Pope Connected to Sex Abuse Scandal

russ_watters

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Wow, this is really bad for the Pope and Catholicism:
A priest convicted of sexually abusing children -- and whose subsequent move from one location to another the pope approved when he was a German cardinal -- has been suspended, his archdiocese announced Monday.
http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/europe/03/15/vatican.priests.sexual.abuse/index.html?hpt=T2

What it implies is that the Pope knew of sexual abuse and participated in a coverup of the same type that played-out in the US many times (I actually thought this was largely an American problem).

The Vatican is a strange entity, part city-state, part business and part religion. The Pope isn't just a religious figurehead, but a king and CEO if I understand it correctly. From a business standpoint, it is very bad, but I'm not sure there is even a protocol for removing a Pope from office or censuring him. But the church is in decline and if people believe that there is a top-to-bottom structural problem, that decline will only get worse.

Remembering that we need to stay away from the religious aspects here (and Jesus/God really isn't relevant to this discussion anyway), what led to the split of the protestants was basically tyranny and corruption and this has the same type of feel to it. The church has no real accountability to its members - all they can really do is leave.
 
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Doubt it, highly.

What it implies is that the Pope knew of sexual abuse and participated in a coverup
O RLY? Substantiate that claim a tad bit more. What I read is that in this particular case the pope didn't really know what was up with the guy, is that surprising? Not at all in my opinion. Reading further it goes on to say that a 'top vatican official' says blah blah blah, well those are called accusations and they weren't directed at the pope. I have a feeling your going to come at me with your amazing argument prowess so I'm just gonna stop there. I don't agree with this statement at all.

The Vatican is a strange entity, part city-state, part business and part religion. The Pope isn't just a religious figurehead, but a king and CEO if I understand it correctly. From a business standpoint, it is very bad, but I'm not sure there is even a protocol for removing a Pope from office or censuring him. But the church is in decline and if people believe that there is a top-to-bottom structural problem, that decline will only get worse.
I guess you can look at it that way.
 

russ_watters

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This part is interestingly worded:
A small minority of the 3,000 complaints against priests accused them of abusing children, he added.

"About sixty percent of the cases chiefly involved sexual attraction toward adolescents of the same sex, another 30 percent involved heterosexual relations, and the remaining 10 percent were cases of pedophilia in the true sense of the term," he said.
"pedophilia in the true sense of the term" implies to me that they are unwilling to admit that that other 60% (or some fraction thereof) really is - according to the legal definition - pedophilia.
 

russ_watters

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O RLY? Substantiate that claim a tad bit more. What I read is that in this particular case the pope didn't really know what was up with the guy, is that surprising? Not at all in my opinion.
That explanation fails a pretty basic test of logic: If the Pope didn't know about the abuse, why did he transfer the priest? At best, it would mean he was asleep at the wheel while his underlings did the coverup and he rubber-stamped the transfer to purposely avoid personal knowledge.
Reading further it goes on to say that a 'top vatican official' says blah blah blah, well those are called accusations and they weren't directed at the pope.
No, they are called convictions. The priest was convicted. He really was an abuser. And he really was transferred to cover it up (that is the typical action, repeated numerous times in such cases). The logical step I took is only in the incredulity I have in the claim that the Pope knew nothing while he himself took steps to cover it up. While it is possible that the person at the top of the coverup didn't know about it, it isn't likely or reasonable to believe that.
 

russ_watters

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Oh, actually this article is clearer about his role, in covering such things up:
The pontiff is also under increasing fire for a 2001 Vatican document he later penned instructing bishops to keep such cases secret.
http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2010-03-12-catholic-abuse_N.htm

However, that article (two days older than the first I linked) also says he didn't personally approve the transfer, which is a discrepancy between the two articles:
Hours later, the Munich archdiocese admitted that it had allowed a priest suspected of having abused a child to return to pastoral work in the 1980s, while Benedict was archbishop. It stressed that the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger didn't know about the transfer and that it had been decided by a lower-ranking official.
Not sure if the known facts changed over the weekend or why the discrepancy exists. However, even if he didn't personnaly approve the transfer, that doesn't change the logical problem I outlined by much - it just makes him asleep at the wheel while the coverup was happening.
 
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Ivan Seeking

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That explanation fails a pretty basic test of logic: If the Pope didn't know about the abuse, why did he transfer the priest? At best, it would mean he was asleep at the wheel while his underlings did the coverup and he rubber-stamped the transfer to purposely avoid personal knowledge.
Priests are routinely transferred. I don't know enough to say if this was unusual or not, but it is easily conceivable that the current Pope did not know the true story. It may have been under the jurisdiction of a Bishop [has fewer stripes than a Cardinal]. So as you said, he [the Pope] may have simply rubber-stamped the transfer.

Something else that may be worth noting. 3000 complaints with over 400,000 priests is less than 1%. Given that "7% to 16% of males [in the US] experienced unwanted sexual contact before the age of 18 years", the "priest problem" may be more shock value due to the betrayal of trust, than it is numerically significant. Note also that approximately half of all known pedophiles are married.
http://www.mayoclinicproceedings.com/content/82/4/457.full [Broken]

I spent a lot of time with priests and never saw anything inappropriate, but maybe I was just lucky. What I saw were a bunch of men dedicated to a very simple and difficult life of public service.
 
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russ_watters

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Something else that may be worth noting. 3000 complaints with over 400,000 priests is less than 1%. Given that "7% to 16% of males [in the US] experienced unwanted sexual contact before the age of 18 years", the "priest problem" may be more shock value due to the betrayal of trust, than it is numerically significant. Note also that approximately half of all known pedophiles are married.
http://www.mayoclinicproceedings.com/content/82/4/457.full [Broken]
I don't think that's a reasonable way of slicing the statistics. Because of their position, one would expect priests to be vastly better than the societal average for all types of crimes. What would be more interesting to me is how the rate for this type of crime compares with the murder or theft rate. In other words, are priests committing murder and theft as well or are they primarily committing sexual crimes? The tone of the scandal suggests it is only these sexual crimes. Moreover, these types of crimes lend themselves better to a coverup than, say, murder does (theft/corruption inside the church could also be covered-up without too much trouble).
 
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mgb_phys

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The Vatican is a strange entity, part city-state, part business and part religion.
It's worth pointing out that the vatican isn't some ancient historical right.
It was only created in 1929 by facist dictator Mussolini and yet it has an observer seat on the UN and treated as a legitimate country.
 

Ivan Seeking

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It appears that the rate that pedophilia occurs in the general population is not known. Beyond that, fuzzy concepts like desire, as opposed to action, are impossible to measure, so direct comparisons of this are difficult. I have heard the specific statement that a priest is no more likely to be a pedophile than is any other male, but I don't know the original source of that claim and can't find a source to confirm it.
 

Ivan Seeking

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I don't think that's a reasonable way of slicing the statistics. Because of their position, one would expect priests to be vastly better than the societal average for all types of crimes.
Only the good ones.

I don't see how your first sentence has anything to do with the second one.
 
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There is a lack of proof that the Pope had ever known about this. Do not draw strong conclusions about him because of this.

However, this does hurt the Catholic reputation; the recent wave of reported incidents of sexual abuse in the church in Germany does place the Papacy in suspect to many people and th e media.
 
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God dammit.
 

russ_watters

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Only the good ones.
What fraction of priests are "good ones" and what fraction are no better than average for society? I thought priests were all supposed to be "good ones", when compared to the rest of society. That's why they are priests, isn't it?
I don't see how your first sentence has anything to do with the second one.
Because the priesthood is supposed to choose the holiest people in society, they should commit far fewer crimes than the rest of society. Priests are supposed to be models of morality. So your point that priest seem to commit far fewer sex crimes than the rest of society does not imply that the rate of sex crimes among priests is reasonable or not problematic. If, for example priests commit 1/1000th as many murders as the rest of society, but 1/10th as many sex crimes (for example), that would imply a problem with sex crimes among the priesthood.
 
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How any mature adult finds this startling or unpredictable is beyond me.
 
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Remember, that was in the days when the Church was still pretty shady. They are working on fixing these problems, and quite frankly in a "business" this big, it will take a while.
 

ideasrule

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Priests are supposed to be models of morality. So your point that priest seem to commit far fewer sex crimes than the rest of society does not imply that the rate of sex crimes among priests is reasonable or not problematic. If, for example priests commit 1/1000th as many murders as the rest of society, but 1/10th as many sex crimes (for example), that would imply a problem with sex crimes among the priesthood.
In the priests' defense, I'd say that if priests had a sexual abuse rate 8 times lower than the average, they'd be acceptable moral models.
 
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I had no idea they had an official Association. Who knew?
Exorcism is a very volatile position! They have to have some sort of lobbying body to get benefits.

The Church has been transitioning to a more modern type of church since John Paul II became the Pope. It is still in transition with Pope Benedict XVI. A lot of skeletons are going to leave the closet, but at least they are being brought out now and everything will be starting a-fresh.

Also, the Vatican is just the home of the Church. The Holy See has been around for a lot, lot longer.
 

Ivan Seeking

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What fraction of priests are "good ones" and what fraction are no better than average for society? I thought priests were all supposed to be "good ones", when compared to the rest of society. That's why they are priests, isn't it?
No. The church has never claimed that all priests are or could be perfect. In fact, perhaps most basic tenet of Christianity is that no one is perfect, not even the Pope! Catholics believe this as do all Christians.

If a person is dedicated, for whatever reason, they can go through the seminary and become a priest. There is no way to know what lies in the heart or the dark reaches of a troubled mind.

Because the priesthood is supposed to choose the holiest people in society, they should commit far fewer crimes than the rest of society.
They don't select priests like the Tibetans do the next Dalia Lama. Where in the world do you get that?!?!? In order to become a priest, you join the priesthood, work hard, and demonstrate faith and dedication, which can be faked.

Priests are supposed to be models of morality. So your point that priest seem to commit far fewer sex crimes than the rest of society does not imply that the rate of sex crimes among priests is reasonable or not problematic. If, for example priests commit 1/1000th as many murders as the rest of society, but 1/10th as many sex crimes (for example), that would imply a problem with sex crimes among the priesthood.
It implies that you have a bias against priests. If being a priest drastically reduces the likelihood of crime and cures psychological problems, then perhaps it should be made mandatory service for all young men!

Obviously priests are just people and we expect bad priests just like we expect bad teachers, PE coaches, soldiers, and cops.
 
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Evo

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I think the Catholic church should get rid of the celibacy thing. That was not part of the original church.
 

Ivan Seeking

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I think the Catholic church should get rid of the celibacy thing. That was not part of the original church.
As a young child, I considered that I may want to be a priest. I loved being an Altar Boy. For some strange reason, that notion mysteriously receded from my thoughts when puberty set in.

Just out of curiosity, why do you care? Or were you referencing the shortage of priests?
 
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Evo

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As a young child, I considered that I may want to be a priest. I loved being an Altar Boy. For some strange reason, that notion mysteriously receded from my thoughts when puberty set in.

Just out of curiosity, why do you care? Or were you referencing the shortage of priests?
The fact that it keeps some really good people from joining the priesthood, and that it causes a lot of inner conflict for some that have taken the vow. And the fact that my priest growing up, Father Nelson, who was the best priest ever, was excommunicated when it was discovered that he was married and had 10 children.

That's when I refused to go to church. It made no sense.
 

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