The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #134382   Message #3058360
Posted By: Joe Offer
21-Dec-10 - 05:41 AM
Thread Name: BS: And yet more abusing priests (Ireland)
Subject: RE: BS: And yet more abusing priests (Ireland)
Well, I have to say I really like the idea Ed T posted above, suggesting that they should put a woman at the top of the Catholic Church. The Catholic hierarchy is the most exclusive "boys' club" on earth. Bringing an equal number of women into the mix, would make a huge difference.

And no, Bonnie, I do not suggest that we "disregard the Church's shameful past and only focus on the present." I think we need to view the past dispassionately and analytically. If a man was convicted and went to prison in 1995-96, perhaps it's time to ease off on the anger and engage in a quiet and open discussion of the causes of his actions. Most of those who committed the molestation and coverups of the 1980s, are no longer in a position where they can do such things. I think that by the 1990s, it was far more difficult to do such crimes because the Catholic Church was under far greater public scrutiny (and rightly so). This has happened later in Europe than it did in the US, but there's certainly not much shelter left anywhere in the world for molesting priests and coverup bishops.

I am not satisfied with the answers that have come from Catholic bishops on this issue. I do not know how extensive the coverups were, and I have no idea why it was so important to these bishops to cover up the information. I cannot understand how bishops could think they could get away with covering up this sort of crime. All I can do is guess - as far as I know, no bishop or Vatican official has openly discussed the reasons behind the coverups. I don't really care whether people are punished for what they did fifteen years ago, as long as they're in a position where they cannot do it again. I do desperately want to know why they did what they did, so we can make sure it does not happen again.

The U.S. Catholic bishops have put a set of controls into effect, and many of them are quite good. Fingerprinting of volunteers and employees is required, along with psychiatric screening of seminarians. What I don't see is ongoing screening after people have started work, and I think it's dangerous not to have that. In the later years of my career doing clearance investigations, we did updates (partial investigations) every five years. We found that initial screenings and investigations could not guarantee an employee's integrity for a lifetime. The same principle applies to priests and church workers, as Yvonne stated above.

Still, I'm not satisfied, and my reason is that I don't think we have an understanding of the reasons behind this scandal. Saying that people were bad and they need to be punished, is not enough. Understanding is far more important than punishment - although I do not deny the need for punishment for crimes.