The Catholic Church Should Burn

Tigger

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In case you don't follow those links to George Pell, the guardian is describing him as the "3rd most senior catholic in the world"

On this basis, I find in favour of the title of this thread. The catholic church is abusive to its core, rotten from head to tail.
 
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Brenda Archer

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I agree in general with the point that predators know how to choose their prey, but I don't think that can be the whole story.

I mean, how likely is it that a sexual predator will deliberately choose to seek ordination as a Catholic priest (or any other denomination), with all the years of study and training that involves, in order to have access to victims when he could just as easily enjoy similar access in, as you suggest, a community sports league or something?

I think it's to do with some people being unable to resist the temptation, when presented with the opportunity to succumb to it apparently without consequences, to do something they never otherwise thought they might want to do.

For example, I'm sure that a great many men who find themselves convicted of downloading images of children being sexually abused would never have dreamed of trying to seek out such images in the first place unless they'd read about how easy it is to do online, and started to think, "I wonder what people see in that sort of thing" and decided to satisfy their curiosity. If satisfying that curiosity had meant seeking out seedy and threatening sex shops and video arcades, I'm pretty sure most of them wouldn't have done anything about it.
I'm not convinced there are a lot of these, but I don't know if anyone has tried to get statistics.

What I am convinced of, is that there are a lot of Cluster B abusers, more than people think. When they have unchecked power, some of them will abuse whoever is vulnerable in their reach, and some of them are pedophiles. These people are like addicts and do seek out opportunity.

Naive people still think religious people have some kind of protection against base instincts and madness. It's very magical thinking and abusers take full advantage of it on purpose. I have also seen them use religious absolution as an excuse to say they shouldn't be subject to the law or even to social disapproval. This is so common a story among survivors that it gives me the impression it's impossible to have a hierarchy without abuse. People would have to admit those in the hierarchy must be subject to the same checks and transparency as anyone else in power, and that really interferes with their magical thinking. They are desperate to believe something can exist that is better than mundane humanity. Challenging this brings out their anger, much like that of an addict. They essentially blame the victim who comes forward for claiming the abuser is human - claiming he isn't "special" or "divinely forgiven" is opposed to their idea of their religion. I'm sure this is probably some kind of heresy, but it's very common.
 

Bartholomew Gallacher

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The problem with any religion is that god never answers directly. So this absence of answers give much room for interpretation, and this many times leads to bad things.

For example, praying to the same Christian god for protection Europeans have been murdering each other for centuries - the French fighting the British, the Germans the French, Brits and Russians, the British the French and so on... all in the name of the same god, and all considered themselves blessed by him.

That's the clusterfuck and tragedy of every big enough religion - everybody thinks that only he's right, and all others are quite wrong.
 

Tranquility

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I agree in general with the point that predators know how to choose their prey, but I don't think that can be the whole story.

I mean, how likely is it that a sexual predator will deliberately choose to seek ordination as a Catholic priest (or any other denomination), with all the years of study and training that involves, in order to have access to victims when he could just as easily enjoy similar access in, as you suggest, a community sports league or something?

I think it's to do with some people being unable to resist the temptation, when presented with the opportunity to succumb to it apparently without consequences, to do something they never otherwise thought they might want to do.

For example, I'm sure that a great many men who find themselves convicted of downloading images of children being sexually abused would never have dreamed of trying to seek out such images in the first place unless they'd read about how easy it is to do online, and started to think, "I wonder what people see in that sort of thing" and decided to satisfy their curiosity. If satisfying that curiosity had meant seeking out seedy and threatening sex shops and video arcades, I'm pretty sure most of them wouldn't have done anything about it.
I agree that in most cases it is not likely a fully deliberate choice of, "I will become a priest because I am a pedophile and want easy access to children."

But, I do think that the career choice of a priest does inherently appeal to someone with pedophilia. Society does tell them that religion is the pathway to redemption and forgiveness for their wicked desires. They may see priesthood as the ultimate way to atone for their sins. At the same time, it gives them an excuse for not getting married and not having any girlfriends. This excuse works for both pedophilia and homosexuals who view their orientation as evil. It kind of serves as a disguise for who they really are. Ultimately though, it gives them un-monitored access to children combined with power over their silence, which is where all the damage occurs. And of course, the church being more than willing to cover up the consequences in order to protect the reputation and power of the church.

The devious part is determining if these priests counted on this un-monitored access, power, and protection from consequence from the beginning? I am sure there are some who did go into the priesthood deliberately for those reasons. Others may have gone in with the intention of salvation and atonement, thinking that god would steer them down a righteous path. Only to find out that it is ultimately up to them to make the right choices, and that the church actually makes their condition exponentially worse due to that easy access of children, power, and cover-up. In other words, the promise of salvation is a recipe for disaster.
 

Innula Zenovka

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I agree that in most cases it is not likely a fully deliberate choice of, "I will become a priest because I am a pedophile and want easy access to children."

But, I do think that the career choice of a priest does inherently appeal to someone with pedophilia. Society does tell them that religion is the pathway to redemption and forgiveness for their wicked desires. They may see priesthood as the ultimate way to atone for their sins. At the same time, it gives them an excuse for not getting married and not having any girlfriends. This excuse works for both pedophilia and homosexuals who view their orientation as evil. It kind of serves as a disguise for who they really are. Ultimately though, it gives them un-monitored access to children combined with power over their silence, which is where all the damage occurs. And of course, the church being more than willing to cover up the consequences in order to protect the reputation and power of the church.

The devious part is determining if these priests counted on this un-monitored access, power, and protection from consequence from the beginning? I am sure there are some who did go into the priesthood deliberately for those reasons. Others may have gone in with the intention of salvation and atonement, thinking that god would steer them down a righteous path. Only to find out that it is ultimately up to them to make the right choices, and that the church actually makes their condition exponentially worse due to that easy access of children, power, and cover-up. In other words, the promise of salvation is a recipe for disaster.
But, as Catholics, won't they believe that forgiveness and salvation are available to the layperson on exactly the same basis they're available to members of the priesthood -- that is, through the Sacrament of Penance (Confession)? I take the point about the priesthood offering a public reason for living as a celibate, but I don't see how it offers them any special form of atonement.

If anything, I'd have thought it made their position worse, since they're guilty not only for the grievous crimes involved in sexual abuse but also for breaking their vow of celibacy. Furthermore, at least as I understand the Church's teachings on the matter when the penitent confesses to serious crimes, their confessor should refuse them absolution unless, as part of their penance, they turn themselves in to the police.
 

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I take the point about the priesthood offering a public reason for living as a celibate, but I don't see how it offers them any special form of atonement.
It does, however, offer respectability and prestige. If you despite yourself and your own nature, if you fear the condemnation of others -- not from a moral position, but from a social one -- then the Church offers a path that obscures your inability to live up to social norms. A man who doesn't marry -- and who doesn't date promiscuously -- is seen as odd, or even pathetic. A single status draws attention and scrutiny. But priesthood provides a cover story for both his situation to others but also for himself. By taking a vow of celibacy, especially immature men can simply ignore -- at a conscious level -- their own proclivities.

The problem with this "solution" however, is that it does not erase the underlying impulses and emotions. In positions of power, those urges can erupt, uncontrolled because they were never even faced.
 

Innula Zenovka

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It does, however, offer respectability and prestige. If you despite yourself and your own nature, if you fear the condemnation of others -- not from a moral position, but from a social one -- then the Church offers a path that obscures your inability to live up to social norms. A man who doesn't marry -- and who doesn't date promiscuously -- is seen as odd, or even pathetic. A single status draws attention and scrutiny. But priesthood provides a cover story for both his situation to others but also for himself. By taking a vow of celibacy, especially immature men can simply ignore -- at a conscious level -- their own proclivities.

The problem with this "solution" however, is that it does not erase the underlying impulses and emotions. In positions of power, those urges can erupt, uncontrolled because they were never even faced.
I think there's a danger here of conflating gay priests with priests who are sexual abusers. I can quite understand why a devout gay man who is a Catholic might well decide that the celibate life of a priest is a good way of trying to repress his sexuality.

However, I don't think that being a sexual predator or abuser is a sexual orientation at all. It's about power relationships, to my mind. Certainly most of the people I've encountered through the criminal justice system have been in apparently perfectly normal straight or gay relationships before they've discovered their abusive side. It's certainly the case that most children who are sexually abused are abused by male relatives, often their own father.
 

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However, I don't think that being a sexual predator or abuser is a sexual orientation at all.
Uh, yeah. Anyone saying otherwise is a fucking lunatic, or desperately trying to tie homosexuality to them (so a fucking regressive).
 

Jopsy Pendragon

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The problem with this "solution" however, is that it does not erase the underlying impulses and emotions. In positions of power, those urges can erupt, uncontrolled because they were never even faced.
I really believe that most of humanity uses their brains to rationalize their impulsive behavior. The way someone with post-hypnotic suggestion will blandly and effortlessly come up with a reason to justify a sudden outburst of unexpected behavior.

imho, those that abuse their power rapidly slide the slippery slope because they rationalizes that "Of course it's wrong for predators to do these things, but I'm not a predator! So it's not the same thing at all!" The obvious fact that doing those things is what -makes- one a predator is something they've parked in the 'extreme denial, never open' darkest drawer of their mind. And they'll be incredibly dismissive and/or hostile towards anyone trying to push them towards it.

And the monsters probably still sleep peacefully at night believing that they're kinder, gentler and more loved by god than the rest of humanity.
 

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In case you don't follow those links to George Pell, the guardian is describing him as the "3rd most senior catholic in the world"

On this basis, I find in favour of the title of this thread. The catholic church is abusive to its core, rotten from head to tail.
I am acquainted with someone who had personal experience of George Pell during his tenure as Archbishop of Melbourne. I've heard him describe the man as "evil" and a "textbook psychopath" on more than one occasion. This is not an isolated point of view either. If multiple media reports and stories I've read over the years are to believed, "evil" and "psychopath" and pretty fair descriptors of the man.
 

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I think there's a danger here of conflating gay priests with priests who are sexual abusers. I can quite understand why a devout gay man who is a Catholic might well decide that the celibate life of a priest is a good way of trying to repress his sexuality.

However, I don't think that being a sexual predator or abuser is a sexual orientation at all. It's about power relationships, to my mind.
We're talking at cross-purposes. So let me retrench to explain, with greater clarity one hopes, what I was trying to say. Which may or may not dovetail with discussions above. I jumped in with flat feet, which may have implied associations I didn't intend.

The Church -- by its requirement of celibacy -- offers a screen for many different kinds of sexual non-conformity. By the time a young man is old enough to enter a seminary, he most likely is already aware of, or energetically hiding from, his differences. Those traits which make him socially awkward outside the Church, can be traded in for a respectable and even lucrative career inside the Church. This is true for gay men, but for many other shades of sexuality as well, including a true pedophile (attracted to prepubescent children). If you feel odd, fear that you can't integrate into socially approved heterosexual relationships with adult women, the Church has appeal. And if you're turned on by power, I could argue that the Church offers that promise as well. If you've been raised in a Catholic community, the power wielded by clergy is palpable.

So you take this motley assortment of sexual "deviants" (as defined by Catholic society) and you place them in an intense, hierarchy-driven atmosphere of male privilege. You hand the high-achievers power and authority over others. You surround them with sycophants. You surround them with young men and teenage boys. This dynamic alone would breed sexual abusers and predators. Principled men may resist the temptation to abuse their power, but as we're learning, many others do not. Men who "like them young" but post-adolescent are not synonymous with child molesters. That is entirely another creature.

People of otherwise benign character can be transformed by the institution around them. Absolute power corrupts. No matter what a particular man may find sexually arousing, having the power of the Church gives him the opportunity to indulge himself, without consent from others, and to get away with it.

Eliminating the rule of celibacy dilutes the pool of clergy with unresolved sexual issues. It breaks open the claustrophic male-only bubble and brings a more diverse community into the halls of power. It does not eliminate sexual predators -- as we see from other religious institutions -- but it helps to bring a little more light into dark corners. It also frees celibacy rule-breakers from being bound by fear of their own exposure, makes them less willing to cover the horrific crimes.
 
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Brenda Archer

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I really believe that most of humanity uses their brains to rationalize their impulsive behavior. The way someone with post-hypnotic suggestion will blandly and effortlessly come up with a reason to justify a sudden outburst of unexpected behavior.

imho, those that abuse their power rapidly slide the slippery slope because they rationalizes that "Of course it's wrong for predators to do these things, but I'm not a predator! So it's not the same thing at all!" The obvious fact that doing those things is what -makes- one a predator is something they've parked in the 'extreme denial, never open' darkest drawer of their mind. And they'll be incredibly dismissive and/or hostile towards anyone trying to push them towards it.

And the monsters probably still sleep peacefully at night believing that they're kinder, gentler and more loved by god than the rest of humanity.

Yes. This is exactly how Cluster B abusers get away with it. Their conviction is persuasive and is believed by most of the people around them, so a survivor who unmasks them is dealing both with denial from the abuser and disbelief and gaslighting from the congregation.
 
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Tigger

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I was just reading an article about how the head of the catholic church in the UK chose not to meet with an abuse survivor before going to the catholic abuse conference, none of it was very surprising until I got to this, the nonpology of the abuser:

In April 2017, the priest involved, Father Peter Conniffe, a member of the Servite Order based in Salford, wrote to the woman to ask forgiveness “for all and any sexual activity towards you which I may have thought was consensual, but which has come to be deemed non-consensual and abusive”. He added: “Please accept my sincere apologies and deep regret for any harm I have caused you. I ask your forgiveness and hope this apology will help to free you from the distress you have suffered because of my actions.”
Is it possible to write a less apologetic apology ?

She was 15 when the abuse started.

Cardinal declined to meet abuse victim before Vatican summit
 

Jopsy Pendragon

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Eliminating the rule of celibacy dilutes the pool of clergy with unresolved sexual issues. [...] helps to bring a little more light into dark corners.
And whether one subscribes to the 'it takes a woman to "socialize" a man' or not.... a predator with a committed partner is living under more scrutiny than one without, reducing their time/opportunity to indulge criminal pursuits and increasing the risk of being found out.
 

Aribeth Zelin

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The thing is, there are plenty of hetero priests as well; ones who've treated convents as their personal [nonconsensual] harem, or sexually abused teenaged school girls, or even just had a mistress for years. This didn't start with the sexual revolution; it started the minute priests, monks, nuns, brothers, and sisters were no longer allowed to get married because of BS political crap regarding nobles and up wanting a safe place to park their excess kids.
 
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Kaimi Kyomoon

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I only just found this thread and I didn't read all of it but I didn't see anyone saying this. People who are seriously raised Catholic - like some of my friends - experience a lot of distress when they discover that something the church calls a sin is something they feel compelled to indulge in. I image that a number of the people who join orders are hoping that God will "cure" them if they are devout enough. Once in they find that they are not being made into a different person and especially when they begin giving in to temptation they might start to think that God doesn't really mind. After all God has given them power over others so that when they abuse that power without repercussion well some of them are going to turn into monsters. More of them than I could have imagined when I was a young agnostic.
 

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The Nazi pope has spoken:

I started to laugh and then thought of the information that has come to light from Ireland. The part that seemed strangest is the idea that the problem is the absence of God. The former Pope is explicitly saying that God is not present within his Church amongst the ordained ministry. Kinda says it all.

According to the article in NCR, Cardinal Ratzinger says that the problem is that the Church moved away from Natural Law, and its moral foundation has decayed. He was also able to throw in a remark to rethink the results of Vatican II. This is how he has been spending his time in penance since abdicating the throne???
 
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Jolene Benoir

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The Nazi pope has spoken:

Ridiculous. Many, many cases of abuse by those wearing the cloth predate the sexual revolution, by far. Nay, the revolution that he despises is that which has allowed people to come forward and speak of their abuse at the hands of the church.

Daylight is the enemy of abusers. In darkness, they thrive.