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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So Disturbed and Disturbing

After years of dealing with sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests and thinking that the church had finally dealt systemically with this horror the news this week from Pennsylvania is beyond the pale. I have MSNBC on in the background and Stephanie Ruhle was just about to break into tears talking about it. I like Pope Francis but sadly he is just one man dealing with a global institution that is deeply entrenched in secrecy, corruption and hiding from its own problems. This lapsed catholic will be remaining lapsed for good and with no regrets.

I know there are thousands of decent moral and hard working men and women among the clergy, but the time has come for all of them to cease to be complicit in these crimes through silence.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/08/15/hes-a-priest-i-trusted-him-one-of-the-1000-victims-of-alleged-pennsylvania-clergy-abuse-tells-his-story/?utm_term=.1f240922bbf2
 

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I am an atheist with (5 generations of atheists before me) but my outsider opinion is that celibacy attracts the wrong kind of person....you never hear things like this in the Protestant faith.... just my unimportant opinion...
 

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It's not that I'm an atheist, I just don't believe in organized religion and this is only one of the reasons.

Where I work is next to a church. It is huge, acres of land perfectly landscaped to the max and gated. I can even see crystal chandeliers shining in the windows. The whole thing has to run into the millions of dollars. Where is that money coming from? I've seen preachers, priest, pastors, ect., who have houses that could be called mansions, again, where does that money come from? Hey, the catholic church is one of the riches industries in the world, again, where does their money come from?

I'm a christian from upbringing and I want to believe there is a higher power looking out for me. But I also think that higher power wants us to help those in more need than ourselves, be tolerant of those different than ourselves, and love and keep this world we are graced to live on. I really don't think that higher power wants money gathered in his name to be spent on those who preach his word, personal wealth.

And while I am a Christian, I will never assume that non Christians are wrong. How can I? What makes my faith any more real or wrong than the next? I will fight those who prey on the innocent, there are some beliefs even tolerant I can not condone, but not those who have a true belief in one of the many faiths that teach tolerance and well being for mankind.

Maybe this makes me an agnostic?

Ok, climbing off my soap box now.
 

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I am an atheist with (5 generations of atheists before me) but my outsider opinion is that celibacy attracts the wrong kind of person....you never hear things like this in the Protestant faith.... just my unimportant opinion...
Sadly, these things do happen in protestant denominations; they're just more likely to stay in their individual communities. Catholicism has a massive reach, well-developed structure, and long established culture that allows for the problem and the cover-up to be this widespread. But unfortunately sexual abuse is found in almost any situation where adults are given authority over minors, which is why safeguards and checks on power are so important.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Actually yes, lisasgirl I know of an Episcopalian priest who fled to South America to avoid criminal charges for pedophiliac acts of abuse. And teachers, etc. are not immune from such problems either. There was just a local arrest of a Long Island teacher who had child pornography in his possession along with having committed sexual acts against minors. I think power has a lot to do with such issues, but also when you have an institution as large and entrenched in its ways as the Catholic church it seems very hard to change course.


And barbiespoodle I hear you on not being a person who views non-christians as wrong or worse. One of my friends who is a very observant conservative congregation Jewish man is actually an atheist who decided that Judaism couldn't be any more right than any other religion when he was old enough to travel outside his neighborhood on his own when he was young. Until then he hadn't known there were people who weren't Jewish in the world.
 

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Another lapsed Catholic here................so many things just 'sit wrong' with me about ANY organized religion........none of them are guiltless.
So many predators , so much influential wealth, so much wrong in all of them! (Have you purchased any "Miracle Water" lately?)

I still want to believe in a 'higher power' though, and even if it doesn't exist, my prayers make ME feel better when I have my little conversations with MY God.......................

I try very hard to live with the 10 Commandments as my compass, with a little human kindness and decency thrown in for good measure!
 

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A read of the findings of the Royal Commission held here in Australia will show institutionalized sexual abuse of children in all religions and all institutions where power is granted to individuals over children. Regardless of the reasons for the existence of pedophilia, those who are subverted by it gravitate to places where the opportunity is present. Celibacy is but one of the motivating factors.


https://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/


Eric.
 

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I too am sickened and angry with the abuse of power against others. In faith organizations, where is occurs, it needs to be addressed and appropriate punishment and counseling for the abused provided. It is not only catholic priests sadly. It does seem that some in the roman catholic hierarchy have had a warped sense of how to deal with it that is just wrong.

Please don’t paint all churches, all denominations and all congregations with the same broad brush. My church is changing. We are more focused on mission and the needs of our neighbors. We have a food pantry that is growing. We meet with people of other faiths. We have had people of the muslim faith join us to discuss our similarities and differences. We have much more in common then different. We are a Reconciling in Christ congregation. I have seen what can happen when we all work together. Not all congregations are the same. None of us are perfect. We stumble, sometimes badly. We strive to do better. Peace.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
murphys I agree there are some loving congregations in all faiths that are doing wonderful humanitarian work. For me I just have gotten to a point where I can't directly support large institutions where such abuse is systematic and the perpetrators are protected rather than exposed and then either punished and/or rehabilitated if possible.
 

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It’s incredibly sad to hear. What has me so upset is listening to and reading some of the responses from the Catholic Church and members. So many of them sound tone dead, they just don’t understand the depth of pain and problems nor do they own the problem. I was listening to both NPR and local news. They state they have a zero tolerance as if that fixes everything - it’s just a start. My DH thinks they should have an independent organization for oversight. The current bishops are still part of the problem and were part of the moving toxic priests around to hide them. I would have liked to hear honest heartfelt remorse from them.

It’s not just the Catholic Church, Christians or even religious organizations. It’s anytime you have an adult in a superior position over children that this can happen. But there’s something about the Catholic Church that allows this to occur at a far greater rate than anywhere else. Celibate priests may play a role as does the organization.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Skylar I agree zero tolerance is a good starting place, but not worth much if the deeper culture of the organization doesn't change. I've long thought that clerical celibacy was not the best way to attract the most psychologically fit people. Evolution requires being sexual for a species to succeed. Denying that fact or thinking that is good is aberrant in and of itself.
 
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As far as I can tell, what's allowed this to go on this way in the Catholic church is a culture of protecting the organization first, even if that means you do wrong by children. They thought that shuffling these offenders around would remove them from the communities they hurt without having to draw any attention to themselves, but that just spread the problem around.

How an organization responds to allegations like this is very telling. If you're pressured to keep quiet and their first moves are all about protecting their reputation, then you know they're not on the side of potential victims IMO.
 

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The Catholic Church is absolutely disgusting. My "Prayer" class classmates and I were victims of sexual abuse by a nun in high school. I was the only one in the class to come forward and say what was happening--everyone else was brainwashed and didn't think it was a big deal, but when questioned, they said everything I said took place. The Diocese tried to protect the nun, at which point my family was ready to file a lawsuit. We wound up settling out of court. If I had to do things over today, I would have taken them to court and sued them up the wazoo.

My sister went to a Catholic middle school and witnessed a priest slapping her classmate across the face. Nothing was done about it.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
ZM it is horrible that you and your class mates were victimized. It was very brave of you to speak out. The stories in Pennsylvania about kids being "conditioned" to accept molestation and other abuses shows why it is so rare that the victims speak out at the time.
 
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zooeysmom, I'm so sorry you are one of the victims. ((((HUGSSS)))) My heart aches for you and the others.

One thing that angered me, and I was never a victim nor am I Catholic - is local Catholics were saying things like "come back to the church, God will forgive and you can do all things through God" - really, that's what you tell a victim? I was driving the car and yelling at the radio when I heard that.
 
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ZM it is horrible that you and your class mates were victimized. It was very brave of you to speak out. The stories in Pennsylvania about kids being "conditioned" to accept molestation and other abuses shows why it is so rare that the victims speak out at the time.
Thank you, Catherine. I always have and always will take a stand for what's right, no matter how difficult it is. It's amazing how young people and other vulnerable populations are taken advantage of and conditioned to think that those things are acceptable.

zooeysmom, I'm so sorry you are one of the victims. ((((HUGSSS)))) My heart aches for you and the others.

One thing that angered me, and I was never a victim nor am I Catholic - is local Catholics were saying things like "come back to the church, God will forgive and you can do all things through God" - really, that's what you tell a victim? I was driving the car and yelling at the radio when I heard that.
Thank you, Skylar :love2: Isn't it despicable to blame the victims?! The priests and nuns (and all other sexual predators) should be the ones begging for forgiveness! Sheesh.
 

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I also heard that NPR piece and agreed with one of the guests that the Church had the worst legal and PR advice. They took a defensive stand when they should have gone medieval on predators and child abusers. They should all have been defrocked, immediately. They needed Olivia Pope, not the actual one.

My parents were devout Catholics and I couldn’t wait to leave the Church. Not that anything horrific like ZM’s experience ever happened to me. When I saw the Pope being carried to an ordination ceremony at the Vatican on a golden litter...The optics weren’t good since our family seemed to always be contributing for this or that fund. They’ve always been out of touch on women’s issues. Women, period. Stay in an abusive, unhappy marriage because divorce is a sin, still is. Ditto any form of birth control. Missing mass, ever. Bye!
 

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This makes me so upset and angry I can barely find words. The double whammy of victimization, first from the criminals in the clergy, and second by the "God will forgive you if you come back," nonsense makes me want to slap someone.

And you rock, ZM. Always have, always will.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
It is awful to re-victimize the survivors by telling them they need forgiveness and to come back to the institution that protected itself over protecting them when they were powerless to avoid the demented things that were done to them.
 
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