Roman Catholicism’s Excuse-Making: A Review
Yesterday’s post on the latest reprehensible excuse for child abuse by priests — and for hierarchs doing nothing to stop it — offered by the Roman Catholic Church, got me to thinking about the number of excuses the Church has made over the years, concerning its handling of the vast worldwide child-abuse scandal that has dogged it for around a decade. Here are some of the ones I’ve blogged about:
- What’s wrong with abusing children?
- Claims are claims, so we don’t care
- The Devil within the victims caused the abuse
- The Devil lurking in the Vatican caused the abuse & the scandal
- The scandal is a plot against the Pope
- The Bible forbids anyone to “judge” the Church
- The scandal was falsely cooked up by “masonic secularists” and “great newspapers”
- The scandal is a conspiracy of the Jews
- Admitting wrongdoing would cost too much money
- The scandal is an attack by “the world”
- Sexually assaulting children is not pedophilia & there’s nothing wrong with it
- The priestly-pedophilia scandal is all society’s fault
- The victims liked it, so it was OK
- The victims “seduced” their abusers
- Homosexuality caused the “priestly pedophilia” scandal
- Pedophilia is not a crime
- The hierarchs are “not gossips”; that’s how all the pedophilia got past them.
- The victims forced clergy to abuse them ’cause their parents were divorced; and pornography & feminism forced the abuse, too.
- It’s not that the Church protected abusers, it’s that governments didn’t investigate abuse enough.
- U.N. report detailing Vatican’s misconduct was fabricated by “pro-gay ideologues.”
- The Church can never be held responsible for clerical child abuse, because all clergy are automatically “off duty” whenever they’re abusing kids.
- Cowardly pedophile priest who fled country to avoid prosecution blames his victim for having raped him.
- Italian priest also blames child victims for priestly pedophilia.
The above — and more! — are all serious statements offered by current or former Church officials, accused clergy, Church attorneys, and/or the Vatican’s defenders. In addition to all of these, there’s a widespread assumption among lay Catholics that allegations of child abuse are all fabricated, made up in order to extort money from dioceses.
The aforementioned excuses are all depraved evasions of the truth, which is that Roman Catholic clergy around the world abused children in their care; they sometimes did so systematically; abusive clergy were aided and abetted by the Church’s hierarchs; and to date the Church still tries to keep its clergy from being prosecuted.
And yes, folks, the abuse absolutely did occur. While it’s not reasonable to assume each and every individual allegation is true, a long line of independent reports in many countries have all verified that the abuse happened, it happened on a wide scale, it took place over the course of decades, and covering it up had been the hierarchs’ long-standing policy; see e.g. reports from Ireland, Belgium, and the Netherlands, to name just three.
I’m sure more excuses will be offered in the future, but at this point I expect they’re likely to be variations on the above … along the lines of “it wasn’t all that serious” or “it’s a conspiracy!” More’s the pity.
Update 1: Turns out I was right about the aforementioned excuses becoming a familiar refrain for the R.C. Church. In remarks about the “VatiLeaks” scandal which is getting a lot of play in Italy (cached), Reuters reports a top Vatican official is blaming that scandal, also, on the Devil and the media (cached):
The Vatican’s number 2 accused the media on Monday [June 18] of trying “to imitate Dan Brown” in their coverage of the VatiLeaks scandal and said the Roman Catholic Church’s latest travails were part of the Devil’s attempt to destabilize it. …
In a rare interview with the Italian Catholic magazine Famiglia Cristiana, Bertone, the Vatican’s secretary of state, accused the media of “intentionally ignoring” the good things the Church does while dwelling on scandals. …
Bertone branded as false the image of the Vatican as a place of intrigue and power struggles, saying: “The truth is that there is an attempt to sow division that comes from the Devil”.
Unfortunately for Cardinal Bertone, that the Church might be doing some “good things” does not — as far as I know — grant it a permission slip to be devious or crooked.
Update 2: This list has been updated to include yet another Catholic official blaming the victims for the abuse they suffered. He’s apologized for it, claiming not to have said what he very clearly did say, so I’m not stupid enough to buy his pathetic attempt at backtracking. And you shouldn’t be, either.
Update 3: Yet another R.C. hierarch seriously claims he’d been totally unaware that child abuse was wrong.
Update 4: I’ve added yet another item to this list: Papal contender Cardinal Turkson claims homosexuality caused the scandal.
Update 5: And still another excuse: Cardinal says pedophilia isn’t a crime.
Update 6: Cardinal says priestly pedophilia sneaked past hierarchs, because they’re “not gossips.”
Update 7: In yet another victim-blaming session, the chief Polish hierarch says abuse victims, divorce, pornography, and feminism all forced clergy to abuse kids.
Update 8: Vatican official says problem isn’t that Church covered up crimes, it’s that governments didn’t work hard enough at going after them over it.
Update 9: Vatican says UN report on abuse is a tissue of lies fabricated by “pro-gay ideologues.”
Update 10: Trenton diocesan lawyer declares it can’t be responsible for abusive priests, because abusers are automatically “off the clock” while they’re hurting kids.
Update 11: Yet another priestly pedophile publicly blames his victim for having been raped. The whiny coward also had fled the country to avoid prosecution.
Update 12: More Catholic victim-blaming, this time from an Italian priest. Sigh.
Photo credit: Demotivators blog (defunct).