The Darkside of Catholicism

Some research suggests that the childfree tend not to be religious people (I have seen lots who are however)–When it comes to the recent pedophilia scandal in the Catholic church I can see why..I’ve been an “ex-Catholic” for years.  Among many things this church teaches, I find troubling their long held positions that…

…the purpose of marriage is procreation and that using contraception is a sin.  While this religion is not for me and I respect those that choose to be of the Catholic faith, I have to ask–how can you stay in a church that has not only allowed pedophilia for years but kept an oath of secrecy about it? It has looked the other way for years as many children were (are?) abused e.g., 200 deaf boys.  Even Sinead O’Connor, a practicing Catholic, on Anderson 360 asks, “How can Catholic Leaders LIE?”

Journalist E.J. Dionne Jr. says what needs to be said in her editorial that recently appeared it the San Francisco Chronicle:

“..apologizing for their misbehavior of individual priests will never be enough. The church has been reluctant to speak plainly about the heart of its problem: In handling these cases, it put its institutional self-protection first….Benedict would go down as one of the greatest popes in history if he were willing to risk all in the name of institutional self-examination, painful but liberating public honesty and true contrition.”

The church needs to finally examine and handle the psychological problems priests prone to pedophilia have– what would make a priest violate a boy? It also needs to look hard at itself–how could it be more worried about law suits, its image, and protection of its leaders from public scandal at the expense of children..? When it does the opposite of what it teaches in one of the most disturbing ways possible, and continues to do so and hides it, I don’t see how anyone could say it’s church that they could be a part of.

In Ireland I have read the members have been stepping up and demanding the church take responsibility for this. Is this happening in the states? Catholics, childfree and not, let’s hear from you on your thoughts about this serious problem with this religious institution.

2 thoughts on “The Darkside of Catholicism

  1. I’m a childfree Catholic and although I am disappointed (to say the least) at how the Church has handled the pedophilia scandal in the past, I have no plans to leave the Church.

    I think people too often forget that people are flawed and some judge an entire institution on the actions of a few. It’s interesting when I hear some former Catholics say that you can’t take authority too seriously, but they leave because they find out Church leaders aren’t perfect. “The leaders are screwed up, so the entire system must be screwed up!” I don’t expect perfection from every priest. And most priests are not pedophiles! In fact, most pedophiles aren’t priest. I read somewhere that most pedophiles are married men, but no one is asking husbands to undergo psychological evaluations before they get married and have kids. Maybe it’s not that the priesthood by nature encourages that behavior. It’s something in the men. They would do the same thing even if they weren’t priests.

    Also, the Church has started enacting policies like VIRTUS training for anyone working with kids (which I had to do before I could teach in a Catholic school). Church leaders have apologized, priests are stepping down. Honestly, I don’t know what people expect the Church to do to make up for this. Are people expecting the Church to change the no-marriage for priests or no-women priests policy? Are parishes supposed to automatically “fire” a priest who is suspected of child molestation? You can’t really “fire” a priest btw, as it’s not a job in the traditional sense. The man becomes a new person when he’s a priest, and it’s hard to “undo” that, though I agree that priests on trial should become inactive until the trial is over. Are critics wanting all priests to go through extensive psychological evaluation before becoming priests? That sounds like a good idea, but that could get messy too. “You can’t be a priest if you’re depressed.” “You can’t be a priest if you’re bipolar.” “You can’t be a priest if you have ANY psychological issues or disabilities.” So again, only perfect people can be priests?

    You can’t change what happened in the past (i.e. bishops moving around suspected priests), but I think the Church is taking steps to change the future. And what exactly does Dionne mean by “institutional self-examination” and “true contrition?” What is that supposed to look like and how is the Church not doing it? What more do the critics want?

    1. Hi Christine, Appreciate your comments! Thank you. I think the thing that gets a lot of people is that the church made a point, even policy to hide what was going on and allowed priests with known problems to continue to serve in their role and still continue that behavior. The church’s institutional actions of saving face for years at the expense of boys many people find just plain unforgivable. It does seem that they are finally taking steps to change the future, but only after being forced to do becasue so many people are finally coming forward. Re institutional self-examination, I think Dionne means the church needs to examine its actions in terms of continuing to allow this to happen. “True” contrition I take she means that the church leaders need to show they are truly sorry for what they have done all these years. At the time she wrote her piece, the pope had not come out as directly re what they will be doing in the future to handle these situations and to many did not seem to be showing the kind of remorse that justifies their horrible behavior and actions over the last many years. ~L

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