Sad they still don’t get it

April 8th, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

It is sad to see so many senior members of the Catholic Church are not understanding what the issue is with the scandal.

The Herald reports:

The Vatican heatedly defended Pope Benedict XVI, claiming accusations that he helped cover up the actions of paedophile priests are part of an anti-Catholic “hate” campaign targeting the Pope for his opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage.

Or it might be about the lack of opposition to, or more specifically action against,child abuse.

The Vatican newspaper quoted Sodano yesterday as saying the church is “certainly” suffering because of paedophile priests but he asserted that “Benedict XVI has apologised several times”.

“But it’s not Christ’s fault if Judas betrayed” him, Sodano said. “It’s not a bishop’s fault if one of his priests is stained by grave wrongdoing. And certainly the Pontiff is not responsible.”

Here is what they don’t seem to get.

I, and I am sure most people, do not blame anyone in the Catholic Church for the fact a priest molested children, unknown to them. The responsibility absolutely lies with the priest, not the Bishop, the Pope or the Church.

But, and this is the big but, it is different when the Bishop has been told about the child abuse and molestation. And when the Bishop doesn’t report it to the Police, when the Bishop does not sack the priest, when the Bishop merely moves the priest to anoter area, which leads to more molestation of more kids – then the Bishop does have some responsibility.

And when not one Bishop, but dozens of Bishops fail to take action against priests who molest children, and this is a policy laid down by the Vatican, then the Church hierarchy does have some responsibility.

Not for the initial abuse. That is absolutely just the fault of the individual priest. But for not having them sacked and arrested, that is the fault of Bishops and of the Vatican which condoned their lack of action.

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71 Responses to “Sad they still don’t get it”

  1. eszett (2,357 comments) says:

    Not for the initial abuse. That is absolutely just the fault of the individual priest. But for not having them sacked and arrested, that is the fault of Bishops and of the Vatican which condoned their lack of action.

    And, of course, responsibility for any subsequent abuse which arose by their lack of action!

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  2. LeftRightOut (622 comments) says:

    The pope is culpable, as are all those him down.

    He issued the edicts that allowed priests to be shuffled around.

    He issued the edicts that lead to the gagging of accusers and victims.

    But now, its all OK, as he has vowed to bring abuse down to “manageable levels”.

    “The majority of priests don’t want to molest kids at all,” he added. “But for those who do, we must make sure they’re doing it at a reasonable rate.”

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/pope-vows-to-get-church-pedophilia-down-to-accepta,17201/

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  3. eszett (2,357 comments) says:

    Also, a frequent excuse of pedophiles: “It’s their fault, they wanted it:”

    http://www.typicallyspanish.com/news/publish/article_14332.shtml

    There is outrage in parts of Spanish society following declarations made over Christmas from the Bishop of Tenerife, Bernardo Álvarez.

    His comments were that there are youngsters who want to be abused, and he compared that abuse to homosexuality, describing them both as prejudicial to society. He said that on occasions the abuse happened because the there are children who consent to it.
    ‘There are 13 year old adolescents who are under age and who are perfectly in agreement with, and what’s more wanting it, and if you are careless they will even provoke you’, he said.

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  4. MIKMS (164 comments) says:

    @Leftrightout

    I’m just making sure you know that is a satire site ?

    cool.

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  5. LeftRightOut (622 comments) says:

    ????

    But I get ALL my news from The Onion. In fact, if its not in The Onion then I don’t think it happened.

    Are you saying its biased, like FOX?

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  6. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    But now, its all OK, as he has vowed to bring abuse down to “manageable levels”.

    “The majority of priests don’t want to molest kids at all,” he added. “But for those who do, we must make sure they’re doing it at a reasonable rate.”

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/pope-vows-to-get-church-pedophilia-down-to-accepta,17201/

    Ummmmmm, you do realise that ‘The Onion’ is a spoof news site don’t you?

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  7. Fletch (6,135 comments) says:

    Actually if you look at the history, it is Benedict who has done the most to clean up what he describes as “filth” in the Church, so it is ironic that he is the one being criticized.

    For anyone who knows the Vatican’s history on this issue, Benedict XVI isn’t just part of the problem. He’s also a major chapter in the solution.

    To understand that, it’s necessary to wind the clock back a decade. Before then, no Vatican office had clear responsibility for cases of priests accused of sexual abuse, which instead were usually handled — and often ignored — at the diocesan level. In 2001, however, Pope John Paul II assigned responsibility to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican’s all-important doctrinal office, which was headed by Joseph Ratzinger, then a cardinal.

    As a result, bishops were required to send their case files to Cardinal Ratzinger’s office. By all accounts, he studied them with care, making him one of the few churchmen anywhere in the world to have read the documentation on virtually every Catholic priest accused of sexual abuse. The experience gave him a familiarity with the pervasiveness of the problem that virtually no other figure in the Catholic Church can claim. And driven by that encounter with what he would later refer to as “filth” in the church, Cardinal Ratzinger seems to have undergone a transformation. From that point forward, he and his staff were determined to get something done.

    One crucial issue Cardinal Ratzinger had to resolve was how to handle the church’s internal disciplinary procedures for abusive priests. Early on, reformers worried that Rome would insist on full trials in church courts before a priest could be removed from ministry or defrocked. Those trials were widely seen as slow, cumbersome and uncertain, yet many in the Vatican thought they were needed to protect the due process rights of the accused.

    In the end, Cardinal Ratzinger and his team approved direct administrative action in roughly 60 percent of the cases. Having sorted through the evidence, they concluded that in most cases swift action was more important than preserving the church’s legal formalities.

    Among Vatican insiders, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith became the primary force pushing for a tough response to the crisis. Other departments sometimes regarded the “zero tolerance” policy as an over-reaction, not to mention a distortion of the church’s centuries-long legal tradition, in which punishments are supposed to fit the crime, and in which bishops and other superiors have great leeway in meting out discipline.

    After being elected pope, Benedict made the abuse cases a priority. One of his first acts was to discipline two high-profile clerics against whom sex abuse allegations had been hanging around for decades, but had previously been protected at the highest levels.

    And why have these old cases been dredged up now? It’s possibly because of Catholic voice of objection to abortion etc in the healthcare reforms in America and the Pope’s stance of the sanctity of marriage.

    The NY Times got the story wrong, if you follow the documents on it’s own website –

    The New York Times flatly got the story wrong, according to its own evidence. Readers may want to speculate on why.

    Here is the relevant timeline, drawn from the documents the New York Times posted on its own website.

    15 May 1974

    Abuse by Fr. Lawrence Murphy is alleged by a former student at St. John’s School for the Deaf in Milwaukee. In fact, accusations against Father Murphy go back more than a decade.

    12 September 1974

    Father Murphy is granted an official “temporary sick leave” from St. John’s School for the Deaf. He leaves Milwaukee and moves to northern Wisconsin, in the Diocese of Superior, where he lives in a family home with his mother. He has no official assignment from this point until his death in 1998. He does not return to live in Milwaukee. No canonical penalties are pursued against him.

    9 July 1980

    Officials in the Diocese of Superior write to officials in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee about what ministry Father Murphy might undertake in Superior. Archbishop Rembert Weakland, archbishop of Milwaukee since 1977, has been consulted and says it would be unwise to have Father Murphy return to ministry with the deaf community. There is no indication that Archbishop Weakland foresees any other measures to be taken in the case.

    17 July 1996

    More than 20 years after the original abuse allegations, Archbishop Weakland writes to Cardinal Ratzinger, claiming that he has only just discovered that Father Murphy’s sexual abuse involved the sacrament of confession — a still more serious canonical crime. The allegations about the abuse of the sacrament of confession were in the original 1974 allegations. Weakland has been archbishop of Milwaukee by this point for 19 years.

    It should be noted that for sexual-abuse charges, Archbishop Weakland could have proceeded against Father Murphy at any time. The matter of solicitation in the sacrament of confession required notifying Rome, but that too could have been done as early as the 1970s.

    10 September 1996

    Father Murphy is notified that a canonical trial will proceed against him. Until 2001, the local bishop had authority to proceed in such trials. The Archdiocese of Milwaukee is now beginning the trial. It is noteworthy that at this point, no reply has been received from Rome indicating that Archbishop Weakland knew he had that authority to proceed.

    24 March 1997

    Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, Cardinal Ratzinger’s deputy at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, advises a canonical trial against Father Murphy.

    14 May 1997

    Archbishop Weakland writes to Archbishop Bertone to say that the penal process against Father Murphy has been launched, and notes that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has advised him to proceed even though the statute of limitations has expired. In fact, there is no statute of limitations for solicitation in the sacrament of confession.

    Throughout the rest of 1997 the preparatory phases of penal process or canonical trial is underway. On 5 January 1998 the Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee says that an expedited trial should be concluded within a few months.

    12 January 1998

    Father Murphy, now less than eight months away from his death, appeals to Cardinal Ratzinger that, given his frail health, he be allowed to live out his days in peace.

    6 April 1998

    Archbishop Bertone, noting the frail health of Father Murphy and that there have been no new charges in almost 25 years, recommends using pastoral measures to ensure Father Murphy has no ministry, but without the full burden of a penal process. It is only a suggestion, as the local bishop retains control.

    13 May 1998

    The Bishop of Superior, where the process has been transferred to and where Father Murphy has lived since 1974, rejects the suggestion for pastoral measures. Formal pre-trial proceedings begin on 15 May 1998, continuing the process already begun with the notification that had been issued in September 1996.

    30 May 1998

    Archbishop Weakland, who is in Rome, meets with officials at the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, including Archbishop Bertone but not including Cardinal Ratzinger, to discuss the case. The penal process is ongoing. No decision taken to stop it, but given the difficulties of a trial after 25 years, other options are explored that would more quickly remove Father Murphy from ministry.

    19 August 1998

    Archbishop Weakland writes that he has halted the canonical trial and penal process against Father Murphy and has immediately begun the process to remove him from ministry — a quicker option.

    21 August 1998

    Father Murphy dies. His family defies the orders of Archbishop Weakland for a discreet funeral.

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  8. big bruv (13,552 comments) says:

    I am no fan of religion but will always support a persons right to worship whatever or whoever they want.

    However, if there is one denomination that drives me fucking crazy it is the left footers, among their many stupid rules and traditions the dumbest of the lot is the insistence that Priests abstain from sex.

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  9. LeftRightOut (622 comments) says:

    Fletch, sorry, but thats self serving nonsense.

    Ratzinger is as guilty as if he made the boys ride the boloni pony himself.

    Ratziner’s sole objective was to preserve the wealth and status of the church,

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  10. Fletch (6,135 comments) says:

    It must be noted that neither the woman who wrote the original story for the NY Times, nor Bishop Weakland and reliable sources.

    The second source was Archbishop Rembert Weakland, retired archbishop of Milwaukee. He is the most discredited and disgraced bishop in the United States, widely known for mishandling sexual-abuse cases during his tenure, and guilty of using $450,000 of archdiocesan funds to pay hush money to a former homosexual lover who was blackmailing him. Archbishop Weakland had responsibility for the Father Murphy case between 1977 and 1998, when Father Murphy died. He has long been embittered that his maladministration of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee earned him the disfavor of Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, long before it was revealed that he had used parishioners’ money to pay off his clandestine lover. He is prima facie not a reliable source.

    • Laurie Goodstein, the author of the New York Times story, has a recent history with Archbishop Weakland. Last year, upon the release of the disgraced archbishop’s autobiography, she wrote an unusually sympathetic story that buried all the most serious allegations against him (New York Times, May 14, 2009).

    One has to wonder what is going on there….

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  11. RRM (9,636 comments) says:

    I agree with Fletch.

    Pope Benedict has tried vewwy, vewwy hard to clean up pedophilia in the church. So leave him alone and suffer in silence, my children.

    All those people who in the past may have got buggered up the arse by a bent Priest should come off their high horse and STFU, because their complaints are really nothing more than part of a nasty conspiracy to attack the church over other issues. Even if the abused don’t realise it themselves. Filthy little wretches probably asked for it anyway.

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  12. Fletch (6,135 comments) says:

    LRO, please explain how you come to that conclusion….

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  13. Fletch (6,135 comments) says:

    RRM, actually the Church encourages those who have been abused to come forward and there have been very few cases over the last decade or more. What we’re looking at now in the media are cases that are years and years old that the media have been determined to dredge up again.

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  14. LeftRightOut (622 comments) says:

    Fletch, a few bits

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/26/world/europe/26church.html

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2010/0322/1224266809487.html

    VATICAN CITY — Germany’s sex abuse scandal has now reached Pope Benedict XVI: His former archdiocese disclosed that while he was archbishop a suspected pedophile priest was transferred to a job where he later abused children.

    The pontiff is also under increasing fire for a 2001 Vatican document he later penned instructing bishops to keep such cases secret.

    The revelations have put the spotlight on Benedict’s handling of abuse claims both when he was archbishop of Munich from 1977-1982 and then the prefect of the Vatican office that deals with such crimes — a position he held until his 2005 election as pope.

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jQWrzPjAEtxgfa_tARqu5413A4PAD9EDDLSG0

    And there’s plenty more out there.

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  15. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,830 comments) says:

    LRO, you really do exist I take it? Where were you when God handed out the brains? I’m surprised you have the mental capacity to transfer food from the plate to your gaping gob.

    Fletch posts a measured series of factual and verified events and all you can do is reply with childish bullshit?

    From a quick reading of the docs listed it would appear the alleged offender was dealt with quickly and kept well away from further opportunities to offend. The police may well have not been involved and I would take issue on that point but this hysterical screeching about offenders being recycled to offend again appears to be based on little other than hatred of the church.

    Remember also that in today’s climate of ‘rights’ you’d have to be very very sure of your ground indeed to publicy accuse a minister of kiddy fiddling, for fear of having your ecclesiastical arse sued off.

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  16. bearhunter (859 comments) says:

    Fletch – if Benedict was in full possession of the facts, why didn’t he simply tell the bishops to contact the police? Or was the “dignity” of the church more important than investigating openly the rape of children?

    As for this: “And why have these old cases been dredged up now? It’s possibly because of Catholic voice of objection to abortion etc in the healthcare reforms in America and the Pope’s stance of the sanctity of marriage.”

    I’m sure apologists will use this line and it might work for them in America. But Ireland, Germany and Italy don’t really give a shit about American healthcare reform and are well used to the Pope’s stance on the sanctity of marriage. If only he was as worried about the sanctity of childhood.

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  17. bearhunter (859 comments) says:

    Adolf: “I would take issue on that point but this hysterical screeching about offenders being recycled to offend again appears to be based on little other than hatred of the church.”

    It’s nothing to do with hatred of the church. Noel Reynolds, for example, abused more than 100 children across eight parishes in Ireland. Concerns were raised by a fellow priest and still nothing was done. That sick fuck baptised my daughter when he should have been in prison. Read the Ferns Report. the Murphy report and the Commission of inquiry on child abuse. They’re all on the net and they catalogue repeated abuse of children by priests, nuns and brothers and they all note the inaction of the hierarchy.

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  18. CJD (334 comments) says:

    “But it’s not Christ’s fault if Judas betrayed” him, Sodano said. “It’s not a bishop’s fault if one of his priests is stained by grave wrongdoing. And certainly the Pontiff is not responsible.”

    Is it just me, or is this a rather unfortunate name for a a priest/spokesperson?

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  19. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    This is getting ridiculous. The only way the church can regain any credibility ( it it’s ever possible for a church to have credibility…) is to purge all the bent priests out of the job immediately and turn them over to the legal authorities. If that means 10% of the clergy disappear into jail, so be it. Time to bite the bullet and get it over with.

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  20. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    big bruv 12:26 pm,

    … if there is one denomination that drives me fucking crazy it is the left footers, among their many stupid rules and traditions the dumbest of the lot is the insistence that Priests abstain from sex.

    I also believe this to be the crux of the problem – the requirement that priests/nuns be celebate; not permitted to marry – this is unnatural AND unbiblical [1 Tim 4:3]. And while I’m not excusing the individual’s (priests/nuns) behaviour regardign pedophilia, the Roman Catholic church has to take responsibility for forcing this requirement upon the RC presthood.

    And Fletch, don’t raise the excuse that priests/nuns are simply chosen from amongst those that choose to take a vow of celebacy. The fact is that to be a RC priest/nun you MUST take the vow; and conversely if you revoke the vow of celebacy (as a priest/nun), so that you might marry, then you must ALSO leave the priesthood.
    Tell me if I’m wrong in this.

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  21. CJD (334 comments) says:

    It is about as unnatural as having benders in parliament voting on family issues Kris

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  22. ben (2,414 comments) says:

    Bruv

    I am no fan of religion but will always support a persons right to worship whatever or whoever they want.

    Absolutely. Let people worship who they want.

    It’s too bad you can’t bring yourself to stop interfering with people’s decisions on who they trade with, and when. Two sides of the same coin, hypocrite.

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  23. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    Kris you are not making sense. No one is forced to become a catholic priest or nun, they choose the job, knowing that celibacy is a requirement. If that’s a problem for them they should choose another job. Your argument is like saying people who freely join a ski team are FORCED to go out in the cold.

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  24. eszett (2,357 comments) says:

    Fletch (953) Says:
    April 8th, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Actually if you look at the history, it is Benedict who has done the most to clean up what he describes as “filth” in the Church, so it is ironic that he is the one being criticized.

    Fletch, this is an op-ed contibutition by John Allen.

    John L. Allen Jr. is the senior correspondent for The National Catholic Reporter and the author of “The Rise of Benedict XVI.”

    Hardly NYTs position. Good on them to allow another point of view. But hardly neutral.

    You also conveniently did not quote some of the passages:

    For example, considerable skepticism surrounds the Vatican’s insistence that in 1980 the pope, then Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger of Munich, was unaware of a decision to transfer a known pedophile priest to his diocese and give him duties in a parish. In some ways, the question of what he knew at the time is almost secondary, since it happened on his watch and ultimately he has to bear the responsibility. However, all the criticism is obscuring something equally important: For anyone who knows the Vatican’s history on this issue, Benedict XVI isn’t just part of the problem. He’s also a major chapter in the solution.

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  25. ben (2,414 comments) says:

    The Catholic Church is I think probably the institution that has inflicted the most harm on the world, partly due to its longevity, mostly due to its persistent abuse of power through the ages.

    That said, what we want is justice, and there is a real danger that the current hysteria ends up putting innocent people in prison. How does one defend a charge of abuse from 50 years ago in the current environment? A priest on trial is in serious danger of being presumed guilty. Furthermore, the Church being wealthy makes it a target for the unscrupulous seeking a financial reward. None of this is conducive to justice.

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  26. kelsey (35 comments) says:

    http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/the-pedophiles-paradise/Content?oid=1065017

    The “Pedophile’s Paradise”

    Alaska Natives are accusing the Catholic Church of using their remote villages as a “dumping ground” for child-molesting priests—and blaming the president of Seattle University for letting it happen.

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  27. Brian Smaller (4,025 comments) says:

    Any comment at all on the Indonesian Islamic ruling by one of their religious leaders that sex with pre-pubescent girls is OK? Pedophilia is encouraged in that faith. At least the Catholic church has 1) said sorry, 2) paid huge amounts of cash out as reparations and 3) are trying to come to terms with the crimes of some members of that faith.

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  28. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Put it away 1:20 pm,

    Kris you are not making sense. No one is forced to become a catholic priest or nun …

    Where did I assert that anyone is forced to become a RC priest or nun?
    But if you DO choose to there are certain ‘requirements of employment’ – celebacy/unmarried being one.

    If you don’t understand what I said then that’s your problem – I’m sure most people know exactly what I mean.

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  29. LeftRightOut (622 comments) says:

    Oh, so that makes it alright, does it Brian? That one leader in Islam outweighs all the Catholic Peddoes? Yeah, right.

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  30. RRM (9,636 comments) says:

    [Brian Smaller]: Any comment at all on the Indonesian Islamic ruling by one of their religious leaders that sex with pre-pubescent girls is OK?
    [/quote]

    Yeah I’ve got a comment on that – GO AWAY TROLL.

    What has any other religion anywhere else in the world got to do with pedophilia in the Catholic Church? Is offending somehow diminished because other people are doing it too? Should I base my acceptance of ANYBODY’s sexual behaviour on what a Muslim Cleric says or does?

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  31. ben (2,414 comments) says:

    Brian Smaller: since when did two wrongs make a right?

    It’s paedophilia we’re talking about here, not tiddlywinks.

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  32. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    All Christain churches abuse their follows under the name of God.. mostly with fear… it is sad.. they still don’t get it.

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  33. Pete George (23,292 comments) says:

    Ben: “None of this is conducive to justice.”

    Little of what the Catholic Church did in the past about it was conducive to justice either.

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  34. ben (2,414 comments) says:

    Pete: of course you are correct but I’m not sure beating up the Church for the Crusades or the Inquisition would be helpful!

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  35. Yvette (2,743 comments) says:

    “But it’s not Christ’s fault if Judas betrayed” him, Sodano said. “It’s not a bishop’s fault if one of his priests is stained by grave wrongdoing. And certainly the Pontiff is not responsible.”

    This comparison may be more appropriate than intended as the record says Christ was well aware that Judas would ‘betray’ him and indeed told him to ‘Go and do what you have to do.’

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  36. ben (2,414 comments) says:

    Yvette: that’s actually very funny.

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  37. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    Kris, everyone understands what you are saying, it’s just that it makes no sense. You can’t claim that a free choice to join a group, which you can also freely choose to leave, that has requirement “x”, is equal to “they are forced to do x”. I dislike the micks as much as any other church, but in this case, the fault is individuals who choose the job when they can’t meet the requirements. There’s still a large proportion of priests who don’t fiddle kids or have sex with adults. The blame for the coverup obviously falls on the church itself though.

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  38. Jeff83 (771 comments) says:

    Kris: I also believe this to be the crux of the problem – the requirement that priests/nuns be celebate; not permitted to marry – this is unnatural AND unbiblical [1 Tim 4:3]. And while I’m not excusing the individual’s (priests/nuns) behaviour regardign pedophilia, the Roman Catholic church has to take responsibility for forcing this requirement upon the RC presthood.

    But yet you expect gay people to be celebate and be not allowed to be married.

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  39. bearhunter (859 comments) says:

    @ Jeff83: Ah but that idea is unnatural AND unbiblical AND un-Kris-tian. You’re not expecting consistency, surely?

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  40. Brian Smaller (4,025 comments) says:

    ben – of course two wrongs don’t make a right (and I never said they did) but one institution gets hammered and the other gets a free pass. One is ashamed of the actions of it’s criminals and the other encourages it. Why is that? They are both “great religions”. RRM says why should he give a fuck what an Islamic leader says but on the other hand seems to give a huge fuck what a Catholic leader says.

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  41. Yvette (2,743 comments) says:

    Kris K – “the requirement that priests/nuns be celebate; not permitted to marry – this is unnatural AND unbiblical [1 Tim 4:3]“

    Was Christ not married?

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  42. big bruv (13,552 comments) says:

    Ben

    Grow up.

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  43. Pete George (23,292 comments) says:

    Praying is biblical, but it isn’t natural.

    Would someone be permitted to work as a priest or pastor if they refused to pray?

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  44. RRM (9,636 comments) says:

    [Brian Smaller]:RRM says why should he give a fuck what an Islamic leader says but on the other hand seems to give a huge fuck what a Catholic leader says.
    [/quote]

    One is the topic of this thread.

    The other is a diversion introduced by you.

    GTFO TROLL.

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  45. tvb (4,242 comments) says:

    The Catholic church in New Zealand has a very robust process in place. I was very impressed with ex Police Commissioner Jamieson this morning on radio. And I believe the Catholic church in the UK also has a very robust process dealing with these issues. But the manner it has been handled in other jurisdictions has been patchy at best. In the US the issue has cost the church $2billion and climbing and risks bankrupting the church. I do believe celibacy IS an issue. That unworkable vow actively denies people from entering into relationships and hence only the abnormal i.e. paedophiles find the vow not a problem. The tendency of the church in covering up the issue of deviant sex from certain Priests has also meant that the deviants have a safe haven both being protected by the church and not being under “social” pressure to marry and they are in a position of power and have good opportunities to have access to children. So in some situations deviant sexual practices have been allowed to happen. It is not that celibacy CAUSES paedophilia, rather celibacy allows a comfortable environment for the deviants to exist.

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  46. kiwitoffee (383 comments) says:

    I was going to say ‘stand by by for the barrage of criticism of the Church’ and, of course, it is well under way here.
    Please note a couple of key facts (not opinions):
    1 the abuse of children by priests has gone on for many years and is an appalling crime, and
    2 Pope Benedict has publicly apologised for these crimes and is now working to address the issue.

    3

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  47. vibenna (305 comments) says:

    I think these are all diversionary tactics by Cardinal Sodano to stop people examining the role he played in the cover ups.

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  48. Fletch (6,135 comments) says:

    I still do not think that celibacy causes paedophilia when stats show that most abuse of this kind against children is perpetrated by family members – ie, Fathers, Step-fathers, Uncles, older brothers etc, or teachers, all of whom have no requirement to be celibate to anyone.

    It doesn’t make sense to me to say that (in secular society or in religious) if we gave known paedophiles an option to get married that they wouldn’t be paedophiles any more. Anyone can see that idea is a nonsense; likewise, the reasoning that celibacy is the reason for this offending is a cop-out.

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  49. ben (2,414 comments) says:

    Bruv, maybe you should lobby the government for other protections, such as protection from those of us who respect liberty ever talking about it, or meeting, or posting about it on the internet. There’s no limit to the human rights you could trample if you think about it. And f*** this 2 days a year BS, go for all 365!

    Thug.

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  50. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    All Christain churches abuse their follows under the name of God.. mostly with fear… it is sad.. they still don’t get it.

    Ah were to start. Firstly, churches don’t have followers. People choose to follow the teachings of Christ, and they happen to meet together in groups that have become known as churches. I’d like someone to put up a substantive case for why being more like Christ would a bad thing? Hint: Read the Beatitudes. If a church does have followers then it’s a cult, not a church. Destiny springs to mind. They are the exception IMO, so to suggest that all Christian churches abuse their follow[er]s is Neanderthal prejudice.

    Just for the record, I’ve never known anyone who attends church because they’re afraid. This seems to be a belief designed to support an atheistic predisposition.

    And I concur with kiwitoffee – the abuse of children by priests (or anyone for that matter) is appalling and no organisation should attempt to stop justice being visited on the perpetrators.

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  51. Scribe (84 comments) says:

    Fletch has largely made the point I wanted to make. If celibacy is the problem, then why are non-celibates the greatest perpetrators of sexual abuse against minors? Family members and teachers have abuse rates astronomically higher than Catholic priests. Protestant ministers and rabbis have similar rates of sexual deviance to priests.

    The abuse by an tiny minority of priests is horrific and disgusting, but celibacy isn’t the problem. Men with sexual disorders is the problem. There have been a lot of changes made to do everything possible to keep such individuals out of the priesthood.

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  52. Pete George (23,292 comments) says:

    I’ve never known anyone who attends church because they’re afraid.

    No one afraid of dying? No one afraid of going the hell, or afraid of not going to heaven?

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  53. ben (2,414 comments) says:

    Stephen Fry came up with a good quote recently:

    “The only people who are obsessed with food are anorexics and the morbidly obese and that in erotic terms is the Catholic church in a nutshell.”

    He was in a public debate with Christopher Hitchens and slam dunked a couple of defenders for the church. It was so horribly one sided I nearly felt sorry for the church duo. Nearly. Video is well worth the watch.

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  54. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    Pete – Nope.

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  55. Scott (1,736 comments) says:

    For what it’s worth I do think that the current Pope is being unfairly targeted. It appears that the New York Times and other media organs are desperate to link the abuse scandals with the Pope. These are the very same media who used to label Ratzinger before he became Pope, as something of a Rottweiler, in that he was too tough, they labelled him as a hardline Catholic. Now they are saying he was not tough enough.

    I think the Pope has done well to apologise and he is working hard to do what he can to make amends. There are definitely some tragic cases here where some members of the church have betrayed the trust of the community.

    Interestingly enough the way to reform, may not be to liberalise the Catholic Church, but to make it more catholic. What I mean is that following Vatican 2 some commentators believe there has been a breakdown of traditional church discipline. So members of the clergy that were involved in abuse cases were not dealt with severely enough by the church hierarchy, as they would have been in times gone by. If supervising priests were more vigilant with their subordinates and practised proper church discipline, rather than letting things slide, then many of these tragic events might not have come to pass.

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  56. malcolm (2,000 comments) says:

    So members of the clergy that were involved in abuse cases were not dealt with severely enough by the church hierarchy, as they would have been in times gone by.

    Except these were criminal matters. The CC behaved like a parallel universe with it’s own laws and actively covered-up the abuse and hence were accessories to the crime and sheltered criminals. Are they any different from the gang member who keeps a look-out while his mates rape a woman?

    And yes Ratzinger has been shown to have actively participated in this and even chaired a meeting where victims were asked to swear an oath of silence. Anyone wanting to explain away Ratzinger’s involvement would need to come up with a good reason why victims of sexual abuse should need to swear an oath of silence to the very institution under which the abuse took place and was covered up.

    The question is rather simple: Mr Pope, at what point did you notify the police about the actions of this priest? By the time it came to your attention you must have been aware that the police had not been involved.

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  57. Repton (769 comments) says:

    As I understand it, Eastern Orthodox churches require clerical celibacy as well. Do they have problems with paedophilia in the priesthood?

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  58. malcolm (2,000 comments) says:

    It’s not the celibacy which is the problem. It’s the religion. Blind belief. Hell and damnation. Original sin. The baseless assertion of a monopoly on morals. The sole discerners of right and wrong. Don’t bring shame on the house of God. Don’t question God and by extension his appointed on earth. Etc etc.

    If you tried to invent a more attractive environment for paedophiles, you’d have a hard time coming up with something better than a church, and especially the Catholic Church.

    The people who say most abuse goes on in the home are correct, but they are being disingenuous. Abusing your own kids is presumably pretty easy. Abusing other peoples’ kids is much more difficult and it is by that measure that the Catholic Church is found to be head and shoulders above the rest.

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  59. eszett (2,357 comments) says:

    Scott (555) Says:
    April 8th, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    For what it’s worth I do think that the current Pope is being unfairly targeted. It appears that the New York Times and other media organs are desperate to link the abuse scandals with the Pope. These are the very same media who used to label Ratzinger before he became Pope, as something of a Rottweiler, in that he was too tough, they labelled him as a hardline Catholic. Now they are saying he was not tough enough.

    He was tough all right when you disobeyed the catholic church.
    But not when it came to child abuse.

    I don’t think he is unfairly targeted. I am also sure that he had the best intentions. However he does have some responsibility. And he shouldn’t be above being asked tough questions.

    The reason why the catholic church is squealing because this has some serious implications. Rather than being completely open, they are resorting to diversion, diminution and denial tactics.

    As for the celibacy debate, I have to agree that it is unlikely to be a cause, but a contributing factor. The whole attitude of the church towards sex is.

    It’s more likely that the church was/is attractive to paedophiles. I am sure most of the offenders had the inclination to paedophilia before the joined the church.

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  60. Fletch (6,135 comments) says:

    malcolm, that is patently untrue.

    In 2002 the Christian Science Monitor reported on the results of national surveys by Christian Ministry Resources. The conclusion: “Despite headlines focusing on the priest pedophile problem in the Roman Catholic Church, most American churches being hit with child sexual-abuse allegations are Protestant, and most of the alleged abusers are not clergy or staff, but church volunteers.”

    Source: Mark Clayton, “Sex Abuse Spans Spectrum of Churches,” Christian Science Monitor, April 5, 2002, p. 1.

    A study by Penn State professor Philip Jenkins, Pedophiles and Priests, determined that between .2 and 1.7 percent of priests are pedophiles. The figure among the Protestant clergy ranges between 2 and 3 percent.

    Source: Philip Jenkins, Pedophiles and Priests (New York: Oxford University Press), pp. 50 and 81.

    According to Charol Shakeshaft, the researcher of a little-remembered 2004 study prepared for the U.S. Department of Education, “the physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests.”

    After effectively disappearing from the radar, Shakeshaft’s study is now being revisited by commentators seeking to restore a sense of proportion to the mainstream coverage of the Church scandal.

    According to the 2004 study “the most accurate data available at this time” indicates that “nearly 9.6 percent of students are targets of educator sexual misconduct sometime during their school career.”

    “Educator sexual misconduct is woefully under-studied,” writes the researcher. “We have scant data on incidence and even less on descriptions of predators and targets. There are many questions that call for answers.“

    Download Shakeshaft study from HERE

    So, how does that make the Catholic Church “head and shoulders” the worst?

    And

    Weigel observes that priestly sex abuse is “a phenomenon that spiked between the mid-1960s and the mid-1980s but seems to have virtually disappeared,” and that in recent years the Church has gone to great lengths to punish and remove priestly predators and to protect children. The result of these measures is that “six credible cases of clerical sexual abuse in 2009 were reported in the U.S. bishops’ annual audit, in a Church of some 65,000,000 members.”

    Despite these facts, however, “the sexual abuse story in the global media is almost entirely a Catholic story, in which the Catholic Church is portrayed as the epicenter of the sexual abuse of the young.”

    Outside of the Church, Shakeshaft is not alone in highlighting the largely unaddressed, and unpublicized problem of child sex abuse in schools. Sherryll Kraizer, executive director of the Denver-based Safe Child Program, told the Colorado Gazette in 2008 that school employees commonly ignore laws meant to prevent the sexual abuse of children.

    “I see it regularly,” Kraizer said. “There are laws against failing to report, but the law is almost never enforced. Almost never.”

    “What typically happens is you’ll have a teacher who’s spending a little too much time in a room with one child with the door shut,” Kraizer explained. “Another teacher sees it and reports it to the principal. The principal calls the suspected teacher in and says ‘Don’t do that,’ instead of contacting child protective services.”

    “Before you know it, the teacher is driving the student home. A whole series of events will unfold, known to other teachers and the principal, and nobody contacts child services before it’s out of control. You see this documented in records after it eventually ends up in court.”

    In an editorial last week, The Gazette revisited the testimony of Kraizer in the context of the Church abuse scandal coverage, concluding that “the much larger crisis remains in our public schools today, where children are raped and groped every day in the United States.”

    “The media and others must maintain their watchful eye on the Catholic Church and other religious institutions,” wrote The Gazette, “But it’s no less tragic when a child gets abused at school.”

    In 2004, shortly after the Shakeshaft study was released, Catholic League President William Donohue, who was unavailable for an interview for this story, asked, “Where is the media in all this?”

    “Isn’t it news that the number of public school students who have been abused by a school employee is more than 100 times greater than the number of minors who have been abused by priests?” he asked.

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  61. kiwitoffee (383 comments) says:

    Child sexual abuse is one of the most appalling things imaginable.

    I’ve seen some reports indicating that most child sexual abuse takes place within families.

    Paedophile priests are a scourge on the Church, as well as being common criminals, and I don’t know the numbers but I imagine they are a very small percentage of the total clergy.

    My guess is the percentage of abusive priests is significantly less than the percentage of abusers within the general population. I’d be interested to see some statistics on this.

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  62. ben (2,414 comments) says:

    It isn’t the fact that priests were abusing. It is the coverup that hangs the church. This remains true even if abuse is more common elsewhere.

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  63. eszett (2,357 comments) says:

    Classic diversion tactics, Fletch.
    Others did it, far worse, we ain’t that bad go away.
    I especially like that Protestants are worse than Catholics.

    Those are desperate and damaging tactics and will do you no good.

    I don’t know how good that study is and how accurate the data is, but it certainly showing up on a lot of “christian news” sites. I guess this is your source: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/apr/10040101.html

    I had a look at that study, certainly not much in there to actually support that quote, nor could I find any more numbers that would substantiate it.

    To me what you are trying to prove is The Onion news story.
    The catholic church has got the case of child abuse at an acceptable level

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  64. malcolm (2,000 comments) says:

    Fletch, I’ve only had time to look at your first quote, but you’re being deceptive with that one:

    You quoted:

    “Despite headlines focusing on the priest pedophile problem in the Roman Catholic Church, most American churches being hit with child sexual-abuse allegations are Protestant, and most of the alleged abusers are not clergy or staff, but church volunteers.”

    But you forgot to include this paragraph from a little further down:

    “The Catholics have gotten all the attention from the media, but this problem is even greater with the Protestant churches simply because of their far larger numbers,” he says.

    I can’t get hold of the second report you quote. But the figure of between .2 and 1.7 percent of priests is well below that determined by The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in 2002. This is the study:

    “The Nature and Scope of the Problem of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the United States”.

    http://www.usccb.org/nrb/johnjaystudy/

    The total number of priests with allegations of abuse in our survey is 4,392. The percentage of all priests with allegations of sexual abuse is difficult to derive because there is no definitive number of priests who were active between the years of 1950 and 2002. We used two sets of numbers to estimate the total number of active priests and then calculated the percentage against whom allegations were made.

    - We asked each diocese, eparchy and community for their total number of active priests in this time period. Adding up all their responses, there were 109,694 priests reported by dioceses, eparchies and religious communities to have served in their ecclesiastical ministry from 1950-2002. Using this number, 4.0% of all priests active between 1950 and 2002 had allegations of abuse.
    - The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) reports a total of 94,607 priests for the period 1960-2002. When we look at the time period covered by the CARA database, the number of priests with allegations of sexual abuse is 4,127. Thus, the percentage of priests accused for this time period is 4.3% if we rely on the CARA figures assessing the total number of priests.
    - If we examine the differences between diocesan and religious priests, then our numbers result in a total of 4.3% of diocesan priests with allegations of abuse and 2.5% of religious priests with allegations of abuse. The CARA numbers yield a total of 5% of diocesan priests from 1960-1996 with allegations of abuse and 2.7% of religious priests from 1960-1996 with allegations of abuse.

    Those figures are of course for accusations, but that is the best proxy we have as there have been bugger all prosecutions.

    I stand by my claim that the Catholics are the best religion for child abuse.

    What are your thoughts on the Pope being an accessory to child abuse by being aware of it in at least one instance yet not informing the police and instead forcing the victims into a vow of silence?

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  65. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    British writer Richard Webster has previous written about this issue. He claims that this is another example of a moral panic and I have no doubt he is correct. Or course, when there is a moral panic, the innocent get lumped in with the guilty, and there is little inclination to try to distinguish between the two. An allegation is regarded as proof. We might wonder how Peter Ellis could be accused and convicted of shocking and bizarre crimes against children. The latest hysteria provides us with the answer.

    http://www.richardwebster.net/print/xgodsexandgreed.htm

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  66. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    To quote Webster:

    “The folly and dishonesty of the policies which have been adopted by the Church in the past, however, cannot and should not be allowed to disguise the fact that the Church has now been demonised. The process of demonisation has inevitably made it into a target for a growing number of allegations. Naive onlookers may assume that all these claims are being made spontaneously. In fact, however, a significant proportion are being generated by lawyers who have discovered that sexual allegations have suddenly given them access to the deep pockets of the Catholic church and who are actively encouraging potential clients to make new complaints. The pattern which has resulted, in which a core of genuine complaints has come to be surrounded by a penumbra of false allegations, many of them led by lawyers and financially driven, is one which will be familiar to anyone who has some knowledge of the growth of care home allegations in Britain.”

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  67. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    ross – I know someone who is working with the Catholic Church in NZ to support management of claims of sexual abuse. Websters comment “The pattern which has resulted, in which a core of genuine complaints has come to be surrounded by a penumbra of false allegations, many of them led by lawyers and financially driven” is absolutely true here. A large majority of initial allegations are simply dropped when the complainant is asked which Catholic School they attended and in which years. Of those that do supply this info, a majority drop their allegations when it’s shown they didn’t attend the claimed school ever, let alone in the years claimed. The smell of money draws all sorts of freeloaders into the open and makes the process of identification and prosecution of genuine abuse all the more difficult.

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  68. vibenna (305 comments) says:

    Ben has got it right. It is not the supposedly false claims. It is the cover up. What happened to Cardinal Groer? What happened to ‘Father’ Macial? Answer those questions and you will have an insight into the moral corruption at the Vatican.

    I do respect many things about Catholicism, while also having trouble with many things. But I can’t see how you can follow religion whose own leaders clearly can’t tell the difference between right and wrong.

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  69. Pete George (23,292 comments) says:

    A comprehensive study commissioned by the Catholic Bishops’ Council in the United States found that approximately 4 per cent of ordained priests had sexual misconduct allegations made against them between 1950 and 2002. This equates to one in 25 ordained priests. Such an unpleasant statistic should concern any organisation. Apparently not one run by the elderly men of the Vatican.

    Church hierarchy is out of touch

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  70. bearhunter (859 comments) says:

    The amount of deflection is sickening. It was just a few bad apples; themmuns is worse than us; it was all the fault of Vatican 2 for loosening the chains…All missing the point, made repeatedly above: when the abuse was reported, how many bishops called the cops?

    And those so pious about the small number of false, financially motivated claims should get off their high horses and read the following:

    http://www.childabusecommission.ie/

    http://www.oneinfour.org/uploads/ferns.pdf

    http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/PB09000504

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  71. Craig Ranapia (1,915 comments) says:

    The really depressing thing about the Vatican’s response is that you only have to squint slightly and here’s a textbook political/corporate spin cycle: Deny, Deflect, Obfuscate, Character Assassination, Rinse and Repeat.

    I actually expect slightly more moral clarity and accountability from the alleged leadership of my church; instead what I’m getting is mealy mouthed PR bullshit and an infantile “they all do it, stop hating on me hater” whiny petulence I don’t tolerate from actual children.

    They really don’t get it.

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