St. Louis Archbishop denies knowing that child rape is a crime

June 13, 2014 • 10:56 am

Does this headline, from The Raw Story, really surprise you?

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What shameful dissimulation! One thing’s for sure: Archbishop Carlson is lying not for Jesus, but to save his own skin.

The backstory:

St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson testified last month that he wasn’t sure whether it was illegal for priests to have sex with children while he served as chancellor of the St. Paul and Minneapolis archdiocese.

The former chancellor gave a deposition last month in a lawsuit that claims the Minnesota archdiocese and the Diocese of Winona created a public nuisance by keeping information on abusive priests secret, reported Minnesota Public Radio.

The civil lawsuit was brought by an anonymous man claiming sexual abuse by former priest Thomas Addison in Minnesota. At the time, Carlson was in that state as an Auxillary Bishop, and handled sexual-abuse accusations. Addison admitted to Carlson that he sexually abused another boy, yet Carlson didn’t report the incident to police.

The 69-year-old Carlson also faces a massive clergy abuse lawsuit in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, where he’s served as archbishop since 2009.

One document made public in that case shows more than 100 priests and church employees have been accused of sexual abuse, and the Missouri Supreme Court ordered the archdiocese to turn over their names under seal.

Watch Carlson’s testimony and weep for the children. According to the YouTube notes, during this deposition, taken in May of this year, Carlson answered “I don’t remember” 193 times!

It’s clear by now that we can consider pedophilia and the covering up of its consequences an official policy of the Catholic Church.

98 thoughts on “St. Louis Archbishop denies knowing that child rape is a crime

      1. It means “subscribe”. I wanted to get followup emails and didn’t think I had anything to say.

        Turns out I did, though.

  1. What amazes me above all is that there are so many people who remain members of this hideous institution.

    1. Friends and family and the commitment that one has already put into believing there is life after death.

            1. Perhaps you needed to work “certifiable” in there, somewhere.

              Or straight-jacket.

              Or, “see, folks, this is a joke…”

    2. If this doesn’t demonstrate that Jesus, if not imaginary, is the arch-enemy of humanity, I don’t know what does.

      Yes, all the non-Catholic Christians will claim that Catholicism is a corruption of the original good intentions of Jesus. But, you know what? It’s pretty obvious that the Catholics claim to trace their origins and authority back to the source as well as direct modern access to Jesus, and they unquestionably represent a plurality of Christians.

      So, the question that all non-Catholic Christians have to address is, “Why the fuck hasn’t Jesus revoked the Catholic Church’s franchise already and shut them down?”

      Just claiming that your breakaway schism of an half a dozen people or even a few million people doesn’t cut it. If Jesus has neither the ability nor the interest to personally intervene, he’s unworthy of respect, let alone worship.



    3. There’s even more to the story. The St Louis diocese is claiming that the archbishop was not referring to the legality of sex with minors, but to the legal obligation to report such incidents to authorities. The archdiocese blames the press for taking this guy’s statements out of context.

      But the transcript and video are right there in front of the whole world to see!!! The press report is exactly correct (as anyone can check), and the Catholic Church is once again openly, knowingly lying to protect itself. This is more proof (as if more were needed) of the sickness of the institution, not just of a few individuals.

      1. The Raping Children Church is the greatest criminal conspiracy in the history of the world. The RICO laws should be applied and its assets should be seized.

  2. If that wasn’t enough to make you vomit, this guy opposes contraceptives and abortion and, of course, “Obamacare”.

    “At just 11 weeks in the womb, an unborn child smiles. Skeptics say this is simply an involuntary contraction of face muscles. People of faith know better. We believe that this unborn child has already begun his or her lifelong journey as a child of God.”

    1. “We believe that this unborn child has already begun his or her lifelong journey as a child of God.”

      Considering all the horrible things that were done by this God and in His Name .. how on earth could that be a reason for the unborn child to smile?

      1. I can’t see how anyone can profess to have such tenderness for children if he “doesn’t know” that raping children is bad.

        He must think the parishioners in his diocese are morons. although, if they keep supporting him, they probably are.

      2. “We believe that this unborn child has already begun his or her lifelong journey as a child of God.”

        It was not a long journey to the septic tank for the poor Irish babes.

    2. Those who rise to become archbishops are presumably the best and the brightest of the priesthood. They received the best possible training in theology and ethics. And yet this creme de la creme of the Catholic Church did not know that buggering children is illegal. Compared to regular people, the best and the brightest of the Catholic Church are herein demonstrated to be morons.

      One might presume, therefore, that everything that falls from their lips is going to be, on average, simply stupid.

    3. So all fetuses are Christians and only get diverted from their path when their parents expose them to the teachings of another religion?

  3. How horrific! The Pope handing over records of pedophilia and other abuse to local authorities for full prosecution under the law would go a long way for me in thinking the Catholic Church was modernizing (i.e.: taking on Enlightened values). Yeah, sure there have been defrockings but whoop de do! That’s like me killing a person and only losing my job for it.

    1. You give them too much credit. Catholicism is spiritual snobbery that views secular or material policies as second-rate. Why would a worldwide tribe of people who think they represent some ultimate moral authority, and who think they own the better ethical policies and understanding over others, lower themselves by going to a secular police force?

      The RCC is an anachronism. It can’t modernize without, at some point, ceasing to be the RCC.

  4. Through the 18th and most of the 19th centuries, the age of consent in the US was thirteen (for girls – it was not legally defined for boys back then). The marriageable age was even lower – there are records, in the colonial and post-colonial days, of the remarriage of widows as young as twelve (as late as 1895, the age of consent in Delaware was nine). In the post-Reconstruction period, various moral crusades agitated against alcohol, prostitution and a raising of the ages of both consent and legal marriage. Between 1880 and the 1920’s, these ages were nudged upwards to their current levels, which still vary from state to state. One of the problems this caused was that what was once a societal norm was now a crime (by modern standards, Romeo was an ephepophile). Another, that continues to the present day, is that the law varies from state to state. For example, US Representative Mark Foley was called a pedophile for sexting congressional pages, although by definition* those pages were above the age of consent in the District of Columbia (strictly speaking, pedophilia only applies to a sexual desire for pre-pubescent children, not teenagers.

    I cannot understand, however, how anyone born in 1944 (well after the present age of consent laws were enacted), as Archbishop Carlson was, could not be aware of the law concerning sex with minors. Furthermore, much of this abuse occurred when homosexuality was considered a crime as well as a sin, so the priest-on-altar-boy abuse could not be excused on either ground.

    By the way, if anyone is wondering why I am conversant on the law regarding the age of consent*, it is because, on a bl*g called Mad Mike’s America, I was invited to guest post on the topic there, and it not only grew into a three-part article, but I have continued to be an occasional guest poster there since.

    *I have heard it said that the only people who are conversant in a particular law are lawyers or people who want to break it. I am neither.

    1. Oops – big mistake here. The sentence that reads

      “In the post-Reconstruction period, various moral crusades agitated against alcohol, prostitution and a raising of the ages of both consent and legal marriage…”

      should have read:

      “In the post-Reconstruction period, various moral crusades agitated against alcohol, prostitution and another result of this was a raising of the ages of both consent and legal marriage…”

      I’m kicking myself for not proofreading carefully enough before clicking on “Post Comment”.

    2. The Catholic Church has maintained that priests should remain celibate since 1139, and re-affirmed this in 1563; so his priests were breaking the laws of his own institution.

      And the pedophilia argument-from-arcane-technicalities is irrelevant to the charge of statutory rape.

      1. That would only be true if one defined “celibate” as not engaging in specific types of sex normally associated with baby-making. Man’s capacity for rationalization is infinite.

        1. It’s occurred to me that there’s a very pertinent question that nobody has asked the “good” father.

          Did he ever tell children about the sin of masturbation? I’d be astounded if he could honestly answer that question in the negative.

          So, if it was then pretty clear that children touching themselves “like that” would get them sent to Hell for all eternity…what the fuck could possibly give him the impression that it was okay for others to do it to them?

          If hypocrisy and / or hubris had mass, Rome would have long since collapsed into a black hole….


          1. I think if one had special powers to absolve oneself, like being privy to the proper incantations, vestments, baubles and the like… and one was truly sorry about it afterwards… then one would be forgiven, and get the “get out of hell free” card — and be all recharged for another go. One just has to be sure not to die in the act (or before the next magic trick). Piece of cake.

            1. That’s one area where Christianity has taken one freakin’ huge step backwards from Judaism.

              Forgiveness is at least as important in Judaism as in Christianity. But, in Judaism, forgiveness is granted by the aggrieved party, and only after reparations, apologies, and reform sufficient to protect against repeat offenses — and, even then, it’s still up to the aggrieved party to grant forgiveness. In Christianity, forgiveness is automatically granted by Christ upon sorrowful admission of guilt.

              It’s not hard to imagine just how destructive the latter can truly be.



              1. …and here a quick Google turned up another Stephen Muth… this one the father of a convicted deacon (William) serving time for fiddly-diddling. I have a brother whose Christian name is William.

                Small world.

              2. …having co-written papers on STDs, prostitution, HIV & anal sex hasn’t done me any favors, either. Neither has posts like this one, which further cement my seamy online keyword associations into the gutter.

              3. Well, somebody’s gotta bring some dignity to your name. Might as well be you. Considering the number of lives each such paper saves and the amount of misery it reduces compared with the number of lives ruined by a priest…well, you’re probably running neck-and-neck, but what you’ve done will long outlive you whereas the priest’s influence will fade fast after but a single generation….


            1. …and most importantly, he’s remaining celibate and not in danger of diverting church resources to a woman and children.

              1. How very true. For some reason I am reminded of Oliver Reed in Ken Russel’s “The Devils” (1971), and what happened to that priest in that rather over-the-top film.

        1. My point is there is no way he or anyone else can twist a plausible defense of ignorance (not that ignorance is a defense) out of societal norms, Canon law or any other kind of law. The difference between ephepophilia and pedophilia impresses no-one other than priests who think raping children is something they ought to be able to get away with.

          1. Or psychologists who differentiate between the two or writers like me who are careful enough to differentiate between the two. The people who conflate the two are people like you who want to paint people like me who are careful enough to make the distinction as apologists (which I am not).

          2. I pointed out in your guest post about the infant graveyard that my father, who is a Deacon, has made this distinction. Maybe it starts at the top and gets passed down through the hierarchy? It would surprise no one if the hierarchy has this type of organization when it comes to rationalizing and covering things up, but claims to have no power when it comes to enforcing prosecutions.

  5. He wasn’t sure child was illegal? Perhaps he forgot. (And here you probably thought the Steve Martin defense was silly over the top slapstick.)

    How do Catholics drop money in the collection baskets when a goodly share is used to defend scum like these guys?

      1. I am lost past the point where I can really understand why anyone believes much of anything about religion, but I still try to imagine that I’m a “good Catholic” who, for some reason, has an emotional tie to the church. Even then, I can’t understand why all decent Catholics wouldn’t be dropping notes into the collection baskets saying something to the effect that they are withholding all contributions to the church until it thoroughly expunges all such people from the church. It is difficult to see how a reform movement like that from within the church could be resisted by the church hierarchy.

        But then, as I said, I am lost past the point where I can really understand…

        1. Lassie — er, Urban Dictionary — to the rescue, Timothy (you know this and just forgot it for a moment, there, which happens as one ages and dereliction sets in):

          ‘God works in mysterious ways. An ad hoc hypothesis thrown up by Christians when confronted with intractable contradiction in their absurd belief system. It is nothing more than a veiled confession of ignorance from someone who will say anything rather than question or confront their beliefs. When arguing with a believer, hearing this usually means you’ve won the debate.’

        2. Maybe it’s because the pageantry of Catholicism captured our imagination. I often participate in NeoPagan rituals, not out of belief, but because I was raised Catholic, and my biggest problem with the folderol was that I couldn’t get involved. NeoPagans frequently irritate me because they’re too woo-ish and new-agey, but they do recognize the importance of ritual in life. The problem with the catholic church is that they consider the laity as spectators rather than participants. They can only watch the show; they have no voice in its direction.

  6. “wasn’t sure whether it was illegal for priests to have sex with children”

    That’s odd considering the strict rules that the church enforces about masturbating and sex and the supposed source of these rules!

  7. Even if it wasn’t a crime, it’s still abuse and a huge breach of trust. However, it’s clearly a lie, so we must ask why he’s lying. It’s probably not the usual ‘protect the Church’ lie because this isn’t the wording used in the unfortunately hundreds of examples we already have of this. It’s not just protecting himself for not reporting it for the same reason. My opinion is that this Archbishop may be an abuser of children, or at least someone who broke his vow of celibacy, himself. He’s making preparatory statements for if his own victims come forward.

  8. *Sigh*

    It’s at timer like this that I don’t regret a huge argument that I had with a Catholic friend of mine.

    The everyday believers (if they are like her) 1) seem to be quite loose morally about a lot of the church’s teachings (abortion, contraceptives, that sort of thing) but 2) seem to be big holiday believers. I really don’t know why they still wear the religion after all of the immorality that it has been involved in, even in modern times. As an organization it’s f**ked.

    It’s funny to think that I was on the anti-Pope protest while she was seeing the whole Pope Palpentine roadshow. We had the better signs, though.

  9. So the Catholic church didn’t know that kiddy fucking was a crime in St. Louis, they didn’t know that starving children to death and hiding their bodies in a septic field was wrong in Ireland, they seem to be blissfully unaware of the genocidal consequences of their batshit crazy prohibition on the use of sexual prophylaxis in sub Saharan Africa, their continued interference in government policy in Central and South America with respect to women’s right to bodily autonomy has resulted in untold misery and death.

    Is there any part of the world where the Catholic church is not actively involved in decreasing the well being of human beings ?

    1. Is there any part of the world where the Catholic church is not actively involved in decreasing the well being of human beings ?

      Oh, sure — many such places, in fact.

      Afghanistan, North Korea, Saudi Arabia…

      …but not for want of desire, I’m sure….


    1. …because we all know that the best authorities on reproductive health and family and child welfare are a bunch of self-proclaimed celibate unmarried men who have a propensity for raping children….


    1. “Look, I have two daughters who have not known a man; let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please; only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.” (Gen 19:8)

      Then Caleb said, “Whoever attacks Kiriath-sepher and takes it, I will give him my daughter Achsah as wife.” 13 And Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, took it; and he gave him his daughter Achsah as wife. (Judges 1:8)

      1. Those who fall prey to the priests tend to be boys. The babble may not have much to say about child rape itself, but it condemns sodomy.

        The babble being the self-contradictory thing that it is, it probably also recommends a spot of sodomy as good way to wind down after a heavy session of enemy-smiting.

  10. Perhaps such blatant ignorance is what led him to blindly have faith and join the priesthood? Or maybe he has just been worded up by his lawyer to plead ignorance?

  11. Fwded post to Son of Hempenstein, Esq. His reply:

    Look up the following Latin phrases…

    “Malum prohibitum” and “malum in se”

    I’d bet that he is familiar with [them].

          1. It’s the subjunctive imperfect passive that makes it weird. You could instead just say, because everyone would be seen to love wickedness…..there are easier constructions.

            quia quisque amare videretur improbitatem.

      1. Oh, that’s easy. Christianity, especially Roman Catholicism, is pure Roman Paganism with new names for the gods. Go to a Catholic mass, especially high mass in Latin, and it’s so blindingly obvious that it’s entirely Roman through and through that you wonder how any Christian can put down Paganism with a straight face.

        You want to know what Roman religious ritual was like at the time of Constantine? Latin mass in a well-to-do cathedral.



              1. Ah, the Latin mass! That brings back memories of being force fed with it by a 5’6″ penguin from the age of 5.

                If we had the nerve to ask “Yes, but what does it mean?”, if one was lucky, one would just get:
                “Pay no mind to the meaning, for this is Holy Latin”. If one’s luck was out, the penguin would also administer a clip round the ear or, if really unlucky, the edge of a ruler to the knuckles. Dirty fighters, those penguins!

                Then, two years later, the new Pope decided that it might be better to give mass in local lingo. What a waste of about 300 hours schooling!

              2. Latin was the only good thing about the Catholic Church and they used to instruct kids in it but now there is nothing good about them unless you like men in silky gowns.

  12. I was with SNAP at the press conference in front of the Stl. basilica on Wednesday, June 11th, 2014. As a newer member and my first time by the cameras, I wasn’t sure what I could or could not say. I wanted to go ‘Full Christopher Hitchens’ on them by ‘Hitch Slapping’ The Ole Archbishop. If SNAP has another press conference, I’ll give it a go.
    It was great being with SNAP and standing up to such an evil, global organization.

  13. I’ve scanned the comments and it doesn’t seem to have been mentioned:

    He clearly knew it was a crime. There are memos from 1984 with him discussing statutes of limitations. You don’t discuss those and not know you’re dealing with crimes.

  14. One of my favs.

  15. For this to be remotely plausible, it would have to be true not only that he didn’t know it was illegal for a priest to rape a child, but that he assumed it wasn’t. It never occurred to him to pick up the phone and call the police and tell them “Officer, this is Bishop So-and-so. I have a priest here who raped a kid. Can he turn himself in quietly at the station?”

    That’s aside from the testimony about statute of limitations, which proves that even if he didn’t know that child-rape was a crime when he first heard the accusations, he knew in time that he could have called the police in this case.

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