Incredible: Dutch priest defends pedophilia, is suspended

Incredible: Dutch priest defends pedophilia, is suspended May 23, 2011

File this under: “What the — ?”

Details from Reuters:

A Roman Catholic order of priests sacked its leader in the Netherlands and disciplined another priest Monday after the two publicly defended pedophile sex, an issue haunting the worldwide Church in recent years.

The scandal erupted over the weekend when RTL radio reported the priest, named only as Rev. Van B, had been a board member of a lobbying group advocating sex between adults and children. He told RTL that few children suffered from such relationships.

Asked about the case, Rev. Herman Spronck, leader of the Dutch Salesians, said he agreed pedophile sex could be accepted.

“Herman Spronck is no longer the delegate from the Salesian delegation in the Netherlands,” his superior Rev. Jos Claes, leader of the Salesians in Belgium and the Netherlands, told RTL. “We fully distance ourselves from the words we find in your interview with Herman Spronck.”

Rev. Van B “can longer perform any pastoral duties as of today,” he added. 

The Dutch Salesians used to run boarding schools where many of the 2,000 complaints of clerical sexual abuse of boys emerged when the scandal broke there last year. It has admitted to paying hush money to some victims.

An independent commission investigating abuse cases dating back to 1945 has found that the Netherlands ranks worst behind only Ireland in a scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church in Europe and the United States.

The abuse scandal has badly damaged the reputation of the Catholic Church. Pope Benedict has apologised for the scandals and last week issued tougher new guidelines for churches around the world to make fighting clerical sex abuse a top priority.

While many priests have been exposed as molesters, very few have defended sex with minors. The radio said Van B. had twice been arrested for exposing himself to children.

In his interview with RTL, Van B said: “Society finds these kinds of relationships damaging. I don’t agree. Only in a few cases do the children suffer from them.”

The radio, which said Spronck knew of Van B’s role in the pedophile group but did nothing about it, quoted him as saying he “would not reject in principle (the idea of) sex with minors.” Spronck later denied he had said that.

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63 responses to “Incredible: Dutch priest defends pedophilia, is suspended”

  1. This. The story out of Kansas City. I so rarely say anything negative about this – I so rarely address it online, but this is disturbing, disappointing and infuriating.

    Can the Church not monitor itself? Clerics please! Can no one have known this until now?

    Credibility. Where is it? What about the children? What about the children?

  2. Words don’t even describe how sick this guy is. Where there is smoke there’s fire.

  3. And the horror just continues! How in the name of anyone or anything can a person (and a priest to top it off) DEFEND pedophilia??? The church just continues to sink deeper and deeper into the huge pit it has dug for itself. How many more of these men are out their hiding in the wings?

  4. Was it in holy writ, or in the thoughts of a famous writer in which we find the saying: There is nothing new under the sun?

    Does anyone in your church not know of the well documented phenomenon of the “cardinal-nephew”? No, that’s not a rarity at your backyard bird-feeder, but an adolescent male favorite of a sitting pope given the red hat at 16 or 17. Now lest you think I am Martin L. reborn, and making up facts to slam your “true” church, please look it up. The web can be a wonderful research tool, and you will find the examples are not limited to real blood nephews nor those nasty Renaissance popes. No, the alleged charms of adolescent males were all too appreciated at your church’s highest levels in different centuries, sad to say.. It appears the habit still exists in certain quarters of the clergy.

  5. As a woman who suffered child abuse at the hands of a neighbor I can tell you YES, we did and do suffer from these experiences.

    For many years I blamed the Church
    because of the cases of priest who had abused children. I now know that individuals are to be held responsible for their actions. Yes, the Church has to change the climate that allows for this horror to happen but remember the Church is made up of individuals and as such we are all going to held accountable for our behaviors when we meet God.

    Each diocese and bishop world wide should be rooting out any clergy that hold these bizarre and harmful views!

  6. The well-documented phenomenon of the cardinal-nephew refers merely to a family member of the pope appointed to the College of Cardinals, from actual nephews to cousins and uncles, and that is all the definition entails. It stems from the Latin “Cardinalis nepos,” nepos being the classical term for a grandson, but later meaning “nephew” or simply “relative.” The position did not imply any sexual relations, even more so because of the simple fact of the what the name meant.

    Later on, the position entailed that one of the cardinal-nephews, since a pope would often appoint multiple family members to the College of Cardinals, would be the Secretary of State for the Pope, a sort of Prime Minister if you will. That said, it must be noted that Cardinal-Nephews were usually not adolescents, and if so, it was mostly for political reasons, as the states of the Italian peninsula and the rest of Catholic Christendom found it necessary to influence the politics of the Roman Pontiff.

    Like you said, the web can be a wonderful research tool. So are books.

  7. Satan is trying hard to bring the church down. He fears two things, the priest and the Blessed Sacrament. He’s been systematically attacking the priesthood since the sixteenth century. Pope Leo XIII saw a vision in which more power would be given to Satan more power and more influence. Satan chose the 20th century. Satan hates the people of God.

  8. Kinda makes one wonder how many boys this pig has buggered. And he hasn’t had his faculties suspended and his case for laicization forwarded to Rome because why???

  9. People seem to have forgotten that, according to news reports, one of the most cheered groups at Gay Pride parades has been NAMBLA–the North American Man Boy Love Association.
    And a priest from the archdiocese of Boston was one of its big promoters. But before it was widely known that he was involved with NAMBLA, he was an extremist radical priest that the archdiocese of Boston tried to do something about.
    And, at the time, the Boston Globe crucified the archdiocese for picking on this “courageous” street priest who was doing so much to help youth! GAG!
    He is now in jail I believe, and if my memory serves me his name was Father Shanly.
    But you will never see reminders here in the Boston area media of its loud, strong support of Shanly. Nor will you see reminders that one of the media’s liberal darlings, the late Congressman Studds from just south of Boston, who molested a teen-age Congressional page, kept getting elected and re-elected with the help of a media on his side.
    It is truly amazing how the powers-that-be in the media can so easily toss their gross derilictions and support of evil down George Orwell’s memory hole.
    Basically, the smoke of Satan is everywhere in our modern decadent society. And, I believe the scandals in the Church being revealed have an ultimate providential reason–to purify the Church–which was being secretly contaminated by a few rotten clergy breathing in Satan’s smoke as if it were aromatic incense.

  10. Blame Satan? How about blaming the real culprits—the men who claimed to be doing the work of their God! No one else is to blame except the priests and those that continued (and continue) to protect them. Apparently there are a lot more still hiding in the bushes! No organization’s reputation (in this case the Church) is more important than the protection of children.

  11. If a person cannot stop himself from doing bad, then the group must do it for him, for if it’s left unhandled, the bad behavior will grow. If the group won’t handle the matter, the group and it’s members will eventually be destroyed by their own hand.

  12. @Deacon Bresnahan: Shanley’s advocacy of the NAMBLA group was written up in Time Magazine in about the mid-1970s. I wondered at the time why no one called that story to the attention of the archbishop of Boston. I guess if you are busy performing weddings for the Kennedy family, some of whom at the time were in second marriages, you don’t have time to look at news stories mentioning some of your priests.

  13. @pagansister

    I assume you do not believe in Satan, so your comment is meaningless from your own perspective.

    However, from the point of view of Catholics, both those who tempted (including Satan) and those who succumbed to temptation are worthy of blame. At least those who succumbed can still repent, which a rebel angel, by virtue of his very nature is impossible, cannot.

    Before you object, no, repentance does not make everything OK. It is still, however, about all we can do for our sins. So if we were to rely on ourselves, all would be lost, but relying on God, well, He can do more than we can imagine, including for the innocent victims of these hideous crimes.

  14. Paganister,
    Did you even read one word of my post? I’m just trying to put perspective into this. And if you don’t think the Devil exists try talking to Rome’s Cheif exorcist or anyone who’s worked with him.

  15. @romancrusader

    I obviously don’t agree with pagansister on a wide variety of issues, but she is worthy of more respect than you give her.

    I think she’s honest. That is enough to give me hope. What more can be asked from us mortals?

  16. Howard,
    Our Church is going to be handed over and judged by the pagan nations. That much I know. And it ain’t going to be pretty.

  17. I just don’t see this as about Catholic clerics so much as what the John Jay study says. It’s about the secular culture. The same one that is basically sexualizing children, right here while also condemning the Church and blaming the Church for every supposed ill. If you read this interview you can see that though the msm will never say the exact words, the sexualization of children through msm and the marketed culture right now in this country is based on the same assumptions this guy is making. If we are serious about letting children live and in a healthy and good way then it’s not only the clerics we ought to be looking to have locked up.

  18. I don’t believe that Paul Shanley ever was an advocate for NAMBLA. I’m in no way supporting the guy, who was a flagrant advocate for homosexuality and a known abuser of adolescents who should never have been tolerated in the priesthood as long as he was. But the only connection between him and NAMBLA was a meeting that occured at the same time as a “gay” conference that he was involved in. From my understanding, he did not attend or have any role in the NAMBLA gathering.

    I just feel that I have to correct the record on this point as this misinformation has been often repeated. If anyone has credible evidence to the contrary, please present it.

  19. Despicable.

    Good for the Church and the Salesians taking action, but it makes one wonder who knew what and when?

    Prayers for all those affected by these predators and their scandal.

    Poor Don Bosco…to see such filth come out of the inspirational Society he founded to be apostles to the young.

  20. I, of course, assume this man was excommunicated, I hope i’m not mistaken. And I share what comment #2 says. Pedophilia is everywhere. But there’s a strange problem, a tangled web of darkness, abuse and “cover-up” in our church. I don’t still know why but that’s the reality I see.

  21. What do you expect from the “new evangelization”?

    We knew they were perverts when they busted our altars and took away our statues, when they started wearing polyester, and burned the silk and the banners, and the gold and silver thread..

    We KNEW they were perverts when they took the Priest off the altar, made him wear shorts, and put a bunch of laypeople dishing out Communion, in utter sacrilege

    WE KNEW they were perverts when they told us we couldn’t recite our rosary during mass.

    We KNEW when they stopped preaching sin, and confession, and started preaching “Social Justice”.

    WE knew, when they demolished temples built over generations, and erected cocktail lounges without shape, form, without kneelers, without a tabernacle on the altar…

    …I knew, when they changed the Nicene Creed — a set of words over which wars were fought and men DIED to their Martyrdom, when they started injecting “We” believe…

    I knew, when a “Pope” started carrying around a crucifix of Christ with his legs spread open, and praying with Mahometans and Buddhists, kissing the rings of Anglicans, and cavorting with Freemasons in the Vatican…

    I knew, when they appointed Kasper, and Ratzinger, and Mahony, and Re, and Sodano as Cardinals…

    Didn’t YOU know, when they said that the Mass which was ALWAYS celebrated, by ALL the Saints, was “no longer allowed”? HOW did you not know?!

    How did YOU not know?

    This has all been coming, and we’ve always, always known.

    This IS their new religion.

    I am a Catholic. Roman, Apostolic.

    THESE “Salesians” are no Catholics — I do not recognize them, yea, GOD does not recognize them in the Breaking of the Bread.

    Behold, bretheren, the fruits of the “New Mass”….

  22. He’s been systematically attacking the priesthood since the sixteenth century.

    Check out the Church between about 875-975. Google on Iron Age of the Papacy. They make the 16th century look like pikers.

  23. @romancrusader

    When has it ever been otherwise?

    If we can’t win over fair-minded pagans, there’s no hope for our culture or our “branch” of the Church. The Church Herself, of course, will survive, though we are not guaranteed that She will persist in any given area.

  24. PS: why did they sack the leader but JUST disciplined the priest? They were both defending pedophilia. Why is it that one got the sack and the other one got to stay as a clergyman?

  25. Really? Really.

    You know, I am starting to wonder if these pedophile priests and their enablers are purposefully pulling this now in order to get caught.

    Call it a tactic of the leftists in the Church; create a situation which would prompt the ignorant (a vast majority of Catholics, sadly) to pressure “change” in the Church through women priests, homosexual priests, and married.

    After the eruption in the American Church, I find it really hard to believe that the Church still cannot deal with this issue more directly. It’s getting out of hand.

  26. MBd #28 — Could it be because the one was actually doing pedophilia and the other only offering a theoretical defense? Actions are worse than words.

  27. I understand that we must be merciful. However, mercy does not mean we condone actions that can only be described as abominable. We must be merciful as God is merciful, i.e., God is both merciful and just! If we do not reprove our brethren their souls may be lost. If they reject the Church’s reprimand and remain obstinate, then the medicine of excommunication should be applied.

    There are wolves in our midst. Sure, none of us are perfect. However, there is a world of difference between a humble sinner who struggles to overcome sin and relies on God’s grace on the one hand, and on the other a despicable, calculating menace who hides behind clerical garb, for example, and advocates the destruction of innocence.

    Toss out the unrepentant perverts; toss out those unrepentant snakes who approve the actions of perverts.

  28. Curious. Another paedophile scandal from the Netherlands: several weeks ago a man was arrested because he had kept sexual relations with many many very young children (some just 1 year old) and exposed them in internet. He was not a priest, however, but a married homosexual. His “husband” knew, but decided to ignore the facts. Has anybody out of NL heard of it? I am the first to condemn paedophilia in priests (do not they stain us all as Christians?), but there is also something of a media campaign.

  29. People seem to have forgotten that, according to news reports, one of the most cheered groups at Gay Pride parades has been NAMBLA–the North American Man Boy Love Association.

    You are a liar.

  30. As a father of young children, I put all on notice: If you lay one little pinky on any of my children, you will live to rue it! I would gladly go to jail and wear it as a badge of honor than to permit one you perverts to harm one who God intrusted to me. As fathers we have a duty to protect our children. If these perverts would fear more fathers, this would end shortly. I recall reading how one priest in Italy specifically was targeting those children in dire situations since they were easier targets.

  31. Unfortunately, the words of the prophets apply to our Catholic Church today:

    Hosea 4:9-11

    9 And there shall be like people like priest: and I will visit their ways upon them, and I will repay them their devices. 10 And they shall eat and shall not be filled: they have committed fornication, and have not ceased: because they have forsaken the Lord in not observing the law. 11 Fornication, and wine, and drunkenness, take away the understanding.

    Sexual sin among clergy and laity alike have “taken away the understanding.”

    Lord have mercy on us all.

    ad Jesum per Mariam,

  32. In order to become mainstream and be accepted into less radical circles and eventually by society, LGTB organizations have indeed disavowed NAMBLA and have denied inclussion in their Gay Pride parades.

    Not that I agree at all with the LGTB movment, but to be fair…

    In the other hand I don’t know what information Deacon Bresnahan accessed.

  33. My point was how much of the PAST societal and media support for men like Father Shanly and Congressman Studds or for NAMBLA has been forgotten or purposely ignored.
    According to many of the stories that came up when I Googled: “Gay Pride Parades NAMBLA” NAMBLA was at first welcomed at those parades–UNTIL –apparently quite reluctantly according to some of the stories–the publicity got so bad.
    And not only were there some accounts of the NAMBLA contingent being cheered, one account described some people jumping out of the crowd to hug NAMBLA marchers.
    This was mostly in the 1980’s and 1990’s.
    But as late as 1994, news site reported that NAMBLA was at that time still an official member of the “mainstream” Gay Organization “International Lesbian and Gay Association” (ILGA).

  34. More than a few people with a same-sex attraction disorder want to universalize it as “normal.” The alternative is just to difficult to bear: admission that one is suffering from a perversion.

  35. Perhaps the greatest obstacle to conversion is the sexual lives of people. Be it adultery or fornication (sex between the unmarried), homosexuality or any other disorder, the potent and addictive nature of sexual pleasure has been the stone where many have stumbled and dashed.

    Brother Jeff is right because there are only two choices; transform our lives according the Gospel or transform the Gospel to fit our lives. The Spirit wars against the flesh and the flesh against the spirit. We either serve Eros or we serve God.

    Unfortunately today’s society promotes, prices and extols sinful and deviant behavior and has made it into a human right, even though it is in reality inhuman and unrighteous.

  36. I note with interest that the article said this Van B pervert had been arrested twice for exposing himself to children.

    Deacon Bresnahan, as you once again pillory all gays with your broad brush, can you not also spare a few strokes for the leadership of your Church which did not flush this pervert from its midst after the first arrest?

    Your criticism of secular society rings hollow unless it is preceded by a much louder critique of the Church, Deacon. It is precisely your response that informs the secular public of the fact that Catholics *still* do not get it. If you did you wouldn’t have made your first response an attack on the messenger that reported this story.

    If you wish gays and lesbians to repent of their “lifestyle” perhaps you should first preach to your church leaders that they repent of theirs.

  37. It has been preached for 2000 years to and by our “leaders”. But, we are all sinners and we are all in need of repentance. The fact that we all sin does not excuse any of us from our responsibility of our behavior. We are all in need of repentance and redemption “straight” or “gay”. But sanctioning pedophilia and ephebophilia is not warranted and excusable for anyone. It is a great evil.

  38. @ ds0490

    “Your criticism of secular society rings hollow unless it is preceded by a much louder critique of the Church, Deacon.”

    Too bad for your criticism that very secular and very atheist people like ethicist Prof. P. Singer from Princeton U. (which is not just a small college) suggests that there is ‘nothing intrinsically wrong with infanticide, necrophilia, bestiality’ aand the like.

    Now all secularist, although they might consider such acts horrible the mostly praised Singer for his liberal statements.

    It’s secularists who do not get it, I think, if I listen to all the ‘secular spokepersons’ that are so ready to condemn on one side and at the same time they say that morality is ‘completely arbitrary and subjective’

    With one hand they condemn the Church, and with the other they praise those who claim that there is nothing wrong with clearly immoral acts.

    Also even if some church leaders have sinned, it does not make other sinners right. Not by a long shot. Your criticism is then also illogical.

    Yes, the Chuirch has to handle a big problem with these misbehaving priests and bishops, but you critiques not only are empty and unhelpful, they are complete hypocrisy.

    Hence before you criticize us, get some coherence in your own beliefs and secularism in general.

  39. If anyone thinks that you can completely rid any large institution of pedophilia, you’re wrong. It’s not whether an instance pops up. There are a certain percentage of people in any population that are going to be predisposed (yes it’s an orientation) to this sickness. It’s not whether an instance pops up that is the problem, it’s whether the church has a plan to address the issue. It seems to me that the Church response here was swift and hard. This may very well be a good sign that the new policies are working. We’ll have to see. Still the brazenness of this priest is breath taking. We certainly don’t want a witch hunt, but the filth must be thrown out.

  40. naturgesetz #31 It could be. I never thought of that but it certainly could be. But then another question arises. Why did they just discipline the priest when we all know the Vatican has excommunicated priests and bishops for years for just dissenting or having doubts on different subjects. I don’t necessarily condone the atitude of all these clergymen but I mean, for less than that they excommunicated and sacked priests and bishops. Why not apply the same sentence to this priest???

  41. Deacon Bresnahan (and others commenting here) I caution you to avoid calumny and slander, which if I’m not mistaken is condemned by your denomination’s catechism. It’s not good for your soul.

    I have never attended nor do I ever intend to attend a Gay Pride parade. However, my circle of professional and social acquaintances includes a few LBGT people. They are fine and decent people, and for all I know, celibate or in monogamous relations.

    I have seen no peer-reviewed reputable scientific studies suggesting that attraction to underage children is more prevalent among same-sex attracted adults though that is an article of faith among the arch-conservative crowd. Please document your assertions and talk radio doesn’t count unless you want to invite derision.

    As to “Faithful Papist”, yes, most cardinal-nephews were examples of simony rather than sodomy, but to deny that Popes had unrelated male favorites who caught their roving eye is a complete whitewash. But then I see the com-box here attracts the “Hey the Inquisition wasn’t half-bad” crowd.

  42. Howard, #20. Thanks for the kind words.

    Sorry romancrusader, I’m a registered Independent. & don’t worry—pagans and Catholics will be here for centuries to come. :o) BTW, I did read your posts.

  43. Study? Over 80% of all abuse of minor cases were committed by priests on under aged males. What more proof is it required?

    And yet all of a sudden we jump to the very scientific conclusion that the pope’s were gay? LOL


  44. There is no shortage of voices here and in the media slandering all priests and pointing out the incompetence of too many bishops.
    However, one of the results of the scandals is a sincere and determined effort to put policies in place in the Church that will, as much as humanly possible, make the Church the safest place on this planet for children.That includes careful scrutiny of anyone working with or around children in parishes including, of course, priests.
    And the latest statistics seem to indicate the reforms are working.
    But where are the media stories about and the policies instituted in the public schools to head off children being harmed in school–the strict procedures for choosing who will be allowed to work with children that should be in place.
    If there are such policies and procedures, they apparently aren’t working very well in the public schools. I just saw on the news tonight a quick mention that 3 women teachers from the same state are all under arrest for having sex with boys they taught. And that is all I saw, a quick mention on only one news show. In fact, according to the woman that is the leading expert on child abuse in the schools, the problem is 100 times worse in the public schools than in any Catholic parish. Maybe that is why there is a steady stream of poorly covered or downplayed and quickly dropped stories about school teachers and child abuse.
    So why isn’t there a hue and cry for the public schools to do more screening of who they employ so there will be 0 abuse in the public schools???
    I guess for some it is all about getting the chance to pile on the Catholic Church, not really about the safety of children.

  45. Jack Nimble,

    Regarding your call to temperance, remember that those living in glasses houses should be weary of throwing stones. In short, your post is loaded with dissimulation and is sanctimonious.

    To wit:

    “I have never attended nor do I ever intend to attend a Gay Pride parade. However, my circle of professional and social acquaintances includes a few LBGT people. They are fine and decent people, and for all I know, celibate or in monogamous relations.”

    So, let’s deconstruct this. You admit: (i) no experience with a significant sampling size/population of LGBT people; and (ii) that your relationships with LGBT people are essentially superficial. And yet, from this, you conclude, unequivocally, that they are “fine and decent people.”

    In the next slapdash paragraph, you rebuke the deacon for a failure to cite “no peer-reviewed reputable scientific studies”.

    Pray tell how your qualitative observations meet any “scientific” standard? Please reconcile your praxis with your criticism of the deacon. You can’t. Who’s inviting derision now?

    Now, let’s move on to your sanctimonious tripe. You accuse, without evidence, the papacy of being complicit in homosexual practice. Next, you flirt with intellectually lazy and baseless characterizations of orthodox Catholics. And yet you have the audacity to accuse others of “calumny and slander”.

    Pot meet kettle.

  46. ds0490,

    “Deacon Bresnahan, as you once again pillory all gays with your broad brush, can you not also spare a few strokes for the leadership of your Church which did not flush this pervert from its midst after the first arrest?

    “Your criticism of secular society rings hollow unless it is preceded by a much louder critique of the Church, Deacon. It is precisely your response that informs the secular public of the fact that Catholics *still* do not get it. If you did you wouldn’t have made your first response an attack on the messenger that reported this story.

    “If you wish gays and lesbians to repent of their “lifestyle” perhaps you should first preach to your church leaders that they repent of theirs.”

    First, you lead off with horrific mixed metaphors. One PAINTS with a broad brush. One pillories with a whip.

    Next, the problems in the Church are largely the predation of young boys by gay priests. The problem of secular society has infiltrated the Church largely via homosexual men. With 81% of the pedophilia victims in the U.S. being male, that’s a fact, not conjecture, or the homophobia you see under every rock.

    Finally, Deacon Bresnahan is called to witness the Gospel to ALL people. Jesus didn’t give a pecking order for witnessing. The Church has been cleaning up its act for two decades now.

    Now it’s your turn.

  47. The Catholic school I spent 10 years teaching in, had, before all the news of the molesting priests hit the news, rules about children and adults. We, as teachers, were never to be alone in the classroom with a student—–unless the door was open. This rule was followed and there were never any complaints or reports from a parent or student of misconduct by a teacher. Perhaps some of the bishops and priests could observe that simple rule.

  48. Oh, for heaven’s sake, pagansister, that simple rule is universal among bishops, priests and everyone who works for or with the Church today. It is not helpful to the discussion to continue to pretend that the tragedy of abuse of children by priests or others in the Church today is just as bad as it was during the peak decades of the mid-60s to mid-80s, or that the Church has done nothing to respond to this plague. Every time a new revelation of some pervert who wears a cassock hits the news, it is immediately treated as if the situation is as bad as it ever was and the Church has done nothing. Please. If any other organization had achieved the success in addressing this problem as the Church, every other organization would be banging on it’s doors to find out what they did to turn things around. But, because it’s the Church, the assumption is that the situation is as bad as ever and the reforms are ignored — to the detriment of our children.

    There are many in our society who are not interested in an meaningful, productive conversation on this matter. They are only interested in using the crisis to attack the Church, because their goal is not to reform the Church or protect the children, but to destroy the Church. I’ve not thought that you were one of those, but some of your statements here, including #53, are not helpful.

    Also, it is not unreasonable to compare the response of the Church’s critics on the matter of the abuse of children with their response to abuse committed by those who are not connected to the Church. The point, after all, is to protect all children, and not only those who are abused by priests. But, the abuse of children by others is often ignored (ie: the NY Times refusing the report on the abuse in the orthodox Jewish community in NYC), justified (ie: Whoopie Goldberg and other Hollywood icons responding to Roman Polanski’s rape of a 13 year-old girl) whole-heartedly accepted (by NAMBLA and it’s supporters) or naively denied (ie: the continued refusal by some commenters to this blog to accept the extent of abuse in our public schools, some even pointing to the schools as examples of mandatory reporting and zero tolerance!).

    Here is an example of Church officials responding to a situation in exactly the way all of us would want them to: by removing these men from active ministry. This is what we’ve been demanding. There was a time not long ago when these statements would have been hushed up, ignored, or treated with an embarrassed giggle. Now, the men are rightly condemned and removed from ministry. That’s called effective reform.

  49. Oh for heaven’s sake, BobRN—it works! If it was indeed the “rule’ then there were some that obviously didn’t follow it—my guess—it wasn’t a rule among all those priests, bishops and cardinals —and maybe even the pope(s).

    And obviously other organizations have problems with mistreatment of children. However this discussion is about one of the most obvious.

  50. pagansister,

    The point, of course, is that the reforms initiated by the Church have successfully reduced the numbers of priest abusers and children abused from hundreds per year to an average of less than ten per year over the last decade. Your comments, however, assume that the abuse takes place at levels just as high as prior to the initiation of the reforms, and/or that the Church has done nothing in response to this crisis, when the very case that inspired this discussion is evidence of the reforms the Church has adopted.

    “Problems with mistreatment of children” hardly describes what takes place in our public schools.

    The only reason abuse by priests is “one of the most obvious” is the conscious decision to ignore, justify, accept or deny the abuse that takes place in other organizations. Given the successful reforms the Church has initiated, one wonders why the discussion hasn’t shifted to the plague of abuse that continues in our public schools, where the incidence is many orders of magnitude more and where there has been virtually no attempts to reform the system for the sake of protecting the children.

    My theory is that politicians are not interested in addressing the crisis because it would mean opening up the schools for potential lawsuits, lawsuits that would bankrupt state budgets if victims were allowed to sue for the kind of restitution available when suing private organizations. School administrators and school boards aren’t interested in addressing the plague because many of them or their colleagues would risk ending up in jail for their parts in the cover-ups. Teachers and teacher’s unions aren’t interested in addressing the plague because, obviously, it would mean teachers losing jobs and going to jail. The police aren’t interested in addressing the plague because they don’t want to have to manage the onslaught of 29,000 average number of cases of abuse that still take place per year nationally in our public schools. Attorneys aren’t interested in addressing the problem because state legislatures limit the amount of restitution victims can receive to a paltry sum, and what attorney wants to make 40% of $25,000 when he can make 40% of $80 million? Enemies of the Church don’t want to address the problem because pretending that this is only a Catholic problem, that the Church has done nothing and that abuse remains rampant is a marvelous stick with which to beat the Church. Taxpayers don’t want to address the plague because it’s psychologically comforting to pretend it doesn’t exist in their child’s school and that they are not responsible even thought they elect the school board and pay the taxes that pay abusive teachers’ salaries.

    Which brings us to the bottom line: the continued emphasis on the abuse committed by priests, in spite of the successful reforms, and the conscious silence on the abuse in the public schools make it clear that this is not about protecting the children. It never was about protecting the children.

    Case in point: two priest perverts defending pedophilia half-way around the world make the news in the U. S., so that even pagansister hears about it, while you remain ignorant of the abusers and conspirators in cover-ups in your state, county, school district or maybe even your neighborhood whose salaries are paid by your tax dollars.

  51. As a matter of fact, in my state a couple of public school teachers have been brought to light as not “following the rules” regarding children. At least here it is brought to the public via the news. So, for the moment this state hasn’t been ignorant of those 2 fellows. Of course, being a very Catholic state, there is much interest in past and perhaps the present priest behavior situation too.

    Don’t misunderstand my statements—I’m glad the church is trying to take care to prevent further mistreatment of the children in it’s care—and I’m sure it has helped. But honestly, if I was a Catholic parent—no priest would be alone with my child, I wouldn’t care how nice he was or outwardly trustworthy. But perhaps that is just me.

  52. No, it isn’t just you. The effort to paint every priest as a potential abuser, or at least to convince people that priests are more likely to abuse than others, has been quite successful.

    Not much chance of finding a priest who is willing to be alone with your child in this day and age.

    With whom else are you not willing to leave your child alone?

    I’m happy your state has brought to light a couple of school teachers who have failed to “follow the rules”, as you say. Which means what, I wonder? That they were alone in a room with a child or that they chose to rape their students? How nice that your state includes that among it’s “rules”: please don’t rape the children. Now, at an average of 29,000, divided by 50, your state has only an average of 578 cases that haven’t yet been brought to the light this year.

    I’m sure, being a very Catholic state, there is much interest in the criminal behavior of priests. Perhaps if there were more public schools in your state, there would be equal interest in the criminal behavior of teachers. Perhaps your state officials and legislators would demand the authority to approve who does and does not get to teach in the public schools, that public schools open their records, and that public schools be investigated for which teachers and other employees with credible accusations against them remain in the public employ with access to children. Oh, wait, they already have that authority.

  53. I think pagan sister is more catholic than she lets it be known…

    Unfortunately she is right and BobRN is right, the discredit of the Catholic priesthood has been accomplished both by the crimes and behavior of those abusers infiltrated into the priesthood and then by the magnifying effect of a hostile media.

    Hopefully something good may come out of such lamentable situation.

  54. Agreed, Rudy, hopefully something good will come out of this lamentable situation. As to being more Catholic than I let on? 10 years of teaching in that environment might have rubbed off on me! :o)

    BobRN: Right now, to answer your question about who I wouldn’t leave my child alone with? They are grown, so that is moot. However, if they were still small—-probably most any teacher/minister at this point. Scary—but true.

    I understand you thinking that the RCC and it’s priests are getting lots of coverage etc. due to the past accusations etc., to the point that public school teachers aren’t always given that much coverage—and that is accurate–rightly or wrongly. However, I think, and this is purely my opinion, that since there is supposed to be such trust in a person who represents a faith—in this case–the priest,(and perhaps some nuns) in some folks eyes, the betrayal of that person of that trust is perhaps harder to accept than perhaps a teacher betraying that trust. I would think that a Rabbi, or a Protestant minister or any other faith leader would cause as much anger and disgust as the priests revelations has. It is the fact that those that represent a faith are NOT supposed to take advantage of the position to commit crimes against children. No, teachers aren’t either—-but they aren’t working for “God” if you will. Am not sure any of the above made sense—hope it did.

  55. pagansister,

    I agree that a person who represents God and the trust one is supposed to be allowed to place in God betraying that trust is harder to accept than others betraying a child’s trust.

    I don’t think that explains at all the copious coverage of the abuse of children by priests to the near neglect of all others. If that were so, Protestant ministers would be under much more scrutiny, since all the research that’s available on the matter shows that the rate of abuse by Protestant ministers is higher than that of Catholic priests. In fact, as a group, Catholic priests are pretty far down on the list, as compared to teachers, doctors, therapists and others who regularly work with children. It also doesn’t explain why the NY Times, while engaging in a hatchet job on BXVI, chose to ignore the abuse committed by orthodox rabbis in it’s own back yard.

    And, yes, while we were rightfully scandalized and angered by the abuse committed by priests, for most people (since most people are not Catholic and even most Catholics participate in the life of the Church only incrementally) the chance of their child being the target of a priest was pretty remote. As well, personal culpability in the horror, even for most Catholics, doesn’t exist, since most have little or nothing to do with the inner workings of the Church.

    But the great majority of children in this country attend public schools. And the great majority of citizens pay taxes that support the public schools. And many more citizens have a contribution to make to how our schools function, since we elect our school boards and choose our superintendants, or elect the people who do. Considering the personal risk and personal involvement of the abuse crisis in our schools, the overwhelming focus on the abuse by priests, and the near complete silence on the crisis in our schools (even to the point where state legislatures exempt the public schools from efforts to remove the statute of limitations on abuse!) is bizarre and irresponsible. Think about it: the teachers unions in our country fight non-stop against school districts firing teachers who sexually abuse children, even those found guilty, yet our news services decide to make headlines out of two remote dutch priests who defend pedophilia (in terms similar to those our entertainment elites used to defend Roman Polanski, Michael Jackson and Woody Allen) and are who are immediately sacked for doing so. And this is used to prove, not that the Church has learned how to respond properly, but that the problem is as bad as it ever was. This is insane!

    My theory is that the focus on Catholic priests has a lot to do with celibacy, homosexuality, the aura of mystery that surrounds Catholicism in our culture and a genuine desire to shut down the Catholic Church among the elites in our society, or at least shut down her voice as an effective weapon in the culture wars. Toss in the deeply rooted anti-Catholicism that infests our cultural and academic elites, and you have a perfect storm.

    The great shame, of course, is that the focus is not and never has been on protecting the children. The John Jay Report wrote that, as a result of the reforms adopted, a Catholic Church is probably one of the safest places for a child to be today. The horror of the abuse was revealed, the bishops finally responded, the response was to adopt reforms, those reforms were successful. Common sense and a genuine concern for the safety of children would have suggested that, once you clean out one closet, you begin cleaning out the others, where the mess is bigger and more entrenched. But common sense has failed to rule here, as has a concern for protecting children.

  56. BobRN: IMO teacher’s unions have way toooo much power—and agree that it is hard as heck to remove a teacher. I live in the NE, and they are very powerful here. In the south—not so much (having lived there too).

    I agree with many of your statements, and appreciate the information and points you have made. Yes, the RCC has been put under much more of a microscope due to the revelations of many years ago. Most people should realize that the Church isn’t the only organization with child abuse problems. Guess the Church is an easy target. Unfortunately that probably isn’t going to change any time soon.

  57. Throughout history homosexuality has destroyed every institution, and culture it has taken hold of. The Church made one mistake. Letting these filthy perverts become priests in the first place. The Priests in the NE area were up to their necks in gay culture and NAMBLA. A fact that the media fails to mention. Where is Seth Williams to call a grand juryto investigate these groups, that openly advocate child rape?

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