Amnesty International cites Vatican for human rights concerns

Not so very long ago, something like this would have been unimaginable.

From NCR:

Amnesty International named the Vatican in its annual report on human rights’ concerns for not sufficiently complying with international mandates on protecting children from abuse.

It marked the first time the Vatican was named in the group’s Annual Report on the state of human rights around the world. The 2011 Annual Report covered human rights in 157 countries, looking particularly at rights abuses and restrictions and at failures to implement international rights’ agreements.

The report, released May 13, said, “The Holy See did not sufficiently comply with its international obligations relating to the protection of children,” specifically regarding sex abuse.

The Vatican is party to the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Article 19 of the convention says that states parties “shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse.”

The article also says measures should be implemented to aid in prevention, reporting and investigation of abuse as well as care for victims and, “as appropriate,” the involvement of the court system.

The Amnesty International report said, “Increasing evidence of widespread child sexual abuse committed by members of the clergy over the past decades, and of the enduring failure of the Catholic Church to address these crimes properly, continued to emerge in various countries.”

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84 responses to “Amnesty International cites Vatican for human rights concerns”

  1. It is time we have a real serious discussion on abortion.

    If every news article, every story, every incident reported here comes back to abortion. If abortion is to be the center focus of our entire lives, then we need to determine exactly what we are going to do about it.

    If all we are going to say is we are pro life then complain about it…..then nothing will seriously get done.

    By next fall the Bishops will be instructing us on our “informed conscious” and on our rights on voting. The Bishops can do a lot here other than informing our conscious.

    Since Roe v Wade all we say is……. abortion needs to be banned.

    Well what is the outcome to those who continue to abort.

    Here are my reccomendations to end this talk that all it does is divide and continues to be an arena for negativism.

    1. Lets start at the Supreme Court it is now conservative and has several Catholics lets have the judges overturn this…..why has this not been done….why are thet not being questioned…lets bring it to the eye of all voters and our Bishops can help here by instructing the priests in the parishes of these Judges to deny communion until they overturn it.

    and while we are waiting for this to happen, our Catholic Bishops can help reduce abortions right now by decreeing that any Catholic women, or Catholic Health Practitioner that commits themselves to having an abortion or those who actually completes the procedure be immideatly excomunicated from the Catholic Church.

    2. Once the Courts have overturned, the congress then needs to have a bill voted on and approved then placed into legislation by the President whoever it is banning abortion nationally.

    NOW HERE ARE THE BIGGIES…….the penalities for breaking the law…. remember nothing is solved unless we have consequences.

    3. Any women who places herself in the position of having an abortion and actually completes this murder shall be tried for murder and if found guilty be placed in a federal prision for life…no parole

    as far as I’m concerned thats where it starts.

    4. Any medical practitioner that completes or assists in the abortion should be placed on trial as an assessory to murder and if found guilty…loose his or hers medical license and be exported from this country. (the license is not really important…the exportation is)

    5. If any hospital….(which I doubt will be in this business after the new law). assits in this murder should loose its license and cease to operate as a hospital for ever.

    This may sound harsh but as Greta has said here in other posts..”The president…sends his troops in to kill 4000 innocent babies every day.”

    Instead of enjoying the argument lets actually do something about it. That means our Bishops need to get tough and our Supreme Court needs to act.. then Congress will actually be able do something meaningful. When this happens, things will change. Beyond that all it is empty pontificating and flapping of our jaws.

  2. I think it would be more helpful to say how the AI report here is wrong.

    Is the report legit in terms of how the Vatican handles abuse cases now, and has standards in place to protect children now? I personally don’t think so, but there are people better informed on this than me.

  3. The Vatican is party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child in its capacity as a sovereign state, not as a church. Churches don’t sign treaties and international conventions. Therefore, unless the Vatican is somehow failing to protect children who reside within its borders, the AI complaint about the Vatican is utter hogwash. Sexual abuse that happened in countries outside the Vatican is significant, of course, but not under this U.N. convention. If AI wants to go after countries for the clergy sexual abuse, it should go after the countries where it happened.

  4. AI is plain wrong on abortion

    The reason their position on abortion was disheartening to many Catholics is because on so many other issues they have been a loud ( and often lonely ) voice for life and fair treatment of people.

    I am with #4 ironic on this – the fair question is was this report wrong and if so why.

  5. Did anyone here read the report by AI citing the United States Government for failing to act on its own Department of Education Study which indicated that 9% of public school children are victims of inappropriate sexual contact? That’s over 4,680,000 of the current 52 million children in the public schools, compared to the 11,000 TOTAL abuse allegations filed against Catholic priests in America during the LAST 50 YEARS, according to the John Jay Study.

    Nobody read this AI report?

    Neither did I, because it doesn’t exist.

    So, AI pushes abortion, 1.8 BILLION worldwide since 1960, a practice where babies in their mother’s wombs are torn apart, and then they strain Roman gnats and ignore the plague of flies in the American school system.

    Tells us everything about AI’s true motives and values.

  6. It’s (overly) tempting to tie every other issue to abortion, as some websites do with headlines like “Pro-Abortion Politician X Dedicates Daycare Center.” But in this case, I suspect the connection is more than incidental. If abortion should be regarded as a basic human right–as Amnesty concluded a few years ago–then the Catholic Church is an enemy of human rights. It’s hardly surprising the group would look for ways to undermine such an enemy.

    But it is sad to see this happening since Amnesty–at least at the local level–is outspoken in defense of human-dignity issues with which the Church agrees 100%. When I see their logo at rallies against the death penalty, I just wish we could work together once more.

  7. A three-day international congress on the theme “Justice and Globalization: From ‘Mater et Magistra’ to ‘Caritas in Veritate’” will be held in Rome beginning Monday, May 14. It appears to be a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Pope John XXII’s encyclical, “Mater and Magistra” (May 15, 2011), which I have never read but have just downloaded. The encyclical itself was issued on the 70th anniversary of Pope Leo XIII’s “Rerum novarum” It is interesting to see the emphasis on social problems of fifty years ago, e.g., a lot of about farming and agriculture. (After all his family were farmers.)

    Time Magazine has an interesting commentary in the July 1961 issue:

    “Dealing directly and forcibly with the social ills facing the world at the turn of the century, it condemned socialism as immoral but supported trade unions and higher wages, state regulation of industry and broader distribution of property and wealth.”

  8. Don from NH,

    Not to belabor the point, but your comment suggests that you’ve not been around this blog too terribly long if you think the commenters here have never had a serious talk about abortion. Perhaps there has never been a talk about abortion that is serious on your terms, but that is an entirely different matter. Also, it is uncharitable and presumptuous of you to assume that those commenting here who support the pro-life position only say they are pro-life and complain about it, without taking action.

    Your remarks re: denying the Catholic justices on the Supreme Court communion until they overturn abortion suggests a woefully limited understanding of how our republic works, or an attempted cheap shot at those who favor denying communion to politicians who actively support abortion “rights”. Neither of which contributes to a serious discussion on abortion.

    Also, it is already Church teaching that a woman who procures a successful abortion and any who assist her in doing so suffer the punishment of having excommunicated themselves.

    No pro-life organization or proposed legislation of which I’m familiar has ever recommended incarceration for women who have abortions. The doctors and institutions that perform abortions would be subject to penalties, as they should be.

    Introducing abortion to this discussion is legitimate because AI has recently adopted a position in support of abortion “rights”. The Catholic Church strongly opposed that change in AI’s policy. It may be misguided, but it’s hardly unreasonable to conclude that AI’s condemnation of the Church’s record on sexual abuse of minors (while completely ignoring the Church’s successful reforms and the miserable and unreformed practices of nearly every other nation and organization in the world on the same matter) as a transparent attempt to discredit the Church in light of the Church’s opposition to abortion.

    Regardless of their motives, because of AI’s position on abortion, it has discredited itself in the minds of Catholics and is quickly and sadly becoming a mockery of it’s former noble self.

  9. I know that I am putting on my teacher’s hat but I assure you that I will quickly remove it:

    Mater et Magistra:
    20. As for the State, its whole raison d’etre is the realization of the common good in the temporal order. It cannot, therefore, hold aloof from economic matters. …It has also the duty to protect the rights of all its people, and particularly of its weaker members, the workers, women and children.

    Perhaps, I should have posted this quote as a comment on the Deacon’s Bench post on University professors’ letter to Speaker John Boehner.

  10. Don from NH,

    I agree with BobRN. A good many of us do more than talk. I write a pro-life science blog that has seen 210,000 visits in 18 months. Additionally, I have been heavily involved in legislative activism and fundraising and fund development for pregnancy resource centers.

    I’m currently the fund development director for Good Counsel Homes, co-founded by Christopher Bell (with whom I worked at Covenant House in the early 80’s) and Father Benedict Groeschel (who taught me pastoral psychology and ascetical theology in the seminary). In June, I am meeting with members of the Canadian Parliament and Medical Society to educate them on the link between abortion and breast cancer.

    When not doing those things, I travel the country giving talks at universities, where I bring forth the mountain of scientific evidence that supports the Magisterium and the pro-life movement on every front, most recently at Georgetown Law School.

    I’ve never mentioned the full extent of my pro-life activities before, but Bob’s comments made me realize that most of us in the pro-life movement work mostly under the radar. So, it’s an unfortunate assumption/presumption to suggest that most pro-lifers only talk.

    My experience has been that many simply need a strong leader who is willing to sit in the background and let the spotlight shine on the troops when it comes time to celebrate a victory. Castigating the troops has the opposite effect that most think. It’s demoralizing. It also reduces one’s moral authority to lead.

    General Patton learned that the hard way when he slapped a soldier in a field hospital in Italy. Had he inquired of the physicians why he soldier was crying, he would have learned that the soldier in question was delirious from a fever he was suffering as a consequence of malaria.

    You may wish to learn from Patton’s mistake.

  11. “Not so very long ago, something like this would have been unimaginable.”

    You know, some of us used to think that about priests sexually abusing children, too.

    The truth shall make you free even if it IS uncomfortable.

  12. Not so very long ago, the idea of Catholic priests sexually abusing children was unimaginable too.

  13. I notice no one is claiming the Vatican has done a fine job of shielding children from abuse. A bishop in Australia who mulled over the benefits of ordaining women and married men to the priesthood was fired in a rather efficient manner (see? it CAN be done!), yet bishops and cardinals (think Card. Law and Card. Rigali) who cover up abuse (at worst) or pretend for years that it was not a serious problem (at best) get to keep the red hat and even can find refuge in Rome so as to avoid being deposed (in the case of Card. Law).

    Yes, abortion IS an important issue, but so is the protection of children from rapists and those who would cover up those crimes. Anyone care to deal with the issue that AI’s report tackled? Anyone want to argue that this pope and his predecessor did everything that could have been done, everything that should have been done, to prevent the sexual abuse of children by church employees?

  14. Steve,

    I’ll make a deal with you. I’ll tackle the Popes on the abuse in the Catholic Church, if you’ll go after the Public schools in the US.

    Ask them why states have laws that prohibit lawsuits against schools unless they are initiated within 90 days of the offense. Then tell me if The Catholic Church should enjoy the same 90 day statute of limitations.

    Ask why school systems were cited in the Dept of Education study by Dr. Carol Shakeshaft as moving teachers from school district to school district, giving them letters of recommendation if they promised to resign and go quietly.

    Demand that the major media outlets give PROPORTIONAL COVERAGE to 4,680,000 of the current 52 million children in the public schools who will be victims of inappropriate sexual contact during their twelve years of school as the media has the 11,000 allegations made over a half century against Catholic priests.

    Then demand that the media give PROPORTIONAL COVERAGE to the insurance industry report that cited protestant churches as having two to three times the prevalence of the problem as the Catholic Church.

    Do we have a deal?

  15. @Gerald Nadal:

    Patton slapped Private Kuhl prior – PRIOR – to the doctors admitting him, after asking Kuhl “Where are you wounded?” and getting the response, “I guess I can’t take it.”

    No one knew at the time of the slap about the malaria, so Patton’s mistake wasn’t the one you think it was.

  16. Steve,

    First, I would say that the negative reaction to AI’s identifying the crimes of priests and the supposed inadequate response by the Vatican is not inspired by a lack of desire to protect children from rapists and those who would cover up their crimes. It is inspired, I think, by four points: first, the inconsistency of AI’s including the abuse of children by Catholic priests as a human rights violation in their 2010 report, though the great majority of the cases of abuse occured decades ago and in every other case AI identifies only those human rights violations committed by a nation in the year 2010; second, the selective targeting of the Church on this matter when it is clear that the abuse is a problem in many churches and state-run facilities in many nations; third, the what can only be the willful choice to neglect the genuine progress the Church, especially in the U. S., has made in protecting children and, fourth, the hypocrisy of AI pretending to give a rat’s patootie about children when they publicly and aggresively support the willful destruction of innocent children in the womb.

    I suppose a good place to start the discussion on your questions about JPII and BXVI is to ask exactly what you think they should have or could have done that they didn’t do to prevent the sexual abuse of children.

    For instance, you imply that Cardinals Law and Rigali should have been (Law) and should be (Rigali) removed. I don’t disagree at all, should the evidence show they were negligent. In Law’s case, I think the evidence did just that, though I would argue he was no more negligent than the leaders of many other organizations, such as the military, the public schools, leaders in corporate America, etc… . Nevertheless, he was a bishop who dropped the ball and he should have been removed. I’m not so sure about Rigali yet. But, since with both we’re talking about cases of abuse that happened decades ago, how exactly has removing Law or would removing Rigali prevent the sexual abuse of children? Even in Philadelphia, the men who have been accused have been accused, as I understand, and not proven guilty. Even still, there has been no revelation of recent cases of abuse by these men.

    As for JPII, he initiated a reform of the seminaries that resulted in a dramatic decrease in the numbers of priests abusing and the numbers of children abused, from hundreds in the 60s – 80s to eight last year in theU. S. Given that, one could argue that JPII did more than anyone else to prevent the sexual abuse of children by priests.

    As for BXVI, when he took charge of the Church’s response to abuse in 2002, he more than anyone facilitated the change that allowed bishops to quickly remove abusive priests from ministry and from the priesthood. While revelations of abuse continue to come to light (a good thing), it bears remembering that, even in Europe, most of these revelations are from years past, often before JPII was pope and certainly before BXVI became pope.

    I’ve said this before and will say it again: those who rightfully condemn the abuse of children by priests and the cover up of such would have a lot more credibility in my eyes if they were as loud in their condemnations and as insistent on justice and reform when it comes to the abuse suffered by children at the hands of other organizations, especially the public schools, where the incidence of abuse is several orders of magnitude more and where there have been virtually no attempts at reform. Just earlier this year, a Congressional report revealed that public schools around the country were knowingly hiring people with past records of child abuse. The response to this report has been near silence. I would venture to guess that many who read this post will have only heard of this report for the first time here. Yet these are the abusers who are allowed to continue their abuse while being paid by our taxes!

  17. Waz,

    Delirious people give all sorts of answers to questions. That’s why it’s best to ask the medical staff what’s going on. The doctors knew of the malaria at the time.

    In the same way, it helps to identify the source of demoralization in pro-lifers who are not active, rather than accusing them of merely enjoying the talk.

  18. Gerard: You claim that school districts in the U.S. have exercised approximately the same approach as Catholic prelates throughout the world (over the decades) with regard to sexual abuse. Sorry. Not falling for that. Yes, there are school districts that have, I’m sure, let the occasional teacher resign and go his/her way quietly. More often, however, school districts have a strict policy of contacting DCFS and/or the local police department, suspending the teacher (first with pay, due to contractual and legal reasons, until charges have been filed; then usually without pay if termination has not yet occurred). Like you, I’ve lived in and among a variety of public school districts, and that’s been the typical reaction of schools for decades. Perhaps unlike you, I used to teach in a public school district, and I realize that schools typically do a great deal to educate faculty and staff on detecting and reporting suspected child abuse (in most states, school personnel are by law mandatory reporters and can face serious discipline if not criminal charges for failing to report suspected abuse). When I was an up and coming teacher, the district in which I student-taught and the district in which I was eventually hired both — to their credit — emphasized avoiding both impropriety and the appearance of impropriety (e.g., teachers not being alone in isolated settings with students for any length of time). Typical behavior of public schools when evidence surfaces? Call the police. Call DCFS. Launch an investigation, even if it means the incident lands in the news. In other words, public school districts have had mechanisms in place for reporting abuse should abuse occur.

    Keep in mind, please, that public school districts — unlike the constituent parts of the Catholic church — are not all under a single ultimate authority such as a supreme pontiff or his subsidiary, the CDF.

    Meantime: What has been the typical approach by the church over the course of several decades, in dioceses that span much of the globe (e.g., U.S., Mexico, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, etc.)? Well, it goes something like this: Hear allegation, move priest, and do NOT call the police; receive complaint from parent, move priest, tell parent the issue is being dealt with; hear complaints from several parents, move priest, tell parents individually that there have been no other complaints and perhaps there was just a misunderstanding on the part of either the child or Fr. Andy; get served with a lawsuit, delay and delay some more, bury personnel records or deny existence of records, suggest that the survivors of sexual abuse who decide to file lawsuits and their lawyers are either misguided or the pawns of the devil. And then, step up to a microphone and claim, “We’re doing all we can to help victims of sexual abuse committed by priests.”

  19. As for the claims against the church all being old and stretching back for decades: Well yeah, that’s sort of the point. The church has been busy covering up credible allegations of sexual abuse for decades. And then suddenly–wham–it all comes to the surface, and the Vatican and its defenders claim, “Hey, no fair, that’s old news!” Sort of like the proverbial defendant who killed his parents and then pleaded for mercy: “But your honor, I’m an orphan.”

    Listen. I’m a Catholic, and whether you believe this or not, I love my church. But I sure wish my fellow Catholics would not defend the Vatican’s handling of sexual abuse cover-ups by saying, “Oh gee, everyone else isn’t doing such a great job either.” That’s a lousy defense, and it’s beneath the dignity of Catholic-Christians to resort to it. Accept the blame. Admit that the Vatican messed up big time on this very important issue–these crimes against children–and pray that those responsible for the long-term cover up (including cardinals and yes, possibly, popes) have repented fully for their part in this tragedy. Rationalizing away the guilt is no way to remove it.

  20. The Church is the greatest force for good in the history of humanity, regardless of what any one claims against it. I personally don’t care what AI or any other institution, government of person says. God will help us sort our problems on way or another.

  21. The Church is the greatest force for good in the history of humanity, Rudy? Really? Guess that justifies the killing of so many infidels in the past—because the Church is good? I expect there are many who would disagree with you. Yes, it has done a lot of good–for many people, and to it’s credit, still does. But the past has certainly not been totally peacefull as it spread it’s word. The influence has most certanly not been all good.

  22. I am thinking that the leaders in Cuba can say vis-a-vis the AI report- “why are you picking on us- why don’t you focus instead on Iran or North Korea”

    Anybody here also buying that spurious argument?

    Leaders set a tone and what they do and fail to do really matters in all types of human organizations- and in the life of the Church as well.

    As I said earlier-AI is wrong on abortion – but it is sophistry to pretend that the cover-up of abuse of children by clergy, a cover-up orchestrated by Cardinals, Bishops and chanceries in the US and around the world is a local concern outside the influence of Vatican and the Pope to change.

  23. You know what’s funny, Amnesty International did not list a single human rights violation that took place under the auspces of the Holy See, but yet has the audacity to condemn it’s “human rights” record.

    This is ideology at work if you ask me. It’s not even research. Given the fact that AI came up empty last year in terms of cases of sexual abuse, it’s decided this time to do a kind of look back strategy, that is one that applied exclusively to the Catholic Church.

    I think it’s just plain stupid to hold the Vatican responsible for the behavior of a few priests. Fact: the vast majority of incidents of homosexual priests who preyed on adolescents occurred between the mid-1960s and the mid-1980s, having nothing to do with any alleged culpability on the part of the Holy See in 2010.

    Amnesty International also indicts the Church for not mandating that the civil authorities be contacted in cases of sexual abuse. But this is true of virtually every nation, so why single out the Holy See? Makes you wonder doesn’t it? The fact that Amnesty International condemns canon law for not honoring this mandate suggests that it has now given itself the right to police the religious prerogatives of the Catholic Church. Ain’t that right Steve?

    The Holy See should now issue a report on secular organizations which disrespect marriage and the family, listing Amnesty International’s embrace of gay marriage as Exhibit A.

  24. Paganister,
    You’ll never find anything in Catholic teaching or history that suggests that we ought to kill people. Typical hit and run posts by anti-Catholics.

  25. romancrusader: So, the Catholics never killed people in the name of God? Spanish Inquisition anyone? Northern Ireland? (closer to home) No, I”m sure no one said go forth and kill, but it happened. I’d be surprised that some person in control didn’t give the order to “convert’ folks by force. Guess they didn’t follow the rules, huh? Never said the RCC was the only Christian group that decided to forcefully kill those that didn’t believe as they did. Good grief! History certainly proves other wise. So, not so typical after all. FYI: Not anti-Catholic. Some of my best friends are Catholic. Agree with all of the teachings? No, but then neither do some of my Catholic friends.

  26. #27: Gerard: To answer your question. Have I ever “sinned”? Define Sin. Am I perfect? Most certainly not. But give me your (or I guess the Churche’s) definition. If it includes going against God? That depends.

  27. @Gerard: Sorry, just went through the histories available to me and find nothing that supports your contention that the doctors knew – before they admitted him – that the slapped private had malaria. After they admitted him, they learned that he did. Would you please give us your citation for your statement so that this egregious affront to history can be corrected?

  28. “I’d be surprised that some person in control didn’t give the order to “convert’ folks by force.”

    I challenge you to provide proof examples or historical evidences of the things you “wouldn’t be surprised” to have happened.

    “No, I’m sure no one said go forth and kill, but it happened.”

    With a statement like that, you’ve pretty much answered your own question.

    “So, the Catholics never killed people in the name of God?”

    How do you know the the personal invocations of people who have killed? I can say that no one should kill (homicide) in the name of anything but one cannot use force to defend (and may subsequently end up killing) in the name of God. And if defending, what better name to invoke.

  29. No Catholic who rightfully condemns the horror of sexual abuse by those in the Church, and the cover-up of such, deserve to be accused as not loving the Church. If anything, the motivation for such is a genuine desire to see the Church come clean and be reformed so that nothing like this ever happens again.

    Just so, no Catholic who rightly points out the significant progress that has been made in reducing the number of children abused by those in the Church, and who likewise demand that such abuse be reported truthfully and proportionately, deserve to be accused of not caring for abuse victims or of defending the crimes of abusers. The motivation is not to defend the Church at all costs, but to defend the truth at all costs and, of course, to protect the children. How easy it is to forget the children!

    My frustration in this matter reflects, I think, that of many Catholics.

    Our priests betrayed us. Not many, of course, but too many. They exploited the innocense and the trust of our chidlren, and even the trust of those who were not abused, but who love the Church and who love her priests. Our bishops lied to us. They threw common sense out the window, along with the pastoral care of souls, in favor of protecting those who didn’t deserve being protected.

    The goal became to protect the Church and her assets, and not to protect the children.

    Has the Church reformed? Yes, at least partly. Not as many priests are abusing children. Not as many children are being abused. Not as many bishops are lying or trying to cover up the dirt. But even the reforms, as noble and successful as they’ve been, were forced on the Church, often by those outside the Church, when the dirt began to pile so high it could no longer be covered.

    Now the people in the pews must demand that the Church continue the reform, not to save face or assets, but because it’s the right thing to do.

    But that wasn’t the end of it. Those who initially exposed the dirt took their new-found power and moral authority and exploited it for their own purposes. The media, the politicians, the lawyers, the victims groups: they lied to us, too.

    They told us this was just (or mostly) a Catholic problem, pounding away at old cases and reporting them as if they were new, refusing to report on abuse and cover-ups in other communities and organizations (public schools, orthodox Jews, US Swimming…) or, when they did report, insisting on a double-standard when fighting abuse by priest vs. abuse by others (ie: removing statues of limitations, but only applying such to private — Church — institutions). Accustations were treated as guilty verdicts. Anything, even “boundary issues” merited a police investigation (one priest was investigated because he patted a child’s knee!).

    They told us homosexuality had nothing to do with it, even while their own studies revealed that 81% of cases were homosexual in nature (John Jay report).

    They ignored the progress made by the Church. They did a hatchet job on JPII and BXVI.

    The goal became to destroy the Church (and for the lawyers, at least, to make lots of money), and not to protect the children.

    We Catholics need to re-group, stop taking sides and focus our efforts on the continued reform of the Church and society, so that the children — ALL of the children — are protected. Let’s take what we’ve learned and apply those lessons, not only to our our parishes and dioceses, but to the secular institutions in which we participate: the schools, athletic associations, the military, etc… so that the grace of reform transforms, not only the Church, but our entire community. And let’s do it for the sake of the children.

  30. Pagansister,

    Your qualified response is an implicit acknowledgement that you have been a less-than-perfect human being. Does that mean that your imperfections have made you less than the greatest source of goodness in the life of your spouse?

  31. Steve,

    I think the point in contrasting the extensive reporting of sexual abuse of children by those in the Church with the near silence on the sexual abuse of children by public school teachers is to expose the hypocrisy of those who claim to care about the safety of children, when it’s clear that they only care about the safety of some children, ie: those abused by priests. Also, the great majority of kids in this country, including Catholic kids (including my Catholic kids), attend public schools. Given that the risk of being abused by public school employees is so much higher than that of being abused by a priest, one would think it reasonable that people ought to know about the patterns of abuse and cover-up that plague our schools.

    Given your previous post (#21), you may be interested in the following:

    There’s no reason to be naive or cynical about either the abuse of children by those in the Church or those in the public schools, or anywhere for that matter. The best way to provide protection for the children is to be aware of what’s going to and serious about protections.

  32. You’ll never find anything in Catholic teaching or history that suggests that we ought to kill people. Typical hit and run posts by anti-Catholics.

    Read histories of the Crusades, and discover the truth.

  33. Mike, there were definitely atrocitites committed by the Catholic Church during the Crusades and the Reformation. If you look at some of the newer research being conducted though, you will see that the Church’s history is less bloody and violent than previously assumed. A few points:

    + While the people responsible for the Spanish Inquisition were Catholic, the Pope condemned the Inquisition and threatened the Spanish king and Church several times. It seems that during the Inquisition Catholics were no better at listening to the Pope than they are now.

    + The Catholic Church was not the only group looking for heretics. Civil governments and Protestants were also looking for them. The number of men and women tortured and killed by civil governments and Protestant groups has been conflated with the the numbers for the Catholic Church. The historical evidence shows that the Catholic Church inquisitons were far more just and lenient than other courts, and that most people wanted a Church hearing. They were less likely to be tortured and killed.

    + The Crusades were indeed a sad page in the Church’s history, but the Church’s behavior, though bad, was not as violent as most people believe. Prior to the wars, the Pope ordered respect for general populations, and much of the violence that was committed was condemned by Rome when it happend. Catholics today use birth control and get abortions even though the Chruch condemns them. Much of the violence committed was officially condemned by the Chruch—but it happened anyway.

    + The Crusades were viewed by Europeans as defense against Isalmic aggression in the Holy Lands, Eastern Europe and Southern Europe. At the time, it was the Europeans who were backward, oppressed and poverty stricken. It appears that it was Muslims who were looking for new lands and new people to conquer.

  34. romancrusader: So you defend the Crusades? Why, because you feel the church needed the ‘Holy Lands’ back? That is called an excuse to kill the “infidels”. Other religions have a right to that part of the world too—which some now share (not happily) with others. So since you feel that fighting for holy land was fine, must be that the Spanish Inquisition was OK too? You seem to fall into the group that feels it isn’t always wrong to kill—was the above “defending” the church OR was it just plain killing? IMO, the Crusades weren’t defending anything—they were just all about land grabs, and the Spanish horror—“our way or death.” How do I know what is in the minds of those that do those things? I don’t, just the actions are enough.
    Sorry, can’t write a history book right now on things that don’t surprise me. As for AI and their citiation? The church has given them plenty of fodder to use. Much of it has already been talked about above—stance on birth control in countries that really need to be able to feed those children already here—-and then priests and their hand problems.

    Gerard: Yes, I totally admit I’m not perfect. However, just what is “sin”? A word not in my vocab. Yes, that is a serious question. As to my relationship with my spouse? You’d have to answer him. :o)

  35. @Steve “Keep in mind, please, that public school districts — unlike the constituent parts of the Catholic church — are not all under a single ultimate authority such as a supreme pontiff or his subsidiary, the CDF.” – Principal, Superintendants, Board of Education, Secretary of Education. Is that not enough hierarchy for you Stevey? The biggest difference is guys like you, are not screaming about teachers raping kids and demanding grand jury investigations. But don’t worry, your day is coming. Once the ambulance chasing attourneys and “victims rights” advocate groups run out of Churches to sue. They are coming after guys like you. Tax payers might not like the school system being sued, but those big fat pension funds are looking mighty tempting. Are you sure you never bumped up against a student in the hall? Never stared at a female or male student? Never had an inappropriate discussion, or made a suggestive remark to a student? Never saw a fellow teacher act in an inappropriate manner, and didn’t think to report him? Never heard any rumors about fellow teachers that you failed to act on? And just think, all of those Constitutional protections, like evidence and witnesses, that guys like you have been saying we should throw out the window, in order to throw priests in jail. They might not be around to protect you. Guilt will be based on a mere accusation. Guilt by association. If its good enough for priests its good enough for teachers. So enjoy your house and your car, you may not have them for long. Until then read up and educate your self on the issue.

  36. pagansister — The crusades began because of the perception that the Muslim rulers in the Holy Land were preventing Christians from visiting their holy places.

  37. Gerard: I just found my mis-type.(one of many I’m sure).
    Should be “You’d have to ASK him”. :o)

    naturgesetz: How long did this perception go on? A very long time!

  38. There was more behind the Crusades than protecting the Holy Lands. Parts of Spain, France and and eastern borders of Europe were under attack. The City of Constantinople, the seat of the Eastern Patriarch and a strongly Christian city, was under attack. The beseiged eastern empire asked the Western Europeans for help. The crusaders saw themselves as going to the assistance of allies.

    Here is a link to a review of a text that takes both Christians and Islamists to task for their roles in the Crusades. It also questions the validity of some of the “traditional history” of the Crusades that we have been taught.

  39. ds0490,

    When did mandatory reporting and zero tolerance become the standard?

    Zero tolerance too often makes mountains out of mole-hills, a common problem when responses are mandated rather than considered, as we’ve seen in our schools, where six year old boys are suspended for kissing their girl friends on the cheek and diabetic kids are forbidden to carry their glucometers, glucagon and insulin in the hallways because they include teeny tiny needles (don’t have a hypoglycemic crisis when the school secretary is at lunch!).

    Also, mandatory reporting may work fine in the western democracies (except when the police are called to investigate a priest who patted a kid on the knee — are you kidding?) but, as was explained in the article, there are countries out there that are repressive and aren’t too concerned with the distinction between being accused and being proven guilty.

    Last year there were 30 complaints against priests around the U. S. Eight were found to be credible, seven were found to be groundless (interesting that the false accusations now rival the credible ones in number — what does that say about the Susan Smith Syndrome as it applies to the Church?) and fifteen were “boundary issues”, including the priest who patted the kid’s knee. How do you think such complaints would be handled in repressive regimes? Innocent or not, don’t be caught accused in China!

  40. Paganister,
    Are you telling me that the Islamic Terrorists were perfectly justified in killing thousands of innocent people? Not to mention the holy sites being destroyed in the Holy Land. Land grabbing had nothing to do with it. You of all people should know better than that.

    “Sorry, can’t write a history book right now on things that don’t surprise me.”

    Which shows you’re an intellectual coward. I asked you to provide examples. I confront you with the obvious you back off into retreat.

    “The church has given them plenty of fodder to use. Much of it has already been talked about above—stance on birth control in countries that really need to be able to feed those children already here—-and then priests and their hand problems.”

    Nice cop out. The fact that you’re offended by the Catholic Church’s stance on birth control isn’t my problem. It’s obvious you’re nothing but self-hating radical femmie.

  41. romancrusader — #47 would have been much better if you hadn’t included the last sentence. Personal insults demean the one who makes them.

  42. I’ll also say this about AI, they’re nothing but a leftist special interest group.

  43. romancrusader — I understand losing one’s temper. I can do it very easily myself. Of the years I think I’ve done a somewhat better job of not posting everything that comes to mind when an opposing opinion is particularly infuriating.

  44. romancrusader: Have you calmed down? I’m only expressing my opinion, as you do—nothing to be upset about. Life is too short to be upset over postings on a computer site, IMO.

    Would you be surprised if I said Yes, I agree with all the killings that have been carried out by Islamic terrorists? So would I. Of course I don’t find any of that acceptable. However holy sites have been destroyed by various religions over the centuries—none of it OK. BTW, are we talking Crusades or recent distruction of holy sites as well as recent Islamic terrorists activities ? This all started because you defend the Crusades—I don’t think they were anymore justified than 9-11.

    Example of ” no surprise in history”, (1) the Holocaust, (2)treatment of the Native American’s by the “white’ folks who decided to take everything they owned and force them onto little bits of land to call their own, (3) the treatment of Black Americans (slavery etc) up until the Civil rights movement and laws to protect them—another example of white domination, etc. Much of this was inspired by religion—Blacks being inferior, Jews being inferior, Native American’s being inferior.

    As to your last comment in #47. I consider who wrote it. Sorry to disappoint, but I really do like myself and am very proud of being a woman who thinks for herself.

    Good night.

  45. ds0490,

    11,000 allegations against Catholic priests over a 50 year period, vs. 9% of 52 million public school children currently enrolled being victims at the hands of teachers (according to US Dept of Education.

    Yeah, you’d better believe I’m comparing my Church to other organizations.

    11,000 vs. 4,680,000

    Only an anti-Catholic bigot could ignore 4,680,000 molested public school children over a twelve year period and focus exclusively on 11,000 over a fifty year period in the Church.

    It’s obvious that the safety of all children is not a concern to you or people like Steve, who ignore the government’s own report. So, drop the pretense at being concerned for children, because your outrage is so one-sided that it’s sick and disgusting.

  46. pagansister — I think it would be at best an oversimplification to attribute slavery, reservations, and the holocaust on christianity. Hitler was opposed by many authoritative religious leaders of his day, even though earlier anti-Semitism certainly was religiously motivated. Slavery was something which pre-existed Christianity and Judaism, and in Europe and America when the culture which supported it was questioned, the questioning came on the basis of Christian teachings. And if in North America the native peoples were removed from their lands, in Latin America the strongest defense of their equality came from the missionaries.

  47. I think something is wrong, because good deacon Kendra has not posted any other stories for a few days now. What’s up Deacon?

  48. Awhile back the Catholic League posted a link to all of the female teachers, busted for having sex with kids. Many of them recieved sentences of 6 months or less. Some didn’t even have their teaching licenses suspended. None of the victims recieved financial compensation or even an apology for then school systems. No Catholic condones what took place 20 or 30 years ago. But it is clear that we are the targets of a hate campaign from the media, (Maureen Dowd, Joy Behar, Laurie Goodstein, the NY Times, Boston Globe, CNN, NPR), an unhealthy aliance between greedy lawyers and vindictive (so-called) victims rights groups, and your typical anti-Catholic bigots. These groups would find any reason to hate the Church. They are only using children as a smokescreen. No one can undue the past, but the Church has done more to reform and apologize for their past mistakes, than any other institution.

  49. “Would you be surprised if I said Yes, I agree with all the killings that have been carried out by Islamic terrorists?”

    That statement says it all right there Paganister. It speaks volumes about you. That’s justifying terrorism.

  50. And another thing Paganister, to blame the Catholic Church for the Holocaust is rediculous. You’ve got no proof of that.

  51. romancrusader — you misunderstood pagansister because you didn’t put the line you quoted in the context of the following two sentences. She said, “Would you be surprised if I said Yes, I agree with all the killings that have been carried out by Islamic terrorists? So would I. Of course I don’t find any of that acceptable.”

  52. naturgesetz,
    understand, but apparently paganister thinks that Europe should’ve turned around and looked the other way while people were killed in the name of genocide.

  53. Yes, naturgesetz, romancrusader intentionally left it out, so he could make the statement he did—–you got to the post before I did.
    Appreciate #56. Well said and taken into consideration. It probably didn’t come through, but I was asked to name things that didn’t surprise me in history. I was not relating to just church caused, if you will, only to events. Did that make sense? Hope so.

    Thanks, romancrusader, in #59, for the editing of my post to your advantage. As to #60, and #62 they are totally incorrect also, but as I mentioned previously —I consider the source. I’m done with you on this topic, as I’ve tried to be civil—but that has been ignored. BTW, I didn’t blame the Catholic church for anything—I “blamed” Christianity in general.

  54. I seriously have to wonder about anyone who identifies with Pagans. Either they are grossly ignorant of History (ritualized rape, torture, slavery, feeding people to animals, blood sport, debauched sex rituals, forced homosexuality on underage slave boys, human sacrifice, religious intollerance, neglect of the poor) or they are just demented human beings. In terms of blood shed and human suffering, modern day Terrorists don’t hold a candle to Pagan cultures.

  55. I seriously wonder about anyone that doesn’t realize that some major celebrations in (Christian) churches were adopted from Paganism (Ray). Let’s see—The Yule log came from the Pagan celebration of the Winter Solstice, bunnies and eggs for Easter are a hold over from those Pagan fertility rites, rice tossed at weddings is a replacement for the wheat/barley tossed in the fields (again fertility). The Christian calendar contains –careful-the names of GODS! So, liking it or not, as well as Jewish influences in Christianity, there is Pagan. As to your accusations of how horrible Pagans are—you are certainly entitled to your opinion. As mentioned in many posts above—Christianity isn’t pure in history either. Not going to digify your comparisons in your last statement by continuing.

  56. Forgot the Christmas tree itself—adopted from the Romans who used to decorate with greens(not a tree) to celebrate the Winter Solstice. Had to add the favorite Christmas decoration. :o)

  57. (Gasp) – No! The Christmas Tree? The Yule Log? Pagan? Oh please. Tell us something we don’t know. Christian missionaires often used symbols of the cultures they entered to relate Christian teachings to various societies. Like St. Patrick introducing the Trinity to the Irish using the three leaf clover. There is nothing inherently wrong with a log, a bush, a clover, or an egg. And since the Bible does not spell out a specific way to Celebrate Christmas or Easter, they were open to interpretation. Communities do not exist in a vacuum. Western Culture for instance is highly influenced by Judeo/Christian teachings, as well as Roman Law, Greek Philosophy, African spirituality, etc. Truth be told, we belong to many cultures and subcultures. On 9-11 all Americans were united in unity and sorrow. A week later I was screaming at Jaba Chamberlain to knock Kevin Youkilis’ head off, and fighting with Red Sox fans online. And Republicans and Democrats were at each others throats. You speak of Nazi Germany. Nazi Germany was in the throes of nationalist fever, which swept up Christian, Pagan, Socialist, and Anarchist alike. Hitler persuaded them they had been victimized by Europe, for trying to expand their country, the way Britain, Spain and France had. To a degree he was right. Germany had their lands split up, war payments had driven them into poverty. People are dangerous when they think they are the victims. He used every symbol of German culture to do it, Pagan and Christian alike, and worked on age old prejudices to unite the people. But it was by no stretch of the imagination a Christian movement. Again, recall 9-11. American flags everywhere – People at a fever pitch calling for revenge. I wanted Osama’s head in a basket. Now, I am a Christian. And I think I struggle to be a good Christian. But at that moment, I was being led by other passions. Nothing in Christain teaching supports blind vengence. Justice and Mercy – yes. But not blood lust. To the degree that I read scripture, pray, and go to Mass, I find I act in accordance to the faith that I profess. No organization is perfect, they are made up of imperfect people. But it is disappointing to see that you can put other communities and cultures under a microscope, but you get bent out of shape when someone turns it around. I can speak of many positive aspects of christianity. Yet in your response you could not find a single positive aspect of Paganism. Its also shocking that you rant about a mother giving her child botox injections, yet you honor a culture that performed human sacrifice and other atrocities. And by that I mean, those things were part of the very teachings and rituals of Pagan culture. Not just things they got caught up in. Fortunately for all of us, Christianity may have adopted lights and Christmas Trees, but they left the more violent traits behind.


  58. Oh yes, in regard to slavery. I’ve posted a link that might be helpful, for anyone who cares to hear the truth. The Popes were not silent on the issue. But as in the case of abortion, people have not listened to their teachings

    And of course the Abolitionist Movement was very Christian in origin. (Today they would be labeled as Right Wing Fundamentalist Fanatics) As was the Civil Rights Movement here in the United States.

  59. This is getting very tiresome as people read into pagansister’s screen name a whole lot of content which she has never actually said — or at least I haven’t seen her post.

  60. And anybody who wants Joba Chamberlin to knock Kevin Youkilis’s head off is clearly totally depraved and heading straight to hell.



  61. Venial sin to want that, as long as you accept that he is entitled to charge the mound if it happens twice in the same game.

  62. Haha – Venial Sin? Now you know better than that. God is a Yankee fan. It would be devine intervention.

  63. Ray,

    Although it is not a faith I follow, there are positive things about paganism. It has a deep respect for the earth and mandates good stewardship over the plants and animals with whom we share the planet. Pagans, as a rule, are welcoming and caring to strangers who ask for help. Most of the pagans I have known practice the “golden rule” and their faith holds that there are significant and current consequences to not doing so. Having attended a number of pagan rituals, there are a lot of similarities with Christian ritual – something that I expected because we are all trying to touch the divine.

    If you truly want to compare religions, you need to compare them within corresponding time-frames. Both Christians and non-Christians were more violent and participated in torture, intolerance and neglect once-upon-a-time and both have reformed those behaviors in the modern age.

    We all have a lot to learn from each other and that will be most effectively accomplished if we learn to listen and try to understand. I was born, raised and am still a staunch Catholic but I also enjoy conversations with my non-Catholic (and gasp! non-Christian ones as well). I find that these conversations are illuminating and have given me new insights into my own faith.

  64. Re: BobRN #48

    “When did mandatory reporting and zero tolerance become the standard?”

    It’s been the legal standard in public schools for quite some time now. Schools and their employees have been considered mandatory reporters for well over 20 years here in Iowa. If a teacher or administrator is found to have known about an abusive situation and not reported it, they do serious jail time and face a fine.

    Why is it inappropriate to apply this standard to churches or other houses of worship?

    Re: Gerard Nadal #55

    Thank you for proving once again the complete and utter uselessness of religion. If your standard for behavior within the church is something other than the Christ you claim to love and worship, then please do not try to hold any of us outside the church to that standard. Your statement is ample evidence that you really do not believe what your church teaches or what your Bible says.

  65. “This is getting very tiresome as people read into pagansister’s screen name a whole lot of content which she has never actually said — or at least I haven’t seen her post.”

    Get used to it. It’s the way things go on around here.

  66. “understand, but apparently paganister thinks that Europe should’ve turned around and looked the other way while people were killed in the name of genocide.”

    Why not? The Church certainly did.

  67. Katie Angel #77: Thank you for your well written post with the most positive aspects of Paganism. Thus my attraction to it. You saved Ray from having to read yet more things he didn’t want to hear from me—as in his eyes, I’m an evil person. :o) But I consider the poster when I read his ideas of pagans in general.

    In addition, Katie Angel, you are very like the Catholic friends I made during my 10 years as a teacher in a RC school. You represent the faith very well!

    naturgesetz #69: Thanks, and as I said to Katie Angel—you are a positive representatvie of the faith.

  68. ds – “understand, but apparently paganister thinks that Europe should’ve turned around and looked the other way while people were killed in the name of genocide.”

    Why not? The Church certainly did.

    Considering the difficulty the Allies had with Hitler. I don’t think the Swiss Guard would have posed much of a threat.

  69. HMS: Thanks. I know I don’t always write what folks want to hear, but I never mean it in a disrespectful way. Disagreement can be done in a civil manner.

  70. 87 – LOL – 5 year olds. Judging by your understanding of Irish History, I’d say that was about your level. Ireland was not killing in the name of God. It was an 800 year occupation. Raping, killing, suspension of human rights, imprisonment without trial, theft of land, supression of their culture. People have the right to defend themselves against an oppressive invader. There is nothing CIVIL about spreading false lies and accusations about people.

    And if you were so proud of your school record and the material you post, you would not hide behind an allias and would publish the name of the school you taught at. Most Pagans I have met are kind, considerate people. I will not let your distasteful personality color my perception of them.