Archive for the ‘Sexual Abuse’ Category

One Reason that Abuse Accusations are as Few as They are …

May 19, 2012

… is this approach to addressing them. The article calls him a “former … priest” and “ex-priest,” but that’s not really possible. He’s presumably not serving in his capacity as priest, however. Apparently, he will be in jail for the next 15 years. The full story of his abuse and the Roman hierarchy’s actions in response to him have been well documented (link).

One interesting aspect of the story:

Fiala, who was born and raised in Omaha, was drawn to the Catholic Church in the seventh grade, when he met a priest who wrote a letter of recommendation for him to enter the seminary.

The priest, Daniel Herek, later became an infamous convicted child sex offender in Nebraska.

Meanwhile, John “Black Sheep Dog” Corapi has disappeared.


Sex Abuse Scandals and the Roman Communion

December 8, 2011

Another case of a sex abusing priest who was shuffled off to another parish without the police being alerted was recently report (link to story)(Updated link provided by a diligent reader). There are doubtless some people who will be glad to learn that this abuser was neither a pedophile nor a homosexual (though the priest’s sexual preferences seem to have been for acts that don’t require an adult woman). Two archbishops are implicated by the story: former archbishop Harry Flynn (now Archbishop Emeritus) and his successor archbishop John Nienstedt.  In an interesting ironic twist, Harry Flynn is (or at least was) chairman of a United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) committee on sexual abuse (of course, there’s an even worse irony that recently came to light with respect to the investigation of paedophilia by Rome’s finest).

But what of it?  After all, we recently heard about a story of sexual abuse by men from a college football program.  What’s the difference?  One difference is that Rome claims to be a divinely ordained organization, “the Church,” and not simply a self-perpetuating institution seeking worldly fame and glory.  A football program fits the latter category.

Another difference is that this is the first such scandal for that college.  It’s not the first such scandal for Rome.

A third difference is that, from what we can tell, those in the football program actually did report the abuse to the appropriate authorities.

Perhaps we could go on and on.  The bottom line, however, is that both scandals illustrate institutions that seem to think that they are not required to play by the same rules as the rest of society – which think that they are above the law, for lack of a better term.

I don’t think Christ came to establish a denomination.  That said, if Christ had established a denomination, would we expect it to be better or worse than a college football program?


Vatican’s Response to Cloyne Report

September 14, 2011

The Vatican’s response to the Cloyne Report was disturbing on a number of levels.  It was disturbing in that it treated the problem of sexual abuse as though it were merely a problem in the Cloyne diocese.

One interesting claim in the Vatican’s response was this:

Since the early days of the Irish State and especially since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1929, the Holy See has always respected Ireland’s sovereignty, has maintained cordial and friendly relations with the country and its authorities, has frequently expressed its admiration for the exceptional contribution of Irish men and women to the Church’s mission and to the betterment of peoples throughout the world, and has been unfailing in its support of all efforts to promote peace on the island during the recent troubled decades.


This claim to have always respected Ireland’s sovereignty was a response to an assertion by Ireland’s prime minister that “for the first time in Ireland, a report into child sexual abuse exposes an attempt by the Holy See to frustrate an Inquiry in a sovereign, democratic republic as little as three years ago, not three decades ago. And in doing so, the Cloyne Report excavates the dysfunction, disconnection, elitism … the narcissism that dominates the culture of the Vatican to this day.”

It is interesting that the Vatican picked 1929.  While the Vatican’s meddling in European political affairs was well known during the middle ages and into the era of the Reformation, perhaps it is less well known that the Vatican continued this same agenda into the 20th century.

As Francis Hackett reports:

Under Pope Pius X the church certainly did not mince matters as to the primacy of church authority. In the decree of October 9, 1911, the vatican issued its ordinance concerning the freedom of Catholics to exercise their legal rights as against priests, and it declared ” that any person who without permission from an ecclesiastical authority summons before a lay court of justice any ecclesiastical person in any case, civil or criminal, incurs instant excommunication. The excommunication takes place automatically and absolution is reserved to the Pope himself.”

(source – internal quotation from De Trahentibus Clericos ad Tribunalia Iudicum Laicorum of Pius X)

Nearly one hundred years later, we see a significant backing off of Rome’s attempts to control the equal protection of law through the mechanism of automatic excommunication.   Nevertheless, decrees like that created a culture in Ireland (and elsewhere – De Trahentibus Clericos was not limited to Ireland) that clergy were essentially not subject to the same criminal laws as the rest of the people in majority Roman-communion countries.

Yet the Vatican’s response to the Cloyne Report does not take responsibility for this culture of “above the law,” but instead attempts to distance the Vatican itself from the problems that its policies have caused.


>One Year Apologize …

August 14, 2010

>… the next year, refuse to accept the resignation of the bishops (link to source). No wait – that wasn’t last year that he apologized, it was less than six months ago (link to source).

“You have suffered grievously and I am truly sorry. I know that nothing can undo the wrong you have endured. Your trust has been betrayed and your dignity has been violated,” he [Benedict XVI] told victims in his letter, released March 20 at the Vatican. (second source above)

Now, it appears that it is back to politics as usual. Not quite, though – “The Vatican grinds to a halt and virtually closes down for the entire month of August as the Pope departs the heat of Rome for his summer residence and his advisors enjoy the ferragosto holiday.” (first source above)

And what exactly did he apologize for? He didn’t admit that the Church did anything wrong, did he? It looked like he pretty much blamed the Irish, acting though it was their problem.

He did say one thing that may be coming back to him now:

“Only decisive action carried out with complete honesty and transparency will restore the respect and good will of the Irish people toward the church,” he said. (second source above)


An Argument for Fallibility, not Against Infallibility

April 20, 2010

Yes, while in Malta the pope himself fell asleep during Mass (link to report – caution, some of the advertisements do not comply with Reformation principles of modesty). This doesn’t, in itself, prove that the pope is fallible. It’s certainly not a disproof of infallibility. It is just more evidence that he’s a normal human being.

Likewise, the comparison between the Steelers handled a crisis and the way the Vatican handles a crisis does not, in itself, prove either that the Vatican is fallible or that the Steelers are a better institution (I’m not a big fan of either institution)(link). However, it is evidence of fallibility and, indeed, corruption within the Vatican.

However, both of these stories (like my own previous note regarding typos in the on-line English version of Rome’s canon law) help to demonstrate to the ordinary reader that Rome’s leadership is not something supernatural. They are men – and like other men they are fallible, sinful, and so forth. Their fallibility isn’t proved by their humanity, but it is evidenced that way.

The fact that the apostles and prophets had the Word of God was attested by true miracles, signs, and wonders. Christ’s own resurrection served, as one of its purposes, to testify to Christ’s divinity and the truth of his message:

Acts 13:35-37
Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: but he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption.

And again:

Matthew 12:38-42
Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: for as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.

But the Roman magisterium is merely human. It lacks any supernatural manifestations of God’s favor. Benedict XVI cannot raise from the dead those who fall asleep during preaching as Paul raised Eutychus from the dead, indeed Benedict XVI himself falls asleep (we do not know whether it was during the brief homily or some other portion of the mass).

That fallibility is seen in practice in the heresy of mariolatry illustrated in two ways during Benedict XVI’s Maltese Visit:

Pope Benedict XVI said he was “pleased” to be able to pray before her image and presented her with a Golden Rose “as a sign of our shared filial affection for the Mother of God.”

He asked that she be prayed to as “Queen of the Family,” a title introduced by Pope John Paul II to the Litany of Loreto.

(source)(official source for those who don’t trust the media)

Notice the three ways in which idolatry, in the form of mariolatry, is evidenced:

1) The offering of a golden rose.

2) The prayers to her and encouragement of others to pray to her.

3) The exalted title “Queen of the Family” given to her and intended to be used in prayer to her.

There is no Scriptural warrant for such a title for Mary, and the headship of a family problem resides in the Father. Furthermore, the context of such usage is the following:

Contemplating this mystery, we confidently entrust all our families to the gentle protection of Mary, Queen of the Family and Saint Joseph her spouse.


And here:

58. The preparation of the engaged should be accompanied by sincere and deep devotion to Mary, Mother of the Church, the Queen of the Family. The engaged themselves should be taught to recognize that Mary’s presence is as active in the family, the Domestic Church, as it is in the wider Church. Likewise they should be taught to imitate Mary in her virtues. Thus the Holy Family, the home of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, makes the engaged discover “how sweet and irreplaceable education in the family is” (Paul VI, Discourse at Nazareth, January 5, 1964).


And perhaps most blasphemously of all:

Virgin of Nazareth,
Queen of the family,
make our Christian families
schools of evangelical life,
enriched by the gift of many vocations
to the priesthood and
to the consecrated life.
Keep intact the unity of our families,
today so threatened from all sides.
making them hearths of serenity and
of harmony, where patient dialogue
dispels difficulties and differences.
Above all, watch over those
who are divided and in crisis,
Mother of forgiveness
and reconciliation.


If one cannot see that to engage in such devotion to Mary is to derogate from the glory and honour of God, simply be looking at what is being said, I am not sure that any amount of further argument will prove it to you. Indeed, I think that for some people the only problem would arise if Mary were referred to as “God.” Anything short of that they seem to find acceptable, no matter how much worship is given her and power is ascribed to her.

– TurretinFan

Roman Catholic Spin Machine

April 12, 2010

Here’s the latest attempt to try to spin the clerical celibacy/sexal abuse scandal issue: (link). One of the particularly odd attempts at spin was this:

The Times continues to editorialize about the “pedophilia crisis,” when all along it’s been a homosexual crisis. Eighty percent of the victims of priestly sexual abuse are male and most of them are post-pubescent. While homosexuality does not cause predatory behavior, and most gay priests are not molesters, most of the molesters have been gay.

Just how many sodomite priests does the “Catholic League” think that Roman Catholicism has? And why, given the secrecy that the article acknowledges, does the “Catholic League” think they have an accurate count on the molestation rate among priests? In other words, what is the claim that “most gay priests are not molesters” based on?


Another Consequence of Forbidding Marriage to Clergy

March 11, 2010

We have previously noted that one consequence of forbidding marriage to clergy is that one gets a higher ratio of homosexual clergyman (link to brief discussion). Another consequence is that priests do to nuns the kinds of things that Maria Monk reported (link to Vatican’s acknowledgment that this happens). The report makes Steve Hays’ satire (link) seem not so far from the mark.

These abuses take place in part because of Rome’s unscriptural policy of mandatory clerical celibacy, as Roman Catholic priest and former theologian, Hans Küng, agrees (link). Such a policy is a serious error and is contrary to Scripture, though we acknowledge that it is not an error as to an essential doctrine. If this were the worst error that Rome has, she would still be a true church.

There are, however, many other and worse errors in Rome’s teaching. While Rome’s gospel that involves subjection to the Roman Pontiff and veneration of Mary may not injure the bodies of its nuns, it is something that does far more serious damage – it harms their souls. The way of salvation is through trust in Christ alone for salvation.

(Update: Cardinal Schönborn appears to agree with Hans Küng and this blog)


Bellisario Providing Example of Mistakes to Avoid

May 8, 2009

How not to argue for Roman Catholicism – an example from Mr. Matthew Bellisario (link). Here are a few tips to avoid Mr. Bellisario’s mistakes (with a video presentation of the 10 points below):

10) If you’re going to cite statistics, don’t cite statistics that actually show Roman Catholic sexual abuse at about twice the rate once one adjusts for the size of the population generating the abuse cases.

9) If you’re going to argue that celibacy is not imposed on the priesthood, don’t make your leading argument that no one is forced to be a priest.

8) Don’t reveal your ignorance of Reformed churches by suggesting that their “clergy” are self-appointed.

7) Don’t ignore common sense, which tells you that people who are forbidden the option of marriage are more likely to have their sexual desire burst forth in some inappropriate way.

6) If you’re going to quote Paul’s writings about celibacy, remember that he actually confirms what we already know from common sense, namely that not everyone has the gift of celibacy, and that the result of not marrying for such people is that they burn with lust.

5) If you are going to pick a fight with someone on the issue of clerical celibacy and sexual abuse, find one of the many folks who assert that there is a connection, rather than one who asserts that there may be.

4) If someone points out that one cause of sexual abuse is clerical celibacy, don’t assume that this means that the critic thinks that marriage fixes all sexual deviancy.

3) If someone points out that one cause of sexual abuse is clerical celibacy, don’t assume that this means that the critic thinks that it is celibacy itself (rather than an absence of the gift of celibacy) that causes this problem.

2) If you are going to bring up the issue of sexual deviance, don’t forget that prohibiting marriage for priests is intuitively a way to statistically increase your chances of attracting closeted homosexuals.

1) Recognize that sexual abuse is a scandal, not something to be treated frivolously with cartoon clowns and empty-headed rhetoric. Take the matter seriously, it’s a serious matter.


%d bloggers like this: