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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Betty Friedan is responsible for Catholic Church pedophiles? WTF???
Posted by Jill | 5:08 AM
It's interesting to watch just how terrified and timid the mainstream media has been about covering the massive and spreading sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.

Look, I understand how difficult it is to separate out the Vatican from the faithful. This more than any other religion is inextricably linked with a hierarchy of men that is as much corporation as church, which makes it difficult to bring the "hate the sin, love the sinner" doctrine to bear. I know many, many Catholics, of varying degrees of faith. Most of them by and large buy the idea of the Pope as a kind of direct conduit to God, though the Vatican doesn't play all that much of a role in their day-to-day faith. I simply cannot imagine what it would be like to have the very foundation of what you have been told since childhood is Absolute Truth be exposed as what is essentially a criminal enterprise at this point.

But in its attempts to deal with what many people thought after Pope Ratzi ascended in 2005 was in the past, the Vatican is reaching a level of crazy that is unlikely to fly in an era where we no longer burn witches:

When you're one of the most powerful institutions in the world and you've got an escalating series of sex abuse scandals erupting in such far-flung locales as IrelandGermany, Brazil and beyond on a near daily basis, how do you even begin to do damage control? If you're the Catholic Church, maybe you say you're going to investigate. You issue a few letters. And then just to cover all your bases, you do a little Satan blaming. In a bold and arguably wack move, the Vatican's normally press-shy exorcist Don Gabriele Amorth has been granting interviews left and right lately, and they are a treasure trove of WTF moments.

You say you hadn't been aware the Vatican even had an official exorcist? Thought that stuff was just for Linda Blair movies? That's likely because, prior to last week, the Vatican had permitted its exorcist to grant one interview in the entire last century. Now, suddenly he's doing the rounds like he's got a new rom-com with Gerard Butler opening Friday.

Speaking to La Republica last week, Amorth, who in fact does have a new book, "Memoirs of an Exorcist," to shill, said, "When one speaks of 'the smoke of Satan' in the holy rooms, it is all true – including these latest stories of violence and pedophilia." A few days later, he told the UK Times, "All evil is due to the intervention of the Devil, including pedophilia." He also added that contemporary culture has "given in to the Evil One. You see it in the lack of faith, the empty churches, the collapse of the family. Compare the world of today to when I was a boy in Modena: families and parish communities were strong, women did not go out to work."

I keep hearkening back to this Kevin Smithian notion of God and Satan playing Skee-Ball for giant stuffed animals down in Keansburg, New Jersey, and Satan getting bonus points for getting Christians to fall to temptation. We've seen no end to the blaming of
The Horned One for everything from infidelity to, well, child sex abuse. As someone who lives a relatively moral life without a Great White Punitive Alpha Male, I don't understand this at all. But the idea that child sex abuse in the Catholic Church and gay prositution rings run out of the Vatican are the fault of NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE listening to what these people have to say and of women having jobs, ought to destroy whatever credibility this institution has left.

As is often the case these days, the timidity of the media in exposing the criminal enterprise that is the Church hierarchy is not shared by what is becoming the last bastion of investigative journalism in the country: comedians:

And Chris Hitchens (but you already knew that):

Concerning the most recent revelations about the steady complicity of the Vatican in the ongoing—indeed endless—scandal of child rape, a few days later a spokesman for the Holy See made a concession in the guise of a denial. It was clear, said the Rev. Federico Lombardi, that an attempt was being made "to find elements to involve the Holy Father personally in issues of abuse." He stupidly went on to say that "those efforts have failed."

He was wrong twice. In the first place, nobody has had to strive to find such evidence: It has surfaced, as it was bound to do. In the second place, this extension of the awful scandal to the topmost level of the Roman Catholic Church is a process that has only just begun. Yet it became in a sense inevitable when the College of Cardinals elected, as the vicar of Christ on Earth, the man chiefly responsible for the original cover-up. (One of the sanctified voters in that "election" was Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston, a man who had already found the jurisdiction of Massachusetts a bit too warm for his liking.)

There are two separate but related matters here: First, the individual responsibility of the pope in one instance of this moral nightmare and, second, his more general and institutional responsibility for the wider lawbreaking and for the shame and disgrace that goes with it. The first story is easily told, and it is not denied by anybody. In 1979, an 11-year-old German boy identified as Wilfried F. was taken on a vacation trip to the mountains by a priest. After that, he was administered alcohol, locked in his bedroom, stripped naked, and forced to suck the penis of his confessor. (Why do we limit ourselves to calling this sort of thing "abuse"?) The offending cleric was transferred from Essen to Munich for "therapy" by a decision of then-Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger, and assurances were given that he would no longer have children in his care. But it took no time for Ratzinger's deputy, Vicar General Gerhard Gruber, to return him to "pastoral" work, where he soon enough resumed his career of sexual assault.

It is, of course, claimed, and it will no doubt later be partially un-claimed, that Ratzinger himself knew nothing of this second outrage. I quote, here, from the Rev. Thomas Doyle, a former employee of the Vatican Embassy in Washington and an early critic of the Catholic Church's sloth in responding to child-rape allegations. "Nonsense," he says. "Pope Benedict is a micromanager. He's the old style. Anything like that would necessarily have been brought to his attention. Tell the vicar general to find a better line. What he's trying to do, obviously, is protect the pope."

This is common or garden stuff, very familiar to American and Australian and Irish Catholics whose children's rape and torture, and the cover-up of same by the tactic of moving rapists and torturers from parish to parish, has been painstakingly and comprehensively exposed. It's on a level with the recent belated admission by the pope's brother, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, that while he knew nothing about sexual assault at the choir school he ran between 1964 and 1994, now that he remembers it, he is sorry for his practice of slapping the boys around.

Very much more serious is the role of Joseph Ratzinger, before the church decided to make him supreme leader, in obstructing justice on a global scale. After his promotion to cardinal, he was put in charge of the so-called "Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith" (formerly known as the Inquisition). In 2001, Pope John Paul II placed this department in charge of the investigation of child rape and torture by Catholic priests. In May of that year, Ratzinger issued a confidential letter to every bishop. In it, he reminded them of the extreme gravity of a certain crime. But that crime was the reporting of the rape and torture. The accusations, intoned Ratzinger, were only treatable within the church's own exclusive jurisdiction. Any sharing of the evidence with legal authorities or the press was utterly forbidden. Charges were to be investigated "in the most secretive way ... restrained by a perpetual silence ... and everyone ... is to observe the strictest secret which is commonly regarded as a secret of the Holy Office … under the penalty of excommunication." (My italics). Nobody has yet been excommunicated for the rape and torture of children, but exposing the offense could get you into serious trouble. And this is the church that warns us against moral relativism! (See, for more on this appalling document, two reports in the London Observer of April 24, 2005, by Jamie Doward.)

Not content with shielding its own priests from the law, Ratzinger's office even wrote its own private statute of limitations. The church's jurisdiction, claimed Ratzinger, "begins to run from the day when the minor has completed the 18th year of age" and then lasts for 10 more years. Daniel Shea, the attorney for two victims who sued Ratzinger and a church in Texas, correctly describes that latter stipulation as an obstruction of justice. "You can't investigate a case if you never find out about it. If you can manage to keep it secret for 18 years plus 10, the priest will get away with it."

Look, I have no problem with anyone needing some kind of belief system in an attempt to make life make sense, especially in these days when I expect frogs to come pouring out of the skies any day now. But given the huge role that people like Bart Stupak have given the Catholic Church in writing legislation that will affect all of us, I think it's not unreasonable for those of us who do not regard these guys as having a direct conduit to God to point out just how little moral authority they have.

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Blogger Bob said...
The sad fact is that without collective, church-wide reform of the kind initiated by Popes John XXIII & Paul VI, nothing will change. But these self-perpetuating bosses want to roll back Vatican II reforms. They see the solution to their predicament in the re-establishment of the 19th Century Church into which they were born & raised, the creepy Church those of us old enough remember from the Fifties. They blame nuns, homosexuals, secular culture, & the laity. Fortunately, we have a system in America capable of exposing the abuses & administering some justice, but at a tremendous cost to the Church's moral authority & finances. The power structure of the Church is narrowing now, as only conservatives take up vocations. Only the expansion of the clergy class with married men & with women can effect any real positive change.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Catholic priests raped little boys because you didn’t go to church and pay your tithe !

Blogger Bustednuckles said...
Makes me glad I missed that part of the indoctrination.
You might find this hard to believe but I was actually an Alter boy in the Catholic church as a youngster.
Now I am just another recovering Catholic.
I smelled Bullshit a long time ago.

Anonymous mandt said...
I have been on occasion called a spawn of satin, just because of a few gay pride events. But although I admit to embracing a rather radial paradigm of spirituality my hooves are clean and I just tell hateful people that my role is purely ceremonial and by-the-way---that'll be an extra 100% markup on my decorating bill. Now, "whose my goddess?"

Anonymous jony said...
la iglecia deveria ser un poco menos conservadora en muchos aspectos, y tomar otra aptitud frente a estos casos.