“But Everyone Else Does It!” Andrew Brown and the Defense of the Catholic Church Child Rape Scandal


If everyone else jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you do it too?

And if everyone else raped children, would you defend it?

St. peter's basilica The child rape scandal in the Catholic Church (like Stephen Fry, I am no longer willing to call it pedophilia or molestation or child abuse) has been heating up lately, with new stories about the widespread rape of children by priests in Germany, an admission from the senior cleric in Ireland that he was present at meetings where two abused teenagers were made to sign vows of silence, questions about Pope Benedict’s handling of an abuse case when he was an archbishop, and more.

Andrew-Brown So via Pharyngula, we have the story of one Andrew Brown of the Guardian, who has written a defense of the Catholic Church child rape scandal and an excoriation of those who are condemning it… on the grounds that everyone else does it, too.

No, really.

From this it emerges that the frequency of child abuse among Catholic priests is not remarkable…

and:

This is vile, but whether it is more vile than the record of any other profession is not obvious.

and:

There are, however, some fragments of figures from the outside world suggesting that not many professions do better.

Etc.

Shudder.

Where to begin?

Elementary statistics First of all, as many commenters in the Pharyngula thread have pointed out: Brown’s analysis of the child rape statistics are appallingly ignorant, both of statistics in general and of these statistics in particular. There is every reason to think that child rape among Catholic priests occurred — and for all we know, is still occurring — at a much higher rate than in any other field where adults have access to children and authority over them.

But as far as I’m concerned, that question is only tangentially relevant. And for Brown to focus on it so fixatedly shows that he is completely missing the point.

What makes the Catholic Church child rape scandal so morally repugnant, and what is making it have the effect of turning people away from the Catholic Church, is not the rapes themselves. Of course the rapes themselves are morally repugnant. And of course we need to be looking at whether there is some institutional force that makes Catholic priests more likely to rape children than other people in positions of trust and authority: such as the celibacy requirement for the priesthood, or the Church’s fear and loathing of sexuality as a central part of their theology, or the special power that priests have because they purport to have a special line to God, or religion’s veneration and armor against criticism which makes people less comfortable making accusations against it. (Indeed, it’s fair to look at whether it’s even true that Catholic priests rape children at a higher rate than other trusted authority figures.) But it is certainly the case that child rape does occur in other fields where adults are in positions of trust and authority with children: teachers, coaches, etc. Brown’s not wrong about that.

That is not where the depth of the scandal lies. What makes the Catholic child rape scandal so morally repugnant, and what is giving it the effect of turning people away from the Catholic Church in horror, is the way the Church handled it.

Deliver us from evil The Church knew about widespread reports of priests repeatedly molesting children… and instead of acting to protect the children, they acted to protect the priests, and themselves. Thus deliberately and knowingly putting more children in the way of known child rapists, solely for their pure self-interest.

Repeatedly. Time and time again. In every part of the world. As a cold-blooded matter of Church policy.

That is the scandal.

The fact that some adults in positions of trust and authority over children violated that trust by raping them? That is a tragedy. The fact that the Catholic Church knew about it — and instead of reporting the child rapists to the police, they deliberately shielded them from detection and criminal investigation? The fact that the Church moved child rapists from parish to parish, thus exposing even more children to them? The fact that they lied to law enforcement, concealed evidence, even paid off witnesses… purely to protect their organization from looking bad?

That, Mr. Brown, is the scandal.

You fucking moral imbecile.

We don’t know what makes people into child rapists. It is a serious mental illness as well as a profound moral failing. But the Church hierarchy who shuffled around known child rapists from diocese to diocese — not out of uncontrollable impulse, but consciously, thoughtfully, with a cool evaluation of the pros and cons, in a calculated attempt to prevent a PR disaster and protect their own self-interest? We know what makes people do that. What makes people do that is utterly craven moral bankruptcy. They don’t even have the excuse of mental illness.

And for Andrew Brown to defend this moral bankruptcy? For him to use the “Everyone else does it, too” defense — a defense that doesn’t even stand up at third grade recess, and that absolutely has no validity in a serious adult discussion of morality? For him to insist that the Church is being picked on, unfairly singled out among all the teachers and coaches and babysitters and so on who have raped children?

That suggests a moral tone-deafness that makes me physically ill. Brown is essentially doing exactly what the Church has consistently done in the face of this scandal. He is placing a higher value on the well-being of the Catholic Church than he is on the people, the children, who trust in it.

Shame on him.

Comments

  1. Free Freak says

    When you say “What makes people do that is utterly craven moral bankruptcy” you are confused about how people are influenced by different types of pressure. Read Phillip Zimbardo’s “The Lucifer Effect” for an explanation of this.

  2. says

    Free Freak: I think there is a difference between the type of pressure and social influence Zimbardo describes (such as the type revealed in the Stanford experiments) and what I’m describing here… which is cold-blooded, calculated, institutionalized corruption over the course of many years.
    I’m aware of the phenomenon of rationalization and how it can make otherwise good people do, or defend, evil acts. But there has to be a point at which we are nevertheless responsible for our actions. (If not, then we have to discard the entire notion of ethical responsibility, which I am not prepared to do.) And if there ever was a point at which rationalization must stop and moral responsibility should step in, surely the widespread and repeated rape of children would be that point.
    And if that doesn’t happen — if rationalization and self-protection does not override moral responsibility when it comes to preventing the widespread and repeated rape of children — then yes, I bloody well do call that utterly craven moral bankruptcy.

  3. Lyndi says

    Apologies for being slightly off-topic…. but ever since the catholic church began allowing altargirls, I’ve wondered: are they more at risk of being raped? We’ve always categorized priests as gay pedophiles, but is that only because the opposite gender was never available?

  4. J. J. Ramsey says

    What I still don’t understand is why the Catholic Church tried so hard to cover it up. Even from a Catholic moral perspective, that was morally execrable, and from the standpoint of self-interest, it was stupid. Did the Catholic hierarchy really think that cracking down on child rapists would have made them look bad?

  5. says

    What I’m most incredulous about is Pope Benedict’s involvement in this, back when he was Archbishop Ratzinger, and the way that the church apologists have spun it. It’s already established that Ratzinger knew a child-raping priest was at large in his diocese, and rather than report this man promptly to the police, he assigned him to therapy and washed his hands of the matter. But that’s not the accusation that’s being made against him – that’s his defense. And the people who are saying this seem to sincerely believe that it somehow exonerates him. It’s as if they’ve gotten so used to acting as if they’re above the law that they’ve begun to actually believe it.

  6. Evil Paul says

    You know, I could almost believe that Pope Benedict might have had good intentions if the victims had gotten some help as well. At least then you could make the argument that he might have been trying to handle the situation internally without bringing the police into it. But how much do you want to bet that while the priests involved were pouring their hearts out to a sympathetic ear in therapy, the kids were being intimidated into keeping quiet, then getting left alone to self-destruct?

  7. says

    It is, indeed, the coverup that is the real scandal. But, I would point out, there’s an added dimension to this, namely that the Catholic Church did this cold-blooded coverup of horrific abuse while simultaneously claiming moral supremacy.
    To me, that’s really the pinnacle of the outrage. Not enough that the priests committed horrible abuses; not enough that their superiors covered it up; not even enough that the corruption goes clear to the very top of the organization; but that while acting, with full awareness and with cold calculation, to conceal these crimes, the Church leadership continued to represent itself to the world as the ultimate arbiters of moral authority in the world…
    This is beyond outrage, and into the realm of monstrosity.

  8. says

    Ai, Flewellyn beat me to it. I was going to say that it’s bad enough that it’s a rape scandal that seems unusually prevalent in a specific profession.
    What’s that much more horrifying is that these people, who practically condone the violation of defenseless innocents through their silence and cover-ups, claim to be morally superior, purer, transformed beings through Jesus’s blood and given divine authority because of it.
    They hold themselves to a higher standard; they build themselves up higher. Which is why it is so much harder when they fall, and why it is so horrifying.

  9. llewelly says

    We’ve always categorized priests as gay pedophiles, but is that only because the opposite gender was never available?

    gay /= pedophile.
    Also – if memory serves, more than half the members of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) are female.

  10. says

    Agreed about 99%. The one quibble I have is that you said “such as the celibacy requirement for the priesthood, or the Church’s fear and loathing of sexuality as a central part of their theology”. I’ve heard this before and I’m almost certain it confuses the cause and effect of this situation. Priests don’t become pedophiles, pedophiles become priests. They have unlimited access and trust of the parents and the children in a way pretty much nobody else in Western civilization does, it’s like a pedophile’s dream. Some liberal/reformist Catholics like to spin this as “well, maybe if we lift the celibacy requirement, this won’t happen”, which is massively missing the point
    Incidentally, child rape within monasteries was apparently rampant under the Dalai Lamas.

  11. says

    “Priests don’t become pedophiles, pedophiles become priests.”
    Can you prove this D A? Do you have any statistics or research to back up this claim?

  12. Jack Rawlinson says

    Brown is a notorious religious apologist at The Guardian and his revolting articles successfully troll lots of commenters – including me. This particular piece led to me being temporarily banned from the site. :-)
    I recommend you peruse his blog for some of his other atheist-knocking, religion-excusing bullshit. Unless you like keeping your blood pressure down at a safe level, that is…

  13. DA says

    “Can you prove this D A? Do you have any statistics or research to back up this claim?”
    Well, all research I’ve seen on pedophiles indicates that it’s not something that’s activated by external forces, but deep seated psychological traits. There hasn’t been a definite answer that I’m aware of, anymore than there’s a definitive answer to what “causes” homosexuality. While I am NOT comparing homosexuality to pedophilia in moral terms, in strictly psychological/biological terms, we can’t seem to “cure” pedophiles and people don’t seem to suddenly “become” pedophiles, much as such ideas about homosexuality are now usually considered outdated. Most pedophiles are not from the clergy and have never been under a vow of celibacy. Most are, statistically, men who identify as straight and seek stimulation from prepubescent girls. In the utter lack of absence of any evidence that a vow of celibacy turns people into pedophiles, which I think is a relatively extraordinary claim, the burden is on the claimant, not the one rejecting it. I’m not really up for dredging up links right now so you can either look it up or ignore me.

  14. says

    A few thoughts
    1. The media tends to emphasize the rape or molestation of prepubescent boys and after that pubescent boys. It mostly ignores the abuse of girls and teen women even though a fair percentage of the victims fall into that category. It also ignores adults in vulnerable situations who are used (e.g., adult seminary students, distressed penitents male and female, etc.).
    2. We should probably distinguish between priests who are pedophiles (attracted to prepubescent children) and act on it and the non-pedophiles who have sexually mature though often underage victims. The former probably aren’t affected by the rule on celibacy, the latter probably are.
    3. Both groups of priests have the advantage that individual laity generally have little influence.
    4. Both groups have the advantage that their superiors have in the past covered up for them.

  15. vel says

    in response to J.J.’s question “Did the Catholic hierarchy really think that cracking down on child rapists would have made them look bad?” I really think they did. Most Christains will not question others of tehir own sect and often other Christians in general since any admission of error makes them all “look bad”. From what I remember of any Christian scandal, from the Jim Bakker nonsense to the RCC’s child rape, they circle the wagons not wanting to admit that “good Christains” could possibly do such things.

  16. Eclectic says

    Aaron: I haven’t looked into the evidence behind the claim that pedophilia is inborn, but it is certainly true that many people see an oath of celibacy as a refuge from sexual desires they’re ashamed of.
    So it wouldn’t surprise me in the least.
    I’d like to see pedophilia dragged out of the closet a bit more. A desire for sex with children isn’t itself immoral; it’s only certain acts prompted by those desires that are a problem.
    And perhaps the desires can be sated without harm. After all, it doesn’t seem obvious that people whose sexual urges involve hurting others would be safe to leave running around the streets, yet the BDSM community has a pretty decent safety record.
    By finding a safe outlet, I wonder if we haven’t managed to rescue some people who might otherwise have been consumed by their desires. (Or found work torturing prisoners for the CIA.)
    It’s certainly a messy moral area, and a fun one to debate. E.g. is Armin Meiwes a criminal?
    Finally: hear, hear, Greta! There is no group of people of sufficient size that doesn’t include some unpleasant ones. It’s not the crimes of a few members of the catholic church that I’m blaming it for; it’s the institutional coverup.

  17. says

    I am sick, shit what is this guy Brown thinking of. The closed off the comments on his blog, you know why…thanks for this article sister, again you hit it on the spot. I work with men in prison because of this crime and sometimes you wonder if they can heal form this emotional sense, and his Brown guy thinks what he thinks. Again thanks…peace ko shin Bob Hanson

  18. Deepak Shetty says

    I had trouble getting the same point across to my (liberal) roman catholic wife, that it’s not just the rape, its the coverup that makes this such a great evil.
    Even today , inspite of all this , the Catholic church cannot issue a simple document that states , for all accusations , suspend the accused’s contact with children , notify public authorities and fully cooperate with all investigations and they expect us to believe that they have taken steps to prevent abuse.

  19. says

    Andrew Greeley, Catholic priest and sociologist, took this on back in 2004, during the first wave. He used the statistics taken by the University of Chicago, and wrote up his findings in Priests: A Calling in Crisis.
    The statistics seem to show that the number of priests accused of child rape is actually slightly less than the average for the general population. Even if we assume some under-reporting, that means the percentage of child rapists in the priesthood is not much different from the percentage in the general population.
    However, he points out that the average child rapist in the priesthood is able to commit many more crimes than one in the general public. He lays that squarely on the Catholic hierarchy, who shuttle priests around when they are caught rather than turning them in. The rapist goes on to commit many more crimes than if he had been handled by secular authorities.
    I’d also add the culture of veneration around the priests, which keeps people from speaking out against them. As a result, you had priests who were able to victimize dozens, even hundreds, of children.

  20. D.T. Presler says

    Greta: It may interest you to know that as far back as 1963, the Catholic Church gave instructions to clerics on what to do about the rapists in their midst. A document promulgated by John XXIII spells this out.
    J.J. Ramsey: I don’t think it’s limited solely to the Church’s image. The post-World War II era is the most secular in human history and it hit Catholicism hard. On tenth of the adult population in the US is, like me, a former Catholic. The Church has hit back ever since. Even in the late 1940s, missals were disseminated accusing atheists and secular humanists of shaky morals. This child-rape scandal proves the Church doesn’t know a thing about stable morals, any more than it knows shit from shinola. It’s no coincidence that it now promulgates a line which claims that atheists and secular humanists lead bleak, unfulfilling lives. It has no more recourse to the “moral relativism” chestnuts it once had recourse to.

  21. Andrew Brown says

    I’m not defending child rape, as anyone can see who knows the meaning of the word “vile”. I’m sorry if four letter words are too much for you to comprehend.

  22. says

    No-one is suggesting you’re defending child rape per se, Andrew. The really ugly, disgusting thing about your article is that you appear to be saying that the Catholic Church is no worse than any other group or organisation in that respect. That entirely misses the point that the Catholic Church – or any other church, for that matter – has so closely associated itself with moral superiority that we have every right to expect that it, of all organisations, should have a zero tolerance approach to a sin that will undoubtedly (by its own lights) cause the perpetrators to roast in Hell for trillions of trillions … of trillions of years (ah, sorry, I forgot – if they only confess, they get away with it, don’t they?). Not to mention the effects it will have on its victims.
    And, as an aside, I wonder what relative receptions the victims and perpetrators will get in Heaven, given what they’ve done, and suffered? But of course, that problem will never arise, as a moment’s thought will reveal that there is no heaven or hell.
    Surely the least thing the Church can do, even just to protect the immortal souls of its sinning priests, let alone protect the victims, is to remove them from the possibility of sin and punish them for having sinned, as they would for any other sinner. And, if they had a shred of worldly decency, to report them to the earthly authorities too, for the sake of those of their victims yet to ascend.
    Instead, they have behaved as if they themselves thought there was nothing wrong with what the priests did, but knew that the rest of us would not agree; their only concern seems to have been to prevent their sins (aka, here in the real world, crimes) from being discovered outside the Church hierarchy, and to take the minimum action that they thought would be credible to the outside world in the event of discovery. Their arrogance ensured that they were tragically, disgustingly in error on both counts.
    And you have the fucking gall to suggest that what they did is no worse than if it had been done by any other profession…

  23. Talisker says

    I agree wholeheartedly; I’m a regular Guardian reader, but find Andrew Brown to be an unmitigated wanker. (Yes, you Andrew. If you want to prove me wrong, try writing posts which do not display such abject stupidity.)
    One other point: Some coverups are worse than others. Suppose an Archbishop says to a rapist priest, “We’re covering up your crime, but on condition you accept this transfer to a monastery in the middle of nowhere. Refuse, and we hang you out to dry.” Still morally reprehensible, but a far cry from sending him to another pastoral position where he will continue to have contact with children.
    As for why they didn’t do this… bureaucratic convenience? A shortage of priests such that they want to keep even child rapists in service to make up the numbers? A reckless and destructive (yet distinctly Christian) belief that if you confess and claim to repent, all should be forgiven and you suddenly have a clean slate? I don’t know, but any plausible answers make the Catholic hierarchy look even more evil than before.

  24. David Harmon says

    1) Andrew Brown isn’t “missing” the point… he’s dodging it.
    2) The real core of the scandal is that the Church was trying to make the rapes “disappear” — just as they do for sexual desires, and behavior, in general. Contraception? “no no, they have to be chaste”. Abortion? “no, no, they should have been chaste”. Sex ed? “no no, if we tell them anything, they might do it”. And anyone who argues with their positions gets… excommunicated. Which is just another way of making them “disappear” from the Catholic world! The Church will do anything to avoid admitting that sex is something people do, with or without permission from their priest.

  25. says

    Mr. Brown, you are once again missing the point. Nobody suggested that you were defending child rape. What you were doing in this piece was defending the Catholic Church’s behavior in the child rape scandal.
    With all due respect… did you read this piece? The whole point of the piece is that the rapes are not what is causing the moral revulsion against the Catholic Church. What is causing the moral revulsion against the Catholic Church is the Church’s cold-blooded, calculated policy of protecting child rapists — shuffling them from diocese to diocese, concealing evidence, lying to law enforcement, paying off witnesses, etc. — as a callously self-interested matter of P.R. And in the process putting more children in the path of child rapists.
    And as other commenters here have pointed out: What is also causing moral revulsion is the fact that the Catholic Church did all of this… while setting themselves up as the pinnacle of morality, and as the supreme arbiters on Earth of moral behavior. The Church presumes to teach that gay sex, birth control, sex before marriage, etc. etc. etc. are sins (all entirely consensual acts, btw) — and presumes to act as if they have some sort of foundation for this moral authority — while protecting child rapists as a cold-blooded matter of PR policy.
    That is the point. You were attempting to defend the Church’s behavior as bad, but nothing especially or unusually bad. The whole point of this piece is that this is patently not the case.

  26. says

    Oh, and a quick admin note: According to my comment policy, now that Andrew Brown is part of the conversation and no longer simply a public figure who’s being commented on, we now have to stop with the personal insults. Here’s the relevant part of the policy:
    Be respectful of other commenters in this blog. No personal insults; no namecalling; no flame wars.
    In this blog, I draw a distinction between criticism of public figures and criticism of other commenters in this blog. If you want to call Rick Warren a bigot or Richard Dawkins a fascist, Ted Haggard a hypocrite or Christopher Hitchens a fucking asshole, that’s more or less okay. (I prefer that people keep that sort of rhetoric to a minimum even about public figures, as it tends to shed more heat than light; but I’ve been known to indulge in it myself, so I’m not going to insist that other people consistently hold themselves to a higher standard. Excessive use of it may result in consequences. Occasional use of it is cool.)
    But if Warren or Dawkins or Haggard or Hitchens were to show up in this blog and start commenting, I would ask people to stop that sort of language immediately. When you talk about public figures, think of yourself as an op-ed writer. When you talk about other commenters in this blog, think of yourself as a guest in my home, engaging in conversation with other guests. If you can’t be civil, then take it outside.
    There’s a difference between criticizing ideas and actions and insulting people. When you make comments in this blog, please draw that distinction. Lively debate is fine, but keep it respectful. Listen to each other and cut each other slack. Don’t treat each other like enemies. If you prefer a more aggressive style of online conversation, there are other blogs where that’s considered standard and indeed desirable. This isn’t one of them.

  27. rob b says

    There is no defending the catholic church. Pedophilia is just the tip of their iceberg of greed, lies, murder, and moral bankruptcy. Two thousand years later, using the same instruction manual, the vile excuse for a religion continues to cause death, tell lies, and campaign against intelligence and enlightenment. Their packaging of christianity contains no real enlightenment, just cheap sentiment.

  28. Talisker says

    Regarding the comment policy — understood and agreed. Actually I think it’s worth remembering that public figures are human beings too, and you should hesitate before saying anything in public that you wouldn’t say to their faces. I retract my “wanker” remark but my low opinion of Mr. Brown’s writing is unchanged.

  29. J. J. Ramsey says

    Greta Christina: “Mr. Brown, you are once again missing the point. Nobody suggested that you were defending child rape.”
    To be fair, you did write:
    “If everyone else jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you do it too?
    “And if everyone else raped children, would you defend it?”
    The latter part looks like you are suggesting that Brown is defending rape, although obviously the rest of your post indicates that’s not the case.

  30. Bruce Gorton says

    Posted by: Andrew Brown | March 20, 2010 at 02:52 AM
    Except the heart of the scandal was never that the priests were raping kids.
    It is that the organisation made children who had been raped make vows of silence.
    It is that the organisation took child molesting priests and cycled them through new communities so that they could molest more kids.
    It is that the organisation claimed to be helping the poor yet forcibly took kids from their families in order to maximise the profits they made from the Irish state.
    It is that this organisation still has the gall to claim that it can excommunicate (essentially damning to hell) doctors for saving a pregnant nine year old’s life.
    Madelyn Bunting mentioned how only the most virulent of anti-Papists could have imagined this mess. Guess what? The most virulent of anti-Papists were right.
    If this was any secular group Andrew Brown, the Pope would be standing trial as an accessory, and rightfully so.
    Heck the laundries would have had the church shut down for engaging in slavery.
    But hey, it is all God so it is all good. Never mind the people who suffered for it, lets all engage in appologetics and spin, because we all know news is just an extension of marketting isn’t it Mr Brown?
    — A pissed off journalist.

  31. De'Juan says

    This is my response to Brown’s “everybody else does it” defense:
    “That would make sense, if your worldview is completely naturalistic. But that means that you are admitting that your theological worldview is false. Because in your worldview, which includes Jesus-as-intercessor, Mary as co-intercessor, saints, the Holy Spirit, and 2000 years of institutional experience in selecting, training, and testing of candidates, in order to convert worthy young men into priestly beacons of righteousness, the number of child raping priests would be statistically zero. And by the systematic coverup of the evidence of the failure of their worldview, you know this.”

  32. cosmopolite says

    The strict application following common-sensical “3 strikes you’re out” policy would have left the Church with 99% of its reputation intact.
    Complaint 1: Reassignment.
    Complaint 2: You are prohibited from working in a parish or school. You can be a chaplain or work with adult groups.
    Complaint 3: Defrocked.
    The handful of young men of my generation who entered the seminary all left with long faces. A few told me “the place was full of gays.” The worst case came back from Rome mentally disturbed and was last heard from 30 years ago. I strongly suspect a culture of homosexual seduction and rape.
    I believe that if parish priests were married with children, as is the case in the Orthodox communion, that most of this huge scandal would have been avoided. I also find it curious that other forms of Christianity have kept very silent. I fear that the reason is that that their closets have skeletons of their own.

  33. David Blake says

    Nobody rapes children like the Catholic church. They have by far the highest percentage of pedophiles statistically (although Catholics will quote the Shakeshaft study, a statistically insignificant comparison).

    The Catholic church is also the only institution in human history to move known rapists to places where they raped more children. It’s almost incomprehensible, unless you’re a Catholic priest or bishop.

    Parents – keep your kids away from Catholic priests.

  34. says

    Partial score:

    Syracuse: ONE accused pedophile
    Penn State: ONE accused pedophile
    Catholic church: 4,392 accused pedophiles (U.S. alone, according to their own, internal, John Jay report of 2004)

    Penn State and Syracuse lead the college divisions, but the Catholic church is a professional pedophile protection program.

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  36. shockna says

    The really pathetic thing about the scandal the Catholic Church has found itself embroiled in is that, as many have pointed out, it wouldn’t have had nearly enough prevalence to create the scandal it has if priests didn’t have to be celibate.

    The church, technically, could change that if it wanted to (Nonsense about the difference between “tradition” and “Tradition”). But since it’s been backed into such a corner that making any serious changes would undermine it, it seems to have shot itself in the foot.

  37. says

    One point that people have not made about the shuffling around of rapists, and the CC’s apparent dismissal of children’s suffering is that many of these men MADE THE CHURCH A LOT OF MONEY. I saw a docu years ago about this aspect, a priest was at the Vatican, high status, well respected because he was such a fantastic fundraiser. The fact that he had a history of raping children in dioceses in other countires was of course irrelevant, as money is much more important than the wellbeing of children (or indeed, according to this worldview, of anyone).

    Chaucer wrote of the money grabbing CC 800 years ago (the priests who would do penances for their parishioners, but only the rich ones, for eg) – I am sure if there had been an awareness of their sexually abusive practices he would have alluded to those too.

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