Pharyngula

Wow. Bill Donohue is going to love Andrew Brown. Brown has written a defense of the Catholic church titled “Catholic child abuse in proportion“; you can tell right away exactly where it is going to be going. ‘Only’ 4% of American priests have been accused of sexual abuse of a minor, and as much as 27% of American women report a history of childhood sexual abuse (to quote just a pair of statistics he uses), therefore, Catholic priests aren’t that bad. Which means…

Certainly the safeguards against paedophilia in the priesthood are now among the tightest in the world. That won’t stop a steady trickle of scandals; but I think that objectively your child is less likely to be abused by a Catholic or Anglican priest in the west today than by the members of almost any other profession.

He doesn’t mention any statistics on any other profession. So kids are more likely to be raped by your local policeman, college professor, grade school teacher, construction worker, farmer, dentist, carpenter, plumber, doctor, or whatever than your local priest? Brown hasn’t shown any evidence at all that that is the case. And I think he would have an even tougher job trying to demonstrate that rapists in these other professions do it while carrying out their duties, or while wearing a uniform of propriety in quite the same way priests do.

As for this claim that priests now have tight safeguards…I haven’t seen any evidence at all of that. The Catholic church doesn’t seem to be cleaning house at all, nor does it have any history of doing so; the pattern has been to hide and protect abusers in their ranks, until they are dragged out into the light by secular investigations.

And then Brown goes ahead and lists a series of reasons why the pattern of Catholic abuse has been regarded with an especially deserved horror. Doesn’t he even read what he writes?

So why the concentration on Catholic priests and brothers? Perhaps I am unduly cynical, but I believe that all institutions attempt to cover up institutional wrongdoing although the Roman Catholic church has had a higher opinion of itself than most, and thus a greater tendency to lie about these things. Because it is an extremely authoritarian institution at least within the hierarchy, it is also one where there were few checks and balances on the misbehaviour of the powerful. The scandal has been loudest and most damaging in Ireland, because it came along just at the moment when the church was losing its power over society at large, and where it was no longer able to cover up what had happened, but still willing to try. Much the same is true in the diocese of Boston which was bankrupted by the scandal.

Hmmm. Andrew Brown is a member of a beleagured institution, journalism, which by his own argument should have just as large a proportion of people who carry out child rape in the execution of their responsibilities as do Catholic priests. I think he therefore has a responsibility to turn whistleblower and report all of his colleagues who have gone out to interview children and abused their authority to obtain sex. Surely, the Guardian must be harboring nests of pedophiles that the newspaper protects by shuffling them out to distant assignments when their crimes become excessive.

Stop protecting child-raping journalists, Brown, and come clean. You’ve convinced me, they must be just as bad as the Catholic priesthood.

Comments

  1. #1 tdcourtney
    March 11, 2010

    Those statistics are gibberish. For starters, is he suggesting that priests can only sexually abuse one person per priest?

  2. #2 blf
    March 11, 2010

    Archbishop links priestly celibacy and Catholic sex abuse scandals: ?Christoph Schonborn, archbishop of Vienna, calls for ‘unflinching examination’ of possible reasons for paedophilia.?

  3. #3 jack.rawlinson
    March 11, 2010

    The moon-faced apologist really has sunk to a staggering new low here. I, and others, have been having great difficulty getting comments to stick there today, because The Guardian’s always-intolerant immoderators have been extra hair-trigger with this revolting article.

    I am convinced they post this slimy, morally perverted creep’s blogtrash purely to boost hits. It’s trolling, essentially.

  4. #4 MikeMa
    March 11, 2010

    I remember I got whacked (or laughed at) when, as a kid, I used the excuse, “The other kids were doing it.” Sadly, these are lessons that should be learned in childhood.

  5. #6 wheelbrain
    March 11, 2010

    A brilliant exercise in self-defeating futility.

    The Catholic figures show that between about 4% of priests and deacons serving in the US between 1950 and 2002 had been accused of sexual abuse of someone under 18.”

    “[The] Roman Catholic church has had a higher opinion of itself than most, and thus a greater tendency to lie about these things.”

    I don’t think I need to point out why this is fucking idiotic.

  6. #7 Caine, Fleur du mal
    March 11, 2010

    Certainly the safeguards against paedophilia in the priesthood are now among the tightest in the world. That won’t stop a steady trickle of scandals; but I think that objectively your child is less likely to be abused by a Catholic or Anglican priest in the west today than by the members of almost any other profession.

    Oh really? I think people who are reality-based would differ. Vociferously. Here’s an example of your “tightest safeguards in the world”:

    In its 40 pages on Carney, the Murphy report said that his was one of the worst cases the commission investigated and that the Church’s handling of his case was “nothing short of catastrophic”. “It was inept, self-serving and for the best part of 10 years displayed no obvious concern for the welfare of children,” the report said.

    In 1992, the Church convicted Carney internally, under Canon law, of child sexual abuse. But this compulsive paedophile refused to leave the parish house. So the Church paid him £30,000 to go away.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/newsnight/8556659.stm

  7. #8 Cerberus
    March 11, 2010

    That’s…

    One second (primal scream that sings the song of the end of worlds). Okay, back now.

    First of all, reliable statistics on child molestation state that just like rape, you’re more likely to be raped by someone you know than a stranger. Indeed for child molestation, the numbers are something like an 80% likelihood* of being raped by a family member before anything else.

    *Not the exact number, but it’s pretty staggeringly high.

    So right there is problem A. Assuming priests raped one child apiece (which they didn’t) they are already not doing so well compared to cultural trends of non-familial rape.

    Problem B is as stated before, rapists don’t tend to rape just one person. They tend to rape several people.

    This is also true of child molesters, especially those who misuse a position of power (when they get to that level, this tends not to be their first trip on the merry-go-round). Indeed statistics specific to priests who raped bear this out with many raping as many as they could get away with at as many parishes they were transferred between. Very close to zero raped only one child.

    So comparing victims to rapists is a very misleading comparison.

    And that’s before we get to Problem C, which is the fact that-

    THE GODDAMN CATHOLIC CHURCH COVERED IT UP FOR DECADES AND EVEN NOW IS ACTIVELY PROTECTING THEIR CHILD MOLESTERS.

    Ok, let’s wait for the red veil to dissipate from over my eyes.

    I’m not even going to get into the whole obscenity that is misusing the criminally high number of women who are being raped by the rape culture that surrounds us to excuse rape (because compared to the rape culture, it’s like nothing), because frankly, I don’t think I’d be able to get the blood out of the carpet if I went into it.

    Let me just say that people like this make me wish they were right and Hell did exist so they could get the just reward they so richly deserve.

  8. #9 knutsondc
    March 11, 2010

    “Only 4%” of Catholic priests and deacons have been accused of child sex abuse? One in 25? Even if some of those accusations were false, it’s hard to believe any other profession would have an offender rate so high, even ones that regularly come into contact with children, such as teachers. That’s got to be vastly higher than the general population. Does this guy really think this will serve to minimize the offenses of the Roman Catholic Church clergy?

  9. #10 daveau
    March 11, 2010

    …your local policeman, college professor, grade school teacher, construction worker, farmer, dentist, carpenter, plumber, doctor…

    You were thinking of the Village People, maybe?

    Really people get over it. It’s only a small amount of pedophilia. We now have the problem relatively under control. /Brown

  10. #11 Carlie
    March 11, 2010

    ‘Only’ 4% of American priests have been accused of sexual abuse of a minor, and as much as 27% of American women report a history of childhood sexual abuse (to quote just a pair of statistics he uses), therefore, Catholic priests aren’t that bad

    What he’s entirely missing is the point that rapists tend to be serial rapists. It’s not a one to one correspondence; 27% of women being raped does NOT mean that 27% of men are rapists and therefore a 4% rate in the clergy is below normal.

    ‘This is the norm,? said Lisak, who co-authored a 2002 study of nearly 1,900 college men published in the academic journal Violence and Victims. ?The vast majority of rapes are perpetrated by serial offenders who, on average, have six victims.’

  11. #12 catofmanyfaces
    March 11, 2010

    Did he just try to claim that a full 4% of the population are pedophiles? I’m sorry, not just pedophiles, but active child rapists?

    Seriously, if 4% of the church is, and they are NOT an unusual case… wow.

    That’s just incredibly stupid.

  12. #13 SteveV
    March 11, 2010

    For evidence of the control method see:
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/03/11/vatican_exorcist/

  13. #14 jerthebarbarian
    March 11, 2010

    What a load of drivel.

    “It’s not the crime, it’s the cover up”. The screams and anger at the Church are not in general about the individual priests who have been caught molesting children. It’s because the Church knew about these things and instead of turning the predators over to the police for investigation and trial they moved them to a different parish where they could do it again.

    The statistics on “what happens in other areas” doesn’t matter. Even if the Church’s pulled-out-of-our-ass 4% number holds up (which, let’s remember, is the percentage of priests accused at the moment of preying on children in the past and is not an indicator of the ones whose victims haven’t had the courage to out themselves yet) and it is a problem in other areas, is there an institutional bias to cover up the crime, or is the criminal in general turned over to the cops for investigation? That’s what this hue and cry is about – the cover-up. If the priests had been turned over to the law when it all happened in the first place, people would have been shocked but at least the Church would have been doing the moral thing.

  14. #15 cag
    March 11, 2010

    Unlike their god, the physical and emotional abuse inflicted by religious authorities are real. It is bad enough that they fraudulently keep their flocks poor and ignorant, but to physically abuse the most vulnerable among us is horribly disgusting. I find it hard to blame most of the adherents as there is a good reason why they are kept in ignorance. With enlightenment, the exodus from the authority of the church would be numerous and healthy.

    I have deliberately not mentioned the catholic church directly as there have been cases of abuse in other churches as well. Here in Canada there have been a number of residential school scandals both catholic and other, mostly involving native children. There have also been instances of abuse of deaf children.

    A pox on all religions. The religious demand respect, to which I say “earn it”.

  15. #16 https://me.yahoo.com/a/DhjBEuJ8pt63x6eBKuPx0Jv9_QE-#7c327
    March 11, 2010

    Hey, I’ve only raped 4% of the women I’ve met, and better yet, I’ve only robbed 3% of the banks I’ve visited! I’m a regular saint!

  16. #17 fester60613
    March 11, 2010

    Arrrgghhh!
    Yes, the abuse is horrible – each and every instance.
    But what is also horrible and outrageous and worthy of vilification and retribution is that IT WAS THE CATHOLIC CHURCH’S OFFICIAL POLICY to cover up the abuse!
    I do wish the US government would get a little Henry VIII on the church – dissolve, tax, confiscate!

  17. #18 ursa major
    March 11, 2010

    So ,,,, 1/7 of all abuse is done by the priests?

    /end bad math

  18. #19 Steven Alleyn
    March 11, 2010

    The whole point of priestly celibacy was a way of tightening controls over clergy who were inheriting their positions and using them for their own ends rather than for the Chruch. It was part and parcel with the execution of the first Crusade and an attempt to eliminate Simony; basically just Pope Urban II trying to consolidate church power by making the Clergy more dependent on Rome and by making routes between parishes safer for messengers to travel.

    In that sense, the First Crusade was a huge success… Until the reformation, at least.

  19. #20 'Tis Himself, OM
    March 11, 2010

    There are going to be a percentage of pedophiles in any large collection of people. Not having the slightest expertise in the subject, I accept the 4% figure. However, it isn’t the number of child raping priests that’s the real issue. It’s the fact that the Catholic hierarchy went out of its way to protect and support these rapists that’s important.

    If the Church had informed the civil authorities when a rapist was discovered then there’d be no particular problem. If a school discovers a rapist teacher the administration routinely calls the cops. This is how it works in any first or second world country and most of the third world. If the Catholic hierarchy discovers a rapist priest they routinely transfer him to a new parish to give him a supply of fresh meat. The Church refuses, as a matter of official policy, to call the cops on rapist priests.

    Oh yes, the Church also claims to be the supreme moral authority on Earth.

  20. #21 FrankT
    March 11, 2010

    Statistics Fail.

    Over their lives, children encounter hundreds or thousands of adult authority figures. If 4% of those authority figures raped them, we would be counting the average number of adults each child had been raped by rather than the chances of each child being raped at all.

    Seriously, if after encountering 100 authority figures, a child was likely to be molested by 4% of them, then the average number of rapists they would encounter would be 4. And the chances of being raped at least once would be 98.3%. Thus we can see that the number of child rapists is far less than 4% in the general population. In fact, it’s less than 1%.

  21. #22 Fred The Hun
    March 11, 2010

    Surprise!

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/09/georg-ratzinger-popes-bro_n_491449.html

    Georg Ratzinger, Pope’s Brother, Linked To Child Abuse Scandal Rocking Church In Germany

    A series of allegations in Germany and Holland have plunged the Catholic Church into a renewed crisis over how it has dealt with child abuse after it emerged that the Pope’s brother ran a renowned choir at the centre of some of the latest claims.

    Gee next thing you know we’ll find out that the Pope himself took part…

  22. #23 Navin
    March 11, 2010

    Posts #1 and #11 made the exact point I wanted to. An enlightening stat would be the percentage of victims whose abuser was a clergy member.

  23. #24 Cerberus
    March 11, 2010

    jerthebarbarian @14

    Yeah, this is really really critical as well. Rape statistics in general tend to be really really under-reported because most victims blame themselves, try and “bury” the incidents in their past, or otherwise don’t believe they have the evidence or “it’s been too long” to bring a formal complaint. So there’s often a big gap between prosecuted or even accused rapes and women who state they’ve been raped and a bigger gap between those who’ll state they’ve been raped and those who won’t but will admit to things that were raped when the word is removed and another gap between that group and ones who will admit to activities that were a violation of consent consistent with a rape but often fall into a gray zone we don’t consider “rape” culturally (such as unwanted sexual activity when one or both parties have been drinking or doing drugs).

    Also a quick correction to myself up thread, apparently the number for in-family is 30-40% with 50% being a trusted adult (such as a priest or a family friend). The number I was thinking of was the non-strangers number. Numbers via here.

    Overall though, I keep flitting angrily around the diseased, vile attempt to try and use the hideous reality of the rape culture, a sad damnation of our society as a whole, as an excuse for “their team’s” rapes and cover-ups.

    Most human beings either react in horror to the sad prevalence or try and deny it because admitting the high numbers makes them feel unsafe. It takes a special type of sociopath to look at the numbers and go “well, we’re not so bad now, la di la”.

    It’s pretty much exactly like a serial rapist letting himself off the hook because “at least I don’t beat them while I’m violating their consent”.

    I’m sorry. The red veil is back again. I’m going to have to end this abruptly again.

  24. #25 Steven Mading
    March 11, 2010

    Of course Bill knows full well that the anger at the church as an organization (which is a separate thing from the anger at the individual priests who committed the acts) is not due to the percentage of priests who committed pedophile acts. It’s due to the coverup and the refusal to turn over the pedophile priests for justice because of the Church being afraid of what that would do to their (undeserved) good reputation. That coverup involves a lot more people than just the few who committed the acts, and by writing this article trying to defend the Church’s actions in this, Bill Donohue has just made himself part of that group, just as guilty of performing a deliberate snow-job for PR purposes as the Church hierarchy that actually did the coverup.

  25. #26 MadScientist
    March 11, 2010

    You have to compare that 4% of priests against the rest of the population – do the priests deviate from the general population? On top of that, such people in the general population are punished for their crimes rather than protected by the forces of satan. Or was it jesus? Aren’t they the same thing?

  26. #27 Cerberus
    March 11, 2010

    And then there’s the fact that the whole reason they’re given special dispensation and “moral weight” when they want to rule on everyone’s sex lives is supposedly based on how they’re sexually pure and there I go chanting to Yog-Soggoth again.

  27. #28 NewEnglandBob
    March 11, 2010

    The stupid…it burns.

  28. #29 mmelliott01
    March 11, 2010

    …and may I take this opportunity of emphasizing that there is no cannibalism in the British Navy. Absolutely none, and when I say none, I mean there is a certain amount, more than we are prepared to admit, but all new ratings are warned that if they wake up in the morning and find tooth marks at all anywhere on their bodies, they’re to tell me immediately so that I can immediately take every measure to hush the whole thing up. And, finally, necrophilia is *right out*.

  29. #30 amrinep
    March 11, 2010

    According to FBI crime statistics (http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2008/offenses/violent_crime/index.html), 6.4% of all violent crimes in 2008 were forced rape.

    So, children have a 2% less chance of being raped by a priest compared to the percentage EVERYONE has of being raped by a VIOLENT CRIMINAL…

    Great.

  30. #31 Gregory Greenwood
    March 11, 2010

    So essentially, this Andrew Brown character argues that we should keep clerical child abuse ‘in proportion’…

    “…because it really is not all that bad. I mean, what are a few thousand ruined lives and the stolen innocence of countless children between the master and his brainwashed slaves? As long as the pederast priests keep getting their jollies and the Catholic Church retains its unearned and unjustifiable privileged status in society, then that is all that really matters, right? I mean, we can always breed up a few more children, especially with the whole anti-contraception stance of the church. The real problem is obviously rooted in the declining power of the Church. If the Holy See still has the power to properly cover up the ugly truth of the clerical proclivities, then no one would know about the abuse in the first place, and the whole problem would never have come to light. Which is just like solving the problem, if you think about it.”

    Does this idiot ever stop to read his own inane ramblings? I would like to believe that he could not possibly be so blinkered and lacking in empathy as to actually believe what he is saying, but given the prior course of dealing of Pope Palpatine and his drones it sadly would not surprise me in the least. This casual dismissal of the suffering of the Catholic Church’s most recent victim’s is just further proof that, whenever you think that they can sink no further into depravity, deception and manipulation, The Catholic Church will surprise you anew.

  31. #32 daveau
    March 11, 2010

    mmelliott01@29-

    That’s it exactly.

  32. #33 Cath the Canberra Cook
    March 11, 2010

    AFAIK the Anglicans do, by contrast, have a fairly decent policy in place. The church that I visit has an anti-harrassment and abuse policy posted on the main noticeboard, and they list contact people for making complaints and all that.

    However, my knowledge may well be limited. The church that I visit also has a woman minister and gay deacons and does aid to refugees and good music and other stuff that the conservative wing hates.

  33. #34 MaxwellNC
    March 11, 2010

    What caught my eye is that he’s lumping in Anglicans with pedophile Catholics. As far as I know, there are virtually NO reports of abuse from Anglican/Episcopal priests in the US. From a family of Episcopalians, I’d like him to stop using us to dilute his stats.

  34. #35 FrankT
    March 11, 2010

    amrinep wrote:

    According to FBI crime statistics (http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2008/offenses/violent_crime/index.html), 6.4% of all violent crimes in 2008 were forced rape.
    So, children have a 2% less chance of being raped by a priest compared to the percentage EVERYONE has of being raped by a VIOLENT CRIMINAL…
    Great.

    No, that’s not how statistics work.

    6.8% of violent crimes are forcible rape.
    4% of priests are accused of raping children.

    But remember that the numbers aren’t remotely comparable. There are 1,380,000 total violent crimes, and only 41,400 priests in the United States (according to wikipedia). So that’s about 94,000 rapes – but only 1,700 rapist priests (that we know about). So unless those rapist priests are raping 55 people a year each, they aren’t covering the total rapes in the country.

    But what’s really horrifying though, is the sheer discrepancy between the Priests and the total population. There are over three hundred million Americans, and only 94,000 rapes. The total rapists are only about .03%. Not four fucking percent.

    The Priests are 0.01% of the population, and they are apparently committing nearly two percent of the rapes! That’s about 150 times more raping than the national average.

  35. #36 stvs
    March 11, 2010

    Excerpts from the Pope’s cover-up instructions, “On the Manner of Proceeding in Cases of Solicitation” (original document), to be “diligently stored in the secret archives … as strictly confidential. Nor is it to be published nor added to with any commentaries.”

    “They will also be able to transfer him to another [assignment] … they are to be restrained by a perpetual silence, each and everyone pertaining to the tribunal in any way or admitted to knowledge of the matters because of their office, is to observe the strictest secret … under the penalty of excommunication.”

  36. #37 Greta Christina
    March 11, 2010

    Boy, is Brown ever missing the point.

    What makes the Catholic child rape scandal so morally repugnant, and what is making it have the effect of turning people away from the Catholic Church, is not the rapes themselves. Of course the rapes themselves are morally repugnant, and of course we need to be looking at whether there is some institutional force at work that makes Catholic priests more likely to rape children than other people. (Or at whether, indeed, that’s even true.) But it is certainly the case that child rape occurs in other fields where adults are in positions of trust and authority with children: teachers, coaches, etc.

    What makes the Catholic child rape scandal so morally repugnant, and what is giving it the effect of turning people away from the Catholic Church, is the way the Church handled it. The Church responded to reports of priests repeatedly molesting children… and instead of acting to protect the children, they acted to protect the priests, and themselves. Thus deliberately and knowingly putting more children in the way of known child rapists, solely for their pure self-interest.

    Repeatedly. Time and time again. In every part of the world. As a cold-blooded matter of Church policy.

    We don’t know what makes people into pedophiles. It is a serious mental illness as well as a profound moral failing. But the Church hierarchy who shuffled around known child rapists from diocese to diocese, in a calculated attempt to prevent a PR disaster and protect their own self-interest… we know what makes people do that. What makes people do that is utterly craven moral bankruptcy. They don’t even have the excuse of mental illness.

  37. #38 Paul
    March 11, 2010

    There are over three hundred million Americans, and only 94,000 rapes. The total rapists are only about .03%. Not four fucking percent.

    Smaller. A rapist can commit multiple rapes. But you’re also not taking into account the time period the rapes occurred over (is that a rate, or number for a specific range of time), etc.

    Basically, making any sense of the numbers requires more depth than anyone has given it so far, otherwise it’s just an exercise in innumeracy and comparing unlike things (and I apply this critique equally to both sides).

    Forget statistics, the Catholic Church shelters pedophiles. I don’t care if it’s 1 or 1000, the hierarchy should be legally liable, not just the individual priests (but they should be liable too, of course!). It was official policy.

  38. #39 ckitching
    March 11, 2010

    As far as I know, there are virtually NO reports of abuse from Anglican/Episcopal priests in the US

    I’m sure there has been some. It is a position of power, after all, and there are always going to be people attracted to those positions for the power it gives over others. The key difference, as I see it, is that the Anglican/Episcopal churches haven’t actively protected predators from law enforcement (I suspect the opposite happens – cooperation with law enforcement). Even if there were as many child rapist Anglican priests as Catholic, there still wouldn’t be as much anger towards them for this reason alone. There’s plenty of reasons to believe that the numbers aren’t similar, though. The entire forced celibacy thing can’t be healthy.

  39. #40 Rod
    March 11, 2010

    Catholic churches are not unique. In Kingston Ontario about 20 yrs ago the choirmaster in the Anglican church, who was married, molested a number of choirboys (perhaps up to 20, no-one but he knows). The church denied, denied, denied, until a vociferous group of parents finally wore them down. End result… Mr. Choirmaster got 4 yrs, out in 2. Those who came forward and testified received a cash settlement. The choirmaster never expressed a speck of remorse, even though there were a couple of unexplained suicides among former choirboys.
    An episode of 5th Estate, a sort of Canadian 60 minutes, explored this issue about 94 or so.

  40. #41 Rog
    March 11, 2010

    I dont know why they bothered covering it up at all. Using Brownian logic, the best thing they could have done would be to rape more children. Well, strictly speaking, those priests who already rape children should get on with raping as many as they can, while those who dont can sit back and reap the PR benefits. The power of logic…

  41. #42 Denis Loubet
    March 11, 2010

    It’s not only the 4% that rape little children, what’s the percentage that knew about it, covered it up, looked the other way, or enabled them by shipping them off to molest other children.

    THAT’S the percentage I want to know about!

  42. #43 formosus
    March 11, 2010

    The real reason that the priests are raping children? The devil is waging war on the Vatican. http://tr.im/RuZB

  43. #44 KOPD
    March 11, 2010

    And what percentage of the money donated by parishioners has been used to cover up the molestation of (their own) children? That’s a percentage I’m curious about.

  44. #45 alysonmiers
    March 11, 2010

    ‘Only’ 4% of American priests have been accused of sexual abuse of a minor, and as much as 27% of American women report a history of childhood sexual abuse (to quote just a pair of statistics he uses), therefore, Catholic priests aren’t that bad.

    Seriously? This is his thinking? Wow, shitty math AND shitty logic in the same place. Amazing!

    Certainly the safeguards against paedophilia in the priesthood are now among the tightest in the world.

    *snort* This is the first I’m hearing about it.

  45. #46 IanM
    March 11, 2010

    According to Wiki, the Church has over 41,406 diocesan and religious-order priests in the United States. If this 4% figure is true, does it mean that the Catholic Church is harboring 1656 sexual predators in the United States?

  46. #47 Cuttlefish, OM
    March 11, 2010

    I don’t have time right now for yet another new verse for the Catholic Church… so I’ll link to a recent hymn I wrote. ( http://digitalcuttlefish.blogspot.com/2010/03/i-thank-thee-god-for-buttocks-firm.html ) The challenge was a “Rejected Canon”, a set of hymns, close to acceptable but just not quite there. Being obsessive… I wrote 5 of them. This one was liked, but a later one was deemed “too preachy”.

    I thank thee, God, for buttocks firm
    For skin of alabaster
    For pouting lips
    Eyes dark as pips
    Which rouse me all the faster

    I thank thee, God, for rosy cheeks
    For slender, active fingers
    For winsome smile
    Where, for a while,
    My roving glance still lingers

    I thank thee, God, for perfect voice,
    A clear and pure soprano
    The angels long
    To hear a song
    In forte or piano

    I thank thee, God, the Bishop said,
    For this small piece of heaven
    So dear to me
    Too bad that he
    Will soon be turning seven

    But… I am certain that this describes only a small percentage of Bishops. Hardly any, in the grand scheme of things. Certainly not enough that they should take any offense at all.

  47. #48 Brian Paget
    March 11, 2010

    Like much of Brown’s drivel, it’s just comment bait. I wanted to award him the Jan Moir Bigoted Witless Fathead Award but unfortunately the Graun has closed the thread.

  48. #49 Becca
    March 11, 2010

    I don’t think it was any one poem that was “too preachy” but rather the totality of your work. There’s an awful lot of very devout people on that list, and the thread has devolved into a discussion of church liturgy and modernization attempts.

    *I* loved your stuff. but then, I hang out here.

  49. #50 Qwerty
    March 11, 2010

    With apologies to Cuttlefish:

    There was a young priest so perplexed.
    His creator made him oversexed.
    His vows said, “Don’t do it.”
    His cock said, “Oh, screw it.”
    And his mind said, “All right, who is next.”

  50. #51 Haley
    March 11, 2010

    Fuck the RCC. Fuck them for having celibate priests. The priesthood attracts devout Catholics who have some sort of major problem with sex and sexuality, and they think that it can be remedied by remaining a life long virgin. Of course there are going to be perverts.

    Fuck them for covering up child rape and fuck them for making the priesthood only attractive to those who feel some terrible need to remain celibate.

    (Some people, including many priests I’m sure, have a natural desire to be celibate from being asexual, and this is fine. It is the denial of sexuality and seeing it as something vile to be suppressed that brews a perfect storm for molestation and rape.)

  51. #52 Pierce R. Butler
    March 11, 2010

    Mr. Brown, are you sure you want to use the word “tightest” here?

  52. #53 Koshka
    March 11, 2010

    But remember that almost 36% of all statistics are made up.

  53. #54 BrianX
    March 11, 2010

    I think it’s safe to say that there are large swaths of the RCC hierarchy who are still living in the 1930s, when a dictator of a majority-Catholic country could be as bad as he wanted and have the Church’s full support. But then, the RCC does not ever seem to have really recovered from the screaming hissyfit that started with Italy annexing Rome and eventually led to the Lateran Treaty.

  54. #55 Cuttlefish, OM
    March 11, 2010

    Becca, dear, I thought I recognized you! Looked like fun, but I did not wish to tell them… that *was* me being non-preachy. I could have been *more* preachy, but it would be difficult to be *less*. Whatever.

  55. #56 DLC
    March 11, 2010

    It’s not that there are necessarily more pedophiles in the RCC than in society as a whole, but society as a whole does not make it official, canon practice to cover up, obfuscate and evade prosecution or even investigation of charges.
    In the rest of the world, if someone is accused of child sex abuse, they are investigated and oftentimes demonized by people before any trial even begins. Even being accused can ruin your life.
    Where are these pedophile priests when the people with badges and warrants come ? they’re “Re-assigned.” in essence, the church is guilty of evidence tampering, aiding and abetting and assisting fugitives.

  56. #57 John Morales
    March 12, 2010

    DLC,

    It’s not that there are necessarily more pedophiles in the RCC than in society as a whole, but society as a whole does not make it official, canon practice to cover up, obfuscate and evade prosecution or even investigation of charges.

    Nor does it demand celibacy whilst purportedly providing moral authority to its members.

    (Oi! Is that faint wailing and banging I hear coming from the Piltdown’s Dungeon cell?)

  57. #58 Cerberus
    March 12, 2010

    Can I also hate the Catholic Church in advance for the fact that thanks to them the first thing people will think of when they realize asexuals are real people are “repressed child molesters”.

    The Catholic Church, the big box of evil that just keeps. on. giving.

    No grandma, no more ugly sweaters.

  58. #59 John Morales
    March 12, 2010

    Cerberus, hopefully, not everyone will get sucked in.

    See my previous: “Nor does it [1] demand celibacy [2] whilst purportedly providing moral authority to its members.”

    That first clause is key (provides motive); asexuals are not willing themselves to celibacy, unlike the general run of the priesthood.

    That second clause is also of relevance (provides opportunity), and the distinction should be made.

    Asexuals share neither the motive nor the opportunity that characterises the priesthood.

  59. #60 shonny
    March 12, 2010

    Posted by: MaxwellNC Author Profile Page | March 11, 2010 4:50 PM

    What caught my eye is that he’s lumping in Anglicans with pedophile Catholics. As far as I know, there are virtually NO reports of abuse from Anglican/Episcopal priests in the US. From a family of Episcopalians, I’d like him to stop using us to dilute his stats.

    From what I vaguely remember there were some similar abuses by Anglican clergy in Australia a while ago.
    Priests and other paedophiles . . . fuck them all!

  60. #61 Cerberus
    March 12, 2010

    John Morales @59

    Yeah, I caught that and appreciate that. I also don’t worry that everyone will get sucked in. A lot of people who are cluing in to asexual’s existence so far have been really awesome. Gay rights groups, progressives, free-thinkers, feminists, etc… pretty well understand the separation between someone’s natural lack of a sexuality and the damage that self-repression does and there’s been a huge spike in awesome people qualifying statements about celibacy by noting how it’s not a knock on asexuals or keeping it really clearly separated in their minds.

    My pre-emptive hatred is not about the awesome early people, but the generic normal people and hostile idiots you get later on. I may be wrong, but I expect the less tuned in population to be much more susceptible to make the “what, repressed child molester” leap when asexuals reach the stage of visibility that transsexuals are at now.

    Might I also say, I love the early people. You people have rocked so far. Sorry that my random pop up seemed to be a response to you, it wasn’t, you just helped me make the likely connection.

    In general, I don’t think I hate any organization more than the Catholic Church these days and speaking as a member of several groups that put me at direct odds with the Republican Party and the Mormon Church for very good reasons, that’s really an unfortunately impressive feat, especially since I was more or less neutral about them less than a decade ago. Way to go you rapist abusive fucks.

  61. #62 SteveV
    March 12, 2010

    DLC #56
    ‘It’s not that there are necessarily more pedophiles in the RCC than in society as a whole, but society as a whole does not make it official, canon practice to cover up, obfuscate and evade prosecution or even investigation of charges.’

    And lets not forget that in at least one case the response included taking out insurance to cover damages.
    ‘The report rejected the bishops’ key claim that they were ignorant of the scale and criminality of priests’ abuse of children. It dug up a documentary trail showing that the Dublin archdiocese negotiated a 1987 insurance policy for future legal costs of defending lawsuits and compensation claims.

    The investigators said McNamara, Ryan and McQuaid knew about at least 17 priests linked to child abuse in their archdiocese when that policy went into effect.

    ‘ “The taking out of insurance was an act proving knowledge of child sexual abuse as a potential major cost to the archdiocese and is inconsistent with the view that archdiocesan officials were still ‘on a learning curve’ at a much later date, or were lacking in appreciation of the phenomenon of clerical child sex abuse,” the report said.’

  62. #63 Matt Penfold
    March 12, 2010

    Did the insurance company pay up ? Only as I understand most insurers will not cover you for potential claims you knew about at the time the policy was taken out.

  63. #64 SteveV
    March 12, 2010

    Matt Penfold #63
    As I posted that the same thought struck me – I have no idea.
    Now it occurs to me that the turdrips involved may have been attempting to defraud the insurance company!
    Forgot to post the link:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/nov/26/catholic-church-ireland-child-abuse

  64. #65 rob
    March 12, 2010

    “…when the church was losing its power over society at large…”

    oh darn. the church is losing power.

    “4% of American priests have been accused of sexual abuse of a minor, and as much as 27% of American women report a history of childhood sexual abuse…”

    those stats, even if true, are not comparable. one is related to perps, the other to victims. it is comparing apples and oranges.

    here is a stat:

    5 out of 4 times bill donohue opens his mouth, complete shit emerges.

  65. #66 dNorrisM
    March 12, 2010

    You folks have covered it beautifully,(Especially FrankT @35), so I’ll just add:

    “I think that objectively your child is less likely …”

    I don’t think these words are meant to go together.

  66. #67 bplurt
    March 12, 2010

    Here in Ireland the RCC is coming out with the same whinge: ‘He did it too, so you can’t blame me’.

    This, from the institution that

    - held, in fact demanded respect and obedience for decades;

    - was not a passive participant or observer of current ethics or morality, but loudly proclaimed its right and duty to shove its version of them down the nation’s collective gullet;

    - thundered at every opportunity about the corrosive evils of sexual activity outside marriage or even involving (shudder) contraception

    while they knew that their own lot were raping children, they blithely called those who complained ‘liars’ and ‘moneygrubbers’.

    The latest instalment is almost hilarious: one bishop is now asking The Faithful to pony up to foot the bill ‘or we might be forced to sell essential properties’!

    Andrew Brown would just love the boys in frocks we’ve got here.

  67. #68 Poor Wandering One
    March 12, 2010

    It may be in questionable taste, but I think Mr. Brown may have been channeling the Pythons.

    “Dear Sir, I am glad to hear that your studio audience disapproves of the last skit as strongly as I. As a naval officer I abhor the implication that the Royal Navy is a haven for cannibalism. It is well known that we now have the problem relatively under control, and that it is the RAF who now suffer the largest casualties in this area. And what do you think the Argylls ate in Aden. Arabs?
    Yours etc. Captain B.J. Smethwick in a white wine sauce with shallots, mushrooms and garlic.”

  68. #69 V. infernalis
    March 12, 2010

    Today I was out running errands and was starting to get a bit hungry. Outside the hardware store was one of the usual fundraising BBQs. I was tempted to buy a sausage, until I saw who the fundraiser was for: the local Catholic school.

    My wife asked me why I didn’t buy the sausage; I replied that supporting their fundraiser would be like donating money to support child abuse.

  69. #70 Son of Murph
    March 13, 2010

    I notice Andrew Brown doesn’t mention the current English scandal of St William’s in Middlebeough Diocese, England.

    150 kids put into Catholic Social Services care home were abused over 30 years by a brother who is now serving 14 years and, I hope, having a very unpleasant time being a huge man’s bitch. The policeman who busted him described his as ‘the most evil man I have ever met’.

    The church has never apologized and is stalling on the £8 million compensation payments to the victims.

    But then, this is the diocese who once had a youth chaplain whose car trunk was discovered to be full of child porn.

  70. #71 EricK
    March 14, 2010

    When I was a teenager, a teacher at my Catholic school was fired for getting a divorce. She wasn’t given another job, the disruption upset the students greatly, and a single mother was sent packing without work for a doing something legally within her rights.

    Contrast that with the church cover up of criminals.

    I’ve been trying to encourage my brothers to come forward with their abuse at the hands of a priest but one is too busy abusing his liver, and the other is too mentally sick to get help for himself let alone survive. No wonder the stats are skewed.

    As for the cover up, I would add the complictous priests and bishops to the stat as they may as well have fucked the kids themselves.

    Andrew Brown is a vile religious apologist fuckhead.

  71. #72 seatrout
    March 16, 2010

    Andrew Brown is a member of a beleagured institution, journalism, which by his own argument should have just as large a proportion of people who carry out child rape in the execution of their responsibilities as do Catholic priests. I think he therefore has a responsibility to turn whistleblower and report all of his colleagues who have gone out to interview children and abused their authority to obtain sex. Surely, the Guardian must be harboring nests of pedophiles that the newspaper protects by shuffling them out to distant assignments when their crimes become excessive.

    Given that the definition of “abuse” here is close to statutory rape – ie that the victim was under 18 – I have no doubt at all that many journalists have done this over the last fifty years. How many of the stars covering the Vietnam war asked about the age of the girls in the brothels there?

    As it happens, I haven’t known any journalists convicted or even formally accused of child abuse; I did know, and was friendly with, the librarian at the Independent who had a relationship with an under-aged youth. I have personally known one lawyer and publisher, who was entirely guilty of systematic child abuse, and whose case was covered up so far as possible by the Masons; one former colleague convicted and sentenced to jail for child pornography; one priest and PR person convicted and got a suspended sentence (and the sack).

    None of these were Roman Catholics. This isn’t an argument that Catholic abuse isn’t vile. I used the word in my blog post. It isn’t an argument that two wrongs make a right as the hard of thinking seem to assume. I merely observe that two wrongs don’t make one wrong either.

    Since PZ hasn’t bothered by his own admission to look at what the safeguards are in place today, we can entirely discount his intuition that they are likely to be less stringent or less effective than those in place in any other profession.