Sorry, I’m going to have to ruin your breakfast again. The Stranger has a revealing article on pedophile priests — in particular, it focuses on the native populations of Alaska and Canada, which were used as a nice, obscure dumping ground for the very worst sexual predators the Catholic Church could provide. Small children were raped, entire villages are decimated by mental health trauma and suicides brought on by these monsters, and in one particularly appalling instance, a priest was caught raping a dying woman he was supposed to give the last rites. There’s also an interview with a former priest who was a “cleaner” (yes, he actually calls himself that), brought in to tidy up the messes these evil men brought into a community…before they got shipped off to another community.
The sheer concentration of known sex offenders in these isolated communities begins to look less like an accident than a plan. Their institutional protection looks less like an embarrassed cover-up than aiding and abetting. And the way the church has settled case after case across the country, refusing to let most of them go to trial for a public airing, is starting to look like an admission of guilt.
Here’s the reason why the church covers up for rapist priests.
Why does the church keep sending these priests, who have come to be such a major liability, back into ministry? “It’s all about keeping the stores open, keeping the revenue rolling,” Wall says. The Alaskan provinces in particular, Wall says, were a source of revenue–not from the Native population living there, but from parishioners in the lower 48 who were encouraged to donate for the Native ministry up north. “You could raise thousands to fund a mission that cost very little to run,” Wall says. “The profit margin is huge.”
The story makes 1950s Ireland look like a paradise of blissful religious sanctity. It is not for the squeamish.
If you’d rather read something a little more encouraging, read Katha Politt on priestly pedophilia. She nails the priesthood on their sanctimony and hypocrisy, and their pretense to a moral superiority that is so patently betrayed. She also mentions this surprising story:
In February, Bishop Margot Kaessmann, the first woman to head the German Protestant Church and a much-admired public figure, was caught running a red light while intoxicated. There was a lot of sympathy for her, even in the conservative media, which disagreed with her liberal and anti-war views, and she received the support of the church’s governing body. Nonetheless, within four days Kaessmann resigned, saying her moral authority had been so compromised she could no longer do right by her high office. Maybe Pope Benedict and his bishops could learn something from her example.
What? A Protestant bishop resigns for the crime of running a red light under the influence? She got a traffic ticket and felt her moral authority was compromised? I mean, that’s a bit excessive, but OK, at least she’s taking religion’s claims of morality extremely seriously.
Meanwhile, the Pope heads a Catholic office that was sheltering child-rapers, and the entire Catholic hierarchy is busily claiming the martyrdom of Christ for itself because people have started to complain about their intrusive little penises. They aren’t even trying for the moral flood plain, let alone the moral high ground. It’s more like they’re taking a dive in the Marianas Trench of turpitude while pretending to climb the Everest of propriety.
While we can’t expect the church to expire in shame, at least we should start regarding Catholicism as a Mafia-like criminal organization…and maybe our governments should stop treating with them.