The Day the Vatican Hung a Green Light at St. Peter’s Basilica and How Evangelicals Are Doing the Same Thing.

“They like to use those fancy words. They don’t like to say “raped,’” he said. “They say “misdeed,’ “inappropriate touching,’ “mistake.’ That’s insulting. I’m not a mistake.” ― Charles L. Bailey Jr., In the Shadow of the Cross

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Peter%27s_Basilica#/media/File:Saint_Peter%27s_Basilica_at_night.jpg
St Peter’s Basilica at night.

The other day, I was trying to catch up on some reading about the sex scandal in the Pennsylvania Catholic church when I came across this article: Pa. Catholic Church sex abuse report names hundreds of priests, accuses leaders of cover-up: ‘They hid it all.’written by by Jeremy Roebuck, Angela Couloumbis and Liz Navratil for the Inquirer Daily News.

I started to read the article and the following text slapped me upside the head.

Top Roman Catholic leaders in Pennsylvania covered up decades of child sex abuse involving more than 1,000 victims and hundreds of priests, according to a long-awaited grand jury report released Tuesday.

Capping what may be the most comprehensive examination yet of clergy sex abuse across a single state, the nearly 900-page document accuses church officials in six Pennsylvania dioceses of routinely prioritizing their institution over the welfare of children in their care.

The allegations stretch back to the 1940s, detailing child rapes and groping that mirrored the reports that have roiled the church worldwide. But the document includes several uniquely disturbing accounts of its own — including one of a 1970s pedophile and child pornography ring in Pittsburgh among priests who whipped their victims and took photos of one boy as he posed naked as if on the cross.

I am going to focus on the priests in this post, not the victims although my heart goes out to them. I believe this report may help us to understand what is going on the Catholic Church and why we are seeing it in the evangelical church.

Here are the relevant facts according to the article.

  • 100s of pedophile priests were found in only 6 Pennsylvania diocese.
  • More than 1000 victims (I am betting this number is way too low.)
  • This abuse by priests dated as far back as the 1940s.
  • A pedophile and child pornography ring was found in Pittsburg which was present in the 1970s.

To what do we attribute this startling number of pedophile priests? Let’s start with what we do know.

Did/does this happen because priests cannot marry?

Absolutely not. I have made this point before and I will keep making it. A normal priest (meaning one who is NOT a pedophile) who wished to violate his celibacy vows, would choose another adult of consenting age with whom to have sex. A normal priests doesn’t say “That’s it. I don’t care what I vowed, I’m going have sex with a 5 year old boy.”

We also know that married individuals are often charged with pedophilia. Here is one statistic. I read about 10 other sources which quoted similar findings.

44 percent of convicted pedophiles either are or have been married,

Did/does this happen because of homosexuality? No.

Bishop Morlino, in a letter to the diocese of Madison. Wisconsin, raised the specter of homosexuality as being the cause. This post at the National Catholic: Reporter Bishop Morlino, others charge ‘homosexual subculture’ for clergy abuse crisis subtitled “A lax following of church teachings on sexuality in the wider culture a recurring theme.”

He pointed to a deeper crisis of acceptance and diminishment of sin, saying “we have refused to call a sin a sin,” and urged the church to resist becoming a refuge for sin, including “deviant sexual — almost exclusively homosexual — acts by clerics.”

“We are talking about acts and actions which are not only in violation of the sacred promises made by some, in short, sacrilege, but also are in violation of the natural moral law for all. To call it anything else would be deceitful and would only ignore the problem further,” Morlino said.

He continued: “There has been a great deal of effort to keep separate acts which fall under the category of now-culturally-acceptable acts of homosexuality from the publically-deplorable acts of pedophilia. That is to say, until recently the problems of the Church have been painted purely as problems of pedophilia — this despite clear evidence to the contrary. It is time to be honest that the problems are both and they are more.”

I believe that churches and religions have the right to determine their response to same sex relations. However, all faiths must be careful not to make the same mistake that I believe Bishop Morlino made in his statement. He appears to claim that there is clear evidence that a homosexual subculture leads to pedophilia. However, that statement is not provable or definitive.

There are a number of studies that would seem to indicate that this is not true. One of those studies is quoted in that article.

The 2011 John Jay College of Criminal Justice study, commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, found no correlation between homosexual identity and the sexual abuse of minors, or that homosexual priests were more likely to abuse minors than heterosexual priests — findings consistent with other studies. Likewise, it found the period of decline in incidents of priestly sexual abuse aligned with the timeframe when large numbers of gay men entered seminaries, beginning in the late 1970s and through the ’80s.

Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, Wisconsin, March 25. (CNS/Courtesy of Jason Studnicka)
The study also said it was inaccurate to refer to abusers as “pedophile priests,” given that less than 5 percent of alleged abusive priests displayed behavior consistent with pedophilia, and the majority of victims examined in the report were pubescent or postpubescent minors.

My heart goes out to Catholic leaders like Bishop Morlino who desperately want to find a cause for this crisis. However, blaming this on homosexuality will lead to further disappointment when efforts to get rid of homosexuals in the priesthood result in little, if any, change in the numbers of abuse victims.

So, where is the root of the problem?

The Catholic Church has become a haven for pedophiles due to a misunderstanding of what pedophilia is and is not.

I am going to present what I believe has happened in the Catholic Church and why I believe the evangelical church is inadvertently following the same path.

When my daughter was 20 months old, she was somewhat precocious. One day, she suddenly discovered that the green light in stoplights means *go* and the red light means *stop.* She decided it was important to educate the population at large about this phenomenon. She announced this profound discovery to a group of people in an elevator. She then went on to tell this to every stranger in her path. To this day, we still laugh and say “Green means go.”

And that is what I believe happened in the Catholic Church and is happening in the evangelical church. We have hung out lights that are permanently stuck on the color green.

One night I couldn’t sleep and I actually reviewed the numbers from the Inquirer. Here is my conclusion.

Mistake: Pedophilia is just a sin like any other sin.

Wouldn’t it be nice if this was so. It isn’t. Yes, a pedophile can seek forgiveness and will receive that forgiveness is he/she is truly repentant. But that is not the end of the story. This is what tripped up the Catholic Church and what is causing havoc in the evangelical church.

Truth: Pedophilia is a crime and a profound psychiatric disorder.

I am going to make my life a lot easier and quote directly from Wikipedia which well spells out that this is a psychiatric problem

Pedophilia is termed pedophilic disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), and the manual defines it as a paraphilia involving intense and recurrent sexual urges towards and fantasies about prepubescent children that have either been acted upon or which cause the person with the attraction distress or interpersonal difficulty.[4] The International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) defines it as a “sustained, focused, and intense pattern of sexual arousal—as manifested by persistent sexual thoughts, fantasies, urges, or behaviours—involving pre-pubertal children.”[6]

The NIH classifies it as a paraphilia. Sadly, as of now, there is no cure for pedophilia. It is important to understand that the pedophile can be given treatment that can help them to fight reoffending but there is no permanent cure. 

There’s no magic cure that can make the sexual attraction to children go away, and up to 50 percent of convicted pedophiles re-offend. But like drug addiction, gambling addiction, and other destructive obsessions, pedophilia can be successfully treated, if pedophiles are motivated to stop their behavior. The most common treatment for pedophiles is “relapse prevention,” a lifelong therapy similar to alcoholism treatment that conditions them to live with their obsession but not act on it. Some clinics offer aversive conditioning, or “shame therapy,” which forces pedophiles to associate their urges with something painful or unpleasant, such as an electric shock. There are also drugs that can suppress a pedophile’s sex drive. With the right combination of drugs and therapy, pedophiles can learn to resist their urges, said Dr. Fred Berlin, founder of the Johns Hopkins Sexual Disorders Clinic. “We’re not going to be able to put out the fire,” he said, “but we can do a nice job of containing [it].”

Christians, both Catholic and Protestant, often believe that confession and repentance will lead to Jesus miraculously curing pedophiles.This is a dangerous assumption. The truly repentant pedophile will be forgiven but will struggle with their disorder for a life time.

So, what happened? Why are there so many pedophiles in the Catholic Church? Here is my theory.

There are three groups of pedophiles to keep in mind.

  1. This group of pedophiles wants to repent, do so and receive in-depth psychiatric help to keep their urges under control. This is small group, in my opinion.
  2. This group of pedophiles wants to repent, do so, and unfortunately fail in their efforts to stop abusing. This is a much larger group in my opinion.
  3. Some pedophiles have no intention of stopping their behavior. If caught, they pretend to repent in order to gain further access to children. I believe this group is much larger than we can imagine.

Now, go back to these two statement in the Inquirer.

  1. including one of a 1970s pedophile and child pornography ring in Pittsburgh among priests
  2. The allegations stretch back to the 1940s,

So, let’s imagine what might have happened.

  • In the 1940s, the first pedophiles were found in the Catholic Church in Pittsburgh. Little was understood about this disorder. These men were allowed to repent by those in the hierarchy and were returned to the priesthood. They continued to offend. They continued to be forgiven and they were sent to other parishes.
  • Slowly the word got out to pedophiles. The Catholic Church is the place for you. You get access to children, you get paid and you get community respect because you wear the collar.
  • The church unwittingly became pedophile central. Pedophiles came, survived the complaints and began moving up the hierarchical ladder.
  • Note that there was an established pedophile and child pornography ring by 1970. This was in place 30 years after the first complaints were discovered.
  • If there was a pedophile ring within the priesthood in the Philadelphia area by 1970, I am guessing that there were pedophile rings in all of the dioceses in the US by this time.
  • If established pedophiles were moving into position of greater power, I believe that they could have assisted international churches/dioceses to help other pedophiles throughout the world. Here is a list of sex abuse reports in the church by country.
  • There is little reason not to suspect that even the highest officials of the Catholic Church may be pedophiles as well.
  • Imagine if a pedophile priest attempted to live a celibate life surrounded by pedophiles who had no intention of doing so? Why would he even attempt to resist in that environment?
  • As pedophile priests climbed the hierarchical ladder, they were in a position to threaten priests who might attempt to report the behavior. Does it go all the way to the Pope?

Does the pedophilia problem go all the way to the Pope?

The Weekly Standard recently published a disturbing post The Catholic Church Is Breaking Apart. Here’s Why. In this article, a high ranking archbishop attempted to get Pope Francis to act on credible accusations of abuse by one the Pope’s friends.

Then there are the allegations: On August 25, 2018, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò published a letter in which he claimed that he had been party to several attempts to make the Vatican aware of McCarrick’s abuses over the years; that he had personally discussed them with Wuerl; and that Pope Francis—knowing full well all of the above—rescinded the house-arrest order of his predecessor, made McCarrick his “trusted counselor,” and, at McCarrick’s behest, began elevating certain bishops—such as Blase Cupich and Joseph William Tobin—to positions of power in the American church.

How did the Pope respond? Just like some evangelical hyper-authoritarian pastors who fuss about divisions and claim Satan is behind all of it. The Pope’s bishops were just fine in his opinion. Given my thinking, I would have to say that Pope himself must be suspect or he is ill-informed and simply trying to protect the “reputation of the church.” Apparently Jesus is unable to do that without the help of the Pope or his bishops.

In the weeks after the Viganò letter was published, Francis preached a homily in which he declared, “with people lacking good will, with people who only seek scandal, who seek only division, who seek only destruction” the best response is “silence” and “prayer.” If this sounds like Francis believes the real villains in this mess are Archbishop Viganò and people who want to know what the bishops knew, and when they knew it, well, yes.

In another homily on September 11, Francis went further, saying that not only was Viganò the real villain, but the bishops were the real victims: They were being persecuted by the devil: “In these times, it seems like the Great Accuser has been unchained and is attacking bishops,” Francis preached. And Satan “tries to uncover the sins, so they are visible in order to scandalize the people.” (The Father of Lies—as he is referred to in the Bible—has not traditionally been regarded as the revealer of sins in Catholic thought, but this pope has never been known for having a supple mind.) Francis then offered counsel for his poor, suffering brother bishops: “The Great Accuser, as he himself says to God in the first chapter of the Book of Job, ‘roams the earth looking for someone to accuse.’ A bishop’s strength against the Great Accuser is prayer.”

What is the problem that evangelical face?

As TWW and other abuse advocate document story after story of missteps on the part of evangelical churches, we have become more concerned that these churches are sending out “Pedophile Are Welcome Here” vibes.

The Village Church’ quickly proclaimed the restoration of Jordan Root who used child pornography.

The Village Church claimed that Jordan Root, Karen HInckley’s child porn loving, former husband, was *walking in repentance* while she, who exposed his past and current activities, was subject to church discipline. You can read about the story here. This is like putting a big green light on the front door of TVC. It appears to say that pedophiles/child porn users will be able to successfully play a game of repentance. It also demonstrates a profound lack of understanding. Pedophilia is not just a sin requiring repentance but s a serious psychiatric disorder. I believe that this response put TVC at a high risk of pedophiles seeking out the church.

The Sovereign Grace scandal involved accusations of church hierarchy which covered up child sex abuse claims.

This is the best overview of the problems inherent in the SGM system. The Sex-Abuse Scandal That Devastated a Suburban Megachurch: Inside the rise and fall of Sovereign Grace Ministries.There was a plethora of complaints that CJ Mahaney and his BFF leaders covered up reports of sex abuse. The pedophiles in the area watched the alleged lack of leadership response to abuse concerns. Could it be that SGM unwittingly put a green light in the church windows? Could it be that their alleged lack of action led to greater problems with abuse in the church?

SBC pastor Chuck Hooten gushes over his pastor friend who was convicted for child porn offenses.

TWW posted PCA Worship Leader Sentenced to Prison for Child and Adult Porn. SBC Worship Leader, Chuck Hooten, Along With Friends, Go to Court to Support the Predator, Not the Victims. Hooten demonstrated a disturbing lack of understanding on what was at stake here. His friend has a serious psychiatric problem. Yet, according to Hooten, all is well since his buddy repented. Hooten was sending out a signal that pedophiles and child porn addicts would be safe at his church. All they have to do is repent and look sorry and Hooten, who has not done his homework, will believe all is well.Time for group hugs.

I could list case after case but I think my point is made.

To recap: By *forgiving* the repentant pedophile and pretending all is well, the church is putting their people in danger. Jesus told us to be wise as serpents. It is time to wake up and understand that pedophilia is a profound psychiatric disorder and it is time for us to take the problem seriously. The Catholic Church did not and they are facing the consequences to their actions from decades ago. The sins of the 1940s are more than evident today in 2018.

It’s time to brush off those red lights and say “It stops here and now.”


Comments

The Day the Vatican Hung a Green Light at St. Peter’s Basilica and How Evangelicals Are Doing the Same Thing. — 187 Comments

  1. I think this is an important article but I also think there are some points that need refining.

    – I think care has to be taken that people understand the pedophile problem didn’t spring up full-blown in Philadelphia in 1940. Priestly sexual abuse occurred before 1940. (For example, the Sisters of St Joseph, an Australian teaching order, reported an Adelaide priest was abusing children in 1870. He was sent back to Ireland. See Mary MacKillop for more on that.)

    – I also think we have to be careful about that Vigano letter. Keeping in mind that the Catholic church is a very conservative, male-oriented organization, what is going on is a fight between very conservative elements such as Vigano and not so conservative (but still very conservative) elements like Francis. Vigano and friends want to go back to the good old days of absolute authority in the church leadership and insistence on discipline that most Western lay Catholics are not interested in or opposed to. Vigano wants a cleaner, purer church, one not troubled by issues of LGBT or divorced Catholics, because it’s been made clear to those sinners that they are not welcome. Francis is slightly more realistic in this matter. I think one must root out the idea that Vigano and his compatriots are doing this for the children. No, he’s figured out this issue is a way to attempt to seize power and return to a rigid, top-down authority and order. Vigano is using pedophilia as a way to do it, but if he or his friends were to get their hands on real power, they’d be back to covering up priestly sex abuse, which is more than just pedophilia.

    – Lastly, we have to remember this is not just an American problem. The 30 bishops of Chile submitted their resignations earlier this year when the scope of the sex abuse by priests in Chile became clear during/after Pope Francis’ visit. Francis went on a visit to Chile and loudly defended the bishops and criticized those who were criticizing the bishops for covering up sex abuse, but when definitive evidence came out of the massive amount of abuse going on, he was forced to backtrack. So far, Francis has accepted the resignations of seven bishops, including two this week. It’s also worth noting that the Irish Catholic church has rapidly lost its power and authority in the wake of its own abuse scandal, to the point that much of Ireland has undergone a unexpected rapid secularization, including a referendum to repeal Ireland’s blasphemy law on October 26.

    Again, this is a very complex issue involving an ancient organization whose hierarchy believes that priests are somehow different from lay people in significant ways due to their ordination. In many parts of the world this organization had its own judicial system [canon law], or, at the very least, was granted exceptional deference by local law enforcement for quite a long time.

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  2. To get a sense of scale, do you know how many dioceses are in Pennsylvania and about how many priests there are (total, not the pedophile estimates) in a diocese?

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  3. I would also note that some of the sexual abuse is done to older children so is not due to pedophilia. Power tends to corrupt and some use it to gain sexual gratification without consent.

    I agree with Muslin, that sexual abuse was happening before 1940 but victims from before then still able to testify would be increasingly scarce (and their abusers or those covering up the abuse even scarcer).

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  4. A very wise article. I agree with Muslin that this must have been going on before the 1940s when it came to light. I appreciated the comments about forgiveness. I agree with the hymn that “the vilest offender who truly believes, that moment from Jesus a pardon receives”. However forgiveness is not easy or cheap. It does not mean sweeping it under the carpet and pretending the act does not matter. It would be unwise of a church to trust a former thief with church treasury even though they accept and forgive him in the fellowship. If a friend betrays you, you choose to forgive but that may not restore your trust. In cases of abuse, there is a deep emotional, physical and mental impact upon the victims. The abuser must face the consequences of his actions and justice must be done. Forgiveness can be very costly to the one who has been injured. For a church to pursue justice for the victims would show empathy and compassion for the them.

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  5. We have a medieval scholar PhD student in our family and priests have been sexually abusing children for hundreds of years. Solomon was right, there is nothing new under the sun. This is not an indictment of all priests, but it was not uncommon.

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  6. srs,

    8 dioceses and 2 archeparchies (the latter are for non-Latin rite churches). 6 of the dioceses were in the investigation. There are apparently 2500 priests currently in Pennsylvania but note that the study is over multiple decades and covers a time when a lot more priests were around so one has to be careful when calculating percentage. However those covering up seem to be almost everyone at the top of the hierarchy.
    https://www.pacatholic.org/resources/pa-catholic-statistics/

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  7. Paedophilia
    On 5th February 2014, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) published a report accusing the Vatican of putting the interests of the Roman Catholic Church above the interests of children who had been sexually abused by priests. The report demanded that the Vatican should “immediately remove” all clergy who are known or suspected child abusers and turn them over to civil authorities.

    The UNCRC said it was gravely concerned that the Holy See had not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed and expressed its “deepest concern about child sexual abuse committed by members of the Catholic churches who operate under the authority of the Holy See, with clerics having been involved in the sexual abuse of tens of thousands of children worldwide.”

    The report stated that the Holy See should open its files on members of the clergy who had “concealed their crimes” so that they could be held accountable. It called on a Vatican commission created by Pope Francis in December to investigate all cases of child sexual abuse as well as the conduct of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in dealing with them.

    The UNCRC also lambasted the “practice of offenders’ mobility” – the transfer of child abusers from parish to parish and sometimes abroad. It said that this practice placed “children in many countries at high risk of sexual abuse, as dozens of child sexual offenders are reported to be still in contact with children.

    Roman Catholic Attitudes Towards Paedophilia.
    The following are some examples of how leaders in the Roman Catholic Church regard the issue of paedophilia:

    1) Preserving the Reputation of the Roman Catholic Church is Paramount
    a)The Murphy Report states:
    1.15 The Dublin Archdiocese’s pre-occupations in dealing with cases of child sexual abuse, at least until the mid 1990s, were the maintenance of secrecy, the avoidance of scandal, the protection of the reputation of the Church, and the preservation of its assets. All other considerations, including the welfare of children and justice for victims, were subordinated to these priorities. The Archdiocese did not implement its own canon law rules and did its best to avoid any application of the law of the State.

    1.28 A similar ‘culture of secrecy’ was identified by the Attorney General for Massachusetts in his report on child sexual abuse in the Boston Archdiocese.5 In the case of that diocese, as in the case of Dublin, secrecy“protected the institution at the expense of children.”

    Ampleforth and Downside
    Ampleforth and Downside (English Benedictine Congregation case study) Investigation Report August 2018
    Investigation Report
    August 2018
    Conclusions
    5. On the few occasions where parents raised complaints about sexual abuse, or were
    informed about it by either institution, some preferred not to have the matters treated
    as a crime requiring police investigation, but to keep it quiet at all costs. Their interest
    was to protect the school, the Benedictine Congregation and the Catholic Church. In
    some instances, parents also wished to protect their children from the process of police
    investigation

    12. The Nolan Report, in 2001, was a turning point in Catholic Church safeguarding policy
    and practice, but we heard no evidence that demonstrated Downside and Ampleforth
    did any more than pay lip service to it. There was hostility to the Nolan Report in both
    institutions for some years after its adoption. They seemed to take a view that its
    impłementation was neither obligatory nor desirable. This view appeared to go unchallenged
    by the wider Catholic Church.
    https://www.iicsa.org.uk/news/inquiry-publishes-report-ampleforth-and-downside

    b) The Guardian
    Henry McDonald Ireland
    Thu 25 Jun ‘15
    Senior figures in Ireland’s Catholic church set up inquiries into historical sexual abuse by solely to protect the church from scandal, the former leader of Ireland’s Catholics has admitted.
    Dr Seán Brady, the former primate of All Ireland, told an inquiry into historical abuse on Thursday that he and other Catholic clerics were sworn to secrecy about these tribunals so that the “good name” of the church could be protected.
    Brady was giving evidence on Thursday at the historical abuse inquiry in Northern Ireland, a wideranging investigation into the abuse of children at state and church-run care homes and other institutions across the region.

    2) Underplaying the Seriousness of Paedophilia
    a) On January 8 1988 Alexander Quinn . Roman Catholic auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Cleveland wrote to the Papal nuncio Laghi : “The truth is, Doyle and Mouton want the Church in the United States to purchase their expensive and controvertible leadership in matters relating to pedophilia…The Church has weathered worse attacks…So too will the pedophile annoyance eventually abate

    b)In an interview with the Boston Globe 17th April 2002, American Cardinal Avery Dulles [ son of former American Secretary of State .John Foster Dulles and a convert to Roman Catholicism ,] stated:
    ‘I don’t think there’s any great crisis in the U S .. It’s really practically no news. To the extent it’s a crisis, its created by the news media. I suppose every individual case is terrible but it is not something peculiar to the Catholic church.’

    a) A Vatican Lawyer Says Bishops Should Not Reveal Abuse Claims
    By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
    New York Times May 18, 2002
    An influential canon lawyer at the Vatican has written an article to be published today in a Vatican-approved Jesuit journal saying that Roman Catholic bishops should not turn over allegations or records of sexual abuse by priests to the civil authorities.
    The article in the magazine Civilta Cattolica by the Rev. Gianfranco Ghirlanda, dean of the canon law faculty at Gregorian University in Rome, is the second indication in recent weeks that inside the Vatican, influential church officials may disapprove of the response of American bishops to the abuse scandal. Last month, the head of a Vatican council, Archbishop Julián Herranz, also said that the bishops should not be required to turn over records on abusive priests to prosecutors…

    The 12-page article by Father Ghirlanda carries weight because like everything published in La Civilta Cattolica, it was reviewed before publication by the secretariat of state at the Holy See.
    The conclusions of Father Ghirlanda follow by a few weeks critical remarks by Archbishop Herranz, one of the Vatican’s top legal officials, who had participated in the recent emergency meeting in Rome between Pope John Paul II and the American cardinals on the sexual abuse scandal.
    Days later, on April 29, the archbishop gave a scathing speech at the Catholic University of Milan that criticized the American news media and legal system as well as the reaction of the American bishops to the scandal.
    Archbishop Herranz, who is the president of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts, said that the American church’s large financial settlements with sexual abuse victims were ”unwarranted.” He criticized American news media outlets as seeking to ”sully the image of the church and the Catholic priesthood.” Echoing other Vatican officials who have linked sexual abuse with homosexuality, Archbishop Herranz referred to pedophilia as a ”concrete form of homosexuality.”
    Archbishop Herranz said that requiring church leaders to report all abuse accusations to the civil authorities was unnecessary; he called the turning over of records on abusive priests by dozens of American bishops the result of ”an emotional wave of public clamor.”

    b)In 2001 Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos , Prefect for the Congregation of the Clergy , with the personal approval of John Paul 11 and other senior cardinals, including the head of the C D F, Cardinal Ratzinger wrote to Bishop Pican of Bayeux who had refused to inform police about a paedophile priest and who gave him parish work despite his confession of guilt wrote: ‘I congratulate you for not denouncing a priest to the civil administration.’

    c) ‘I (Thomas Winning Roman Catholic Archbishop of Glasgow speaking in November 1994 after it was announced that he was to become a cardinal 9th November 1994 ) would pursue him ( an abusive priest ) as we have done in the past until he agreed to look for help… Yes , it’s a criminal offence, yes , but I’m not going to inform the police about that man. Let someone else do it.’

    Pope Francis’ Attitude to Paedophilia
    Pope hits out at criticism of Church over sexual abuse – BBC.com
    5 March 2014
    Pope Francis has set up a commission to investigate sex crimes committed by priests and to care for victims, but so far he has made very few public comments about the scandals that have rocked the Church in recent years.
    No ‘big changes’
    The leader of an Italian group representing victims of clerical sex abuse claimed there had been little action from the Vatican and said there had been no “big changes” under Pope Francis.
    Francesco Zanardi of Rete L’Abuso, told the BBC: “The cases of child abuse by priests continue to happen, all around Italy, and of the cases that we’ve denounced we have seen no results.”
    “The Pope may make this statement, but then the Vatican doesn’t reply to the UN or impose the obligation that bishops should denounce accused priests in the courts and not deal with the cases internally.”
    The founder of the US-based website, Bishop Accountability.org, Terence McKiernan, was more direct in his criticism, complaining that the Pope had not merely failed to apologise to the children who had been abused but had not even expressed sorrow.

    The Vatican’s Attitude to Paedophilia

    The Guardian
    Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Rome
    Wednesday 10 February 2016
    Catholic bishops not obliged to report clerical child abuse, Vatican says
    Vatican guide says ‘not necessarily’ bishop’s duty to report suspects to police despite Pope Francis’s vows to redress Catholic church’s legacy of child abuse
    The Catholic church is telling newly appointed bishops that it is “not necessarily” their duty to report accusations of clerical child abuse and that only victims or their families should make the decision to report abuse to police.
    A document that spells out how senior clergy members ought to deal with allegations of abuse, which was recently released by the Vatican, emphasised that, though they must be aware of local laws, bishops’ only duty was to address such allegations internally.
    “According to the state of civil laws of each country where reporting is obligatory, it is not necessarily the duty of the bishop to report suspects to authorities, the police or state prosecutors in the moment when they are made aware of crimes or sinful deeds,” the training document states.

    The Scale of the Problem
    The Guardian
    Sex abuse rife in other religions, says Vatican
    Riazat Butt, religious affair correspondent
    and Anushka Asthana
    Mon 28 Sep ‘09
    The statement, read out by Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s permanent observer to the UN, defended its record by claiming that “available research” showed that only 1.5%-5% of Catholic clergy were involved in child sex abuse.
    Note https://www.theguardian.com › World › Catholicism

    However, we would quote the following:
    T Doyle; A Sipe ; P Wall pub. 2006 states :
    Boston diocese admitted that 7.6 percent of its priests abused minors during the same time period covered by the John Jay lay study ( 1950-2002);New Hampshire reported that 8.2 percent of its priest were abusers; 24 percent of the priests serving in the diocese of Tucson Arizona in 1986 were sexual abusers; 56 of 710 priests in the Los Angeles diocese in 1991 were sexual abusers;( including two bishops);Los Angeles jurisdiction admitted records of allegations of abuse against 244 priests between 1930 and 2003.

    b)The Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Australia states:

    Of all Catholic priests included in the survey who ministered between 1950 and 2010, taking into account the duration of ministry, 7 per cent were alleged perpetrators.
    The weighted proportion of alleged perpetrators in specific Catholic Church authorities included: the St John of God Brothers (40.4 per cent); the Christian Brothers (22.0 per cent); the Benedictine Community of New Norcia (21.5 per cent); the Salesians of Don Bosco (20.9 per cent); the Marist Brothers (20.4 per cent); the Diocese of Sale in Victoria (15.1 per cent); the De La Salle Brothers (13.8 per cent) and the Archdiocese of Adelaide in South Australia (2.4 per cent).
    Vatican documents that link homosexuality to child sexual abuse are not in keeping with current psychological evidence or understanding about healthy human sexuality.
    We conclude that the emphasis in canon law on the ‘pastoral approach’, which requires bishops and religious superiors to treat withdrawal from ministry and dismissal from the priesthood or religious life as a ‘last resort’, has been a significant obstacle for bishops and religious superiors who wanted to initiate a canonical disciplinary process. It has also contributed to the mistaken view that child sexual abuse was a forgivable moral failing rather than a crime that should be reported to police

    c)Even in the absence of hard data, it seemed increasingly clear that, although clergy from every religious denomination have sexually violated children, no major denomination has had a problem of the scale that has plagued the Catholic church.” There are absolutely no Protestant equivalents, “ said Anson D. Shupe, a professor of sociology at Indiana University- Purdue University in Fort Wayne who researches clergy misconduct.” If I could find spectacular cases that would help my career, but I can’t. You don’t have rapacious serial predators, and the Protestant establishment doesn’t tolerate it the way the Catholic establishment has.”

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  8. I understand what you’re saying about celibacy, in that most pedophiles are married, and so celibacy itself does not cause pedophilia.

    Two things, though. Like Erp said, most of the abuse is not actually pedophilia, but ephebophilia. While pedophilia tends to be done by heterosexual males, ephebophilia does tend to be done by homosexual males.

    Does that mean that this is homosexuality’s fault?

    No, I don’t think so. I think the celibacy issue is more complex, and in some ways similar to your “green light” analysis, where it sends the word out “abusers are welcome here.”

    I think what celibacy does is this: It attracts people who aren’t interested in a normal, heterosexual relationship. Most people do want to get married. To want to get married is a natural thing. Many (probably most) priests also desire that, but sublimate that desire so that they can serve God.

    However, if, growing up, you were sexually confused, or you found that you weren’t attracted to adult women at all, and then there was this big organization that said, “You can belong and you don’t have to try to fit in with women, and you’ll still be considered normal and respected,” well, that’s very enticing.

    So I just think that the celibacy rule means that it is going to attract a much higher than usual number of those who are already very sexually confused. THEN they arrive and they see that so many are actually ephebophiles, and they feel that they have the “green light” to do that.

    Celibacy is not a normal lifestyle. It requires an awful lot to give up heterosexual relationships. So an organization that requires you to do that is naturally going to attract those who don’t value those relationships very much in the first place. Combine that with the green light to abuse, and you have a very toxic situation. So I’m not saying celibacy causes the problems. I’m saying the celibacy rule makes it more likely to attract people who may be attracted to children/adolescents in the first place.

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  9. I want to point out, too, that I don’t think abuse is caused by “sexual confusion”. Abuse is definitely about power, and an urge to dominate. But I do believe that if you combine those who have psychological issues and sexual confusion with those who are downright abusive and power hungry, you get a toxic mix.

    Most homosexuals never abuse anyone. Most who are sexually confused never abuse anyone. But when you create a very toxic environment where abuse is rampant (the sexual abuse at many of the seminaries of the students themselves was terrible), then you’re just creating an awful, toxic mix. Most who are abused were abused themselves. Doesn’t mean all abuse victims will abuse (few do), but it is a contributing factor. Put those abuse victims who are confused in a seminary with power hungry downright abusers, and you’re going to make things so much worse. And I think that’s what happened. When you look at what was happening at some seminaries–well, it was just setting the stage for what happened. And the Church knew and did nothing.

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  10. There are only two persons who can forgive the sin of sexual abuse of a child. Those are God and the child. No pastor, no priest, no other human, not even the Pope, can forgive the sexual abuse of a child.

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  11. I think it’s wrong to frame the Vigano Controversy as “conservatives against not-so-conservatives.” Rather, I would say that most Catholics inclined to believe Vigano see themselves as “Catholics who actually subscribe to 2000 years of Church Teaching.” IOW: simple, faithful Catholics.

    And no, celibacy is not the issue. The priests and bishops committing these atrocities are not interested in marrying women. Trust me.

    As you may imagine, I have many thoughts on this issue. To tell the truth, I’ve been thinking of little else (slight hyperbole, but let’s just say that we Catholic laypeople are rather fixated on this right now.)

    More later. Thanks for introducing this. There is so much to say.

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  12. The Vigano letter is being viewed by some Catholics as the new 95 thesis, but a welcome one this time around. An earlier commenter brought up Vigano’s motives…he is an imperfect man, but in this situation, he has done a great service of shining a light into a dark pit of filth.
    As a Catholic, I’m fighting mad and many other Catholics I know are as well. We are grateful to anyone who writes and brings attention to this.
    There is adult sexual abuse and corruption happening in the Catholic seminaries that we want stopped as well.

    As a convert to Catholicism, I’m still learning and have been relying on a podcast by Taylor Marshall to help me understand all of this. I recommend it to anyone who wants to dig deeper. (For the record, i do not know him personally; have never met him).

    Dee, thank you for writing this. I have been checking TWW daily hoping you’d wiring in! Many thanks!

    One other thing, I have not tithed regularly to my church for at least a year because of the ongoing sexual abuse and have just now heard other prominent Catholics wondering aloud that perhaps that is a way to demand change. I’m also considering protesting at the US Bishop’s Conference in November. I’d love some company there!

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  13. You’re way ahead of the curve, Dee. I’m inclined to doubt that the Evangelical movement will catch up with you (at least not as long as it is recognizably “Evangelical”)

    The idea that there might be innate and irreversible tendencies toward specific evil behaviors is kind of incompatible with prevailing evangelical theological anthropology. I think that’s beneath the surface of the inadequate responses to these crimes.

    God have mercy.

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  14. Also…I agree with Bishop Morlino. I was in the midst of explaining why when the phone ate my homework. Will reconstruct later. Thanks!

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  15. The best, and by far the most far reaching reporting on the RCC, and all of their sex abuse issues has been reported on by Rod Dreher at the American Conservative.

    He left the RCC due in part after researching the abuse in Boston in the early 2000’s
    He is. Rey careful, and passionate in his reporting…..

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  16. Good article. Good comments. I have some concerns. It would be a mistake to espouse the supposed rights and privileges of some ‘protected class’ to the extent that evidence is overlooked or dismissed or re-defined such as to protect that particular class of people.

    The clergy must not be a protected class in that sense. Protected from even suspicion much less accurate statistical analysis of the evidences once said evidences are obtained. Those who practice celibacy must not be a protected class such that in any enthusiasm for defending celibacy the evidences to the contrary, should there be such, are overlooked. Homosexuals must not be a protected class such that any statistical evidences, should there be any, must be overlooked or denied.

    Also pedophilia is a specific pathology and must not be confused with the popular lay use of the term as many do. Specifically, opinions based on research about actual pedophilia must not be applied to each and ever one who sexually abuses a child given the evidence that not every pedophile actually abuses a child and not every child abuser is a pedophile and not every sex act with an underage youth is even within the age range for a potential diagnosis of pedophilia. Talk about ‘sexual confusion’, it is intellectual sexual confusion to lump all sex with underage youth as pedophilia-that is some sort of malpractice associated with practicing medicine (with or without a license) without the required personal intellectual subjugation to the actual research. One cannot quote scientific/medical research accurately without being at the same time scientifically/medically specific. Even if, for instance, one or more class/group may end up having some ‘splaining to do’.

    And let us not forget that the sexual abuse of a child is not always motivated by sex. My son prosecuted a case of group sexual abuse of middle school girls and the motivation of the criminal mind behind it was money and drugs. There is a lot of money to be made by mixing sex and money and drugs including but not limited to children’s bodies. Our culture reeks with the concurrent overlapping areas of more than one criminal pursuit at the same time like that. File under ‘it is not that simple’.

    And, of course, there is always ‘the bible says’. When Jesus mentioned not marrying he never once said or recommended that it was God’s original plan to refrain from marriage, he noted it as sometimes due to medical dysfunction and sometimes due to religious commitment. He never required it of his followers. Paul said something similar about ‘if’ one’s physical needs were not pressing and perhaps for a short time only, and even said that he himself as a celibate had the right to travel with a sister/wife and other apostles did. To go beyond this is excessive and has no adequate biblical basis for a church to require. As protestants we should not criticize those among the catholics who object to required celibacy for priests; not as long as we keep saying ‘the bible says’.

    And BTW, the CC scandal is barely the tip of the iceberg. But we all know that.

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  17. okrapod: And let us not forget that the sexual abuse of a child is not always motivated by sex. My son prosecuted a case of group sexual abuse of middle school girls and the motivation of the criminal mind behind it was money and drugs. There is a lot of money to be made by mixing sex and money and drugs including but not limited to children’s bodies. Our culture reeks with the concurrent overlapping areas of more than one criminal pursuit at the same time like that. File under ‘it is not that simple’.

    IMO, this is the key to understanding why there is such a vast problem of sexual abuse within the church, pedophile and other. It is naive to think it is merely a bunch of perverts who can’t keep their pants on. Sexual abuse and pedophile rings involve power, drugs and money. And, in order to operate, they tend to hide where they will be least likely to be discovered. Certainly there are individual cases of sexual abuse, as TWW has disclosed, and these should be investigated and dealt with in order to protect others. But they are in an entirely different category from systemic, organized abuse, which is a branch of organized crime. And it would initially be difficult to tell which one is dealing with, which is why investigators need to be aware of the existence of actual pedophile rings and organized sex crime. It is more than likely present in the evangelical as well as the Roman church. Organized crime, which is rarely discussed anymore, did not simply disappear. It merely went deeper into hiding, and is often found, as always, intertwined with the pinnacles of power.

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  18. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes: Vigano is using pedophilia as a way to do it, but if he or his friends were to get their hands on real power, they’d be back to covering up priestly sex abuse, which is more than just pedophilia.

    That is a serious accusation to make.

    Dreher’s coverage and certain reader responses indicate not that Francis is an abuser himself, or is clueless. It’s more that the pope has a progressive social agenda for the Church, and it was guys like McCarrick who were helping him achieve his goals. Vigano may be a traditionalist for all I know, but that is not the same as him being in the same category as those prelates guilty of an appalling dereliction of duty to abuse victims.

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  19. This is all nauseating to me. All of it going on for centuries most likely. And the CC more than any other religious organization untouchable for most of their existence.

    I feel the worst for the many, many children and adults abused by this organization and the many good people and priests who thought they were part of something good.

    Just wanting good to triumph over evil in the here and now . . .

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  20. TS00,

    Now let me take it a step further. Some former student of RE’s, an older brother of some current student of RE’s, got sent to the pokey for selling weed (and other stuff??) and the kids brought up the universal ethical issue in class. They wanted to discuss which is worse, to sell (weed) or to see your own family go hungry, literally. The subject was not sexual abuse of the underaged, but in the case my son prosecuted the middle school girls had been recruited from the poorest of the poor and been promised some money for a few pictures-which then eventually got into drugs and such.

    We all nod and contemplate when it is first a loaf of bread and then the bishop’s candlesticks, if that is how the story goes, but the issue is very real for a lot of people here and now. We have a summer feeding program for school kids, but that is spitting in the ocean. I don’t know how to solve anything. I do know that kids in need constitute a happy hunting opportunity for perverts and criminals, including but certainly not limited to some clergy.

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  21. I’m not sure ephebophilia as a mental disorder is involved in much of the sexual abuse in the CC but rather that older children are sexually mature but are more vulnerable than most legal adults to coercion by priests (or other trusted adults). They are sexually abused because they are available and boys are more available than girls so even those with heterosexual orientation will abuse boys or men such as seminarians though plenty of girls or women are also abused (but abuse of vulnerable adult men or women was outside, I think, the scope of the grand jury report). See for instance Marcial Maciel who both abused older boys and seminarians but also fathered multiple illegitimate children by at least three different women (at least one who says the relationship/abuse started when she was a minor).

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  22. okrapod: The clergy must not be a protected class

    I had inquired some weeks ago whether the goings on in the RCC would be covered and now that it is being done it seems astute to do so within the context of abuse within both the RCC and the protestant church.

    Many are framing the RCC story in a political context. While the division is real and aids the understanding of motivations by some the participants it doesn’t address the root issues. I have also noted the relative lack of interest by many news organization reveals yet another example of their own tribalism. Is it the old “my side does no wrong” that so many seem uninterested because they identify closer to the views of this current Pope than his detractors?

    When the story was first breaking Francis spoke about plastic in the oceans. Skeptically this appeared more as hollering “squirrel” to the media pack than a real attempt to address the issue, particularly when the pollution sources are largely from regions outside the influence of the Catholic Church. Only someone on the left pole, where all directions are to the right, would say this Pope is on the far right. Many of his pronouncements on economic matters speak of a strong left wing background. Is there a real political division forming in the RCC? Likely, but a good guess the abuse problem will continue regardless of who is in charge

    The left vs right argument may motivate formation of battle lines but they argue only two sides of the same coin. I used to think Armenianism vs Calvinism was the spectrum of Christianian thought but now understand the range of thinking is much wider and those two belief systems occupy only a corner of it. Similarly right wing authoritarianism vs left wing authoritarianism offers a narrow range of solutions yet keeps much of the problem.

    In hindsight the reformation appears more an erection of competing authoritarian structures than a true reform, thus the similarity of abuse within the RCC and protestant churches in our present day. Once an institution grants power without accountability then it will corrupt the good people in it and attract already corrupt people to those positions that enable their misconduct.

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  23. okrapod: We have a summer feeding program for school kids, but that is spitting in the ocean.

    We have year-round school feeding programs. It’s hard to know if it keeping kids from joining the dark underworld or not. And there are those who don’t believe the government should be putting out money for this at all. What to do?

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  24. Malcolm: You don’t have rapacious serial predators, and the Protestant establishment doesn’t tolerate it the way the Catholic establishment has.”

    I’m not sure this conclusion is warranted. Here is a distinct difference between Catholics and Protestants. The Catholic religious leaders live in communities. It is far easier to form a pedophile ring or pedophile support sysem in that environment.

    I am going to contend, based on my 9 1/2 year of experience, that, in fact, the Protestant church supports pedophilia in exactly the same way the Catholic Church does. Do you know how many church members go to pedophile trials of their favorite youth pastor to support that pastor? Look at the example of Chuck Hooten above.

    If you want more examples, I’ll give them to you. This would include my former church in which people went to court and sat on the side of the scumbag seminary student who serious injured boys in my church. These members glared at the families who testified against the student who was sentenced to only 13 years in prison. He should have been there for life. He is due to be released in a few years and I can assure that ill educated fools from that church will welcome him back. He has repented, right?

    I truly believe that we are seeing an increase in these incidents in churches because churches have become havens for the clever pedophile as well as all sorts of other *philes,* The only thing that protects us is the fact that we do not have religious communities in which a hot house atmosphere can grow.

    I believe that the same dangerous misunderstandings are alive and well in the evangelical church.

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  25. Terry Mattingly (reporter for GetReligion.org) says that Catholic experts on the left (Fr. Donald Cozzens and the late Richard Sipe) and right (Leon Podles) agree on the following three causes for sexual abuse & coverup in the RCC, in order of importance:

    “I: The key to the scandal is secrecy, violated celibacy vows and potential blackmail. Lots of Catholic leaders – left and right, gay and straight – have sexual skeletons in their closets, often involving sex with consenting adults. These weaknesses, past and/or present, create a climate of secrecy in which it is hard to crack down on crimes linked to child abuse.

    II. Classic pedophiles tend to strike children of both genders. However, in terms of raw statistics, most child-abuse cases linked to Catholic clergy are not true cases of pedophilia, but are examples of ephebophilia – intense sexual interest in post-pubescent teens or those on the doorstep of the teen years. The overwhelming majority of these clergy cases are adult males with young males.

    III. One of the biggest secrets hiding in the bitter fog from all of these facts is the existence of powerful networks of sexually active gay priests, with many powerful predators – McCarrick is a classic example – based at seminaries and ecclesiastical offices. Thus, these men have extraordinary power in shaping the lives of future priests.”

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  26. Catholic Gate-Crasher: I think it’s wrong to frame the Vigano Controversy as “conservatives against not-so-conservatives.” Rather, I would say that most Catholics inclined to believe Vigano see themselves as “Catholics who actually subscribe to 2000 years of Church Teaching.” IOW: simple, faithful Catholics.

    I’m just going to point out that it’s not 2,000 years of church history but 1,700 years of church teaching, from when Constantine captured the church, has not been generally healthy for anyone who wasn’t male and, for the most part, a priest. The Catholic church thought a lot of itself during this time, to the point where Boniface VIII issued “Unam Sanctam” in 1302, a document that asserted as a proposition that everyone had to belong to the Catholic church to be saved. All I can say is, what presumption, what piffle, what tosh, what kind of a man thinks that he knows what God wants in this matter? But it was all about power and authority, not ministering to the needs of the people.

    The church didn’t come out against slavery, it had to be pushed into it by agitators on the fringes who argued that the ownership of some human beings by other human beings was simply wrong. I was taught as a girl in public school that Father Junipero Serra was beneficial to the Indians of the California missions. I wasn’t told that he *enslaved* them. And yeah, he’s now a saint, a saint who enslaved Indians. NOPE.

    I could go on and talk about how the Catholic church sees women, but I’ll shut up now because I’ll say something that will terribly offend people. But I’ve done my reading about the Catholic church and I do not want to go back to a time when the church completely ran its own affairs separately from secular government, because that authority was absolute, authoritarian and didn’t care for the little people, only for power. NOPE.

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  27. NJ: That is a serious accusation to make.

    Dreher’s coverage and certain reader responses indicate not that Francis is an abuser himself, or is clueless. It’s more that the pope has a progressive social agenda for the Church, and it was guys like McCarrick who were helping him achieve his goals. Vigano may be a traditionalist for all I know, but that is not the same as him being in the same category as those prelates guilty of an appalling dereliction of duty to abuse victims.

    I’m not afraid to make the accusation. I don’t see Vigano as a savior for the Catholic church, but a man who wants to drag the church back to a time when male priestly authority overruled all other. This was a completely unhealthy period for women, because women were basically forced to stay in marriages where they were abused by their husbands with impunity because they could not get divorces. As for Dreher, he only cares about some sexual abusers. Go see his latest writings at American Conservative to get what I’m saying.

    I am absolutely NOT in the mood to give a pass to Vigano (or any of his priestly co-conspirators), who has never had a woman over him at all in his adult life (and no, the Virgin Mary doesn’t count). He is just as bad, in his very own way, as the guys who are in the Southern Baptist Industrial Complex and who treat women as alternately ignorant of the higher truth of the superiority of men as well as being dangerous temptresses of holy men.

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  28. And yeah, I’ll admit I’m angry right now. I read a tweet yesterday by a woman who talked about being questioned by her school’s vice principal for being harassed on the school bus. Then I remembered what happened to me in 8th grade, where a boy pulled down my skirt. I still remember the skirt because it was a purple corduroy culotte skirt, and barely legal at my Texas high school in 1973 because shorts were banned in school. It wasn’t the kid pulling down my skirt that traumatized me as much as the questioning by Mr. F, the vice principal. He wanted to know if I wanted it to happen, if I’d asked for it, if I’d led the kid on. Then he wanted a DESCRIPTION of how my skirt got yanked down. At 13 I didn’t know what was going on. I’m now 58, I hadn’t remembered this in decades but I can say strongly that Mr. F was a pervert.

    So yeah, I am so not in the mood to cut people slack right now.

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  29. Malcolm: There are absolutely no Protestant equivalents, “ said Anson D. Shupe, a professor of sociology at Indiana University- Purdue University in Fort Wayne who researches clergy misconduct.” If I could find spectacular cases that would help my career, but I can’t. You don’t have rapacious serial predators, and the Protestant establishment doesn’t tolerate it the way the Catholic establishment has.”

    This is the only part I disagree with. I wish it weren’t so.

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  30. Benn,

    I followed Rod Dreher on Catholic abuse very closely this summer (until his distasteful dismissiveness towards the Kavanaugh allegation on Twitter a few days ago).

    Nevertheless, at The American Conservative, Dreher does uncover a lot of the rot in Catholic seminaries. Male-on-male harassment is so common and so hard to escape that seminarians who attempt to resist are marginalized and told to “lighten up,” etc. Examples of this kind of sexual harassment in Catholic seminary culture seem to be legion.

    Gay men are no more likely to molest teens and young adults than straight men are. Likewise, supposedly celibate men are no more likely to molest teens and young adults than married men are. (Pedophilia is, I gather, a different category of abuse.)

    But the RCC hierarchy, requiring celibacy upfront, and (for whatever reason) seemingly attracting a disproportionate number of gay men to the priesthood, is a totally different, insular kind of culture than the normal population at large.

    Evangelical & Catholic churches are giving the “green light” to abusers alike, but perhaps for slightly different cultural reasons. One thing both branches of Christianity sadly have in common: an instinct to protect powerful abusers.

    Catholic conservatives are doing far more vigilant reporting on Pope Francis and the Viganò letter, because they have already felt harshly sidelined by Francis. (Ross Douthat’s recent book on Pope Francis is excellent at explaining all this.) Meanwhile, the more liberal wing of the church that hopefully views Francis as a valiant reformer is inclined to give “their” leader a pass.

    Sad that politics often muddy the waters when we should be discerning the facts about abuse and abuse coverups. But that’s often the case.

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  31. Catholic Gate-Crasher: And no, celibacy is not the issue. The priests and bishops committing these atrocities are not interested in marrying women.

    It’s interesting that celibacy was not always practiced. It was enforced to prevent church property being passed on to the clergy’s heirs.

    I had understood that Ukrainian Catholic churches could have married priests, here’s the explanation I found.

    “But there have always been married priests in the non-Latin rites, like Ukrainian Catholicism or Maronite Catholicism. These churches are fully Catholic, obedient to the pope, but they ordain married men, although they do not allow unmarried priests to get married.”

    For what it’s worth, it appears to me that religious leadership in general seems to attract more than the average share of deviants, not just christianity but all of the world’s faiths. This is a pan-human problem, not even a religious one maybe.

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  32. dee,

    “The only thing that protects us is the fact that we do not have religious communities in which a hot house atmosphere can grow.”
    +++++++++++++++

    well, i think the metaphorical church culture bubble is quite sealed off. and certainly full of warm, oxygen-poor air. sprinkle in some spores and…

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  33. Thersites: Skeptically this appeared more as hollering “squirrel” to the media pack than a real attempt to address the issue,

    Speaking of squirrels, some churches do need a kick in the nuts. Hit them in the only place that seems to matter to religion these days. Strip them of tax free status, if they are found to be actively standing in the way of the rule of law.

    They want society to bow to them and scorn it’s tolerance, then rip us all off for billions.

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  34. dee,

    Thank you, Dee, for taking the time to write this very thoughtful article. I can see that it represents a lot of time and effort and honest reflection.

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  35. Thersites: In hindsight the reformation appears more an erection of competing authoritarian structures than a true reform, thus the similarity of abuse within the RCC and protestant churches in our present day. Once an institution grants power without accountability then it will corrupt the good people in it and attract already corrupt people to those positions that enable their misconduct.

    Shout this one from the rooftops! A false dichotomy is the most effective tool to pit people against one another, and distract from the real issues. Whether it is left vs. right, Roman church vs Protestants, communism vs. capitalism, etc, what you will find is the same authoritarian manipulation and abuse by much the same powers. We are so busy putting out brush fires, we never stop to ask where the flames are coming from.

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  36. Jack: It’s interesting that celibacy was not always practiced. It was enforced to prevent church property being passed on to the clergy’s heirs.

    Even more interestingly, it didn’t necessarily work. See: the late Medieval and Renaissance popes. Priestly celibacy was supposed to prevent ecclesiastical dynasties, going into the second millennium of the Church. The widespread violation of celibacy vows was one of the things that shocked a young friar named Martin Luther during his pilgrimage to Rome.

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  37. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes,

    Jack: Strip them of tax free status, if they are found to be actively standing in the way of the rule of law.

    I would suggest eliminating all so-called religious tax exemptions. It is a subtle means of granting the state the authority to ‘approve’ and control religion, and keeps the two tightly interwoven; which is always dangerous. It seems to me that one of the main deterrents to legitimate biblical churches arising is the necessity to meet government standards to remain tax exempt. It is my guess that government requirements of a ‘Pastor’ or some other ‘ruler’, usually requiring a seminary background, as well as official, stated creeds that has led to the sort of authoritarian, controlling churches we now have. A loosely structured, non-hierarchical gathering of egalitarian believers, attempting to follow biblical precedents would never qualify as a ‘Church’. It was only after looking hopelessly, for years, for a truly biblical church that I figured this out. Of course, legitimate churches could just opt out of the tax exemption game, but few are willing to risk losing members looking for tax breaks – they usually are the best givers.

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  38. Benn,

    Benn, Dreher is obsessed with our scandals while sedulously ignoring the many identical cases in his own communion, which has a huge lavender Mafia and a horrible record of abuse and cover-up. He even attempted to smear and discredit the victim of an Orthodox priest-rapist. His indignation is highly selective, and his standards can best be described as double.

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  39. Muslin, wow. That VP at your school was a real a**hole. Worse, I suspect, than the boy who pulled down your shorts.

    I also suspect that your problem isn’t with Vigano per se (unless there are issues with him I don’t know about), as it is with Catholic doctrine. As a Protestant myself, I’m more inclined to agree with you than not. Part of why I’m not a Catholic are some of the Magisterium’s social teachings, especially those relating to marriage, sex, divorce, and the long time scandal with annulment. Additionally, I suspect that making priestly ordination one of the 7 sacraments of the Church inevitably contributes to clericalism, but that’s another debate.

    Nevertheless, I would never accuse any one person of wanting to cover up sex abuse, of misogyny, or being the Catholic equivalent of the SBC New Calvinist bros, without clear evidence. The real issue as I see it, is historic Catholic *and Protestant* teaching and practice in these areas. They need reform. Your anger at injustice is very understandable, and is the biggest driver of such needed reforms.

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  40. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes,

    Priestly sexual abuse occurred before 1940.
    It was happening 1000 years ago per report from Peter Damian…excerpt from report:

    Damian exhorted Pope Leo IX to enforce the canons of church law on the scandalous matter of priests seducing boys and young men. The law clearly prescribed the following penance:

    Any cleric or monk who seduces young men (adolescentium) or boys (parvulorum), or who is apprehended in kissing or in any shameful situation, shall be publicly flogged and shall lose his clerical tonsure. Thus shorn, he shall be disgraced by spitting into his face, bound in iron chains, wasted by six months of close confinement, and for three days each week put on barley bread given him toward evening. Following this period, he shall spend a further six months living in a small segregated courtyard in the custody of a spiritual elder, kept busy with manual labor and prayer, subjected to vigils and prayers, forced to walk at all times in the company of two spiritual brothers, never again allowed to associate with young men for purposes of improper conversation or advice. (42)

    In other words, such men were supposed to be confined to monasteries where they could be supervised for the rest of their lives. Since these sins require such a degrading, public penance, Peter Damian argued that they were grounds for deposing men from holy orders because canon law forbade men who had to perform public penance from assuming ecclesiastical offices. (43)

    Leo IX was not moved by Peter Damian’s arguments. He informed him that he did not believe clerics who had seduced boys and young men to commit acts of mutual masturbation and other sexual acts should be automatically deposed. In the name of acting humanely, Leo argued that these men could retain their offices as long as they had not engaged in such behavior for long periods of time or with many people. The pope did concede, however, that any cleric who had engaged in anal intercourse should be deposed. (44)

    Source… http://www.awrsipe.com/Docs_and_Controversy/2004-12-01-magisterium.htm

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  41. Samuel Conner: The idea that there might be innate and irreversible tendencies toward specific evil behaviors is kind of incompatible with prevailing evangelical theological anthropology. I think that’s beneath the surface of the inadequate responses to these crimes.

    Dee said:

    “Christians, both Catholic and Protestant, often believe that confession and repentance will lead to Jesus miraculously curing pedophiles.This is a dangerous assumption. The truly repentant pedophile will be forgiven but will struggle with their disorder for a life time.”

    It isn’t just pedophilia. The kind of theological anthropology currently rampant among evangelicals will do this with any sin. It’s a type of magical thinking that is assumed to be Biblical. I don’t know its history or how it came to be predominant, but it needs to be challenged. With enough digging, one would probably find the twisting of certain Bible verses to support it.

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  42. @Muslin, please, please, not the old Constantine Canard. Even my Lutheran friends don’t swallow that one. One of my Wisconsin Synod Lutheran Facebook friends likes to post (about once a week), “And this week, Constantine is to blame for what?” 😉

    Please read the very earliest Church Fathers — Ignatius of Antioch, Clement of Rome, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus of Lyons, and others. They *all* predate Constantine by centuries, yet they all testify to Catholic (and Orthodox) distinctives, such as the literal, substantial Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist; the hierarchical structure of the Church; apostolic succession; etc.

    If you can find evangelical Protestantism (much less liberal what-have-you) in any of them, I’ll eat my Missalette.

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  43. Sexual abuse by “religious leaders”/priests, on under age minors, is as low as it gets, and when the organized “church” covers it up, it is, I believe, from the PIT. this sucks the very soul from these kids….. and doing that in the name of Christ????

    I use to cringe when my funny preachers use to rail against the RC church…… now I wonder…. and a good portion of Protestism is just as bad..

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  44. Why I agree with Bishop Morlino:

    Yes, the John Jay Report claimed that homosexual predation was not the cause of the abuse crisis. But its own data belie this. According to the Report, more than 80% of the credible Catholic abuse cases (over a 40-year period) were male-on-male.

    Eighty percent. If that’s not homosexual predation, then can someone please ‘splain to me what it is?

    This is the elephant in the room. No one wants to talk about it, it seems, except some concerned, orthodox Catholic priests and laypeople.

    Also, per the John Jay Report, most of the Catholic clerical abuse cases involved ephebophilia (sp?) (abuse of post-pubescent males), not pedophilia (abuse of pre-pubescent children of either gender). Again…can we not put 2 and 2 together here?

    Certain seminaries have also become notorious as “pink palaces,” and they were hotbeds for abuse. There are so many stories coming out right now. And the problem is ongoing. Don’t get me started!

    Disclaimer: I am not *by any stretch* saying that all or even most gay guys are sex abusers. Not even close. As an artsy-fartsy type, I’ve known a *lot* of gay guys over the years. I’m a 38-year veteran of the advertising business, and I spent more than 17 of those years in an in-house creative department at a huge apparel company. Trust me, I’ve known *many, many, many* gay guys, some extremely well. (My best friend when I was 19 was a gay guy.) I think I can confidently attest that none of the gay guys I’ve known at least fairly well have ever committed sex abuse against teenage boys (or anyone else). (There’s one possible exception, but that’s just speculation on my part.)

    So, no, I’m not blaming homosexual guys or same-sex attraction per se. Not at all. Truly.

    But I *am* saying that the Catholic sex-abuse crisis *does* seem to be largely connected with same-sex-attracted priests and bishops, and the evidence overwhelmingly bears this out. I don’t see how it can be gainsaid. It is what it is. Even the McCarrick case and the PA Grand Jury Report bear it out.

    One more thing. The media give the impression that huge hordes of clerical sex abusers are overrunning the Catholic priesthood and episcopate. This, of course, is flat-out false. It still remains true that the incidence (percentage-wise) of clerical sex abuse is roughly the same for Catholic clergy as for clergy in all other churches and communions. Even one case is horrific, of course; I am by no means condoning or excusing, believe me. I just want to add some perspective here, in hopes of forestalling a free-for-all of Maria Monk-like Catholic-bashing.

    Meanwhile, the vast majority of Catholic priests are good, faithful, and chaste. They are devastated by this scandal. (I’m not sure I can say the same for the vast majority of bishops, but that’s a whole ‘nuther story.)

    Like many other Catholic laypeople, I fervently hope that this is the start of Christ’s purification of His people. The boil must be lanced, and it must be allowed to drain *completely.* Purification is a Good Thing, and the end result will be wonderful. But man, the process sure is painful. And it’s just going to get worse before it gets better. Ugh. Lord have mercy.

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  45. Malcolm,

    c)Even in the absence of hard data, it seemed increasingly clear that, although clergy from every religious denomination have sexually violated children, no major denomination has had a problem of the scale that has plagued the Catholic church.”

    There are absolutely no Protestant equivalents, “

    said Anson D. Shupe, a professor of sociology at Indiana University- Purdue University in Fort Wayne who researches clergy misconduct.” If I could find spectacular cases that would help my career, but I can’t. You don’t have rapacious serial predators, and the Protestant establishment doesn’t tolerate it the way the Catholic establishment has.”

    True –

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  46. Erp:
    I’m not sure ephebophilia as a mental disorder is involved in much of the sexual abuse in the CC but rather that older children are sexually mature but are more vulnerablethanmost legal adults to coercion by priests (or other trusted adults).They are sexually abused because they are available and boys are more available than girlsso even those with heterosexual orientation will abuse boys or men such as seminarians though plenty of girls or women are also abused (but abuse of vulnerable adult men or women was outside, I think, the scope of the grand jury report). See for instance Marcial Maciel who both abused older boys and seminarians but also fathered multiple illegitimate children by at least three different women (at least one who says the relationship/abuse started when she was a minor).

    When 80% of the cases in the John Jay Report are male-on-male with post-pubescent victims, then yes, ephebophilia is the problem. These perps are gay. They are not simply going for the nearest victim at hand. (Most altar servers are pre-pubescent, BTW.)

    Can we not heed the data? It is what it is.

    Moreover, the Cover-Up Cabal at the Vatican is notoriously gay. Google the cocaine-fueled gay sex orgy that occurred (last year, I think) in one of the offices of the Vatican’s CDF. And google the cathedral mural commissioned by Archbishop Paglia, one of Pope Francis’s closest confidantes. Ugh!!!

    There is so much more to this story. The Catholic blogosphere is teeming with stories, and many of them IMHO are credible, with documented substantiation.

    Viva Vigano!

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  47. NJ,

    Samuel Conner: “The idea that there might be innate and irreversible tendencies toward specific evil behaviors is kind of incompatible with prevailing evangelical theological anthropology. I think that’s beneath the surface of the inadequate responses to these crimes.”

    NJ: “The kind of theological anthropology currently rampant among evangelicals will do this with any sin. It’s a type of magical thinking that is assumed to be Biblical.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    maybe this falls into the category of what is being described.

    my dad (awesome person that he is) is the product of 8 decades heavy in church culture. from the minute he was born.

    he sees things as either godly or evil. that’s it. everything is spiritualized.

    he will comment that someone’s behavior is “selfish”, for example, turning it into a mini sermon and spiritual lesson (even if that someone is himself).

    the fact that the person may struggle with a mental disorder and simply can’t help how they respond to things doesn’t fit in his calculations. they are selfish and it is ungodly and they need to change. Shame on them.

    the fact that he ruined his health over not being selfish in caregiving for our mom doesn’t enter his calculations. he heroically ‘changed’, so-to-speak, and was not selfish. (creating many more problems that fall to me and my sibling to deal with)

    perhaps this magical thinking is an expectation that with the wave of the God-wand = *poof* evil becomes godly.

    the only alternative is to stubbornly refuse the God-wand = the person is selfish and thus evil.

    (the God-wand includes christian platitudes = easy answers and fixes. “all you have to do is rejoice. because the joy of the lord is your strength, right?”)

    ha.

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  48. elastigirl,

    to clarify, we all shared in caregiving. he refused boundaries, seeing that as an expression selfishness. it was drilled in to him his whole life not to compromise. not be a backslider.

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  49. elastigirl,

    I was thinking in terms of the difficulty Evangelicals have with the idea that a person’s dispositions/tendencies toward specific kinds of sin could be significantly rooted in the person’s physical embodiment. Couple that with the anthropological dualism that is widespread, and you have a recipe for a naive belief that people with intractable problems are “OK” after they have been confronted and have given some evidence of regret or repentance. The idea that people could be permanently “stuck” in a bad place, as appears to be the case in paraphilias (and also in sociopathy) doesn’t fit well with Evangelical anthropology.

    As you say, this kind of thinking has a magical quality to it.

    I admire your Dad’s self-sacrifice; IMO that looks quite a bit like Jesus. It would be a better world if that were people’s default posture.

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  50. Catholic Gate-Crasher:
    Benn,

    Benn, Dreher is obsessed with our scandals while sedulously ignoring the many identical cases in his own communion, which has a huge lavender Mafia and a horrible record of abuse and cover-up. He even attempted to smear and discredit the victim of an Orthodox priest-rapist. His indignation is highly selective, and his standards can best be described as double.

    Not to be mean, but shouldn’t every catholic be obsessed with your scandal…..

    To read the reports from Pennsylvania is hard to fathom!!

    The people in the highest positions have known about this for a long time,

    # I believe Vigano

    I can’t understand why Catholic laity in the U.S. hasn’t taken up pitch forks already

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  51. Elastigirl, it sounds like your dad was brainwashed early on with a form of pietism. Very black and white thinking, nowhere Romans 14 would actually apply, and apparently no emulating Jesus in dealing with others’ infirmities. I wonder if he ever had anyone from his church background emulate Christ to him.

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  52. Sheila,

    “Celibacy is not a normal lifestyle. It requires an awful lot to give up heterosexual relationships. So an organization that requires you to do that is naturally going to attract those who don’t value those relationships very much in the first place. Combine that with the green light to abuse, and you have a very toxic situation. So I’m not saying celibacy causes the problems. I’m saying the celibacy rule makes it more likely to attract people who may be attracted to children/adolescents in the first place.”

    I am sitting here purposefully not grinding my teeth. Celibacy is a choice that some make, usually spiritual (see Matt 19 and 1 Cor 7). It’s a very normal lifestyle, although maybe not in our current age when our society has chosen to reject almost everything the Bible says about sex (see Romans 1).

    I’ve been celibate my entire life, and I will soon be a senior citizen. And, my life has been very normal. I pay my bills, I have a career I love, I am involved with friends and family, and I serve in my community and church. I kneww as a young, new Christian that God’s plan was no sex until married. For many reasons I don’t need to mention here, married never happened to me, but i chose to be obedient to God when it came to my sex life. By the way, I could give you the names of several other people I know who are also celibate, happy, and important contributors to both their church and community.

    Pedophiles are mentally ill. They will look for any way to have access to children, and they may be single or married. I’ve worked with children as an education for 30+ years, and I’m always surprised when I find out who the accused pedophiles are-they almost always appear to be very “normal”, and you just can’t walk down the street and say “there goes a pedophile” (any more than you can do the same and say “there goes someone celibate.”).

    I love God and His Word. That is why I have chosen to abstain from sex until marriage. If that wonderful gift were to happen to me, now that I am in my 60s, I would gladly welcome it. In the meantime, I will continue to be obedient to God’s Word, and enjoy the many blessings He has given me.

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  53. Samuel Conner,

    Evangelicalism is full of “magical thinking”. Personally, I think allot this thinking is “market driven”. In the US, with no State religion, you have to “market” your beliefs in the market place of many different relgions. A simplist “siners prayer”, and you immediately are a different person, problems solved, etc, is just like poping a pill to solve your medical problems. Ask any primary care doc about how hard it is to get patients to be discipled to eat write, lose weight, exercise, etc, which all know are some of the most important ways to get/stay healthy… not poping a “wieght loss” pill…

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  54. Benn,

    Benn: Not to be mean, but shouldn’t every catholic be obsessed with your scandal…..

    To read the reports from Pennsylvania is hard to fathom!!

    The people in the highest positions have known about this for a long time,

    # I believe Vigano

    I can’t understand why Catholic laity in the U.S. hasn’t taken up pitch forks already

    Every Catholic, sure. But professional anti-Catholics like Dreher? That’s a whole different question. Seriously. He is no longer Catholic. He is now a member of a church that has **just as much abuse, cover-up, and corruption** (percentage-wise) as the Catholic Church. Yet not only does he **refuse** to report on that…he even defends and covers for Orthodox perps. (Links upon request.)

    Do you not see the problem here?

    At least we Catholics admit we have a problem. Apparently other Christians don’t. This is concerning.

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  55. elastigirl,

    Probably need to include this thought — if there are intractable and very difficult to resist dispositions/inclinations/tendencies toward grievous kinds of transgression that are rooted in a person’s physical embodiment (for example, flawed brain structure or chemistry — people wiser than I can offer concrete examples if such exist), then for the person to change in terms of behavior might require something along the lines of what it took to make “the man blind from birth” able to see again.

    Evangelicals tend to assume that “all human conditions are basically the same” from the standpoint of “how difficult it is to change.” And since some people do seem to be able to change in the direction of apparently righteous beahvior with relatively little difficulty (for whatever reason; perhaps this is mercy from God, or perhaps “garden-variety sin” is not that difficult to relinquish, or some other reason entirely), the “everyone is the same” mentality tends to lead one to not reckon with the possibility that some conditions could be intractable.

    I’d like to think that as a matter of confidence in the reality of God’s goodness and power, that even these intractable conditions could be changed — like the man blind from birth — but in practice this doesn’t seem to happen very often. And in that context, the standard Evangelical approach to dealing with “garden variety” sin amounts to magical thinking.

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  56. Samuel Conner: The idea that people could be permanently “stuck” in a bad place, as appears to be the case in paraphilias (and also in sociopathy) doesn’t fit well with Evangelical anthropology.

    It definitely doesn’t fit well with the theology of sanctification one finds among the lordship salvation crowd. You’re supposed to be consistently getting better every day, with no major stumbles, never-ending temptations, besetting sins, dark nights of the soul, etc.

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  57. NJ: It definitely doesn’t fit well with the theology of sanctification one finds among the lordship salvation crowd.You’re supposed to be consistently getting better every day, with no major stumbles, never-ending temptations, besetting sins, dark nights of the soul, etc.

    Which is quite ironic, since there are assuredly intractable sociopaths among “the lordship salvation crowd.”

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  58. Linn, that is a wonderful testimony, and one I wish every youth group and college group in churches could hear. Celibacy should be considered a norm of Christianity, and yet it seems like something abnormal, even among orthodox believers. I mean, when was the last time you heard a sermon not just on the single state, or the so-called “gift of singleness”, but on celibacy and the Christian life?

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  59. BTW #Benn…and again, this is NOT to excuse or condone these horrific Catholic abuses…but if you think Protestants aren’t just as bad, then with all due respect, you’re in La La Land. Every other day, it seems, our local newspaper has a story about some Baptist or Pentecostal pastor abusing (even raping) kids and teens, while the denomination covers up. There was a notorious local case just the other day, involving a Baptist pastor in charge of both a church and a school.

    These cases may not make front-page news, but they are numerous and seemingly continual. So @Benn, before you lecture us Catholics, maybe you should take your own advice. At least we Catholics admit we have a problem. Meanwhile, how about **you**? Do you admit that *your* communion has a problem? Or do you cover your eyes and ears and convince yourself that this is just a Catholic Thing? (Cue Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican.)

    Do ALL victims matter? Or do they only matter if the perp was a Catholic priest?

    Seriously…the Catholic laity is completely up in arms right now. Which is a heck of a lot more than I can say for certain Protestant laypeople I know. I have Reformed Baptist Facebook friends who swear up and down that this is “just a Catholic Problem” and it could **never** happen in **their** purist, perfect churches. Except that it DOES!!! Denial on steroids!

    @Benn, if you really care about the victims, you will care about **all** the victims, including those victimized by Orthodox priests and Protestant pastors. As the daughter of an abuse victim, I can assure you that **every** victim is equally traumatized — whether the perp is a Catholic priest, an Orthodox monk, a Protestant minister, or a public school teacher.

    We Catholic laypeople ***are*** facing up to our abuse crisis. Instead of hectoring, accusing, and blaming us, maybe you should start facing the equally egregious and widespread abuse problem in your own tradition. Facing the problem is essential to fixing it. Blaming Catholics while ignoring your own issues does **nothing** to fix the problem — and nothing to help other victims.

    All. Victims. Matter. That’s the bottom line. If you are in denial about your own communion’s victims, then you are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

    And if, like Dreher, you are even trying to actively **discredit** your own communion’s victims, then God help you!!

    Last time I checked, sin was an equal-opportunity affliction. If you think differently, you may want to take it up with God.

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  60. It saddens me to see commenters here beginning to make this a theological fight and some quite angry spirits are evident. I so hope and pray that Protestants and Catholics can come together in a combined effort to fight sexual abuse. We need discourse not discord right about now. Perhaps there is another forum or blog to debate theology and church history.

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  61. LInn,

    Thanks for sharing your story. I have a beautiful, smart, introverted daughter who is in law school. She loves being alone and doesn’t really think she will ever marry. She doesn’t date, but has a wonderful fulfilled life!

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  62. elastigirl,

    My childhood was spent racing go karts with a group of neighborhood kids on Saturdays and holidays at St James Church and school I block up the street. Two of the boys were experts because their Dad was involved in the ownership of what is now known as New England Dragway. We all had souped up go karts. Father Birmingham was out friend. He offered us juice and snacks in the rectory. He was so kind I told my mother I was going to become Catholic. He even treated me seriously when my Catholic friends taught me how to do confession, and gave me rosary beads. They then had me do *confession* with Father Birmingham! he was so kind…or so I thought.

    He was outed by the Boston Globe Spotlight-the second one after Father Geoghan. Unbeknownst to me, he was molesting one of our friends. I won’t name him but I heard he joined in the lawsuits against the church. I hope he got millions.

    I even attended a well known Catholic prayer meeting in upstate New York when I was in school. Everyone went, even Protestants. I love Father John Bertolucci.Sadly, he too was outed as a pedophile. Someone on this blog told me about that and I read up on it. It is true. There were a group of nuns who helped with the music. They were awesome and even recorded a few records.

    I remember as priest who used to offer my Christian friends communion when we rented a ski chalet in New Hampshire and there were no churches close by. He used to talk with us about how he had changed when he encountered a personal experience with Jesus,

    I have been a long time fan of John Michael Talbot, Dan Shutte and other Catholics (mostly priests) who write some awesome music.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OshpSD0z1ts&list=PLizk5KJCp4im9Q-EADcec11B7UWdkmCm8

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  63. Samuel Conner,

    i admire it, too. it was indeed selfless. but the lack of boundaries was unwise, and had consequences. however, it fit his belief system.

    that belief system believes God will take care of everything (“all things work out for good”), when the reality is that God doesn’t “take care of everything” — and there are stiff consequences for some actions or lack of actions, consequences which are borne by other human beings because of the faith person’s choices.

    i’m very big on personal responsibility. if it comes down to a choice between one’s faith journey and personal responsibility, my belief is to opt for the latter.

    i think christians have an elevated view of themselves — it has to be me! it has to be pastor so & so. i have to go! i have to take the faith risk. pastor so & so has to be in his official position. if i don’t do it, if pastor is prevented from doing it, God’s hands will be tied.

    it doesn’t have to be me (or you) or him or her. there are millions of people, many possible routes and strategies for God to do what God has planned. there are loads of things to do and be spiritually productive about wherever we find ourselves.

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  64. Benn: Not to be mean, but shouldn’t every catholic be obsessed with your scandal…..

    To read the reports from Pennsylvania is hard to fathom!!

    The people in the highest positions have known about this for a long time,

    # I believe Vigano

    I can’t understand why Catholic laity in the U.S. hasn’t taken up pitch forks already

    Apparently my responses are caught in the moderation loop, and I respect that.

    But meanwhile I gotta say that your reply has chapped my grits.

    Every Catholic I know *is* obsessed with this situation, so maybe, just maybe, you don’t need to be lecturing us. We are loaded for bear and ready to rumble. The level of rage among the Catholic laity is off the charts. You have NO idea — believe me — so your lecture is *completely* uncalled for.

    Maybe, just maybe, you — and Dreher too — should be equally obsessed with sex abuse and cover-ups in your own communion.

    Because I guarantee they exist. And the victims are equally traumatized.

    So much for the rape victims Dreher smeared! The perps weren’t Catholic, so they didn’t count. What a difference a beard makes. Disgusting!

    No need to lecture us. Save it for your own church, whatever that may be. At least we Papists admit we have a problem — which makes us a heck of a lot more attuned to the victims than people like Dreher who point fingers at us while ignoring, denying, and even aiding and abetting their own churches’ egregious scandals.

    When you point fingers at others, at least three are pointed back at yourself. Just sayin’.

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  65. elastigirl: i admire it, too. it was indeed selfless. but the lack of boundaries was unwise, and had consequences. however, it fit his belief system.

    I’ve seen this. Many families believed that birth control was against God’s will. Can’t tell you the amount of meals, child care, and cleaning went on because women had to go on bed rest for most of the pregnancy at the six, seventh, eighth child. Sometimes it consumed a great amount of energy of a church. But God said to . . .?

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  66. Samuel Conner,

    “I’d like to think that as a matter of confidence in the reality of God’s goodness and power, that even these intractable conditions could be changed — like the man blind from birth — but in practice this doesn’t seem to happen very often. And in that context, the standard Evangelical approach to dealing with “garden variety” sin amounts to magical thinking.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    miracles do happen. some things seem to be more ‘available’, accessible, and open the touch of the miraculous.

    other things are less so.

    i think it’s complicated.

    i would think psychiatric disorders would be extra complicated and less open & available to healing touch than other things.

    i see parallels to “the kingdom of heaven is like yeast” and “a mustard seed, …but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.”

    some dunamis holy spirit power can get through now, but the whole ‘thing’ is not mature and developed enough yet to receive it, to sustain that much explosive presence of hs power.
    ——

    (i’ll just continue on here, with my thoughts)

    when jesus was on earth, and around Pentecost i think spiritual nerves were so sensitive & jumpy…

    i mean, if the God of the universe is in human form growing up on earth and maturing into adulthood the spiritual nerve center of creation had to be tingling and on edge. like when a person’s nerves are on edge they will jump at the slightest provocation.

    miracles were easy to come by.

    at pentecost, when the holy spirit came with a sound like a mighty wind, in a new dimension on earth and amongst humanity, certainly the spiritual nerve center was still very on edge, sensitive, & reactive.

    that was like a jump start into the kingdom of heaven.

    then Jesus’ contemporaries & eye witnesses passed away. life went on. and all the raw spiritual energy in the genesis of The Church was snuffed out by institutionalizing it all.

    and as time went by, all the other development, stagnation, redevelopment — the continuing evolution of christianity.

    through the eras, i think the kingdom of heaven (“Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”) is growing & maturing.

    but not the point where the tougher ailments, diseases, and disorders can be reached by holy spirit’s power.

    i’m sure there are exceptions — who can say otherwise — but where pedophilia is concerned, i won’t risk any child on faith that God has healed a perpetrator.

    it is not necessary. it’s not like we have something to prove to God in faith risks we take.

    and it is very wrong to risk someone else’s safety and well-being as an act of one’s own faith.

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  67. NJ,

    i haven’t portrayed my dad correctly. my feelings are complicated.

    there is no finer human being than my dad. he is the humblest, kindest, most honest human being. he has been amongst stellar believers. he is one.

    he knows God deeply.

    but i don’t think scrutiny entered into the mind of his generation — i don’t think they thought through things the way we are in the habit of doing here.

    it wasn’t necessary. things were simpler. life was simpler.

    (i think a post-WW2 relative peace time brought people relief, people were perhaps a bit giddy with a return to simpler times, where they could relax and pursue the good life — but this is my own personal conjecture)

    things weren’t openly discussed like they are now. sexual abuse, incest, pedophilia never discussed. that it happened in church? impossible.

    the autism spectrum? there wasn’t general understanding. so in christianland, a person’s behavior was spiritualized, in the absence of any other explanation.

    and theology was simpler. like the wordless book:

    BLACK – Sin Romans 3:23 | All have sinned
    RED – Blood I John 1:7 | Jesus’ blood covers all sin
    WHITE – Pure Psalm 51:7 | Jesus washes away confessed sin
    GOLD – Heaven John 14:2 | Believe on Jesus and receive Eternal Life

    it is still very simple for him.

    and he connects with God deeply, every day. God connects back with him.

    when i have filled in some missing pieces for him, like explaining that so&so acts the way they do because of a mental disorder, that they can’t help it, he is filled with compassion.

    when i have explained to him that the person he observes with alternative sexuality is devastatedly lonely, he is filled with compassion.

    these things were not openly talked about in his day. he hasn’t had the benefit of needing to think through these things.

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  68. What never fails to amaze me is how much of the secrecy was allegedly done to ‘protect the good name of the church’, when it is precisely this secrecy, & the ignoring the pain & violation of thousands of children, that has damaged the reputation of the Catholic Church like nothing else.
    If you remember I come from an Irish Catholic family, my Gran was a Laundress in a Convent & then a Priest’s housekeeper until she was 86, Mum went to a Convent School. The last time I went to Ireland, about 12 yrs ago, I was astonished at how far the Church had fallen, in terms of how the average person & especially my cousins, spoke of it. They were, rightly, disgusted & dismissive. It had always asked so much of the Irish population, in terms of sexual morals, & then this… So very different from how my Gran spoke of the way the Priests were thought of ‘like Gods’, when she was a child (I taped her talking about her life, she was born in Dublin in 1922).
    Until all these religious institutions who claim to love God (& spend a lot of time going on about sexual purity) actually show care for young victims of abuse (who lose their innocence, only weirdly in this context somehow that doesn’t seen to matter), are transparent about the problem & deal with offenders properly, the name of Christ will never be seen to be good news. Never. The hypocrisy is enough to kill off the effect of any good they do (& they do).
    And I could get right behind a modern version of this:
    Any cleric or monk who seduces young men (adolescentium) or boys (parvulorum), or who is apprehended in kissing or in any shameful situation, shall be publicly flogged and shall lose his clerical tonsure. Thus shorn, he shall be disgraced by spitting into his face, bound in iron chains, wasted by six months of close confinement, and for three days each week put on barley bread given him toward evening. Following this period, he shall spend a further six months living in a small segregated courtyard in the custody of a spiritual elder, kept busy with manual labor and prayer, subjected to vigils and prayers, forced to walk at all times in the company of two spiritual brothers, never again allowed to associate with young men for purposes of improper conversation or advice.

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  69. dee,

    So, Dee you also probably “dodged a bullet”? As I have said before, I also “dodged a bullet”, in my case, at a Independent Fundamentalist Baptist school, GARBC ( Not a Roman Catholic organization) As I continue to contemplate all of this, I am continuing to “harden” my postion on this.

    In my opinion, the worst evil is a “religious leader”, I do not care what flavor of Christianity, satisfying there own sexual “proclivities ” on children… The younger the children, and the older the “relgious leader”, the wosre the evil. As I raise kids I more fully understand the maturing processes, and, “news flash”, kids are not adults!

    The OT and NT clearly teaches EVIL mascurades as light. What is more EVIL than a “religious leader” satisfying their personal sexual desires MASQUERADING as a represtative of G$d and Christ? Answer: A church that covers this up! I challenge TWWreaders to name something worse! I would especially like to hear the YRR preacher boys, , The Piped Piper, MR Mouler, and Mr Deaver, to expound from scripture and show me something more EVIL….

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  70. This happens around the world in all religions the main concern is when someone is misusing their power to cover it up and silence the victims. any one thought about what will be going through the minds of these kids?

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  71. PS
    Further thought exercise…….
    What does The Village Church, Andy Savages Church, and our favorite example, soververgn Grace, examples tell us?
    1. In each of these case, the sexual proclivities of “church leader” were acted out on a under age member of a church. In each of these cases, these “leaders” had authoritarian streaks.. think Andy Savage teaching sexual purity after having and “organic moment” with Julia…. for all us gray hairs here, sexual urges are a BIG deal as teenagers, and I experienced teaching as a teen that you are “worm” if you pursued these urges..
    2. When sh&t hits the fan, the “church” circled around the perp, not the victim.
    3. When the pew peons finally do something, the church “leaders” first try to attack the pew peons with all sorts of authoritarin tactics, instead of immediately admitting their failure..
    4. What are some of the definitions of EVIL in the Bible? Darkness mascarading as light comes to mind…
    5. What would Christ do??

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  72. I used to own an edition of the NASB that had “devotional commentaries” at the bottom of each page. One of them dealt with the subject of miracles, and in it, the writer affirmed his commitment to believing that all of the miracles recorded in the bible happened as described, and added his own caveat: the greatest miracle of all is that we can read the bible. Well… that’s harmless enough, I suppose, so long as we remember that it’s only a theory.

    That theory, however, has often been used by the leaders of evangelical groups to support their claims to authority. There’s a risk involved with claiming a miracle, and the more tangible the miracle [generic] you claim, the greater the risk of exposure if someone looks too closely. If someone comes to me with, let’s say, a broken leg, and I claim to have healed them, then it’s easy enough to check up on me. An x-ray should show healed bone, the leg should be able to carry normal loads without pain, and so on. To put it another way: the “symptoms” of a healed bone-break are easily verified one way or the other.

    Now, since I don’t have any magical healing powers, I’d be a bit of a bampot to claim to have healed people with broken limbs. I’d quickly be found out. I’d be much better off claiming to have performed healings or miracles that are much harder to prove or disprove. For instance, I could claim that someone’s “life has been transformed” by my preaching of “the word of God”. Anyone who knows how to sound remorseful can help me fake a miracle – and if they know how to cry a bit, fantastic.

    By and large, evangelical preachers and para-church groups don’t have magical healing powers any more than I do. But what if they still want to sell some amazing product about which they can make fantastical claims? Well, I suppose one way of doing this would be to focus on miracles that are not easily verified; like “forgiveness”.

    According to the gospel accounts, at least, Jesus of Nazareth could say BOTH “your sins are forgiven” AND ‘rise up and walk”. And immediately afterwards, the latter actually happened, precisely in order to show to those present that Jesus had authority to do the former. I’m not convinced that modern-day churches can do either.

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  73. elastigirl,

    Your dad sounds like a neat guy. Your description reminded me of more than one of my older relatives. Sometimes I find myself envying those who appear to go through life with a simple faith, and don’t trouble themselves with any theological debates.

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  74. Nick Bulbeck:

    According to the gospel accounts, at least, Jesus of Nazareth could say BOTH “your sins are forgiven” AND ‘rise up and walk”. And immediately afterwards, the latter actually happened, precisely in order to show to those present that Jesus had authority to do the former. I’m not convinced that modern-day churches can do either.

    And there are instances in Acts when supernatural healings occur at the Apostles’ word. It does seem to have been the case, for them, that “whatever they asked in Jesus’ name the Father would do for them.”

    That doesn’t seem to happen often enough in our day to be noteworthy (could some of these new apostles please heal the pedophiles!).

    The interpretation of that reality is of course open to debate. Perhaps “cessationism” is valid. Or maybe some of the promises Jesus made to the Apostles were in fact only for them. That may be superficially distressing, but I think the alternatives are perhaps worse, along the lines of “we don’t how to pray “in Jesus’ name”, or worse.

    It has IMO the “feel” of what it must have been like to live in the intertestamental period, with the Glory departed from the Temple and the prophets silent. One wonders “where God is” in all this.

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  75. Bridget,

    What you describe is infuriating. Of course they’ll always chalk it up to “the Lord provided”, and not just in terms of energy, but money. I don’t know if they just haven’t thought things through, or if they actually expect to survive on the charity of others, since they’re going to all that trouble of raising large families. One thing I’ve noticed in certain quarters is a belief that the Church is grown primarily by couples having lots of “covenant children” , instead of evangelism. I think that’s driving much of the behavior within the quiverfull movement.

    Too many traditional Reformed and other churches haven’t done too well with evangelizing the lost, and this is how they compensate. On the backs of mothers whose health is ruined, of families in desperate financial straits, occasionally of lives lost due to inadequate health care. But if anything happens, it obviously was God’s will, and doing anything differently is sin and indicates a lack of faith.

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  76. Nick Bulbeck,

    “According to the gospel accounts, at least, Jesus of Nazareth could say BOTH “your sins are forgiven” AND ‘rise up and walk”. And immediately afterwards, the latter actually happened, precisely in order to show to those present that Jesus had authority to do the former. I’m not convinced that modern-day churches can do either.”
    ++++++++++++

    i think modern-day churches are very anemic. i don’t think they can do either, either.

    healing miracles do happen, though, through individuals who are anybodies and nobodies. or sometimes without the apparent 3rd party. no church institution required for such things.

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  77. NJ,

    “But if anything happens, it obviously was God’s will”
    ++++++++++++++++++

    or, whatever happens to me is God’s will and God was *intentional* about making or allowing it to happen.

    the way i see it, we have a God-given decision-maker in our brains, God-given capacity for acquiring knowledge & understanding & moxy and decisiveness when needed.

    i simply cannot believe that God does not favor us forging our own todays and tomorrows using all our faculties and resources. to both pursue, rule out, and at times eliminate possibilities.

    a metaphor:

    like tending a garden. one can let it all grow wild, whatever happens is supposed to happen. that’s not a garden. the gardener makes decisions — adds things, takes away things, grows things, nurtures things, severely cuts things, manicures things.

    any number of possibilities — all can be made beautiful and productive (& responsible — like, in pesticide and fertilizer choices which can harm self & others). the gardener decides.

    we are the gardener of our lives. with counsel and advice from trusted sources (including God).

    i mean, we have 1 life. i’m not leaving it to chance. i don’t believe God’s modus operandi is to control chance.

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  78. Catholic Gate-Crasher: Please read the very earliest Church Fathers — Ignatius of Antioch, Clement of Rome, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus of Lyons, and others. They *all* predate Constantine by centuries, yet they all testify to Catholic (and Orthodox) distinctives, such as the literal, substantial Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist; the hierarchical structure of the Church; apostolic succession; etc.

    This is a good way to mess up a Protestant – I write from personal experience. If there was ever a time when early Christianity looked Protestant it appears that none of the records survived anywhere. Everything I read points to the early church looking very different from what I had hoped. Now I am trying to pick up the pieces of what I once thought was a solid foundation. I now mostly wish I had never looked, because ignorance is bliss. On the bright side, I have a much greater appreciation for church history.

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  79. Beakerj,

    “…shall be publicly flogged …shorn, …spitting into his face, bound in iron chains, wasted by six months of close confinement, and for three days each week put on barley bread given him toward evening. …six months living in a small segregated courtyard…manual labor…forced to walk at all times …never again allowed to associate with young men for purposes of improper conversation or advice.”
    ————-

    no tar and feathering?

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  80. Samuel Conner,

    “Perhaps “cessationism” is valid. Or maybe some of the promises Jesus made to the Apostles were in fact only for them. That may be superficially distressing, but I think the alternatives are perhaps worse, along the lines of “we don’t how to pray “in Jesus’ name”, or worse.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    perhaps it’s neither of these ends of the spectrum.

    perhaps it’s a matter of time and process, for the yeast to reach all the flour to thoroughly combine. for the mustard see to reach large tree size to provide relief for all creatures.

    time and process, growing into “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.

    not so much a matter of God is withholding, or people of faith are not praying in faith the right way. but a matter of growth over time.

    just as it took millions of years for Yosemite to be carved, similarly i think spiritual formation on a macro level takes a very long, long time.

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  81. Catholic Gate-Crasher,

    My main point was what you said, that Rod Dreher was obsessed with all of the abuse in your church,
    As if he was over obsessing, which seemed to me to be very odd.

    All abuse is beyond the pale, sickening, and hard to grasp, how one person made in the image of God, could do something like this to another person that also was made in God’s image.

    I am not catholic ( I believe in grace alone, plus nothing else), so all I know is what I read, so to me people that are dismissive of Vagano’s letter, due to catholic politics ( conservative vs. liberal) are conflating issues, IMHO anyway.

    I pray for all the victims and their families regardless of their religious faith.

    But from what I have read I believe the last three popes have known of all this at some level.

    Yes, there is abuse in Protestant churches and denominations, but I don’t believe a leader in the SBC could ever survive any lengthy period of time, knowing of abuse and the eventual cover ups.

    I wish all Catholics God’s speed in booting any and all of these men that did these unconscionable acts, or were complicit in just moving perv’s from one perish to another.

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  82. Benn: but I don’t believe a leader in the SBC could ever survive any lengthy period of time, knowing of abuse and the eventual cover ups.

    CJ Mahaney, Paul Pressler, Paige Patterson,…

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  83. Catholic Gate-Crasher: Please read the very earliest Church Fathers

    Yes, but also that can be a two edged sword so to speak. Some of the early writings were attempts to refute some stuff that other people were saying, along with from time to time some very ugly attitude toward those who were being refuted. Sad to say,though the writings of those who disagreed were frequently destroyed (intentionally so some say)-or missing-or never were written down. None the less the evidence is there that not everybody, not every group, agreed. Which, of course, was a major reason for the council in the first place.

    And there is evidence that even after the council there was for a very long time the continuation of people who disagreed with this or that.

    IMO both things are true: that many beliefs currently deemed orthodox can be traced back to the earliest days of the church, and also that there was not a uniformity of agreement in the every earliest times hence the reasons for the refutations in the first place. This is one of the basic areas of current disagreement, whether the dissidents of both then and now were/are heretics or heroes. Or both.

    The way I was taught re Constantine back in the day was that it was church and state making common cause, an idea which led to tons of problems in the ensuing centuries.

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  84. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    They did at my Christain School over 40 years ago!, After being led away in hand cuffs from my school, the Pedo went to S. CA and taught in Christains schools, and got a Masters in Young Earth Creationism…. he later got caught and convicted of depraved crimes and spent over 15 in CA prision. I have a copy of the court records, for which he pled guilty…

    PS. My school highly advocted going to LABC, we even visted there as a senior trip. LABC is now… waite for it… The Masters University, controlled by Jonny Mac….

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  85. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    I am talking about the upper tiers of SBC, once all this became fully known about Patterson, look how quick he has been removed, my larger point is I am talking past or above the pastoral level, in SBC.

    Try to imagine if PP, CJM, or PP was put forward for president of SBC this coming year.

    I truly believe the last three popes have known about this ( at some level, including the rotate/ relocate the perv to some unknowing parish). I don’t think they the three amigos you mentioned could survive, when the truth came out could hold on to power in the Ex cathedral chair of the SBC

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  86. Benn: I don’t think they the three amigos you mentioned could survive, when the truth came out could hold on to power in the Ex cathedra chair of the SBC

    You must be talking about Al Mohler, who, of course, knows nothing about any allegations of abuse…

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  87. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    Please, it is A Sunday, don’t get me started on Mohler..

    Does it not boggle your mind, that a pope could survive all this, ( I think he’s has known of it), even if he didn’t know of it, but was leader of the RCC?

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  88. Lisa:
    It saddens me to see commenters here beginning to make this a theological fight and some quite angry spirits are evident. I so hope and pray that Protestants and Catholics can come together in a combined effort to fight sexual abuse. We need discourse not discord right about now. Perhaps there is another forum or blog to debate theology and church history.

    Thank you!! Amen. I am taking your message to heart. We are all in this together! God bless you!!

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  89. senecagriggs:
    Malcolm,

    c)Even in the absence of hard data, it seemed increasingly clear that, although clergy from every religious denomination have sexually violated children, no major denomination has had a problem of the scale that has plagued the Catholic church.”

    There are absolutely no Protestant equivalents, “

    said Anson D. Shupe, a professor of sociology at Indiana University- Purdue University in Fort Wayne who researches clergy misconduct.” If I could find spectacular cases that would help my career, but I can’t. You don’t have rapacious serial predators, and the Protestant establishment doesn’t tolerate it the way the Catholic establishment has.”

    True –

    Seneca Griggs, are you kidding me?

    I live in the Bible Belt. Every other day, it seems, there is a news story about a Protestant minister or youth worker busted for sexual abuse.

    It doesn’t make the big front-page headlines that Catholic abuse cases do. But that doesn’t make it any less real.

    Moreover, it is a constant drip-drip-drip. Constant. Over and over.

    Do you really think that this constant, relentless drip-drip-drip does NOT add up to an ocean??

    This is what kills me about my Calvinist buds at Facebook. They firmly subscribe to Total Depravity. But they seem to believe that it applies to everyone but themselves (and their own communions).

    I think Our Lord had a few choice words for such people and their Pharisaical self-righteousness!

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  90. Catholic Gate-Crasher: We Catholic laypeople ***are*** facing up to our abuse crisis. Instead of hectoring, accusing, and blaming us, maybe you should start facing the equally egregious and widespread abuse problem in your own tradition. Facing the problem is essential to fixing it.

    Great!

    What are lay RC’s doing about it?

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  91. Catholic Gate-Crasher,

    What can the laity do to change things? What I mean by this is, I suppose, is there a plan for steps to be taken to tackle stuff & bring about change? I’m unsure of what the structure in the Catholic Church is that allows for that, in that I’m very used to thinking of it as having the power concentrated above the laity, who pretty much do as they’re told. I could be totally wrong here, so please correct me. I’m delighted to hear you speak so passionately about this, I don’t read the Catholic press so have missed any in-church outrage.

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  92. @Benn, sorry I know too much about what goes on in Protestantism.

    One of my friends grew up in a Methodist orphanage. A minister there repeatedly abused her when she was 11. She was *not* his only victim.

    She and the other victims were intimidated into silence — their very continuance at the orphanage depended on it. The perp got off scot-free and rose to prominence in the local UMC.

    Then there was the respected local physician, a pillar of the Free Presbyterians, who was trying to force his wife into sick, unnatural acts because of his pornography addiction. He ended up physically abusing his kids. He got off scot-free, too. (I knew his wife, now deceased {cancer}.)

    This is just the tip of the iceberg. If you seriously think that Catholics have cornered the market on horrific sin, then you are in dangerous denial.

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  93. Beakerj:
    Catholic Gate-Crasher,

    What can the laity do to change things? What I mean by this is, I suppose, is there a plan for steps to be taken to tackle stuff & bring about change? I’m unsure of what the structure in the Catholic Church is that allows for that, in that I’m very used to thinking of it as having the power concentrated above the laity, who pretty much do as they’re told. I could be totally wrong here, so please correct me. I’m delighted to hear you speak so passionately about this, I don’t read the Catholic press so have missed any in-church outrage.

    Good question!! Seriously!!

    Besides closing our pocketbooks (the only language some dioceses understand), we are raising a ruckus. There will be a huge protest outside of the USCCB bishops’ meeting in November. And some 30,000 women have written to Pope Francis in protest. More action is forthcoming; it is still in the planning stages. Along with prayer and fasting, of course, our most effective weapons.

    Will keep you posted. Meanwhile it seems that Cardinal Wuerl (named in the PA Report over 200 times) is resigning. Next we have to get Cardinal Cupich, who runs his archdiocese like an arm of the Mafia, to resign. Slowly but surely…..

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  94. Ken F (aka Tweed): Everything I read points to the early church looking very different from what I had hoped. Now I am trying to pick up the pieces of what I once thought was a solid foundation. I now mostly wish I had never looked, because ignorance is bliss. On the bright side, I have a much greater appreciation for church history.

    I am unconvinced the Church structures adopted by the initial followers are more correct nor why they should be. I also now despair that any current design is foolproof but I am informed on a whole number of ways it should not be done. Elevation of a small group of men over the rest of believers is at the top of the list on how to get it wrong.

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  95. The pattern of how organizations deal with abuse appears to be the same whether the organization is secular (MI State, Penn State, various medical boards, the Weinstein Co., Foxnews or MSNBC etc.) or religious:

    *Organizations appear to almost have a life of their own and ensuring the survival of the organization appears to be the overriding impulse. This impulse to protect the organization functions both with respect to reputation and to protecting the more valuable assets.

    *The more power a person has within an organization, the more value they have to the organization and the bigger blow if they are lost to the organization.

    *Abusers by definition have more power than their targets; otherwise, they couldn’t victimize. Therefore, organizations will tend to protect the perpetrator.

    *A victim coming forward will ignite cognitive dissonance. People do not want to think of abuse in general, and especially not of someone known to them whom they admire as capable of it. In secular organizations, cognitive dissonance might be best captured by Upton Sinclair, ““It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

    *A victim coming forward threatens the reputation and the functioning of the organization. The report of the abuse immediately plunges the hearer into cognitive dissonance. The simplest way to protect the organization is to disbelieve, silence, or discredit the victim. This does not have to be a deliberate evil act. Someone can truly believe that “the priest” would never do such a thing, therefore, the victim is “mixed up” or “lying”. They see themselves as protecting the reputation of the accused (and the organization.) The victim is the equivalent of a pawn in chess. Losing a pawn is a minor sacrifice to protect a piece of greater power even if you never consciously acknowledge to yourself that that is what you are doing.

    *This pattern holds true no matter the size of the organization whether it’s a small local church or business or a large university or church hierarchy. Unfortunately, the pattern occurs in many families as well.

    A very disconcerting conclusion from this is that the church acts no differently than worldly organizations in protecting the powerful. In fact, the secular world has seemingly caught on first and is leading the church, not vice versa. Not that that process is complete, but it is farther along in the secular world.

    It would be bad enough if the church was “merely” worldly, but the truth is that it can do even deeper damage as captured in the words of a victim of a Boston priest in “Spotlight,” ” It is important to understand that this is not just physical [sexual] abuse, it’s spiritual abuse, too. And when a priest does this to you, he robs you of your faith. ”

    The solution for the church is the solution demanded on this blog: Focus on the victim and you’ll get it right. “Inasmuch as you did it to the least of these…”

    And it wouldn’t hurt for the church to think more frequently and deeply about sins of power and their manifestations.

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  96. srs:
    To get a sense of scale, do you know how many dioceses are in Pennsylvania and about how many priests there are (total, not the pedophile estimates) in a diocese?

    I do not know how many priests are in a diocese, it likely depends on the number of practicing Catholics.

    Per Wikipedia, in PA there is one archdiocese (Philadelphia) which has oversight over seven dioceses in the state (Allentown, Altoona-Johnstown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, and Scranton).

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  97. Abi Miah: The solution for the church is the solution demanded on this blog: Focus on the victim and you’ll get it right.

    I worry about changing the focus to those claiming victim status, there are too many examples of that also resulting in injustice. I’ll meet you halfway and focus on the individual over the collective.

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  98. Benn,

    “but I don’t believe a leader in the SBC could ever survive any lengthy period of time, knowing of abuse and the eventual cover ups.”
    +++++++++

    what is lengthy?

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  99. Benn,

    “I am talking about the upper tiers of SBC, once all this became fully known about Patterson, look how quick he has been removed, my larger point is I am talking past or above the pastoral level, in SBC.”
    +++++++++++++++

    i suspect many in the upper tiers of SBC have long known of all kinds of shenanigans. it has been inconvenient to their ‘plans’ to stand up for what is right and true.

    a convenient political storm coincided with PP’s shenanigans being made more public. PP was removed in a calvinist power grab.

    there are shadowy forces in evangelical leadership with way too much power, and corrupt principles from which they wield their power.
    ——

    “The Big Eva world is indeed run as the personal fiefdom of a few….

    cross those few, or touch their dogmatic golden calves, and you can expect the fight back to be dirty, relentless, increasingly dangerous, and by and large hidden from the watching world…

    When Todd told me of the vicious attacks he was receiving yesterday, I was shocked to know the name of the person involved. But then again I was not shocked at all — such vile attacks are part of the culture. ” — Carl Trueman.

    “I was a part-time, topic producer for Janet Mefferd until yesterday when I resigned over this situation. All I can share is that there is an evangelical celebrity machine that is more powerful than anyone realizes. You may not go up against the machine. That is all.” — Ingrid Schluetter

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  100. Thersites,

    However, 60-70% of victims never report the abuse\assault so how does one determine who is a victim? It can become very subjective if there was is no trial or conviction.

    Who\what gets to decide “victim” status? Maybe we just ignore the 60-70% when they come forward years later? Glad I didn’t do that with the victim that falls in that category in my life, otherwise they’d likely be dead now.

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  101. Thersites: I am unconvinced the Church structures adopted by the initial followers are more correct nor why they should be.

    I’m not convinced either. Theoretically, all bishops, priests, pastors, elders, deacons, ministers, etc., are supposed to be servants first in the same way that Jesus said he came to serve rather than be served. And just about every one of these church “leaders” you will talk with will say they are doing just that. And while I am sure that many are, there are also quite a lot that are not. Is it a case where 20% are causing 80% of the problem? As to whether or not the early church did it better, there is the argument that they were closer to the original source. But if their example is not the right model, then I don’t know how we could come up with something better that would be widely applicable. Maybe there is no right model and each of the thousands of denomonitions are all supposed to be doing it as they individually think is best.

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  102. Benn: Does it not boggle your mind, that a pope could survive all this,

    I think it’s too early to say that he has survived it. The stink of this only recently landed on him, so I don’t think we can say yet that he survived it.

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  103. “Christians, both Catholic and Protestant, often believe that confession and repentance will lead to Jesus miraculously curing pedophiles.This is a dangerous assumption. The truly repentant pedophile will be forgiven but will struggle with their disorder for a life time.”

    I used to think that a pedophile, like any other sinner, could be healed of their perversion. I no longer believe that. When a priest/pastor sexually abuses a child, it doesn’t get much lower than that. As Charlie Daniels says “The lowest form of animal life on earth is a child molester.” In that immensely fallen state, God gives them over to a depraved mind which will end in hell, IMO.

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  104. IMO, Catholic priests and Evangelical pastors who sexually abuse children do not know the Lord … they are not Christians, regardless of their confession. Any “repentance” they offer falls on deaf ears. Jesus is not in the business of handing out forgiveness and restoration to those who do not know Him.

    “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not so short
    That it cannot save,
    Nor His ear so impaired
    That it cannot hear.

    But your wickedness has separated you from your God,
    And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.” (Isaiah 59:1-2)

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  105. dee: I truly believe that we are seeing an increase in these incidents in churches because churches have become havens for the clever pedophile as well as all sorts of other *philes.*

    Agreed. In its current miserable state, the organized church doesn’t have enough discernment to spot the enemy in its midst, nor enough spiritual power to scare the devil out of the house. The institutional church mocks and rejects the watchmen that God tries to send to it, so they have no one on the wall to see “philes” coming over the hill toward them. Yep, philes love the church … it’s such a safe place to lurk and work their evil.

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  106. Bridget: Maybe we just ignore the 60-70% when they come forward years later?

    This seems a straw-man argument, certainly not one made here. An organization or this site can certainly have a victim focus but if all of society adopted victims as the primary focus I would expect other forms of evil to result. We may just have different definitions for the terms, my concern is justice for the individual. Unfortunately this can be a very messy business of discerning between belated reports of abuse and false allegations. The reason to value the individual over that of the collective is so that we strive to judge each case on its merits rather how it benefits our own group.

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  107. Ken F (aka Tweed): Maybe there is no right model and each of the thousands of denomonitions are all supposed to be doing it as they individually think is best.

    Eph 3:10,11 God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord.

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  108. Max:
    IMO, Catholic priests and Evangelical pastors who sexually abuse children do not know the Lord … they are not Christians, regardless of their confession.Any “repentance” they offer falls on deaf ears.Jesus is not in the business of handing out forgiveness and restoration to those who do not know Him.

    “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not so short
    That it cannot save,
    Nor His ear so impaired
    That it cannot hear.

    But your wickedness has separated you from your God,
    And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.”(Isaiah 59:1-2)

    I agree. They do not have supernatural faith. It is the mystery of iniquity, and it boggles the mind.

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  109. Ken F (aka Tweed): I think it’s too early to say that he has survived it. The stink of this only recently landed on him, so I don’t think we can say yet that he survived it.

    Agreed 100 %

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  110. Thersites: This seems a straw-man argument, certainly not one made here.

    That was not an argument. It was a real question.

    Since most allegations seen to come late, or never, it seems we should entertain them. As we have heard there is only a small percentage that are actually false. And I do think that people who make “proven false” allegations of rape should be prosecuted.

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  111. Bridget: Since most allegations seen to come late, or never, it seems we should entertain them.

    Thanks for the reply. While there is a valuable exploration in the spectrum of circumstance and allegations I can agree that allegations should not be ignored because they do not come properly formulated. My own experience is rife with examples where myself or another person was dismissed out of hand because they did not follow proper channels and dot every “i” and cross every “t”, life is messy. That said I still urge caution, especially if we substantially change the rules for the admission of evidence we may wake up to find a great increase in the number of false allegations.

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  112. I am thinking that accusations need to be taken seriously and investigated where possible. Denials need to be taken seriously and investigated where possible. Justice is important. Compassion is important. Healing is important. We must not let ourselves become hardened to human suffering.

    A concern of mine now that ‘me too’ has become political is that this nation not see develop what we have seen in other places and at other times where an unsubstantiated ‘denunciation’ is enough to put someone into the hands of the inquisition or into the hands of ‘the people’s party’ or into the cart en route to the guillotine–literally as we have seen the power of ‘denunciation’ to be able to become. At one point in the history of the communist revolution in China, or so I have read, everybody who wore glasses became suspect and endangered based on the conclusion that glasses were for reading and reading meant an enemy of the people. We must not let that that sort of thing happen.

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  113. Ken F (aka Tweed): Maybe there is no right model and each of the thousands of denomonitions are all supposed to be doing it as they individually think is best.

    Not everything matters all that much. Where in scripture does it say exactly what being a ‘servant’ looks like in everyday practice? Where does it say that, for example, the duties of deacons is spelled out as ‘shoulds’ as opposed to as general principles? For those who preach and teach where does it say how many hours per week, or per month, or whatever that must be of necessity? You see where I am going with this. IMO, if the NT is supposed to be an owner’s manual to include DIY and warranty it does a lousy job of it. My conclusion is that the NT was never designed for that, which could be one explanation as to why Jesus either forgot or neglected to mention the soon to arrive written instructional manual. Just saying.

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  114. elastigirl,

    When the full light of his actions became known for ALL to see, PP, didn’t make it very long.

    Understand, I am not talking about the throughly informed bloggers, and people that do serious research.

    I am talking about the average pew sitter, to give a first hand example, I attend an SBC church, in full disclosure we are SBC mostly in name only, we give very little the CP, we send no one to the convention, but we are a member of SBC. IMHO, no one even knows who PP is, I am not 100% sure my pastor could give a full account of what happened over the summer with PP, I predicted the JD Greear would win the election in a land slide, and they ( most every member of my church that I talked to, couldn’t/ didn’t believe me),

    J D received 69 % of the vote, sadly now that the SBC has been totally taken over by Cals, my fellow members have forgotten, they are so uninformed it is scary, ignorance truly is bliss…

    Long way around the barn, but I believe truly informed SBC members wouldn’t allow their pope to get away with what seemingly the RCC has/will. Although there is a different dynamic going on in catholism, actually believe he is the vicar of Christ….

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  115. srs,

    There are 8 Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania (Erie, Scranton, Pittsburgh, Greensburg, Alltona-Johnstown, Harrisburg, Allentown, Philadelphia).

    As of 2017 there are
    982 parishes within those 8 dioceses.
    Within those parishes there are about 840 priests.

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  116. Benn: Jesus did allude to owners manual
    In Mathew, Have you not read, what God spoke……….

    There was no NT at the time. He was referring to the Hebrew scriptures, the OT, the law and the prophets.

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  117. Benn: now that the SBC has been totally taken over by Cals, my fellow members have forgotten, they are so uninformed it is scary, ignorance truly is bliss…

    It’s one thing for the average Southern Baptist (most are still non-Calvinist) to be uninformed or misinformed, but to be willingly ignorant of the Calvinization of SBC is a shame before God. They have proven they don’t really give a big whoop about “theology” and the loss of the whosoever-will-may-come message that has characterized the denomination for the last 150 years … but you try to take away their potluck dinners and you will have a war on your hands!

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  118. okrapod,

    Sure, but it is the principle involved

    Grace is built on even better promises

    Christ said the church would be built on the foundation of apostles and the prophets, was the n t speaking o t or n t prophets?

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  119. Benn,

    You are making the catholic argument that the church is the foundation and not the NT. There is a verse for that you know, but I have not looked it up right now. So how is that different from what I said? I said that the NT is not a DIY manual, a detailed description of how to for everything. So now you have said the same thing.

    You have said it is the principles and by inference not the details. That is exactly what I have said.

    I don’t see that we are at cross purposes here.

    I think that at the time of the reformation when the issue of sola scriptura was adopted it was a way to separate from the idea of any residual religious authority in the church. For authority, then, if not the church what, in other words. Over time sola scriptura has morphed into what we now see in some circles that scripture seems to have usurped God himself, or more specifically some persons approach to scripture which is to often twisting of scriptures, manipulation of people, usurpation of authority and attempts to micromanage people in areas in which the scripture is not remotely specific (aka not a procedure manual).

    It seems to me that the forces of evil might indeed have found a way to get people to limit God himself to only what He has already done or said and disallow any idea that God is alive and well, Jesus is risen, and the Spirit dwells within people as well as elsewhere. How? Well, if we disallow the OT (forget what Jesus may or may not have said about it) and if ‘scripture’ is limited to the NT which its own authors call incomplete, and if we say that is the limitation of God on earth, ta da, we limit God.

    In other words, I think that the worship of either church or scripture is dead wrong, and some people do seem to be doing just that.

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  120. okrapod: It seems to me that the forces of evil might indeed have found a way to get people to limit God himself to only what He has already done or said and disallow any idea that God is alive and well, Jesus is risen, and the Spirit dwells within people as well as elsewhere. How? Well, if we disallow the OT (forget what Jesus may or may not have said about it) and if ‘scripture’ is limited to the NT which its own authors call incomplete, and if we say that is the limitation of God on earth, ta da, we limit God.

    I think many religious groups have gotten exactly to this point. Most of them don’t seem to realize that they are at this point and possibly usurping God in the process.

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  121. Bridget: I think many religious groups have gotten exactly to this point. Most of them don’t seem to realize that they are at this point and possibly usurping God in the process.

    Christianity Today says there are 30,000+ Christian denominations and para-church organizations in the world. Most of them came to be by usurping God with their own teachings and traditions, IMO. It’s darn near impossible to find an active God of the Bible in their midst, a living Christ who is calling them to follow Him.

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  122. Benn: Although there is a different dynamic going on in catholism, actually believe he is the vicar of Christ….

    So how does that differ from God speaking through His Anointed at the top of all those dozens of Megachurches and thousands of Splinter Churches? “TOUCH NOT MINE ANOINTED!”

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  123. okrapod:
    Benn,

    You are making the catholic argument that the church is the foundation and not the NT.There is a verse for that you know, but I have not looked it up right now.So how is that different from what I said?I said that the NT is not a DIY manual, a detailed description of how to for everything.So now you have said the same thing.

    You have said it is the principles and by inference not the details.That is exactly what I have said.

    I don’t see that we are at cross purposes here.

    I think that at the time of the reformation when the issue of sola scriptura was adopted it was a way to separate from the idea of any residual religious authority in the church.For authority, then,if not the church what, in other words.Over time sola scriptura has morphed into what we now see in some circles that scripture seems to have usurped God himself, or more specifically some persons approach to scripture which is to often twisting of scriptures, manipulation of people, usurpation of authority and attempts to micromanage people in areas in which the scripture is not remotely specific (aka not a procedure manual).

    It seems to me that the forces of evil might indeed have found a way to get people to limit God himself to only what He has already done or said and disallow any idea that God is alive and well, Jesus is risen, and the Spirit dwells within people as well as elsewhere.How?Well, if we disallow the OT (forget what Jesus may or may not have said about it) and if ‘scripture’ is limited to the NT which its own authors call incomplete, and if we say that is the limitation of God on earth, ta da, we limit God.

    In other words, I think that the worship of either church or scripture is dead wrong, and some people do seem to be doing just that.

    Okrapod, I think the verse you are looking for is in I Timothy: “the church, the pillar and ground of the Truth.”

    I can’t tell you chapter and verse because…well, I’m Catholic. 😉

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  124. Max: It’s darn near impossible to find an active God of the Bible in their midst, a living Christ who is calling them to follow Him.

    Max, the standard followon to a statement like that is to proclaim a New/Restored One True Church as it was in the Days of the Apostles, newly restored by Guess Who. AKA Joseph Smith’s original rationale for the Book of Mormon. (And he was far from the only one to claim that using that rationale.)

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  125. okrapod: In other words, I think that the worship of either church or scripture is dead wrong, and some people do seem to be doing just that.

    Problem is, these days it’s a choice between worship of Church or worship of Scripture in a two-party system. Anything else puts you in the bullseye of both One True Ways like the Anabaptists during the Reformation Wars.

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  126. Max: IMO, Catholic priests and Evangelical pastors who sexually abuse children do not know the Lord … they are not Christians, regardless of their confession.

    Max, look up the “No True Scotsman” Fallacy sometime. You’re drifting right into it.

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  127. Headless Unicorn Guy: Problem is, these days it’s a choice between worship of Church or worship of Scripture in a two-party system. Anything else puts you in the bullseye of both One True Ways like the Anabaptists during the Reformation Wars

    It certainly looks that way.

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  128. Bridget: Since most allegations seen to come late, or never, it seems we should entertain them. As we have heard there is only a small percentage that are actually false. And I do think that people who make “proven false” allegations of rape should be prosecuted.

    Reports like this should always be taken seriously and investigated thoroughly. If I was a victim, I would want people to believe me when I cry out. But if I was falsely accused I would want people to believe me when I protest my innocence. We do not have the benefit of omniscience so it is essential to pray that the truth will be vindicated and justice will be done.

    Although false reports are only a small percentage, it still happens. False reports do permanent damage to the accused but innocent person and we should have some compassion here too.

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  129. Catholic Gate-Crasher: This is just the tip of the iceberg. If you seriously think that Catholics have cornered the market on horrific sin, then you are in dangerous denial.

    But then how can you Count Coup in Righteousness over those Filthy Romanists?

    I’ve come to refer to “The Corruption of Righteousness”, and it’s everywhere.

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  130. It has been my experience that many Christians believe prayer and repentance will cure any psychological disorder, including alcoholism, drug addiction, and depression. I’ve heard it preached from the pulpit. People who seek psychological help are shamed as lacking faith.

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  131. ZechZav: Although false reports are only a small percentage, it still happens. False reports do permanent damage to the accused but innocent person and we should have some compassion here too.

    And when something like #metoo Trends and Goes Viral, it starts attracting false accusations jumping on the bandwagon — whether for private revenge, actual delusions, or 15 minutes of “Me Too!” fame — thus discrediting the real ones.

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  132. Headless Unicorn Guy: So how does that differ from God speaking through His Anointed at the top of all those dozens of Megachurches and thousands of Splinter Churches? “TOUCH NOT MINE ANOINTED!”

    H-u-g

    Maybe in theory there is no difference.

    But the mega’s are diluted on an individual level.

    Far bigger issue for RCC to adopt it as a default position IMHO

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  133. NJ: One thing I’ve noticed in certain quarters is a belief that the Church is grown primarily by couples having lots of “covenant children” , instead of evangelism. I think that’s driving much of the behavior within the quiverfull movement.

    “Bedroom Evangelism”, i.e. “Outbreed the Heathen”.
    Quite Darwinist, actually.
    Darwin’s phrase “survival of the fittest” actually refers to relative reproductive success over time. A pop culture example is the background situation of the movie “Idiocracy” (or its dead-serious inspiration, Cyril Kornbluth’s nasty 1947 novelette “The Marching Morons”).

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  134. Catholic Gate-Crasher: No need to lecture us. Save it for your own church, whatever that may be. At least we Papists admit we have a problem — which makes us a heck of a lot more attuned to the victims than people like Dreher who point fingers at us while ignoring, denying, and even aiding and abetting their own churches’ egregious scandals.

    i.e. “I THANK THEE, LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORD, THAT I AM NOTHING LIKE THOSE FILTHY ROMISH PAPIST PRIESTS OVER THERE….”

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  135. Headless Unicorn Guy: And when something like #metoo Trends and Goes Viral, it starts attracting false accusations jumping on the bandwagon — whether for private revenge, actual delusions, or 15 minutes of “Me Too!” fame — thus discrediting the real ones.

    Very good point. I was thinking of the damage it did to the one wrongly accused but yes you are right – it does damage to real victims too.

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  136. Benn:

    Benn, you seem determined to pick a fight with us Catholics over our belief system. May I respectfully suggest that that is not the purpose of the OP? (At least as far as I can see.)

    Moreover, if you want to get into the theological weeds…well, Catholics have been doing apologetics for a long, long time, and (arguably) we’ve become pretty good at it. Not I, personally. But lots and lots of Pretty Famous People like Aquinas, Bellarmine, Francis de Sales, John Henry Newman, et al. (As I’ve often noted, if the case against Catholic claims was such a simple slam-dunk, we would not have lasted two years, let alone 2,000.)

    So please, please, can we stick to the subject at hand — clerical sex abuse — and stop trying to lob spitballs at each other’s belief systems?

    Maybe we can lob a few spitballs at Cardinal Cupich instead. I would gladly join you in that enterprise!

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  137. Headless Unicorn Guy: i.e. “I THANK THEE, LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORD, THAT I AM NOTHING LIKE THOSE FILTHY ROMISH PAPIST PRIESTS OVER THERE….”

    One reason some thought this subject would not be aired here is because people bring both their own ax to grind and others become defensive when the Catholic church is mentioned. There has certainly been many stones thrown here at protestant variants over the years. It would be helpful if there was an admission by the RCC members about what contributes to the problem in their ranks. Can we have a discussion of problems that exist in both Catholic and Protestant churches without it becoming Catholic vs Protestant? Sheesh, it sounds like Republican and Democrats.

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  138. Thersites,

    I hear you, but as long as the catholics are dealing with clergy issues which are different from the clergy issues of the protestants then some of the aspects do not overlap.

    And as long as people disagree on what is or is not sin (abuse or not) and disagree on what is or is not pathology (abuse or not) then I don’t see even catholics agreeing with other catholics and protestants agreeing with other protestants to any overwhelming extent.

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  139. Sexually abusing any kid for any reason, you have crossed a line that you can’t go back from! I don’t care the age older or younger kid! In my book you are a pediphile because if you do it once you will do it again!!! Rape is rape no matter what age. However targeting kids for your own purpose tells me all I ever need to know about you! Anyone covering it up for whatever reason reveals to me that that individual supports child sex abuse (pediphiles) whether they gain something or not let’s just stop the games and call a spade a spade.

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  140. Max: My personal Christian experience is not open to another man’s argument.

    I respect that fact, which is why I believe Christian faith is an appropriate and rational way for some people to live their lives. My person Christian experience isn’t open to anyone else’s argument either, and it’s why I am an agnostic.

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  141. Pedophilia, pedarasty, ephebophilia, call it what you will. But it is really just a homosexual forever fixated and forever frustrated at the twisted prospect of grooming his ideal lover. And, it’s demonic.

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  142. Tandt: Pedophilia, pederasty, ephebophilia, call it what you will … it’s demonic.

    Agreed. Such behavior is undoubtedly inspired by demons, indwelling evil spirits, depraved minds.

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  143. Max: My personal Christian experience is not open to another man’s argument.

    Nor is mine. I have views which will horrify my liberal-progressive brethren as well as sentiments that will draw the flak of the most ardent fundagelical.

    It comes from being a semi-Voltaireian free-thinker when it involves religion and religious conviction; in a word, I’m all over the map on many issues.

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  144. Max: Agreed.Such behavior is undoubtedly inspired by demons, indwelling evil spirits, depraved minds.

    At which point the perp can invoke the Geraldine Defense (“The Devil Made Me Do It!”) and evade all responsibility.

    Don’t be so quick to invoke the Demonic.
    People can commit such horrors without any paranormal help.
    Otherwise you’re drifting towards New Age Woo where everything is Paranormal/Spiritual, just the opposite polarity.

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  145. Ken P.,

    Ken, I’m Catholic and haven’t tithed in a couple years. I have donated to needy individuals instead. I’m writing letters and even planning on protesting at the Bishop’s conference. I’m making monetary donations to Catholic podcasters who are exposing this mess as well.

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  146. Warning:

    This post is not meant to provoke some folks to get into Catholic bashing. I will put you into permanent moderation if it continues. This post is meant to say we are all in this together so give it a try and give it a rest.

    Let me make this clear. I regard Catholics as my brother and sisters in the faith. Be careful or I might get irritated.

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  147. Lisa:
    Ken P.,
    Ken, I’m Catholic and haven’t tithed in a couple years. I have donated to needy individuals instead. I’m writing letters and even planning on protesting at the Bishop’s conference. I’m making monetary donations to Catholic podcasters who are exposing this mess as well.

    Good for you. Keep us posted about the demonstration. I would love to write a post about it.

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  148. dee,

    Thanks, Dee. I’ve been in both camps and, at times, feel I have a foot planted in Catholicism and a foot in Protestantism. It is my sincere hope that we can aid each other in the fight against abuse.

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  149. Lisa:
    dee,

    Thanks, Dee. I’ve been in both camps and, at times, feel I have a foot planted in Catholicism and a foot in Protestantism. It is my sincere hope that we can aid each other in the fight against abuse.

    Thanks to both you and the Deebs!! Yes, we are all in this together.

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  150. Lisa: Ken, I’m Catholic and haven’t tithed in a couple years. I have donated to needy individuals instead. I’m writing letters and even planning on protesting at the Bishop’s conference. I’m making monetary donations to Catholic podcasters who are exposing this mess as well.

    It’s good to see actions being taken, but I’m starting to believe that the only way to make significant, lasting change to religious organizations is to cut off the money. RCC, SBC or ASPCA, money is the only language everyone understands.

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  151. Catholic Gate-Crasher,

    Not sure what you are talking about.
    I don’t bash anyone’s religious faith.
    I have tried to point out some differences in belief systems
    If it is worth committing your life to it, we all should be able to defend what we believe
    If I upset you, I apologize though.

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  152. Celibacy in the Roman Catholic Priesthood

    a) Women Priests? Rome Would Sooner End Celibacy – Reformation ..
    In the 1971 Roman Catholic synod, under a different pope, bold statements were less rare. Franjo Cardinal Seper of Zagreb could then say, “I am not at all optimistic that celibacy is in fact being observed.” At that synod, nearly half the bishops voted in favor of a married priesthood.
    http://www.nytimes.com/…/l-women-priests-rome-would-sooner-end-celibacy-reformation-ne

    b) Gordon Thomas wrote:
    ‘Worldwide, of the 404,000 priests in active ministry in October 1996, at least one third had been , or were still engaged in , breaking their vow of compulsory celibacy, claimed Vocatio,
    Trespass into Temptation 1997 edition p. 384

    c) David Rice wrote:
    ‘Missionaries in Peru estimate that 80 percent of local priests live with women.’..
    ‘In Brazil a group of native priests estimate that between 60 and 70 percent of native Brazilian priests have some sort of liaisons with women.’
    Shattered Vows p ub. 1990 p. 120

    d) Roderic Ai. Camp wrote:
    ‘ For example, Archbishop Bartolome Carrasco Briseno of Oaxaca was not able to enforce celibacy among a large number of priests in his poor, southern diocese .’
    Crossing Swords: Politics and Religion in Mexico’ pub 1997 .p. 262

    e) Oct 21 ‘ National Catholic Reporter”:
    Issue Date: October 21, 2005
    Sexual hypocrisy from the Vatican
    By ANGELA BONAVOGLIA
    Most recently, Regina Soares Jurkewicz, eight years a professor at the Theological Institute of the Catholic diocese of São Paulo, Brazil, was fired, this right after she published the results of her doctoral research on sexual violence against women by Catholic clergy in Brazil. Her findings were in keeping with the findings of internal church reports from the 1990s, which documented the sexual exploitation and abuse of nuns and other adult women by Catholic priests in 23 countries on five continents.
    Oct 21 ‘ National Catholic Reporter”:

    f) African Catholic Church tested by scandals
    2011-11-17
    Jean-Louis De La Vaissiere
    Rome – When he arrives in Africa on Friday, Pope Benedict XVI will be welcomed by a fast-growing Church struggling with sex and corruption scandals and rivalry from evangelical Christians and Voodooism…
    But the African Church is also riddled with scandals, from child abuse to extramarital relations, collusion with those in power, and ill-gotten fortunes…
    African priests have also been known on occasion to be involved with practices that do not sit happily with the Catholic Church – from exorcism or animal sacrifices to Freemasonry.

    g) In an article in the Daily Telegraph dated February 24th, 2013 entitled The next Pope must think seriously about married priests – because the celibacy rule isn’t working Damian Thompson (a Roman Catholic) wrote:
    ‘Unofficial marriages among African Catholic priests are the norm in some regions’.

    h) A report in Time magazine May 12, 1980
    stated:
    ‘In Africa, birth control is no issue. The people barely practice it at all. Quite the contrary: in the words of one missionary, many an African’s esteem is measured by how many children he has rather than by how many books he writes. But what is John Paul to do about a country like Zaïre, where many priests are living with concubines? In some dioceses it is difficult to find a truly celibate priest to become bishop. Polygamy is also widely practiced, and there has been discussion about the possibility of admitting polygamous men to full membership in the church. But John Paul does not feel free to follow local customs on celibacy. During a chat with reporters on the flight to Kinshasa the Pope told TIME’S Wilton Wynn, “The situation is the same everywhere. The difficulties are as great for men everywhere. What counts is not the situation, but the dedication of the heart.” Repeating the theme shortly after landing, he informed a group of priests that celibacy is the sign of their “total consecration” to God’

    i) David Rice wrote:
    ‘ A missionary, returned from working in Zaire, Africa, tells me that all local priests in the diocese where he worked have fathered children. All have their women.” I would not say a woman, but women,” the missionary says.’p.121

    j)Vatican investigation rebukes Central African Republic’s priests over celibacy violations; archbishop resigns
    May 27, 2009
    The investigation, conducted by Archbishop Robert Sarah, the Guinea-born secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, concluded that many local priests have homes and children. A local newspaper reported that in most dioceses and the majority of parishes, priests live with women and have children.
    https://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=3037

    k) 2001 March 23 Vatican Views from the Hill
    ( S B U ) In a rare statement acknowledging fault , Vatican spokesman Jaoquin Navarro- Valls said March 20 that there was a problem of sexual abuse of nuns by priests in some missionary territories. He said the Vatican was working to correct the situation. The statement was in response to a March 16article in the U.S. Catholic Weekly, National Catholic Reporter that cited four reports by senior members of women’s religious orders asserting that sexual abuse of nuns by priests , including rape, was a serious problem, especially in Africa. One of the authors told a Vatican City News Agency that she was very pleased the Vatican had issued its acknowledgement.( Comment: The Vatican has become increasingly sensitized to incidents of sexual abuse by clergy, particularly in countries like the U S, Australia, and England. We expect the reports of sexual abuse by priests in missionary terrirories to be taken seriously and dealt with professionally. End comment) Merante
    https://wikileaks.org

    l) David Rice writes:
    A journalist ,Tim Unsworth ,who writes in the ` National Catholic Reporter ` tells me that Cardinal Sin is closing his eyes to50 percent of his priests living with women .I met with a group of Filipino priests who thought it a conservative estimate.
    “In my deanery “ one of them told me, “ practically every priest is involved deaply with women.”p. 120

    m)David France wrote :
    ‘In Spain 60 percent of priests were sexually active’
    ‘ Our Fathers: The Secret Life of the Catholic Church in an Age of Scandal’ pub.2004 p. 89

    n) Abusive priests unmasked 20 May 2009
    When the statistics were widened to take in practising homosexuals, Bishop Buckley said up to 40 per cent of the Catholic clergy in Ireland were sexually active…
    He claimed the church’s hierarchy was prepared to turn a blind eye to sexual indiscretion because it was so widespread. “Bishops are caught between Rome and the priests and, of course, some of the bishops are in the same position (i.e. having relationships),” he said…
    “From the top down it is hypocritical. We are preaching compulsory celibacy, but very few are living it.”
    The Roman Catholic Church in Ireland declined to comment on Bishop Buckley’s claims.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk › News › World News › Europe › Ireland

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  153. dee: I will put you into permanent moderation if it continues. This post is meant to say we are all in this together so give it a try and give it a rest.

    Apparently it is okay to “bash” Calvinist soteriology, but not permitted to point out critical theological differences between Catholics and evangelicals. Dee, since Wade Burleson holds to Calvinist soteriology and is promoted on this site, it seems to me that you could threaten to put a few Arminians into “permanent moderation” for their bashing of Calvinism. Especially since you are Lutheran, and Luther himself held to a “Calvinistic soteriology.” Read his “Bondage of the Will.”

    A few recent examples:

    “The Calvinist god reminds me of a 1958 horror movie”
    “Calvinism, reformed soteriology, and Lordship theology have created much havoc in the church and have nearly obscured the simple message of believing in Jesus for everlasting life.”
    “it’s clear that they don’t preach the Cross of Christ for ALL people.”
    “James White, toxic Calvinist supreme?”

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  154. Catholic Gate-Crasher on Sat Sep 22, 2018 at 05:09 PM wrote:

    Please read the very earliest Church Fathers — Ignatius of Antioch, Clement of Rome, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus of Lyons, and others. They *all* predate Constantine by centuries, yet they all testify to Catholic (and Orthodox) distinctives, such as the literal, substantial Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist; the hierarchical structure of the Church; apostolic succession; etc.

    If you can find evangelical Protestantism (much less liberal what-have-you) in any of them, I’ll eat my Missalette

    I would quote the following:

    a)The Supreme Authority of The Bible

    Irenaeus Against Heresies Book 3 chap.1 :
    1. WE have learned from none others the plan of our salvation, than from those through whom the Gospel has come down to us, which they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures, to be the ground and pillar of our faith

    Irenaeus Against Heresies Chap 5
    1. Since, therefore, the tradition from the apostles does thus exist in the Church, and is permanent among us, let us revert to the Scriptural proof furnished by those apostles who did also write the Gospel, in which they recorded the doctrine regarding God, pointing out that our Lord Jesus Christ is the truth,(7) and that no lie is in Him

    Irenaeus Against Heresies Chap 22
    Now, in the first place, it is loss to wander from the truth, and to imagine that as being the case which is not; then again, as there shall be no light punishment [inflicted] upon him who either adds or subtracts anything from the Scripture,(1) under that such a person must necessarily fall

    Tertullian De Prescriptione Haereticorum Chap. 36
    One Lord God does she acknowledge, the Creator of the universe, and Christ Jesus (born) of the Virgin Mary, the Son of God the Creator; and the Resurrection of the flesh; the law and the prophets she unites in one volume with the writings of evangelists and apostles, from which she drinks in her faith

    Tertullian Adversus Hermogenes. Chap 22
    Where such a statement is written, Hermogenes’ shop must tell us. If it is nowhere written, then let it fear the woe which impends on all who add to or take away from the written word.

    Tertullian Against Praxeas 11
    All the Scriptures attest the clear existence of, and distinction in, (the Persons of) the Trinity, and indeed furnish us with our Rule of faith

    b) Interpretation of the Bible
    Private Judgement
    Iraneous Heresies Chap. 27 1.
    A sound mind, and one which does not expose its possessor to danger, and is devoted to piety and the love of truth, will eagerly meditate upon those things which God has placed within the power of mankind, and has subjected to our knowledge, and will make advancement in [acquaintance with] them, rendering the knowledge of them easy to him by means of daily study. These things are such as fall [plainly] under our observation, and are clearly and unambiguously in express terms set forth in the Sacred Scriptures.
    Since, therefore, the entire Scriptures, the prophets, and the Gospels, can be clearly, unambiguously, and harmoniously understood by all, although all do not believe them

    ..and all Scripture, which has been given to us by God, shall be found by us perfectly consistent; and the parables shall harmonize with those passages which are perfectly plain; and those statements the meaning of which is clear, shall serve to explain the parables; and through the many diversified utterances [of Scripture] there shall be heard231 one harmonious melody in us, praising in hymns that God who created all things.

    c) Salvation by Grace Through Faith
    1Clem 32:4 And so we, having been called through His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified through ourselves or through our own wisdom or understanding or piety or works which we wrought in holiness of heart, but through faith, whereby the Almighty God justified all men that have been from the beginning; to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

    1Clem 50:5 For it is written; Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall impute no sin, neither is guile in his mouth. 1Clem 50:6 This declaration of blessedness was pronounced upon them that have been elected by God through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen

    Epistle to Diognetus Chap 9.V
    For what else but His righteousness would have covered our sins? 9:4 In whom was it possible for us lawless and ungodly men to have been justified, save only in the Son of God?

    d) Church Authority
    Augustine of Hippo [ 354-430 ], wrote:
    In a passage in this book, I said about the Apostle Peter: ‘On him as on a rock the Church was built’…But I know that very frequently at a later time, I so explained what the Lord said: ‘Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church,’ that it be understood as built upon Him whom Peter confessed saying: ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,’ and so Peter, called after this rock, represented the person of the Church which is built upon this rock, and has received ‘the keys of the kingdom of heaven.’ For, ‘Thou art Peter’ and not ‘Thou art the rock’ was said to him. But ‘the rock was Christ,’ in confessing whom, as also the whole Church confesses, Simon was called Peter. But let the reader decide which of these two opinions is the more probable
    The Fathers of the Church (Washington D.C., Catholic University, 1968), Saint Augustine The Retractations Chapter 20.1).
    Augustine’s statement makes it clear that as late as the fifth century there was no unanimity in the Church regarding Peter being the rock upon which the Christian Church was founded.

    e)Transubstantiation

    Tertullian De Resurrectione Carnis Chap. 37
    So again, if he says the flesh profiteth nothing,1 the meaning must take direction from the context of that remark. For seeing that they regarded his speech as hard and unbearable,2 as though he had really prescribed his flesh for them to eat, since his purpose was to assign the establishment of salvation to the Spirit, he first said, It is the Spirit that quickeneth,3 and only then added, The flesh profiteth nothing—-towards quickening, of course. He also proceeds to state how he wishes ‘the Spirit’ to be understood: The words
    which I have spoken unto you are spirit and are life:4

    Augustine De Doctrina Christiana
    16. Rule for interpreting commands and prohibitions
    If the sentence is one of command, either forbidding a crime or vice, or enjoining an act of prudence or benevolence, it is not figurative. If, however, it seems to enjoin a crime or vice, or to forbid an act of prudence or benevolence, it is figurative. “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man,” says Christ, “and drink His blood, ye have no life in you.” This seems to enjoin a crime or a vice; it is therefore a figure, enjoining that we should have a share in the sufferings of our Lord, and that we should retain a sweet and profitable memory of the fact that His flesh was wounded and crucified for us
    The Fathers of the Church (Washington D.C., Catholic University, 1968), Saint Augustine The Retractations Chapter 20.1).

    f)Purgatory
    2Clem 8:3 For after that we have departed out of the world, we can no more make confession there, or repent any more

    g) Images
    Minucius Felix Chap. 10:
    Why have they no altars, no temples, no acknowledged images?

    .

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  155. This is all interesting, and I just love the opportunities to say I told you so. Here are arguments based on selections from the fathers and including arguments not about what is written but rather how to understand what is written-apparently because there were disagreements about understandings.

    So, how is scripture ‘sufficient’ in the let us say fundamentalist understandings about sufficiency in and of itself if there have been arguments all along about how to understand this or that? And who determines how to understand it? The church, broadly understood, tries to be who decides, rightly or wrongly.

    For example the issue of the real presence, or not, in the eucharist. That seems to have been argued from the get go-ever since in scripture those folks walked away from Jesus when he talked about his flesh and his blood. And he let them go without chasing them down and trying to explain.

    My position remains this: there have always been differences of opinion about understandings; unanimity has been a myth. And, scripture requires ‘understandings’ and does not stand alone in that aspect. I also think that there are minor contradictions in scriptural details in how some stories are told, but since that might precipitate acute cardiac standstill for some folks that can be for a later time.

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  156. Malcolm,

    Malcolm, I’m super impressed that you have the time and knowledge to compose such lengthy comments. As a Catholic, I invite you to join our fight against the ones who are abusing and those who are covering it up. We need all the smart people we can get.
    A protest is planned at the US Bishop’s Conference. More info to come.

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  157. Pingback: Linkathon! – Phoenix Preacher

  158. Malcolm,

    Now *that’s* a highly selective reading of the Fathers!! If you really wanna go there, I will be happy to supply some other passages.

    Of course the Scriptures are authoritative. But NO Church Father subscribed to Scripture ALONE. Heck, that’s not even in the Bible.

    Nice try, though.

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  159. Malcolm,

    Re Purgatory and images, BTW: Strawman Alert! Catholics do not believe Purgatory is a second chance. Nor do we worship images. SMH.

    As I said before, if the case against Catholic claims was such an easy (simplistic!!!) slam dunk, we wouldn’t have lasted two years, let alone 2000.

    Are you aware that Catholic apologists have refuted these shopworn arguments over and over — with Biblical and Patristic evidence — going back century upon century?

    Do you really think your misunderstandings and misrepresentations are introducing anything new? — anything that hasn’t been refuted a million times before? Do you seriously believe you are stopping our mouths with your overwhelming “evidence,” with all its egregious misinterpretation of what Catholics actually believe?

    Archbishop Fulton Sheen once famously said that there are not 100 people in America who hate what Catholics actually believe. But there are millions who hate what they *think* we believe.

    Of course, now in the age of Google, it’s easier than ever to discover our actual beliefs and to dispel the bigoted myths.

    I highly recommend such research. You certainly don’t have to accept our beliefs. But at least *please* get a clue about what those beliefs actually *are.*

    It always helps to know — accurately and correctly — what you’re fighting against. Wouldn’t you agree? Misrepresentations, when willful, qualify as lies. And we all know who the Father of Lies is!

    Now, can we get back to talking about the abuse crisis? 😉

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  160. okrapod: My position remains this: there have always been differences of opinion about understandings; unanimity has been a myth. And, scripture requires ‘understandings’ and does not stand alone in that aspect. I also think that there are minor contradictions in scriptural details in how some stories are told, but since that might precipitate acute cardiac standstill for some folks that can be for a later time.

    Pretty much my position too, but let me say this in expansion.
    I take a Jewish view of Scripture in which discussion and disagreement are welcomed and not squelched.

    In the Western (Christian) tradition, absolute linearization and correctness is valued above all else. Which is why, as you’ve pointed out, folks get heartburn and cardiac standstill for harboring dissenting views of say the Eucharist, and even Trinitarian doctrine.

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  161. Muff Potter: okrapod: My position remains this: there have always been differences of opinion about understandings; unanimity has been a myth. And, scripture requires ‘understandings’ and does not stand alone in that aspect. I also think that there are minor contradictions in scriptural details in how some stories are told, but since that might precipitate acute cardiac standstill for some folks that can be for a later time.

    Pretty much my position too, but let me say this in expansion.
    I take a Jewish view of Scripture in which discussion and disagreement are welcomed and not squelched.

    In the Western (Christian) tradition, absolute linearization and correctness is valued above all else. Which is why, as you’ve pointed out, folks get heartburn and cardiac standstill for harboring dissenting views of say the Eucharist, and even Trinitarian doctrine.

    I would allege that the early debates, such as the one over trinitarian doctrine, were all about power. As Okrapod alludes to, those who wanted to be the ones who decided what was ‘true’. This, essentially, is what The Church has always been – self-professed ‘guarders of the truth’. In reality, no one possesses such truth, and even if they did, they have no right to force it down anyone’s throat. An individual has the right to his own beliefs, even if they are sincerely wrong.

    When I set out to find a new church, I decided to limit myself to those which did not insist on belief in the Nicene definition of the Trinity. I widened my search to include three nearby metropolitan areas, including one of the larger U.S. cities. The only churches I found that did not proclaim belief in the Nicene Trinity as unquestionable fact were Unitarian, which one might describe as perhaps a little too tolerant. I think you can worship peanut butter and still be okay. But I’d still take that over someone telling me what to think.

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  162. Lisa wrote:
    I invite you to join our fight against the ones who are abusing and those who are covering it up.

    I’m afraid that I would have to decline Lisa’s invitation, not least because it would entail crossing and recrossing the Atlantic. Regards

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  163. Malcolm: I’m afraid that I would have to decline Lisa’s invitation, not least because it would entail crossing and recrossing the Atlantic. Regards

    You’re in Europe (or those two islands off the coast)?

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