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"How can anyone believe in a God whose servants abuse children and whose hierarchy protects the abuser?"
More by JohnB - Living the final years of the Catholic Cover up

JohnB Angela Shanahan It is for all of us who make up the church, not royal commissions, to right these wrongs
Bookmark and Share      Created: 2012-11-30 09:52:49   Last updated : 2012-11-30 19:01:20

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/it-is-for-all-of-us-who-make-up-the-church-not-royal-commissions-to-right-these-wrongs/story-e6frg6zo-1226522591189

It is for all of us who make up the church, not royal commissions, to right these wrongs

THIS week, everyone I have met has asked me the same question. [Starting with such an implausible statement does not engender confidence in the validation style of the author] What are you, as a practising Catholic woman, going to say about the church and the royal commission into sexual abuse? ["going to say". Most of us have heard just about everything that could be said about this issue and have moved on to where action is being taken as the time for words is long past.]

Some people have been very insistent. [Many survivors have been very persistent and they have been publicly applauded and acknowledged for their courage and their determination to see thiss or did thing come to an end.] Like every other Catholic person I know, I am depressed and fed up with this scandal.[Depression under such bizarre circumstances is to be expected; you, just like many of us we were abandoned at this point and then we were scapegoated] My children and grandchildren are all Catholics and attended Catholic schools; my son-in-law is a Catholic school teacher. [Child rape has become an integral part of your religion. No child is safe in such a toxic and abusive environment. Get your children to safety else they are abandoned to high risk and chance of being abused.]

I am a conservative Catholic, as one wit remarked, more pre-Council of Trent than post-Vatican 2, and hearing the likes of Craig "credit card" Thomson on ABC radio saying in outraged tones that a royal commission is needed because "they" can't just "sweep it under the carpet" is enough to rileup the old church militant in me. [What is there about shining a light on the sexual abuse of children that causes you such emotions?]

It is obvious to Blind Freddy that the sudden [10 plus years of constant exposure in International and local press and the repeated and regular calling for investigations, 8 or 10 inquiries, the Canadian, the Irish,the American, the Dutch, Swiss, Italians etc etc all experiencing similar or at times worse abuse at the hands of Catholic clergy and the country clamoring for a clean up and this comes as a surprise despite the suicide death of more than 50 victims. The Catholic Lord works in the mysterious ways of blindness.] calling of a royal commission over sexual abuse within the church, when the police have convictions and are doing their job, is pretty suspect; [Sure is suspect when it can be construed that these motives are suspect. Speechless would be more like it.] particularly when royal commissions should really be looking at the workings of the state child welfare systems in this country, which are in an absolute shambles and have allowed children to die. [So very true. It is also true that Catholici nfluence has helped set up and operates aspects of these services for Government. A little self incrimination I suppose is helpful at this point.]

No Catholic can ever condone systematic cover-ups of clerical sexual misconduct, but there is a creeping view that if you think a royal commission is a fit-up you must be condoning that behaviour. [If the cap fits.] Among the people I have discussed this with are my female cousins who live in the Hunter, where the worst of the pedophile cases have been uncovered, resulting in the charging and imprisonment of at least 11 priests. [I hope you realise that there are more to come as well as accounting for those who aided and abetted in moving priests around and those who simply blocked and ridiculed those who spoke out against these abuses.]

Far from condoning the behaviour, my cousins and my aunt feel completely betrayed by the clergy and hierarchy of the church they love. [Therefore it is a matter of choice that they remain] But my cousins have not turned away from the church because that feeling of betrayal is engendered by their belief that the church itself is not the clergy or the hierarchy: we are the church.[I just felt a little identity crisis looming here.  'that feeling of betrayal is engendered by their belief that the church itself is not the clergy or the hierarchy' Let me get this straight. The feeling of betrayal drives your belief and the parishioners are the church. OK that sounds like an interesting notion that should play right into the few bad apples theory while getting mileage from a 'look at all the good things we are trying' type of statement.]

Let me explain. The emphasis in the commentary on this has all been about the legal and political implications of this scandal for the institutional church and for federal politics. That is understandable. It is not in the remit of the secular media to look at anything else. But if the secular media do not understand the way Catholics think about the church itself, then they will not understand how we think about this situation and its implications for the future. [A bit like saying if you saw it only from my side then you would have to agree with me, be a part of the culture and there is no longer a problem.]

The secular media see the church as simply a human hierarchical institution like a big company, which it sort of is; but really it isn't. [Just saying something for the sake of saying something that makes no sense and says nothing and adds nothing to the piece other than perhaps to attempt some sort of relational empathy to your position is not really saying anything. It is simply a poor attempt to sway.] Also, the media think of religion as an essentially private thing, one religion as good as another, all subject to common law of the secular state. This is true of individuals.However, this bland notion has a couple of flaws.

For starters,belief is beyond the law, [That is always encouraging to hear from yet another catholic who thinks their religion and their religious laws trump the laws of our country. It should not be necessary to remind you that it has been this factor that has caused a great deal of anger in our community of Australian people who uphold the law before they uphold their religious beliefs as to do otherwise is to act in a treasonous way towards our country.] and one religion or set of beliefs is not the same as another. Since Judaeo-Christian concepts have formed the basis of our laws, Christianity obviously has a big claim on the public conscience. [It also has a big claim on the denial of justice to rape and abuse victims through upholding Statute of Limitations laws and other laws which the church helped to implement. It also has a big claim due to educating millions of children that they must keep the sexual abuses and other crimes committed by their clergy a secret. Regardless of the law. The literal neighbor from hell bent on domination of the state by your religious laws.]

For Catholics struggling to bring up children and grandchildren, this is all rather beside the point. For us the church is fundamentally not a material or institutional thing, as portrayed by the secular media. For Catholics, the church and the faith are one. The church is made up of human beings, but is essentially a spiritual thing. It is the bond of Our Lord himself to all of us. That is why we call it the body of Christ. [It is quite a preposterous claim of the catholic church and Catholics that they alone have some special connection with special creatures with special powers who always magically align themselves with your way of thinking.]

Consequently, the evil of child abuse and systemic cover-up is much more than a terrible crime. It is a terrible sin, and not simply a terrible personal sin. The evil of this crime is twofold. First, there are the consequences of sexual molestation for individual victims, which are spiritually and psychologically disastrous. Anyone can see that. [Of course, its the stuff of fools not to see that. Great use of 'fill in your on blanks here'.] Second, an even more serious thing, [Don't tell me there is something more heinous and more important that the sexually abused children. This has to be important.] is the spiritual consequences for the church itself. [Oh you mean the Church needs to be more concerned with its status and its standing in society and that it should look after itself first.] This is a sin of scandal against the whole body of the church, the laity as well as the clergy. This is worse than a crime. It is a mortal sin against the church itself. [Oh how horrible for you. Your ideal is tarnished and it is the most devastating thing for you. It must make my experience of being sexually abused since before the age of 4 by nuns and priests until being violently raped by the known to the church pedophile priest Kevin O'Donnell at age 8 and the issues that left me with for a lifetime just simply fade away into non existence. You poor poor dear.]

The secular media have ignored this, because it is not something they understand. [I am not sure if that is a problem found only in the secular media - my feeling is that the idea is far more widespread.] They could certainly do with some education on these subjects, as evidenced by all the blather about the confessional - which is called the sacrament of penance for a reason. [Gotta do the punishment part. Suffering and sacrificing children is not enough. It is almost enough to cause one to self flagellate.]

It is also reflects a lack of understanding of the essentially spiritual role of the hierarchy. Hence, all the empty criticism of Cardinal George Pell, who is not just the leader of a big corporation, [I think they have ruined this franchise permanently.] with a hopelessly autocratic managerial style, but a spiritual and moral teacher. [George's morals appear to be on a par with the average gutter snipe; well no that is not true as they are actually lower than that.].

To caricature all the clergy as a bunch of child abusers is foolish and wrong. Nor do most of them think that they can just keep going as they have been, isolated in general from the laity. There are many very good priests and bishops who do understand the spiritual ramification of what has happened and are horrified, Pell being one. [We are waiting on them all to stand up and to be counted and for them to put the law of the country before the laws and the rules of their church or do they still hold with that genocide and war making ideal that everyone should follow the laws and the rules of the Catholic church so that they can proclaim a miracle of making the problem go away. Could actually be a good plot for a daytime TV situation comedy it it were not so serious.]

Indeed, in these past two weeks I have seen both a priest and a bishop come close to tears when talking about this scandal. They are both men who served not only the church, but also their country, as military chaplains. They are proud of their priesthood and they want to be proud of their brother priests. [Its just a small problem of identifying and weeding out the few bad apples and of knowing when you have all the toxic aspects of the teachings that led to this taken out and then some time to help fix up those abused and used. I too have seen priests close to tears when faced with the actual prospect of work.]  Among the vast majority of the clergy that have had nothing to do with any scandals (and the vast majority have not), there is a feeling of great sadness and collective guilt. It is a guilt born of humility. [Oh how magnanimous of them.] There is an acute sense that this is a spiritual sin, a sin which no secular commissions can really deal with. [How about for once in your life you keep your religion out of the law of the country and permit the law and the democratic processes conducted by our Government, policing and courts take its course without and Catholic influence otherwise we will all be here listening to your laments and your pain over all that you have lost simply because some kids got raped and that interfered with you and your religion. It must be such a drag to get out of bed in the morning when all of that is before you day after day.]

Sexual exploitation of the vulnerable children is not just a sin of the church, or even of individuals within the church, as the secular media portrays it. It is a sin against the church, and it is for all of us who make up the church, not royal commissions, to right these wrongs. [Perhaps a lot of silent prayer from you would help us all a great deal.]

JohnB


 

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"How can anyone believe in a God whose servants abuse children and whose hierarchy protects the abuser?"


Myth #2 - Most sexual abuse of boys is perpetrated by homosexual males.

Pedophiles who molest boys are not expressing a homosexual orientation any more than pedophiles who molest girls are practicing heterosexual behaviors. While many child molesters have gender and/or age preferences, of those who seek out boys, the vast majority are not homosexual. They are pedophiles.


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