Pharyngula

They just don’t get it

A major court decision in Vermont slammed the Catholic church there.

A Burlington jury issued a landmark verdict against the state’s Roman Catholic diocese Tuesday, ordering it to pay $8.7 million in damages to a former Burlington altar boy fondled multiple times by a priest the church knew was a child molester.

It’s a harsh penalty, but warranted by the way the church turned a blind eye to outrageously criminal behavior. I’d like to say that they’ll learn a lesson from it, but the comments from Catholic officials suggest that no, they won’t.

A grim Bishop Salvatore Matano, who attended the six-day trial, said in a brief, separate interview that the size of the verdict could pose serious problems for the diocese. He called the looming predicament a “sad and tragic moment in our history.”

Wrong! The sad and tragic moment occurred in 1972, when they hired the child molesting priest while fully knowledgeable about his prior history. The legal damages aren’t the problem, it’s what these people did to children.

“I have to look very seriously at what this verdict means as it impacts on our services and the activities of the diocese,” Matano said. “I have to be very conscious that the verdict as it stands will have a very serious impact on a rural diocese; a small, rural diocese.”

The diocese? What about the people? Where was your concern for the diocese when the church set a child predator loose upon them?

“I do not want in any way to inflict any suffering or any pain upon the faithful in this diocese because of what happened in the past,” Matano said. “That is certainly not appropriate, and I am conscious of the universal needs of the diocese.”

Oh, well then…it all happened in the past. No worries about the now, then. I’m sure there aren’t any child abusing priests any more, and the victim in this case…why, surely, he’s over it now.

Diocesan lawyer Tom McCormick said he was taken aback by the jury’s decision and would likely appeal.

“Clearly, in hindsight we should have, could have looked at things differently,” McCormick said. “We expected that a Vermont jury would not unleash a number of this sort for behavior that took place 35 years ago.”

These evil clowns in their funny suits are clearly out of touch. When you’ve defined yourself as a moral authority (often, the sole moral authority) you don’t get to back away from the consequences of your actions because time has passed or because the consequences are severe. Perhaps they ought to look at this expression of tangible outrage by a community as a not-so-subtle signal that they have not and are not supporting the actual behaviors that community considers important, and regards as part of the church’s trust.

Personally, I think bankrupting the gilded monstrosity of Catholicism is an eminently desirable goal in itself.

Comments

  1. #1 Bureaucratus Minimis
    May 14, 2008

    Great piece, PZ. Your next-to-last paragraph really cuts to the chase. No, they really don’t get it.

  2. #2 Pleco
    May 14, 2008

    Amen brother!

  3. #3 BlueIndependent
    May 14, 2008

    Any chance the jurors were part of that diocese he keeps referencing? A coup from the pew, no?

  4. #4 HS
    May 14, 2008

    That these people can say such things and not recognize the tragic irony should be proof enough of serious mental derangement, to say nothing of the child abuse and its facilitation that got them into this “predicament” in the first place.

    They don’t even contest the ruling. It’s just, “Gee, the money we have to give the guy we ALLOWED TO BE ABUSED is really gonna put a damper on the box social budget. Bummer.”

    Disgusting.

  5. #5 Michelle
    May 14, 2008

    100% agreed.

    35 years ago… it doesn’t matter. They hid predators, monsters, and they have to pay. The catholic church is an institution of criminals. Criminals protected by the blind faith of their followers. Whenever someone came forward before, they were called tempters, the victims were the ones that forced the priest into this with their devilish seducing child ways!

    The reason why it was not resolved 35 years ago was because 35 years ago NO ONE WOULD’VE LISTENED!!!

    How. Fucked. Up. Pay up and suffer. And please go bankrupt. Disappear. Screw your diocese of criminals.

  6. #6 brokenSoldier
    May 14, 2008

    “Clearly, in hindsight we should have, could have looked at things differently,” McCormick said. “We expected that a Vermont jury would not unleash a number of this sort for behavior that took place 35 years ago.”

    Luckily for this guy – who is apparently playing at being a lawyer – the passage of time in no way decreases the damage and torment his client inflicted on this child, so in no way should any punishment have chronologically pro-rated for the 35 years that have passed. And it also assumes he hasn’t committed these crimes since then – something I seriously doubt, considering the evidence showing the extremely high recidivism rate among child molesters who are actually caught, incarcerated, and released.

  7. #7 Mark B
    May 14, 2008

    I don’t get the logic of saying that it happened a long time ago, therefore they shouldn’t have to deal with the consequences. Isn’t the fact that they buried it and tried to avoid the consequences for 35 years a factor in the severity of the judgement?

    Just because something happened a long time ago, that didn’t mean that it didn’t happen. You would that the Catholic Church would be familiar with this concept, although to be fair, a lot of the things that ‘happened’ a long time ago in their doctrine can’t be verified.

  8. #8 Moggie
    May 14, 2008

    How long ago do they think “original sin” happened? We’re supposed to still be paying for that.

    Sadly, this $8.7m will come out of the pockets of the ordinary churchgoers who support these parasites.

  9. #9 Bilfred
    May 14, 2008

    Maybe it’s also time they got over obsessing about that Jewish troublemaker who was executed a couple of millennia ago.

  10. #10 Tony P
    May 14, 2008

    I find the comments by the Bishop to be typical of the Catholic Churches canned response to any judgment.He’s trying to play on the sympathy of the flock.

    That said, I have noticed two trends that lead me to believe that the Catholic church is in trouble. The first is the lack of the suitable candidates for the clerical class. There are now fewer priests and more lay ministers in the church.

    The other trend is that overall attendance is down. The churches in my area are ghost towns.

    Now all we need to do is get rid of the Southern Baptists and maybe we can all relax.

  11. #11 azqaz
    May 14, 2008

    Aren’t these some of the people that blamed the jews for killing Jesus? For like 2000 years? Well, that was in the past. Bygones and all that.

  12. #12 Jackal
    May 14, 2008

    “I do not want in any way to inflict any suffering or any pain upon the faithful in this diocese because of what happened in the past,” Matano said.

    This from the people that tell us that we’re all damned by the actions of Adam and Eve 6000 years ago. Do they even listen when they speek?

  13. #13 Michelle
    May 14, 2008

    I think they still hold a grudge towards egyptians too. I mean, sure they were JEWS back then but they still originated from ‘em.

  14. #14 Ygern
    May 14, 2008

    The money might even be paid by ordinary innocent Canadian tax-payers. That’s what happened here in Ireland
    See: http://archives.tcm.ie/businesspost/2002/10/27/story656528.asp

    PZ, you are quite right. They don’t get it. They never will unless people vote with their feet – and leave these disgusting hypocrites who protect rapists in the dust.

  15. #15 Bob
    May 14, 2008

    Fuck them.

  16. #16 Glen Davidson
    May 14, 2008

    Oh come on, they’re the defendents, and defendents make defensive comments.

    Just be glad that they’re paying, regardless of the fact that they don’t wish to do the right thing, and don’t judge them by higher standards than you would other defendents. As we know, the religious simply do not, on average, conform to higher standards than the non-religious do.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  17. #17 John
    May 14, 2008

    “Temporal bracketing” is the vocabulary word. It’s used by perpetrators- of sex crimes specifically- to say “no no that was when I was a different person, I can’t be held responsible for it.”
    Funny to see an institution using it, though.

    (See: “Born Again”)

  18. #18 Ted Goas
    May 14, 2008

    Great post. Would it be so bad if the Catholic church (and other churches) admitted they aren’t perfect. But I’m guessing they won’t the they’ll pretend like this event never happened.

    It’s hard to get publicity like this and claim your teachings are inerrable and masquerade as the ‘moral authority’.

  19. #19 Bloop
    May 14, 2008

    A comment from the original site “Courts will move to limit tort attorneys from suing charitable institutions and threatening them into dust. ”

    Grind them into the dust like they deserve.

  20. #20 Jackal
    May 14, 2008

    Glen D: “Just be glad that they’re paying”

    Diocesan lawyer Tom McCormick said he was taken aback by the jury’s decision and would likely appeal.

    Who said anything about paying?

  21. #21 Vernon Balbert
    May 14, 2008

    But don’t you understand? They’re catholics! All they have to do is confess and all is forgiven! I’ll bet that priest confessed and so isn’t responsible anymore for what he did. By extension, the diocese is innocent as well, since they forgave the priest.

    I think I’m going to gag in my corn flakes.

  22. #22 Kermit
    May 14, 2008

    Unlike us atheists, Christians are forgiven. Don’t you read bumper stickers? That means that they can sleep easy, knowing that their sins have been forgiven by God. It’s a good thing, too, for the actual people who are wronged don’t always forgive. We faithless heathens have to deal with the consequences of our behavior, and when possible, right our wrongs.

    Raised Fundy, I was trained to feel an all-pervasive guilt, relieved only for a short time when I prayed to God for forgiveness. That didn’t work so well by the time I was 12 or so, and began to realize how unlikely and detestable their god was. But for folks who are not given to introspection, it can be an addictive emotional cycle.

  23. #23 Mena
    May 14, 2008

    Here’s more not getting it, this time it’s a guy in Naperville, IL who thinks that we on the left are a bunch of haters. We are of course all for persecuting a nice christian boy who didn’t do anything wrong, he only beat up a gay guy and now the state of Illinois wants to charge him with a hate crime. Oh, the travesty!
    (This guy is a money grubbing whore through and through and he has an obsessive need to “research” gay life, male only, through porn and going to events like International Mister Leather. I expect him to be found in a wet suit or two some day soon.)

  24. #24 Felstatsu
    May 14, 2008

    Isn’t there something in the Bible that Christ said about “If anyone should cause one of these little ones to stumble, it would be better if a millstone were hung about his neck and dropped into the sea” and I seem to recall from a Bible study class I had before I was able to leave my fundie family behind that it’s thought that was the punishment for abusing a free child at one point in time. Things like this only serve as evidence that the church is a wrong organization. It is built upon lies, upheld by evil people no matter what (if anything) you believe, and based solely on putting people down so the priest and all can control them. They’re all about preaching down at you, but when it comes time for them to pay for their own wrongdoings they try to get out of it.

    The only shame in this story is how long it took to catch him and bring him to trial. I shudder to think of how many other children he could have harmed who aren’t willing to step up right now.

  25. #25 Schmeer
    May 14, 2008

    Well, as the sole distributors of forgiveness from God, I’m sure the priests have already forgiven themselves for the horrors they commit on the children. How fortunate for the rest of the world that we don’t have to deal with it anymore! Nothing to see here! Move along! Why can’t you just let it go?

  26. #26 Strakh
    May 14, 2008

    Glen D.:
    Are you seriously stating that we judge these priests in the same manner as some anonymous child molester?
    Seriously?
    I usually agree with you and your blog 100%, but you miss the point here:
    The Catholic Church AND ITS PRIESTS claim to be the voice of GOD HIMSELF. Please, reread that until you get it. Then reread it again.
    These men set themselves above ALL OTHER HUMANS. Like PZ said,when you do that, you don’t get to back away. Ever. And yes, Glen, they SHOULD be held to higher standards or they should be relegated (publically, socially and legally) to what they truly are: fucked up misfits who can’t do real jobs so they steal from even dumber fucks than themselves. No church, anywhere, deserves any respect, ever, and it’s time to start destroying the biggest, nastiest offender of them all.
    And yes, I said destroy.

  27. #27 Schmeer
    May 14, 2008

    Bah! Kermit and Vernon beat me to the easy joke.

    Mena,
    I read the rant that you linked to, absolutely disgusting. Those morons can’t even see the difference between their outrageous hate and the reaction to that hate.

  28. #28 ddr
    May 14, 2008

    Here is the thing that bugs me the most about the whole child molesting priest thing.

    If the priests had stolen money from the church, there is no way that the church would have put them back into a spot that involved handling money. They would have been kicked out. But because it is “only” violating children, then its ok to move them somewhere else and keep their past a secret. That, to me, says everything I need to know about what is really important to the church.

  29. #29 wÒÓ†
    May 14, 2008
  30. #30 Paul Ferguson
    May 14, 2008

    The bishop was acting exactly the way I would expect. He represents an organization, and the primary objective of any organization is self preservation. The Catholic Church is one of the oldest and most successful organizations in human history, in large part because its reaction to threats are immediate, harsh and without remorse. (In humans, the lack of remorse is an indicator of a sociopath. Organizations, on the other hand, are incapable of remorse.)

  31. #31 alex
    May 14, 2008

    The Catholic Church:

    fighting against obsence wealth at every opportunity.

  32. #32 Alex
    May 14, 2008

    #26

    “No church, anywhere, deserves any respect, ever…”

    Perfect.

    Priests, clergymen, pastors – they are but cockroaches posing as mammals.

  33. #33 andy o
    May 14, 2008

    Sadly, this $8.7m will come out of the pockets of the ordinary churchgoers who support these parasites.

    Posted by: Moggie | May 14, 2008 10:49 AM

    Well, most money is from ordinary churchgoers one way or the other, so it’s all good. It just matters who gets to benefit from it. Better the abused one than the abusers.

  34. #34 Cyrus
    May 14, 2008

    The money might even be paid by ordinary innocent Canadian tax-payers. That’s what happened here in Ireland

    Vermont is a state in the United States, not part of Canada… although come to think of it, between the maple syrup, the left-wing politics and all the French place names, I can’t blame you for getting confused. :)

  35. #35 Emmet Caulfield
    May 14, 2008

    The money might even be paid by ordinary innocent … tax-payers. That’s what happened here in Ireland.

    The Church absolved themselves of the moral responsibility and the corrupt bastards in the Government absolved them of the financial responsibility at the expense of the taxpayer. But what can you expect? The people get the government they deserve. By voting the Soldiers of Corruption back in, time and again, the people have spoken: croneyism, clientilism, and corruption are just fine.

  36. #36 Michelle
    May 14, 2008

    Vermont and Canada are like maple syrup brothers! It’S a variant of blood brothers. :P

  37. #37 Glen Davidson
    May 14, 2008

    Are you seriously stating that we judge these priests in the same manner as some anonymous child molester?

    No, as I understand it the defendent in this case was the diocese.

    Other than that, well, my interest in the subject has already gone missing. They’re having to pay, which is how it should be.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  38. #39 Blake Stacey
    May 14, 2008

    If thirty-five years is a long time, then Jesus’ shelf life expired quite a while ago.

  39. #40 Brownian, OM
    May 14, 2008

    Actually, wouldn’t the $8.7M come from the Inca, Aztecs, and other Americans they ripped off 500 years ago?

  40. #41 Dagny McKinley
    May 14, 2008

    I think every verdict against child molesting priests should number in the millions. Maybe then, the church would think twice about turning a blind eye to the thousands of children who have been harmed and abused by people they turned to for guidance.

    Dagny McKinley
    http://www.onnotextiles.com
    organic apparel

  41. #42 B.Dewhirst
    May 14, 2008

    Any institution with such a history of systematic protection of child molesters from justice which was -not- a religious institution would not be allowed to continue to exist.

  42. #43 slang
    May 14, 2008

    Sadly, this $8.7m will come out of the pockets of the ordinary churchgoers who support these parasites.

    So? Who’s holding a gun to their heads?

  43. #44 Bureaucratus Minimis
    May 14, 2008

    IANAL, but it would seem that if the USDOJ had the inclination, which they don’t in the current political climate, that they could use the federal Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statute against one or more dioceses.

  44. #45 Carol
    May 14, 2008

    Actually, the money will likely come from the Diocese’s insurers. I’m sure there is a companion coverage case being pursued right now.

  45. #46 michael
    May 14, 2008

    That reminds me of a similar case here in Germany. A priest had been convicted because he abused a boy in 1999. After that the diocese simply assigned him to another parish without even informing anyone there about what he did in the past.

    Never mind that again that same priest would work together with children. Never mind that the bishop knew very well what the priest did in the past.

    This story came to the surface when new allegations of child abuse surfaced. The priest is at the moment in prison, awaiting trial. The bishop never said that he was sorry and talked much about his duty to forgive. He acted as if this all was like some earthquake: totally unpreventable.

    For goodness sake, forgive. But don’t give such a priest a job where he will (have to, even) work together with children. At very least inform the parish or monitor him closely. (Don’t put him in charge of some small bavarian parish where he is more or less the only one responsible.)

    What is that? Stupidness? Incompetence? I really don’t know.

  46. #47 Kate Corwyn
    May 14, 2008

    “Sadly, this $8.7m will come out of the pockets of the ordinary churchgoers who support these parasites.
    Posted by: Moggie | May 14, 2008 10:49 AM ”

    Since those churchgoers are giving their tacit support for the abuse of children by continuing to give their money, I fail to see why anyone should have any sympathy for them.

  47. #48 Olaf Davis
    May 14, 2008

    “Personally, I think bankrupting the gilded monstrosity of Catholicism is an eminently desirable goal in itself.”

    Aha! So you *do* agree with Jesus!

  48. #49 Marcus Ranum
    May 14, 2008

    Finance is a zero-sum game. The fact that churches have been able to exist without paying taxes, in the US, means that effectively they are taxpayer-subsidized.

    The $$ spent buying silence or paying off guilt is $$ that – if the churches were taxed like every other business – would be available to pay for schools, roads, and expensive lawsuits about evolution in science curricula.

  49. #50 Dennis N
    May 14, 2008

    Religion, Catholic and Protestants alike, have this odd obsession with children and reproduction. For example, they don’t care about dealing with whats true (evolution is fact, abstinence-only is stupid), they just care about what we’re telling kids in school.

  50. #51 DaveH
    May 14, 2008

    I don’t think it’s a matter of them not getting it, they just don’t give a flying fuck. Their phylosophy is about getting what “I’ve got coming to me”. A few members getting “sacrificed” along the way is just an accepted part of that process.

  51. #52 SteveM
    May 14, 2008

    How long ago do they think “original sin” happened? We’re supposed to still be paying for that.

    Not to nitpick but… well yes, just to nitpick; no we’re not still paying for that, that is what Jesus’ little Earthly visit and torture was all about, he paid that debt for us (but only if you let him by being baptized).

  52. #53 brokenSoldier
    May 14, 2008

    What is that? Stupidness? Incompetence? I really don’t know.

    Posted by: michael | May 14, 2008 12:23 PM

    Arrogance. This has happened all over the globe, and it all boils down to pure, unadulterated arrogance in thinking that agents of the church are above the law of the land. But then again, when you teach that your boss trumps any human, this view doesn’t seem as ridiculous and dangerous as it truly is.

  53. #54 Don
    May 14, 2008

    The fine seems rather lenient to me. In such cases a large part of the money ought to go towards helping the victims recover (the well-documented post-abuse lives of these children are often both horrifying and terribly depressing)but I would like to see a portion set aside to fund criminal prosecution of those who withheld information and enabled continued abuse – let’s see some bishops and cardinals in the dock looking at serious time in the nonce wing. (Do US prisons have nonce wings?)

    Unfortunately, the status of the Vatican would probably make prosecution of Ratzi impracical. For the moment… (Hey, I can dream can’t I?)

  54. #55 PsyberDave
    May 14, 2008

    How could the church lose? They have God on their side.

    The church lawyers should have prayed harder.

  55. #56 tony
    May 14, 2008

    DaveH: I think the word they use is ‘Martyred’ — sacrifices of people is a pagan thing…

    sometimes it would be to be pagan!

    FWIW: The hypocracy is one of the reasons I got turned off Catholicism – that and the ‘innate superiority’ (My best friend was protestant – and my mum was sorry that he & his family would go straight to hell – even though they were such nice people)

    Tony

  56. #57 Michelle
    May 14, 2008

    @Tony: You know I can’t wrap my head around that principle. Aren’t catholics and protestants both christians? Why is one going to hell and the other not? What’s the big difference? They both dig for the same dude.

  57. #58 Dennis N
    May 14, 2008

    @Don: I’m fine with Joe Rat not being prosecuted, as long as we can prosecute all of their activities outside of the Vatican. We could do our best to make them wanna stay home.

  58. #59 sammy
    May 14, 2008

    I was sexually abused as a kid by a next door neighbor, I have to admit, and I know it sounds strange, but if I came into 8 million dollars as a result, even 35 years later, I would have to say in a way it was worth it. never having to work for the rest of my life, being able to travel…it was right to sue the church and the amount should have been even higher, but the monies collected should go to building outreach programs or a childrens hospital etc. the victim should have been well compensated for sure but these huge awards help fuel the current get rich quick sleazefest that the legal system has become. Maybe its just sour grapes on my part. i got nothing but but depression and heartbreak plus I was considerably more than just “fondled”…Yeah…its sour grapes.

  59. #60 Patricia C.
    May 14, 2008

    The pope fixed all this. Remember, he said he is going to PRAY for all the molested children. Now, don’t you feel better… gag.

  60. #61 woodywoodman
    May 14, 2008

    Anyone else wondering if they will ever just come out and say “If you seclularists insist on us taking all of our known pedo’s out of circulation there won’t be hardly anyone left to run the church!”

  61. #62 uknesvuinng
    May 14, 2008

    Isn’t God supposed to be able to provide for all of their needs or something? Why the big worry about this fine sinking the diocese? God will make the way, right?

    Unless, you know, God’s imaginary and it’s all a big scam for obscene amounts of easy money…

    It’s funny how omnipotent, omniscient beings always seem to be in desperate need of money. You’d think they could play the stock market, or something…

  62. #63 Amanda
    May 14, 2008

    As a resident of Burlington, I’ve been hearing about this a lot recently.

    My heart swells with pride for my vicious little state :)
    Sometimes I feel really disconnected being way up in the northeast corner of the US, but it’s really quite nice not having to deal with a large majority of religious wingnuts.

  63. #64 Mrs Tilton
    May 14, 2008

    Personally, I think bankrupting the gilded monstrosity of Catholicism is an eminently desirable goal in itself

    From your lips to God’s ears, Brother PZ!

  64. #65 Samnell
    May 14, 2008

    I’m thoroughly convinced that we should be using the RICO act and seizing the total assets of these diocese to be sold off and the proceeds distributed among the victims. If it were anything other than a large religious organization it would have been done already.

  65. #66 Michael
    May 14, 2008

    A grim Bishop Salvatore Matano, who attended the six-day trial, said in a brief, separate interview that the size of the verdict could pose serious problems for the diocese. He called the looming predicament a “sad and tragic moment in our history.”

    Now if the Bishop recanted, and said he was displeased with his past conduct, very sorry for what happened to the boy. Would godless people believe him, would they forgive him? Most likely, “no”. The most favorable statements in these blogs is when the theist is a victim of a crime committed by a member of their local assembly.

    As see with the quote above the diocese still worries a lot about it’s existence and future, more so than with it’s problems of the past. It’s not surprising since Catholicism proclaims good works will absolve their past sins rather than just the sacrifice of Christ where good works follow. The Bishop and those trying to hide the crime should have been thrown in jail rather than making the victim rich.

  66. #67 Mikey M
    May 14, 2008

    Band name!

    “Gilded Monstrosity of Catholicism”

    (Now that I’ve learned that “Precambrian Rabbits” is already taken.)

  67. #68 Quiet Desperation
    May 14, 2008

    And they never will get it. Cardinal Mahoney is *still* in charge here in Los Angeles, and all the local politicos fellate him every chance they get.

    http://www.bishop-accountability.org/ca-la/

  68. #69 McBrolloks
    May 14, 2008

    Bishop John B. McCormack, who was one of the priests in Salem MA, during the time when the late Rev. Joseph E. Birmingham was molesting boys at the same parish, saw on several occasions when Birmingham took boys into his bedroom, and did nothing. Today his a a Bishop in Manchester, NH.

    http://boston.com/globe/spotlight/abuse/birmingham/

  69. #70 McBrolloks
    May 14, 2008

    This is the Pope Benedict’s official statement apologizing for the child abuse scandal, to the victims.

    ” “It is in the context of this hope, born of God’s love and fidelity, that I acknowledge the pain which the church in America has experienced as the result of sexual abuse of minors,” Benedict said.

    “No words of mine could describe the pain and harm inflicted by such abuse. It is important that those who have suffered be given loving pastoral attention.”

    During the Mass, the pope said the church has worked “to deal honestly and fairly with this tragic situation” and to ensure that children are safe. ” ”

    If anybody calls this an apology to the victims……………………

  70. #71 WRMartin
    May 14, 2008

    @ slang #43 re:”Who’s holding a gun to their heads?”

    Mother Goose. (Nursery rhymes, imaginary critters, etc.) Aw, never mind, there was a joke there but it alludes me now.

  71. #72 Dennis N
    May 14, 2008

    Michael, I think both should have happened. I have the feeling the victim’s life was put on a totally different course than it would have otherwise been in. The Church has piles of money and pays no taxes. Unless the victim getting molested was all part of god’s plan, but you’d have to have a very messed up moral compass to think that.

  72. #73 Etha Williams
    May 14, 2008

    But what about “Catholic guilt”…oh right, that’s reserved for the lowly parishioners. FSM forbid a sanctified member of the child-molesting clergy should feel such a thing.

  73. #74 Matt Penfold
    May 14, 2008

    “But what about “Catholic guilt”…oh right, that’s reserved for the lowly parishioners. FSM forbid a sanctified member of the child-molesting clergy should feel such a thing.”

    Catholic guilt would seem to be something the victims of Catholic nuns and priests are supposed to feel. Not those are guilty of the abuse. And women, of course. Catholic women are supposed to feel guilty, for having the temerity to have vaginas.

  74. #75 tony
    May 14, 2008

    Michele@57: Catholics are part of the one true church. Protestants rejected the church and its teachings (reformation) and the infallibility and leadership of the pope – making them apostate in the eyes of catholics. Apostacy is a hell-bound crime.

    Another example of fuck-headed tribalism at work.

    tony

  75. #76 CalGeorge
    May 14, 2008

    Good verdict!

    The right to be brainwashed by unemployable, delusional child-men, without fear of fondling, has been re-affirmed.

  76. #77 tony
    May 14, 2008

    @57 “be given loving pastoral attention”

    Isn’t that what started the whole thing?

  77. #78 CalGeorge
    May 14, 2008

    “A grim Bishop Salvatore Matano, who attended the six-day trial, said in a brief, separate interview that the size of the verdict could pose serious problems for the diocese.”

    There’s always balloon travel fund raising.

  78. #79 DiscoveredJoys
    May 14, 2008

    Isn’t there something in the Bible that Christ said about “If anyone should cause one of these little ones to stumble, it would be better if a millstone were hung about his neck and dropped into the sea”

    Not enough millstones, too little water.

  79. #80 DaveH
    May 14, 2008

    “It is important that those who have suffered be given loving pastoral attention.”

    Has it occurred to these fuckwits that this just may be the source of the problem?

  80. #81 DiscoveredJoys
    May 14, 2008

    Actually its not just that the notorious believer Bishop Salvatore Matano doesn’t get it, its that he is living in a version of the Courtiers Reply.

    He sees the Roman Catholic church as performing a vital function interceeding between the flock of sinners and their god, and this takes priority in his eyes. Some of those priests are genuinely good people (if deluded) and some are kiddy-fiddlers or worse.

    Of course others see a bloated parasitic organisation sucking the lifeblood from their hosts, all in the name of something that you can’t see until you are dead. What a scam.

  81. #82 Julian
    May 14, 2008

    Luckily, in a week, this decision will also be in the past, so paying it won’t be such a big deal for them then.

  82. #83 Christianjb
    May 14, 2008

    From the ‘best-of’ Christianjb.. (Is it arrogant to anthologize myself?)

    Remind me again, why does anyone take sexual advice from a (presumed) celibate octogenarian who heads an exclusively male-run cult and who does more than anyone else in the world to restrict the reproductive rights of women and spread disinformation about contraceptives?

    I prefer Dan Savage.

    ———-
    I see I forgot to include the fact that he also heads an institution which is famous for providing cover for child-abusers.

  83. #84 tony
    May 14, 2008

    @83: yes

  84. #85 Etha Williams
    May 14, 2008

    Is this along the same lines as the argument that all of God’s OT morality was moral then, but isn’t anymore? Ie, it was moral to molest children 35 years ago — just not anymore?

  85. #86 Moggie
    May 14, 2008

    Michael @ #46:

    This story came to the surface when new allegations of child abuse surfaced. The priest is at the moment in prison, awaiting trial. The bishop never said that he was sorry and talked much about his duty to forgive. He acted as if this all was like some earthquake: totally unpreventable.

    For goodness sake, forgive. But don’t give such a priest a job where he will (have to, even) work together with children. At very least inform the parish or monitor him closely. (Don’t put him in charge of some small bavarian parish where he is more or less the only one responsible.)

    The bishop had no standing to forgive the priest for his actions against the kid(s), only for his actions against the bishop or the church. If you punch me, I have the right to forgive you, but it would make no sense for your boss to forgive you on my behalf. In fact, it would be downright insulting, even if it weren’t so obviously self-serving.

  86. #87 frog
    May 14, 2008

    This reminds me of the Donatist “error” of the fourth century, where one sect had the temerity to suggest that the holiness of an organization is not independent of the holiness of it’s leadership. It was a very serious heresy – that priests who commit crimes should not be considered to have magical powers just because he wears a funny hat.

    The mainline thinking is what makes the priests statement coherent. The Church and it’s propagation is morally more important than anything that can be done by it’s hierarchy; in their minds, the Catholic church could be composed of canibalistic, child-molesting, meat-on-friday eaters, and that would in no way reflect on the validity of the organization.

    In short, a bunch of authoritarian loons (even loonier than their belief in fairies.)

  87. #88 Mooser
    May 14, 2008

    Unleash the numbers!

  88. #89 Abbie
    May 14, 2008

    Yay Vermont!

  89. #90 CalGeorge
    May 14, 2008

    Vermont diocese skimping on the mandated “safe environment training”:

    Since 2003 the diocese has conducted
    nearly 2,000 criminal records checks to
    ensure that persons working with children
    and youth are safe, and has researched,
    selected, and conducted programs to edu-
    cate employees, volunteers, clergy, and
    students about abuse.

    A recent auditors’ report indicated,
    however, that Vermont and the
    Archdiocese of Cincinnati still are not in
    full compliance with the charter because
    both need to complete “safe environment
    training” in which Church personnel and
    volunteers are trained to teach children to
    protect themselves from predators and
    trained to identify signs of abuse.

    Obviously don’t give a shit.

  90. #91 fcaccin
    May 14, 2008

    From Voyager episode “Body and Soul” (I’ve been reading the “aliens” thread):”If you fire on us, You’ll trigger a core breach. You’ll be killing the people you’re here to rescue”
    I think it translates pretty well what meaning the bishop is trying to convey. Sorry if it sounds silly, but sometimes it is hard to swallow the you-should-forgive-me-no-matter-what-otherwise-horrible-things-will-happen attitude. It made my life a nightmare in the past. I see it every day.
    Honestly, what do You feel dealing with someone who is outraged (when not outright astonished) knowing that You think they should be held as accountable for what they do as You would in their place?
    Monsters.
    Sorry for the eruption.

  91. #92 brokenSoldier
    May 14, 2008

    Obviously don’t give a shit.

    Posted by: CalGeorge | May 14, 2008 5:13 PM

    Amen. This – to them – would be a bit like giving the inmates the keys to the entire place. And they’re good at it, too. They’ve been selectively keeping knowledge away from people, and destroying those who would spread “evil” or otherwise non-approved information, for a couple thousand years now.

  92. #93 Elwood Herring
    May 14, 2008

    Lawyers usually get a lot of bad press, but if they manage to bring down even one of the major organised religions then all is forgiven – and I reckon maybe one day, they will.

  93. #94 sphex
    May 14, 2008
    The money might even be paid by ordinary innocent Canadian tax-payers. That’s what happened here in Ireland

    Vermont is a state in the United States, not part of Canada… although come to think of it, between the maple syrup, the left-wing politics and all the French place names, I can’t blame you for getting confused. :)

    I suspect the confusion arose because it seemed so incredibly unlikely that any group of jurors in the God lovin’ U.S.of A would pull their heads out of their arses long enough to render the appropriate verdict, even in a case such as this. Thus, Ygern concluded, it *must* have happened in some other country- one with more sense. Such as Canada.

    It provides a small ray of hope that on occasion things happen the way they should even here, in the USA.

  94. #95 Caoimhin Laochdha
    May 14, 2008

    Salvatore Matano is just another in a long line of deniers.

    The heavily Vermont State tax subsidized Catholic Church is now arguing that it is unfair to be held responsible for a criminal conspiracy to facilitate pedophilia.

    The pedophilia conspiracy spanned at least three generations of Vermonters. The protection of criminals and the organizational abuse of victims only started to end (we think) AFTER the birth of children who are currently attending grade school right now.

    At the same time, the CEO of the Vermont diocese spent the day of the verdict telling us how the organization is still living the denial of the fraternity’s criminal excesses from the 50s/60s/70s & 80s.

    Looks like it will take a few more verdicts like this one to finally get their attention and maybe help them clean up their behavior.

    sláinte,
    cl

  95. #96 Charlie Foxtrot
    May 14, 2008

    The’s a bloke by the handle ‘BrainDead’ giving the Xtian Deadites are red-hot serve on the comments of that linked article.

    What’s the Pharyngulite policy on jumping on in and providing backup?

  96. #97 Brownian, OM
    May 14, 2008

    What’s the Pharyngulite policy on jumping on in and providing backup?

    We have policies?

  97. #98 Charlie Foxtrot
    May 15, 2008

    Well, not so much “Policies” per se… coz obviously we’re an anarcho-syndicalist commune. We take it in turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the week…
    But all the decisions of that officer have to be ratified at a special biweekly meeting…
    by a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs,–
    –but by a two-thirds majority in the case of more…

  98. #99 Ichthyic
    May 15, 2008

    bloody peasant!
    ;)

  99. #100 shonny
    May 15, 2008

    #8 – Sadly, this $8.7m will come out of the pockets of the ordinary churchgoers who support these parasites.
    Posted by: Moggie | May 14, 2008 10:49 AM (/blockquote)

    Well, sadly nothing, – if the ‘ordinary’ fuckwits STOPPED going to the pedophile center (church), then the cat’lick mob would have to cough up out of their own coffers, wouldn’t they?
    Maybe they could sell the pedophile center to be used for something decent instead??

  100. #101 shonny
    May 15, 2008

    Maybe they could sell the pedophile center to be used for something decent instead??

    Like a proper brothel.

  101. #102 DrFrank
    May 15, 2008

    @Michael #46
    Now if the Bishop recanted, and said he was displeased with his past conduct, very sorry for what happened to the boy. Would godless people believe him, would they forgive him? Most likely, “no”. The most favorable statements in these blogs is when the theist is a victim of a crime committed by a member of their local assembly.
    Example please.

  102. #103 RebekahD
    May 15, 2008

    The ridiculous comments don’t just come from Biship Matano. I read the comments below the story and two of them are from posters who are chomping at the bit to see O’Neill burning in hell and think he will just forget all about the molestation when he gets the money (like he’ll get the money). One also says that children and families are going to suffer because of this verdict. WTF? What about the molested children and their families, freaks???

  103. #104 Blind Squirrel FCD
    May 15, 2008

    For some reason, it appears to be impossible to register as a new commenter at the linked news site. Ya, the locals are obnoxious in their blaming the victim.

    I would have told them the story of Milo, a buddy of mine who was molested by a priest. He became a successful engineer and athlete. He was plagued by guilt and an inability to form close and lasting relationships. He killed himself 2 years ago. He was 50.

  104. #105 BadeMart
    May 15, 2008

    The hurt, trauma and pain caused by the perpetrators is inexcusable. The mishandling by authority is equally so. On the other hand the authority does not have the competency to deal with psychopaths and sociopaths within its own ranks. What hurt can be done to a child is not easily discerned by those who have no children of their own.

    A number of factors enter this disaster, not the least the hypocrisy of a system which proclaims a certain sexual morality and finds its own behaviour at odd with its principles (on the other hand, welcome to every polity).

    Ultimately, the interests of the survivors must come first – whatever that takes. So, good for your courts in calling the authority to answer, and shame on the apparently arrogant response at being held accountable.

  105. #107 Oldfart
    May 15, 2008

    Do ya think this is ingrained in the nature of the Catholic Church? I rarely hear about other Christian churches molesting children or Rabbis molesting children or Imams molesting children. Do ya think because it has become media madness that only the Catholic Church’s excesses are brought to our attention and that the other religions treatment of the young are hidden? Are the average child molesters one hears about on the news ever questioned about their religious beliefs? Or is it really only a Catholic plague caused by the frustrated sexual urges of “celibate” priests?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

  106. #108 Carol
    May 15, 2008

    Oldfart -

    I think that first, child molesters are notoriously drawn to positions in which they are exposed (pardon the pun) to children. So, that’s one part.

    I think an additional problem that is particular to the Catholic molester-priest epidemic is the way in which priests were groomed as priests here in the States. Many of them from that time period were sent to all-boy, residential pre-seminary highschools, and then upon graduation, continued to reside at the same school, only at the post-highschool seminary level, and without any real sense of separation from their experiences as teenagers.

    If you look at the docs from some of these cases, the descriptions of what went on even at the highschool level verge on resembling a really porny Bosch painting.

  107. #109 Malcolm
    May 15, 2008

    Here’s one thing I don’t get: The church knew that the priests were molesting kids, but didn’t tell the cops. Isn’t that a crime? If not, why not?

  108. #110 Tom Morris
    May 16, 2008

    Another example of the double standards of religion. If it was a corporation, school, university, charity, government department, police force, hospital – any secular institution, really – that shielded paedophiles and child rapists from being brought to justice, there would be outrage. That similar outrage does not exist when it is a church is a double standard.

    Why is it that, oh, General Electric or Harvard University or the Metropolitan Museum of Art, can get on quite well in their respective endeavours without shielding child abusers, but the Catholic Church cannot do similarly? This is a travesty, and something that we need to be shouting from the mountain tops (or, perhaps, somewhere where people might hear it).

  109. #111 dave k
    May 16, 2008

    Ecrasez l’infame!

  110. #112 Dorktorb Science
    May 16, 2008

    It seems like a lot of money, but imagine it in 1973 dollars. Hah? HAAAAAAH?

    Seriously, remember when Pope Palpatine was in NYC, and he talked about sexual abuse by priests? He blamed it on, who else, the media: “What does it mean to speak of child protection when pornography and violence can be viewed in so many homes through media widely available today?”

    Well gee, yer Holiness, maybe it means WHEN A PRIEST DIDDLES AN ALTAR BOY YOU DON’T COVER IT UP, MOVE THE PRIEST TO A NEW PARISH, OR THREATEN THE KID AND HIS FAMILY WITH EXCOMMUNICATION? I’ve seen a lot of porn and violence and yet I can still understand this. But then, maybe it’s because I live in a house, not a “rectory”.

  111. #113 Dorktorb Science
    May 16, 2008

    Okay, “rectory” was a bit lame and unfair. But still, I’m a bit annoyed that like nearly two decades after going away to college and thus not having to go to church every week, I’m still worried about having to spend eternity in a friggin’ Heironymous Bosch painting because I don’t feel like saying the magic words every weekend, or because I yanked my crank, or because I have enjoyed (consensual) sex (with adults) but have never, as far as the church is concerned, been married.

    So maybe I have a bit of animus toward these guys over that, and when Creepy Mc Scaryeyes gets all sanctimonious (okay, that’s maybe part of the job, but still) about how teevee is to blame for the church covering up abuse, it’s pretty upsetting.

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