comparable.
The issue is framed around the idea that it is a problem deriving from celibacy. That’s probably why Protestants are ignored. Anyway, the idea of celibacy being the problem is nonsense, celibacy does not drive you to become a pedophile, certainly, nor for a male priest to molest an altar boy. Pedophilia and ephebophilia are disorders, not lapses of self-control.
That should generally cover the types of objections people make about Catholic priests. Normally I have no problem with joking about anything, even my faith, but the picture painted on Catholic priests is such a ridiculous caricature that I refuse to comply with it.
I wouldn’t worry to much about them asking you for sources, most teenage boys don’t think that way. A quick, informed response from you may very well shut them up. They’ve never had this assumption of theirs challenged. If you tell it to them forcefully once, they’ll always have it in the back of their mind whenever they say it. And whether for the love of truth, or for the fear of refutation, they may be more reticent about doing it in the future.
Then, when you argue, try not to present it emotionally. If it gets a ‘rise’ out of you, then they might very well do it just to annoy you. Talk dispassionately about it, don’t get emotional. Unfortunately, I think this is a skill a person either has or doesn’t (and don’t get me wrong, it’s very difficult to do!). But still, good general advice. And too, don’t get into conversations you don’t have to get into. Pick and choose some things, leave it there. Don’t feel compelled to respond to everything. Not if it hurts you more. There’s no need to be crying, dear, so I’d recommend arguing less than more when in these situations. We wouldn’t want to give them that victory anyway, eh?
My first course of action would be to locally try to solve it. You know, counter with the statistics and maybe ask the bus driver to ask them to calm down. Perhaps after you’ve tried to convince them and taken basic steps to have them stop, then maybe taken Ryan’s advice.