“Shame and sorrow”: Dutch Church rocked by abuse report

Details:

Tens of thousands of Dutch children were sexually abused by priests and other Roman Catholic religious figures in the last 65 years, but church officials failed to take adequate action or report problems to police, an independent commission said Friday.

Many of the victims spent part of their childhood in Catholic institutions such as schools and orphanages, where the risk of abuse was twice as high as in the general population, the commission said. But complaints were often ignored or covered up by authorities who were more intent on protecting the church’s reputation than providing care for abuse victims.

An independent commission set up by the Dutch Conference of Bishops and the Conference of Dutch Religious Orders, another Catholic organization, examined such misconduct from 1945 to 2010 and how the church chose to deal — or not to deal — with it.

Friday’s long-awaited report adds more fuel to the abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church worldwide, from America to Australia. The Vatican’s credibility and standing has been significantly eroded by a stream of allegations that priests molested and assaulted members of their flock, and that bishops and other senior church officials tried to hush up the accusations.

The Dutch commission stopped short of accusing the Catholic Church in the Netherlands as a whole of fostering an institutional “culture of silence.” The report said that authority within the Dutch church was fragmented, with each diocese given latitude to deal with problems on its own. There was no centrally organized policy or procedure for dealing with sexual abuse.

Wim Eijk, the archbishop of Utrecht, apologized for what happened in years past and told journalists that the report “fills us with shame and sorrow.” The conference of religious orders called the abuse “a dark chapter in the history of religious life” and vowed not to repeat mistakes.

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Comments

  1. Now let’s watch folks slip back into the comfortable and self-medicating outrage at the Catholic Church. No doubt Penn State and Syracuse, along with the incestuous parents and their public school administration accomplices in Minneapolis. will be viewed as mere aberrations on the landscape dominated by the big, bad, Catholic Church.

    We’ll continue to ignore the Department of education report showing 9.6% of American public school children being victims of teacher inappropriate sexual contact, a percentage that has produced victims in the millions.

    Scolding Rome is indeed self-medicating for society because it offers a whipping boy for a decaying and crumbling civilization’s sins against its children. We deserve our lumps in the Church, but the steadfast straining of Roman gnats compared to the societal locust swarm is far more alarming than the Catholic share in it all. It also shows that we’ve written off our children years ago. The cheers of affirmation in the public school incest video tell us all we need to know.

  2. Richard Johnson says:

    Heavenly Father, may you comfort those victims and their families during this time of very public turmoil in the Church. May you calm the hearts of those in the pews and their leaders as they deal with the impact of this report. May those feeling shame and guilt over the actions of these wolves find their hearts uplifted by the message of the Gospel in this most holy of seasons. And may your Holy Spirit convict those who have allowed their cynicism and hard-hearted nature to erase their concern for their fellow believers. May they, too, be uplifted and renewed.

  3. For this reason, we have kept our children out of parochial school and as altar boys. We don’t have faith in our Church leaders to protect our own children when we are no there to keep an eye on things. That’s pretty scary.

    We go to Church to worship God not to for the priests.

  4. ALL other abuses cases — from victim’s families, or from private, public, and non-Catholic religious institutions do not diminish the offenses committed by Catholic institutions, clerics, and personnel.

    The existence of other such cases is not part of the discussion of Catholic institution, clerical, or personnel abuse cases.

    The Catholic Church touts itself as the “gold standard” of morals, ethics, dogma, and doctrine. Their sin, if even possible, is greater than the others. Catholics worldwide should be appalled to the point of taking some kind of action rather than tempering the offenses with comparisons to other places and times.

  5. ron chandonia says:

    When massive numbers of abuse cases are reported (whether we’re talking about incidents in the Church or in some secular context), I can’t help but wonder how broadly the term is being defined. These days, it’s entirely possible that parents who spank their children may stand accused of physical abuse, while those who scold their children may be charged with verbal abuse. When I read about “tens of thousands” of cases of sexual abuse from the past, I can’t help but think that at least some of them would not necessarily have been considered either sexual or abusive at the time and place when they occurred.

  6. Jake,

    I said that we deserve our lumps. Now I want you to meet with a child raped by a teacher, ;ook that child in the eye, and tell that child that his/her rape is less consequential because it wasn’t by a priest. I worked in Times Square for seven years with children escaping teen prostitution, and I find this whole business of suggesting that there is a gradation of severity based on the identity of the perp.

    Enough, already.

    Let’s start protecting ALL children with the same passion, regardless of their rapists’ identities.

  7. Did we really need to hear this a week before Christmas?

  8. Yes, if that’s what it takes to get disgusted enough to confront it.

  9. The 9.6% figure, in the context you’re quoting it, is not worth it’s weight in mouse droppings. That figure comes from a methodologically shabby report which attempted to establish rates of abuse in public schools by an informal review, not even a statistical analysis, of a tiny handful of other flawed surveys. The 9.6% figure comes from one of those surveys which asked a group of students “during your whole school life, how often, if at all, has anyone (this includes students, teachers, other school employees, or anyone else) done the following things to you when you did not want them to? Made sexual comments, jokes, gestures or looks.”

    A list of 13 other behaviors follows.

    So, even assuming that survey was reasonably sound in its sampling, we’ve established that 9.6% of students experienced something untoward in their school career. The vast majority of that something was harassment, not abuse, and it was not all teacher-on-student abuse. It was quite likely mostly at the hands of fellow students. The very notion that nearly 10% of students in public schools (or any regular school setting), experience actual abuse at the hands of teachers is absurd. That is the sort of abuse rate seen in juvenile detention facilities, where the youth are orders of magnitude more vulnerable and where there is zero outside oversight or accountability.

    That 9.6% figure is dropped very often on this and other boards as part of a disinformation campaign which is deeply rooted in moral relativism. It suggests that since abuse rates by priests are a “tiny fraction” of that in public schools, that we should all just lay off the Church until we remove the log from our own eye.

    That’s pure rubbish on two counts. One, it’s demonstrably false. Two, the rape of children by trusted authority figures is evil and should be fought with equal vigor anywhere it appears, independent of who else may be “getting away with it.” That imperative ought to be evident to the most hardened atheist with any sense of human decency, let alone a church which claims to be the sole source of God’s authority and salvation.

  10. Oregon Catholic says:

    WRONG!!! The spiritual damage done to a believer by a member of the clergy is far greater than a secular abuser. I remember the respect and awe that we were taught to show our parish priest in grade school by the nuns. No other person was given the same reverence and I can imagine being unable to refuse any request or touch. I can imagine the sick mixture of pride at being ‘special’ to such a one and the interior feeling of disgust at the same time. Nothing could have been more hurtful and confusing to my spiritual being than being abused by a priest. A parent is perhaps the only equal but I did not even put my father on the same level as my parish priest as there was no mystery to me about my father’s shortcomings

  11. George, I have three sons and we didn’t let them be altar boys for the same fear you have. As for fear of sending our kids to Catholic schools, we looked into the numbers and found that there is far more abuse in our local schools than at Catholic schools. In fact, there is more abuse at public schools both now and in the 1970s and before, when most of the reported abuse took place in the Catholic Church in our area. And much has been done to prevent abuse in our Church since then so the numbers are even more on our side. My children are far safer, from sexual abuse by adults, at their Catholic schools than at public schools.

    We are very happy with the education that they get and I urge you to consider the same.

    A blessed and merry Christmas to you and your family.

  12. I think it has been confronted. Ad Nauseam. Some of this reortedly goes back 65 years. You want them to dig the alleged perps up? Merry Christmas.

  13. “I have three sons and we didn’t let them be altar boys for the same fear you have.”

    you have got to be kidding.

  14. Hope your public schools are safe where you live. They sure aren’t in NYC.

  15. We have had 4 priests fired from our parish in the past 10 years for sexual abuse. Zero public school teachers in my kids elementary, middle, or public school.

    I don’t necessarily look up to public school teachers but I sure used to look up to priests, bishops, and cardinals. Now, I wonder which one is going to get pulled away from our parish.

    It stinks because their behavior and stubborn refusal to accept responsibility for the actions and the cover ups have harmed the religion.

  16. Kenneth,

    Since you purport to be so familiar with the study, why didn’t you mention that the report indicates 7% of the kids reporting actual teacher physical sexual assault? Hmmm?

    You didn’t report that DOE accepted the methodology as both valid and indicative of a disturbing trend in our schools when they published the report.

    You didn’t mention the parts of the report that talk about the common practice of giving teachers caught a letter of reference to get them out of the district in order to avoid lawsuits.

    Your sins of omission here are glaring. Try reading the report and reporting fully.

  17. Not kidding, I’m sure.

    I’ve had to run interference between servers and more than one priest in my years in church ministry because the guys lacked good boundaries: tickling games, chasing servers, foul language, and even the insistence that they meet privately with the priest in the sacristy before Mass.

    In standing my ground, I was unpopular with some clergy, but I knew the kids and parents appreciated that someone was watching out for their interests.

    If a parent came to me lacking confidence in the safety of their daughter or son, and withdrew them from being an altar server, I would have no other choice but to understand, and to communicate that as bluntly as professionally possible.

  18. “It stinks because their behavior and stubborn refusal to accept responsibility for the actions and the cover ups have harmed the religion”

    Wasn’t aware they had not accepted responsibilty. Seems to me they have been apologizing (even Popes) and paying out settlements (many fraudulent no doubt) for the last ten years.

  19. Perhaps your church “claims” to be the sole source of salvation, mine is.

    Hardly a week goes by in NY when the papers don’t reort an abuse case in the public schools. Just this week a married teacher, father of two was found to raping a 13 year old girl on a regular basis. I don’t believe for a minute that the clergy abuse rate is higher than teachers or for that matter, parents and relatives.

  20. Look them in the eye? You betcha — during a 41 year career as a public school teacher and Catholic high school administrator in a multi-million population American city.

    But my statement stands — the abuses of the Catholic Church stand on their own. Comparisons to other places, people, or time are not part of the discussion. Relative comparisons of other cases of abuse in relation to the Church does not mitigate the crime, the cover-ups, or the length of time the abuses occurred.

    The singularity of the Catholic Church abuses stand apart due to the fact it IS the Catholic Church, with all the doctrine, moral codes, etc that it professes.

  21. Are diocese news paper has yet to write about any of the priests and has not been discussed at Mass once.

    The priests just suddenly leave and the congregation is left wondering what happened.

    Meanwhile, we have had to sell off church property to fund lawsuits. The only way we find out is when the scandal hits the paper or the priest is arrested.

  22. I have a son, with autism, whom I allow to serve at the altar. He goes into the sacristy 10 minutes before mass, and is out while Father is still shaking hands after mass. He won’t go to any other altar boy events that don’t have parental supervision, but that’s no different than his involvement in Boy Scouts with their policy of two-deep leadership (at least two adults present with a child or group of kids).

    I don’t distrust clergy more than any other group of adults, and I see no reason to keep children from serving at the altar.

    There are over 40 million sex abuse victims in America, less than 2/100 of 1% have been raped by a priest. That should say something.

  23. Reading about this latest tragedy (of the Dutch church) makes me feel the same way I would if I had been praying for a cancer patient who had undergone chemo and radiation; only to find out that another tumor had been diagnosed.

  24. We must watch all children and adults entrusted to their care. Pedophiles and adults wanting to harm children, go into professions that children will trust, coaches, teachers, counselors, religious.
    Priests were held to higher ground because way back when, they were held in “God-like” awe. Nuns were aflutter when Father came, you all rose, you wouldn’t dare tell your mom or dad, “Father touched me funny”. You’d probably get slapped.

    When much trust is given, much is expected. That is in ANY field but ones dealing with God, even more is expected.

  25. The issue has never been the clergy abuse rate and no responsible person has ever suggested that abuse is at all unique to Catholic clergy. It may be 1 or 2 percent of priests who abuse. It may be 2/10th of a percent.

    That is not the statistic that matters. It is the fact that the Church and its bishops have failed victims 100% of the time. That fact is incontrovertible. They have never once, even down to very very recent times, ever done the right thing BEFORE their hand was forced by victim’s attorneys, the media or law enforcement. They have ALWAYS demonstrated a proclivity to shield offenders from prosecution and to hide allegations from their own parishioners.

    Even more than a decade after acknowledging the nature of the problem and drafting very progressive, very strict internal guidelines for dealing with allegations, bishops in EVERY known case have read their own rules with an eye toward the loophole, the workaround that justifies their NOT reporting an allegation.

  26. I’ve got the full report and I’m not finding any mention of that 7% figure. The only thing in there which comes close is a finding from a 1992 Canadian study which said 7 percent of the abuse experienced by disabled children came from bus drivers.

  27. 41,000 priests out of a little more than 300 million Americans. That’s 1.3/100 of 1%. The odds are that an abused child won’t be abused by a priest. By far. But a priest seems to be about 40% more likely to abuse, looking at victim rates alone.

  28. pagansister says:

    Yes, we know that there are problems in the public schools too—but this article is about the continuing problems in the Catholic Church—in yet another country. It seems that world wide there were priests taking advantage of children, as they also taught them about the love of God and Jesus, His son. Obviously great contradiction—priest teaching love of God in public, and violating the trust of the child in private. How did they live with themselves? Confession must have made them feel better, but they forgot the part about “sin no more” when it came to kids.

  29. pagansister says:

    7:45 PM 18 Dec. mostly for Gerard.

  30. pagansister says:

    It is never to late to learn of the misdeeds of priests. There should not be a time limit for reporting physical abuse. And RomCath, if it would help to dig up the dead abusers—I’d say “go for it”. but unfortunately they can’t talk anymore.

  31. Over the past few months at multiple Church events, I have been asking people there if they have any first hand experience with a priest accused of abuse. Not in the media, but knew them first hand. I have yet to meet anyone who had any direct dealings with a single abusing priest and during the decades, we have dealt with thousands of them with amazing and wonderful relationships. I have yet to met a priest who is not sickened by what has gone on and that has not paid a price as they were painted with the broad brush of outrage. None have us have had concerns about having our children serve the Church as servers, in the choir, or in any other capcity and none I have met with have ever had a child abused or had concern about abuse. Most of us and the priest we know blame the Bishops for not taking care of this problem long ago, especially when it became evident that some of the seminaries were being turned into centers of perversion and dissent from Church teaching and this is not a short term problem.

    However, there is nothing within the Church teaching in any way that supports this type of behavior, only a failing of human beings. To indicate that because an organization calls out for society to seek the highest goals of moral behavior, it somehow is then to be sinless obviously does make practical sense. It seems crazy to say that because one seeks the pinnacle and fails, they should be condemned more than the one who holds to no moral standard and succeeds in perversion. If a good person fails and a child is abused, and at the same time a pervert abuses a child, both incidents produce an abused child. Some argue that since it was a preist, it is worse and it might be true for there is the abuse and the loss of trust. But I think it is even worse if it is a member of the family and this represents the highest number of abusers followed by teachers. If one looks at it being a crime of opportunity, both the family member and the teacher would seem to have more contact with the child. Society seems bent on screaming about the one seeking higher standards while giving the pervert a free pass. I don’t think anyone who abuses, protects the abuser, supports the persions around sexual abuse, or calls for a more perverted society to live in should get a free pass. If we were serious about stopping abuse, we would go after it and that which drives it until all those with these perversions were behind bars without possibility they could ever abuse another child. I hate the abuse of a child and that is what makes abortion the worst perversion known to mankind. Many who are outraged at the abuse of kids by priests give a pass to those who vote to keep abortion mills running full bore and that is the real outrage of our time.

  32. pagansister says:

    Excellent points, Oregon Catholic. Kids were taught that priests were to be respected AND obeyed, by nuns and probably their parents. I have a feeling if a child mentioned something to his/her parents or a nun about a priest mistreating them, they might not have been believed back in the day. I do, however, disagree that the damage done by a priest is worse than that of a non-religious leader.

  33. naturgesetz says:

    “Even more than a decade after acknowledging the nature of the problem and drafting very progressive, very strict internal guidelines for dealing with allegations, bishops in EVERY known case have read their own rules with an eye toward the loophole, the workaround that justifies their NOT reporting an allegation.”

    IOW when they failed to follow the guidelines, they were failing to follow the guidelines. Wow! But there are all the unknown cases where they followed the guidelines. These don’t make the papers, so you haven’t heard of them. You are generalizing based on an inadequate universe.

  34. New York State has a law that requires schools to report reasonable suspicion of child abuse in an educational setting to law enforcement authorities for investigation. Superintendents who do no report reasonable suspicions are guilty of misdemeanors. Silent resignations of individuals suspected of child abuse are not permitted.

  35. Pleased to meet you. Let me introduce myself. I personally know three priests who have abused children including the priest who presided over my wife’s funeral, the priest who presided over my second marriage and the priest who administered First Communion to my sons. I personally knw three children anally raped by priests.

    If you do not personally knw any priests who have abused children, then count your blessings. Let me assure you that you do know people who have been sexually abused by priests, even if you are not aware of that fact.

  36. Did you read my comments? I am not denying, only making the point that many see all priests as somehow bad and involved when for most Catholics, because it was so small a percentage of Catholic priests abusing kids, we had no personal experience with this problem. I am not excusing it, but in fact saying that I and many priest and bishops would have loved to see this problem attacked head on long ago, not just with priests, but with anyone who does this to a child.

    If I had anyone I know abused, I would probably have found them and kicked their ass back to wherever they came from. I hate anything done to children, be it by a priest, teacher, uncle, dad, or mom. anyone.

  37. Mark, I think many Catholics and some non-believers make the distinction between the 4 percent of clergy who have offended and the 96 who have not. We also make distinctions between the considerably larger percentage of bishops who enabled this sin. Such bishops are still in place: Kansas City, Chicago, and who knows where else.

    We have a hierarchy that seems to have its gospel values misplaced. That needs to change.

    For the record, I’ve also known a handful of priest abusers. One was in my parish the year my daughter made her First Communion. He was found to have hundreds of photos of young girls my daughter’s age on his computer. Was she one of them? Our bishop didn’t seem to love the notion that this was a problem to be tackled by people who had the expertise he clearly lacked.

    This problem is a lot more serious than many Catholics, and most bishops think. It’s way past time to get with the program.

  38. I think the cover-up hurt more than the abuse in some ways. The trust to be protected was lost twice. It made me stop going to church for a while..I just felt betrayed by preists caring more about public opinion than souls. Well, they learned the hard way, whatever they were avoiding, came back 100%.
    In some areas of the US, it was more known than others, but I was surprised just in my small state of CT, the number of priests either accused of abuse or just living a lifestyle not in line with their vocation.

    I feel for the majority of good priests and cringe everytime I hear of another active priest arrested or taken down. I respected priests that said “It’s not over” knowing that the blanket statement of the cleanup being “done”, can never be said in reality, but I hope in time, the eyes and ears of others will weed out any predators and the dedicated, holy, men, trying to be shephards to us, can exhale.
    I pray for them and know most are good, faithful men living in the shadow of others.

  39. Well, here you go. A few fresh cases in our small community of US priests.

    1) Father Richard James Kurtz

    Nov 22, 2011 12:48am EST

    (Reuters) – A Catholic priest wanted in Colorado on charges that he sexually assaulted a boy was arrested in Chicago on Monday by members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the FBI said.

    2) Father Antonio Cortes

    December 15, 2011

    SALINAS, Calif- A former priest who pleaded no contest to child molestation is now in mexico. Now there’s an arrest warrant for Father Antonio Cortes because he failed to register as a sex offender.

    In April of 2009, investigators charged Cortes with sexually molesting a teenage boy while he was a priest at St. Mary of the Nativity Church in Salinas.

    3) Father Uriel Ojeda

    December 1, 2011

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A priest serving in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento, Calif., was taken into custody Wednesday night on suspicision of child molestation, the diocese said.

    The Rev. Uriel Ojeda, 32, surrendered Wednesday, said the Most Rev. Jaime Soto, bishop of the Diocese of Sacramento. Ojeda was arrested on two charges of felony lewd and lascivious acts with a minor, said Kevin Eckery, a spokesman for the diocese.

    4) Father Richard James Kurtz

    December 1, 2011

    A Jesuit priest was arrested Nov. 21 in Chicago on charges relating to a decade-old sexual abuse scandal, according to a statement released by the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

    Father Richard James Kurtz, 67, is facing felony charges of sexual assault on a child by one in possession of trust and attempted sexual assault on a child by one in passion of trust.

    According to the Douglas County sheriff’s office, the charges stem from an incident that allegedly occurred while Kurtz was employed at the University of Detroit High School in Detroit. Kurtz was working there as a chemistry teacher in 2001 when he allegedly abused an underage male.

    5) Father Piotr Bialkowski

    The young, recently divorced mother of two was troubled and went to her priest for counseling. Eventually, the relationship became sexual. Then their baby came, she said, and the relationship changed. The priest became jealous and abusive and accused her of seeing someone else. Two weeks ago, the woman said, he showed up at her home in a rage and threw her against a wall. Police were called and the priest was arrested. Last week, police charged Bialkowski with domestic assault.

  40. Richard Johnson says:

    To those who compare the instances of abuse in the Church to those in the public school system, are you suggesting the public should hold the Church in the same contempt that they hold public schools? Should government seek to strip funding from the Church in the same way that vouchers seek to strip funding from public schools? Do you really want the Church to face the same type of criticism that our public schools face in the public square?

    It’s difficult to have a Church that is the beacon on the hill if it is to be held to no better standard that the public schools when it comes to the behavior of its public figures. This is precisely why the Bible teaches that the leaders appointed in the church are to be held to a higher standard, for they are given a higher calling.

    If you contend that the abuse of a child by a priest does no more damage to the victim than the abuse of a child by a teacher, you are saying that a priest is of no more import to the life of that student than a pubic school teacher.

    Do you *really* mean that?

  41. Gerald N. Since there are more than 4 times more Catholic School teachers then there are Catholic priests I bet you can’t you name/show us the 25,000 Catholic school teachers who have abused children? maybe they are completely different then all the public school teachers you ‘claim’ abuse children. This ‘it ain’t just us’ argument is trash..

  42. Richard, are you saying that laws and penalties should be stricter for Catholics in general and priests in particular? The history of the Church is rife with illegal and sinful behavior committed by priests and bishops. Isn’t there a very old saying that the roads in hell are paved with the bones of bishops? In St. Francis’ lifetime most priests lived lives of public scandal. They are men. They sin and commit crimes. When they do they should be held accountable in the same way that other men are held accountable. When public schools, colleges, police departments and medical groups cover up crimes they should be held to the same standard as the Catholic Church.

  43. What about abuse by a parent, uncle ir other family member? Seems that would be just as awful if not worse than a priest.

  44. Deacon Steve says:

    Civilly they should be held accountable to the same standards. However because of what we as a Church do, we should hold ourselves as clergy to a higher standard. It is good to follow the civil law regarding reporting of abuse cases, but at times even those obligations are not really enough given our mission. We should be doing what is right for all involved, victim, accused abuser, and convicted abuser. Each and every person involved in a case of abuse needs to be handled in the best pastoral way possible, to allow healing for them, and to protect others from being further victims. We should not be afraid to use outside experts to help decide the course of actions, but we also need to use common sense when the “experts” tell us to do something that seems wrong. The experts said that abusers could be cured and put back into ministry with no fears, but as the science developed a better understanding of the pschology of the abuser, the experts realized that they could not be cured. I do think that listening to them was the right thing, but there should have been a warning to the new parishes when they were transfered after their treatment. This is where we need to use common sense in conjunction with what the experts advise.

  45. Richard Johnson says:

    No, I am not saying that laws should be stricter for clergy people than for lay people when it comes to abuse. My comment was about those within the church who, when confronted with stories like this, immediately turn to the secular world to compare the actions of the church. That is not the standard set in the Bible.

    1 Timothy 5:17 says, “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.” The church is to rightly treat those Godly leaders with a double portion of honor and respect. Yet in the same paragraph we have the following: “Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.”

  46. Although all sin is an abomination to the Lord, this sin is particularly heinous to both God and man because of the long term effect it can have on a developing child. I don’t know what the solution to this is, as abuse of children has been a sad fact throughout human existence. As a public school principal, I vigorously investigate any allegation of such behavior, but I have had very few in my career. I have dedicated my life to developing and protecting children, and this particular sin, with its betrayal of trust, I find particularly repugnant. Any person who has been proven to have committed any such acts, whether clergy or secular, should go to jail and lose forever their opportunity to work with children. People who purposely shield them when guilt is obvious should go to jail. I pray for the victims of such acts, that they may be healed, as well as the perpetrators, that they should repent of this sin and return to the Lord. It saddens me to see the church I love so much rocked with scandal.

    Lord have mercy on us, as we are all sinners, and protect the children and youth from those who prey on them. Give us the moral courage to fight this abomination wherever it appears. And please help people not to abandon your church and their salvation because of the acts of a few. St. Michael, defend God’s family. Amen

  47. Again, if you read my comment, I said what you are saying. “Most of us and the priest we know blame the Bishops for not taking care of this problem long ago, especially when it became evident that some of the seminaries were being turned into centers of perversion and dissent from Church teaching and this is not a short term problem.”

    ” I don’t think anyone who abuses, protects the abuser, supports the persions around sexual abuse, or calls for a more perverted society to live in should get a free pass. If we were serious about stopping abuse, we would go after it and that which drives it until all those with these perversions were behind bars without possibility they could ever abuse another child.”

    I just feel too many lose sight of the massive number of priests and bishops who have done everything right and who have served with love and distinction and made the point that because of this, many Catholics do not even know a single priest or bishop personally that was involved. I realize the anger of anyone who has been hurt by this abuse and support that anger, but not the bashing of the Catholic Church itself and point out that many other institutions are equally if not more have been caught up in the same perverted mess.

  48. Richard, if the point is to protect kids from abuse, it should not matter where it is found, it should be rooted out and the perverts put behind bars forever because it now seems apparent that this is not something that can be “healed” which is what everyone was telling the Bishops for years. That has now proven completely false. They cannot be healed and they will continue to do it over and over if free. But it should not matter if it is a priest or a family member or a teacher or anyone else. No exceptions. Lets go after this perversion. This would include those who peddle child porn as well since some of the “abuse” is also those who were found with childrens pictures on their computers. How serious do people want to be to protect kids?

  49. “Massive numbers” of priests are exemplars of virtue. We cannot be sure this is the case with bishops. In just the last ten years, there have been seemingly good bishops: Walsh in Santa Rosa, George in Chicago, and Finn in Kansas City to name three, who have blundered badly. The latter two, through their inaction, have ignored the counsel of respected lay leaders to let known predators mix with children.

    This has nothing to do with seminaries, and everything to do with the culture of narcissism among the bishops. This is why the crisis is worse for the Catholic Church: it concedes a top-down authority from Rome to the parish priest. School districts do not. While it is true that a predator in teaching can move from one part of the country to another, teachers are not permanent employees of a worldwide system of educators. Priests are. In order to serve, they have to have the consent of a bishop. Or two.

    Bishops have made it worse than any prominent profession for three spectacular reasons: not only the claimed authority in worldwide governance, but because of the spiritual trust people place in those in Holy Orders, and also the secrecy of the clerical culture–we simply cannot be sure how widespread the problem is.

    Cardinals Law, Rigali, George, and many down from there have, by their inaction and stubborn egos, preached the antigospel loud and clear to believer and non-believer alike. This travesty must be criticized at every opportunity, and these bishops rejected as shepherds.

  50. Todd, you named five bishops and I will let it stand that they are guilty of covering up for abuse which I am not fully aware is true. There are 424 active and retired US bishops in the US. I think this shows that this to be about 1%. Now lets assume you could dig up 10 names, it would still mean that 414 did nothing wrong. And has there been a bishop who has been found to be an abuser? I think the crime they have is not doing enough to protect the kids and that if this is now the standard, then anyone who does not report an abuser should be equally as guilty, including family members or other teachers or administrators and face equal punishment.

    You seem to be making my point that at its worst case, it is only a few and hopefully you can agree with me that if one is guilty, they should be punished without having to bash the vast majority who are innocent. Do you argree they should be put away for life if they are guilty of abuse because they cannot be healed and will repeat?

    And sorry, but if you have a problem with priests, why wouldn’t you look into how they are selected or formed in the seminaries? The Vatican certainly saw this as an important step in the entire process.

  51. naturgesetz says:

    Todd your accusation of inaction on the part of Cardinal Law is untrue. In 1985, when he became archbishop of Boston, he established a policy of sending credibly accused priests for psychological therapy, and returning them to ministry only if the therapist said it was safe to do so. In 1992, he established a review board, including laity, to make recommendations concerning credibly accused priests, and he followed their recommendations. According to a table published in the Boston papers when the Grand Jury found no crime to indict him for, before he arrived, instances of abuse were running at over 27 per year on average. In the period ’85-’92, they dropped to about 10 per year; from ’92 to 2000, about 4 per year; and after 2000 until the report, zero per year.

  52. “And sorry, but if you have a problem with priests, why wouldn’t you look into how they are selected or formed in the seminaries? The Vatican certainly saw this as an important step in the entire process.”

    The Vatican looked into seminaries as they exist NOW. It’s a favorite claim of conservatives that many seminaries went “pink” in the 80s and 90s, with rampant homosexual activity. Whether or not such claims are true, there is the whole time-travel problem that most abuse happened in previous decades, long before those “pink” seminarians were ordained, and long before many of them were even born.

    What the John Jay study showed is that the majority of abusers were educated in the 40′s and 50′s. (If you want a quick summary of the John Jay study as far as what was their “typical” case: A perpetrator educated in the 40s, 50s or early 60s. A victim, male, born between 1955 and 1965, and abused when he was in the 5th-8th grades.) The perps, when they were questioned, specifically blamed their pathetically inadequate seminary education as one factor that contributed to their offending.

    Ok, so you can argue that nothing that the perps say about themselves should be given any credence at all, and so you want to believe that their 40s-50s seminary training was wonderful. It’s not possible to prove one way or another. But one thing that we CAN be quite SURE of is that priests who were ordained in the 50s and 60s and abused boys in the 60s and 70s were not in any way shape or form motivated by seminary events that wouldn’t happen until decades later.

  53. I agree that we should punish all who abuse, I am not sure though that we really understand abuse. Abuse is about power over another, it is about having control without regard for the other. It includes not just sexual abuse, but also physical abuse, and emotional abuse. I do not know how we prevent this. As far as “curing” the drive to abuse I am afraid it is not curable – at best we can put those who abuse in a place where they cannot abuse.

  54. Richard Johnson says:

    Mark, from a legal standpoint I agree with you. From the standpoint of a believer I hold that it is far more important for the church (either the church universal or the Holy Roman Catholic Church) to hold itself and its clergy to a much higher standard, and we do not do that by trying to deflect attention to how many teachers abuse children or how many scout leaders abuse children. Abuse is always, ALWAYS heinous and detestable, and the damage done to the victim is horrid, no matter where it happens.

    But if abuse cases drive people away from the public schools, we have private schools and homeschooling where they can receive a good quality education. If abuse cases drive people away from scouting there are many other good youth organizations where young people can experience the benefits offered by such. If abuse, and the coverup thereof, drive people away from the church, where else will they hear the message of salvation preached?

  55. Cathy, I don’t care when they were selected and formed. If you have a problem with a group of people, you should examine what process was used to select them whether it was 1950 or 1970 and see if you can make sure that everything is being done to eliminate the problem that could be attributed to that issue. In fact, over a period of 60 years, I would imagine much changed in many areas of selection and training and if one method was shown defective, it should be eliminated to save the kids. Why the attack? Again, if anything, my post are calling for a full on attack on all abuse everywhere one finds it to save the kids. I am more interested in helping kids than bashing one organization where a very low percentage of priests and bishops were involved and just asking for us to acknowledge that there are a vast vast majority of wonderful priests who have been painted with that broad brush.

    By the way, is having pictures on ones computer classified as child abuse? It is perversion and child pornography should be attacked (I would say pornography in general but you have the civil liberatarians fighting to protect private and public porn) with all our fury. Just curious if everyone classifies this as child abuse since a few have listed it as abuse. I would hope if we do, that we all agree that anyone with child porn should be attacked in the same way, priest or not.

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