Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pedophile Priests and Catholic Reform

I don't usually comment on social issues in churches.  Nor do I typically pass on a lot of timely news relevant links.  There are a thousand blogs out there that do that quite well, and I have bigger, philosophical fish to fry.  But this piece, written by gay, ex-priest Catholic blogger/columnist, Andrew Sullivan is an exception.

Sullivan is calling for radical reform in the Catholic Church and for the resignation of Pope Benedict over the most recent priest child molestation and rape scandals.  What's striking about this piece is that Sullivan gives you an exception insider view to the mind and sexual struggles of a priest who is trying to deal with the archaic and unnatural moral demands of the Catholic Church.  I'm also bringing this topic up because the pattern of priest child molestation and rape over recent decades is provoking a level of disgust, cynicism, and moral outrage in me that I am usually too jaded to feel about church matters.

Here's what I think is happening.  As I have argued on many occasions, for evolutionary or psychological or whatever reasons, humans have a deep seated affection for all things religious.  Whatever the truth of the matter is about God, people really want to be religious.  They have what I've called The Urge.  As I see it, this affection and attachment to religiousness among the population has been exploited, deliberately and unknowingly, by religious institutions like the Catholic Church.  So for decades, or centuries rather, priests have routinely molested and raped children in a horrifying abuse of the trust and investment that people have in them in virtue of this deep seated urge.  And by a variety of social, political, and psychological accidents, the Church has somehow managed to cordon off those rapists from the general sanction and normal treatment that any other child molester would get under the law.  The Catholic Church has actively campaigned, and largely succeeded, in keeping the redress of these cases in house.  They have reappointed, moved, hidden, and minimally punished the offenders, while keeping the normal legal authorities at bay.  We've allowed this to happen.  Emboldened by their seeming invulnerability to regular legal and moral requirements in society, the rapes and molestations have gone on and on and on.  Now, apparently, we have a Pope who was complicit in some of these reprehensible acts of facilitation of abuser priests, at least by Sullivan's and a lot of other careful people's assessments.

Our special treatment, and the invincible status of the clergy in our cultures that arises from our affection and respect for religion has to come to an end.  And at the very least, the Catholic Church must have some radical reforms in the sorts of demands they make on their priests and in the way that they deal internally with people who abuse, molest, and rape children.

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/03/sin-or-crime.html

6 comments:

MisterAndrews said...

I think atheism too can cause serious cultural damage. The following is an excellent case in point: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNxygsLGHSQ&feature=related

Don said...

Comedian Louis CK cracked this case wide open. Here is the truth about the Catholic Church: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VABSoHYQr6k

(Fair warning: it is very shocking!!!)

AdamK said...

I don't believe Sullivan is an "ex-priest." Nor is he an ex-Catholic, although he's extremely critical of the Church. He's just a boiling cauldron of cognitive dissonance.

Toby said...

Prof. M,

Luke Muehlhauser, on his blog, has been writing about, not the same thing, but a 17th Century priest who was a closet atheist, Jean Meslier. The blog states, "Jean Meslier (1664-1729) served as a Catholic priest for 40 years, but after his death was discovered to have written the very first book-length philosophical essay promoting atheism." What I found most intriguing were Meslier's claims that, "Just look at the popes (Julius III, Leo X) who themselves mocked their dignity and the other (Boniface VIII) who said, joking with his friends, "Ah! How rich we are from this fable of Christ!"

Anyway, his blog is worth checking out. http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=7641

Toby

davmab11 said...

you little liars do nothing but antagonize...

and you try to eliminate all the dreams and hopes of humanity...


but you LOST...



THE DEATH OF ATH*ISM - SCIENTIFIC PROOF OF GOD


http://engforum.pravda.ru/showthread.php?t=280780




Einstein puts the final nail in the coffin of atheism...


*************************************

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7vpw4AH8QQ

*************************************



atheists deny their own life element...




LIGHT OR DEATH, ATHEISTS?

********************************
***************************LIGHT*********
************************************

Reginald Selkirk said...

The cover-up is worse than the crime. It is not shocking that some priests would turn out to be pedophiles. The systematic shuffling of pedophile priests from one parish to another to keep them ahead of the law is, along with their being placed in new positions where they will have opportunity to repeat their offenses, while keeping the new victims and families in the dark about their past transgressions.

And in at least some cases, victims have been threatened with excommunication of they go public with their accusations.