The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162491 Message #3867364
Posted By: Joe Offer
20-Jul-17 - 03:18 PM
Thread Name: BS: Clerical Abuse of Children
Subject: RE: BS: Catholic Abuse of Children
I was in Catholic schools for 8 years of grade school, four of high school, and four of college. Those last 8 years were in a seminary, where I lived in a dormitory. I had a tough first semester of first grade. All I remember is that the nun made me sit in a corner all the time. My folks pulled me out of that school, and my experiences in Catholic school after that were good. There was one priest in the seminary that I hated, but that was because he was a mean bastard, not that he was physically abusive. Mostly I really liked my teachers. I had mostly nuns in grade school and mostly priests as teachers in the seminary, very few lay teachers. I didn't experience anything one would call abuse in those 16 years. I know hundreds of priests, and I do know some who were accused of sexual offenses - maybe 5 percent of the priests I've known are on the list of offenders at http://bishopaccountability.org/. Some of those who were accused, I expected would get into trouble sooner or later. But most were not people I would suspect of having any tendency toward abusing children.
But abuse was part of education in the not-too-distant past. Many people took "spare the rod and spoil the child" to mean that abuse was a necessary part of child-rearing. I've seen it often in the way coaches treat athletic teams, although I didn't experience that myself. I've seen a few Scout leaders whose treatment of kids bordered on physical abuse - and one who was removed because of sexual abuse of his own children.
I worked for 5 summers at a Catholic boys' camp, and we had one counselor whose reckless conduct bordered on abuse. One time, he drove the camp truck, full of kids, at 90 miles an hour. One time, one of the kids forced another to do a blowjob on a third boy - and somehow, this counselor was on duty in the cabin and unaware of what was going on. "Mooning" (exposing one's bare rump to the world) was popular at the time, and this counselor did it often. He got fired when the camp director (a priest who was preoccupied with a blonde social worker we called "Barbie Doll") finally figured out how crazy he was.
Now, where I encountered abuse, was in Basic Training in the U.S. Army at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri in 1970, at the age of 21. There has always been a train of thought in the military and law enforcement (and boys' choirs and military academies and some residential schools), that abuse is a necessary part of training - to "toughen up" those young men and give them the discipline they needed. Our fort was under scrutiny because several recruits had died of meningitis the previous winter. Some of the drill sergeants, especially younger ones, were reluctant to accept the controls that had been imposed upon them, and they did whatever they could to bend the rules so they could mete out what they thought was a proper amount of abuse. One drill sergeant took a special disliking to me, and subjected me to a constant flow of demeaning verbal abuse and extra duty. He never touched me, but he did everything he could to break me. I finally had it, and blew up with a stream of profanity and a list of all the things he'd done to me. I was sure I'd be punished, but I'd had it. The drill sergeant was shocked, and almost seemed scared. He left me alone after that. I think he felt threatened by the thought that I had a list in my head of all the things he'd done. But those 8 weeks in Basic Training was the most miserable time in my life.