04 April, 2010

Response to "Simon" about sexual abuse among clergy

Thank you for that most informative answer. I am not a Catholic as you probably realised, i am Buddhist.Yes there is an inherrant dislike of the Catholic business i think partly cos of recent news media which cannot be denied but also cos it trades in fear and threats of what will happen to it's followers if they stray, also the confession get out clause, do whatever sins you like in the week and confess on sundays, then that makes it ok. thats a basic version of the confession thing but you get my drift. I try so hard not to judge others myself but this recent abuse thats come to light makes me cross that those who are guilty may get away with it again.Its not a continued slur against catholics, its facing up to the facts and admitting guilt and accepting the law of the land. I notice no mention of abuse in the speech from the Pope today,(easter Sunday).What gets up peoples noses is those guilty may get away with it and they are guilty as charged, if they just have to apologise then thats obscene, others will see it as a green light only punishable by an apology.Do Priests and others coming into contact with vulnerable people who work within the catholic business have to pass a CRB check?or are they protected under their belief?
May your God go with you.

also,after reading your answer again,yes the pope is guilty of witholding evidence as he apparantly did not inform authorities re the priest who abused and was dying. this shows he was not doing his job properly at the time and far outweighs what good he did do in reforming the system in that he covered up an abuse case, anyone else found guilty of this would be jailed.Also you refer to protestant clergy abusing 250 times a month, although i find this figure hard to believe, maybe you are better informed and know about this, what are you doing about it, wheres the list of names and abuse cases?
Is anything being done about this matter? who is sorting it out? are they jailed? I know my daughter was abused 16yrs ago by a higher member of the Mormons, and before you ask, yes we did prosecute. again may your God go with you. and may i say i respect your opinion.

Hello Simon,

Yes the media, the New York Times, is cooperating with the lawyer that is trying desperately to make a case against the Church using rumors and innuendo. In the last case of accusing the Pope of participation of a cover-up used as the only proof a falsified document.

Confession does not work the way you think. In confession the priest acts in persona Christi, it is God that forgives the sin and for it to be forgiven it must come from a contrite, repentant heart. Other wise it will not be forgiven. Catholics do not understand confession as non-Catholics do.

For about the last 20 years according to the orders of Pope Benedict, when a priest is accused of any abuse he is immediately removed from ministry and a process of fact finding begins independently by secular authorities and ecclesiastical authorities. It is important to know that the abuse that in currently in the news is abuse that happened 40-60 years ago when bishops erred in thinking that these perpetrators could be rehabilitated and returned to ministry. Also, they were not accused of pedophilia but for having homosexual relations with other homosexual young men in their care which is hebephilia. The psychiatric community was wrong in believing they could cure this aberrant behavior and the Bishops erred in thinking that they could be cured in treatment. They were returned to ministry upon advice to the Bishops by the psychiatrists. In retrospect this was bad advice but 40-60 years ago this was the prevailing approach in the medical community to these actions. Almost all of these cases were known by the secular authorities as well and investigated. Unfortunately prosecutions did not occur because of insufficient evidence against the perpetrators to bring them to trial in the secular courts or because the young homosexuals were of the age of consent.

Priests go through a long process (years) of discernment before becoming priests. During that time their behavior is studied by their mentors and they are rejected for showing homosexual tendencies or any other perverse desires or behaviors. They are given complete background checks that include interviews with people that know them well and criminal background checks as well. They also have sensitivity training to instruct them to recognize abuse and how to report abuse. Since Benedict became the one overseeing these issues he has instituted these same checks and training to lay people in contact with children as well. I think this has been going on for about 10 years for the laity. No one is protected for offences and there is a zero tolerance for abuse of any kind.


In the recent accusation of the Pope, the accusations 40-50 years before the Pope was made aware were investigated by the secular authorities and no prosecutions ensued because of insufficient evidence or the fact that most of the supposed victims were beyond the age of consent. There were no secular laws broken that could be prosecuted was the conclusion of the secular investigations. However, when these allegations surfaced later they were being investigated by the Church and an ecclesiastical trial was ongoing. The alleged perpetrator died a few days after the Pope was informed of the crimes and the Pope had not had time to do anything. He did not stop the trial as the New York times reported using as evidence a falsified document given to them by the lawyer trying to sue the Vatican for wrong doing. So in conclusion, the secular authorities had long since exhausted all chances of prosecution and the only judgment left was the ecclesiastical court but the alleged perpetrator died before the trial was completed.

The statistics I gave were from an Associated Press story but here is a complete study of the problem related to Protestant and Catholic clergy:


Certainly I have already told you what the Catholic Church is doing about the abuse. The mainline Protestant churches are following the example of the Catholic Church in stopping their abuse. The problem continues to occur as far as cover-ups are concerned among the so called non-denominational churches that have no oversight and are really closed communities with many having cult like followers and also the small groups of fundamentalist sects.

The facts are that it is more likely for a Catholic clergy person to be prosecuted than most of the Protestant sects because of the attitude and realization of Catholics that we do have evil people among us and that all are sinners within the Church to various degrees. Because their churches are founded by men, the belief among some Protestant churches is that any evil or sinful leadership makes a church or sect false therefore their abuses are hidden by their elders lest their congregations leave or go into schism.

Thank you for your inspiration and the opportunity to contend for the faith and the Church that Jesus founded. God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

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