Friday, August 31, 2012

The Catholic Church Still Doesn't Get It

By now, we all know of the worldwide epidemic of catholic priest pedophilia on young boys. These crimes are truly sickening and have gone un- or under-punished for years and years now. Some high profile cases have now begun to hit criminal courts here in the US with Philadelphia and Boston and Kansas City cases, but it appears there is little or no remorse among those who are still within the culture. The National Catholic Register recently interviewed Benedict Groeschel, a friar who you may recognize as you have flipped the channels past EWTN, the Catholic tv network. In this startling interview (I first saw on Religion News), Groeschel comes off as someone who knows only too well the desires and troubles of the pedophile priest:

"Part of your work here at Trinity has been working with priests involved in abuse, no?
A little bit, yes; but you know, in those cases, they have to leave. And some of them profoundly — profoundly — penitential, horrified. People have this picture in their minds of a person planning to — a psychopath. But that’s not the case. Suppose you have a man having a nervous breakdown, and a youngster comes after him. A lot of the cases, the youngster — 14, 16, 18 — is the seducer.

Why would that be?

Well, it’s not so hard to see — a kid looking for a father and didn’t have his own — and they won’t be planning to get into heavy-duty sex, but almost romantic, embracing, kissing, perhaps sleeping but not having intercourse or anything like that.
It’s an understandable thing, and you know where you find it, among other clergy or important people; you look at teachers, attorneys, judges, social workers. Generally, if they get involved, it’s heterosexually, and if it’s a priest, he leaves and gets married — that’s the usual thing — and gets a dispensation. A lot of priests leave quickly, get civilly married and then apply for the dispensation, which takes about three years.
But there are the relatively rare cases where a priest is involved in a homosexual way with a minor. I think the statistic I read recently in a secular psychology review was about 2%. Would that be true of other clergy? Would it be true of doctors, lawyers, coaches?
Here’s this poor guy — [Penn State football coach Jerry] Sandusky — it went on for years. Interesting: Why didn’t anyone say anything? Apparently, a number of kids knew about it and didn’t break the ice. Well, you know, until recent years, people did not register in their minds that it was a crime. It was a moral failure, scandalous; but they didn’t think of it in terms of legal things.
If you go back 10 or 15 years ago with different sexual difficulties — except for rape or violence — it was very rarely brought as a civil crime. Nobody thought of it that way. Sometimes statutory rape would be — but only if the girl pushed her case. Parents wouldn’t touch it. People backed off, for years, on sexual cases. I’m not sure why.
I think perhaps part of the reason would be an embarrassment, that it brings the case out into the open, and the girl’s name is there, or people will figure out what’s there, or the youngster involved — you know, it’s not put in the paper, but everybody knows; they’re talking about it.
At this point, (when) any priest, any clergyman, any social worker, any teacher, any responsible person in society would become involved in a single sexual act — not necessarily intercourse — they’re done.
And I’m inclined to think, on their first offense, they should not go to jail because their intention was not committing a crime."

This is not to accuse him directly, but the tone and tenor and phrasing just seems so dirty to me. If nothing else, he is completely oblivious to the agony and fear that the victims go through in their ordeals. Children who are placed in the care of supposed holy authority figures who then manipulate and act out their disgusting sexual fantasies on these minors, all the while not thinking this is anything more than just horsing around. This is a serious crime we're talking about and no one within the catholic structure seems to get how serious this is. A 10-14 year old child is supposed to be the mature one and not the adult? come on.

Then he goes on to talk about Sandusky (the poor guy? really? who in their right mind could have sympathy for him?)... "Why didn't anyone say anything?"- I'll tell you why, because the people committing the crimes have all the power and no one to keep that power in check from corruption, not to mention the public humiliation the victim must endure to come out against their attacker because of how heinous the discretion is. The power structure in place at Penn State to keep the Sandusky incidents a secret for so long is strikingly similar to the structure of the Catholic Church, but the church is far worse since the Vatican doesn't have to answer to any other authority like the police or fbi. They literally have the keys to the car and no one to catch them. On their first offense, they should not go to jail??? This is lunacy. How can anyone in their right mind want to be associated with such devilry? The parishioners? how do they continue to give tithes to this?

Unfortunately the answer is most probably a mix between ignorance of the real stories and the scope and scale of the problem by churchgoers, cover up and secrecy and twisting by the church, failed promises of change and self-correction that get swept under the rug, all combined with the powerful influence the church already has over the supposed souls of the congregants. People still fear hell and feel like the church is the only way to live forever. That is a powerful carrot to hang over their heads to continue to blind them to the facts that the church is nothing more than a bunch of corrupt mobsters peddling lies while raking in cash by the billions, helping no one, hurting billions by enforcing their ancient dogmas on others and having a system to shuffle around rapists to keep them from being prosecuted by secular state authorities. It is an evil, evil organization and this interview is as clear as day that nothing in their mindset has changed.

The National Catholic Register has since removed this story from it's website and put up this apology, and this one has come out from Groeschel himself. Too little too late in my book. They are scrambling because someone noticed and they feel caught. How no editor could have read this and thought it was ok to publish shows just how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Luckily, the excerpts of import have circled the web and are there for all to see and make up their own minds about.

Wake up people and see what your church is doing! Why would you honestly and sincerely want to align yourselves with people and an organization like this? That talk like this? That act like this? Keep your faith and keep your money and go elsewhere for spiritual guidance if you feel you need it. It is imperative to get out of this strangle hold the catholic church has on this earth. The only way I can see to stop this cronyism is to dwindle the pews. Stop going, stop giving them your money. By showing up on sunday and tithing, you are complicit and giving the stamp of approval (whether you know it or not). The time has come to give up the catholic church!

The Freedom From Religion Foundation put out a letter earlier this year just to this effect and lists a whole host of major issues beyond pedophilia:

Dear ‘Liberal’ Catholic: 

It’s time to quit the Roman Catholic Church.
It’s your moment of truth. Will it be reproductive freedom, or back to the Dark Ages? Do you choose women and their rights, or Bishops and their wrongs? Whose side are you on, anyway?
It is time to make known your dissent from the Catholic Church, in light of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops’ ruthless campaign endangering the right to contraception. If you’re part of the Catholic Church, you’re part of the problem.
Why are you propping up the pillars of a tyrannical and autocratic, woman-hating, sex-perverting, antediluvian Old Boys Club? Why are you aiding and abetting a church that has repeatedly and publicly announced a crusade to ban contraception, abortion and sterilization, and to deny the right of all women everywhere, Catholic or not, to decide whether and when to become mothers? When it comes to reproductive freedom, the Roman Catholic Church is Public Enemy Number One. Think of the acute misery, poverty, needless suffering, unwanted pregnancies, social evils and deaths that can be laid directly at the door of the Church’s antiquated doctrine that birth control is a sin and must be outlawed.
A backer of the Roman Catholic presidential candidate says that if women want to avoid pregnancy we should put an aspirin between our knees? Catholic politicians are urging that the right to contraception should be left up to states? Nearly 50 years after the Supreme Court upheld contraception as a privacy right, we’re going to have to defend this basic freedom all over again?
You’re better than your church. So why? Why continue to attend Mass? Tithe? Why dutifully sacrifice to send your children to parochial schools so they can be brainwashed into the next generation of myrmidons (and, potentially, become the next Church victims)? For that matter, why have you put up with an institution that won’t put up with women priests, that excludes half of humanity?
No self-respecting feminist, civil libertarian or progressive should cling to the Catholic faith. As a Cafeteria Catholic, you chuck out the stale doctrine and moldy decrees of your religion, but keep patronizing the establishment that menaces public health by serving rotten offerings. Your continuing Catholic membership, as a “liberal,” casts a veneer of respectability upon an irrational sect determined to blow out the Enlightenment and threaten liberty for women worldwide. You are an enabler. And it’s got to stop.
If you imagine you can change the church from within — get it to lighten up on birth control, gay rights, marriage equality, embryonic stem-cell research — you are deluding yourself. If you remain a “good Catholic,” you are doing “bad” to women’s rights. You’re kidding yourself if you think the Church is ever going to add a Doctrine of Immaculate ContraCeption.
It is disgraceful that U.S. health care reform is being held hostage to the Catholic Church’s bizarre opposition to medically prescribed contraception. No politician should jeopardize electability for failure to genuflect before the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. (Question to ask your Bishop: Does he hold up an umbrella against the rain? Isn’t that just as “unnatural” as using a condom or diaphragm?)
Your Church hysterically claims that secular medical policy is “an assault against religious liberty.” You are savvy enough to realize that the real assault is by the Church against women’s rights and health care. As Nation columnist Katha Pollitt asks: Is it an offense against Jehovah Witnesses that health care coverage will include blood transfusions? The Amish, as Pollitt points out, don’t label cars “an assault on religious liberty” and try to force everyone to drive buggies. The louder the Church cries “offense against religious liberty” the harder it works to take away women’s liberty.
Obama has compromised, but the Church never budges, instead launching a vengeful modern-day Inquisition. Look at its continuing directives to parish priests to use their pulpits every Sunday to lobby you against Obama’s policy, the Church’s announcement of a major anti-contraception media campaign — using your tithes, contributions and donations — to defeat Obama’s laudable health care policy. The Church has introduced into Congress the “Respect for Rights of Conscience Act, ” a bill to place the conscienceless Catholic Church’s “rights of conscience” above the rights of conscience of 53 percent of Americans. That the Church has “conscience rights” to deny women their rights is a kissing cousin to the claim that “corporations are people.” The Church that hasn’t persuaded you to oppose contraception now wants to use the force of secular law to deny contraceptive rights to non-Catholics.
But is there any point in going on? After all, your misplaced loyalty has lasted through two decades of public sex scandals involving preying priests, children you may have known as victims, and church complicity, collusion and coverup going all the way to the top. Are you like the battered woman who, after being beaten down every Sunday, feels she has no place else to go?
But we have a more welcoming home to offer, free of incense-fogged ritual, free of what freethinker Bertrand Russell called “ideas uttered long ago by ignorant men,” free of blind obedience to an illusory religious authority. Join those of us who put humanity above dogma.
As a member of the “flock” of an avowedly antidemocratic club, isn’t it time you vote with your feet? Please, exit en Mass.
Very truly,
Annie Laurie Gaylor
Freedom From Religion Foundation

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