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In the Name of Christ, I Sodomize You

more from Hrafnkell Haraldsson
Saturday, September, 24th, 2011, 8:00 am

Pope Benedict XVI in Germany

Why is it the Catholic Church has a department – the Office of the Inquisition – “to promote and safeguard the doctrine on the faith and morals throughout the Catholic world”[1] but permits widespread sexual abuse of its members, including children? And worse, knowing this is taking place, not only does nothing about it but tries to cover it up?

They sure didn’t show that flexibility of thinking with Galileo.

We have seen these attacks throughout the Roman Catholic world – in the United States, in Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Poland and elsewhere. In Ireland alone there have been “more than 15,000 children and cover-ups by church leaders from the 1930s to 1990s.” The extent of the abuse is almost mind-numbing. A search of the Chicago Tribune shows nearly 200 articles on the subject.

A recent report from Switzerland reveals the extent of the abuse taking place in the home of the Papal guard itself:

Overall, 146 victims came forward to report abuse to Swiss dioceses in 2010 – the first year in which detailed statistics have been presented by the church. The abuse was carried out by 125 priests and lay clergy, an expert commission of the Swiss Bishops Conference said on Thursday.

Abuse ranged from sexual harassment to rape. Most of the victims were teenage boys (25 per cent) and adult men (23 per cent). Another 20 per cent were children aged under 12.

Half of the incidents were carried out by parish priests and 26 per cent by ordained men.

It’s enough to make you wonder if somewhere in the Catholic hierarchy it isn’t felt that it’s as important to be sodomized as confirmed in the Catholic faith.

And it’s not simply males, as our own fundamentalists claim – in other words, church sex abuse cannot be put down to homosexuality. In 2003 the Philippines saw 34 priests in hot water for harassment not of men or boys but women. Also in the Philippines, in 2011, it came out that no less than a bishop had from “September 2010 to April 2011… subjected [a 17-year-old girl] to various forms of sexual abuse including forced oral sex and rape.”

SwissInfo.ch provides some telling statistics on the latest series of scandals:

Victims
29 children under the age of 12
15 girls aged 12-16
36 boys aged 12-16
22 adult women
34 adult men
(10 unknown)

According to SwissInfo.ch, “Switzerland’s Catholic bishops have admitted they ‘underestimated’ the scale of sexual abuse within churches and have called on victims to report crimes to the police.” Considering the extent to which the church has been revealed to have intentionally covered up the scale of the abuse, it is difficult to believe that any “underestimating” actually took place.

Even the Pope – ironically enough the former head of the Inquisition – has been shown to have worked to cover up the abuse.

The New York Times reported in March of 2010 that,

Top Vatican officials — including the future Pope Benedict XVI — did not defrock a priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys, even though several American bishops repeatedly warned them that failure to act on the matter could embarrass the church, according to church files newly unearthed as part of a lawsuit.

As in everything else, it starts at the top. It’s a little late to do, as the Swiss Bishops Conference has, to declare, “We have underestimated the scale of the situation. The heads of dioceses and religious orders made mistakes – we ask forgiveness for these.”

The Office of the Inquisition has not, after all, been noted for its own embrace of forgiveness yet it has done nothing to safeguard morals where the abuse of children by its priests is concerned.

In fact, the Times article said of then Cardinal Ratzinger,

The internal correspondence from bishops in Wisconsin directly to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope, shows that while church officials tussled over whether the priest should be dismissed, their highest priority was protecting the church from scandal.

As Jacques Neirynck, a Christian Democrat Parliamentarian (and a Catholic), said, “The real scandal is that these cases were hidden by the bishops.”

It can be pointed out, as Adrian von Kaenel, president of the church’s expert commission on sexual abuse in pastoral care has done, that “Unfortunately this phenomenon is a human phenomenon. It’s not just in the church. The offenders are from all ‘helping’ professions, like doctors and lawyers.” But doctors and lawyers are not the people mandating morality – Catholic priests are.

It’s similar to the way in which Republicans defend their family values politicians who are caught out with drugs and prostitutes and mistresses by claiming Democrats do it too. Again, the Democrats are not the ones standing on “family values” platforms.

Doesn’t it seem that the world could do with a few less religions pretending to be the final arbiters of morality? Yet we still see Pope Benedict XVI, having covered up sex abuse cases in his church, preaching morality. Calling on Germans to “keep the faith”.  In what, a church that abuses their children, knows it abuses their children, and knowing this does nothing about it – even tries to hide that it’s taking place?

Precisely. People are leaving the church and the church knows this as well as anyone. As the Associated Press reported,

The Vatican’s views on contraception, the role of women, homosexuality and its handling of the sexual abuse scandal that rocked Germany last year are seen by many in Germany as outdated.

About 100 lawmakers from opposition parties boycotted the pope’s appearance, claiming that it violated the church-state separation.”

From CNN:

According to Der Spiegel magazine, more than 181,000 Catholics have left the church since the scandal broke. And candidates for the priesthood have plummeted 62% since 1990, according to the German Bishops Conference.

And while we can impeach our presidents, the Pope cannot be impeached. Apparently, only God can fire a Pope. The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, defended the Pope by going after his critics and said of the charges that they are “clearly an ignoble attempt to strike at Pope Benedict and his closest aides at any cost.” The critics of course are not the ones who covered up allegations of abuse in the Catholic Church; that would be the Pope. Again, there is a parallel here with conservative practices in this country, where it’s never the guilty’s fault but society’s or liberalism’s or the media’s. The idea of personal responsibility seems as alien to conservative religious authorities as hypocrisy seems familiar.


[1] Article 48 of the Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia, Pastor Bonus, promulgated by Pope John Paul II on June 28, 1988

In the Name of Christ, I Sodomize You was written by Hrafnkell Haraldsson for PoliticusUSA.
© PoliticusUSA, Sat, Sep 24th, 2011 — All Rights Reserved




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