Los Angeles: Land of Sex Abuse

Here’s the quote:

“Unfortunately it doesn’t surprise me,” he says. “It is a culture of indifference where the priests are looking out for the priests. They don’t want to get involved or make accusations, so they turn away. They are more concerned about protecting their own jobs and reputations.”

Damn those Catholics and their weird and unique hothouse of institutional ass-coverage! Nowhere else in American society do we find this kind of thing tolerated! Why, we oughtta… Oh. Wait. What? That’s not the quote? Oh! Here’s the quote:

“Unfortunately it doesn’t surprise me,” he says. “It is a culture of indifference where the teachers are looking out for the teachers. They don’t want to get involved or make accusations, so they turn away. They are more concerned about protecting their own jobs and reputations.”

The crimes against these children, both in the Church and in the schools, are horrible–and a sign that something is very wrong with our culture. The problem with the Church’s response was not that it was uniquely hideous. It’s that it was so bleakly and ordinarily hideous. The Church’s failure was not that it fell monstrously below what ordinary people do in circling wagons and covering butts, but that it *did* what ordinary people do when it should have done what saints do. It is the backhanded compliment hell pays heaven that everybody is appalled–and rightly so–by the Church’s failure while the even more massive failure of our schools in this regard tends not to make anything like the splash in our culture. This is as it should be, since judgment rightly begins with the household of God.

  • Doug Sirman

    It’s worse than that. Unlike the American Bishops and so very many catholic propagan..I mean catholic journalists (paragons of integrity and honesty, every one), I’ve never heard of teachers or school districts telling the following three lies:
    1. A lot of times, these innocent poor teachers are being seduced by those worldly 14 year olds!
    2. Y’know, back in the 70′s and 80′s we didn’t really know that buggering a 12 year old boy or raping a 14 year old girl was really that harmful. I mean, if society thought it was harmful, they would have had laws against those sorts of boundary mistakes back then wouldn’t they?
    3. Science! It was the best Science! of the time! We were ill-advised by non-educational experts who were completely unaffiliated with the educational system (well, 3% of them weren’t) who said that the teachers would just need to be taught how to feel better about themselves and maybe, oh, I don’t know, go on a retreat or something, and then they would be impervious to the seductive wiles of those wiley, seductive 12 year olds.

    Unlike nearly every Bishop around the world who has addressed this issue, the educational system in the US has never assumed that the audience was that culpably stupid and gullible. They may have “passed the trash” but unlike virtually all of the Bishops who have ever spoken about this, they didn’t turn around and lie by saying they thought they were passing tea and crumpets.

    • midwestlady

      Agree. That’s what’s so ludicrous about all this.

      Dear Parish,
      I usually don’t tell parishes if the man I have assigned to them is a criminal or not, but this time I have decided to man-up for once. Your new priest is a pervert and has a police record as long as the freeway. But, nevertheless, he is fully qualified to be in charge of your spiritual and moral lives anyway, because as long as we are being honest, you are just laity anyway. What the hell, right?
      PS. Don’t forget to donate money, because there is a lawsuit we have to pay for.

      Holiness, peace and lots of spirit of Vatican II,
      +Your bishop

      • Ann

        Good comment, agree.

    • Rebecca

      Well, there is this: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/11/03/school-district-calls-12-year-old-rape-victim-negligent-and-careless-in-her-own-abuse/

      But I agree. It’s even worse when priests do this sort of thing.

  • Bill

    No Doug. Teachers’ Unions enabled as much shit as the Bishops. Except they have implicit support of the architects of culture. The Church is always hated in this way. Unless the American Church is talking about immigration or reducing nuclear weapons.

  • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

    And yet, here is another quote: “I am very angry,” [Superintendent] Deasy tells The Daily Beast. “You tell me you knew about a complaint and you didn’t act on it? You are gone, and if you touch a kid, you are gone. If you know about it and you don’t report it, you are going to lose your job. We are mandated to report it. It is the law.” No matter how we try to frame it, there is a unique nature to the abuse within the Church. Not all is different, and cover ups were not just Catholic. But the overall scandal as it happened, and continues to play out, in the Church is still unique.

  • http://gloriaromanorum.blogspot.com/ Florentius

    BTW, that culture of indifference extends to the media, law enforcement and local government as well. When Kirk Cameron called out Hollyweird for the culture of homosexual abuse that exists there, what happened? Was there a slew of investigative reports? Did law enforcement show any interest? Of course not. Instead, if you do a Google search on the matter, you’ll quickly see that Cameron’s name is now mud for daring to make such accusations. Our media is largely complicit with sexual abuse cover-ups. If you don’t believe me, see how they are reacting to Senator Bob Menendez’s current scandal. They are participating in the circling of the wagons to protect him.

  • http://martinkelly.blogspot.com/ Martin

    “It is the backhanded compliment hell pays heaven that everybody is appalled–and rightly so–by the Church’s failure while the even more massive failure of our schools in this regard tends not to make anything like the splash in our culture. This is as it should be, since judgment rightly begins with the household of God.”

    Well said, Mark. You live in the house, you play by the rules.

  • Thinkling

    >> The problem with the Church’s response was not that it was uniquely hideous. It’s that it was so bleakly and ordinarily hideous.

    Back to Chestertonians Anonymous with you!

    Nice piece. Those who single mindedly bash the Church on this issue, or those who single mindedly bash (say) teachers on this issue, are demonstrating more about their tribal loyalties than about their concern for children.

    Bill Donohue and David Clohessy, go to your rooms.

  • Lizzie

    The problem is that people expect priests (rightly or wrongly) to be holy people, and they expect public school teachers and administrators not to be. So there’s outrage over the one and a “well what do you expect” attitude over the other.

    • midwestlady

      Is it such a strange idea that a priest should be holier than a secular teacher? What do we expect of priests these days anyway? Is is okay if they’re very ordinary in every way, including this one, and not touched by the Gospel in their own lives? Is there nothing the Gospel gives you that’s worth bettering yourself over? Can you read it, use it in worship and prayer, and live it every day, and not be changed in any way that really counts or shows or makes any difference whatsoever?

      This strikes me as odd. I mean, if we are willing to accept this, why bother? Seriously. What’s the point? Is religion just some sort of optional poetry that only some people bother with, or is it a family custom or what? Is it not supposed to have an effect on your life?

      • Gordon Zaft

        I think you missed the point. It seems like you don’t expect secular teachers to be holy. That’s the point. Everyone (I mean, everyone) agrees that priests should be holy and shouldn’t ever, ever, ever commit such acts. The point is not that we should hold priests to a high standard, but that we aren’t holding the rest of ourselves to much of one.

        • midwestlady

          I don’t expect secular teachers to be any holier than anyone else, no. They’re just people like everyone else, many of them quite irreligious or pagan, just like nearly everyone else in our culture now.

          Unfortunately, I don’t expect priests to be particularly holy either, regardless of the fact that they’re tasked with helping us to become more holy. The problem is you can’t give what you don’t have. So, holiness is in very short supply all around, these days.

          I also think it’s a great shame that instead of talking about holiness and genuine spiritual growth in faith, most people, Catholics included, expect the Church just to be some kind of spiritual vending machine or social benefits calculator. Holiness doesn’t seem to be the point anymore at all for most people, clergy included.

          It’s all business as usual.

          • midwestlady

            And if a person can get as holy as the average teacher out there, by doing whatever the average teacher does, which I assure you isn’t primarily religious, then as I said before, WHY BOTHER? What’s the point? Are you telling me that there’s no more to this than that?

  • Blog Goliard

    My first thought, on seeing the headline, was that Mark must have written a piece about one of the San Fernando Valley’s key industries…

    …though that’s perhaps not entirely unrelated.

  • “joe”

    “It is the backhanded compliment hell pays heaven that everybody is appalled–and rightly so–by the Church’s failure while the even more massive failure of our schools in this regard tends not to make anything like the splash in our culture.”

    teachers’ molestations aren’t making as big a splash in “our” culture as clergy molestations? i guess we live in different cultures.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      You must, because I read several news sites a day and it wasn’t until I came to this blog that I’ve seen anything about it.

      • midwestlady

        I’ve seen a lot about it. Google it. You’ll see that in order to be hired, you must have a full background check and be fingerprinted. Teachers are fired and they lose their licenses to teach when they abuse. If you google it, you’ll see a lot of instances where teachers have been fired and prosecuted for it. Not only that, but parents are much more influential in these circumstances and it doesn’t go on once parents get a whiff of it. They’re gone.

        • enness

          Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t.
          My question is, will Jerry Sandusky and Jimmy Savile be lorded over Penn State and the BBC, respectively, to this extent ten years from now?

          • midwestlady

            I have no idea what you’re talking about because I don’t believe that’s standard English.

  • Chris

    The reality is, the Church will always be held to a higher standard. Given that we have the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as a bottomless well of grace from which we can draw at will, our culpability is far greater as an institution. The sin of betrayal didn’t originate with Judas, but we find it far FAR more repulsive carried out by his hand because of his proximity to the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Dante didn’t deposit him in the mouth of Satan because it’s an interesting visual. And I would venture that unrepentant sexual monsters in the Church will have an especially terrible eternity to contemplate the level of their own betrayal.

    What it boils down to is this: if the Church is resisting the call of grace, how on earth can we expect secular institutions to do better?

    • midwestlady

      The Church *should* be called to a higher standard, or we’re just one more organization. Scripture says, and we sing, “We are the Light of the World.” If we don’t at least do our best, with God’s grace, to live up to that, it’s just one more idle boast in a world of idle boasts.


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