Guilt and shame. Staples of a Catholic education in the 50’s and early 60’s. The very foundation of Catholic moral instruction in this era, especially in the area of human sexuality.
So how is it that the priests themselves did not seem to feel the guilt and shame they preached?
Young boys were tormented with threats of hell if they masturbated, but chasing altar boys was the topic of dinner time jokes in seminaries and rectories. For teenage boys touching yourself was a shameful and guilt ridden exercise in self damnation; but for priests, touching young boys was an exercise in power and control.
What about when they were found out? The boy victims were beaten by their fathers or by another “Father.” “How could you say such lies? You are going to hell for such sins.” And the priests were told by their bishops “We will pray for you, my son, that you can overcome this temptation from the devil. Remember he strikes hardest at the holiest among us.”
Oh, so if priests are tempted that is a sign of holiness; If young boys “give in” and “allow” themselves to be touched, that is a sign that they are agents of the devil. The shame and guilt is theirs. The priests deserve our support, our pity, our prayers; the victims deserve our condemnation.
So, the problem lies in the lack of shame and guilt on the part of the priests, and their bishops. And their complete lack of compassion for young children molested, raped, and sodomized by members of the clergy.
We won’t get anywhere in the search for justice unless the Church begins to teach its priests about shame and guilt.
cold, cold, hard, damp tiles
they didn’t care
with their thick shoes and heavy clothes
pale legs above bloodless toes
the cold hurts
before it numbs
but fear is hot
don’t cry, she warns
don’t whimper or weep
it will be worse for you
stand strong, little mona
stand and stare
see what they point to
see it and know
there is no safety
for little girls
who don’t do what they are told
tears fall silently
on downy cheeks
please don’t notice
i promise i’ll be good
i won’t make a sound
i’ll be daddy’s good girl
Too many times victims are re-victimized by the victims advocate. The Philly grand jury clearly understands why church sponsored advocacy doesn’t work.
“….the present process is burdened by misinformation and conflict of interest. The Archdiocese’s “victim assistance coordinators,” for example, mislead victims into believing that their discussions with the coordinators are protected by confidentiality. That is not the case. In Pennsylvania, licensed rape counselors are indeed required by statute to maintain confidentiality, like lawyers. The church’s victim assistance coordinators, however, are not licensed counselors to whom the statutory mandate applies – and they do not keep victims’ statements confidential. They turn the statements over to the Archdiocese’s attorneys, who of course have an ethical obligation to protect their client from potential civil and criminal liability.”
“First, experience now demonstrates that programs for aiding victims of clergy sex abuse cannot be operated by the church itself. Victims should be assisted by the state Victim Compensation Board, or by a completely independent non-profit organization that is not subject to Archdiocesan control. In either case the church must provide the necessary funding. The church, through its lawyers, is of course entitled to defend itself against civil or criminal claims; but it can no longer try to play both sides of the fence with its victims.”
“The Vatican says the Pope accepted Law’s resignation from Saint Mary Major Basilica.” Did his birthday party upset the leaders in Rome? Was it too much bad press? I would have thought that Rome was immune to bad press by now. But maybe not? Read the whole article here:
In the article quoted below, author Charles P. Pierce – a writer for Esquire and a frequent commentator on NPR – is scathing in his response to Penn State football players praying for the rape victims of Jerry Sandusky. This is something that can’t be prayed away, he suggests. Why? Because the rape of children is too awful. The Penn State scandal has thrown light on yet another institution in which there is a culture of deceit and a cult-like loyalty to “the company” or “the brand.” Victims in the Catholic Church are aware of this kind of culture and of the rewards passed to those who defend it at their expense and at the expense of morality and adherence to civil law. But that other people “get it” came as a surprise to me. The author seems to be a man with a biblical sensibility and a deep understanding of the psychological as well as physical violence of child-rape. He also has an understanding of the hollow and even horrific religious notion that such crimes can be “prayed away.”
Thank you Mr. Pierce.
The problem can’t be solved by prayer or piety — and it’s far more widespread than we think
By Charles P. Pierce
NOVEMBER 14, 2011
“…The crimes at Penn State are about the raping of children. That is all they are about. The crimes at Penn State are about the raping of children by Jerry Sandusky, and the possibility that people lied to a grand jury about the raping of children by Jerry Sandusky, and the likelihood that most of the people who had the authority at Penn State to stop the raping of children by Jerry Sandusky proved themselves to have the moral backbone of ribbon worms….
There will now be a decade or more of criminal trials, and perhaps a quarter-century or more of civil actions, as a result of what went on at Penn State. These things cannot be prayed away. Let us hear nothing about “closure” or about “moving on.” And God help us, let us not hear a single mumbling word about how football can help the university “heal.” (Lord, let the Alamo Bowl be an instrument of your peace.) This wound should be left open and gaping and raw until the very last of the children that Jerry Sandusky is accused of raping somehow gets whatever modicum of peace and retribution can possibly be granted to him. This wound should be left open and gaping and raw in the bright sunlight where everybody can see it, for years and years and years, until the raped children themselves decide that justice has been done. When they’re done healing — if they’re ever done healing — then they and their families can give Penn State permission to start.”
Party Boy in Rome
VATICAN CITY — (As reported in the Boston Herald on 5 November 2011) Cardinal Bernard Law was treated to a lavish birthday party, the company of high-ranking clerics and even the music of a mariachi band in a four-star Italian hotel. Bernard Law’s guests rolled up in Vatican Mercedes sedans and left singing the praises of the fallen prelate, promoted to his Vatican post after decades of covering up clergy sex abuse back home in Boston….
For the complete post visit blog, Another Voice.
For Boston Globe article click here.