Friday, May 20, 2011

Regarding Catholic Priestly Abuse

There's a meme that bugs me:

One: Most clerical abusers were not pedophiles, that is, men with a chronic and strong sexual attraction to pre-pubescent children. Most of those abused (51 percent) were aged eleven to fourteen and 27 percent of victims were fifteen to seventeen; 16 percent were eight to ten and 6 percent were younger than seven. Males between eleven and fourteen account for more than 40 percent of all victims. Clerical ephebophilia (a sexual attraction to adolescents, often boys) was clearly a serious problem. But to label this a “pedophilia crisis” is ignorant, sloppy, or malicious.

Well that's so comforting.

If the kid's only eleven then it's not truly pedophilia.


I don't think most journalists, let alone most people, have that precise a definition of pedophilia.

Calling it a different name doesn't diminish what it is, which is sick.

Four: The bishops’ response to the burgeoning abuse crisis between the late 1960s and the early 1980s was not singularly woodenheaded or callous. In fact, according to the John Jay study, the bishops were as clueless as the rest of society about the magnitude of the abuse problem and, again like the rest of society, tended to focus on the perpetrators of abuse rather than the victims. This, in turn, led to an overdependence on psychiatry and psychology in dealing with clerical perpetrators, in the false confidence that they could be “cured” and returned to active ministry — a pattern that again mirrored broader societal trends. In many pre-1985 cases, the principal request of victims’ families was that the priest-abuser be given help and counseling. Yes, the bishops should have been more alert than the rest of an increasingly coarsened society to the damage done to victims by sexual abuse; but as the John Jay report states, “like the general public, the leaders of the Church did not recognize the extent or harm of victimization.” And this, in turn, was “one factor that likely led to the continued perpetration of offenses.”

I realize that Catholic bishops are products of their time.

But that's kind of the problem.

I feel like Catholics have lost the sense of outrage over grave sin.

Now, secular people might rejoice that bishops aren't as angered by abortion and homosexual behaviour as they once were.

The problem is that if you lose the sense of sin for some sins, you begin losing it for a wider range of sins.

This game of mustn't be judgemental came to bite us back in the butt.