Tag Archives: Bishops

Is the Roman Catholic church serious about stopping child abuse?

A conflict of worldviews
A conflict of worldviews

At the risk of alienating my Catholic readers, I feel that I have to say something about the recent news story about the Catholic Church leaders abusing children of both sexes, and then covering it up. Let’s start with a news article, then a reaction from a Catholic person I respect, then I’ll give my thoughts about it.

Here’s a news story from ABC News:

Sexual assault survivors shared their stories after a Pennsylvania grand jury report accused hundreds of Roman Catholic priests of assaulting children.

Speaking at a news conference Tuesday, several of them detailed heart-wrenching accounts of alleged sexual abuse against 301 priests across six of the state’s eight dioceses.

[…]Pennsylvania’s attorney general released the scathing report that revealed the results of a two-year investigation into hundreds of sexual abuse allegations. The probe found that at least 1,000 children had been abused at the hands of Catholic clergy members, dating back to the 1940s.

“Predators in every diocese weaponized the Catholic faith and used it as a tool of their abuse,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said Tuesday. “Priests were raping little boys and girls and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing, they hid it all. For decades.”

[…]The investigation was based on official documents and secret archives from the church, according to the report. High-level church leaders allegedly covered up the abuse for years, fostering a “circle of secrecy,” Shapiro said.

“The cover up was sophisticated and, all the while, church leadership kept records of the abuse and the cover-up,” Shapiro said Tuesday. “They sought to do the same things that senior church leaders and the diocese we investigated have done for decades: bury the sexual abuse by priests upon children and cover it up forever. Shamefully.”

The key concern about this is the cover-up. The Roman Catholic church was more concerned with covering up for the abuse and rapes. That was their priority. They were concerned about defending the reputation of the corrupt child abusers. They were not concerned about the victims. And they were not concerned about what the Bible teaches about sexual immorality. Or what the Bible teaches about anything, really.

Matt Walsh, a conservative Catholic, had this to say in a post from June 2018, at the Daily Wire:

I’m taking some heat on Twitter today because I said that the real problem in the Catholic Church isn’t pedophilia but gay priests. As the statistics clearly show, the vast majority of predators in the clergy were homosexual and the vast majority were not pedophiles. The same study that reported those figures did try to absolve gay priests by claiming that their homosexuality had nothing to do with anything. But this is an assumption — I think a plainly absurd and unprovable assumption — that is not born out by their own statistics.

And the problem goes beyond sex abuse of minors. As Rod Dreher has been reporting, and liberal publications agree, homosexuality runs rampant in the modern priesthood. Sexual activity between priests, and between priests and seminarians, is not uncommon. I think it is rather difficult to separate these facts from the fact that teen boys were so often sexually victimized. Is it just a coincidence that gay priests exist in such large numbers, protected by gay cabals within the Church, and at the same time there happen to be a bunch of priests molesting pubescent boys? Are these two realities entirely separate from one another?

Take the case of the scummy Cardinal McCarrick. He has been accused of preying upon young boys. But most of the stories that have come out about him revolve around his sexual exploits with seminarians. Grown men, in other words. Yet we are told that the fact of his homosexuality is irrelevant. How could it be? If he were not a homosexual, he would not have molested boys. Who could dispute this? I’m not claiming that all homosexuals molest boys. I am claiming that only homosexuals molest boys. A non-homosexual, by definition, is not attracted to males.

Just to be clear, the Bible’s teaching on sexual activity is that no one is allowed to engage in sexual activity outside of natural marriage. Period.

I don’t feel comfortable listing the details of what the Catholic leaders did, but you can read about it on the Pennsylvania attorney general’s web site. The important thing here is that none of the men who did these things, or covered it up after, really expect to meet God face-to-face on the Day of Judgment. Everything they did to those children and young people was for their own pleasure and gratification. They certainly were not working for God, or advancing his interests. On the contrary, they put themselves first, and pushed young people away from God.

If I could summarize God’s agenda for his human creations, it would be that we all not do anything that would push anyone away from a two-way relationship with God. That goes for everybody including atheists, by the way. Nobody, regardless of religion, should do anything that pushes anyone away from God. So do these Roman Catholics work for God? To work for God, minimally, is to put your own desires on hold, and perform actions that advance God’s agenda. God’s agenda, minimally, is that people come to have accurate beliefs about his existence and character. It’s OK to be offensive to others by telling them the truth gently and respectfully. But it’s not OK to harm them in a way that pushes them away from God, just because you want to gratify your own selfish desires.

Here’s a thought about the search for truth and meaning. If you want to have a comprehensive worldview that answers the big questions, like cosmic origins, objective moral obligations, life after death, etc. then it’s probably not a good idea to look to people in an organization to tell you what is true or not. Especially when the organization relies on feelings, mysticism, rituals, etc. An organization is interested in protecting the organization. When the Jehovah’s Witnesses get caught lying about their failed end-of-the-world predictions, they cover it up. When the Mormons get caught lying about cosmology and archaeology, they cover it up. Organizations protect the organization. A much better plan, it seems to me, is to develop your own worldview, starting with the evidence from science and history. That’s what I did, and I’m an evangelical Protestant Christian.

William Lane Craig discusses recent challenges to religious liberty

Listening to William Lane Craig talk about current events and its relevance to theological and ethical concerns makes me very happy. I have 3 of his commentaries below, but if you have been following my blog, you know about all three of them already. Still, it’s great to hear a philosopher and theologian way in on practical issues. I like it as much as when Wayne Grudem does it. I never, ever get tired of hearing Christian pastors and scholars talk about practical things.

I think that all of you who are suspicious of my efforts to link Christianity to other issues should listen to these podcasts.

Here’s the MP3 file from the first lecture on religious liberty, dated January 22, 2012. (14 MB | 6:17 min)

Topics:

  • The issue is whether churches should be allowed to be exempt from hiring restrictions
  • The Supreme Court ruling saying that the state cannot intervene in church hiring decisions
  • The Obama administration tried to erase the religious liberty protections for churches
  • The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Texas sonogram law
  • The importance of an incremental pro-life approach

Here’s the MP3 file from the second lecture, dated January 29th, 2012. Get MP3 (21 MB | 9:10 min)

Topics:

  • The issue is whether Catholic organizations should be forced to cover abortion drugs
  • The state is attempting to mandate what religious organizations must pay for
  • The mandate would force churches to pay for abortion drugs: Ella and Plan “B”
  • The issue is not contraception, which some Christians may support
  • The issue is an issue of religious liberty and government control

Here’s the MP3 file from the third lecture, dated February 10th, 2012. (43 MB | 18:59 min)

Topics:

  • Obama’s “compromise”: making the insurance companies pay for abortion drugs
  • Does the compromise really resolve the religious liberty issue?
  • Many Catholic institutions have Catholic insurance companies
  • Many faith-based organizations self-insure by pooling employee resources
  • The compromise would require these groups to cover abortion drugs
  • Another issue is the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling against Prop 8
  • Did Prop 8 really take rights away from gays and lesbians?
  • No – Prop 8 defined heterosexual marriage as valid or recognized
  • Prop 8 doesn’t even mention gays and lesbians
  • Prop 8 says straights and gays have the same right to marry someone of the opposite sex
  • Prop 8 says nothing about a person’s sexual orientation
  • This attempt to push for same-sex marriage is an attempt to deconstruct marriage
  • It is important to think of issues like this before voting
  • Christians should care about politics and follow politics
  • Christians who don’t know politics are “naive” and “have their head in the sand”
  • The two judges in this decision were appointed by Democrats: Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton

I think this is good because I’m sure that a bunch of you think that Bill only ever talks about apologetics. But actually, he is very good about being practical about his faith. He does try to think through how current events, laws and policies affect the theological and moral positions of the Christian faith. I just recently e-mailed him about Rick Santorum’s comments about how the Catholic church supported Obamacare, and then how it later caused problems for their religious liberty. So there is a case where top-down control of the private sector created a situation where religious liberty was negatively impacted… exactly as predicted by F.A. Hayek in “The Road to Serfdom”.