The National Catholic Reporter has invited its readers to celebrate 30 years of its reporting (that is exploitation) of the sex abuse scandal in the USA. I made a comment on one of the articles and the conversation developed thus:
“Me: I note that you are careful to state that you reprobated “the obscene molestation by priests of pre-pubescent and pubescent children, and the enabling cover-ups by their bishops.” One problem: there was virtually no abuse of prepubescent children. So why do you voice your concern in this way? Anything to do with the fact that you are well aware that what you had in the USA as elsewhere was a problem with predatory homosexual men who should never have been allowed anywhere near a seminary?
Reply 1: There was plenty abuse of children. We hear of four year olds and 8 year olds and convince me that most twelve year olds are not still considered children. Heck, 25 year olds are still considered children but not by me. I would say the casual observer would consider most 13 year old boys still children..maybe 14, regardless of their physical development. Regardless, twisting of definitions does not excuse one thing. Predatory men belong nowhere, including seminaries, but there were plenty of other places where they did terrible wrong to young boys and girls, sometimes very very young. If they have to be anywhere, it should be on an island with each other for company and enough security so that they can not carry out their wishes. And I do feel sorry for them. I would not wish this horrid condition on anyone, which does not mean I would not take severe measures to prevent it.
Me: “There was plenty abuse of children.” That is simply NOT the case. And never mind that one Californian lawyer reckoned that over 90% of the accusations he successfully dealt with for his clients were entirely bogus. Even when not taking that into account, sexual abuse of children by priests is a rare occurrence.
“We hear of…” all sorts of things mainly because certain people, like the editorial team here, will publish absolutely anything and everything, without so much as a nod to normal journalistic standards (see especially the New York Times), but that doesn’t make them true.
Yes, abuse has occurred. Yes, it is a terrible thing for the victims and their families. And, yes, it is also a terrible thing for the parish communities, too. Moreover, it is dreadful that some bishops (or other appropriate church authority) have not dealt adequately with it. But it is not now and it never has been of epidemic proportions. And it never will be. So why not now concentrate on the present and prepare for the future as a Church and not as addicts for horror stories? By far most of what has happened in the Church over the last 50 or so years is entirely admirable, as also what is happening today. Why not celebrate that?
Reply 2: This comment perfectly illustrates Tom’s point about non belief. By all means stick your head in the sand and blame gay priests because every bishop who covered for a monster like Lawrence Murphy or John Geoghan thanks God every night for Catholics like you.
Me: Arrogant and ignorant tosh. See above in reply to (1)”
To be continued; or not as the case mat be.