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Aug 02 2011

Australian Catholics are also clueless

This is a horrific story out of Victoria, where a church school had two rather nasty pedophiles tag-teaming the student body, Gerald Ridsdale who was the school chaplain, and Robert Best was the principal. They were raping pre-teen boys in their offices; over the years, many victimized kids committed suicide. This sounds like a real horror story.

But here’s the kicker: the Catholic church, as always, doesn’t see the problem. The two bad guys are gone now, but the government wants to dig deeper — I think 26 dead children is adequate cause — but the church says no further inquiries are necessary.

But Bishop Connors on Tuesday said not even revelations from Detective Sergeant Kevin Carson that 26 young men had killed themselves after being abused by priests and brothers in Ballarat convinced him that more would be learnt from an inquiry.

“I think we’ve learnt a lot of things about what is appropriate behaviour and what’s not appropriate behaviour,” Bishop Connors said.

That’s become typical Catholic behavior. A priest brings a young boy into his office, and rapes him repeatedly until he loses consciousness, and later the traumatized child kills himself. When confronted by the police, he says, ‘Oh, officer, I didn’t know that was wrong! I’ll be much nicer in the future. Thank you and goodbye!’

There’s not much hope for Catholicism if learning that tyrannizing and raping and driving kids to their death is new knowledge for them.

32 comments

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  1. 1
    Didaktylos

    How terrible – if they have to wash their dirty linen in public, people just might cease to believe them when they claim they never soil any linen.

  2. 2
    st0nes

    How do ordinary Catholic parishioners respond to this sort of thing? It seems every Catholic priest spends his every waking hour raping children, and yet I don’t hear a peep of protest from ordinary rank-and-file Catholics. Are they brainwashed or threatened into silence? If threatened, then by what?

  3. 3
    another

    There’s not much hope for Catholicism if learning that tyrannizing and raping and driving kids to their death is new knowledge for them.

    Is there an ‘is wrong’ or something missing from that last sentence? Because, as written, it’s clearly not new knowledge for them.

  4. 4
    Etiene

    There’s not much hope for Catholicism

    Could have stopped there…

    I saw a commenter elsewhere trying to defend crazy catholic dogma railing against “the ignorance of bigots”; I think that sums up Catholicism quite well!

  5. 5
    kris.ingstrup

    See, this is one thing that really bothers me about the Catholic Church. On one end, they expect to be treated as the word of god, divine in the matters of justice, holier than thou, but then when it comes to one of their own breaking their moral/legal code, they’ll bang people into unconsciousness with their incense holders to make them shut up.

    26 people are DEAD. And according to their sick manifesto, their suicide is the serious sin here? I don’t care how much I wanted to protect my group’s self-interests; there’s no way I would let pedophilia, let alone the suicides of 26 young men go without justice. And they say atheists are the immoral ones…

  6. 6
    MFHeadcase

    Bishop Connors said in the past 14 years he had spoken to more than 30 victims of Ridsdale and other priests in the Ballarat diocese.

    But he said none had told him they were also abused by Best.

    “I can’t remember them saying they were victims of Brother Best as well,” he said.

    The bishop said he had no reason to meet Best’s victims “because he being a Christian Brother, I’m not responsible for him.”

    Yet he conceded that some of Ridsdale’s victims he had met could also have been abused by Best, because they were both there at the same time.

    I can has a rain of crowbars from orbit nao?

  7. 7
    Mina

    Nothing more to be learned? How about how a conspiracy of silence could have existed in that particular school for so long? How about how NO other teacher noticed these children were suffering? Or did they just not report it, because either way something has to change. I don’t know about in Oz, but in the US certain people are mandatory reporters. Which means if a teacher or staff member who worked with these kids suspected something was up, BY LAW, they were required to report it.

    Which means that by investigating they can either figure out who needs substantially more training in recognizing the warning signs of abuse or who needs to go to freaking jail for not reporting said abuse.

    Nothing more learned from inquiry. That says it all right there, don’t it. Head in the sand time. Bastards.

  8. 8
    Phillip IV

    Awesome public relations work by Connors: “OK, so it seems sodomizing kids to death is no longer acceptable to the wider public, hint taken. Nothing else to learn from this.” Can the crocodile tears, but thanks for all the de-converts.

    I also adore this quote:

    The bishop said he had no reason to meet Best’s victims “because he being a Christian Brother, I’m not responsible for him.”

    Yeah, Connors is so busy meeting the surviving victims of his direct subordinates, you just can’t expect him to have a word for the victims of his colleagues from a different branch of the service.

  9. 9
    Drawing Business - I draw stuff for money.

    At some point in the (hopefully distant) future, I’m going to be faced with the obligation to attend the observance of the passing of one of my wife’s parents, an event which will almost certainly take place in a Catholic church (even though they are essentially lapsed Catholics).

    Given my utter loathing for the whole damned organisation, and my silent assertion never to sanction their existence by setting foot inside a Catholic building again, I really don’t know how I’m going to deal with the conflicting emotions.

  10. 10
    Bernard Bumner

    “I think we’ve learnt a lot of things about what is appropriate behaviour and what’s not appropriate behaviour,” Bishop Connors said.

    “I think people are very well informed nowadays as to what’s inappropriate approaches from a male.”

    What is that qualifier meant to mean? I can’t understand what the Bishop is getting at – is he saying that obviously inappropriate sexual behaviour was witnessed and ignored because people didn’t understand that it was wrong?

    While conceding the abuse of children was wrong, he said that in the past it had not always been clear to everyone what was appropriate and inappropriate behaviour.

    “In the past a lot of ignorance was there on the part of lots of people. Parents didn’t understand, sometimes bishops didn’t understand. We have no excuse now.”

    It had not always been clear that raping and abusing children was wrong?

    I also don’t really understand the use of the word inappropriate in this case, either. Inappropriate suggests wrong in the circumstances. That seems rather mild, as though some mistake was committed. An unqualified wrong would be barely adequate, but better.

  11. 11
    Richard Eis

    n the past a lot of ignorance was there on the part of lots of people. Parents didn’t understand, sometimes bishops didn’t understand. We have no excuse now.”

    Yeah, 10 years ago people didn’t know raping kids was bad. How silly of us.

  12. 12
    Rey Fox

    “I think we’ve learnt a lot of things about what is appropriate behaviour and what’s not appropriate behaviour,” Bishop Connors said.

    And it only took 26 suicides and a little negative press to get them to learn that. See, you just have to be patient in your teaching.

  13. 13
    Drawing Business - I draw stuff for money.

    Yeah, 10 years ago people didn’t know raping kids was bad. How silly of us.

    Well, if you derive your morality from the Bible, that’s perfectly reasonable. If stoning a guy to death is a reasonable response to them picking up sticks on the Sabbath, you can see how they must struggle with more serious offences; there is just nowhere left to go, so may as well let them off.

  14. 14
    Brownian

    The bishop said he had no reason to meet Best’s victims “because he being a Christian Brother, I’m not responsible for him.”

    Am I my brother’s keeper?

  15. 15
    unbound

    Nothing more to be learned…because senior leadership of the church was likely already aware of the problem and was shipping the rapist between their catholic schools.

    Obviously, they really don’t want the public to understand that.

    What is wrong with the catholics?

    a) they have been told what to think, and many have already been conditioned to accept what the local priest tells them without critical thought
    b) many are already cafeteria catholics, so they accept some things are positioned incorrectly (like birth control, which most catholics actually use) but think that as long as they go to church at least some sundays during the year, they will be in good standing in an afterlife (every catholic I know accepts Pascal’s wager…even heard Pascal’s wager told as a story)
    c) most catholics won’t really look into this story, assuming that is just the anti-christian mass media press trying to destroy their values again…just as Faux News (and likely their local priest) told them it was happening

  16. 16
    Stevarious

    “I think we’ve learnt a lot of things about what is appropriate behaviour and what’s not appropriate behaviour,” Bishop Connors said.

    I think PZ really hit the nail on the head with this one. With this statement, the Bishop really is admitting that they had no idea that raping kids and covering it up is wrong. And now that they have admitted their (extremely minor) mistake, they are ready to be infallible all over again.

  17. 17
    scenario

    “I think we’ve learnt a lot of things about what is appropriate behaviour and what’s not appropriate behaviour,” Bishop Connors said.”

    Bishop Connors seems to be saying that the Catholic Church didn’t know that raping children was wrong until secular authorities told them it was wrong. What happened to you cannot know right from wrong without religion?

    Let’s see, they believe and regularly indoctrinate their flock with:

    1) Sex before marriage is wrong.
    2) Gay sex is wrong

    But they say that they did not understand that raping under aged boys was wrong. Incredible.

    Being a liar is one thing but being a very bad liar is insane.

  18. 18
    Holytape

    “The bishop said he had no reason to meet Best’s victims “because he being a Christian Brother, I’m not responsible for him.””

    I mean who would expect a christian of being his brother’s keeper. I mean that’s just an outlandish thought. Everyone knows that Jesus said to Adam, “Jedem das Seine” as he was kicking him out of Eden.

    “Bishop Connors says the church has paid some victims far more than the $70,000 the Archdiocese of Melbourne says should be paid for the worst cases of child assault.”

    They might not have known that child raping was wrong, but at least they not as stingy as that damn Archdiocese of Melbourne. I mean who wouldn’t what to have their child raped for 70,000 dollars?

  19. 19
    August Pamplona

    “I think we’ve learnt a lot of things about what is appropriate behaviour and what’s not appropriate behaviour,” Bishop Connors said.

    Whatever happened to the moral absolutism that supposedly arises from religious belief and that is supposedly so beneficial to society at large?

  20. 20
    Brownian

    And now that they have admitted their (extremely minor) mistake, they are ready to be infallible all over again.

    Gosh, no wonder religion answers the Big Questions™. Anything can be revelatory about God’s law, whether it be Moses with stone tablets or the local constabulatory with a warrant.

    But I hate when news sources clip their stories:

    “Up ’til now, God has spent a lot of time telling us what not to eat on Fridays and holidays, how to gesture symbolically, and how to get in and out of a pew. What he hadn’t done is tell us with whom we can have sex. But now we know.” Upon being approached by an aide, Bishop Connors corrected himself, “Uh, except for people you’re not married to. All of you non-priests cannot have sex with anybody you’re not married to. And you can’t use condoms. No. No! Bad!”
    When asked how, given the Church’s clear denunciation of sex outside a marriage, there could be any ambiguity about the morality of a priest having sex with a child, he responded with, “It’s not fair: I read all of St. Augustine’s works, including De Civitate Dei contra Paganos; I shouldn’t have to answer these plebeian vulgarities!”
    The interview concluded when he threw some sort of smoke grenade into the crowd and disappeared in a red, sulfuric fog.

  21. 21
    Chris Seguin

    The fact that religious minded ppl are cold towards the emotional and physically well being of their fellow humans is not at all surprising when you take into account that the god they worship commands them to focus on pleasing him and not caring for the thoughts of your fellow fallen human. Their foundational dogmas are right from the scriptures commands them to fear the one who can torture you forever over anything another human says or does in contrast. Truly sociopathic ideas – and I won’t apologize for equating this with sociopathy.

  22. 22
    Wes

    Only in the Catholic mind could a man who raped a pre-teen boy be a victim.

  23. 23
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @Brownian:

    ROFL! XD

  24. 24
    FlyingToaster

    @Drawing Business – I draw stuff for money:

    My usual line-in-the-sand is that I will attend weddings and funerals wherever they are held, regardless of my beliefs. I’m there to support someone else, after all — either the family of the deceased, or the parties getting hitched.

    I don’t attend any other services. Not baptisms/christenings, not Bar Mitzvahs, not confirmations, nothing.

    The people who can’t get their heads around that (and I know who you are) are the ones who are freaked out that we’re raising WarriorGirl atheist. They’re also freaked out that we won’t let her go anywhere near her cousins’ church (Catholic).

    HtH.

  25. 25
    SteveM

    The bishop said he had no reason to meet Best’s victims “because he being a Christian Brother, I’m not responsible for him.”

    Wasn’t the story of Caine meant to teach us to be responsible for our actions? “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Was an obvious dodge of God’s question, “Where is your brother?” To hear similar responses from Catholic priests is astounding. Caine’s answer was not meant to model the correct answer; that brothers are not responsible for each other, but to model simple denial.

  26. 26
    pt

    These stories are not going to stop. How long until catholics just say enough already?
    Catholics worldwide should be able to see that this is happening, and if they believe in a god that can intervene in our lives, how/why would one let this stuff happen? In his church? C’mon people! Wake up!
    It’s so frustrating to have to keep seeing this.

  27. 27
    'Tis Himself

    The Catholic Church’s hierarchy continues to show that the prestige and dignity of the church is more important to them than the welfare of children.

  28. 28
    Marie the Bookwyrm

    Jesus Christ! (Some habits die hard.) Every time I hear one of these stories I’m so happy I left the Catholic Church. And I wonder why lay Catholics aren’t leaving in droves. :(

  29. 29
    drbunsen, le savant fous

    If threatened, then by what?

    Oh, just an eternity of torture in a pit of fire, no biggie.

  30. 30
    Drawing Business - I draw stuff for money.

    FlyingToaster says:

    My usual line-in-the-sand is that I will attend weddings and funerals wherever they are held, regardless of my beliefs. I’m there to support someone else, after all — either the family of the deceased, or the parties getting hitched.

    I don’t attend any other services. Not baptisms/christenings, not Bar Mitzvahs, not confirmations, nothing.

    Thanks for the advice, FT. I wish I didn’t have to compromise, but you are right, I have to balance my utter distaste for, in particular, the Catholic Church against the needs of my wife and her family. But our niece and nephew’s confirmations are definitely a no-go for me. Can’t stand by and calmly watch another poor child being conscripted into that den of deceit.

    Many years ago, I attended the funeral of a relative who died very young (early 40s). In front of his wife and two children, the (Catholic) priest proceeded to tell us how is life on Earth was meaningless, just a trial to go through to get to heaven, and that now he’s where he really wanted to be all along. Boy, was it difficult for me to stay in my seat.

  31. 31
    Richard Eis

    Jesus Christ! (Some habits die hard.) Every time I hear one of these stories I’m so happy I left the Catholic Church. And I wonder why lay Catholics aren’t leaving in droves. :(

    I thought they were. Hehe.

  32. 32
    Mattir-ritated

    So now that we know that genocide and and slavery are wrong, we no longer have to learn about (or, FSM forbid, investigate) the Holocaust, the Rwandan or Cambodian or Armenian or Sudanese (or…) genocide, the Irish potato famine, the Soviet Gulag, the Middle Passage, Jim Crow, the distribution of smallpox blankets to Native Americans… That ought to free up a lot of time in the schoolday.

    Let me guess, though – we’ll still need to learn about and do “research” into how ancient Christians got fed to lions and how the world is still mean to Christian people.

    If only there were a dead-porcupine-o-gram service that I could subscribe to for responding to such fuckwits.

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