Some priests in the Catholic church think that saying 7 is the “age of reason” is synonymous with declaring open season on boys above that age.
Bishop Robert Cunningham of the diocese of Syracuse, NY doesn’t think priests should take all of the blame for decades, if not centuries, of sexual abuse against young boys. According to Cunningham, the “age of reason” in the Catholic church is seven, so those boys are culpable for their actions.
We can at least get the ones who rape 6 year olds then, right?
But this argument doesn’t even make sense. We don’t say that adult women are culpable for their rapes, so being mature and rational doesn’t even come into it. They are victims. These children are victims. They didn’t choose to be abused, it was forced on them.
The only way you can legitimately use this “age of reason” excuse is to suggest that any priests who were under 7 years old were not fully responsible for their actions.
Dreaming of an Atheistic Newtopia says
What a disgusting mount of human garbage. And to think that’s supossed to be a moral leader…Jesus fucking christ…
It is remarkable, in a surreally disgusting and disturbing way, how simultaneously, 7 year old boys are already old enough to be responsible for their abuse, but 50+ year old priests can’t really be held responsible because they were tempted or some shit…
Fuck that man, fuck the catholic church.
Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says
Every once in a while, I think the RC has reached the bottom of the hole. But they just keep digging.
Good thing my abuser was Mormon, otherwise it really would have been my fault.
Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk- says
Holy fuck. Literally. How disgusting can those men get? I know 6, 7 and 8 year old children. Sure, the 8 year olds are less likely to cross the street without looking, but none of them is fit to have sex with anybody but themselves.
Typical abuser bullshit: the child made me do it!
“We don’t say that adult women are culpable for their rapes”
Seriously? Then those judges, politicians and institutions saying “Then she shouldn’t have dressed that way” or “She should have known better than to walk down that street at night” or or “She lead him on” or “She shouldn’t have been drinking” or “legitimate rape” are all just fragments of a horrible nightmare I had after too much pepperoni pizza one night?
‘Cause for a while there, I thought we DID routinely blame women for their rapes…
I suppose it depends on which “we” you are referring to. I suspect that the bishop and many of his ilk would say exactly that the adult woman rape victim is culpable, that in some way she brought it on herself. It’s one reason they don’t excuse abortion for rape victims. It’s one reason they question any claim of rape. They’re a heinous bunch of crass asses living in ignorance…and damn proud of it, too, it seems.
PZ Myers says
Many people do blame women for their rapes, but I hope that we here, and in this context very clearly, recognize that that is as wrong as a priest blaming little boys.
Not surprising coming out of the Syracuse Diocese.
Growing up in the area in the 80’s and attending Catholic School as a kid, they had two priests at my elementary school alone that were shuffled off to another diocese after they were accused/caught sexually abusing children.
Took them years to even acknowledge the accusations against them and even longer to hide them away in another city. One of the creeps I knew about, every kid in the school knew. It was a fairly sick running joke among some of us. The other one was the head of the school & local church. When he got caught it was more of a surprise to everyone, but the girls he’d been abusing over the decades.
Oh, old school Catholicism, ain’t it lovely? I was in Catholic school with that nonsense, the age of accountability and reason, handily used as the reason to terrorize us all with threats and graphic visions of hell, because if we ended up there, it would be our fault.
A small fix.
Saganite, a haunter of demons says
Raping children, being helplessly seduced by said children.
Tomato, tomato, am I right?
Unbelievable, such evil. And these monsters want to define morals for society. Well, we can imagine what sort of society they’d like to go to (or go back to).
Well, we do know that priests are just dead sexy; the little children can’t help raping them any more than all the grown men raping them. Hardly a day goes by without a sad story about a man raping a sexy, sexy catholic priest. /s
It’s not the primary thing going on in that church but there seems to be an undercurrent of sperm worship. Both for the reasons Monty Python made hilariously memorable with the “Every Sperm Is Sacred” song and vile, indefensible statements like the one the bishop made. It’s like the blame attaches to the sperm or something. Do anything responsible with your sex drive like use contraception or go solo? Oh that’s obviously evil and bad things will happen to you. Use someone else in of an inappropriate age or in what the church deems inappropriate circumstances? It’s full on Scarlet Letter time; that apparently just gives you something to talk about in confessional. No big deal. But for the other person…
slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says
No, not blaming kids for their abuse, but giving themselves an excuse, that if a child over 7 gives his consent, then no harm was done. Only under 7 cannot give “informed consent”, so verboten.
ugh, that can go backwards too, if a child under 7 says “no”, he did not do so with informed consent, only if “no” comes from someone over 7 can one take it seriously.
7 year itch??
slithey tove @ 13:
That’s not what the age of reason has to do with in Catholicism:
It has to do with understanding all the ecclesiastical rules and other assorted bullshit, and it’s not universally applied. Basically, it was decided because 7 years old was old enough to understand the Eucharist and receive first communion and all that jazz.
Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach says
Reading that shite is a terrible way to start the day. Very nearly lost my breakfast. Way to go RCC, bravo for finding a new, more terrible, way to be vile.
The catholic church love to muddy the waters. (Not that they have on this occasion).
I can remember seeing an interview with a catholic clergyman annoyed that a priest was being called a paedophile when he had in fact molested a child who was in puberty, so calling that priest a paedophile was technically incorrect.
He seem more interested in the accurate labelling of child raping priests than the victim of the crime and pursuing justice.
Tim Minchin said it best. “Fuck the motherfucking fuckers”.
mond @16: This is a common defense tactic for sexual abuse defenders, Catholic and non-. However, what they never seem to realize is that it is actually, in a moral sense, worse to be an ‘ephebephile’.
A pedophile is ultimately a tragic figure. They have no ability to change their broken sexuality; either they act on it, or they suffer constant temptation to do so. In a better world, we’d have strategies at the societal level for helping pedophiles who have not yet offended from crossing the line.
An ephebephile, on the other hand, is merely pursuing targets of opportunity. They are perfectly capable of normal sexual relations with adults–and indeed, they often seek out the most physically ‘mature’ individuals in their targeted age range they can find (a girl who develops breasts early, for instance, will be targeted more than a late bloomer). However, because of various reasons (lack of social skills, or being a member of an group that is ostensibly celibate, or whatever), they find it easier to pursue adolescents, who are more vulnerable to both manipulation and intimidation.
So as a defense, it’s not merely wrong, it’s actually backwards. And yet, the defenders love to trot out the definition defense because it amounts to a derail of the actual issue of Lock These Shitstains Up Already.
Freemage @ 18:
Really have to disagree with pretty much everything. A whole lot of pedophilia oriented people are perfectly capable of having a sexual relationship with another adult, and often carry on having that relationship with an adult while also raping a child in the house. It’s a common scenario.
Ephebophilia is another subset of cronophilia. It doesn’t do to decide that one age preference is tragic, and others simply opportunistic, but I suppose you could consider most of those with cronophilia to be both. It’s also not a good idea to spread inaccurate information about these things.
Dear Mr. Cunningham,
It has come to my attention that you’re a disgusting pile of shit, unworthy to breathe the fine air of this planet. Kindly fuck off to another star system at your earliest convenience. If you lack proper means to do so, I’ll be more than happy to personally kick your ass so hard you reach escape velocity.
Me @ 19, I don’t know how my tags got posted in there, please ignore that. That’s nicely embarrassing.
Lady Mondegreen says
Some pedophiles are well aware that acting on their urges would be harmful, leave kids alone, and behave ethically. Some are predators. I don’t know the percentages of each. Neither do you.
There also exist sexual predators who choose victims of opportunity and don’t give much of a damn about their victims’ ages.
I googled chronophilia; it’s a term coined by John Money, and not much in use by anybody else.
Catholic Canon Law still says:
And something tells me that the age isn’t lower for girls than boys because they mature at a younger age.
Also, the age of consent in the Vatican City was only 12 until just a couple of years ago.
Oh, Maude, John fucking Money. Don’t get me started.
The prophet Mohammed married one of his wives when she was six. Isn’t it good that two of our great religions can agree like this?
WMDKitty -- Survivor says
Hell, I’ve been told it was my fault for “letting” my abuser do what he did, because I “didn’t fight back hard enough”, so yeah… I can see the RCC pulling this kind of shit about the kids that got diddled. “They were asking for it.” “They didn’t say no.” “They didn’t fight back” (because a 7yo can effectively fight off a grown man).
As for pedophiles in general, most of them are predatory. This is why they enter into relationships with single mothers or seek out jobs or volunteer positions that put them in a position of power over children. It’s all about gaining access to their victims. This is not accidental.
Those who “haven’t offended” just haven’t been caught.
Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says
I am so sorry you were put through that.
One of my consistent brain-blaming-me memes is that, as far as I know, I never, ever said no. And I don’t remember any of us saying no. Ever. And, since I was over seven years old, not saying yes was, I guess, me being culpable. In the bright light of day, I know that’s bullshit. At three o’clock this morning? Not so much.
WMDKitty -- Survivor says
Og — The weirdest part of that was that the entire thing was kicked off by me telling this person that one act of violence does not justify responding with more, and more intense, violence. Apparently having standards and trying to live up to them is just an invitation for abuse…
Everyone forgets that Bishops are in effect the VP for the local branch of the business, so he is lying his ass off under oath in order to protect the finances of his division.
Do you know how many branches are declaring bankruptcy over molestation civil action decisions? 11 so far. You think he wants to be the guy at the till when his diocese goes down? When these things go down, they don’t usually come back the way they were – there is a definite shrinking of the monied membership when they think that their money might go to some lawyer somewhere cause the priests can’t stop raping the kids.
Cash. Dough. Greenbacks. The Bishops have a serious fiscal duty to their fiefdom, and they know that the moola takes precedent to any moral concerns.
They will gladly be inhuman monsters to preserve their tainted organizations. Just like any other C-level manager