Tuesday, July 14, 2009

All Roads Lead Away From Rome, Too

Well, given the abuse scandals going on in Ireland this past while, it comes as no surprise that people are banding together and rejecting Rome.

"So far more than 300 Catholics have indicated their intention formally to leave the church through the website countmeout.ie, set up last month after publication of the report. The creation of three young lapsed Catholics, the facility is designed to provide clear information and the necessary documents to help people leave the church for good."
It should also come as no surprise that a good many of the people leaving the Catholic Church on the Emerald Isle are lapsed Catholics, agnostics, and atheists.
"'There are many so-called lapsed Catholics as well as agnostics and atheists in Ireland but the church continues to count them as members,' said Dunbar. 'Formally defecting will mean the church can no longer use their large membership to justify continued involvement in the provision of education and health services.'”
So what could possibly lead the Roman communion into such rampant abuses? I'm sure there are a good many factors. There always is. However, I'm fairly certain that one thing in particular gives rise to lewd and lecherous priests preying on their parishoners: mandatory celibacy.
When people are denied follow-through on their fundamental urges to procreate, they'll find some other way of gratifying their urges. And since the Catholic Church has had a long-standing negative view of sexuality, things like masturbation are also denied the clergy. So with no reprieve or outlet allowed to these clergy members, some of them find themselves in nefarious situations hoping all-the-while that their position of power and influence will afford them anonymity on the lips of their victims.
And let's not hear any scurrilous excuses like, "well, they don't have to become priests" because it does nothing to address the issue already at hand: people who have already become priests are diddling kids, and the developmentally needy. Those priests don't have an excuse, no matter what latitudinarian attitude the Roman See feels find to adopt; e.g., shipping pedophile priests off to South America where they can continue their abuses under cover of a less fortified media, and a generally ill-provisioned social safety net. Or shuffling them off to remote Alaskan towns where they can do more damage to the Natives than has already been done.
So while the Roman pontiffs may conclude that because Christ was celibate, so too should priests be, I'm quite happily certain that Christ never suffered the children to come unto Him for a chance at carnal satisfaction. So what excuse does the Roman Church and its coterie of pervert priests have on that account? Afterall, aren't the priests supposed to represent Christ to us?

7 comments:

Tag-photos said...

" However, I'm fairly certain that one thing in particular gives rise to lewd and lecherous priests preying on their parishoners: mandatory celibacy."


To back up a statement like that...

I think it would be important to see some statistics about numbers.

For example...
# pedophiles/population v.s. # pedophiles/priests

I believe, purely gut feeling, that if you were to be able to find and compare those numbers that the percentage of preists that are pedophiles are below global, and likely regional averages.
This would show that mandatory celibacy is not a factor.


I think the real issue is with the media. Pedophile predatory preists sell papers and attract viewers to their news broadcasts, or listeners to their radio.
Than the exaggerated media coverage is coupled with outrage because of their position of power and responsbility and you have a media outrage. One where there is a lot of money to be made.

On the other hand, a Joe blow pedophile in a bad neighbourhood with a laundry list of minor offenses getting caught will not even get a slight rumour on major news agencies, and MAYBE a slight blurb in a local paper..

Tag-photos said...

Not fully relevant but an eye opener...

http://dorigo.wordpress.com/2007/07/15/pedophile-priests-one-in-45/

"113 out of 5000. That is 2.26 +- 0.21 %: the fraction of priests who served in the Los Angeles area between 1940 and 2003 and were accused or convicted of pedophile acts."

So 2.26% preiests in LA over a period of 63 years... Also includes accusations...


http://www.holysmoke.org/fem/fem0279.htm

"Cornett & Shuntich (6), found that 27.2% of women in their study were
victims of forced sex. They also found that 15.2% of the men ADMITTED to
forcing sex on women."

"6. Cornett & Shuntich, _Sexual Aggression; Perceptions of its Likelihood of
Occurring and Some Correlates of Self-admitted Perpetration_ 1991;73 pp.
499-507."

What I find interesting here is that 15% of men admitted to raping...

Sad truth is I bet we all know at least one woman that has been raped. It is a viscous horrible crime.

I don't think it is safe to say that Mandatory celibacy, or being ordained as a catholic priest has any bearing on whether you will or will not be a sexual predator.

In fact from the meager and poorly related statistics I have found in my short internet search I would say that the percentage of priest predators is very small compared to the general public.

Would be nice to find some stats that could be compared directly though :(

Gregory said...

Wow! TP beat me to it! Thanks TP!

Chris, I'm quite frankly shocked at you for posting something that is so incredibly ignorant and replete with logical fallacy (post hoc ergo propter hoc?). As TP pointed out, the fact is that the rate of sexual abuse among Catholic Clergy is far below the rate of same among the general populace.

I remember reading (and I could find it if I looked, I'm sure) stats that said that there is a 15% sexual abuse rate among teachers. I suppose, according to the logic of your article, teachers should be allowed to marry, and not forced to a life of mandatory celibacy? Oh...wait...hm...

So, if less than three percent of priests have even been accused (not to mention convicted--many were acquitted!), how is it that mandatory celibacy is the problem when greater than 97% seem to be managing just fine?

Christopher said...

"Chris, I'm quite frankly shocked at you for posting something that is so incredibly ignorant and replete with logical fallacy (post hoc ergo propter hoc?). As TP pointed out, the fact is that the rate of sexual abuse among Catholic Clergy is far below the rate of same among the general populace."

Comparing percentiles placates the issue, Gregory. It doesn't directly address it.

You're right, however, that my thought-line was post hoc ergo propter hoc. Thank you for pointing that out.

Gregory said...

Comparing percentiles puts the issue in perspective, Chris. It's not a matter of placation, but definitely highlights the logical fallacy of your tirade. If there are more cases of sexual abuse and infidelity among Protestant ministers who are permitted marriage, and in the secular world at large, than among Catholic clergy, your inflammatory rhetoric terming it "rampant" is way off base.

Yes, it's a terrible travesty that it happens whatsoever in the Catholic priesthood, but again, we're not denying that. Yes, the Catholic Church initially handled it very badly, whatever their motives and intentions might have been.

But to conclude that celibacy is the main issue and thus to rail against it, in light of the fact that other situations and scenarios than a celibate priesthood have even greater numbers of "lewd and lecherous" people in authority who prey on the vulnerable, is, as I said, "incredibly ignorant and replete with logical fallacy."

That you admit this fact, yet do nothing to remove or balance the article in any way is a bit offensive, wouldn't you say?

Christopher said...

"That you admit this fact, yet do nothing to remove or balance the article in any way is a bit offensive, wouldn't you say?"

No, not at all. I think it's honest to allow my original mistake stay where it is. Anyone reading the comments section will see your correction, and my admission. If they're offended after that, I can't do anything about it. I, personally, do not mind the humility of being publically corrected.

"Comparing percentiles puts the issue in perspective, Chris. It's not a matter of placation..."

It is a matter of placation, from where I sit. So what if 15% of men admit to rape but only 3% of priests are recorded as abusing others. The fact is, as you've admitted, none of it should ever happen anywhere, and most especially in a place that considers itself the bulwark of morality in the world. Claims like that generate an extra confidence and security in the public that make it harder to pass over when bad stuff does actually happen.

So while you're right that abuse does not happen as much in the church as it does in the general public, throwing percentiles at the problem does nothing to alleviate the reality that abuse is currently happening in the church -- a place where people feel an extra special confidence in their security that they don't receive outside of the church. Thus your percentiles are a way of placating by saying "yeah, bad things have happened in the church, but badder things are happening outside it."

Apply the same logic to the next legless man you meet: tell him, "yeah, you're part of a small group of people that don't have legs. But you should know that there's a greater number of people that don't have arms." See how that helps the situation. See if he doesn't curse you up-and-down because your attempt at placating him through quotient comparisons isn't really just a terribly insensitive take on his situation.

Gregory said...

No, not at all. I think it's honest to allow my original mistake stay where it is. Anyone reading the comments section will see your correction, and my admission. If they're offended after that, I can't do anything about it. I, personally, do not mind the humility of being publically corrected.

Perhaps. However, you once scolded Jacob Allee for similar behaviour when he admitted to your points regarding his take on Protestantism, yet failed to update his article to reflect that admission. So, yes, if someone were actually to read through the comments to find your admission, I suppose it would suffice. It doesn't change your double standard, though. It seems to me it would be more honest to make a note in the article itself regarding your error. But it's your blog.

As to the rest, regarding percentages as placations and the Church, while less abusive than the world at large, should nevertheless not be abusive whatsoever, I sense another error in your thinking, though I have no fancy Latin phrase for it. Simply that you seem to want the Church to be perfect (whatever Church that happens to be), and when it fails to meet your standard of perfection, you then feel free to abandon or reject it. And, quite frankly, it's not just a behaviour I've noticed with regard to Catholicism. You seem to take a similar approach to every "institutional" form of Christianity.

The fact of the matter is, though, that the Church is not a museum of saints, but a hospital for sinners, as one saint once put it. And yeah, even those who are the "doctors" and the "nurses" in this hospital are themselves prone to sickness, sin, and failure of very grievous sorts. While on the one hand, you're right--they should be the very image of Christ to us (and, quite frankly, most of them are), there have been, are, and continue to be those who enter into such roles for entirely the wrong reasons. Further, those who play such a vital role in the economy of salvation, to actually be the very ones to bring Jesus to His people through the Sacrament, to provide absolution for sins in His person, should we not expect that they themselves would not face greater trials, greater temptations, greater attacks from the enemy? The amazing thing is not that so many should fall, but, quite honestly, that so many, many more should remain standing!

It is not telling the legless man that, in fact, more people happen to be armless. It is, rather, telling the legless man that he can walk again! The lame man can curse me up one side and down the other, or he can rise, take up his mat, and go home.

The priest can surrender himself and cooperate with the grace of Christ which is sufficient for all, or he can proudly struggle in his own strength, resisting grace, and fall.

You can read about those who fall, and cynically condemn the Church that has charge over them, or you can look with hope and admiration at the overwhelmingly greater number of those who have withstood in the evil day, and humbly thank God that His grace bears you up, as well.