Nice-Catholic-Girls–Turned-Atheist: Our Perspectives on “Spotlight”

Nice-Catholic-Girls–Turned-Atheist: Our Perspectives on “Spotlight” December 14, 2015

Editor’s Note: A Jesuit seminary grad (Catherine Dunphy), a former nun with Mother Teresa (Mary Johnson) and an ordinary lapsed Catholic (me), all now atheists, discuss our reactions to the film Spotlight, about the Boston Globe’s reporting on pedophilia in the Catholic Church. This blog post was originally intended to be a podcast, but sound problems in this, our first effort, made that impossible. Instead, we’ve excerpted relevant quotes from our 40-minute phone conversation and done a little light editing.  It’s fascinating, if I do say so myself, the participant with (gratefully) the least personal experience with this sordid subject.  UPDATE 12/23/15:  Mary Johnson is featured in an excellent “Openly Secular” video here.

                             ============================

By Catherine Dunphy, Mary Johnson and Linda LaScola

Mary Catherine Linda

We discuss our favorite scenes

Linda: My favorite scene was when reporter Michael Rezendes, asked about why he had left the Church, responded, “Oh you know, all the usual crap.”  As if that was enough to explain it. And it is for many Catholics.

Mary: You saw how it affected him so deeply, but he still had hope. He began that conversation talking about what the church had meant to him, and I think that is how it is for many people – they still hope somehow they might be able to go back.

Catherine: I really gravitated to Rezendes. He seemed to be the conscience of the group. Though all the characters were struggling, it was playing out most vividly with him.

The scene that struck me the most was near the end when he goes to visit the lawyer, Garabedian, to give him an advance copy of the report. Garabedian tells Michael he has to go because, “I have new clients.” He looks through the window and he sees two young kids (siblings), who have both been abused by a priest – and the look on Michael’s face in that scene, hits you in the gut. It is a subtle yet impactful way of communicating to the audience, “Wow – this is still going on!”

The other scene that stood out for me was the one with reporter Sacha Pfeiffer, when she tracked down a retired priest accused of sexual abuse. She asked him directly if he had abused children. His jargon sounded eerily familiar to me. Standing on his porch, dressed like an everyday demure, harmless older gentleman, he responded honestly that he had had sex with children, but, “I didn’t get any sexual gratification from that.” That pushing of responsibility onto the victim is something I’ve heard in the church before. Then the priest admits that he himself was raped, which is something most people are probably not aware of – that, as children, many priests were themselves victims of priests.

Characterizing the predators and their victims

Mary: That scene was extremely unsettling, because as you said the guy comes to the door, and he looks like this jolly old fellow and Sacha asked him very directly about the accused abuse. He responds, “Oh sure, I fooled around with kids,” but just as you said, Catherine, because he got no sexual gratification from it, in his mind it didn’t matter.

For him, a priest who was probably trained in the 50’s when all the emphasis was placed on sin, the fact that he didn’t have any personal satisfaction from these acts meant that he was not as guilty. It’s obviously totally absurd with no real moral sense whatsoever – but that is the way people were trained. They didn’t think about their own culpability, but rather about breaking the rules.

Catherine: Yes. My experience with the bishop of my former diocese was, “The victims are also culpable, because they participated in the abuse.” When Sacha speaks to the victims, she hears how the priests groomed their victims. The use of that word was crucial.

Mary: The victims were very often from poor single-parent families and priests would get close to the family under the guise of helping them, only to abuse the children. There was a definite pattern to it.

I recall the scenes that took place in Michael’s kitchen, after work, getting those phone calls from Richard Sipe [psychotherapist and former Benedictine monk]. You do not ever see him. You only ever hear his voice over the phone, always talking to Michael, and he tries to explain that this is a real problem, that he has been after clergy about this since 1985. In the movie, they say that only about 50% of priests are celibate, but if you read Sipe’s work, you see that he says, “At any given time only about 50% of priests are practicing celibacy.“ Therefore, over a lifetime, many priests have violated their vow of celibacy. I think that is accurate – but it’s usually with consenting adults. But that 6% that he pinpointed as the number of Catholic clergy acting out sexually with children is just mind boggling – that he was able to predict the number! When he was asked, “Do you think it could be as many as 13 priests?” he said, “No, I think that number is very low.” It turned out to be 87. Close to the 90 he predicted.

When they told their boss, he said, “We need more than a metric from a hippy ex-priest.” As an ex-nun I know that is how former clergy are generalized. We don’t get lot of credibility, especially former Catholic clergy.

Catherine: Listening to those phone conversations between Michael and Sipe, I was wondering if we would ever see Sipe. When we didn’t, I found myself thinking that he was kind of like the voice of God. Without Sipe, the reporters wouldn’t have known what to look for, like the discovery of the annual directories. That was an epiphany, when they began combing through the books and circling the names of the priests who had gone on leave. It showed that the diocese was actually documenting this phenomenon.

Mary: The big thing about the Boston Globe reporting that was different from earlier reporting was they weren’t just exposing individual cases; they were determined to show that the corruption went all the way to the top; that this was a cover up, that this was something even bigger than the Boston Archdiocese, that it is endemic throughout the church. They were the first journalists to do that.

Spotlight_(film)_poster

Catherine: At the end the film where they list the dioceses where major sex abuse scandals were confirmed, I saw my former diocese among those listed. That was a strangely uplifting moment.

Mary: I went to the Vatican website and read the review of the movie in Italian, and it’s interesting. It starts with comparing how the airplanes flew into the twin towers: “As airplanes shook the twin towers, quietly just a few miles to the east there was a shaking of the foundation of the Archdiocese of Boston, unbeknownst to many people and about to be revealed.” They talk about the journalists’ vocation. Good for the Vatican!

Catherine: I’m going to be critical about the Vatican’s reaction, because the former archbishop of Boston was promoted and moved to Rome. The Vatican would say that this is a problem of the American Church. Well, in my mind, it’s the church in general. We are looking at information from North America and Europe but I imagine that in the developing world, this problem is much, much worse.

Mary: In Africa, I don’t know about the abuse of children, but I am aware that many priests see convents as places where they can go for free sex. This is a widely reported phenomenon. Sometimes they’ll make deals with the Mother Superior — “We’ll give you food, and you’ll give me Sister So-and-So.”

[Linda gasps.]

Catherine and Mary on Catholic Treatment Centers

Catherine: I think this movie is the tip of an iceberg. In seminary, I was keenly aware of this institution called Southdown, started in the 60’s, which is just north of Toronto. It is basically where all priests go when they get into trouble, whether it’s mental health, alcoholism or pedophilia. Their motto is “healthy leaders for a healthy church.”

Mary: Those centers exist all over the place. I was in a center briefly, while I was on leave from the Sisters, that did not accept pedophiles. They did help a lot of people, but there were people there who had been caught in other sexual scandals, or addictions, or just trying to make decisions about their vocation. I feel like I am on the inside of the story because of my knowledge of this treatment center.

This reminds me of another thing that I loved about this movie. Matt Carroll, the database researcher, discovered that there was a treatment center just a block from his house. He wanted to break the story but also wanted to protect his kids, so he put a note on the fridge with a photo of the house telling his kids not to go near that house. Then when they finally published the story, on the Feast of the Epiphany of all days, Matt drops a paper on the front step of the house, and I thought, “Yes!”

Mary reveals more Catholic exploitation

Mary: While I was still in the convent in 1985, the scandal in Louisiana broke and that was the first one that investigative reporter Jason Berry wrote about. And again I sort of feel like I am inside the story, because at that time, the diocese reached out to Mother Teresa and asked her if she would bring her sisters to Lafayette, Louisiana, because, they needed public relations help.   We needed to show the good face of the Church because of this trial. I actually travelled there with Mother Teresa on a private plane and it was interesting to watch her knowing that she was being brought there, not to help the poor, but because the priests had messed up and she needed to repair the image of the church. She was continually used like this, especially as the scope of the abuse scandal worsened.

Linda explains her relative silence

Linda: Something I notice, Catherine and Mary, is that you seem so much angrier about this abuse. Its not like I’m not angry, but I now realize how lucky I was to be so removed from it. It had so much more of an effect on people who were loyal Catholics.

Mary wraps it up

Mary: The mood in the movie became heavier and heavier as the reporters began gathering information. The audience was watching their quiet perseverance and professionalism during this investigation and how the passion grew in them. It was one way of showing something that people don’t like to talk about — raping children. It was important for me when the reporter Sacha said to one of the victims, “The language is really important. It won’t be enough to say that you were simply molested. People will need to hear how horrible it was.” Focusing on the abuse would have made watching this film very, very difficult. Focusing on the reporting made it easier. Even so, it was hard.

**Editor’s Question** If you’ve seen the movie, what was your favorite scene and why?

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>>>>>Photo Credits: “Spotlight (film) poster” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Spotlight_(film)_poster.jpg#/media/File:Spotlight(film)_poster.jpg


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  • mason

    Great photo and article! Have the movie coming on Netflix. Another splendid (a word I rarely use) new movie we just watched that looks into the twisted soul of the church is “Jimmy’s Hall” 2015 (I will nominate it for several Academy Awards)

    How about a Youtube of Nice Catholic Girls-Turned Atheist: Our Perspectives on “Spotlight” Movie?
    I think the abuse, of all kinds in the South American and Latin American countries even far surpasses the tip of the Catholic Abuseberg that’s been discovered so far. My reasoning is the passivity of the peoples and the perceived authority of the priests.

    I’ve come to accept that the masses are inclined to have a primitive attraction to mythologies, nonsense, anti-science, absurdity, fantasy, and as the reporter puts it, “the usual crap.” It still seems intensely difficult for the peasants to stand up to the abusive Lord of the Land. Maybe this willingness to be bamboozled and abused, and defend the abusers, is encoded into the DNA; a part of the primordial spiral helix that mainly led to hoofed creatures like sheep?

    The comparison on the Vatican website of the Boston Diocese to The Twin Towers produced in me nausea and demonstrates just how thick the calloused hubris epidermis of the Catholic Church is.

  • BayAreaGuy

    What a great read! Thanks Mary, Catherine, and Linda. I wanted to add something to this discussion. I’ve noticed that the conflation of homosexuality and pedophilia is particularly driven by widespread coverage of the sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church. The Vatican’s response, which involved removal of known homosexuals from the priesthood, was not helpful in that regard. Although the disproportionate victimization of boys (as opposed to girls) is well documented, it probably had more to do with their relative access than it did to any sexual inclination on the part of the molesters. Still, I’ve heard many, many people (even well meaning folks) slip up and refer to these priests as “homosexuals” instead of “child molesters,” which is what they actually are.

  • Linda_LaScola

    “the calloused hubris epidermis of the Catholic Church”

    nice imagery.

  • Linda_LaScola

    Thanks, BayAreaGuy – and that part about the priests preying on most accessible kids, irrespective of gender, stood out to me, too. What creeps they are — and the people who protect them too.

  • mason

    and inside beats an artificial heart… I hope the Ex-Catholic Trinity is ableto do a Youtube, maybe via Skype etc.

  • JohnMcCormack

    Love the 3 person discussion and input.
    Spotlight shows how difficult it is to get the truth out of an organized crime syndicate. A team of Boston journalists worked tirelessly to find out that the Catholic church knowingly was running a massive organized childrape crime syndicate in Boston and around the world back in a time when the Catholic Church had a powerful influence. It also shows how Catholic followers tried to help the church get away with it.

    Make no mistake, Spotlight is a movie about organized crime, featuring the Catholic church, the largest organized childrape crime syndicate in the history of the US, and in BRUTAL defiance of Jesus in Matt 18:6-14, where Jesus said childrape was unforgivable.

    This movie shows how the Catholic church exhibited the same “code of silence” that the mafia has, without the honor, as they were protecting at least 249 “confessed” pedo-priests in Boston.

    The pedo-priests in the Catholic church raped over 1,000 children in Boston alone, thanks to at least 249 pedophile priests, hidden and protected by hundreds of other priests, including Cardinal Law. (Only 90 were known at the time of the movie, but credits at the end show 249, and the number is now at least 268).

    The Catholic church admitted 4,329 substantiated, accused pedophile priests in the US in their own John Jay report of 2004, and of course they lied. Since 2004, they have found an ADDITIONAL 6,630 pedo-priests according to the USCCB Schuth report of 2013.

    And the Catholic church hid & protected 100% of their known pedo-priests, worldwide (Matt 18:6-14). Cowardly, rampant, unforgivable evil, in brutal defiance of Jesus.

  • JohnMcCormack

    This was a clever lie started by the “Catholic League” to make Catholics think the Catholic church was right all along about homosexuality. They doubled down on evil by lying. It was then passed on by catholic.com, and by priests at parishes, from the father of all lies.

    Followers of the Catholic church now focus on the “homosexuality” instead of the

    1) rape
    2) child rape
    3) organized child rape

  • mason

    Excellent recap. Mythology aside, “in brutal defiance” of the even the most basic of human decency. I’m completely nonplussed how any person with a modicum of conscience can be a “Catholic.” The fear and childhood brainwashing must have effected the deepest recesses of their brain.

  • JohnMcCormack

    agreed, but Catholics don’t believe in human decency.

    I grew up Catholic, and the word brainwashing is right. You never look at it objectively, but if you do, yikes.

  • Linda_LaScola

    I won’t defend people remaining Catholic — I myself left the Church (but not god belief) long before the pedophilia came to light. But I will hazard a guess that for some, it isn’t an simple matter of brainwashing, but is something much more complex, possibly related to the the same thing that keeps seminarians in the fold after learning that the facts of Christianity don’t align so well with the beliefs.

  • mason

    Too much embarrassment if they acknowledge to themselves and maybe even others (with ensuing social cost & shunning) that they were bamboozled by people they love and trust? And then guilt about their part in the Ponzie scam?

  • mason

    I was bullied into being a Baptist, “Jesus loves you, love him or you’ll burn in hell.” (NIce guy that Jesus) I made the obvious terrified child decision. When I think how kids are still bullied and brainwashed into the theistic nonsense I tend to foment.

  • JohnMcCormack

    shame the way they do it, because some of the concepts are good.

  • mason

    True.. like “Treat others as you’d like to be treated”…I have this fantasy that the leaders of three major theistic religions come together at the United Nations and announce “We’re coming clean, it’s time to tell the truth, it’s mythology, Let the chips fall where they may. Let us continue what is good; our schools, hospitals, and communities, but we are coming clean. There is no longer need for religious division, hatred, and wars. Truth is our Messiah and we are doing this to save us all from ourselves.”

  • JohnMcCormack

    Truly a fantasy, to expect the truth from religious leaders.

  • Ma Hester

    It’s fascinating, “JohnMcCormack” that you say all of these things, yet you have still encouraged people to give money to that same church when you’ve wanted to appear as a doting family member, etc.

    It is also disgusting to quote Matthew 18:6 in reference to victims of abuse. Matthew 18:6 refers to causing someone to sin. The victims of abuse did not sin, no matter how many times you make that quote.

  • Frolios

    If the priest got no sexual satisfaction from raping the kids, then why did he do it??

  • cadunphy280

    Thanks Mason! I’m am kind of relieved that the audio was so bad, because in it you hear how angry I am with the church. This post is more reasonable.

  • cadunphy280

    The church will look for whatever scapegoat it can find.

  • Mary Johnson

    Interesting question! And I think there are some answers–of course, pure speculation on my part, but as someone who tried (not always successfully) to live a vow of chastity for 20 years, I can speculate a little…..

    The priest called it “fooling around with kids” — and was probably a kid himself in the sense of his own psychosexual development. “Fooling around with kids” (AKA, more appropriately, as raping children) could have been a way of seeking human intimacy, of getting close to someone. It is a very twisted, morally horrific way to seek intimacy, but it not infrequently happens that people vowed to a celibate life are both undeveloped psychosexually and are extremely lonely. If these lonely, stunted people have access to children, they may seek to alleviate both their loneliness and their curiosity by extremely inappropriate sexual behavior with minors (or with adults, but it’s easier with minors).

    When I was a nun, we were forbidden friendship and any human touch. We were not allowed even to hug each other in greeting or in celebration of important events. The lack of both emotional and physical intimacy of any sort can lead to very inappropriate behavior, behavior which may or may not involve the attainment of sexual pleasure. The real point may be just to get get close to another human being, in whatever way is possible. For most people, celibacy is not a healthy way to live, and its consequences can be atrocious.

  • cadunphy280

    Thanks for sharing this Mary, I don’t think that people outside of religious or Catholicism for that matter appreciate the choke hold that dogma has on psychological and sexual well-being.

  • Mary Johnson

    You’re right, BayAreGuy! The conflation of homosexuality and pedophilia was a particularly disingenuous spin employed by the Catholic hierarchy to shift the attention from the real problem of priests raping children to the pretend problem of homosexuality. In response to the pedophilia problem, the Catholic Church investigated American seminaries and issued a document in 2005 that forbade seminaries from accepting actively gay men into the priesthood. One can say whatever one wants about actively gay priests (there are a LOT of them, and some of them are the best priests I know and, as I said, only about 50% of priests, gay or straight, actually observe their vow of celibacy at any given moment), but forbidding gay men to the priesthood as a solution for pedophilia is certainly among the most ridiculous responses possible.

  • Frolios

    Thank you Mary, for your fascinating response. I was aware of the Catholic prohibition of sexual intimacy among priests and nuns, but a prohibition of simple friendship?? If such a draconian prohibition is widespread in the Church, it would be a big clue to understanding the pedophile priest phenomena.

  • mason

    Now I’m really missing hearing the audio. 🙂 I don’t think it’s possible for an empathetic human to be to angry at the so called “church.” I would be delighted if I was chosen to be the hangman for the pedophile priests and happy to see all those bishops etc involved tossed into prisons. Seeing how calloused and defensive the laity sheep are makes it easier for me to comprehend how the citizens of Germany did what they did.

  • Mary Johnson

    The prohibition against friendship isn’t currently widespread among priests and sisters in the West; it is a bit more common in the East, and was the prevailing rule for clergy and sisters throughout the Church until Vatican II in the 1960s. Therefore, many older priests were trained with prohibitions against friendship, and though those rules changed in some places and among some groups, many who were trained in earlier ways found it difficult to shift–and indeed many of them lacked the skills and the psychosexual maturity to develop healthy friendships even when prohibitions were lifted.

  • rrbb333

    Just a brief search for “Islam and Terrorists” and we get this:

    “Don’t Blame Islam for the Paris Terrorist Attacks” – Time Magazine
    “US President Barack Obama has warned Americans to refrain from blaming Islam for terrorism” Zee News
    “Clinton says term ‘radical Islam’ an injustice to vast majority of Muslims” – Fox News
    Don’t blame Islam for terrorism – The Express Tribune Blog
    Don’t Blame Multiculturalism or Islam for ISIL and Terrorism …- Huffington Post
    ‘Terrorism has no religion’: people urged to stand together …Metro News
    ‘Terrorism has no religion’: Macleans Magazine
    “Blaming all Muslims for the terrorists is like blaming all musicians for Ted Nugent.” – Twitter
    “No, Islam is not to blame for the Islamic State” – Chicago Tribune
    “When Islam is not to Blame” – Modern Ghana
    ‘The Muslim faith is not to blame for ISIL’ – Al Jazeera English
    “Islam should not be blamed for Paris attacks” – Central Florida Future

    There are literally thousands more.

    So, as the media says: “Terrorism has no Religion”

    Wondering why Abuse has a religion?

  • Linda_LaScola

    The sexual abuse in the Catholic church was covered up at the highest levels of the official church.

  • rrbb333

    “The sexual abuse by _________ was covered up at the highest levels of the official _______.”

    Let’s fill in the blank:

    Public Schools
    The BBC
    The UN (yes, the same one that blasted the Catholic Church)
    The Boys Scouts
    100’s of sports teams and swimming clubs
    100’s of Protestant denominations
    Jewish Rabbis
    SNAP (yes, the organization that goes after Catholics)
    etc etc etc
    Some interesting reading:
    Protestants abuse more than Catholics:
    http://shoebat.com/2014/05/06/sexual-abuse-protestant-churches-catholic/

    “We don’t see the Catholic Church as a hotbed of this or a place that has a bigger problem than anyone else,” Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, told Newsweek.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/16/AR2010041602026.html

    UN aid worker suspended for leaking report on child abuse by French troops
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/29/un-aid-worker-suspended-leaking-report-child-abuse-french-troops-car

    SNAP Head covered up brothers abuse
    https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1683&dat=20020415&id=R7IaAAAAIBAJ&sjid=lj8EAAAAIBAJ&pg=6496,4206954&hl=en

    Priests Commit No More Abuse Than Other Males
    http://www.newsweek.com/priests-commit-no-more-abuse-other-males-70625

    “If anyone believes that priests offend at a higher rate than teachers or non-celibate clergy, then they should produce the evidence on which they are basing that conclusion. I know of none. Saying ‘everybody knows’ does not constitute scientific methodology.”
– Dr. Philip Jenkins, Pennsylvania State University.

    Tell me why Abuse has a religion again?

    You also missed the point. The covering up of abuse has NOTHING to do with the Catholic Faith. Just like Terror has nothing to do with Islam. Hard for people to get that.

  • Linda_LaScola

    The Catholic faith is not responsible — the leaders of the church are responsible for covering up the abuse and not caring for victims of abuse.

  • rrbb333

    Perhaps you can tell the UN that….

    “The United Nations has turned a noble report on child abuse into an assault on Catholic theology” – London Telegraph.

    Don’t think there is a different attitude for Catholics?

    Recent Muslim Docs:
    PBS: Seven Wonders Of The Muslim World
    History Channel – Muhammad The Prophet
    BBC: Science and Islam
    Islam: Empire of Faith
    Inside Islam: What a Billion Muslims Really Think
    True Islam

    Recent Catholic Docs
    “Losing Faith”
    “Suffer the Children”
    “Deliver Us From Evil”
    “The Boys of St. Vincent”
    “Sex Crimes of the Vatican”
    “Twist of Faith”
    and now”Spotlight”.

  • Linda_LaScola

    I didn’t know priests and nuns were forbidden human touch, but thinking back on it, the ones I knew were cold and distant — I assumed it was because they were closer to god.

  • rrbb333

    Funny, you forgot to put that in your article.

  • Linda_LaScola

    not funny and didn’t forget — it wasn’t a comprehensive article — it was a discussion among 3 ex-catholics.

  • rrbb333

    You did forget:

    “I actually travelled there with Mother Teresa on a private plane and it was interesting to watch her knowing that she was being brought there, not to help the poor, but because the priests had messed up and she needed to repair the image of the church. She was continually used like this, especially as the scope of the abuse scandal worsened.”

    The Catholic Faith (which you said yourself is not responsible) IS responsible for people like Mother Teresa. The Church is right to point this out. But when they do it is “a repair job”

    Not so when it comes to Muslims
    “9 Famous Americans You Probably Didn’t Know Were Muslim” – Business insider.

    You forgot to mention that the Catholic Faith was embodied by Mother Teresa and not the Abuse Scandal.

  • rrbb333

    Linda, I am sure you are a sincere and good person. But surely you see the point I am making. I am glad the media is focusing on separating terror from Islam. But do you not see the disparity when it comes to Catholics?

  • rrbb333

    Sorry, maybe post the link to the article where you do point this out….

  • Elizabeth.

    That’s a striking vision. What do you think about the Parliament of the World’s Religions? sounds like what it lacks is the statement that it’s all mythology….

    “The vision of the Parliament of the World’s Religions is of a just, peaceful and sustainable world in which:

    “Religious and spiritual communities live in harmony and contribute to a better world from their riches of wisdom and compassion.

    “Religious and cultural fears and hatreds are replaced with understanding and respect.

    “People everywhere come to know and care for their neighbors.

    “The richness of human and religious diversity is woven into the fabric of communal, civil, societal and global life.

    “The world’s most powerful and influential institutions move beyond narrow self-interest to realize common good.

    “The Earth and all life are cherished, protected, healed and restored.

    “All people commit to living out their highest values and aspirations.”

    http://www.parliamentofreligions.org/about/mission

  • mason

    Yes Elizabeth, you nailed it. Without starting with an honest declaration about mythology it’s just another Good Ol’ Boys’ Ecumenical Theistic Club. It will have not effect on curbing religious extremists and terrorists.

  • cadunphy280

    Rrbb333, Yes sexual abuse is a pervasive evil that exists in other organizations and institutions. I don’t believe that was the topic of this discussion. Crying fowl for critiquing the church is not really an argument. You’d like us to be nicer to the church, we’d like the church to be nicer to the victims of predatory priests.
    In the plethora of abuse cases against dioceses around the world it is evident (and the Spotlight team at the Globe proved it) that this is a known pathology that exists inside the church. Attempting to belittle the scope and instead shift the focus from the church to other organizations is simply a straw man. One last thing, the church is in the business of offering their particular brand of comfort, consolation and meaning to their followers. These priests were spokespersons for their Church and seen by many victims as God’s representative, which makes the abuse all the more sinister.
    Mary’s comments about the psychological immaturity of “celibate” clergy is very relevant to your critique that abuse happens everywhere so stop picking on the church. The church and its leaders created the environment ripe for this immaturity and pathology of course it should be held responsible.

  • BayAreaGuy

    You can hear Mary and Catherine on my podcast from a few months back! That may tide you over until they start their own show (fingers crossed). http://shelshocked.com/shelshocked/2015/4/25/episode-six-42615-secularism

  • BayAreaGuy

    Great insights from Mary. Many years ago, I developed a Psychology/Criminal Justice course called “Murder in America.” In doing research for that course, I ran across one of the most horrific – and simultaneously informative – books on the darker topics in human behavior, entitled “Journey Into Darkness.” Its author is John E. Douglas, former premiere investigator for the FBI’s serial killer subdivision. Although the priests in most of the cases do not kill their victims, Douglas discussed the various “types” of child rapists, and their motivations for doing so. Mary has described well one of the types; the molester whose whose sexuality is stunted (often by being raped as a child), and who perceives himself (in many ways) as a child being intimate with another child.

    Keep in mind, these folks aren’t always in the best psychological or emotional state to understand or describe their own motivations. So, this priest’s description of himself as “not getting sexual satisfaction” may, or may not, be accurate. He could, for instance, evaluate his actions in terms of whether or not he ejaculated during the act, seeing that as “satisfaction.” Or, as Mary suggests, he could be using these terrible behaviors to attain some sort of intimacy that his psyche is crying out for, but which he’s denied himself by adherence to these antiquated beliefs and practices.

  • rrbb333

    With respect, I don’t think you read the whole of the argument. No one is belittling any truth or shifting any focus.

    The topic of the discussion is “Spotlight”. Thus the topic is indirectly media. My point is that,when it comes to terrorism there are prominent politicians and media outlets (examples above) that are promoting the slogan “Terror has no Religion”. I am wondering why “Abuse has a Religion”

    Linda said, as some type of rationale, that “the cover up goes to “the highest levels” of the Church.

    That, as argument for giving abuse a religion, has no merit because abuse in many institutions is “cover up at the highest levels”, thus the reason for my quotes.

    Certainly the UN, Boy Scouts, Public Schools, Protestant religions etc are in the “business of offering their particular brand of comfort, consolation and meaning to their followers”. So that argument does not wash either.

    Your other attempt to separate Catholics from others by blaming celibacy is equally spurious.

    The John Jay report indicated that “blaming the clergy abuse crisis in the Catholic Church ……on celibacy is unfounded”.

    “If anyone believes that priests offend at a higher rate than teachers or non-celibate clergy, then they should produce the evidence on which they are basing that conclusion. I know of none. Saying ‘everybody knows’ does not constitute scientific methodology.”
– Dr. Philip Jenkins, Pennsylvania State University.

    So, my question remains, if terror has no religion…why does abuse?

  • Elizabeth.

    I suspect it’s the cover-up, rr… moving abusive priests into unsuspecting parishes. Has that happened in the Scouts, schools, etc?

    Bottom line, it’s reprehensible anywhere…. I’m deeply sorry to read how pervasive it is….

  • Elizabeth.

    Reflecting more, if myth is understood as expression of timeless truths, I’m not sure acknowledging religion as myth will do the trick… Radicals will just double down on their particular interpretation of the myth….

    However, it would help my feelings a lot when a congregation recites the Apostles’ Creed… all those metaphors drive me batty. hmmmm maybe you could come up with new ones?

  • rrbb333

    I too am very sorry for all abuse victims and their families. It is an awful tragedy.
    Two things stand out from your comments. Of course other institutions moved pedophiles from position to position, the fact that you had to ask that question speaks to the coverage that the church gets on this topic. “Spotlight” turns out to be an ironic title. One actor gets light while those who share the stage are left in the dark.
    Secondly you seem to agree that “abuse has a religion”. Understand that every single act of cover up and abuse was a direct and serious violation of Cathoilic teaching, tradition and of scripture. A paradigm that is shouted from the rooftops whenever there is a terrorist attack. My question remains: Why are Catholics not given that privilege?

  • RobF

    There are a few things going on here, the question of myth, and the essentializing of religion.

    As to myth, there are very few people who hold that all religions are all myth. Myths may be utilized but that is quite different from the claim that “it is all mythology”. Such is an untenable position by all accounts, it is truly a non-starter.

    As to essentializing religion (i.e.religious violence is intrinsically more evil than political violence), this too is untenable. Violence is violence, no matter what (or if) it uses as a justification. As Linda aptly stated in an earlier comment, it is not religion that is the problem. Violence (and abuse, oppression, etc.) is the problem, and human beings willing to commit such.

    This all to say that getting rid of religion, or re-defining it by declaring it “all mythology”, will do absolutely nothing in reducing violence one bit.

    What is absolutely necessary is for good people to stand up against evil, no matter what form it may assume (history is replete with its many manifestations), or no matter what institution – be it religious, political, national, social, educational, etc. – it may subvert.

    We must and can work on this, atheist and theist hand in hand together.

  • Elizabeth.

    Thanks, rrbb333…. Is there evidence other institutions have moved and protected pedophiles to the extent this institution has? This morning I heard a radio mention of abuse by UN peacekeepers… it will be interesting (and horrific) to see the patterns there.

    I have very high regard for Pope Francis, the brother whose name he chose, and innumerable other Roman Catholics through the centuries. I appreciate your caution against assuming the Roman church is distinctive in the extent of child sexual abuse and will keep that in mind as events unfold… though the idea that it’s uniform to that extent throughout society is one horrendous thought.

  • Elizabeth.

    Quite right… I should be more specific about the extent of myth. I’m not sure how I would categorize what’s myth and what’s not… that’s a good puzzle to mull, and of course people will disagree about which is which. What I had in mind were items in this Christmas season such as virgin birth, angels singing, wise men bringing gold, frankincense, and myrrh; theological constructs like substitutionary atonement, hell, the book of Revelation.

    The violence that “coming clean about myth” could avert includes the psychological violence of being taught one is bound for hell if one does not declare faith in Jesus, or that the bible is inerrant — which has caused many of us to spend a good amount of years, energy, and anguish figuring out what it means that we find ourselves thinking differently — time and energy that could have been spent much more helpfully, for ourselves and for others. Additionally, the various religions might have less to quarrel over amongst themselves — though as I wrote above, probably we’d all just quarrel about whose myth best symbolizes reality : )

    Total agreement about all the ways atheist and theist can work hand in hand!! I am increasingly fascinated by the connections between atheism, “NextChurch,” process theology, and the Pew Poll findings about the “nones.” Thanks for your thoughts!

  • rrbb333
  • Elizabeth.

    Thanks for the awful links, rr. Following your lead to the Jenkins article, I appreciated too an interesting and civil 2010 CatholicVote discussion about it — https://www.catholicvote.org/time-to-be-honest-how-serious-is-the-predator-priest-problem/

    Probably thanks in large part to the spotlight on the Roman Catholic Church, the denomination I’m still a part of began requiring — I think in the 90’s — mandatory “boundaries” training and frequent refreshers for all clergy … I’m not sure about lay leaders, but I would hope so.

    If you are correct that the institutional coverup of abuse is pretty uniform across organizations, there is much journalistic work to be done, and may it be soon.

  • rrbb333

    Well, if, as Linda says below, “The Catholic faith is not responsible” for the abuse crisis, then is there any blame from a “worldview” perspective?

    How about the worldview that brought about our present system of morality?

    From De Spiegel: 2010
    “Sexual liberation was at the top of the agenda of the young revolutionaries who, in 1967, began turning society upside down. The control of sexual desire was seen as an instrument of domination, which bourgeois society used to uphold its power. Everything that the innovators perceived as wrong and harmful has its origins in this concept: man’s aggression, greed and desire to own things, as well as his willingness to submit to authority. The student radicals believed that only those who liberated themselves from sexual repression could be truly free…..”

    And…

    “In the debate on sexual abuse, one of the elements is confusion as to where the line should be drawn in interactions with children….it was precisely in so-called (60’s) progressive circles that an eroticization of childhood and a gradual lowering of taboos began.”

    Read the article and be horrified.
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/the-sexual-revolution-and-children-how-the-left-took-things-too-far-a-702679.html

    Feminism?
    Leading feminist of the 60’s Shulamith Firestone said: once the incest taboo was overturned, “relations with children would include as much genit*l sex as they were capable of – probably considerably more than we now believe.”

    Compare the above to:
    The Catechism of the Catholic Church #2356:
    “Rape deeply wounds the respect, freedom, and physical and
    moral integrity to which every person has a right. It causes grave damage that can mark the victim for life. It is always an intrinsically evil act. Graver still is the rape of children committed by parents (incest) or those responsible for the education of the children entrusted to them.”

    At the very least the post modern secular society seems to have initiated a world view that allowed this type of activity to be considered. There is no is no equivalent philosophical bases for abuse.

    This is the real tragedy for the Church. That it was not true to itself, but somehow allowed this evil to enter into its halls. And then to add to the sin, became more concerned about image then victims.

    Those who criticize the Church are absolutely right to do so. But the solution is to say to the Church: “Be true to how you are”.

    Matthew 7:16
    “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.…”

  • rrbb333

    “there is much journalistic work to be done, and may it be soon.”

    Not holding my breath.

  • Mark

    I don’t doubt that there is a problem with pedophilia in the Catholic Church but as a Christian, I think Satan is using the scandal to drive people away from having a genuine relationship with God.

  • Pofarmer

    Probably leprachauns. Nasty little buggers, those

  • Pofarmer

    Are you really gonna use the “but they do it too,” defense? Because that’s heinous.

  • Pofarmer

    “The Catholic faith is not responsible ”

    Oh, hell yes it is.

  • Pofarmer

    I’m sorry, but nothing you’ve listed there comes even remotely close to what the Church did.

  • Papalinton

    “…but as a Christian, I think Satan is using the scandal…”
    As usual, externalise the problem away from where the problem really lies.

  • Mark

    Just what do you mean by that?

  • Papalinton

    It’s all Satan’s fault.
    Pedophile Priest: “Satan made me do it. he tempted me away from god and made me abuse kids in my care.”

    Mark: “I don’t believe the behaviour of the pedophile priests is driving people away from God. It’s all Satan’s fault.”

    If what you say is truly what you believe as a christian, then I say your moral compass is deeply erroneous.

  • Lazarus

    There is no easy or nice way for the Church, or its followers, to sweeten this pill. To do so is disrespectful to victims and their families, it is dishonest, psychologically harmful to all involved, it is legally enabling to past and future perpetrators … and it is in direct contravention of the Church’s own teachings on taking responsibility, confession, true repentance and even redemption. Would it be ok for me to confess a part of my sins and offenses and spin the rest into an acceptable revisionist version?

    The horror and damage must be faced in brutal, undiluted and comprehensive form. Whatever price must be paid must not be bargained about. Forgiveness, healing, cannot be a negotiated settlement in a situation like this.

    Of course perspective should be maintained, of course each incident must still be judged on the prevailing facts, but for believers and / or the Church to deny any part of what actually happened would be to hurt the victims and their families all over again. While there are positive signs that some parts of the Church are in fact realizing the way that should be followed, there remain groups and individuals that seem incapable or unwilling to understand the extent to which continued denial is a harmful and damaging continuation of the original crimes.

  • Lazarus

    It is perfectly fair to point out that other individuals and organizations have also been guilty of these atrocities. But once that is done the point is made, the perspective drawn, and the issue cannot be taken further. One cannot negotiate with the victims, one cannot define their experience or insist on telling them what it is that they have experienced or how they should relate to it. To do so is not protecting the Church, it is harming the Church.

    It will in any event not do for the Church, who advocates itself as the Churcg of Christ, to dilute the situation by pointing fingers at others. Are we not supposed to hold ourselves to a higher standard? Where is the consistency, even the integrity, in that?

    And speaking of perspective : I am a Catholic, just like you. Please amend your well-intentioned defense to stop making excuses, to stop pointing fingers. We need to bow our heads and roll up our sleeves. There are decades of work ahead.

  • Mark

    Excuse me, I *do* believe that the behavior of the pedophile priests is driving people away from God. What I meant is that Satan is using the scandals to make people think that there is no God, thereby preventing people from having a genuine relationship with God. I also think that the media makes the scandal seem worse than it is.

  • rrbb333

    1. You have taken one post out of context. Pointing to other organizations with the same problem is part of a larger argument. Please Read from the start.

    2. While I think that your attitude is useful I am surprised by its acquiescence. Certainly there is “work to be done”, but Pope Francis himself has noted bias in the media and he, as usual, is right. It’s is completely obvious and needs to be pointed out.

    3. This discussion has focused on one question which has not been answered:
    If as Time Magizine, the president of the United States and inumerable other prominent commenters have taken extra ordinary pains to promote, “terrorism has no religion” why does abuse have a religion?

    4. Your comment on not using other orgaization as examples of similar problems, while not the point of my argument, is an example. The very media slogan “terrorism has no religion” draws in that paradigm. Examples of “terror” in other religions and institutions are brought up regularly by commentators in order to defend Islam. Which is good. But why is it not good for Catholics?

    5. So my question remains. If terror has no religion, why does abuse? Kindly read the above for a full perspective.

  • Lazarus

    I have read the entire thread, including of course all of your comments. There is no wider perspective. It is indeed, and unfortunately, you that is taking the narrow view. Your view is the one trying to spread the blame, dilute the harm done because others have done bad things. That is unhelpful and damaging, that stands in the way of true and lasting healing. This problem is not about you or me, or about the damage to the Church (primarily). It is not about Islam. It is about courageously facing what has been done, it is about respecting the victims, it is about loving them the way our Church tells us to do.

    To do so is not “acquiescence” but honesty, courage, integrity and the very least we can do. To try and obfuscate and look for dilution is harmful, insulting and cowardly.

    But speaking of victims, there is another problem that arises from the abuse. There is another, much less significant class of victim created by these events, and that is people like you. People who struggle to accept what happened, who cannot make peace with what sections of their beloved Church have done. This leads to several very sad efforts to try and ease the resultant cognitive dissonance, such as we see in your posts. These events unfortunately cause people in your position to approach a grave injustice with less openness and integrity than what you would have done had you not felt obliged to at the same time felt yourself obliged to protect and defend the Church. That makes you a victim also. A much less important class of victims than the primary victims in this mess, but a victim nevertheless.

    The Church does not expect you to take up the sword on its behalf here. Have a look at Pope Francis’s guidance here. Abuse does not have a religion, it is a ridiculous question. These events, these victims – they do have a religion, and that religion must act, and seen to be acting, in a loving, compassionate and real manner in order to assist the victims, and to prevent a reoccurrence. Other victims, other religions, other events, must accept their own responsibilities and obligations.

  • rrbb333

    This is about narrowing the blame, not spreading it.
    Those men who abused children and those who covered it up are to blame. Period.
    What is not to blame:
    1. Celibacy. As people in this thread tried to do.
    2. The hierarchical structure of the church. As Vanity Fair tried to do.
    3. Any part of the theology of the church. As the UN tried to do.

    And there are many more examples.

    This is what is meant by “giving abuse a religion”. Falsly connecting the faith to the problem.
    It is not “shifting the blame” to point this out. This is telling the truth.
    People here say “well, it’s worse in the church, that’s why”. This is untrue. That is the ONLY reason for pointing out that other organizations have the same problem. To disble the notion that we need to blame the religion and not the problem.
    I bring up Islam as an example of how to separate problem from religion. Something the media has worked hard to do. NOT to say “they do bad things too”.

    When good priests are ashamed to wear theircollar in public and when good Catholics are “ashamed of the “faith”” there is a problem.
    I am confused as to how you would see this point as one that does not support vcticims or acknowledge blame?

  • Lazarus

    The only thing any of us need to be ashamed of would be if we shirked our respective duties.

  • rrbb333

    Right. So there will be no notion of a “sad victim” (as you say) when one speaks out against those who unfairly use this crime to diminish our faith. No one should feel ashamed for telling the truth…

  • rrbb333

    What Donald Trump is to Muslims you are to Catholics…even more so.

  • Lazarus

    Indeed, no-one should. It is when the “truth” differs so much that we run into trouble. When people try to tell victims what that truth should be. No-one is asking you to diminish your faith, quite the contrary. Stop exercising your faith as a small, claustrophobic and selfish exercise. Let it be what it always should have been, love like Jesus did. Try to be a part of the solution.

  • rrbb333

    Part of the solution? What solution would that be if not the defence of the faith? It is the mealy mouthed fear of being seen as “conservative” that is part the real problem.
    Strong defence of the faith against perpetrators:

    Ephesians 5:11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

    Psalms 72:4 – He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor.

    CCC
    2356(rape) causes grave damage that can mark the victim for life. It is always an intrinsically evil act. Graver still is the rape of children committed by….those responsible for the education of the children entrusted to them.

    And (as outlined) against those who would use this crime to attack the faith is the ONLY solution. 2000 years worth of solution!!

    Your solution (whatever you mean by that) is likely to perpetuate declines in the priesthood and the church.

    As for me, be it “sad” or “selfish” I will stand with those who are not afraid of the truth:

    “The Catholic Church has done perhaps more than any organization to combat abuse…yet it is the only one that is attracted” – Pope Francis

  • Lazarus

    You have now moved from defending your own position to attacking the victims, those that insist on holding the perpetrators to account and, well done, another Catholic. You are clearly a part of the problem. Your type of Catholicism, a sweaty, insecure, idolatrous, cold and lifeless caricature, would not have been in the trouble it is if it really worked. It’s not “they” doing this, it’s you, and people like you who do as much damage to the Church as the original offenders did. This is unhealthy fundamentalism, and nothing to do with the Church of Pope Francis. I for one want nothing to do with your brand of hate, cloaked in self-serving pretenses of piety.

    I have tried to reason with you, your previous post has crossed several lines of manners and civility. There is no purpose in continuing this discussion. You may have the last word, even if your brand of Catholicism won’t.

  • rrbb333

    Since I did nothing but qoute the the bible, the catechism and Pope Francis (whom you seem to think did not say what he clearly said. Why is he not a “sad victim blamer??) I am left to wonder what else one can base their “brand” of Catholicism on??
    You have called me “a victim”, “sad”, “selfish” and now this little beauty “your brand of hate, cloaked in self-serving pretenses of piety”. I have not come close to that type of characterization.

    And from what universe did you pull “you are blaming the victims” from me characterizing perpetrators as “intrinsically evil”?

    I am sorry you feel the need to talk to a fellow Catholic the way that you did.

    All the best.

  • rrbb333

    If punishment/criticism is unrelated to the offence, unfair or is directed at the wrong person/s the result is resentment, rebellion, grudge holding and, in the case of religion, fundamentalist producing. Simply look at radical Middle Eastern groups using Donald Trump (who seems to punish Islam for the crimes of those who distort that religion) to recruit new and more radical members. Undue punishment or misplaced criticism is the fuel of fundamentalism for religion, or for nationalism for that matter. And that dynamic will distort that religion or country to the point of harm.

    So, when the abuse crisis in the Church is used to punish its theology, its tradition, its morality and its structure etc, in addition to punishing the perpetrators, it is fair and constructive to point this out as wrong. Not just to defend the truth, but to guard against giving fundamentalism fuel for the future. Distorted fundamentalism hinders reform and therefore healing. It is a negative for the victims.

    The Pope and others have been roundly criticized pointing to undue attacks on the Church. But these objections are constructive and needed. True healing must always be done in truth on both sides.

  • Vicky

    Elizabeth, please read the background of Pope Francis. In his native Argentina he too was responsible for allowing “his friend” a priest to escape the law after his friend was accused and found guilty of raping children. It is true, the problem continues to be acerbated from the top down. Unless the whole clerical culture is radically changed, nothing will ever be done to keep our children safe.

  • Vicky

    lazarus, I am a survivor of priest rape by 2 priest starting at age 13. I totally agree with what you have written. I love what you said about “one cannot define their experience”. To do that would be so disrespectful and arrogant. What a majority of people don’t get is that when you are raped by a representative of Christ what is stripped from you as a harmed human being is “hope”. You no longer can trust God, you no longer can say a prayer, “Father” has forever stripped you of ever having a relationship with God. So I ask, where then does one go for hope when God has betrayed you.

  • Vicky

    Before you continue to praise Pope Francis, read up on his response to child rape in his own country of Argentina. He too covered it up. Please do your homework before you make such statements. The catholic church has done squat! it is because of survivors like me who FORCED them to do the very little they have done for victims. They treat their offending priests with more respect and continue to protect them and take care of them but for victims we continue to be a huge nuisance to them. They spin all truth to fit their lies and make catholic such as yourself think they have done so much. See the movie and then look very hard at the very end where it shows all the countries where this institution covers up to this very day the rape of innocent children.

  • Elizabeth.

    Thank you very much, Vicky… I’ve read Francis’ regret for not better protecting his liberation theology priests, but I haven’t read about his protecting a molester. I am so sorry for your suffering this deep wound and hope there have been times of healing and that more will follow

  • C. Chaya Khan

    How can anyone stand to be a Catholic anymore????

    Here’s an excerpt from “50 Reasons to Boycott the Catholic Church”

    By Adam Lee / AlterNet November 26, 2012

    The Church uses its resources to oppose social progress and positive change all over the world.

    Last month in Ireland, Savita Halappanavar died, and she shouldn’t have. Savita was a 31-year-old married woman, four months pregnant, who went to the hospital with a miscarriage in progress that developed into a blood infection. She could easily have been saved if the already doomed fetus was aborted. Instead, her doctors did nothing, explaining that “this is a Catholic country,” and left her to suffer in agony for days, only intervening once it was too late.

    Savita’s death is just the latest in a long line of tragedies directly attributable to the doctrines and beliefs of the Roman Catholic church. I acknowledge that there are many good, progressive Catholics, but the problem is that the church isn’t a democracy, and those progressives have no voice or vote in its governance. The church is a petrified oligarchy, a dictatorship like the medieval monarchies it once existed alongside, and it’s run by a small circle of conservative, rigidly ideological old men who make all the decisions and choose their own successors.

    This means that, whatever individual Catholics may do, the resources of the church as an institution are bent toward opposing social progress and positive change all over the world. Every dollar you put into the church collection plate, every Sunday service you attend, every hour of time and effort you put into volunteering or working for church organizations, is inevitably a show of support for the institutional church and its abhorrent mission. When you have no voice, there’s only one thing left to do: boycott. Stop supporting the church with your money and your time. For lifelong Catholics, it’s a drastic step, but it’s more than justified by the wealth of reasons showing that the church as an institution is beyond reform, and the only meaningful response is to part ways with it. Here are just a few of those reasons:

    1. Throughout the world, Catholic bishops have engaged in a systematic, organized effort going back decades to cover up for priests who molest children, pressuring the victims to sign confidentiality agreements and quietly assigning the predators to new parishes where they could go on molesting. Tens of thousands of children have been raped and tortured as a result of this conspiracy of silence.

    6. They threaten to cut off funding for immigrants’ rights advocates because they sometimes work with gay-rights advocates. Preventing immigrants from getting legal and medical aid is less important than ensuring the church isn’t contaminated by even indirect contact with anyone who helps gay people.

    7. In a sign of how ridiculously disproportionate and unhinged the church’s martyrdom complex is, the current pope has compared expanding the rights of women and gay people to the murderous anticlerical violence of the 1930s Spanish civil war.

    8. They’ve used their official UN observer status to team up with Islamic theocracies like Iran and Libya to oppose calls for family-planning services to be made available in the world’s poorest nations.

    9. They’ve gone to desperately poor, AIDS-ravaged regions of Africa to spread the life-destroying lie that condoms don’t prevent transmission of HIV.

    10. In the mid-20th century, they appointed a special papal commission to study whether Catholicism should permit the use of birth control. When the commission almost unanimously recommended that they should, they ignored that recommendation and doubled down on their absolute ban on contraception.

    11. They excommunicated the doctors who performed an abortion on a pregnant 9-year-old who’d been raped by her stepfather.

    12. They did not excommunicate the stepfather.

    read the full article here:
    http://www.alternet.org/belief/50-reasons-boycott-catholic-church

  • Margie

    The way the movie really got to me the most was in the realization that the reporters had had the information much earlier, but it took an outsider, the new editor, who came from out of town and was not Catholic (or Christian of any denomination) to see what they had unconsciously brushed aside years earlier. I remember doing that myself. I was part of a community that consciously or unconsciously did the same thing. Not seeing what is plainly there–yes, I remember doing that.

  • shortenedgiraffe

    How can it be worse than raping children?

  • Mark

    I don’t understand the question.

  • Mark

    In no way am I defending the indefensible, especially after reading a lot of the comments on this page. I shall always believe in God but I can see why other people don’t. Sadly, I fear that they are so damaged that even the likes of Billy Graham would never get through to them. 🙁

    As for Patrick O’Malley, I found this blog and while it has no credits, I have a feeling that Pat is the author, because it has the same rubbish that he writes. https://godisntstupid.wordpress.com/

    If I am right about him being the author, then he may have asked people to give money to the church before his friend committed suicide. He certainly has every right to be angry with the church – I get angry with it myself – but he shouldn’t write such vitriol about us Catholics.

  • shortenedgiraffe

    You said the media makes the scandal “seem worse than it is”. I wondered how much worse than raping children you thought it could be.

  • Mark

    I meant that they make the Church appear worse than it is. I mean, there are such things as priests falsely accused but the media will not tell you as a rule when they are found not guilty. Furthermore they will tell you that the bishops have turned their backs on them, so sad as that is, it may indicate that the Church is trying to stamp out the problem. Of course, they could do more.

  • Ma Hester

    Yes, that is him. No, he told people to give money to the church after he was already trolling under his various handles.
    What separates Patrick O’Malley 617-PATRICK from anyone else writing vitriol is his violent threats and his willingness to accept and excuse child abusers, molesters, and pornographers — as long as they aren’t Catholic.

  • Mark

    I don’t understand why he would ask people to give money to the Church after he turned against it.