Christians, Pedophilia and the Australian Royal Commission

by fulltimestudent 4 Replies latest social current

  • fulltimestudent

    The vast majority of Christians are not pedophiles and would most likely deplore it. So why do so many church organisations try to cover it up?

    Probably there are two reasons:

    1. Christianity operates on the basis that sins can be forgiven after they are confessed.

    An answer to that of course, is that forgiveness by a religious authority does not negate a crime defined by the state. Illustrating that point is the fact that right now in Australia, the vicious killers of two young girls who were given life sentences for their terrible crimes and who have become Christians, while in prison, are requesting parole. They are being supported (quietly) by members of their churches. But most people think that the two crimes were so terrible that they should stay in prison.

    2. It gives the religion a bad name.

    OK, it may, but as events are demonstrating, a cover up may give the religion an even worse name. The Jws are certainly finding that to be the case.

    But so is the Catholic church.

    The same Royal Commission that put the witnesses on the spot, is also examining the role of the Church authorities in covering up crimes committed by serving priests. And, perhaps we should remember that in other investigations (in many countries) of the role of the Church leadership in these crimes, they have been clearly exposed as guilty.

    The problem is an old one in the church, I'll just give one reference. Look for this book, Fallen Order: A History. by Karen Liebreich. In 1621 Spanish Catholic, Father Jose de Calansanz established the Piarist Order to, "house and educate poor children in Rome." I'll let you work out the rest.

    So let's come back to good old Aussie. A key figure in the Australian branch of the Catholic Church, has been a man by the name of George Pell, now by God's Grace (really ????) Cardinal George Pell.

    There are many accusations that Pell was involved in browbeating abused Catholics into silence and protecting priests accused of Paedophilia. (there are also accusations that he did more than cover-up, but they are so far 'not proved').

    As the scandals of church cover-ups started to grow, Pell was fortuitously transferred from Sydney to Rome. And now when the Australian Royal Commission wants to interview him, guess what? - Pell is too sick to travel.

    So an Aussie singer-songwriter has recorded this song, "Come home Cardinal Pell," that is already causing some controversy in OZ. In the last few words of the song, Tim Minchin (the singer) invites Pell to come home and sue him for slander.

  • jhine
    Of course you're right all churches have their share of cover up scandals . Some perpetrated by those involved in the crimes , which is what paedophilia is . Some by individuals with a warped sense of loyalty who want to protect their church from being brought into disrepute . However as someone has already posted on another thread the big difference is that a) the rank and file of those churches get to find out what is going on , and believe it .b) they can and do work to change things . Any organisation , religious or otherwise , that can afford access to children or vulnerable adults will be targeted by paedophiles . lt would be interesting to know if , say , the Boy Scouts or gymnastic clubs have the same problem of people covering up for paedophile behaviour for the above two reasons . Someone with a financial interest in a group , like the owner of a children's dance school , would surely be tempted to not go public if abuse was discovered because of the attendant bad publicity . Of course Christians should have a higher moral standard but sometimes , sadly , human nature wins . Jan
  • maninthemiddle
    Just saw this on youtube. As a big fan of Tim Minchin and this song deserves some publicity.
  • fulltimestudent
    jhine : Of course you're right all churches have their share of cover up scandals . ... Any organisation , religious or otherwise , that can afford access to children or vulnerable adults will be targeted by paedophiles . lt would be interesting to know if , say , the Boy Scouts or gymnastic clubs have the same problem of people covering up for paedophile behaviour for the above two reasons .

    Peophiles infiltrating an organisation is one way to explain their presence Jan, but there's another explanation I once read on Richard Sipe's web-site. The site is called, "Celibacy, Sex and Catholic church" and the link to it is - - Sipe has studied this problem for many years. The Wikipedia entry under his name describes his experience:
    "(He) is a former Benedictine monk-priest of 18 years, a sociologist and author of six books about Catholicism and the sexual abuses arising from the Catholic Church's requirements of celibacy. He is an American Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor trained specifically[2] to deal with the mental health problems of Roman Catholic priests. He practiced psychotherapy, "taught on the faculties of Major Catholic Seminaries and colleges, lectured in medical schools, and served as a consultant and expert witness in both civil and criminal cases involving the sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests". During his training and therapies, he conducted a 25-year ethnographic study published in 1990 about the sexual behavior of supposed celibates, in which he found more than half were involved in sexual relationships. In 1970, after leaving the priesthood, Richard Sipe married former nun, Marianne and they have one son.[1]

    The site is now quite large and I'm unable to find the discussion I once read, but his argument essentially says that at puberty many Catholic youths will have a sexual experience and recoil in disgust (from the incident and themselves) because of Catholic teachings about sex. Some will have had the experience with other boys, and though recoiling in disgust will carry the memory of the exciting sexual feelings and pleasure they experienced.
    They may go into the priesthood and may eventually have many opportunities to be alone with young people. If the memory of their sexual experience (when young and with someone like the young people they now deal with as priests) is aroused, the temptation may become too much to resist, particularly in the Catholic environment of enforced celibacy (with its denial of basic human sexuality).
    Is it really working out like that? I feel I'm unable to answer that, except to say that its possible.

    Interestingly, Sipe recounts that many studies within the Church indicate that only about 50% of Catholic clergy (of all levels) keep their vow of celibacy.
    However, an affair with either an adult male or an adult woman is one thing, a criminal act with an underage person is another thing. A difficulty here is that, while in the USA the age of consent for consensual sex is 18, In Australia its 16, and in some places in the world its only 13.
    And, yes, the Boy Scouts have had a great deal of trouble with this problem, and in the scouts it seems a matter of infiltration and not the problem described above. It is of interest that Lord Baden Powell, the founder of the scouting organisations, liked to collect photographs of boys and young men naked. There is no evidence that he ever did anything to any young man or boy, in fact in the scouting manual he wrote he condemns such activity.

  • Vidiot

    jhine - "...all churches have their share of cover up scandals..."

    Know what kind of churches I've never heard of having scandals?

    Churches that fairly utilize the democratic process, embrace fiscal and policy transparency, acknowledge the discoveries of history and science regardless of the implications, and foster positive community activism.

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