Sunday, March 28, 2010

Who is to blame?

I haven't written as much as I could have about the recent problems the Catholic Church is having.  I assume anyone reading my blog is already aware of most of the stuff going on, and that Pope Ratzinger and his cronies are either completely insane, stupid or evil (or any combination thereof).  To be honest, I'm tired of writing about them, and plenty of others are doing a good job.  Then I came across this article, and decided I needed a good rant.  Just reading the title set me off:

Therapy led to soaring abuse rate in Irish Church

I'm going to regret this, but OK Mr. Quinn, I'll bite.  How exactly are you going to place the blame on therapy, as opposed to child rapists and the people who covered it up?

Canon law, or Church law, has been blamed for forcing bishops to cover up the allegations, to hide them, and certainly it is true that anyone taking part in a canonical investigation is required to swear an oath of secrecy, or confidentiality.

But the Murphy report itself is very interesting about canon law. It points out that a big problem with this law isn’t that it was used, but that it wasn’t used.
[...] 
Why did it fall into disuse and disrespect? It was because priests and bishops began to regard it as being overly legalistic and too focused on punishment. They decided it lacked compassion.   Therefore, they stopped using it. No longer did priests accused of child abuse face a canonical trial and the possibility of "defrocking".
Instead, and with disastrous consequences, they were sent for therapy and then, "cured", they were reassigned to ministry.

I'll take "Missing the Point" for $500...

First, the title of the article is completely misleading.  Therapy was not the cause of any of this, and that wasn't even the point of the article.  It should have said "Not following canon law led to soaring abuse in Irish Church."  Of course misleading, catchy, sensationalist headlines are more of a rule, rather than the exception, so that's not too surprising.

But even the premise of his article is incredibly poorly thought out.  If any other organization's members were raping children, and that organization decided to punish those people themselves, with their own set of rules they made up, their would be an uproar, and rightly so.  And Mr. Quinn acts as if this would have greatly improved matters:

The bottom line is that if canon law had been used properly, fewer children would have been abused. Civil authorities would still not have been informed, but priests found guilty of child abuse under Church law would have been punished and likely removed from ministry making it more difficult for them to offend again.

Likely removed from ministry?  This is an organization that ex-communicated the doctors who performed an abortion on a 9-year-old, along with her mother, after her stepfather raped and impregnated her with twins (the stepfather was not ex-communicated, of course).  But a priest can rape 200 children in a school for the deaf in Wisconsin, and he would have likely been defrocked.  How good of the Catholic Church to make it harder for them find children to satisfy their sexual needs.   Too bad they didn't follow those rules, things would have been so much better!

And even if they weren't following canon law, where exactly was their common sense?  Do they really need the law to tell them those priests should be turned in to the authorities, or at the very least, should not be allowed access to children?  Mr. Quinn says:

But unless evidence can be found to prove that there is something about Catholicism itself which produces abuse on a scale found in no other institution that cares for children, then we will have to assume this animus is, in fact, a prejudice and treat it as such.

With their insistence on being the morality police for everyone else, and the fact that everyone seems to think they actually deserve some form of deference despite their ridiculous superstitious beliefs, and it would suggest to me they have plenty of reason to cover up any immorality going on by its members.  Add to this the fact that this organization believes it has a god on its side, providing them justification to circumvent secular forms of justice and morality.

But all that is irrelevant.  If this was any other organization being protected as much as the church while performing the same disgusting acts, no one would even think to suggest we are being prejudiced to demand real justice and accountability.  Can anyone out there really defend an accusation such as Mr. Quinn's?

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