Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Irish Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse Report.

Catholic Church scandal redux.
.
Last evening I was so completely scandalized, I couldn't even respond to the newly released report on the Irish Church Scandal. I tried, but like my response to the Weakland memoir, it is better not to post in anger, so I removed it. (For instance, on earlier post I said Weakland's book should be burned - that was hyperbole - I guess only homophobes engage in such extremist language, and we all know gay people never do that. I left the post up however. Maybe I'll get jail time.)
.
Anyway, I hope priests and bishops will make haste to speak to the report for the sake of the faithful. The Catholic League issued a statement on the report, and while it would be an understatement to say Donohue's position is open to criticism, I believe he has a point in defining the initial reaction to the report as "hysteria". I was pretty upset by it. Yet I think as the Irish report is analyzed, we will get a more balanced picture of what actually went on. In many of the cases Christian Brothers and Mercy Sisters were the perpetrators, not priests.
.
"Reuters is reporting that “Irish Priests Beat, Raped Children,” yet the report does not justify this wild and irresponsible claim. Four types of abuse are noted: physical, sexual, neglect and emotional. Physical abuse includes “being kicked”; neglect includes “inadequate heating”; and emotional abuse includes “lack of attachment and affection.” Not nice, to be sure, but hardly draconian, especially given the time line: fully 82 percent of the incidents took place before 1970. As the New York Times noted, “many of them [are] now more than 70 years old.” And quite frankly, corporal punishment was not exactly unknown in many homes during these times, and this is doubly true when dealing with miscreants.
.
Regarding sexual abuse, “kissing,” and “non-contact including voyeurism” (e.g., what it labels as “inappropriate sexual talk”) make the grade as constituting sexual abuse. Moreover, one-third of the cases involved “inappropriate fondling and contact.” None of this is defensible, but none of it qualifies as rape. Rape, on the other hand, constituted 12 percent of the cases. As for the charge that “Irish Priests” were responsible, some of the abuse was carried out by lay persons, much of it was done by Brothers, and about 12 percent of the abusers were priests (most of whom were not rapists).
.
The Irish report suffers from conflating minor instances of abuse with serious ones, thus demeaning the latter.
- Source
.
I realize that just the idea of Donohue calling other people hysterical because of their reactions to the Irish Report is kind of funny, knowing how hysterical he can sound sometimes, he may have to eat his words some day. The Catholic League statement comes off rather dismissive of the victims, some of whom are in their 70's today. He refers to a good portion of them as miscreants and delinquents, as if they deserved what they got; after all, several of these schools were designated "reform schools". Although corporal punishment was common within such institutions, religious or State run, the treatment was indeed abusive. However, such facts do not make it right or excusable, it only explains why it seemed so commonplace.
.
Remarkably, the descriptions of abuse and neglect parallel several of my own experiences of abuse as a child, which may explain why I tend to react so strongly to this type of story. However what I experienced was domestic abuse and neglect. Although at least one school sister who taught me could be somewhat cruel with her humiliations and occasional slaps with a pointer, her behavior wasn't all that unusual, and it never damaged my faith. On the other hand, I can tell you sexual abuse by strangers along with physical and mental abuse within the home, left a few scars. Nevertheless, I have learned a great deal through the experience, I no longer blame the perpetrators, and I believe I have forgiven them, and so on. In other words, I've moved on - yet reports such as the Irish one, or news stories about similar abuse elicits a strong reaction from me.
.
That said, I do not want to devote a great deal of time to this issue right now, but in the next week or so I will post a few reflections on this and related topics, especially as more expert analysis is forthcoming. I hope and pray that the Vatican, especially the Holy Father will once again address these issues, but more particularly the issue of homosexuality. The faithful are indeed confused and scandalized - and they need definitive instruction.
.
The homosexual scandals, which encompass the misdeeds of the infamous Archbishop Weakland and his fellows who cling to gay culture, seem to me to confirm why men with deep-seated homosexual inclination should not be ordained. As for homosexual priests who have abused minors, I think Pius V had it right; they ought to be defrocked and handed over to the civil authorities. Perhaps due to the general corruption of morals and confusion in the Church, that sort of discipline fell by the wayside in the 20th century.
.
Always keep in mind that the Church sex abuse scandal is NOT limited to pedophilia, it is predominately a homosexual problem; homosexual relations between a boy and a man is called pederasty, which is homosexuality - just ask the deviants at NAMBLA. And no - not all homosexuals are pederasts or pedophiles, nor do all victims of childhood abuse turn out to be homosexual, or sexual predators. And yes, by the grace of God a man can be converted.
.
Of course, anyone who says or believes such things is immediately labeled homophobic by gay rights advocates. Homophobia is a neologism adapted to label persons who possess strong moral and civic reservations as regards the normalization of homosexual behavior; ss marriage, the gay subculture, etc. It is a political term without any basis in psychology - there is no clinical diagnosis for homophobia. Gay activists use the term to politically to equate homophobia with racism and sexism. Nevertheless, resistance to GLBT issues cannot always be blamed on a phobia - in other words, it is not always based upon any irrational hatred or fear, although many gay activists insist the mere disapproval of homosexuality is to be condemned as homophobia or "straight supremacy".
.
Link to the official report on the Irish Church Abuse.
.
Photo: The Austrian Seminary Scandal.

10 comments:

  1. Terry - powerful.

    You mentioned Gumbleton in your post - did you perhaps mean Weakland? Just asking.

    ReplyDelete
  2. LOL! Larry thanks - I meant Weakland - I sometimes get my gay bishops mixed up - my apolgies to Bishop Gumbleton.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Leaving aside the sexual aspects for a moment, the shear cruelty and failure to love is mind-boggling. It is true that physical punishment was more common in the past. However, in reading St. Faustina's biography (which was roughly in the same time-frame) I was struck by the caring attitude of the nuns toward the girls in their charge. They operated a large school which we would call a reform school. It is apparent that the cruelty described in the Irish schools was not an across-the-board thing that happened everywhere. What made the difference? Melanie Bettinelli has some interesting comments (http://www.thewinedarksea.com/weblog.php).

    ReplyDelete
  4. I very much enjoy reading your blog, Terry. With all due respect to Mr.Donahue, : minor incidents of abuse" do not exist.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Carol8:39 AM

    Is Gumbleton gay, or is it that he simply works for an extraordinarily liberal *Catholic* magazine (the premier host of the AbusePointer--such duality) that is extraordinarily gay-friendly these past decades? Hmm..maybe my ragging on Andrew Greeley's almost-missed vocation(s) while delving into the lavender mafia was premature.

    I'll go have a look at Melanie's, but if anyone needs a better picture of Ireland, go to Irish Catholic and click on the article about Easter numbers being up, up, up again.. Most pastors reported in absolutely delighted shock.

    Yesterday on local tv news, we were treated to all the gay faces in our legislature.. I'm unnerved. There is unfortunately going to be any-ol-sex *marriage* here, but the governor said he'd veto the bill again if it again lacked the clause it initially had: for religious folks to be able to legally refuse to marry gays. The faces shouted, "What homophobic propaganda got to you!" I think maybe up is down, now. He caved on there being parental notification of abortion for minors. Hence, I'm only hoping he won't cave on the clause. At any rate, your clarifications are helpful, Terry.. and there also needs to be clarification about what was intended by separation of church and state (which is not an actual historical phrase): it was so that no one (i.e. employers, et al) could force their religion onto anyone in this nation. Presumably that covers re-invented religion, too. I guess we'll see.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Carol, He seems to be gay only by association, his work has been focused upon recognition of gay rights and conflicts with Church teaching on the subject. I heard his brother is gay, which seems to have been a huge influence in the bishop's way of thinking on the subject. I believe it was at Akita in Japan where Our Lady said that many in the Church have accepted compromises regarding doctrine.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Terry - you're correct re: Gumbleton. He does, or did, have a gay brother.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Anonymous4:00 PM

    From the Ryan report (verbatim):-

    8.128 "Br Sorel made the shocking admission that he forced a boy to eat his own excrement....In evidence he told the Committee: 'Well the ... thing has haunted me all my life. It should never have happened. Actually he didn’t eat the excrement, he spat it into the basin, that doesn’t matter, it was wrong, totally wrong, and I accept that. I accept full responsibility for it. It was cruel.'

    8.133 "[Br. Dax] admitted using violence and the threat of violence to prevent boys he sexually abused from reporting him. He also admitted to being a generally cruel and violent person. He agreed that he was an angry man with a bizarre prejudice against boys from County Limerick. He admitted that if he lost his temper he hit boys with whatever he had in his hands and that he could have drawn blood on such occasions. " [Dax was convicted of 25 counts of sexual abuse by the Central Criminal Court in 2003.]

    8.165 "Br Anatole described another particularly savage beating, when a boy was beaten on the bare buttocks with a leather. The boy was placed over a chair on the stage and beaten in front of other boys by Br Iven. Br Anatole did not himself administer the beating but he was present during it. A former resident who recalled the boy being stripped and beaten recollected that the handle of a sweeping brush had been used to administer the beating." [Br Anatole was also convicted in the Central Criminal Court for sexual abuse in 2003.]

    8.186 Br Iven confirmed "an incident where two boys had absconded at a time when there was heavy snowfall. They were captured and returned to the school and, according to the witness, put up against a wall, hosed down with fire hoses and made to stand in the freezing cold in their underpants as a form of punishment:"

    8.227 An anonymous Brother: "I did not feel great about this beating it was part of the reason I left because I felt I was becoming brutalised."

    I could go on adding quotations like these for literally dozens of pages (the report contains 2,600 pages in total). All of the examples above are from a single Christian Brothers' institution.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anonymous5:55 PM

    Terry,
    Ryan says he wants all the detailed documents destroyed because a legal agreement precludes any lawsuits. How do you or your readers feel about this?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous - pleaase feel free to use a name - I normally do not post anonymous comments.

    I'm not sure people follow up with this post to say if they agree or not.

    I believe the documents should be left as they are. I must say I do not like the idea of punitive lawsuits, although I'm not against some sort of compensation.

    ReplyDelete


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. Be sure and double check if your comment posted after you do the verification deal - sometimes it doesn't print if you made an error.