Andrew Brown on the Catholic church: it’s no worse than other child abusers

March 13, 2010 • 2:36 pm

The Guardian‘s resident moron, Andrew Brown, has outdone himself this week, publishing a column designed to put “Catholic child abuse in proportion.”  It’s a disgusting and self-serving piece of faitheistic tripe, and its underlying message is this: those people who attack the Catholic church for systematic child abuse are really anti-Catholic bigots.  After all, claims Brown, the Church was no worse than other abusers.

He’s too cagey to say this outright, but raises the questions (which he doesn’t answer directly) at the outset:

But was the Catholic church unfairly singled out? Aren’t all children vulnerable to exploitation, especially when they are poor and unwanted?

After noting the statistic that about 4% of American priests and deacons abused children, and giving some perfunctory tut-tutting, Brown gets to his point:

This is vile, but whether it is more vile than the record of any other profession is not obvious. The concentration on boys makes the Catholic pattern of abuse stand out; what makes it so shocking is that parents trusted their children with priests. They stood in for the parents. But this isn’t all that different from the pattern in the wider world, either, where the vast majority of abuse comes from within families. The other point that makes the Catholic abuse is that it is nowadays very widely reported. It may be the best reported crime in the world: that, too tends to skew perceptions.There are, however, some fragments of figures from the outside world suggesting that not many professions do better. . .

And he asks again:

So why the concentration on Catholic priests and brothers? Perhaps I am unduly cynical, but I believe that all institutions attempt to cover up institutional wrongdoing although the Roman Catholic church has had a higher opinion of itself than most, and thus a greater tendency to lie about these things.

His point is obvious.  Why the concentration on Catholic priest and brothers?  Because, Brown implies, those accusations come from those who are simply anti-Catholics.  And, in the end, he assures us that all is now well:

Certainly the safeguards against paedophilia in the priesthood are now among the tightest in the world. That won’t stop a steady trickle of scandals; but I think that objectively your child is less likely to be abused by a Catholic or Anglican priest in the west today than by the members of almost any other profession.

I beg to differ with Brown’s implicit conclusion.  The concentration on Catholic priests and brothers comes from the shocking institutionalization of that abuse: the consistent efforts of Church officials, who knew full well about the abuse, to cover it up and, sometimes, simply transfer abusers to new places.  Yes, other professions sometimes cover up child abuse, but not, I think, on such a massive scale.  I am not aware of this kind of cover-up being endemic to American public schools, for example.

And what Brown fails to grasp is that the abuse is doubly shocking because it was committed by those priests to whom parents not only entrusted their children, but entrusted them to inculcate in those children a sense of morality.  The outrage comes from seeing that those who were supposed to serve as role models—as paragons of morality—systematically abused that trust in the most heinous ways.  And perhaps the Church’s ridiculous policy of celibacy contributed to this abuse.

Fortunately, Brown’s commenters—as usual—take him apart.  It must be disheartening for the Resident Moron to watch, week after week, as his readers chew his tuchus to pieces.  Maybe the Guardian keeps him on because his continuing idiocy promotes traffic on their website.  But really, how can a reputable paper tolerate such witless garbage?  Do the editors have any notion of what should pass for decent commentary?

138 thoughts on “Andrew Brown on the Catholic church: it’s no worse than other child abusers

  1. As one commenter noted at the Guardian, and which bears repeating, if the best that the Church’s defenders can do is to say “We’re about as bad as the rest of the world, so leave us alone,” then the Church really has no business holding its ownself in high ethical and moral regard when it comes to sexuality.

    When it lies about condoms to people in countries with a high prevalence of AIDS among heterosexuals in order to frighten adults from having consensual sex, yet does little to punish those of its own ranks who commit rape against children, it is a low standard indeed to say that its problem is in proportion to the rest of society.

  2. This post definitely hits all the key points on why Andrew Brown is way off base. Brown’s blaming the noise as anti-Catholic bashing is just another idiotic failed defensive tactic.

    The remedy is not only to fire the vile priests and make the church pay hundreds of millions reparation but to cull those that knew about the abuse and did nothing about it. That includes the Pope, if necessary. To be clear, by culling I mean firing and criminally prosecuting and jailing all those convicted, especially those who claim to do the word of a god. They allegedly hold themselves up to a higher morality so they should be punished more.

    For Brown to say that it is being monitored now and can not happen like it did (which I don’t believe for a minute) is not enough. Any secular organization (government, business, school organization, etc.) would remove anyone who knew about abuse and failed to take action.

    1. When they start turning over abusing priests and the bishops, archbishops, cardinals and popes who covered up for them to the authorities for prosecution, then I’ll believe that the RCC is serious about ending the abuse. Not before.

      1. here here! And, to add — rather than having head officials doctrinally deploring the act of *reporting* abusers as a crime against the Church (a morally reprehensible doctrine enacted by Lord Ratzie himself) but, rather doctrinally deploring the *ACT OF CHILD ABUSE* itself as a crime against the Church, then we can consider their claim serious about ending child abuse (and not before).

  3. The 800 pound elephant in the room begs to offer the following transparent observation:
    If Christianity or any other faith is supposed to spiritually ‘transform’ the individual and move one closer to the ‘Divine’ with all that suggests, then the very last conceivable thing that person could do is to abuse and violate another – especially an innocent child.
    These disclosures are just another in a 2000 year long list of the abhorrent atrocities and traumas this religion (and others) have instigated in the world. Chalk it up to sexual anxiety and repression, unrelenting perpetuation of shame and quilt, and a myriad of other virulent superstitions, myths, and falsehoods. In other words the abject failure of these faiths and blind beliefs to live up to their inducements and promises. Monotheistic religion has simply failed, and worse yet, caused more harm in the hearts and minds and bodies of human civilization then any other conceivable undertaking.

  4. I have learned that the Guardian does a pretty poor job of reporting on climate change and other science subjects too. I reprinted several in my blog http://www.vivanewmexico.com/blog

    The Guardian has a near-comic piece on the altruistic mice, and misleading or basically “empty of content” or misleading articles on the sea-level predictions,the “science and faith” posting from this blog, and a “Chernobyl-size” explosion risk article.

    I am just learning about the Guardian.
    Are they actually a pretty bad paper or have I just been picking up on some occasional bad journalism from them?

    1. The Guardian is pretty good on some things — for example, they carry Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science column. And its “comment is free” section sometimes has very good commentary, occasionally by some of our regulars here.

      But they also regularly carry crap like Brown’s commentary.

    2. They often have very good book reviews, by people who know what they’re talking about, and are given space to say it; this is in sharp contrast to the amateurism of the NY Times Book Review. Jane O’Grady does their lengthy obits of name philosophers, and they’re miniature intellectual biographies; really impressive.

  5. I read Brown’s silly piece this morning over breakfast. Then, after I had puked …

    I don’t bother to comment on Brown any longer. He is a resident moron, and it’s hard for me to see why he hasn’t learned anything from all the comments that have been made on his idiocies over the years. It’s amazing. He simply cannot learn! But to suppose that kids are now safe with their local catholic priest just because they’ve been caught at it, and have had to pay a heavy toll, is one of the silliest things that he’s said. Add to that, that an institution claiming to speak for a god who is good, who in fact defines what good is, has been caught out, repeatedly, in acts of the most heinous kind, which it has even more heinously covered it up time and time again, to which it has never responded with sufficient regret or sorrow or restitution, and has done everything possible to escape having to pay for the damage that it has caused by its inhuman tortious behaviour, and, it seems to me, Brown shows himself not only a moron, but a grossly immoral moron at that. He even thinks that it’s really okay, because not much worse than other professions (though he does not show this). But these were men who claimed a direct line to the moral law instituted by god himself.

    Given the way the church has behaved for centuries – centuries – Brown’s conviction that children are now safe with their neighbourhood priest must be meant as a joke. Referring to the function of ecclesiastical courts during the reigns of Henry VIII and Edward VI, Blackstone records: “This scandalous prostitution of oaths, and the forms of justice, in the almost constant acquittal of felonious clerks by purgation, was the occasion, that, upon very heinous and notorious circumstances of guilt, the temporal courts could not trust the ordinary [the bishop] with the trial of an offender.” And then he goes on to refer to church trials a ‘mock trials’ (which, he says, “took their rise from factious and popish tenets, tending to exempt one part of the nation from the general municipal law”), which were finally abolished (though not completely) by the statute 18. Eliz. c. 7 (in 1576, I believe).

    Aside from the fact that the church no longer can try criminal accusations against its own priests and other religious, what has really changed? They hide their criminals as carefully as they can, salting them amongst the faithful, so that they can do more harm. They require victims to sign statements that they will keep these wrongs secret in response to small indemnifications. They show little remorse, and perhaps no genuine remorse at all. Is there one good reason why we should think that this will not continue to be done in order to safe the ‘good name of the church’?

    Why on earth should we think that these morally compromised individuals, and this morally compromised institution, is capable of protecting children (or anyone else, for that matter)? They still claim the same powers. They still befuddle with claims of holiness and truth. They still arrogate to themselves powers to cast into hell or to provide salvation. Such men are not to be trusted with children. When they recognise that they are human beings, and that they have no other source of goodness, nor source of wisdom, than that possessed by other human beings, then perhaps they can be trusted, but then, of course, they’d be out of business. Time to see them out of business – past time, and this goes for all fake systems of thought based on benighted ideas of supernatural entities for which there is not a shred of evidence. (Sorry to go on so.)

      1. Eric is our resident smart person.

        Perhaps he can take Andrew Brown’s slot over at The Guardian? I’d like to see Eric’s comments reach a wider readership.

        (OK, some of you other guys are smart, too.)

        1. It would be a great thing if someone of Eric’s erudtion, knowledge and profundity were to take Andrew Brown’s place. It probably aint gonna happen with Murdochization of the media. All piss, wind, giggles and celibrity. That’s what sells.

    1. “They still claim the same powers. They still befuddle with claims of holiness and truth.”

      And they still think that the problem with molesting children is that it is sexual perversion, that it is like homosexuality, rather than that it is harmful to the victims. They haven’t even got a decent working moral compass. They haven’t even got minimal empathy.

  6. Like Stephen Fry said to his Catholic opponents during the debate if the Catholic Church is a force for good, “What are you good for then?” when they bleated the same nonsense that Brown has—but, but, but we are not any worse than other institutions.

    Then if the Catholic Church does not have an edge over other institutions then why twist and torment your mind in order to believe that crapola? What are they good for? Nothing.

    And really, what is wrong with being anti-Catholic? Anti-nazism, anti-fascism, anti-slavery, anti-sexism, anti-racism, anti-catholicism–all positive stances to have.

    1. Michelle, thank you for reminding us of Stephen Fry’s classic statement about the catholic church. It’s is clear, succint, and definitive. For those who have not seen it, you can access it here.

  7. What gets me isn’t the fact that it happened. It is understandable that, unfortunate as it may be, pedophilia and pederasty happens.

    What gets me is the insufferable hubris of a Church daring to lecture on social and moral issues while being guilty of a world-wide criminal conspiracy to hide the, at times, systemic rape and abuse of children by priests. A MORAL organization would have turned these criminal allegations over to the police and not covered them up.

    If I found out that my brother was raping little boys, I’d turn him in without a second thought. That sort of stuff is so wrong that there is no relationship or confidentiality that would be worth preserving.

    And, for the record, it’s not just the Catholics. This is systemic in religion, the more authoritarian the religion, the higher the rate.

  8. I haven’t read Brown’s commentary and I don’t intend to read something so vile. There is no excuse for harming a child. *Anything* done to a pre-pubescent child is extremely harmful. To say that “they are no worse” is to say they are horrible and committed heinous crimes. You *can* find peace after a sexual assult, but it takes along time and it is really hard to do. And it never goes away. At least it didn’t for me.

  9. Since Pope Benedict-did you notice his resemblance to the emperor?-is surely going to hell, and with him most of the catholics, I wonder how that is gonna look like: I mean roasting in hell together with Glenn Beck and Rush and Bush(es) and the evangelicals and the mormons and the episcopelians, certainly Bill Clinton, not sure about Hillary, and Murdoch and all the Fox news meanies and Richard Dawkins, Joe the Plumber, Tillimuk, the whole Texas board of education-simply hilarious- . Travis, having been dead for a year, probably is off the hook and reincarnated as her “owner” now. (dont forget newenglanbob). Sarah Palin managed to seduce her way in Paradise-without her husband.

  10. If there were a god that could guide lives and answer prayers and had any value at all, how could it fail to inform that its sanctified representatives are repeatedly, over and over again, raping children? How could anyone except a rapist respect such a god?

    How could any respectable government provide tax exempt income and funding to any religion that worshiped that god idea?

    Suck it jesus christ! Suck it christ lovers!

  11. Yeah, I see global institutions just rushing out to hide all those evil people who rape children. Oh wait, the catholic church is the only global institution which protects these rapists and then only if they’re priests.

    1. I don’t know about that… Wasn’t Halliburton trying to insert a clause into it’s employment contracts that would prohibit rape victims from seeking damages?

        1. Based on their overt efforts to spread Christianity by the sword, I would have to conclude “yes”.

  12. I’m a rabid anti catholic, but some of the hype surrounding the abuse of children by the clergy is overblown.

    If you identified child abusers into two groups, adults who accessed children via direct relationship with the child or parent, and the second being those who access children through an institution (teachers, sports coaches etc), and then looked at the number of abusers each each group, I’m confident you’d find the following.

    The overwhelming number of abuse cases would be adults in the former category. Parents, relatives and freinds of the family would account for 90+ per cent of all abuse.

    Of the latter group, I doubt whether clergy form an unusually large percentage of abuse cases when compared with the level of unsupervised access to children granted to them by parents.

    I was left alone with four or five different priests as a child, and none ever behaved innappropiately.

    The catholic church probably has an unusual problem with respect to abuse. The size of the organisation when compared to the other types of institutions which might foster an abusive culture is almost unique.

    If every swimming coach in the world was part of huge organisation with outdates most governments, you might have found the same culture of covering up abuse.

    Parents should not be made complacent by charcterising abuse as a church issue. Any adult who engages in activities or professions which bring them into unsupervised contact with children need to be treated with 100% suspicion, 100% of the time.

    Yes, it’s ufortunate for the 99% of those people who would never abuse a child, but the innocent should not be worried by additional scrutiny.

    1. “Yes, it’s unfortunate for the 99% of those people who would never abuse a child”

      More like 96%, at least in the US

    2. 90%, you’re just making shit up. Some reliable stats:

      30-40% of victims are abused by a family member.

      Another 50% are abused by someone outside of the family whom they know and trust.

      Approximately 40% are abused by older or larger children whom they know. (part of the family mix)

      Therefore, only 10% are abused by strangers.

      The problem with the Catholic Chuch condoning child sexual abuse is:

      Most perpetrators don’t molest only one child if they are not reported and stopped.

      Nearly 70% of child sex offenders have between 1 and 9 victims; at least 20% have 10 to 40 victims. (23)
      An average serial child molester may have as many as 400 victims in his lifetime.

      http://www.darkness2light.org/KnowAbout/statistics_2.asp

      1. I didn’t state my case cleary. I understand that “known and trusted” non relatives form a percentage of child sexual assaults. This report

        http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/194972.pdf

        Puts that figures as

        75% as “know and trusted”
        21% as family members
        32% as friends

        The family/friends figures are presumably a sub-set of the known and trusted group, but I think that can be taken from the context.

        The balance (22%) presumably are non related adults.

        On all the professions who might have acess to children (doctors, counsellors, teachers, coaches etc), clergy would form a percentage. Whatever the percentage is, one has no reason to witch hunt the churches more so that the other professions.

        Your stats on the recidivism of sexual predators apply equally to all the professions.

        The case of abuse of british orphans in Australia is well recorded. A number of the ophanages were church run, but many were not. The institutionalised cover up and protection of the abusers was the same in both cases.

        http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2009/11/16/2009-11-16_prime_minister_of_australia_kevin_rudd_.html

    3. If every swimming coach in the world was part of huge organization which outdated most governments, I would still have been dearly surprised to see them systematically covering up coaches deliberately drowning their pupils for their own sadistic satisfaction.

      I was going to point out that Brown was conflating connected (familiar or trusted) persons with family, but Moses statistics makes that superfluous.

  13. This is more a response to something NewEnglandBob had mentioned.

    On NPR this morning I heard a brief description of the focus of sex abuse and the Pope and what he may have known.

    I haven’t run upon much to substantiate, but I think this from Reuters FaithWorld section may be what is going on.

    To quote:

    – “The more the scandal of Catholic priests sexually abusing boys in Germany spreads, the more the focus turns to Rome to see how Pope Benedict reacts. The story is getting ever closer to the German-born pope, even though he has been quite outspoken denouncing these scandals and had just met all Irish bishops to discuss the scandals shaking their country. Nobody’s saying he had any role in the abuse cases now coming to light in Germany. But the fact that some took place in Regensburg while he was a prominent theologian there, that his brother Georg has admitted to smacking lazy members of his choir there and that Benedict was archbishop in Munich from 1977 to 1982 lead to the classic cover-up question: what did he know and when did he know it?”

  14. As to the story itself. I agree with everything you said, Jerry. However, the “cover-up” of child sexual abuse in families, with teachers etc. over many generations is real and within a family unit we are also supposed to be taught right and wrong. Just because the instances don’t become stories of institutions as a whole doesn’t mean it’s somehow less than, which I think your wording unfortunately implies. In fact, not only do many cases go without reporting, but we as a society are almost immune from hearing about such cases.

    1. Individual families don’t set up to tell the rest of the world how to be good, nor do they instruct Africans not to use condoms in the middle of an AIDS epidemic, nor do they collect untold wealth from hundreds of millions of followers, nor are they a state, nor do they have diplomatic immunity, nor do they receive deference from heads of state and the media. No bubble car, either.

        1. Let me stress my last point by saying: who are you telling, do you assume I don’t know these things or that I accept them. You Pompous ass!

          1. Hey, I’m trying to clean up the discourse on this website a bit. Let’s lay off the name calling, ok?

          2. Pompous ass? Bit harsh. Ophelia makes a good point. Yes, you’re point about families is right, but that in no way exculpates or minimizes what the church is doing and unfortunately that is how your original comment comes across. Sort of “look church is bad, but so are families…”

        2. Question, I don’t think Ophelia missed your point but I think you missed hers.

          Your point was that the christians aren’t the only abusers that aren’t reported (however, I don’t see where Jerry implied otherwise). Ophelia’s point was that others don’t get special privileges from society while they rape children and make bad societal policy as the catholics do.

          None of the christian gods should be excused even though those christian gods can’t perform above the standard of an abusive human.

          PS – Slightly cleaned up comment out of respect for Jerry but, I don’t think the christians or catholics or their disgusting gods deserve the cleaned up version.

          1. “Your point was that the christians aren’t the only abusers that aren’t reported…”

            No,no,no. What the hell is going on here? Seriously? Is there some sort of bizarre defensive league at play?

            1. For what it’s worth, let me stress my last point. I live in the U.S., I could easily assume the abuse I refereed to is by and large happening in Christian families.

              There, are you strangely happy now? The ignorance of the replies to me is outrageous and intolerable. To not see beyond whatever it you’re trying to protect is an insult to reason!

            2. OK, so take that a step further. What generally happens to the abuser in family situations when they are exposed?

              Contrasted by;
              What happens to the catholic’s god idea representitives when they are exposed?

              My answer to the first question would be, prison likely. To the second question, reassigned secretly and possibly to renew the abuse in a new location.

              I understand about the family situations, it is the respect give to the religious institutions that raises the disgust to a higher level. Religious institutions shouldn’t be respected by society in the first place but, to allow them to abuse with impunity is unconscionable.

              It isn’t that I don’t agree that abuse occurs outside christian institutions, it is that the abuse within the christian institutions is worse because of the free ride the christian institutions are given.

              I don’t think anyone is disagreeing with your statement so much as disagreeing with the perceived change of focus. Well, other than the name calling that is. Ophelia is a good person, unlike most christians, she deserves respect.

            3. “I don’t think anyone is disagreeing with your statement so much as disagreeing with the perceived change of focus.”

              That appears to be the case.

              Though, the focus of my first post is dead on and interesting I believe and no one has commented on that. Secondly, I started my second post by saying I agree with everything Jerry said in his post. I’ve actually become distressed by what I’m seeing.

              I’d finish by saying perhaps when some read that I said “unfortunately implies” I mean that was the deliberate intention of the author, Jerry.

              -“Ophelia is a good person, unlike most christians, she deserves respect”

              Ophelia is also someone I respect a great deal, thus I retain my right to say exactly how I think she came off. I would offer that in recent years Ophelia’s attention and defensiveness may help to explain her bizarre reaction to me. Which I’m guessing as you state was to maintain a certain focus. But, many of these issues have many dimensions and if we restrain ourselves I think we run the risk of forgetting our humanism.

              As an atheist who’s family is mostly Christian, I also retain my respect and love for each of them, as wrong as I think they are (and there’s more to that story as well).

              To TheBlackCat, I would hope you may find your answer above. I have no grand point, it was a discussion I wished to include, as I say, there’s many dimensions to some issues and child rape has many. Lets not become to narrow or blind.

            4. I would offer that in recent years Ophelia’s attention and defensiveness may help to explain her bizarre reaction to me.

              Or maybe she simply misunderstood you, as I apparently have as well.

              To TheBlackCat, I would hope you may find your answer above.

              Nope, not in the slightest. You said, above:

              I think you missed my point, obviously.

              So there you claimed to have a point, and you criticized Ophelia for not getting that point. If you didn’t have a point, then what was there to criticize Ophelia on? If there was a point, then what was it? I must be missing it, because as far as I can tell I got exactly the same thing out of your post as Ophelia did.

              I am confused, actually, about what in this post of yours was supposed to answer my question. I don’t see anything that might clarify your earlier post, or much of anything addressing the content of that post at all.

        3. I guess missed your point as well, as apparently have several other people. Could you please clarify? What, exactly, is your point?

  15. By way of update, a correspondent of mine, Marie-Therese O’Loughlin, herself a victim of the notoriously horrible Goldenbridge industrial school (run by the Catholic church), tells me Ireland is today buzzing with the news that Cardinal Sean Brady is being sued by one of the victims of a serial rapist priest, for failing to report him to the gardai.

    Cardinal Sean Brady is being sued in his personal capacity by a victim of serial paedophile rapist, Fr Brendan Smyth, who is claiming the primate was one of three priests who interviewed her in 1975 about her five-year long ordeal and then failed to ensure it was reported to the civil authorities, including the gardai.

    The cardinal was present at two meetings at which clergy interviewed victims of Fr Brendan Smyth in 1975. At both meetings the victims, a young woman who Smyth had abused for five years and a boy who was also abused, were made to sign oaths saying they would not discuss their meetings with anyone other than authorised clergy.

    http://www.independent.ie/national-news/cardinal-brady-is-sued-by-victim-of-serial-abuse-priest-2098868.html

    Can you say ‘whited sepulchre’?

  16. You said “I am not aware of this kind of cover-up being endemic to American public schools, for example.”

    Well, then do a little more research!

    The American Medical Association found in 1986 that one in four girls, and one in eight boys, are sexually abused in or out of school before the age of 18. Two years later, a study included in The Handbook on Sexual Abuse of Children, reported that one in four girls, and one in six boys, is sexually abused by age 18(Michael Dobie, “Violation of Trust,” Newsday, June 9, 2002, p. C25.) It was reported in 1991 that 17.7 percent of males who graduated from high school, and 82.2 percent of females, reported sexual harassment by faculty or staff during their years in school. Fully 13.5 percent said they had sexual intercourse with their teacher(Daniel Wishnietsky, “Reported and Unreported Teacher-Student Sexual Harassment,” Journal of Ed Research, Vol. 3, 1991, pp. 164-69.)

    In New York City alone, at least one child is sexually abused by a school employee every day. One study concluded that more than 60 percent of employees accused of sexual abuse in the New York City schools were transferred to desk jobs at district offices located inside the schools. Most of these teachers are tenured and 40 percent of those transferred are repeat offenders. They call it “passing the garbage” in the schools. One reason why this exists is due to efforts by the United Federation of Teachers to protect teachers at the expense of children(Douglas Montero, “Secret Shame of Our Schools: Sexual Abuse of Students Runs Rampant,” New York Post, July 30, 2001, p. 1.) Another is the fact that teachers accused of sexual misconduct cannot be fired under New York State law(“Schools Chancellor: Four Teachers Barred from Classroom,” Associated Press, June 12, 2003.)

    One of the nation’s foremost authorities on the subject of the sexual abuse of minors in public schools is Hofstra University professor Charol Shakeshaft. In 1994, Shakeshaft and Audrey Cohan did a study of 225 cases of educator sexual abuse in New York City. Their findings are astounding.

    All of the accused admitted sexual abuse of a student, but none of the abusers was reported to the authorities, and only 1 percent lost their license to teach. Only 35 percent suffered negative consequences of any kind, and 39 percent chose to leave their school district, most with positive recommendations. Some were even given an early retirement package(Charol Shakeshaft and Audrey Cohan, In loco parentis: Sexual abuse of students in schools, (What administrators should know). Report to the U.S. Department of Education, Field Initiated Grants)

    Moving molesting teachers from school district to school district is a common phenomenon. And in only 1 percent of the cases do superintendents notify the new school district(Ibid.) According to Diana Jean Schemo, the term “passing the trash” is the preferred jargon among educators.(Diana Jean Schemo, “Silently Shifting Teachers in Sex Abuse Cases,” New York Times, June 18, 2002, p. A19.)

    Shakeshaft has also determined that 15 percent of all students have experienced some kind of sexual misconduct by a teacher between kindergarten and 12th grade; the behaviors range from touching to forced penetration(Elizabeth Cohen, “Sex Abuse of Students Common; Research Suggests 15% of All Children Harassed,” Press & Sun-Bulletin, February 10, 2002, p. 1A.) She and Cohan also found that up to 5 percent of teachers sexually abuse children(Berta Delgado and Sarah Talalay, “Sex Cases Increase in Schools; Many Acts of Teacher Misconduct Not Being Reported,” Sun-Sentinel, June 4, 1995, p. 1A.) Shakeshaft will soon be ready to release the findings of a vast study undertaken for the Planning and Evaluation Service Office of the Undersecretary, U.S. Department of Education, titled, “Educator Sexual Misconduct with Students: A Synthesis of Existing Literature on Prevalence in Connection with the Design of a National Analysis.” (The study is in draft form and is not yet available for quotation.)

    Am I defending the horrific acts of the Catholic priests? No. Do I feel like the media blows the sexual misconducts of Catholic priests out of proportion in comparison to teachers, other leaders of other religions, and other professionals? Hell, yes! In a survey for the Wall Street Journal-NBC News, it was found that 64 percent of the public thought that Catholic priests frequently abused children(The dates of the study were April 5-7, 2002. It was reported in Roper Center at University of Connecticut Public Opinion Online, Accession Number 0402247. Hart and Teeter Research Companies did the survey.) This is outrageously unfair, but it is not surprising given the media fixation on this issue. While it would be unfair to blame the media for the scandal in the Catholic Church, the constant drumbeat of negative reporting surely accounts for these remarkably skewed results.

    The behavior of these priests is NOT to be excused! With the media attention they receive, I’ve often felt ASHAMED to be a Catholic. But upon looking more into the “stats on sexual abuse in the catholic church” (Google that!), I found that if I’m to be ashamed of being a Catholic, then parents should be ashamed of sending their kids to school.

    I don’t think that Andrew Brown’s point is to say “Hey, we’re no worse,” it’s to say “Hey world! Stop trying to make us LOOK worse than everyone else.”

    It’s an unfair assessment of the Catholic religion. Catholicism is the last accepted prejudice in the world, and you are all no better than a racist for condemning the entire Catholic community for the actions of a few.

    1. Just an addendum, the abuse cases in the schools are also covered up as much as the ones in the Church, and the ones that are covered up the most are the ones in the home.

      Is it fair for the Catholic Church to cover this stuff up? No, it isn’t. But on the other fair, is it fair for the media to shine the spotlight on the Catholic Church and not the school system, or peoples’ homes, or other denominations or professions? Why ONLY the Catholics?

      1. The christians get preferential tax treatment because they are regarded to have special powers of morality. If you claim to have a god then you have to also take the additional responsibility of overseeing that god and ensuring that it isn’t actually an abusive creature.

        If your god actually exists, what exactly is it good for if it can’t even keep children from being raped by its assignees.

        You christians tell the world that you have a better way. But, when it is shown that you don’t, your defense is do try to show that others commit crime as well.

        I’d suggest getting rid of the special status for christians and then we can all work from the same page. OK?

  17. I think Brown misses the essential point: People look to the leaders of the church to be better than others. They are the moral guides. If they didn’t hold themselves out to be somehow less imperfect than the rest of we mortals perhaps they wouldn’t be held to a higher standard.
    That said, there is a kind of glee in much of the media with the revelations that there were charges of abuse in the Pope’s diocese when he was bishop. As Archbishop he sent the man to counseling, removing him from contact with parishioners. Did he know about putting the priest back into a parish? I don’t know. But I believe we should be allowing space for this play out by the facts. Hysterical theorists get coverage and then everyone thinks it’s true and you can’t dislodge the idea. Like Bush’s claim that Iraq was involved in the attacks against the twin towers. I’m not defending the Church here. I’m not accusing the Pope either. And this is what I think the media should be not doing as well.

  18. Well, it’s shocking and not enough can be said or done. But it is also true that those who hate the Church have seized on this with glee.

    Of course, if 4% of the clerics are bad guys, that in and of itself doesn’t prove anything. What does it prove if 4% of Darwinists are homosexual and/or pedophiles?

    And to blame pedophilia on celibacy…I would expect greater intellectual rigor on this site.

    1. Well, it’s not too shocking that you completely fail to address the fact that the institution, as a matter of policy, has been covering up the abuse and allowing it to continue.

      Of course it doesn’t prove anything “in and of itself” if some percentage of a group are “bad guys”. But what if we add in the fact that the leadership of the group aids and abets the crimes? Does this addition make any difference to you?

      1. @GrendelsDad: I’m not sure what more you were looking for to be said about the allegations. I suppose the fact that I didn’t repeat what everyone else has said ad infinitum in some way lessens the veracity of whatever else I might say that hasn’t been repeated. You don’t really believe if I were more or less outraged than you that it would really have any bearing on whether I’m ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ in any other unrelated observation, do you?

        As to your other point, of course there is complicity when someone ‘aids and abets’. However, what many others have done-and what it *seems* like you might be about to do, is accuse an entire group-an entire Church?-because some of those members are guilty of a heinous crime.

        1. It’s not that you didn’t say the right words, or display the proper attitude (whatever they might be). It’s that you actively appeared to be playing down the real cause of the outrage and substituting an overly simplistic straw man to deflect well deserved criticism.

          Still no distinction between “some of the members” of a group and its leaders?

          The question you ask in your first post was: “What does it prove if 4% of Darwinists are homosexual and/or pedophiles?”

          And you still seem to not see how adding “And the heads of every biology department in the world are all trying to keep you from finding this out. And if someone does find out then the colleges move the Darwinist to a new jurisdiction.”

          I hate to use the “C” word, but do you not get that people are angry, not because of individual crimes but because of the –conspiracy- to cover the crimes up. And that conspiracy goes much farther than the 4% who committed the crimes.

          It’s the leaders of the RCC that are at fault in my opinion. And it is the same leaders who, well, lead the church. In all of its decisions. And many of their decisions are ones I (and in the case of condoms, empirical data) disagree with. All of this while claiming, and receiving, special considerations as advisors on morality to everyone from world leaders to the average plebe in the pews.

          The leaders of any group, by virtue of their role in shaping the actions and directions of the group, bear a larger responsibility for how that group is perceived. The more authoritarian and hierarchical the group, the larger the share for the leaders to bear.

          Is your point that if someone talks negatively about the RCC because of the actions of the church, as an organization, and because of the actions of its leaders, in their official capacity, and because of the criminal actions of a minority of its members, then there might be some members of the congregation that feel unduly painted with too broad a brush?

          1. “Still no distinction between “some of the members” of a group and its leaders?”

            Of course there is a difference, but the example you have chosen is a poor one, because some of the leaders are acting in a way which is contrary to the way in which their organization commands them to act. It is not the same as an organization which has conspired to act in this way, and then the leadership is carrying it out. I trust you would not, if you are Catholic, accept responsibility either, nor would you reject your membership in the Church if you intellectually adhered to the teachings, simply because some leaders themselves violated it. The entire line of thinking is fallacious.

            “I hate to use the “C” word, but do you not get that people are angry, not because of individual crimes but because of the –conspiracy- to cover the crimes up. And that conspiracy goes much farther than the 4% who committed the crimes.”

            Sure, I get that they’re angry, I’m as angry-if not more so-than others, but it doesn’t mean I lose my head.

            “All of this while claiming, and receiving, special considerations as advisors on morality to everyone from world leaders to the average plebe in the pews.”

            So they’re hypocrites? What’s new? I’ve never known a human being who wasn’t a hypocrite. Didn’t Peter deny Christ? Didn’t Judas betray him? The foundations of the faith acknowledge the sinfulness of each man.

            “Is your point that if someone talks negatively about the RCC because of the actions of the church, as an organization, and because of the actions of its leaders, in their official capacity, and because of the criminal actions of a minority of its members, then there might be some members of the congregation that feel unduly painted with too broad a brush?”

            No, my point is that your logic is flawed and you are reaching conclusions which are based on emotion rather than reason. Are all Americans responsible for the actions of the Bush administration? Are only those who renounced their citizenship not responsible? Think through what you’re saying.

            1. “…some of the leaders are acting in a way which is contrary to the way in which their organization commands them to act.

              I would say that it is more than just some of the leaders. In fact I would say that your sentence is incoherent in a sense. The leaders –are- the organization. The leaders are the ones commanding people to act in certain ways. Commands don’t come from from some nebulous organization, they come from people. People who have repeatedly shown that they are are not qualified to give moral leadership. This starts at the very top of the org-chart, which makes it very difficult to separate the organization from the leadership that comprises it.

              (Forgive another anaology, but) it’s as if we both see a bus driving down the sidewalk killing people. Some of us are focusing on the bus driver who is choosing to toss a few kids under the wheels for whatever reason, while others only seem to want to talk about how few of the people on the bus are actually crazy, ignoring that the bus driver is among the insane (and Brown wants to sit back and compare relative numbers of crazy people on trains and taxis).

              While both of the latter points may be trivialy true, they do nothing to address the fact that the bus is still running people down. And to extend the analogy to cover NEBobs point below, if you are one of the people on the bus and instead of spending your time trying to get the bus driver to stop steering into crowds of children you spend your time complaining about how people are badmouthing the bus, then the old saying “If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem” comes to mind.

          2. The fallacy in Grendels Dad’s argument comes in here: “The leaders –are- the organization.”

            The President of the US is NOT the Constitution. The Church itself is HOLY and PURE and GOOD. You like analogies, so here’s one: the rain doesn’t care how many people are inside or outside or have umbrellas or not – the rain is still wet. You can’t say that the Church is inherently bad. Yes – some of the leaders are corrupt, but guess what – THEY’RE HUMAN *gasp* Most of the leaders are NOT corrupt, and that’s where my big issue with this is. The media takes SUCH a chunk out of the Catholic Church for the actions of a few, and that causes the majority of the population to think that MOST of the leaders ARE corrupt.

            NOBODY is excusing the things that these particular people did wrong. Yes, it was wrong to commit the abuse. Yes, it was wrong to try to cover it up. OUR issue is give the public some PERSPECTIVE on the issue, and stop making the Catholic Church out to be the worst organization that ever roamed the earth. Because it’s not! The Catholic Church does WAY more good in the world than it does evil, but nobody seems to want to report on that! Who do you think runs the most hospitals and schools in the developing world? Who do you think is the largest not-for-profit organization that feeds and houses the poorest of the poor? Who takes care of the people that the rest of the world won’t? The Catholic Church.

            Is it sick what a few members did? Yes, it is. Is the Catholic Church inherently evil because of the misbehavior of a few? Come ON!

            1. I keep getting this ‘only some of them are bad/corrupt/whatever’. Could someone point me to a senior church leader who has openly advocated for prosecution of these crimes by civil authorities? I’ve seen more than I care to of priests tap-dancing around the distinction between moral failings and secular crimes. I have not seen any even acknowledge that these are crimes, not just sins. Maybe some church leaders who sought out the authorities before they were caught and had little choice in the matter?

              Actually Paul, I used to be the one making arguments similar to yours. I talked about religious hospitals and orphanages and how they helped negate some of the nonsense the church was entangled with. Then I found out about the actual actions of even icons like mother Teresa stockpiling painkillers under the impression that the patients suffering brought them closer to god. Still just one example (even if it is the one held up by the faithful themselves), I know. But it goes farther. Have you read the Ryan report detailing the institutionalized abuse that went on in Irish orphanages? Have you seen any of the similar reports coming out all over Europe in the past couple years? Maybe any one scandal really does only involve a small number of people, but how many scandals are needed before we are allowed to talk of the problem at an institutional level?

              I guess what it comes down to for me is a pair of questions:

              To what extent do the leaders of an organization define that organization? And:

              At what point is it justifiable to switch from saying: This entity does bad things, to This entity is bad?

              The first one seemed self evident to me. The leaders set the official policies that allowed the abuse to continue in an institutionalized fashion. Once the abuse was handled by the bureaucracy the bureaucracy was morally culpable. If the church had mounted a visible opposition to the policies that were being carried out, then your objections now would carry more weight with me. Can you provide evidence that the church took a proactive stance to fix these problems before they were forced from the outside to confront them?

              The second one is, in my mind, trickier. I was talking it over a few weeks ago over a late night bottle of scotch. The context was a bit different, but the underlying difficulty seems the same. It started when I said something particularly dumb, (yes I realize it happens often enough) and someone pointed it out. This lead to the question of how often someone could say something dumb before people stopped saying “he says a lot of dumb stuff” and concluded “he is dumb”?

              Obviously I don’t have a clearly defined line for how much evil an institution needs to commit before I feel justified in calling the institution evil. And since this time it is a moral instead of empirical question we need to consider both intentions and consequences. I will grant you that I (or possible anyone) don’t know enough about the actual motivations and effects of the RCC’s actions to give an accurate and precise accounting to plug in to a pragmatic/utilitarian calculator to determine which way the balance swings. In the end it is a judgment call. I feel that, given what I currently know, the church is getting no worse than it deserves.

            2. The Catholic Church does WAY more good in the world than it does evil, but nobody seems to want to report on that!
              It matters what you consider to be “good.” Most of the RCC money/effort they report as being charitable works goes to promoting their faith (building churches, training clergy, proselytizing) with only about 4-10 cents out of every dollar spent going to actually affecting relief of real suffering. There are few, if any, non-religious organizations with that low of a percentage of their funds going toward actual relief efforts, and I for one wonder if that small percentage of effectiveness is worthy of touting — when it is obvious that placed in virtually any other charitable hands such funds will do far more beneficial work.

              Also, how do you balance, say, helping x-thousand malnourished people against, the rape of even a few hundred of children? I am not trying to imply the latter is objectively far more heinous to nullify the former, or the reverse — but I think clearly this is a subjective, individual evaluation we each have to make about the Church — you may find the good works far outbalance the evil ones here, but you must accept others may disagree, and justifiably so, as in the case of those who were wronged. I simply find it repugnant when people (all defenders of the RCC) attempt to imply one can some how objectively place good works and evil works onto some kind of ethical balance sheet and calculate some kind of zero-sum bottom line from this kind of thinking. You may not mean to imply this, but that is how it most certainly sounds when you say “The Catholic Church does WAY more good in the world than it does evil” — as if people’s disgust of the evil can be dismissed so easily. If that is how religion makes one think, it stands as yet another reason why it is ultimately a misguided way of thinking.

              Who do you think is the largest not-for-profit organization that feeds and houses the poorest of the poor?
              Sorry, but it isn’t the RCC or any other religious organization. Secular organizations, such as the IMF and the dozens of NGOs around the world, as well as the secular efforts of western government’s national welfare programs spent to support and aid the poor within their own borders, all GREATLY dwarf not only any charitable efforts sponsored by the RCC, but it greatly dwarfs the charitable output for all religious organizations combined (and, as I mentioned before, if you deduct all the money wasted on religious self-promotion from religious charitable efforts, the benefits of religious charity dwindles to a very inconsequential sum by comparison). There is clearly a perspective problem at work behind your comments above that remains unsupported by reality. I suggest you make some effort to verify some of the facts I have mentioned here and convince yourself of the err in your own thinking (you won’t trust anyone here to do that research I am sure).

            3. To add to DagoRed’s comment:

              The RCC calling for the people in Africa to refrain from using condoms to protect against AIDS, thereby helping to condemn millions to death, in my mind, far outweighs any good works that the Church does.

        2. …like you might be about to do, is accuse an entire group-an entire Church?-because some of those members are guilty of a heinous crime.

          YES, since has has been known for many years and has not been cleaned up, then every member IS responsible and guilty of the cover-up.

          1. “YES, since has has been known for many years and has not been cleaned up, then every member IS responsible and guilty of the cover-up”

            Thankfully civilized peoples don’t think in this way.

            1. You are the one that claims that your god idea guides you – apparently to cover up crimes of your fellows and to try to minimize the responsibility of your leaders and the obvious standard of the christians to deceive instead of being honest.

              We know that the christians will do everything they can to keep their crimes from being reported and would imply that the 4% is minimized instead of inclusive of all the molestation that the christians have committed.

              Even worse, is your continued support of a god idea that did nothing to help the victims.

              On the positive side, most people have better moral sensibility than the catholics.

            2. The guilty are the ones who always get on their high horse. Too bad the barn door has been open for 2000 years and the horses left. The RCC has been a cesspool of immorality since the start. That is what you call civilized? What a joke.

  19. During World War II, when Pope Pius was asked by the Berlin correspondent of of the Vatican newspaper L’Obbservatore Romano, if he would not protest against the extermination of the the Jews, Pius reportedly replied, “Dear friend, do not forget that millions of Catholics serve in the German armies. Shall I bring them into conflicts of conscience?”

    1. @newenglandbob:

      Is this the Pius who saved a million Jews and was described as a ‘Righteous Gentiles’ by leading Zionists?

  20. @grendels dad:

    “At what point is it justifiable to switch from saying: This entity does bad things, to This entity is bad?”

    So 4% of the leadership who do bad things mean the whole is bad? What’s the magic number, 3% or 2%? So if whatever magic percentage of congressmen are bad, does that mean the entire country is bad? Are 4% of your decisions bad, and if so, does this mean that your life in total is bad?

    “This lead to the question of how often someone could say something dumb before people stopped saying “he says a lot of dumb stuff” and concluded “he is dumb”?”

    Sounds a bit subjective.

    You seem to desperately want to find a way to reject the entirety because of the 4%, and you want anyone who disagrees with you to prove a negative. The organization in question is composed of more than a billion people, and because a few thousand bad Priests have been protected by their co-conspirator Priest/Bishops you are ready to declare the entirety purely evil.

    I’m sure if you step back a little you’ll realize the fallacy.

    1. The fallacy here is that one needs to figure it out by a certain percentage.

      When the top leaders are corrupt or hide criminal activity, then the organization is bad or evil, even if it is a few percent. That is not subjective.

    2. Mark, lets have your pope rape you and then see how much you worry about percentages. You worship that god idea that allowed those children to be raped, I don’t think you are allowing yourself to understand what that means.

      It also isn’t helpful for the christians to invade third world countries with messages that include overpopulation is required, condoms are evil, prayer will heal, and you will go to the catholic sky fairy when you die IF you give everything you can to the catholeics.

      1. notagod, I can tell from your searing logic and unwavering commitment to objectivity and empiricism that you’re an atheist, which begs the question:

        How can something that doesn’t exist cause something?

        1. Oh, certainly many ->god ideas<- exist – the christians have thousands or more of them, in fact, one of them appears to inhabit the space between your ears but that is the only place your god idea exists.

            1. Well, if your god idea actually existed outside the workings of your brain, you would need to assume that your god idea implanted rape ideas in christian brains.

              However, the truth is that the christians rape children because of the ideas that form in their brains, likely facilitated by the catholeics unwillingness to expose their child rapists.

              By the way, Boy Scouts of America is another christian organization (its members must have a god idea which, as it is America, are the crispy christ eaters) that protects child rapists. This case apparently associated with one of the mor[m]onic variants of the many christian gods.
              http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-20000766-504083.html

            2. “Well, if your god idea actually existed outside the workings of your brain, you would need to assume that your god idea implanted rape ideas in christian brains.”

              Non sequitur. There is no basis to assume that the god idea implanted rape ideas. In fact, since the Church teaches that rape is a crime, you must accept that as your starting point, and then the burden of proof would be on you to prove that it is otherwise.

              “However, the truth is that the christians rape children because of the ideas that form in their brains, likely facilitated by the catholeics unwillingness to expose their child rapists.”

              Another unproven and absurd claim. What can be supported is that the clergy has become full of homosexuals, who are more likely to rape children, and more likley to rape young boys, and more likely to have sex with teenage boys, which would still count as pedophilia under the law.

              But again I’m addressing the issue of the 4% of clerics who are alleged to have engaged in pedophilia whereas you are attempting to-as your compatriot would say-conflate the 4% with the entire faithful.

            3. LOL, good show mark, good show. So your god idea has the ability to get you to make excuses for it, bravo. Your god idea seems to be lacking on the all powerful front though. Lets see how it does on a more personal level.

              So, lets make believe that you have three sons that you would like to be taught about life by an organization (just for argument sake we can refer to that organization as catlickers) that you like the structure of (probably a structure that was inspired by yourself). One odd thing about the catlicker organization is that it is full of representatives that like to rape children (as you note in your comment).

              Your sons exhibit these overriding characteristics:
              One of your three sons (Skep) always wants explanations that justify why you want him to do things. Once you supply reasonable explanations that are supported by evidence he is more than happy to help you. Another of your sons (Momo) does everything you ask without question, you could ask him to kill and he would do it without a flinch nor even ask why. Your other son (Catter) has the endearing habit of making excuses for everything you do that would otherwise be mistakes on your part.

              So, you have inside knowledge that the catlicker that you have designated in your plan (you hired him) to send your sons to has a rather odd habit of raping children, you know that he has raped children in the past (though you didn’t fire him or expose him) and you also know that he will rape your sons if you entrust them to him (I know but, you know everything so you know.)

              Which of your sons, Skep, Momo, Catter) would you send to be raped by the catlicker? Would you send all three? If not all three, what is your justification for sending any and which ones would you send to be raped?

    3. Now stop cheating ;^) That 4% figure is for the pedophiles, not the leaders who hid their crimes. The leaders who hid the crimes are guilty –in addition- to the 4% who committed those particular crimes. Once you add those two numbers, and the numbers from the various other scandals I mentioned (both those that committed the crimes and, once again, those who institutionalized the crimes and allowed them to continue) do you still think 4 % is a fair assessment of the number of guilty people?

      When you keep hammering the 4% figure after all of this discussion of the people in addition to the ones who committed the crimes in question it makes you seem disingenuous. I am trying to assume you are discussing this in good faith, but it would help if you acknowledged that the cover-up extends far beyond the 4% of the organization who committed particular crimes.

      And yes, the second question is subjective. That was my point. I explained why, in my judgment, I have the opinion I do. I am not ‘desperate’ to come to any particular conclusion other than the truth. Should I say you seem desperate to defend the church? Does that kind of sophistry move the conversation in any sort of positive direction?

      Maybe you need to step back a bit yourself. You seem to be missing the magnitude of the problem.

      1. And to add to that:

        “The organization in question is composed of more than a billion people, and because a few thousand bad Priests…”

        You are disingenuously conflating a rate in a small well sampled group with a very large un-sampled group. For all we know the rate among the laity is similar to that of the priests and decons — which means we could just as easily be talking about millions of criminals, rather than a few thousand, as you assert. But for me to assert that is silly — as silly as it is for you to compare a few thousand priests against a billion laity. Recall it was Mr. Brown himself that pointed out “but whether it is more vile than the record of any other profession is not obvious.” That is to say, we have no idea if the rate among the RCC clergy is ten-fold, a hundred fold, or merely 1/10, or the same as the rate found in other groups, or among the population as a whole, or among all Catholics. To assert anything of this kind, then, is pure folly.

        Moreover, to hold up this 4% number as as a triumph of any kind, simply because 4% *seems* a small number to you, is to misunderstand the very nature of statistics. As an example of how misleading small percentile rates can be, the chance of any of us having a heart attack in any random year is about 0.08% — yet heart attack is the way 20% of all of us will end up dying. We cannot assume 4% is small or insignificant in any way since we need to also take into account repetition of criminal behaviors as well (i.e a hundred criminals doing one crime each is no better than one criminal who does 100 crimes when it comes to assessing damage to a population, which is the bottom line here). Additionally, since the rate of molestation that occurs among pedophiles is about ten times higher than that of other sexual criminals, having a mere 4% this particular kind of predator among your fold is far more dangerous than merely having 4% of other kinds of sexual criminals. So the church is not merely protecting sexual criminals from prosecution, it is protecting the most virulent criminal violators as well, making their policies that much more questionable. A pertinent fact still unknown — regardless of the number of priest who are perpetrators — is whether or not the laity of Catholics has a higher rate of sexual victimization among their children than the population as a whole. That would really clarify this issue of whether the RCC is a fine organization (as Mark wishes to imply), or one merely reflective of society as a whole (and thus no better or worse than any other group) or, as many want to assert, is actually a corrupt and rotten organization itself.

          1. No, it was not. It was ALSO an attempt to persuade people that this statistic is somehow insignificant. You are wrong.

            1. I’m not the one who equated the 4% with the whole (see above). I pointed out precisely the opposite. You’ve attempted to infer from that something I did not say.

  21. There’s another interesting angle to this, I assume the study measured only priests. I’ve been told-but can’t verify, that there are about 500,000 priests in the world. In the US there is approx. one bishop for every 100 priests, somewhat less than the ratio of 3,000 bishops globally.

    We can’t know what % of bishops are either pedophiles, or have protected pedophiles, but it could easily be far fewer than the representation among priests because their individual power is much greater.

    There appear to have been cases where otherwise good Bishops followed the instructions of superior Bishops in handling these matters, perhaps in a manner differently than they might have individually. There are also undoubtedly examples where homosexual Bishops were protecting their own and covered up fellow homosexual Priests.

    This is largely anecdotal, but seems reasonable to observe that the 4% number sheds very little light as to the pervasiveness of the problem among leadership-of which Bishops might be included but not the average Priest.

    1. There are also undoubtedly examples where homosexual Bishops were protecting their own and covered up fellow homosexual Priests.

      …but you are missing a huge difference here: there isn’t anything *criminal* about a priest having a tryst with another consenting adult, male or female. In fact, I wouldn’t fault a Bishop at all (nor, I suspect, would any other atheists here) for protecting a subordinate who merely violated a dubiously ethical doctrine, like their vow of celibacy. However, your point does lead one to an interesting inference – perhaps this seemingly obvious distinction I make here is lost on most Catholics – it clearly was overlooked by you. When one believes it’s okay for their Church to do all their ethical thinking for them, perhaps small details – like whether an act of sex was consensual or, say, even legal in the society at large – never really matter to most Catholics. I mean, when all your church is concerned with is “sex + priest = sin”, why would any Catholic ever wonder about these other, nagging details, like legality or consent, that bother us dubious moral subjectivists?

      I’m not the one who equated the 4% with the whole.

      I didn’t say you ‘equated’ anything. I said you ‘conflated’ two groups of people into one and then contrasted them together in an effort to wrongly dismiss this statistic. And you clearly did do this on your very own, no inferences needed, or help from anyone else. If you did this mistake unintentionally, then I suggest you don’t partake in a debate over statistical analysis until you understand statistics better.

      …but seems reasonable to observe that the 4% number sheds very little light as to the pervasiveness of the problem among leadership-of which Bishops might be included but not the average Priest.

      Yes, A fine conclusion to draw when you clearly have little understanding of this statistic in the first place. Typical religious thinking.

      1. “When one believes it’s okay for their Church to do all their ethical thinking for them, perhaps small details – like whether an act of sex was consensual or, say, even legal in the society at large – never really matter to most Catholics. I mean, when all your church is concerned with is “sex + priest = sin”, why would any Catholic ever wonder about these other, nagging details, like legality or consent, that bother us dubious moral subjectivists?”

        Of course the Church doesn’t teach that it does all of the ethical thinking for the faithful. In fact, Canon Law and the Catechism teach the opposite, as you no doubt already know. You just don’t like what the teaching is so you choose to misrepresent it to fit what you wish it were, so it is the more easily argued against.

        Nor is it true that ‘all the church is concerned with is sex+priest’, as both Canon Law and the Catechism also make clear. Perhaps you’ve missed the Church’s teaching on the rights of man, just war, participation in civil society, obligations to charity, and more. I recognize for the enemies of religion these aren’t as salacious, but it’s prima faciae false to say they don’t exist.

        “I didn’t say you ‘equated’ anything. I said you ‘conflated’ two groups of people into one ”

        I understand, but I used equated intentionally because I was merely responding to the fallacious reasoning aforementioned, viz., the 4% figure was, de facto, proof of the corruptness of the whole.

        You know that’s bad reasoning, because you’re trying the same argument here on me. I alleged that the 4% couldn’t possibly be an indictment of the 1 billion, both because the 4% didn’t sample the faithful, but rather clerics, and also that said clerics were likely not bishops, who are in fact the leadership-those alleged to have ‘proven’ the evil of the 1 billion, in response to the fallacious arguments of ‘notgod’.

        1. Mark,
          Your words are beginning to paint a picture of you, as a person, who has little understanding of what ethical behavior really means. You give lip service to calling the vile priests who rape children wrong, but you are demonstrating a pathological willingness to ignore other unethical behavior in defense of the Church. First, you are willing to dismiss evidence before anyone even understands its implications, then when the first hint comes down the pike that gives it meaning, you express that the heinous implications of it are perfectly acceptable to you (…and No, Mark, having priest perform heinous violent criminal acts upon children at a rate some 60% of what is found among prison populations – a place where such violators are concentrated and grossly over-represented when compared to society at large — is not a “positive” no matter how you want to justify it, and the fact that you are so willing to accept such a situation, is profoundly disturbing). You also seem to accept a moral equivalence between a priest who merely breaks his vows of celibacy in a legal way with another consenting adult, with that of a priests who breaks it committing the heinously immoral act of child rape. That too, is a rationalization only a deeply deluded individual could possibly make. And while I am chalking up your list of profound unethical views expressed here, I might as well mention that your occasional anti- homosexual comments have lead you to not only bear false witness against this segment of society a couple of times, but your less-than-subtle attempt to denigrate their reputation through mere association with child rape is nearly as despicable as your wrong-headed and backward views themselves. That makes such comments a kind of double lie and even you will agree bearing false witness is something the Church finds immoral.

          Your behavior here is precisely the kind of behavior that lead to the scandal in the Catholic Church itself. The Church’s reputation is not more important than remaining true to one’s ethics and the minute you begin to behave like it is, as you have done here, you become no better, ethically, than the Bishops who protected the child rapists and endangered uncounted numbers of children through their actions. There is no excuse in placing the reputation of an institution over the ethical obligations to society and one’s self, as you have done. If it is not the Church itself who has taught you this poor sense of ethics that you have displayed here, I wonder what peg-legged, one-eyed half-wit you did learn your ethics from — or is it simply that profoundly immoral behavior comes natural to you?

          1. “Your words are beginning to paint a picture of you, as a person, who has little understanding of what ethical behavior really means. You give lip service to calling the vile priests who rape children wrong, but you are demonstrating a pathological willingness to ignore other unethical behavior in defense of the Church. ”

            I assume by lip service you mean I didn’t agree with the assertion that because 4% of Priests are pedophiles that the whole Church is evil? That says more about the argument of my opponent than it does me.

            “First, you are willing to dismiss evidence before anyone even understands its implications, then when the first hint comes down the pike that gives it meaning, you express that the heinous implications of it are perfectly acceptable to you”

            I thought we *were* discussing the implications here; perhaps what you meant was that in atheist circles the only view which is tolerated is that which has already been agreed upon by the faithful.

            “(…and No, Mark, having priest perform heinous violent criminal acts upon children at a rate some 60% of what is found among prison populations – a place where such violators are concentrated and grossly over-represented when compared to society at large — is not a “positive” no matter how you want to justify it, and the fact that you are so willing to accept such a situation, is profoundly disturbing). ”

            Knowing the Church better than most members, and I think it is fair to say, better than most non-members, I’m not surprised at the representation of homosexuals (and thus pedophiles) within the population. To claim that the prison population contains some 50% more proportionately is a victory, given the lax standards in the Church of the last 50 years and the desire by the homosexuals in power to protect and indeed promote their brethren. This has been uncovered most shockingly in Detroit, Milwaukee and Phoenix and is believed to have been the case in NYC, LA, Capetown and many others.

            Objectively, I wish the number were zero. I wish rain was beer, too. You dislike that I am already familiar with the arguments and that I don’t express outrage at every incidence they are mentioned, or that I reject poor logic even when offered by a non-theist (I forgot atheists get a ‘pass’ on that), but recognition of truth can’t be judged merely by a person’s emotional reaction (or lack thereof).

            “You also seem to accept a moral equivalence between a priest who merely breaks his vows of celibacy in a legal way with another consenting adult, with that of a priests who breaks it committing the heinously immoral act of child rape. That too, is a rationalization only a deeply deluded individual could possibly make. ”

            No, sodomy is a grave violation of the law, and pedophilia is as well. Traditionally the Church would say sodomy is a graver sin than fornication because sodomy is unnatural whereas fornication is simply illicit.

            I think Dante said sodomites belonged on the inner ring of the 7th level, but I can’t attest to that. I don’t know where pedophiles belong, but if I am a theist then I believe God is perfectly just, and I accept that justice.

            “And while I am chalking up your list of profound unethical views expressed here, I might as well mention that your occasional anti- homosexual comments have lead you to not only bear false witness against this segment of society a couple of times, but your less-than-subtle attempt to denigrate their reputation through mere association with child rape is nearly as despicable as your wrong-headed and backward views themselves. That makes such comments a kind of double lie and even you will agree bearing false witness is something the Church finds immoral.”

            I’m not anti-homosexual, I merely pointed out that the incidence of pedophilia among the homosexual community is far greater than that among heterosexuals, and that the Church has accepted, and indeed, encouraged, homosexual membership among the clergy, and that the overwhelming majority of cases of child abuse involve young boys (although the last stats I saw indicated the majority were in fact adolescent boys, still children, still wrong, but there is a difference between a 5 year old and a 16 year old). These are merely observations, they need not reflect an ‘anti’ anything, although I suspect next you’ll accuse me of being anti-semitic, right? Usually that’s the way this works.

            “Your behavior here is precisely the kind of behavior that lead to the scandal in the Catholic Church itself. ”

            I see, so I’m guilty of child rape because I note the illogic of certain critics of the Church-or put another way, disagree with you-and point out that how you have chosen to interpret data is not necessarily a reflection of the truth the data represent.

            “The Church’s reputation is not more important than remaining true to one’s ethics”

            There is the first sign of a rational mind….maybe we’re getting somewhere.

            ” and the minute you begin to behave like it is, as you have done here, you become no better, ethically, than the Bishops who protected the child rapists and endangered uncounted numbers of children through their actions. ”

            Another non sequitur.

            “There is no excuse in placing the reputation of an institution over the ethical obligations to society and one’s self, as you have done. If it is not the Church itself who has taught you this poor sense of ethics that you have displayed here, I wonder what peg-legged, one-eyed half-wit you did learn your ethics from — or is it simply that profoundly immoral behavior comes natural to you?”

            Thus far the atheist argument boils down to:

            a) reductio ad Hitlerum
            b) ridicule
            b) ad hominems

            I’m not sure we’ve learned much about the Church, the homosexual clergy, the pedophiles or me, but I believe we do have before us an excellent demonstration of what motivates the Church’s enemies and *some* atheists.

            1. Still not getting it, or just not admitting it? When you say:

              “I assume by lip service you mean I didn’t agree with the assertion that because 4% of Priests are pedophiles that the whole Church is evil?”

              But nobody is saying that! I said that since the RCC, as an institution, acted to cover up the crimes of the 4%, then the RCC, as an institution, is responsible for those (and many, many other) actions. Your refusal to address the argument as it has actually been presented speaks volumes.

              As far as the claim that homosexuals are more likely to be pedophiles than heterosexuals, do you have a reference for that?

            2. “I said that since the RCC, as an institution, acted to cover up the crimes of the 4%, then the RCC, as an institution, is responsible for those (and many, many other) actions.”

              If we ignore the ‘conflation’ fallacy here, if victims of a crime voluntarily agree to compensation for their suffering, is that a ‘cover up’?

              If so, would that mean that defense attorneys in the US are, de facto, all guilty of conspiracy in the crimes of their defendants?

              Furthermore, would you say that a victim is obligated, by virtue of the crime committed against him, to go public with the details rather than seek a private solution?

              And if so, on what do you base these dogmatic declarations?

              The challenge, of course, is to do so without:

              a) ridicule
              b) fallacy
              c) reductio ad Hitlerum

            3. Who is actually committing your ‘conflation fallacy’ here? I am saying that the institution is responsible for the policies it creates and carries out. What do you object to here?

              As for the rest, yes, any organization that uses a position of power to reach a settlement with the family of a violently abused minor so as to avoid bad publicity for the organization and criminal prosecution for its offending member is just as guilty as the RCC in this instance.

              Your analogy would only hold if the defense attorneys were also the prosecuting attorneys. And the alleged criminal was one of their employees. And the victims were also entry level employees of the same firm. Do you see the huge conflict of interest yet? Maybe having outside authorities seems a little more reasonable now?

          2. @grendels dad:

            “Who is actually committing your ‘conflation fallacy’ here? I am saying that the institution is responsible for the policies it creates and carries out. What do you object to here?”

            Some precision is necessary here. You are saying that the people who enabled, promoted and protected the 4% are the same as the institution. You’ve never proven that, and I’ve never agreed to it. I’ve gone so far as to deny it, and say the 4% are protected by their enablers within the institution, but have never admitted the enablers are one and the same.

            “As for the rest, yes, any organization that uses a position of power to reach a settlement with the family of a violently abused minor so as to avoid bad publicity for the organization and criminal prosecution for its offending member is just as guilty as the RCC in this instance.”

            Sounds very much like a fundamentalist I was speaking to earlier who was rationalizing to me how a RC was not Christian and could not be saved, despite his own belief, but de facto, because what said fundamentalist believed the RCC taught. Oops!

            Perhaps an analogy will be helpful: Let’s say I am the owner of a large business, and a frequent customer slips on the floor and breaks his hip. It could be argued that the floor was wet, or there should have been a sign, or the employee was negligent, or the employees should have been holding the hands of customer to navigate the floor, or even that the customer was looking for a wet floor to slip on.

            As the principal of the business I ask the customer how much he needs to go away and live a peaceful life and not demonstrate in front of my store and pay whatever that amount is, then I give the employees involved a reprimand, additional training to avoid said incidents, and transfer them to another location where they can redeem themselves through good work.

            Your argument is, essentially, that the business, and I as the principal, intended for the consequence to happen, hoped it would happen and transferred the culpable employees to enable a subsequent similar event. (None of which is proven but which we entertain for this hypothesis).

            This series of hopeful conclusions neglects to consider that the entire scheme is a) contrary to my stated mission and b) detrimental to my objectives and c) lacking in evidence, but because it conforms to your previously held beliefs (you are the competition, after all), it works.

            Now, it would actually be better for me to NOT pay, drag the scapegoat employee out, have him executed, with the victim standing by my side and say, “You see, I have no tolerance (or would that be ‘zero tolerance’?) for errors on the part of my employees, and although I could have put this victim into a life of luxury an attempted to rehabilitate the culpable employee, I recognize it is more expedient to not compensate the victim and summarily execute the employee, so you will all know that I am justice oriented.

            I might actually prefer this solution, but few of the parties involved (including victims), would prefer it, and this notion of Christian charity (making things right and giving the guilty a chance at rehabilitation, i.e., 7×70), gets in the way.

            “Your analogy would only hold if the defense attorneys were also the prosecuting attorneys.”

            You’ve lost me…do you think these victims didn’t have their own, highly paid attorneys who received 40% of the settlement? I’m no enemy of defense lawyers, (I enjoy their generosity) but they rarely work for free, and never when the Church is a defendant.

            “And the alleged criminal was one of their employees.”

            The Church, like any corporation, has liability for the actions of their employees and agents. Surely you would agree it is no more, or no less, culpable.

            ” And the victims were also entry level employees of the same firm.”

            That doesn’t follow, b/c children aren’t employees, if anything they would be clients/customers for whom the corporation has a responsibility to, not an expectation of.

            “Do you see the huge conflict of interest yet? Maybe having outside authorities seems a little more reasonable now?”

            I’m sorry, I don’t understand your point. If you mean there should be civil authorities, well, I assume we both live in countries where civil law trumps canon law (even in my third world country), and only a few hundred Vatican officials have diplomatic immunity so….what’s the ponit?

            1. Wow, Now Mark equates slipping on a floor as the same thing as raping a child.

              Raping a child is a crime, a felony, unlike slipping on a floor.

              There is no morality in what this guy says. This is even more pathetic, uncaring and immoral than his past drivel. Next he will say that the crusades were OK, as long as papa Ratzi sends a letter of apology.

            2. It’s normally called an analogy, not an equation, but if that’s your final point, I’m happy to leave it at that.

              P.S. Bringing up the Crusades is a desperate attempt at distraction here, but if I did entertain the bait, why would I want to apologize for that?

            3. Are you saying that there has been no resistance by the RCC in the investigations regarding these abuse scandals? I’ve seen quite a bit reported. I’ve seen (but, granted had trouble parsing) the letter Ratzinger wrote instructing church officials to maintain secrecy (years before he was pope, of course, but still in a position to be issuing instructions). I’ve also read the reports of Bishops seeking, and failing to obtain, guidance regarding whether the secrecy injunction extended to secular authorities in cases of criminal offences.

              So we have an official of the church giving instructions that appear to me to instruct subordinate members of the church hierarchy to not report crimes. But it doesn’t really matter how the instruction appears to me. How was it interpreted by the Bishops actually dealing with the reports? I am not aware of a single instance of the any church official initiating criminal investigation by secular authorities. If there was no institutional bias against open investigation and prosecution of these abusers then surely you should be able to point to a plethora of cases where it happened.

              I’m a bit confused by your next paragraph. You quote me saying I would treat the RCC the same as any other large, powerful organization and you say that makes me sound like a fundamentalist. How so?

              Your analogy looses relevance by replacing the criminal activity with an accident. Rework your analogy with shift managers groping customers. And you, the business owner forbidding employees to report the crime.

              Sure, you run a successful business. You can buy the silence of many of the groped customers (after all, for many of them you are the only store in town). And you transfer the ‘naughty’ manager to a different store. But you never (unless you have provided examples to satisfy my request above) contact the authorities.

              My argument isn’t that you intended the managers to grope again. Whether it is criminal intent or criminal negligence can be argued at sentencing. For now it’s enough that the official store policy of placing the reputation of the business ahead of the safety of the customers resulted in the failure to report criminal acts, and allowed them to continue in many cases.

              Just to clarify your analogy, when you said “…drag the scapegoat employee out…” are you saying the child molesters or their enablers are being ‘scapegoated’?

              As for the part about attorneys, at least I see here where we are going past each other. I assumed when you talked about cases that were settled you meant settled out of court. If these settlements were actually conducted by civil authorities (with due representation of both parties) then I withdraw any objections. I was talking of instances where the church used its influence to prevent that sort of civil involvement (I assume we both live in areas where people can still be intimidated into signing all sorts of contracts without a lawyer present).

            4. Not only that, Mark puts wealth as a defense to child rape. As a social institution that receives governmental support the cathlick god idea representatives have an obligation not only to their victims but also to the public, especially as it holds itself as superior even though it is inferior.

              Of course, Mark, buying silence is a cover up. Equating child rape to a slip on the floor, that is quite simply perverted. You Mark are sick.

            5. “Are you saying that there has been no resistance by the RCC in the investigations regarding these abuse scandals? I’ve seen quite a bit reported. ”

              I never said that.

              “I’ve seen (but, granted had trouble parsing) the letter Ratzinger wrote instructing church officials to maintain secrecy (years before he was pope, of course, but still in a position to be issuing instructions). I’ve also read the reports of Bishops seeking, and failing to obtain, guidance regarding whether the secrecy injunction extended to secular authorities in cases of criminal offences.”

              If you’ve read the letter you know it dealt with subjects others than simply pedophilia. Ratzinger, as the head of the CDF, was acting on the Pope’s instructions to protect the identity both of victim and accused. I can’t speak to the non-instruction Bishops didn’t receive, but you no doubt are already aware the Church claims jurisdiction over clergy in many matters, including the inadmissability of confessional content, an principle respected even under secular law in the US.

              Thus, if clerics were obligated by the Church to protect admissions by faithful or clerics, it would hardly be the first time and, like the 5th Amendment in the US, can’t be interpreted as an admission of guilt. Besides, the notion that the church claims jurisdiction beyond what any other sovereign nation would is hardly newsworthy. After all, the Church claims jurisdiction over souls, something secular governments won’t even admit exists, and therefore, can hardly compete for jurisdiction over.

              “So we have an official of the church giving instructions that appear to me to instruct subordinate members of the church hierarchy to not report crimes. But it doesn’t really matter how the instruction appears to me. How was it interpreted by the Bishops actually dealing with the reports? I am not aware of a single instance of the any church official initiating criminal investigation by secular authorities.

              I think this is largely already deal with above, but let’s say you don’t know of a single instance of a diocese reporting a ‘bad’ priest. (I wonder now at what point a diocese should report a cleric? Lying? Violation of his celibacy? What about failure to abstain from meat on Fridays? Or only things atheists happen to believe is bad required to be reported?).
              But there are numerous examples. Check the press in LA, Chicago, NYC, Atlanta, Nashville, Memphis, Phoenix…these are the cases I’m familiar with where Diocesan officials informed police (at the request of victims, of course, lest victim privacy and confidentiality be abused, something I’m sure you would be gravely concerned with) of incidents such as you describe. But that doesn’t prove anything, does it?

              “Your analogy looses relevance by replacing the criminal activity with an accident. Rework your analogy with shift managers groping customers. And you, the business owner forbidding employees to report the crime.”

              The issue isn’t really the crime itself, since we’ve not disputed whether it occured or even the rate of incidence (I assumed that was an unproductive exercise), but rather, whether the management of the crime constituted a conspiracy, and if so, by whom, and whether that conspiracy tainted the leadership, and by proxy, the entire Church of one billion people. This was the point to which my arguments were largely directed, which we seem to now have abandoned.

              But setting all that clarification aside, let’s take up your request for a more accurate analogy. Let’s say there is a King who has 3,000 Princes in his kingdom and 500,000 Knights. 20,000 of these knights are believed to be bad guys. Some of them have been dealt with to the satisfaction of the 1 billion citizens (and 5 billion or so non-citizens who otherwise have no interest in the kingdom), and some of those 20,000 have not been dealt with so well.

              In fact, some unknown number of the 3,000 princes may have not only been negligent but may have covered up, or worse, participated in these crimes themselves.

              The enemies of the kingdom are at the gates demanding the dismantlement of the kingdom and the revelation of all the correspondence and actions associated with the aforementioned actions. Is it any surprise the Princes and Kings might restrict what they share with the kingdom’s enemies? Would any prudent monarch respond in the way his enemies which he would?

              “Sure, you run a successful business. You can buy the silence of many of the groped customers (after all, for many of them you are the only store in town). And you transfer the ‘naughty’ manager to a different store. But you never (unless you have provided examples to satisfy my request above) contact the authorities.”

              Well, there is no monopoly in this example, not in any ‘market’ in the world, so the analogy fails. But even proving your example is impossible since referrals to police of this nature can’t be proven, even if they occurred. You might be shocked to learn that the DA won’t tell you what they know just because you’re an atheist and you demand to know. They’ll even lock you up if you persist in bothering them about it. After all, they may know that the victim doesn’t want to be used by the enemies of the monarch for their own purposes and simply wanted the bad knight dealt with.

              “My argument isn’t that you intended the managers to grope again. Whether it is criminal intent or criminal negligence can be argued at sentencing. For now it’s enough that the official store policy of placing the reputation of the business ahead of the safety of the customers resulted in the failure to report criminal acts, and allowed them to continue in many cases.”

              Some customers will no doubt believe the institution has put the reputation ahead of the interest of the victims, but some customers will believe anything. As hard as it is to believe, some people who are not even customers will think the store doesn’t even sell real products, or that the products don’t exist except in the minds of the customers. That sure opens up a can of worms…

              But it’s not really the perception of the institution in the minds of non-customers that matters, is it? The non-customers have already rejected the institution, may even be working for it’s downfall, may reject everything the insitution stands for as an absurdity, so their antagonism is hardly an objective one, is it?

              This of course doesn’t mean they can’t find truth, like a blind squirrel might find an acorn occasionally, but they hardly have the standing for demands.

              “Just to clarify your analogy, when you said “…drag the scapegoat employee out…” are you saying the child molesters or their enablers are being ‘scapegoated’?”

              A person can be guilty and be a scapegoat. A scapegoat is used to satisfy the mob. Interesting you bring this up, Christ is considered a scapegoat, for reasons that might be beyond the scope of this discussion. For the purposes of the original analogy, either would suffice.

              “As for the part about attorneys, at least I see here where we are going past each other. I assumed when you talked about cases that were settled you meant settled out of court. If these settlements were actually conducted by civil authorities (with due representation of both parties) then I withdraw any objections. I was talking of instances where the church used its influence to prevent that sort of civil involvement (I assume we both live in areas where people can still be intimidated into signing all sorts of contracts without a lawyer present).”

              So you believe a civil court is somehow better able to know what is justice than a victim (or a parent of a victim)? If so, then we are indeed talking past one another because my experience with government is that it has its own interests at heart, and furthers those interests whether they align with prosecutor or defendant.

              I respect the right of a victim to choose a settlement, whether pre-trial or litigated, because I respect the human person. Some judge’s definition of justice may be more perfect or may be a travesty, so I don’t place the faith in that system beyond what the market (i.e., individuals working for their own interest) provides.

              One point has been made very clear to me by this dialogue of the last few days, that the atheist yearns for temporal justice in a way that theists do not, presumably because theists have faith in an eternal justice which rights wrongs and rewards merit. But in a pursuit of justice, the atheist presumes that his justice will be perfect, while the theist acknowledges (due to the imperfect nature of man and society) that temporal justice is likely to never be perfect. So who is it that is arrogant/delusional?

            6. @notagod:

              “Not only that, Mark puts wealth as a defense to child rape.”

              Of course I never said that. At least we’re back on a predictable ad hominem.

              “As a social institution that receives governmental support the cathlick god idea representatives have an obligation not only to their victims but also to the public, especially as it holds itself as superior even though it is inferior.”

              I noticed a little misspelling there notagod..or are you trying to relate a little subtlety of your ideology? In any event, I’m not aware of governments that support the catholic god idea, in fact in the US the doctrine of separation and church and state is 200 years old. Whether the Church holds itself superior to any sovereign nation is of course irrelevant.

              “Of course, Mark, buying silence is a cover up. ”

              Apparently you’re not too familiar with western jurisprudence (itself an outgrowth of canon law). Settlements serve both defendant and plantiff and courts often view them without prejudice (meaning the court does not interpret-as you are-that a settlement means anything re: the accused).

              “Equating child rape to a slip on the floor, that is quite simply perverted. You Mark are sick”

              Saying rape and slipping on the floor are the same would be ‘sick’, but more importantly, it would be an error and an offense against truth. Intentionally misrepresenting the opinion of another for your own pleasure or attempted advantage qualifies as both.

            7. OK, if you want to be a baby about it, I suppose I will need to quote you.

              Mark wrote:
              if victims of a crime voluntarily agree to compensation for their suffering, is that a ‘cover up’?

              That is using the wealth of the catholic mythology to cover up a crime. Thus, the representatives of the catholic myth are using wealth as a substitute for a defense and you are implying that you agree with it within your explanation that followed.

              In any event, I’m not aware of governments that support the catholic god idea,

              Among other support given to the catholic mythology are tax exempt income, tax incentives for contributions to support catholic mythology, government funds used to support myth based programs.

              in fact in the US the doctrine of separation and church and state is 200 years old.
              Now where are all those christians including government representatives that state that isn’t in the constitution (yes I know where it is but, that’s what a christian education get you apparently.) At any rate it hasn’t been enforced properly since the attack by the christians began. You know that, as you are being disingenuous as per usual.

              Whether the Church holds itself superior to any sovereign nation is of course irrelevant.
              Of course it is relevant, it establishes a pattern of deception and falsely inflated worth.

              However, the statements you made concerning the law are irrelevant. What you are describing are legal negotiation, your statements lack any support to negate an attempt to silence or cover-up a crime. In fact what you are describing is legal maneuvering designed to facilitate a cover-up.

              You only have yourself to blame for equating the many multiple and repeated rapes of children facilitated by the catholic myth to a slip. I can understand why you want to deny that but your statement is up there none the less.

  22. It recently occurred to me during this discussion that another population perhaps equally well studied as the Catholic clergy for rates of child sex offenders is actually found in the US prison population itself. Upon doing a bit of research over at the Bureau of Justice Statistics website, the rate of child sex offenders among US state prison population amounted to a mere 6.5% of the overall PRISONER population. That is based on offenders of victims under 18 years of age.

    Again, For those who seem to be statistically feeble minded —

    CONVICTED CRIMINALS….6.5 in 100
    PRIESTS AND DEACONS…. 4 in 100

    molest and rape children! Does that give this statistic a little more relevancy in your little world of denial, Mark? Mark? Are you still there? Are we evil and irrational atheists still simply attacking your shiny righteous Church because we hate them — or are you beginning to see the writing on the wall (I am beginning to think Hitler might be easier to defend against charges of genocide…).

    1. “Does that give this statistic a little more relevancy in your little world of denial, Mark?”

      I see Jim beat me to the point here, and if what you’re trying to prove is that the Priests and deacons are 40% less likely to be pedophiles than the criminal population, I’d say that’s positive. I’d prefer it to be 80% or 90% better, but we’ve let a lot of bad guys and homosexuals in over the last 60 years, just as we did in the century before the reformation, and we’re seeing the consequences of that.

      “I am beginning to think Hitler might be easier to defend against charges of genocide”

      Ah, the reductio ad hitlerum argument! I must admit I was surprised you didn’t drag that out earlier.

      1. It is strange that you find that positive when the comparison represents some of the LEADERS of the catholic myth compared to prisoners that are not leaders of the catholic myth.

        Catholics represent 24% of the US population while they represent 39% of the prison population. I’m sure you can spin those figures as well but, the lack of moral behavior of catholics as a whole doesn’t justify what it costs the citizens of the United States in lost tax revenue and funding given to the catholic mythology.

  23. The statistical percentage of child molesters in prison is severely distorted by the fact that child molesters are usually let out of prison very early because their sentences aren’t mandated by law. All minor drug offenders are given severe minimum sentences and are mandated by a law passed by congress to spend their entire time. We are actually moving child molesters and murders out of our prisons early to make room for marijuana users and small-time street dealers. The percentage of child molesters in prison would be a lot higher if we kept them in prison like we should.

    1. That’s easily verified, Jim. Do a similar calculation based on criminal conviction rates as a percentage of overall conviction rates (rather than on prison census as I have done) and let us know if child molesters represent a substantially higher conviction rate than my population numbers report (I don’t think they will — but I am very open to being proven wrong here).

      As it stands your comment sounds like a bald assertion from the alarmist sector of society who can’t view a bush growing on a school playground without thinking that someone’s wicked Uncle Pervy lurks behind it waiting to snatch their kid at recess.

      From my perspective, there simply doesn’t seem to appear to be all that many child molesters, as a percentage of population, to make me think these initial rough statistics that we have in hand, can end up to be all that inaccurate.

      1. You are absolutely wrong about me. I am about as far from being an alarmist as a person can get. I only responded to your statement because I knew that the a lot of child molesters (armed robbers, homicide committers, etc.) are being let out early to make room for illegal substance abusers because of the mandatory sentences for a wide range of drugs. I have a long-time interest in these questions (back to the 60’s) when both drugs and sex offenses (mostly rape) and drugs were major issues in the universities where I taught. I have also worked with prison inmates off and on for about 30 years, and know a lot about them.
        I have no interest in refuting anything you might say and am not even slightly interested in researching the relative populations. I was simply commenting that the number was probably larger than you thought, and I believe you may not realize how many people are being let out of prison (if they are not considered too high a risk.) I thought, since you had an interest in this subject, you might want to follow it up. Another interesting statistic would be how many serial sexual predators who are caught have done time for sexual predation or pedophilia already.
        However, I suspect that your main interest is that the percentage of priests be low

        1. I didn’t call you an alarmist — I merely said your statement reads that way (which it does). And I am not asking you to refute anything I have said, merely to back up your assertion with some data. Is that too much to ask? Sorry to offend you, if I did, it was not my intent.

  24. Sorry, I was not making an assertion. I thought I was suggesting some other things you might check about a subject I assumed you were interested in. You might check it if you are interested. I am not interested.

    1. And I didn’t mean to dismiss your suggestion out of hand (which, in retrospect, it may seemed like I was doing); it merely didn’t play into or against my overall goal — which was to merely find a comparative rate – any comparative rate — from another population, even one that’s a rough estimate, that could help bring this 4% into a more meaningful focus. By the way Andrew Brown of the Guardian (as well as commenter, Mark) dismissed this statistic, makes it clear that they were assuming this value represents a small, seemingly insignificant, rate of criminals among the clergy simply because it was a tiny number itself. If, for example, the molester rate was 40%, their flippant dismissal might have seemed instinctively absurd to anyone. However, whether 4% or 40%, by themselves, both remain equally inconclusive, statistically speaking, until we have some indication of what would be considered “normal” (if I can use that term in the context of discussing child molester rates). We needed some kind of indication of normative or expected rate for another sufficiently large and varied population before we can even began to use this value in arguments, whether one for or against. Thus, a rate among prisoners – whether its 6.5% or 10% or 15% — served this function and (I hoped) would move the discussion forward.

      Additionally, since this prison figure also deals with a population of the so-called “worst of the worst” in society we can also reasonably use it as a maximum expectation….thus, to say a rate of 6.5% [+/- 5%] exists among prisoners, even though this figure may be highly inaccurate, makes this rate of 4% among Catholic clergy take on real meaning for the first time….and, thus, we can begin to reasonably argue that it also demonstrates the Church, in fact, has serious ethical failings, etc.

      ….but clearly, this all comes way too late in this thread, as well as probably being a bit too esoteric, so only the chirping crickets shall ever ponder its earth-shattering significance.

      1. Thanks. I am sure the explanation helps clarify your point

        I never considered myself part of this discussion — I originally just wanted to suggest some ways to change your population to one that might represent the representation of child molesters.
        Purely theoretical on my part.

        Now I am going to save my energy for a fight I really want to be in.

  25. In light of the latest news, The current pope is complicit personally. He knew about the child abuse and did little about it and he is guilty of hiding it.

    Sending a letter to Ireland apologizing is not even close to being sufficient. Abusing priests should be thrown out and prosecuted. Higher church officials that knew and/or hid the abuse should be removed, including the pope.

    All billion members of the RCC should be up in arms and protesting or removing themselves as members.

    1. “In light of the latest news, The current pope is complicit personally. He knew about the child abuse and did little about it and he is guilty of hiding it.”

      I must have missed that finding. Could you post the link?

      “Sending a letter to Ireland apologizing is not even close to being sufficient. Abusing priests should be thrown out and prosecuted. Higher church officials that knew and/or hid the abuse should be removed, including the pope.”

      I agree that abusing priests should be defrocked and prosecuted, but of course the latter would be the decision of the individual nations, not the Vatican. The other suggestion, re Bishops and Cardinals, would have to be dealt with on a case by case basis. They are, and always have been, subject to civil law, so there’s nothing new there. Their removal would depend on whether they violated divine law, Church law, or legitimate and lawful orders. That’s no different that any other of the faithful.

      One point you seem to have missed is that many of these cases were dealt with through pre-trial settlements, where all parties agreed to settle out of court. Those cases are still counted towards the total, but the parties to the agreement can’t discuss it. It would be interesting to know what percentage of the total were actually ‘dealt with’ rather than just covered up, as is so commonly asserted. While it may be distasteful, if the victims agree to some compensation and agree to drop the matter, then it is resolved. The pedophile will still burn in hell, but since that is a fantasy (in your mind), you have to be content with the secular resolution.

      1. Hmmm…

        “One point you seem to have missed is that many of these cases were dealt with through pre-trial settlements, where all parties agreed to settle out of court. Those cases are still counted towards the total, but the parties to the agreement can’t discuss it. It would be interesting to know what percentage of the total were actually ‘dealt with’ rather than just covered up, as is so commonly asserted.”

        Golly jee, if only the parties were permitted –by the RCC (you know, the ones with all the power in the situation)- to discuss it, we wouldn’t have to just ‘assert’ a cover-up.

        1. “Golly jee, if only the parties were permitted –by the RCC (you know, the ones with all the power in the situation)- to discuss it, we wouldn’t have to just ‘assert’ a cover-up.”

          The RCC has no power, anyone and everyone who has anything critical to say may do so-as this blog amply demonstrates.

          Or have we entered Dan Brown territory?

          1. The catholic church has a lot of power over its members, generally but not exclusively control is obtained by fear.

            Governments are also controlled by catholics due to the frenzy the herders can inflict on the sheep through fear.

            And now you are attacking freedom of expression, I suppose you would like living in China except that the catholics have no power there.

    2. Take your pick Mark. I can give you another dozen:

      http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,5349875,00.html

      http://www.independent.ie/national-news/now-pope-linked-to-child-abuse–coverup-2098327.html

      http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23369148-pope-led-cover-up-of-child-abuse-by-priests.do

      So, that is just fine with you, that “burning in hell” is the punishment for the priest abusers.

      If you are a member of the church (I don’t know if you are), then doing something to find out is not something for you to be concerned with? You don’t care if it was covered up? You don’t care if bishops knowingly reassigned these priest where they abused more children? You don’t care if the hierarchy colluded to cover it all up and refused to report it to civil authorities (now past statute of limitations)? You don’t care that the church may have used it hundreds of billions of dollars to hire teams of lawyers to settle for compensation? They likely used the “you will burn in hell forever” tactic to make some of the victims settle.

      This is the kind of scenario that proves that morality and ethics can never be found in religion.

      1. Nothing you sent proves the “The current pope is complicit personally”

        My own policy would have been much more strict, viz., any single incident of homosexuality or pedophilia would result in instant declericalization. I don’t know what B16 was told then or what he would do now under the same circumstances.

      2. See no evil. Hear no evil. Speak no evil. The pope is infallible, how could he be guilty, who are we to challenge it. Just let more priests rape more children, Let more bishops hide it and transfer the priests around.

        Ireland, Germany, Brazil, Chile, Australia, U.S, Canada, Africa, UK, Poland …Blah, blah, blah…. Hide your head in the sand. No morals, no ethics, just denial. How sickening.

        1. The Church doesn’t teach the person of the Pope is infallible, or that 20 years before his election he would be infallible. So even if he were complicit-which I know is something you’re longing for-it would have nothing to do with the Papacy.

          I’ve seen this atheist tactic before; you don’t receive immediate adherence to your faith, so you ridicule. It is one of the more compelling arguments against atheism (from a humanist perspective), viz., there is so little tolerance for diverse opinions and so little virtue practiced by the atheist faithful in dialogue.

          1. Mark wrote in a prior comment (referring to himself):
            Knowing the Church better than most members, and I think it is fair to say, better than most non-members

            Mark writes in the comment above (after declaring that he knows more than most):
            The Church doesn’t teach the person of the Pope is infallible

            However, among other crap, the Second Vatican Council declared:
            this infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer willed His Church to be endowed in defining doctrine of faith and morals, extends as far as the deposit of Revelation extends, which must be religiously guarded and faithfully expounded. And this is the infallibility which the Roman Pontiff, the head of the college of bishops, enjoys in virtue of his office

            So I would suppose The Mark should expediently sit the Pope down and inform him of his fallibility. The Mark would be remiss if he didn’t inform the other catholic “leaders” as well.

            Suck it jesus christ.

            1. “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”

              – Arthur Schopenhauer

  26. Dago says:
    “(…and No, Mark, having priest perform heinous violent criminal acts upon children at a rate some 60% of what is found among prison populations – a place where such violators are concentrated and grossly over-represented when compared to society at large — is not a “positive” no matter how you want to justify it, and the fact that you are so willing to accept such a situation, is profoundly disturbing). ”

    When I pointed out to you that the present prison population of child-molesters under represents their actual number you called me names and said it didn’t matter.

    Jeez. More substance and less heat if you don’t mind

    1. Welcome to the club Jim, where ‘rational’ atheism subsists on ridicule, fallacy and hatred, the fertilizer of anti-theism.

  27. @notagod: also needs to read more carefully.

    It says”infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer willed His Church to be endowed in defining doctrine of faith and morals,”. Mark is correct to say that the church doesn’t say “the person” of the pope is infallible — only that he is infallible on matters of doctrine of faith and morals.” In other words, Mark has brought up a subject (the person of the pope) that is irrelevant at best and a re herring at worst.

    Cheerfully atheistically yours, Jimalakirti

    1. @jimalakirti: thanks for the comment but recall I didn’t bring this up, I merely clarified that the infallibility previously mocked is not relevant for the reasons I mentioned (and you confirmed)

    2. @Jimalakirti (thinking?)

      So I suppose we might bring the whole statement down here as well:
      However, among other crap, the Second Vatican Council declared:
      this infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer willed His Church to be endowed in defining doctrine of faith and morals, extends as far as the deposit of Revelation extends, which must be religiously guarded and faithfully expounded. And this is the infallibility which the Roman Pontiff, the head of the college of bishops, enjoys in virtue of his office

      Now I can understand why The Mark and his underling the Pope wouldn’t want to consider child rape and its attempted cover-up to be moral issues, however, I would most certainly put them their.

      Perhaps while I learn to read more carefully you could be learning to think more carefully? Or what category would you put child rape and attempted cover-up under?

      Affectionately yours (although certainly not in the way The Mark (being a catlicker) possibly wants to feel you), Notagod

      1. @notagod
        My remarks were only concerned with the physical infallibility of the pope. I would have thought that his infallibility on “doctrine and morality” stated clearly enough that, even though his body was not in question (a red herring), he was still fully culpable on those things he is believed to be infallible at. I did not read it inaccurately, I just failed to read anything into it. I may have expected too much of some readers to notice that what I said left the pope hanging by his own infallibility as being fully responsible for moral issues.

        Perhaps you should read more carefully.

        Unaffectedly yours,

        1. Jimalakirti,

          NewEnglandBob wrote:
          See no evil. Hear no evil. Speak no evil. The pope is infallible, how could he be guilty, who are we to challenge it. Just let more priests rape more children, Let more bishops hide it and transfer the priests around.

          Clearly that isn’t about the pope physically raping children but, Mark responds:
          The Church doesn’t teach the person of the Pope is infallible, or that 20 years before his election he would be infallible. So even if he were complicit-which I know is something you’re longing for-it would have nothing to do with the Papacy.
          Clearly, Mark isn’t referring to the physical body of a pope. Clearly, The Mark is referring to this definition of person:

          An individual of specified character: a person of importance.

          You may not have read it inaccurately but you selected an unintended definition of “person”. “Person” can refer to the mind and thoughts.

          I didn’t intend to offend you but I guess I could have been offended by your accusation that I need to read more carefully as well.

          Love and kisses,
          Notagod

          1. I did not read anything by NewEnglandBob, I have only been following you an Mark, but obviously I have read too much.

            I think your salutations are getting a bit more intimate than I find comfortable.

            Did you know that baby pigs have to eat their mother’s feces to get her intestinal biology? Other animals also eat their own fees because their digestive systems are so inefficient that about 25% or more of the food value of what they eat is passed through as half-digested vegetable matter. Being half-digested already it has more available food-value than their normal diet.

            Home sapiens are not the only animals that eat shit.

            1. I did not read anything by NewEnglandBob

              It was right above in the thread you pulled my comment from. Here I’ll provide you a link:
              http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2010/03/13/andrew-brown-on-the-catholic-church-its-no-worse-than-other-child-abusers/#comment-23560

              Perhaps if you would comment within the threads you would have better luck understanding the context?

              As for your suggestion that I should eat shit, I’ll take that as your backward attempt at an apology. Hey, don’t worry about it.
              No harm, no foul.

              Notagod

              P.S. – Don’t worry about it, it was a joke. Did you seriously think I wanted to kiss you! Yuck!

  28. See, there you go again. It’s not all about you. I was suggesting that perhaps I had already eaten too much shit.

    Actually, I was making a feeble attempt to turn the discussion to something relate to evolution.

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