Pedophilia, Comments from the Pit, Cardinal Mahony and Following Jesus

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

I wrote Is Legalizing Pedophilia the Next Amoral Social Movement?  a couple of weeks ago.

The response to this post (along with another post about a transsexual teacher in a Catholic school) was one of the more sobering experiences I’ve had in a while.

Comments supporting pedophilia and basically saying that concerns for children in our schools was unimportant compared to the “rights” of transsexuals rolled in like a wave of sludge. They had a crazy-queezy quality that stayed with me, even after I deleted them.

I felt like needed to take a long shower, vacuum out my brain, and have my computer de-slimed.

I always intended to write another post about this, but I didn’t know at the beginning that I was going to include the self-serving excuses of a prince of the Church in my analysis.

Those pedophilia-supporting, child-trashing comments came from the pit. They are what people devolve down to when they lean on their own understanding. There is no bottom to human behavior once we stop feeling we have to answer to God.

If you doubt this, think back. Sixty years ago, even Planned Parenthood said that abortion was wrong because it took the life of a child.

Now, anyone who says this in public can be sure that the pro abortionists will settle on them like blow flies, declaiming that a “fetus” is not a human being, and those who say otherwise are not only religious fanatics but woman-hating moral ingrates, as well.

Thirty years ago euthanasia was considered anathema; the stuff of scare tactics by those who wanted to push women back to the back alleys. I was among those who sneered when pro life people warned that the disrespect for life that legal abortion created would lead inevitably to a push for mercy killing. I thought they were nuts when they said this. Unfortunately, I was wrong.

We are now at the pass where it is not possible to make a statement in opposition to legalized medical murder without being jumped out by the pro deathers.

Likewise with gay marriage. Fifteen years ago, the idea was bizarre to most people. It was laughable. Now, people who try to defend traditional marriage will find their conversations hijacked by those who tell them they are “haters” and “homophobes” for thinking this way.

There. Is. No. Bottom.

As soon as we accept one depravity, sometimes even before we accept it, the push is on to deepen the moral pit under our feet and push us down to the next new low. Whatever we accept, there is another step down where the purveyors of moral destruction want to take us.

This is where we go when we try to create a moral code out of our own thinking and debate. We simply can’t do it. What we construct is not a fixed mark. It moves as we move it like a ball in a soccer match. Inevitably, our morality becomes a matter of what we can wrest from political action and media public relations. It changes according to what the richest and most well-connected say it is.

When we try to create our morality according to the fashions of the times, we will find that it changes according to those fashions and is dictated to us by other people who have an agenda that does not often jibe with what is best of us, our children, our country or our world.

That is why I’ve become simple-minded about my morality. I tried mightily to follow the dictates of what I thought was right and wrong in my past and I reaped a whirlwind of remorse as a result. I no longer believe in my own moral superiority. I am not and never want to be a moral leader. I am a follower.

The One I follow is Jesus Christ. But I don’t rely on my own understanding, even in this.

Do you want to know how to discern God’s will?

I will tell you.

Read the Catechism and do what it tells you. Follow the 2,000 year old teachings of the Catholic Church.

When you fail in this, go to confession. Then begin again.

That is the only way I know to reliably discern God’s will. It is a reliable, simple and absolutely correct way to know if what you are doing is right or wrong. The trouble is, it often tells you to do things that will get you in bad with your buddies, cost you inconvenience or worse still, get you shunned and mocked for being a religious nut.

Which leads me to the Prince of the Church.

I wasn’t going to write about Cardinal Mahony. I don’t want to now.

But I think this needs to be said. The Cardinal has made excuses for himself. He claims that back when he was transferring priests who had molested children, he didn’t know how damaging this was to the children in question. He even published a letter yesterday in which he said that he’d never taken a course on this topic, as if that somehow or other excused his behavior.

The problem wasn’t a lack of proper coursework. It also wasn’t bad advice from “experts.” The problem was that the Cardinal was not following Jesus.

Even now that he’s been caught, humiliated and excoriated, he clings to secular excuses for what is, among other things, a grave moral wrong. Instead of relying on his education and failure-ridden secular “specialists” and “experts,” he should have paid attention to the Gospels he proclaimed and the teachings of the Church he represented. 

The Cardinal, no less than the rest of us, appears to have been beguiled by the world. I repeat: When he did these things, he was not following Jesus. If he had been following Jesus, he would not have been able to continue on and on treating little children this way. He could not have done it. Even if he had ignored the Gospels and the Catechism, the Holy Spirit would have stopped him.

He was following the world, not Christ.

We need holy priests. We don’t necessarily need priests who are stars, or who are brilliant or who can raise a lot of money. We need priests who follow Christ, who preach Christ, who teach Christ and who believe in Jesus with their whole hearts. We need servant leaders who are not so much stellar leaders as faithful followers of the One they should be pointing to every day of their priesthood.

We — you, me, all of us — can not create or enforce a moral standard for ourselves. That’s like a book writing itself, a statue carving itself. We are too finite, too fallen, too selfish and caught in the narrowness of our own selves to even attempt such a thing. When we do, we always end in a moral train wreck, whether we have the humility to admit it or not.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding,” the Bible tells us.

Whether your are homeless and living under a bridge or a Prince of the Church, it’s good advice.


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  • Maggie Goff

    I am loving your posts more and more. You speak Truth. Thank you.

  • pagansister

    Regarding Cardinal Mahony. How in the world could he be so naive as to believe that children wouldn’t be harmed/damaged by being molested by the priests? He had never taken a course that would tell him that? And that is supposed to make it OK for his actions, or lack of action? It takes common sense, not a course, to understand that grown men (who were supposed to be trusted with children) molesting children is going to damage those children physically and mentally. His attempt at an excuse is pathetic. There is absolutely NO EXCUSE for him or any of the other men who were in charge of priests letting it continue by just “transferring” them to another parish to continue their molestation. I sincerely hope he pays in the secular world (jail time?) and is perhaps removed from his position and perhaps even excommunicated. He is indeed one of many sad representatives of the Church —-how long does it take to absolutely stop the mistreatment of children by those that are supposed to be trusted men?

    • Dr. Peter John Resweber

      Re: “I sincerely hope he … is perhaps removed from his position”

      On that point, at least, your hope has already been fulfilled:

      • pagansister

        Thank you for telling me that. Step #1 —now for the rest.

        • Robert King

          Jail time is a very real possibility; but that’s up to the state, not up to the Church.

          Excommunication is unlikely; excommunication is not a punishment for crime, but a recognition that a person has effectively abandoned or denied the Catholic Church. It essentially says, “Look what you’re missing!” to an unrepentant sinner. Mahoney certainly is not perfectly repentant, but he clearly recognizes that there was something wrong about his actions and regrets at least some part of it. The Church takes even the smallest and most imperfect repentance as a good starting point, and calls all of us to a fuller conversion.

          • Catherine shaw

            The most important thing in this is, the children these people molest and destroy the faith and sometimes the humanity they have been threw in . These people are supposed to be. There to protect an guide them with beleath they are working with our lord. They should be treated as criminal no matter who they are.. In doing that at lest some healing can start to help these victims carryon in their lives knowing that reporting these things results in proper punishment on earth and true punishment will be delt in afterlife

    • Sus

      “The problem was that the Cardinal was not following Jesus.”
      This is so right. This man was in a position where people assumed he was following Jesus.

      It’s a mystery to me that these people aren’t excommunicated and/or laicized. Relieving this man of his “public duties” is a joke and insult to all the people affected by the sexual child abuse in the Church. I predict this man will get a one-way ticket to Vatican City. I’ve been there. It’s hardly a penance.

      What does it say that this morning I bought baked goods (that I bought the ingredients for and spent the time baking) from the 1000th bake sale to raise money for the new roof on the Rectory while $660M is being paid out because of corrupt men? It makes me crazy!

  • Kathie Evenhouse

    Amen and amen.

  • Bill S

    “Read the Catechism and do what it tells you. Follow the 2,000 year old teachings of the Catholic Church.”

    My original comments were a bit strong and so they were deleted. What I have to say here should not be as controversial.

    The Catechism and 2000 years of Catholic teaching do nothing for individual freedom, which is greatly valued in modern society. Living under those restrictions causes people to view the world as evil and makes them want to impose the same or similar restrictions on others. That’s why Catholics condemn many things that are widely accepted in a tolerant and pluralistic society.

    People eventually get sick of religious authority. It is not necessary and it infringes on human rights.

    Yes. Pedophiles are sick and there is no logical or reasonable excuse for defending them. But Catholics hardly ever march in protest against an institution that harbors the worst offenders. Instead, they protest against things that are none of their business and generally accepted by society.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Bill, the Gospels are the root of individual freedom; the 2,000 year old teachings of the Catholic Church are the branch.
      Not only does the Church not infringe on human rights it is the foundation for them in the Western world. The entire idea of the individual human being as valuable on his or her own merits comes from the Gospels. The flowering of individual freedom and merit are the fruits of that incredible change in our understanding of human beings and their relationship with God that Jesus taught us.
      The Church, as the guardian and custodian of the creeds, the sacraments and the dogmatic (which is to say foundational) Christian teachings which come from those Gospels has been the instrument of transmission for this understanding of the value of individual human beings,
      You are confusing the Church’s refusal to sanction license (which, in the end cancels out freedom for everyone) with a true preservation and support for human liberty.

      • SteveP

        Wonderful response, Rebecca. Thank you.

    • SteveP

      BillS: There is a fundamental misunderstanding in this first comment of yours that sheds light on the rest of your writing: your use of tolerance and pluralistic.
      Tolerance refers to forbearance of the not-good. Put another way, persons organized around the common good embrace those goods. “Good” is not something to be tolerated but is actively sought. Hence, the not-good is not sought but, when it occurs, is met with forbearance. By definition, that which is tolerated is not the common good.
      Law is not pluralistic. An action cannot be simultaneously, in the same locale, both lawful and unlawful. In the United States there are no parallel systems; rather the legal system is rather hierarchical from the local level to the federal level. Hardly a pluralism.

      • Bill S

        When I said: “That’s why Catholics condemn many things that are widely accepted in a tolerant and pluralistic society.” This is what I meant:
        tol·er·ance [tol-er-uhns] noun
        1. a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry.
        2.a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions and practices that differ from one’s own.

        And I know you can’t have pluralistic laws. I meant attitudes.

        • Robert King

          @Bill S – Where did you find that definition of “tolerance”? I know that this is the way that many use the word today, but it is not what the word properly means.

          Just ask yourself: would you ever express affection for your spouse or your child or your best friend by saying, “I tolerate you”? Why not?

          Would you ever express honor or respect for a group of immigrants or people of a different cultural background by saying, “You are tolerable”? Why not?

          Would you ever promote a book or film or any kind of artwork by saying, “I tolerated it”? Why not?

          Because to tolerate something is to put up with something undesirable but unavoidable. “Tolerance” is the attitude of tolerating something – something which is therefore assumed to be undesirable.

          This is why most people ask for respect, not for tolerance.

          • Bill S

            I’m not going to argue with you about the definition of tolerance. Google it if you still don’t understand what I was trying to say.

        • SteveP

          BillS: You are very close. As you understand there is no plurality in law there is, thus, no tolerance. For example, Texas cannot make sodomy illegal while Massachusetts makes sodomy legal. You do not preach diversity but homogeneity.

  • FW Ken

    I’ve been around social workers on and off since the 70s. At no point would tying up a child and raping him fall under the rubric that discretion is better for the child.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Everyone knows this Ken, or at least they should, not just social workers. One of the stunning things I encountered in the other post was the number of commenters who were willing to step out and support pedophilia. I don’t believe they were religious types, btw.
      As for the arguments Mahony has advanced in his own defense, they are self-serving and facile — at best.

  • Bill S

    “Not only does the Church not infringe on human rights it is the foundation for them in the Western world.”

    The Catholic Church likes to take credit for all of the advances of western civilization. The truth is that these advances, including great increases in personal freedoms, are the result of simple human evolution.

    We live in a country that liberated itself from Europe and has never looked back. Part of the Old World is the papacy, which continually attempts to influence our government by trying to manipulate Catholic voters. They are typically urged to vote against individual freedoms from abortion to gay marriage to doctor assisted dying.

    These issues all involve personal freedoms.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      That’s just nonsense. The fact is that this broad emphasis on human rights and the value of the individual has only occurred in the Christian West or as a response to it elsewhere. Abortion is not an individual freedom. It is the killing of a living child — who, whether you want to accept it or not — is an individual human being. The Church’s stand against abortion is entirely consistent with the rights of individuals. Gay marriage is an oxymoron. Marriage is the union of a man and a woman which produces children. You are equating affection and with the bond of marriage. While that is certainly part of it, making it the whole of it destroys marriage.

      Your idea of personal freedom is license and nihilism. That does not lead to freedom, but to enslavement and death.

      • pagansister

        Will respect, Rebecca, the Church does attempt to infringe on the secular world, and IMO on the governments of such. In this country, USA, we are not obliged to follow the teaching of any religion, nor have any religion tell us what to do. Not everyone in this country is Catholic—-and are not obligated to follow the teachings. Personal freedom is a right in this country—which includes the legal right of a woman to do as she sees fit regarding carrying a pregnancy to term and the legal right of any consenting adult to marry a person of either the opposite gender or the same gender. The fact that the Catholic Church (and a few others) finds that unacceptable should only affect those that follow the Church’s teaching—not those that don’t. We fortunately DO NOT have a theocracy in this country and thus our freedoms are not dictated by any religion—-Christian, Hindu, Islam, Buddhist, Pagan, Jewish etc. It is your opinion that the above (abortion & homosexual marriage) leads to enslavement and death. I disagree.

        • Rebecca Hamilton

          Pagansister, members of the Catholic Church have the same rights to speak for their viewpoint and to work for it as every other America. The Catholic Church speaks through its members, who are American citizens, exercising their rights as free citizens. Our leaders in the American Catholic Church are our bishops, but they also are American citizens. Just because they are clergy, they do not lose their rights as free Americans to state their opinions. If I choose to follow their ideas and join them in advocating for those ideas, that is my right as a citizen, as it is the right of every other American citizen, Catholic or not. One of our most vociferous anti-Catholic commenters on this blog is a Catholic who is angry with the Church and does not agree with it … about anything that I can tell. This is his right as a free American, and “the Church” can do nothing about it.

          It is untrue to say that the “Church does attempt to infringe on the secular world.” In the first place, there is no “secular world” from which people of faith are or should be barred from speaking their ideas and working for their beliefs. In the second place, the Church is only individual American citizens who chose of their own volition to advocate for their beliefs.

          What you are saying is untrue. It is based on a prejudiced understanding of faith which in some instances has begun to verge on active discrimination. I am not saying that you, personally, are either prejudiced or discriminating. I am saying that you are — probably accidentally — using the language which is being used to justify those things.

          • pagansister

            Rebecca, most certainly I wasn’t trying to imply that those who follow Catholic teachings aren’t America citizens with all the rights contained there in. It may have sounded like that—which wasn’t intentional. Perhaps I can state it this way—-which might be off subject—but the “habit” in some public meetings on having a “prayer” to start and end that meeting, the argument over whether to put up a Nativity Scene on public property, the insistence of a public display of the 10 Commandments in front of a court house—by Christian faiths is, IMO, infringement on the secular world. Obviously those example on the property of the faith involved, no problem. Public meetings are not the place to “pray” —IMO. (heck, I even disagree with the “In God We Trust” on money, and the addition of “under God in the pledge, which I do not say when reciting it). Is the pulpit the place to “advise” the members to vote or not vote for a candidate? Anyhow, I do see you well made point. I did spend 10 years teaching in a Catholic elementary school in the northeast. I have respect for but don’t always agree with Catholic teaching. Was raised in a Christian church, and left at 17. I did totally agree with JFK when he told the country he wasn’t going to have this country run by the Pope. Many thought he should be putting the Church first but he recognized he represented all the people, not the Church in his job as president. The right to marry as a consenting adult either same gender or opposite gender shouldn’t be dictated by any faith—as marriage isn’t always a religious institution, and the rights of women IMO, the same. The Catholic Church has been a strong advocate against those particular issues. Yes, the right of a US citizen and a person of faith—but if the powers in the Church had their way—neither of those would exist. (and not just the Church, others as well, but I think we hear more from bishops etc.). IMO again, right now those should be secondary because the Church needs to continue to clean up it’s house—– Thank you for the discussion, Rebecca. I appreciate it.

  • Bill S

    There are many well educated and accomplished people who disagree with your views. You base so much of your beliefs on the teachings of the Church over the past 2,000 years. Many of these teachings are non-negotiable and unchangeable

    You look at that as a good thing. But history has shown that everything is negotiable and changeable.

    Most reasonable and rational people agree that it is wrong for a government to prohibit abortion and gay marriage. As the human race continues to evolve, nothing will be non-negotiable and unchangeable.

    • Gigalith

      “As the human race continues to evolve, nothing will be non-negotiable and unchangeable.” No, it won’t. No new gene will allow murder. Across all time and space, in all worlds and all creatures, you will not find a single way to make what is wrong right and right wrong. If history can change morality, was then slavery moral until society no longer desired slaves? Will, some day in the far future, when society deems it necessary to have children kill each other, will the Hunger Games become moral? To answer yes to either implies that there is no moral law save that might, and the status quo, makes right.

      • Bill S

        “Across all time and space, in all worlds and all creatures, you will not find a single way to make what is wrong right and right wrong.”

        How about eating meat on Fridays? To the Church’s credit, it was actually able to change its stand on an issue. Unfortuneatel, it can’t change its stand on many other issues, even when it is obvious that it is wrong, and has been all along. Homosexuallity is one good example. Society has changed its prejudice against it, but the Church never will be able to without admitting it was wrong. There is no self-correcting mechanism to make that happen. That is what is wrong with the Catholic Church.

        • Gigalith

          Meat on Friday is a matter of law, and the obligation to abide by it is about obedience, not immorality. Murder, on the other hand, is evil by its very nature. Even if society made it permissible by law to kill in cold blood, murder would still be evil.

          • Bill S

            When it was year round, most Catholics believed it to be a mortal sin to eat meat on Friday. Many still believe that the same applies for Lent. I don’t know if that was so much based on Church teaching or just a foolish superstition, but I believed it. No one ever looked at it as a voluntary obedience.

            Whether the taking of a life is murder or not is a matter for the courts to decide. People have had it with the Church’s moral judgements on the matter, whether it be abortion, in-vitro fertilization, doctor assisted suicide, etc. The Church is the last place to seek guidance on the definition of murder and has no jurisdiction anywhere but in Vatican City.

            • Gigalith

              “Whether the taking of a life is murder or not is a matter for the courts to decide. ” Says who? The courts themselves? The populace? Genetics? The universe? Where do mortal courts derive their jurisdiction, if not in the belief of a higher, immortal moral law?

              I ask again: Was slavery wrong when the courts approved it? Will it still be wrong if the courts approve it once more?

              • Bill S

                The populace. We have a government of the people, by the people, for the people. There really is no higher, immortal moral law. The people know well enough what they want out of their government. Democracy is a wonderful thing. Much better than a monachy or a theocracy.

                It doesn’t matter whether slavery was right or wrong. It’s done and over with. In hindsight, of course it was wrong. The Bible and the Catholic Church never addressed it. It was the abolutionists who first tried to put a stop to it and it was the Civil War that ended it. There was no input from any God in the matter. Of course it would be wrong if the courts approved it once more, but what are the chances of that?

                Humanity is constantly evolving and we know what we are doing now. There is no need for a higher authority. There is no higher authority.

  • neenergyobserver

    No Bill, the construct of marriage between 2 people, a man and a woman is decidedly a construct of the Chalcedonian church, in the 900s, if I remember. If not, please explain Islamic practice. Rebecca is entirely correct, all individual rights came from and through the church, the only point I would disagree slightly is the emphasis on the Catholic church, the traditional protestants have also had a role.

    And before you even think it, no I am not a Catholic but the Catholic Church is one of the pillars western civilization, and without rigorous Christianity it will end, with the people going back to classical times, with the same short, hungry, and cruel lives that the average person lived then.

    What you are promoting, and again Rebecca is correct, IS license, and what is leads to is a very straight downward slide to tyranny and slavery. Not to mention a lack of respect for individual rights, starting with life itself. Abortion steals the right to life of the baby, in addition it infringes the rights of the father, additionally it directly leads to euthanasia of the elderly, the infirm, and the different. Anyone who posits differently has not read modern, let alone medieval history, read your Bonhoeffer. It is the culture of death, nothing less.

    Marriage is really none of the government’s concern-the only reason for its involvement is tax policy which can be handled in partnership law.

    The real takeaway is this: Your rights end where they infringe someone else’s, and that most definitively includes babies .

    • pagansister

      Good Grief, you seriously believe that all individual rights come from and through the Church??? WOW! For claiming to be a non-Catholic (but I suspect a Christian) that is an interesting view point. You make an interesting statement—that my rights end when they infringe on some one elses. (not an original one). Then the Catholic Church (or any other) should be held to the same rule. Their rights to attempt to influence things stop whey they infringe on MY personal rights. Yes, the government isn’t necessary for a marriage except for the license, blood tests etc. But then, neither is any religion necessary for a marriage either. Both my children were married in totally secular ceremonies. You seem to have a very dark outlook on the future, but then many have when they think that their religious ideas have been lost to the SBNR.

      • neenergyobserver

        Yes, I am a Christian, and yes, that’s what reading history teaches one. No that is certainly not original, it goes back at least to Locke and I suspect St. Augustine, and perhaps further. I agree, the church should not infringe your rights, nor should you infringe its. Why do I need a license (government approval to get married), in Nebraska I no longer need a blood test, so that’s a moot point. Sorry, marriage is by definition a religious ceremony, although there is no reason that a civil union should be treated any differently under the law.

        Dark view of the future? Perhaps, depends on whether we learn from history or make the same mistakes over and over again.

        • pagansister

          History also shows that humans tend to make the same mistakes over and over. OOPS!

      • Rebecca Hamilton

        what does sbnr mean?

        • pagansister

          Spiritual But Not Religious.

    • Bill S

      “the Catholic Church is one of the pillars (of) western civilization, and without rigorous Christianity it will end, with the people going back to classical times…”

      I can guarantee you that western civilization will not end without rigorous Christianity. The only real threat to western civilization is religious fundementalism. Well, maybe also the spiraling debt of the U.S. and other western nations. If you want to look to Christianity as a counter balance to Islam, then yes, maybe. But I prefer to see secularism as the best antidote to all religious fanaticism, including but not limited to Islamic fundementalism.

      Does the Catholic Church deserve credit for getting us through the fall of the Roman Empire? Absolutely. I’ll even give it credit for my primary and secondary education. Do we need it any more? Many would say no.

  • FW Ken


    Card. Mahony holds a Master’s in Social Work degree. I seriously question whether he was not trained in management of sexual abuse. Even back then, when molestation was considered best handled privately, a trained social worker would know rape to be rape.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      I don’t remember a time when molestation was not a crime, including “back then.” The idea that we’ve just recently figured out that raping children is wrong is nonsense, in my opinion. My point is that he didn’t need to hold a master’s, in social work or anything else. Anyone who was following Jesus Christ would have stopped this abuse of children.

  • Bill S

    “One of our most vociferous anti-Catholic commenters on this blog is a Catholic who is angry with the Church and does not agree with it … about anything that I can tell. This is his right as a free American, and “the Church” can do nothing about it.”

    I do appreciate the opportunity to air my grievances. I might have no respect for the hierarchy of the Church but I do love my family, relatives and friends who are almost all practicing Catholics. I won’t argue about religion and politics with them. This is a healthy outlet for me.

    Great Superbowl.

  • FW Ken

    I was politely call the cardinal a liar with respect to his professional training. “Liar” is not a word I use often.

    As you may know, from the 50s up into the 80s, it was thought best to handle child molestation privately, for the sake of the kids. Families did it, churches did it, scouting did it, schools did it (schools still do). No one thought it was right, but it seemed less awkward for the victims is they weren’t on public display. If you haven’t read Pedophiles and Priests by Phillip Jenkins, it’s the go-to resouce for understanding child sexual abuse.

  • Rebecca Hamilton

    I know this is an emotional issue, but please stay away from comments that could be construed as wishing violence on anyone.

  • FW Ken

    Popes did address slavery repeatedly over the centuries, and the abolitionists were, by and large, motivated by their Christian faith.

  • pagansister

    This may be a stretch, but someone above mentioned that from the 1950′s to the 1980′s that child molestation was best handled privately, for the sake of the child. In the case of the Church and the power the Priests and Nuns had over the children was very strong. If a child complained to the parents that a nun had smacked her knuckles for something she did, the parents would take the nun’s side. I had a friend I taught with in the Catholic School who said if she complained to her parents about something that had happened (no molestation ) to her, discipline wise in school, to her parents, they either didn’t believe her or took the side of the nun. Parents seemed to think that the religious leaders in the schools could do no wrong—-after all they were priests and nuns—serving God and teaching their children how to be good, faithful Catholics. There was way too much power given to those teachers in the Catholic schools, IMO. What is totally unfortunate is now we know how many children were mistreated by some of those priests and in some cases I expect, nuns, and due to fear the children had of them—no one knew about it. Children were taught to respect and indeed fear those in the Church leadership. They were to be obeyed, no matter what. It is indeed fortunate that all this secret world is being brought to light.

  • FW Ken

    It was a cultural thing, not specifically religious. My parents had the same attitude with respect to public school teachers.

  • pagansister

    True to a certain extent, FW Ken. From stories I heard (as a adult) from Catholic friends, they had stories of the nuns and priests much like I heard from my teacher friend. I was only in public schools in the 50′s and 60′s and never saw a teacher strike a child. However, I did teach in a southern public school, from 1980-1986, and at that time in a city in Florida, the principal could still use a paddle on a child, with a witness. I had to be a witness one time in that 6 year period.