Home » Australian Politics » I still find it hard to endorse the sort of “all Catholicism is evil” thinking of the likes of Richard and Criagy

I still find it hard to endorse the sort of “all Catholicism is evil” thinking of the likes of Richard and Criagy

Iain, what about a blog on the Catholic Church—-to me it looks like it has Terminal Cancer. You have given the Muslims a good run—now it’s the Catholics turn.

Richard Ryan

In the fifties its was a conspiracy of international communists that inspired that spittle flecked outrage of a paranoid group of theorists and it seems to me that today we are facing a very similar sort of rolling witch-hunt for kiddie fiddler priests within the Catholic church.

Frankly as a life long atheist I have never surrendered my self to the notion that any Godbotherer deserves any sort of deference or has any sort of deity derived authority  because it always struck me as lacking any sort of logical sense that an omnipotent deity would need any intermediaries between this world and the next.  However for those in the thrall of organised faith the authority of the religious functionaries and the prophets of the faith is an unquestioned given. Naturally this is the foundation for the abuse stories  that motivates the likes of Richard or our other regular Craigy,  to a fever pitched excitement.

The  foundation stone for the systemic history of priestly abuse surely has to be the rather bizarre idea that to be a a religious functionary you have to deny and repress the intrinsic  biological imperative to breed and give up your sexuality to the deity. The thing is that this imperative is so strong that its denial takes an almost superhuman act of will to overcome. Being only human many fail to live up to this impossible ideal. It is of course no surprise that the contemporary church is struggling to find recruits for its priesthood in this age of far more open sexuality. Add to this the tendency for victims of childhood  abuse to themselves subsequently tend to abuse a new generation children and you have the elements for an almost perfect cycle of self-perpetuating misery. finally we have the not unexpected desire for the church theocracy to try to avoid scandal and loss of social standing by dealing with any accusations against priests in house rather than seeking any sort of secular justice. To my mind the real scandal here is that the response of the church has been to essentially sweep such things under the rug and to have unjustified faith that an abuser could change or that they would  not offend again if they were placed elsewhere in another parish.

With al that in mind I still find it hard to endorse the sort of “all Catholicism is evil” thinking of the likes of Richard and Criagy because most of the practising Catholics that I have known in my life have in fact been very decent people with a very sincere desire to see a  human society  that is caring compassionate and just. So I tend to think that the desire to see the church brought down that is so evident in the Richard and Craigy’s  thinking may prove to be counter-productive. The abusers that are being named are almost always old men and the offences cited are likewise far from being contemporary . Allegations about events in the long distant past are notoriously difficult to prove to any sort of satisfactory legal standard and it generally comes down to a battle of veracity between the accuser and the accused  both of whom may be less than frank and suffer from the frailty of memory, Its a legal can of worms and only the eaters of such wrigglers, the legal profession, are likely to benefit from the creation of Royal commissions or judicial inquires  of any sort, the victims of abuse will still have their legacy of angst to deal with, the perps are unlikely to be adequately punished at this remove from their offending (if they are not already dead from old age) and the good works of the church are likely to suffer as its resources are diverted to the pockets of lawyers and those who see a way to gain monetary compensations for their suffering. That sounds like a classic no win situation to me but I expect that my readers will disagree so its over to you in the comments …

Cheers Comrades


32 Comments

  1. Brian says:

    Some of your post I agree with, Iain, so for the purposes of debate, I will only respond to that which I do not.

    First, have either Craigy or Richard said that “all Catholics are evil”? I’ve never read that in the short time I have been coming here. I find it hard to believe that either would suggest it. For mine, it is quite obvious that most Catholics are good people, though they tend to be blind to the faults in their own church.

    Second, I am not convinced that pedophilia or abuse is much more common in the Catholic church than in any other organisation or profession. The point is that there is now compelling evidence that the Catholic church has engaged in concealment, cover up, uncooperative behaviour and payoffs to hide the extent of abuse and abusers in its ranks. This in itself is criminal. We have had mandatory reporting laws for more than 30 years now. The church seems to consider itself above these laws and engages in systematic concealment to protect its own reputation. The BBC is currently copping it from all angles for allegedly protecting one pedophile, yet the church has done this for dozens of its clergymen.

    Thirdly, your assertion that because Catholic clerics are old men and the crimes occurred long ago is utter rubbish. There is no statute of limitations on sexual felonies, nor should there be. Of course the due processes of law and rules of evidence should apply to anyone accused of a serious crime. But to imply that they should be let go and their victims should just get over it is monstrously offensive. It is not about “bringing the church down”, it is about making it accountable and tearing away the ridiculous veil of secrecy it has worn for years.

    The Age is running a poll on whether there should be a royal commission into sexual abuse and cover-ups in the Catholic church. Out of 17,000 people, 94% say ‘yes’. But Bill Shorten and Joe Hockey (both raised as Catholics) say no. I think that says a lot about how much undue influence this church wields in our society.

  2. Iain Hall says:

    Brian

    First, have either Craigy or Richard said that “all Catholics are evil”? I’ve never read that in the short time I have been coming here. I find it hard to believe that either would suggest it. For mine, it is quite obvious that most Catholics are good people, though they tend to be blind to the faults in their own church.

    I am paraphrasing and summarising the way that I see their position with a twist of sarcasm thrown in for good measure.

    Second, I am not convinced that pedophilia or abuse is much more common in the Catholic church than in any other organisation or profession. The point is that there is now compelling evidence that the Catholic church has engaged in concealment, cover up, uncooperative behaviour and payoffs to hide the extent of abuse and abusers in its ranks. This in itself is criminal. We have had mandatory reporting laws for more than 30 years now. The church seems to consider itself above these laws and engages in systematic concealment to protect its own reputation. The BBC is currently copping it from all angles for allegedly protecting one pedophile, yet the church has done this for dozens of its clergymen.

    I think hat you have to remember the history of the catholic church and the fact that for many centuries it maintained legal autonomy from the secular state with its own system of ecclesiastical courts and processes and even though this has been progressively subsumed to the secular courts it has left a vestigial feeling within the hierarchy that the church is above the secular law. that said I agree with you that abuse within the church is not likely to be more common that within the community at large

    Thirdly, your assertion that because Catholic clerics are old men and the crimes occurred long ago is utter rubbish. There is no statute of limitations on sexual felonies, nor should there be. Of course the due processes of law and rules of evidence should apply to anyone accused of a serious crime. But to imply that they should be let go and their victims should just get over it is monstrously offensive. It is not about “bringing the church down”, it is about making it accountable and tearing away the ridiculous veil of secrecy it has worn for years.

    I am not suggesting that anyone be “let off” if they have committed abuse what I am saying though is that any offence committed long ago is hard to prove in a court of law, Further no matter what legal process is instituted those who have been victims of abuse do eventually have to “get over it” and move on with their lives. As fro the “veil of secrecy” there is a particular issue within the church in relation to the secrecy of the confessional that can not be lightly dismissed as many secularists tend to want to do. Its that issue alone which would make any sort of inquisition likely to fail.

    The Age is running a poll on whether there should be a royal commission into sexual abuse and cover-ups in the Catholic church. Out of 17,000 people, 94% say ‘yes’. But Bill Shorten and Joe Hockey (both raised as Catholics) say no. I think that says a lot about how much undue influence this church wields in our society.

    Well as I say in my piece I am a lifelong atheist and I can’t see that the limited cathartic benefit to the victims of abuse of such an enquiry would be good value for the millions of dollars such a process would cost.

  3. Brian says:

    I am paraphrasing and summarising the way that I see their position with a twist of sarcasm thrown in for good measure.

    It sounds to me like you’re putting words into their mouth, plus like your mate “kman” did with Mr Assange. I’ve never heard them express a view that “all Catholics are evil”, and until I see them say that, I don’t believe it.

    I think hat you have to remember the history of the catholic church

    I didn’t ask for a history of the Catholic church and in this case, it is not relevant. It might explain why some in the church think they are above the law but it does not justify them acting as if they are in the 20th and 21st centuries. If it were any other organisation behaving in this fashion, the dogs would be out, and rightly so.

    I am not suggesting that anyone be “let off” if they have committed abuse what I am saying though is that any offence committed long ago is hard to prove in a court of law

    Completely and utterly irrelevant. This is not about the prosecution of child sexual offenders or the justice system. It is about the responsibilities of organisations to report allegations or information about sex crimes. Every welfare organisation (govt departments, schools, hospitals, etc.) is bound by law to report these things to the authorities, and to provide full and open cooperation with any investigation. It is clear that the Catholic church has evaded these requirements regularly and systematically.

    Well as I say in my piece I am a lifelong atheist and I can’t see that the limited cathartic benefit to the victims of abuse of such an enquiry would be good value for the millions of dollars such a process would cost.

    So it’s a cost benefit issue now? Really, Iain, that is tacky. Given that you are a parent, I find your response to this issue bewildering. You present explanations of the church’s attitude as though it somehow excuses it, while suggesting that both the passage of time and the vagaries of the legal system makes it pointless to bother investigating. I can’t imagine what your response would be if this was all going on in the Labor Party or in some Muslim community, but I bet it wouldn’t the same.

  4. Richard Ryan says:

    Shame on Cardinal Pell for more or less saying Ireland was not Australia in referring to the problems over there—–sexual abuse of children by the Catholic Church, has been going on there for over 50 years, how long has it been going on over here? Childhood is the human right of all children, who does the child turn to, when the State ignores them, the Law does not care, shame on Australia for not coming to the aid of these children, I am surprised some of these abused people, have not taken the law into their own hands against these sexual terrorists. One wonders how many of these pedophile priests were imported from Ireland. For the record Pell told us in recent years, that Abbott who is a personal friend, would make a good Prime Minister, that is to be seen, he failed Abbott to become a Catholic Priest——his pecker was the problem.

  5. Richard Ryan says:

    For the record how would kman like a Priests pecker stuck in his bum—–and having no one to turn to.

  6. Brian says:

    Childhood is the human right of all children

    “Straight to the pool room” with that one, Richard! I’m not particularly interested in “kman’s” bum though.

  7. Iain Hall says:

    Brian

    It sounds to me like you’re putting words into their mouth, plus like your mate “kman” did with Mr Assange. I’ve never heard them express a view that “all Catholics are evil”, and until I see them say that, I don’t believe it.

    I have debated this sort of issue with Craigy on several occasions and I think that my understanding of his position is reasonably summarised by what I have said here but I must make a distinction between what you purport to be my quote:“all Catholics are evil” because I said that “all Catholicism is evil” in both the title and the text and that has a rather different meaning to the words that you mistakenly cite above.

    I think that you have to remember the history of the catholic church

    I didn’t ask for a history of the Catholic church and in this case, it is not relevant. It might explain why some in the church think they are above the law but it does not justify them acting as if they are in the 20th and 21st centuries. If it were any other organisation behaving in this fashion, the dogs would be out, and rightly so.

    I don’t get how any student of history can ignore the foundations of any sort of institutional behaviour within a oprginisatain. Further you commit the sin of anachronism by thinking that the requirement to report suspected abuse that we take for granted these day has always been expected when it is something that has only become common in the last ten or fifteen years as far as I can recall.

    I am not suggesting that anyone be “let off” if they have committed abuse what I am saying though is that any offence committed long ago is hard to prove in a court of law

    Completely and utterly irrelevant. This is not about the prosecution of child sexual offenders or the justice system. It is about the responsibilities of organisations to report allegations or information about sex crimes. Every welfare organisation (govt departments, schools, hospitals, etc.) is bound by law to report these things to the authorities, and to provide full and open cooperation with any investigation. It is clear that the Catholic church has evaded these requirements regularly and systematically.

    that is your anachronistic thinking kicking in agin Brian because as I said the mandatory reporting requirements is a relatively new legal innovation that I generally endorse however to suggest or imply that it has ever been so is just wrong.

    Well as I say in my piece I am a lifelong atheist and I can’t see that the limited cathartic benefit to the victims of abuse of such an enquiry would be good value for the millions of dollars such a process would cost.

    So it’s a cost benefit issue now? Really, Iain, that is tacky. Given that you are a parent, I find your response to this issue bewildering. You present explanations of the church’s attitude as though it somehow excuses it, while suggesting that both the passage of time and the vagaries of the legal system makes it pointless to bother investigating. I can’t imagine what your response would be if this was all going on in the Labor Party or in some Muslim community, but I bet it wouldn’t the same.

    Well I am rather keen on the idea that some old testament justice is sometimes most appropriate for the most heinous crimes but I am also a keen student of the legal process and I can’t for the life of me see any point in instigating a witch hunt unless there is a good chance of punishing the guilty and that goes for Laborites and Muslims

  8. GD says:

    Childhood is the human right of all children

    A profound sentiment, Richard

  9. kman says:

    Australia has a population of only 22 million. Of these 20 million only 5 plus million are catholic. Yet the RC church in Australia has over $100 billion in mostly prime real estate assets. Yep! that’s B for BILLION!

    Through its network of schools, hospitals aged-care facilities, employment services and other business ventures, it makes at least $15 billion in revenue a year. That figure does not include the hundreds of millions of dollars donated by its congregation on the collection plates. . Of course the church through its various agencies also has non-stop appeals on radio, TV and the press for even more money. And these figures do not reflect the massive amounts of cash collected in church donations or the cars and other goodies donated to the clergy.

    So the RC church in Australia alone could pay off all of Africa’s “massive debt” of $52 billion and have $48 billion left to tide them over for a rainy day.
    The Catholic Church worldwide has vast amount of real estate, it owns more land globally than any other organization on the planet.
    The Vatican has billions of dollars in solid gold in its coffers, mostly stored in gold ingots with the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank, while banks in England and Switzerland hold the rest. But this is just a small portion of the wealth of the Vatican, which in the U.S. alone, is greater than that of the five wealthiest giant corporations of the country. The Church possesses more riches in real estate, property, stocks and shares than any other single institution, corporation, bank, government or state, making the Pope, the official ruler of this vast reserve, the richest man in modern history. Indeed the staggering accumulation of the wealth of the Catholic Church becomes so formidable as to defy any rational assessment.
    No one can realistically assess how much the Pope is worth in terms of billions of dollars and the church cunningly values most of its artwork and valuables at just 1 euro, so they will never be sold. And it doesn’t pay any taxes anywhere.

    Now why does this church that is constantly criticising so called “rich” nations and cries about social injustice and the world imbalance of world wealth, need to have this massive accumulation of wealth that makes it by far the world’s richest institution?

    Keeping in mind that the RC church is the principal cause of over population on this planet because of its senseless, draconian dark ages laws re its total ban on contraceptives and other birth control methods. This of course is the leading cause of the massive aids pandemic and also deaths through malnutrition, disease and the starvation of hundreds of millions in the dust bowl overpopulated and polluted countries on this planet. This is where frightened indigenous people or peasants are told they will go to hell if they disobey the church. These poor frightened ignorant souls end up with families of up to 20 children that they can neither feed nor support, with tens of thousands of men,women and children living on top of garbage dumps in catholic Hispanic America and Africa. And in Brazil police “death squads’ cull the street children so they do not scare the tourists,while the priests and church hierarchy lead extremely well fed privileged lives in opulent marble and gold encrusted surroundings that has been paid for by the blood and sweat of the churches’ gullible believers..

    To the Vatican – Please spare us the pope’s and the church’s “concerns” re climate change and the suffering of the poor, it’s all a sham.

    And we can all thank Red Richard Ryan for another insightful and classy post.Those old waterfront workers (wharfies ) sure know how to hate don’t they?

  10. Richard Ryan says:

    Australian’s are strange people—-they scream blue murder about the cruelty of sheep in Pakistan——–but the Catholic Priest sticking his pecker in a innocent child’s bum—-the silence is deafening—–the shame of it all. So much for the mantra, ” suffer little children little children to come” and suffer they did, may I say.

  11. Iain Hall says:

    Richard
    I don’t endorse or even excuse buggery by priests or the cruel slaughter of sheep and I very much expect that would be the case for most people so the dichotomy that you postulate is not likely to exist.

  12. kman says:

    Sure Ian will do.I just wanted the make sure the Fly saw it. I was going to ask you to repost it in the Asange thread and delete it from here.And yes it had a lot of links so this twit would shut the hell up. Of course he will find some excuse to weasel out of it,so as far as I am concerned he has absolutely no cred and anything thing he posts on this blog should be totally ignored.

  13. Brian says:

    I don’t get how any student of history can ignore the foundations of any sort of institutional behaviour within a oprginisatain. Further you commit the sin of anachronism by thinking that the requirement to report suspected abuse that we take for granted these day has always been expected when it is something that has only become common in the last ten or fifteen years as far as I can recall.

    No Iain, mandatory reporting has been around in some form or another since the Family Law Act in 1975. Most states passed specific mandatory reporting legislation in the 1990s. That’s more than “ten or fifteen years” ago. Also, the police report tabled before the Victorian parliament claims the church is concealing evidence NOW, not “ten or fifteen years ago”.

    As for “sins of anachronism”, you’re very good at condemning Islam for its backward medievalism. And now you’re using the same logic to explain and excuse serious misconduct in another religion. If the Catholic church is not made to be accountable now then it never will be.

    Of course he will find some excuse to weasel out of it,so as far as I am concerned he has absolutely no cred and anything thing he posts on this blog should be totally ignored.

    Says the man who invented a bullshit quote.

  14. Iain Hall says:

    Brian many of these allegations predate even the family law act of 1975 and I still think that I am right about you commiting the sin of using today’s eyes to look at events of the past

  15. Brian says:

    Iain, I’m not sure how many times I have to say this before it penetrates. The issue is not just dealing with abusers. It’s with making the church accountable and more willing to cooperate with investigators and law enforcement bodies if and when they are pursuing these matters, whether they happened in the 1970s or whether they happened yesterday.

    This veil of secrecy is unacceptable in any modern organisation. And if you claim otherwise, you’re nothing but an apologist for it.

  16. Iain Hall says:

    Brian
    we are mostly talking about events that happened more than thirty years ago and we have had three Popes since then, likewise the leadership of the Australian branch of the church has been as far as I know entirely changed in that time as well with the men who were in power then all either long dead or retired, so just who are you going to hold responsible?

  17. Brian says:

    For goodness sake, please read what I have written. Better still, read the police report on Catholic sex offences tabled in the Vic parliament. The church is obstructing investigations, concealing evidence and playing funny buggers NOW. Not ten years ago, not thirty years ago, but NOW. It is ongoing and it is systemic.

  18. kman says:

    “Says the man who invented a bullshit quote.”
    Really I supplied so many links that according top Ian they overwhelmed the system. As I said, a weasel with absolutely no cred.

  19. Iain Hall says:

    do you have link for that report?

  20. Richard Ryan says:

    AS the old saying goes, silence gives consent. Shalom

  21. Brian says:

    Here it is Iain:

    http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/images/stories/committees/fcdc/inquiries/57th/Child_Abuse_Inquiry/Submissions/Victoria_Police.pdf

    Really I supplied so many links that according top Ian they overwhelmed the system. As I said, a weasel with absolutely no cred.

    “kman”, I know you’re slow so I’ll repeat for your benefit. You issued a long fuming rant about Assange and told us, by way of a direct quote, that he said he “hates America and wants to bring it down”. He has never said any such thing, at least on the public record. All the links you have posted thus far have not even come close to proving that Assange said any such thing.

    Insult me all you like, but you have been proved to be a liar. Either back up what you claim with evidence, or don’t claim it in the first place.

  22. Iain Hall says:

    Brian

    Ok I have read the report
    And I make note of a couple of things:
    The report makes note of the fact that there has not been any requirements for mandatory reporting, although it does recommend the creation of such a requirement.
    The report also notes that the church has been encouraging people to make formal complaints to the police and the advice given in the letters appended to the document is entirely consistent with my understanding of legal process for any complaint relating to sexual assault
    The report also notes that most offences reported occurred prior to the 1970’s and even though the police suggest that more recent offences may come to light over time they offer no reason or evidence for this claim .

  23. Brian says:

    Oh seriously, Iain. You read the entire report and that’s all you gleaned from it? That’s just abject cherry picking from an apologist.

    The report makes note of the fact that there has not been any requirements for mandatory reporting,

    The mandatory reporting laws in Victoria are the thinnest in the nation, in terms of those who are bound to report. In NSW (where the majority of Catholic child sex complaints have been made) anyone providing teaching, pastoral care or residential services to children are bound by the legislation.

    The report also notes that the church has been encouraging people to make formal complaints to the police

    It says no such thing. The church’s independent commissioner (under the terms of their own response) tells individuals they have the right to make a police complaint, if they wish. That is not the same as encouraging them to do so.

    The report also notes that most offences reported occurred prior to the 1970′s and even though the police suggest that more recent offences may come to light over time they offer no reason or evidence for this claim .

    The point is that action should be taken so that any allegations of abuse in the 1990s or 2000s can be investigated thoroughly without the church engaging in concealment of evidence, interfering with witnesses or priest-shuffling.

  24. Iain Hall says:

    Brian
    Has it occurred to you that there may well be a very good reason for a decline in offending since the seventies? Namely that as a society we have been becoming far more open about sex and sexuality since that time? Also there has been a progressive decline in the standing and “authority” of the clergy, something that I put down to the church being so obstinate about birth control. Kiddie fiddlers clearly need to have marks that are malleable to their seduction and I would argue that a more open society on matters of sex and sexuality the harder it is for them to succeed.

    It says no such thing. The church’s independent commissioner (under the terms of their own response) tells individuals they have the right to make a police complaint, if they wish. That is not the same as encouraging them to do so.

    Statistics suggest that most victims of any kind of sexual assault tend to be reluctant to make complaints and the reasons for this are many, from feelings of shame or embarrassment to fear of having to re tell and re-live their experiences to be honest I fail to see how far you expect the church to go to encourage the making of formal complaints.

  25. Richard Ryan says:

    The Royal Commission will flush out the child sex abusers.

  26. Brian says:

    I’ll say this again for the fourth time and then leave it, because you are either obtusely or deliberately ignoring the point. The issue is not only about pursuing offenders. It is about putting an end to the institutional arrogance in the Catholic church, and stopping its hierarchs from thinking that matters of a criminal nature should be dealt with ‘in house’ by them, rather than by the justice system. The Catholic church is not above the law.

    As Richard says, the Royal Commission should go some way to putting an end to this holier-than-the-justice-system nonsense.

  27. [...] desperate move? This exercise will be expensive, but I have my doubts about its efficacy and as I said in my previous post it will be a great boon for the legal profession and the victims of abuse are less than likely to end up feeling that much better about their [...]

  28. Richard Ryan says:

    Now watch for the rise in suicides amongst Catholic Priests.

  29. Iain Hall says:

    Why do I detect a sense of delight in your comment Richard?

  30. kman says:

    So I am a “liar and slow” despite posting a half dozen links including this one which I posted from “Time ” straight from Assange’s email.that he wanted :”total annihilation of the current U.S. regime.”
    Now even a 3 year old could understand that but you can’t, and I repeat -You will just grab at straws to weasel out of answering my challenges.Amazing how you want me to put up, but you make no attempt to do the same even though I asked you first. As I said, you will try to weasel out of it and I rest my case. Absolutely no cred., and not worth wasting any more time on – So weasel away all you like, I won’t be reading it.

  31. Iain Hall says:

    while we are on this subject can I direct readers to this piece on “spiked” because it is most relevant to this discussion in the way that it considers the way that victims of abuse react to their experiences

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