Sunday, July 22, 2007


This is a very interesting and informative article expressing the views of Wayne Besden for

In the wake of sex scandals involving children, the Roman Catholic Church should either change its mores or close its doors.

Since 1950, the United States arm of the church has paid an astounding $2 billion to settle claims of childhood sexual abuse. Yes, that is billions with a capital "B" that could have gone towards raising orphans, housing the homeless and feeding the "foodless." Instead, the church has had to reach deep inside its pockets, because some priests can't keep their hands out of the pants of others.

About a quarter of the fortune paid to the unfortunate victims has come from the Los Angeles archdiocese. Its leader, Cardinal Roger Mahony, apologized Sunday to the hundreds of abused who will be compensated, as if you can put a price on the church's vice.

"There really is no way to go back and give them that innocence that was taken from them. The one thing I wish I could give the victims...I cannot," he said. "Once again, I apologize to anyone who has been offended, who has been abused. It should not have happened and should not ever happen again."

Of course, it will happen again, since none of the underlying structural problems have been addressed. The church simply cannot continue its practice of recruiting spiritual leaders from a pool of repressed, self-loathing, sexually and emotionally stunted men and not expect a sordid sequel.

An apology without genuine reform is an empty gesture and mere disastrous dogma that will continue to strip-mine more weeping souls. What substantial measure has the church taken to prevent future victims? Have they even once broken with orthodoxy or taken difficult steps that actually matter? The answer is an emphatic, shameful "no."

There are only three reforms that will alter the status quo:

** Ending celibacy and allowing priests to marry

** Ordaining openly gay people

** Allowing women into the priesthood.

Anything short of these dramatic changes is mere window dressing that will lead to future problems.

Celibacy: This largely discredited idea of "sexual purity" rarely works in practice. It may succeed for people with unusually low sex drives, but for normally functioning males, it is seldom a viable way of life. Sex is a natural drive and love is its magnificent emotional counterpart. To deny this aspect of one's humanity over an extended or indefinite period of time is wishful thinking. Until priests can get married and experience human touch, they will be dangerously out of touch. Sometimes, such deprivation leads to a twisted mindset that drives priests to take advantage of vulnerable people - such as altar boys.

Allowing marriage will also help end the priesthood as a place where self-loathing gay people can shield their true identity. Homosexuals (and heteros too) with such unresolved internal conflicts do not belong in the priesthood, as their repression may sometimes manifest in unhealthy ways.

Openly Gay Priests: Once the Church has weeded out emotionally disturbed closet cases, it can attract morally and spiritually secure gay people. To do this, however, Rome would have to allow marriages - or commitment ceremonies - for gay priests. Sadly, the Pope seems more interested in blaming gay people for the churches' scandals and calling them "disordered."

It is insulting for the morally compromised Catholic Church to blame gay people for its own dishonorable record. After all, if homosexuality alone was responsible for child abuse, it would be the gay rights organizations getting sued, not the Vatican. Rome's anti-gay campaign might be good politics, but it will also foster the perpetuation of pedophilia, even as they apologize for past transgressions.

Women Priests: The primary reason to allow women into the priesthood is because it is fair. Rome should terminate its archaic and discriminatory policy of sexist exclusion and send sisters to seminary. A secondary reason to admit women is that it will end the bad boys club that currently exists. Having women giving mass will make it more difficult to have mass cover-ups. Of course, this is common sense, which is a commodity in short supply if you consider the blithely blind child abuse record of the Holy See.

Unfortunately, there is a moral vacancy at the Vatican, so the drumbeat of denial goes on. Some "Good Fathers" will continue to fondle, the hierarchy will hide the horrors, Rome will retreat from reality and spin its festering sin. I don't have the faintest idea of where God resides in this dreary drama. But, faux apologies aside, it is my impression that Rome has yet to really go to confession.


RIC said...

Great post, dear Don! Thank you!
I don't think I'll go into details today. All I can say is that I don't believe there may even be a minority in Rome that might be willing to implement those changes... Not even in many years from now. Remember how absurd was that kind of confession and repentment (?!) as far as the Inquisition is concerned!...
Hugs! :-)

ConnieJane said...

It always amazes me that this particular religion is most outspoken against same sex relationship.

YET, have looked the other way for centuries while it's priests molest the flock's children. Their way of "fixing" the problem is to write a check.

Hello? Why do the people who believe in this religion not revolt? Oh yeah, because mr. pope has the last word on EVERYTHING. I assume there are those who have served as pope who have also been guilty of the aforementioned molestations...

'nuf said

Nancy said...

Well said...there are no answerer to the cover up of the horrible child abuse.
The dreaded Catholic cover up was so well organized. I don't know where to begin. The higher ups are just as guilty as the sex offender. The secrets that were finally revealed and information we have been told, (after decades of cover ups) is unforgivable and to late for many victims.
The Organization from the Pope down is Sickening to me. But they have forgiven themselves and will ask for more $.
great post...thanks

cats said...

well, i for one totally agree with this article. it is so sad to me how the rc church reacted to these stories of molestation. my dad once served as a bishop (not rc) and whenever he heard these stories they were fully investigated, the pastors who had done these things were stripped of their position and charges were filed.

one of the things that offends me the most is that this pediophilia is blamed on homosexuality. the reason why priests chose boys to abuse is largely because girls weren't allowed to serve at the altar. in protestant churches where girls were more involved the abuse was equally heaped upon boys and girls.

Michael in Norfolk said...

We - Wayne, Don and I - share similar views on the Catholic Church and its moral bankruptcy. Having met Wayne while working with a client to expose ex-gay fraud, Michael Johnston, I can almost hear Wayne while reading the article. I am glad he and others keep taking the Church hierarchy to task for it dishonesty and untruthfulness.

leone said...

This is in no way an apology for those within the Catholic Church that have abused their position and those in their care. However, I really do think that the attack on the Roman Catholic Church in large part is a media fuelled frenzy.

We seem never to hear about religious figures from any other religion who have committed such acts. I find that strange merely using the law of averages.

It seems that there is a 'witch hunt' (ironic as that is) by the media against the Church of Rome. Condemn their complicity if proven but ask the question why the Vatican is being targeted.

How many protestant priests committed similar offences? I don't know because it hasn't been reported in the press. That could mean one of three things to my mind.

1)There have been zero cases (highly unlikely).
2)The media have chosen for whatever reason to deem them not 'newsworthy'.
3)These other churches are infinitely more successful at covering them up (that's a chilling thought).

I just think that media manipulation is clouding the issue here considerably. I would be interested on statistics relating to these issues before we comment at such great length.

I have no axe to grind as I am Buddhist albeit not a terribly good one.

Just a thought...........

dondon009 said...

My dear Leone...... I personally think that the media frenzy towards the catholic church and abuse is generated by the staggering amounts of compensation money these lawsuits generate......

While news media have repeatedly focused on abuse among Catholics, Protestant insiders have also long known that many of their own clergy -- especially youth workers and pastors who do counseling -- were breaking the laws of God and man.

"The incidence of sexual abuse by clergy has reached 'horrific proportions,' " according to a 2000 report to the Baptist General Convention of Texas. It noted that studies conducted in the 1980s found that about 12 percent of ministers had "engaged in sexual intercourse with members" and nearly 40 percent had "acknowledged sexually inappropriate behavior." not necessarily with minors.

Although few people seem to be asking whether sexual abuse of children is more common in the Roman Catholic church than in Protestant churches or other faith groups. Philip Jenkins, author of "Pedophiles and Priests" found no evidence that the incidence of child molestation among Roman Catholic priests was any greater than within other Christian denominations.

The public may view sexual abuse by priests very differently from similar crimes by Protestant clergy. The Roman Catholic Church is generally seen as a monolithic organization with a clearly defined rigid hierarchy. Thus a case of abuse becomes a "Roman Catholic scandal" rather than a local parish problem. A similar molestation in a Protestant church would probably be viewed as a local problem isolated to a single congregation, because of the decentralized nature of most Protestant churches.

As for predominantly black congregations, "The black church is about the only strong and lasting black institution that they have, and for that reason it's revered by members of the church," Aaron said. Minnesota attorney Jeff Anderson, who represents a black victim in a case against a Baptist preacher, said black ministers exercise so much power and influence over parents and children it’s extremely difficult for victims to speak up.

Phillip Aaron a Seattle-based attorney who represents black victims abused by clergy estimates that less than 10 percent of sexual abuse victims in black, non-Catholic churches nationwide have gone to authorities. "The tendency of the church community is to gather around the minister and to protect the minister, almost to the point of blindness," Aaron said. "That comes out of this realization that the church is basically all we’ve got."

Minnesota attorney Jeff Anderson, who represents a black victim in a case against a Baptist preacher, said black ministers exercise so much power and influence over parents and children it’s extremely difficult for victims to speak up.

Mary said...

Hi Don,

I just wanted to stop by and let you know I am up and running in a location.


Nancy said...

The blatant cover up here in Boston by Cardinal Bernard Law was a travesty. He put the victims through such an ordeal. One of the victims killed himself after Bernard Law finally admitted he knew the priest that molested him and other young boys. Bernard Law relocated many of the accused priest to avoid any legal actions.
Then at the end when the victims finally got the truth to be told Bernard Law was promoted and sent to the Vatican...where he no longer could be questioned or punished.
Watching the Church being above the law was sickening.
I feel in Massachusetts it was the real deal for many of the victims that came forward. But we will never know because the document are gone..

leone said...

Dear Don,
With due respect (and I know you know that is genuine), whether or not the Church of Rome is a centralised autocracy and the Protestant Church (es) are more parochial seems to be somewhat irrelevant.

The relevant issue is the crime and the victim. In addition, it is important that we see the wood from the trees and not lay blame at the door of the vatican solely.

We should remember that it wasn't so many years ago that the same blame was placed on our doorsteps until irrefutably proved otherwise.

Call me old fashioned but I don't like witch hunts based on media manipulation whoever they attack.

CrackerLilo said...

I believe that some individuals are apologetic and want reform. However, I also believe that the system itself is corrupt.

Point one finger to others, three point back at you....I wish the Pope would understand....