The Vatican playing victim in the court of public opinion

I had not intended to write another column about the pedophilia scandal that has, at long last, reached the leadership … Continued

I had not intended to write another column about the pedophilia scandal that has, at long last, reached the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church at the highest level. After all–I thought–what more was there to say. Then, on Good Friday, the Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa, preaching in St. Peter’s Basilica as Pope Benedict XVI looked on in silence, compared attempts to hold the church hierarchy responsible for the long coverup of priestly pedophilia to the persecution of Jews throughout the ages. Jews, declared Father Cantalamessa–whose title is preacher of the papal household–“know from experience what it means to be victims of collective violence, and also because of this they are quick to recognize the recurring symptoms.”

I must admit that even though I never expected to be surprised by any display of arrogance and historical amnesia from anyone connected with the Vatican, I was stunned by this attempt to portray members of the church hierarchy as “victims” of attacks based on religious prejudice. There is only one line, from the Book of Job, that does justice to the moral offense committed by that priest and by the church officials who sat there bowing their heads: “Thine own mouth condemneth thee.”

Here are two differences between the entirely justified public outrage that is engulfing the Vatican and the historic persecution of Jews. One, the church hierarchy did what it is accused of doing–covered up decades-long acts of sexual molestation committed by some of its priests. The Jews–is it really necessary to say this?–did none of the things of which they were accused. Two, Jews were punished and punished and punished, as well as murdered, for the acts that they did not commit. The Catholic bishops–including Benedict, the current Bishop of Rome–aren’t being punished at all for acts they did commit, except in the court of public opinion. And oh, how the Vatican resents the fact that it can’t close down the court of public opinion by lashing out at American newspapers (specifically, The New York Times) and at the German and Irish media.

But let us return to the illustrious Father Cantalamessa, who, in his Good Friday sermon, quoted a letter, purportedly written by an anonymous Jewish friend. The friend supposedly wrote, “I am following the violent and concentric attacks against the church, the pope, and all the faithful by the whole world. The use of stereotypes, the passing from personal responsibility and guilt to a collective guilt, remind me of the more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism.” One wonders what the less shameful aspects of anti-Semitism might be. If a Jew actually did write this letter, it certainly gives the lie to the (positive) stereotype that all Jews are smart. But the locution “all the faithful” makes me doubt the truth of the attribution; this is not a locution that Jews generally use in regard to believers in other religions. “The faithful” is a very Catholic expression. But perhaps the Jew who supposedly wrote the letter is about to convert to Catholicism in solidarity with the persecuted cardinals and pope. .

The chief rabbi of Rome, Riccardo Di Segni, responded with a great deal of wit and self-discipline. “With a minimum of irony,” he noted after reporters read him the text of the remarks made at the service, “I will say that today is Good Friday, when they [Christians] pray that the Lord illumine our [Jewish] hearts so we recognize Jesus. We also pray that the Lord illuminate theirs.” Rabbi Di Segni was alluding to a prayer in the traditional Catholic liturgy–Benedict has encouraged its revival in the Latin mass–that prays for the conversion of the Jews.

Kristine Ward, a spokesmen for the National Survivor Advocates Coalition in the United States said bluntly (command of wit and irony being more Italian than American traits), “It is incomprehensible that Father Cantalamessa did this and that Pope Benedict, the ultimate authority in the church who presided at the service, did not stand during the service to disavow this connection to anti-Semitism.”

Actually, it isn’t the least bit incomprehensible if you understand that Benedict is the ultimate Organization Man. Most of the On Faith panelists who addressed the question of whether Benedict should resign were hobbled by their general respect for religious institutions: they actually think that the problem is this pope rather than the authoritarian structure of the church itself. Richard Dawkins and Tom Flynn, my fellow atheists, got it right. It doesn’t matter who the pope is–unless Benedict were to be replaced with someone who was not a member of the church hierarchy for the past few decades. Somehow, I don’t think the next pope will be one of the nuns who, untainted by the molestation scandals, have so irked the Vatican by their uppity involvement with the secular world. Everyone responsible for a Catholic diocese during the past 30 years, if he shuffled pedophile priests around from one church to another or just looked the other way, is responsible. Benedict’s predecessor, Pope John Paul II, is responsible for appointing most of those bishops. In a way, one could almost feel sorry for Benedict, who has reaped the whirlwind sown by a predecessor who had a much warmer manner and a much cannier sense of public relations than the current pope.

Assigning responsibility to the church hierarchy is the opposite of attributing “collective guilt.” The Catholic Church is an institution in which all power and doctrinal authority flow from the top down. The men who have been running that church–not the faithful lay people whom they betrayed–are personally guilty of disregarding the interests of the devout Catholics who look to them (however mistakenly, in my view) for moral authority. The current pope and every bishop who participated in the coverup are all looking for plausible deniability.

After Father Cantalamessa’s ignominious sermon, the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, produced a hasty statement that the priest was speaking for himself and not representing the official position of the Vatican. That is strange, since L’Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican newspaper, published the priest’s homily without comment in its Saturday edition. How much more official can anything get? L’Osservatore Romano is to the Vatican as www.whitehouse.gov is to each U.S. president’s administration. Father Cantalamessa, in an Easter Sunday interview with the Milan newspaper Corriere della Sera, issued one of those classic non-apologetic apologies in which the Vatican specializes: “If, against every intention, I hurt the feelings of Jews and victims of pedophilia, I am truly sorry and apologize.” Oh, those touchy Jews and overly sensitive victims of pedophilia! Who could possibly have imagined that they would take offense at being compared to the misunderstood bishops who covered up child molestation?

When I saw the videotape of the sermon, I could only wonder why there is never anyone to stand up and shout, “You lie,” when the charge is truly appropriate. ,

Susan Jacoby
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  • FarnazMansouri

    ContinuedA lawsuit seeking truth and justice for the genocide of over 500,000 Serbs, Jews and Roma by the Ustasha was filed in 1999 against the Vatican Bank and Franciscan Order of Friars Minor. The plaintiffs include Holocaust survivors and their heirs in Serbia, the United States, Ukraine, and Sweden.The evidence collected in the past ten years points squarely at the Vatican Bank and Franciscan Order and includes the sworn testimony of former US Army counterintelligence agent William Gowen and declassified documents.The Vatican has claimed it is immune from lawsuit regardless of its role in laundering the profits of genocide. The US Courts have agreed so far with the Vatican and the case is on appeal.Jonathan Levy and Thomas Easton attorneys for the Plaintiffs vow to take the matter to the US Supreme Court if necessary and to question the impartiality of those Supreme Court Justices who identify themselves as Catholics.“The hypocrisy of Pope Benedict and his advisors goes beyond any decency,” states Levy. “First they cover up laundering Nazi loot and now sexual abuse of children. We must flood the courts with complaints against the Vatican until the veil of immunity is lifted.”Levy states he is actively working with other attorneys who will soon be filing fresh lawsuits against the Vatican worldwide: “As a convert to Orthodox Christianity, it pains me to announce this on Easter but the Vatican has forced my hand with its lies and attempts to manipulate history. We are already in touch with organizations in England, Serbia, Switzerland, Australia, Italy and elsewhere who have expressed an interest in pursuing a universal effort to hold the Vatican accountable for its ongoing crimes.”For more information contact:Dr. Jonathan LevyAttorney & [email protected]mVatican Bank plaintiffs include these organizations:Jasenovac Research InstituteRepublic of Serbian Krajina in ExileThe Independent Council of Gypsies in Serbia

  • FarnazMansouri

    A Note on the Posting Below:As, perhaps, Susan and some bloggers know, the atrocities committed by the Franciscan nazi priests, who never faced justice, have troubled me enormously for years. I have posted their names, the crimes of many.These men managed and owned Concentration camps. The took living Serbian Orthodox, Jewish, and Roma people, cut them to pieces with scissors and watched them bleed to death.They impaled them in water and watched them drown.The Franciscan nazi priests stole whatever the victims had and deposited the loot in Vatican Bank.The Vatican, for nearly seventy years, has refused to settle. After having lost on appeal owing to the Vatican’s “sovereign nation” status, Levy and associates, attorneys for the plaintiffs, discontinued their suit against the Vatican.Now, it begins again.

  • FarnazMansouri

    Susan writes:But the locution “all the faithful” makes me doubt the truth of the attribution; this is not a locution that Jews generally use in regard to believers in other religions. “The faithful” is a very Catholic expression. No doubt, the Jewish friend is a Catholic Jewish priest.Mistranslation into Catholic idiom is, however, a possibility, inexcusable, but possible.Still, I say now what I said on your earlier thread and elsewhere: Produce the friend. Produce the letter.I am not alone among those who have called for both.

  • Arminius0208

    “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”Which is what will probably happen if decent people stay silent. I commend Farnaz, who is actively trying to do something. The Vatican has pulled out all the stops in their panic to deflect our anger from the foul truths of their crimes. At the very least, the anger of so many must be kept alive and helped to grow.If the current Bishop or Rome were Italian, we could call him Il Duce. But since he’s German, I guess he is Der Fuhrer.

  • emonty

    Father Cantalamessa is proof that there are still many self-absorbed people in the Church, laity AND clergy, who just ‘don’t get it.’ I have long since given up hope that they ever will.

  • FarnazMansouri

    Arminius,Thanks for the kind words. I didn’t hear back from Jonathan Levy regarding the email I’d sent him until yesterday, when I received the announcement I posted.I have no idea whether or not I was of help to him, but I’m glad he’s going ahead with this suit. It is just.

  • Arminius0208

    Farnaz,You’re very welcome. I try to praise good work whenever I see it.As to CCNL – it is easy for him to get another login and come back and torment us. JJ is doing the same thing. Hell, On Faith kept losing mine, so I’m on my 4th login – but always as Arminius+numbers. The only way to deal with CCNL and JJ types is try to get each reincarnation smashed whenever it it recognized.

  • Arminius0208

    Since the Bishop of Rome’s real title is Der Fuhrer, then Cantalamessa must be Goebbels. So there must be a Goering and a Himmler there too.

  • PaulLeddy

    The Sack of Rome on 5 May 1527 was a military event carried out by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.Though Martin Luther himself was not in favor of sacking Rome, his followers viewed the Papal capital as a target and shared with the soldiers an avaricious desire for the sacking and pillaging of a very rich city that appeared to be an easy target.The troops sacked Acquapendente and San Lorenzo and occupied Viterbo and Ronciglione before reaching the walls of Rome on May 5.Martin Luther commented: “Christ reigns in such a way that the Emperor who persecutes Luther for the Pope is forced to destroy the Pope for Luther.”In commemoration of the Sack and the Guard’s bravery, new recruits to the Swiss Guard are sworn in on 6 May every year.

  • Secular

    What amazes me is the stranglehold that RCC has on the laity. Coming from more oriental culture and grown up thinking the western culture relatively holds much less reverence to authority, I am truly shocked that the victims of this pedophilia and their parents kept mum rather than go to the secular authority the get redress in such huge numbers. This really shows, as Dawkins claims that the religion demands and get undeserved respect from the laity and even the skeptics. Quite a few years I have stopped using the prefix reverend, imam, swami, priest, bishop, etc, etc. I always refer to them by Mr., Ms. only never does the honorific prefix slip out of my mouth. I get catch a lot of grief from my better half. These parasites on the society deserve nothing more. What useful economic activity do these charlatans engage in to be affording such luxurious lifestyles. These guys are nothing but a bunch of bigoted dictators.

  • Arminius0208

    Warning: Totally off topic! Apologies to none!ATTN: Susan JacobyWell, beat the drum, and hold the phone, the sun came out today!YEEEE-HAH!

  • Schaum

    You seem to be in a fairly good mood, Arminius.

  • usapdx

    So many RC members have closed minds and think the RCC leadership as well as religious can do no wrong and do not want to hear of the sexual abuse & rape of children as well of any cover up of the crimes are part of this RCC problem. They are the ones that clapped at St. Peter’s Square on Easter Sunday when the Vatican public relations cardinal called it ” petty gossip “. Most RC members are not closed minded and do not agree with the RCC administrators on these crimes as well as silenceing the truth to protect the RCC image. It is time for a new pope and then VATICAN III to turn the RCC around.

  • Schaum

    “. . . you betrayed the trust that was placed in you by innocent young people and their parents and you must answer for it before Almighty God and before properly constituted tribunals”The problems, of course, are that god (almighty or otherwise) doesn’t exist, and the “properly constituted tribunals” (which would be law enforcement, district attorneys, judges and juries) are prevented by this evil pope from getting their hands on the pedophilic priests. The nazi pope protects and defends criminals from justice.

  • onofrio

    Ah, Father Cantalamessa…defender of righteous insemination… Since his celebrity has surged of late, I think he owes it to his fame to make his Italian mouthful of a name more amenable to Mass Dissemination.I would suggest that he reduce the five syllables down to a manageable one – the first. Of course, out of respect, we ought to vocalise it carefully, with proper Italian diction!

  • onofrio

    Susan J writes:I propose a new term for this perennial phenomenon:Vaticant

  • Schaum

    Onofrio:”I would suggest that he reduce the five syllables down to a manageable one – the first. Of course, out of respect, we ought to vocalise it carefully, with proper Italian diction!”And perhaps a nice Chianti?

  • onofrio

    Vaticant = vacillating, vacuous cant from those hellbent on hiding ‘La Messa’.

  • FarnazMansouri

    Hi Onofrio,Did you see these posts de moi? Wonder how this will all end. Joining forces, it is beginning to appear. Just read more about the Brits, Irish, and Germans wanting an end to this “sovereign nation BS.” Some fifteen thousand Brits and the number is increasing do not want the Pope to visit in September.Oh, Brave new world that has such creatures in it.Posted by: FarnazMansouri | April 5, 2010 2:58 PMPosted by: FarnazMansouri | April 5, 2010 2:49 PM

  • FarnazMansouri

    Onofrio,Correction: Did you see these posts de la mienne?(Flaubert weeps.)

  • onofrio

    Hello Farnaz,Frangling forgiven ;^) I first caught your Levy lawsuit post over at The Existential Atheist. And, of course, it is highly germane here. Anti-vaticant fury shows no signs of abating – nongod be praised. Given the Vatican’s insistence on its sovereign status, it’s high time proper diplomatic and economic sanctions were imposed by other sovereign states affected by Vatican crimes.

  • onofrio

    Schaum,”And perhaps a nice Chianti?” It’s a favoured refreshment in priests’ quarters, I believe, while Sr Mary Ann Walsh is tidying away La Messa Sacra.

  • FarnazMansouri

    Levy is smart and chose a good time to publicize his decision to appeal further. The problem is that he simply doesn’t get enough publicity while he’s in process as it were. However, given that the Brits, Germans, Irish are all looking carefully into this sovereign nation status silliness, hope for all the many damaged springs for the moment. Only the French are hanging on tight; even Malta is shaking.One reads quite a bit about priest abuse down under. Truly, if one were to write this as a novel, one would appear deranged.

  • FarnazMansouri

    Onofrio, last post was intended for you (u,yu,yew,hew)

  • onofrio

    Farnaz,”One reads quite a bit about priest abuse down under.”Alas, yes. Irishness – with its feistiness, its humour, its tragedy, and its Catholicism – is a major component of Australia’s cultural melange; it’s probably a more pervasive influence here than in the US. Catholic private schools are a major sector of our education system. These days they are very mainstream in ethos; there are not enough religious to staff them, as there were in ye old days. Yet, as I shared on Donna Freitas’ new laundroblog, of the many folk I’ve known who’ve been through Catholic schooling, there is not one that doesn’t have anecdotes of creepy, predatory, and outright abusive behaviour from male religious. The Christian Brothers have probably the worst record in this regard. The most recent major revelation of priestly pederasty occurred in 2007, when a ring of abusers – active in the 70s and 80s – was identified among the staff of the Vincentian-run St Stanislaus’ College, Bathurst. It’s everywhere, this virus.

  • FarnazMansouri

    Onofrio,Yes, it’s everywhere, this virus. My sister reports our father incredulous, not merely about priest pederasty, but about the extent of this sickness throughout the world, beyond the church, beyond clerics, of course.He wonders, she says, if men are now mad.Now? Asks she.That is the question, is it not. Boy buggering Catholic clergy come up often enough in medieval texts for us to know that pedophile priests are not a new species.But what about the rest of mankind. Have men mutated? Or were a significant minority always thus diseased.

  • onofrio

    Farnaz,”But what about the rest of mankind. Have men mutated? Or were a significant minority always thus diseased.”The latter, methinks. It’s clear that the institutional structure and psycho-spiritual peculiarities of the RCC have afforded this minority an unusual degree of succour, even empowerment.

  • YEAL9

    Why did today’s pope, prelates, preachers and rabbis, so focused on society’s sexual sins, lose sight of clerical sexual sins?Obviously ordination in any religion is not assurance of good behavior !!!!!Neither is coronation!!! e.g. Henry VIII, King David.Neither is being elected president of the USA!!! e.g. Billy “Boy” (“I did not have sex with that girl”) Clinton, lover-boy and RC JFKNeither is being blessed with athletic skills!!! e.g. Tiger Woods (“even the secrets/cover-ups of the rich and famous don’t last forever), Wilt ChamberlinNeither is marriage as 50% of those men convicted of pedophilia are married.Neither is being an atheist since pedophilia is present in all walks of life.

  • Dominicus1

    Is there a link between moral authority and moral behavior? Regardless of the truth of the charges, does the duplicity of an individual in the Catholic hierarchy reduce his ability to teach the truth? Especially as it is not his own opinion, but traditional doctrine. Catholics aren’t asked to accept Catholic doctrine on the Pope’s authority, after all.

  • Schaum

    Onofrio:”The latter, methinks. It’s clear that the institutional structure and psycho-spiritual peculiarities of the RCC have afforded this minority an unusual degree of succour, even empowerment.”It isn’t just the church, I think. It seems to me there is a degree of acquiescence involved. My friend, James, who was teaching at the Episcopal seminary in Carolina, Puerto Rico, one summer took a cabin in the mountain region to complete his dissertation for his doctorate. He hired a local boy to stay with him for the summer, to do the cleaning, cooking, grass cutting, gardening, etc. He told me that later, after returning to teaching duties at the seminary, he discovered that “everybody” in Carolina knew he’d hired the boy and just assumed he was providing sexual service to James while he was in the mountains. And, evidently, simply accepted that as the way it is.

  • Schaum

    Farnaz:”Or were a significant minority always thus diseased.”There is a book entitled “The Unmentionable Vice” (my copy went when I sold my library, so I can’t tell you the author/publisher) which details homosexuality, in and out of the church, in medieval times. It makes reference to much earlier texts on the subject — which, indeed, has always been with us. I keep meaning to do some research in to the religious beliefs and practices of the Spartans, but I never do.

  • timmy2

    Is the solution for the Pope to resign? Will that solve the problem? A new pope? Maybe if some cardinals go to jail? Will it solve the problem if the Vatican changes the celibacy policy? Will the vatican ever do that? The problem is so much bigger than all of this talk of what Cardinal did this or what Pope did that. None of this happens if people do not believe in a God who doesn’t exist. The Pope doesn’t need to resign. The flock of the Catholic church needs to resign. That would end this problem. The resignation of the Pope will not. The arrest of the Pope will not. The church will not. Discussing how we fix the Catholic Church is like a discussion on how to fix slavery. Fix it by ending it. The flock has the power to end it. But they are brainwashed and need our help in the form of tough love. Vocal atheism. Criticism, not just of pedophilia, but of God belief period. Religious defenders and apologists have semen on their hands. So pathetic. “Let’s get the Pope fired” maybe that will change one god damn thing. Futility. Endless futility.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    The problem is not that some priests are pedophiles; the problem is that the people who control the Catholic Church do not have any sense when it comes to managing problems like this. I do not imagine that this is what Cardinal Ratzinger thought he was getting himself into, when he first signed up to be a priest; I imagine that Cardinal Ratzinger did not have a clue about what should be done with pedophile priests, yet he forged ahead, seeking to improvise some kind of management and damage control, instead of just letting the police handle it.In this matter, as with many, many other difficulties that now face the Roman Catholic Church, the ruling heirachy is profoundly out of touch and out of sync with modern society. It is not good enough to say that the church does not change along with society, as though the church has alwasy been as it is now, and as if modern society is inferior to Medeival society.There have been 21 Ecumenical Councils convened to resolve problems of societal conflict and adjustment within the church. Some of them have taken the church back a few steps and others have advanced the church a little. The Council of the Second Vatican was the most recent one, which is called Vatican II.But the Pope is the one who must convene an Ecumenical Council and he is the one to set the agenda, and I do not think that this Pope is going to do that. He is personally just too out of touch to “get it,” that something needs to be done, to alter and modify the church in a radical way. Yet the longer these problems go unresolved, the more complex and intractible they will become, and the greater will be the difficulity of some future Pope in sorting them all out. Pope Benedict is just too old, too isolated, and too out of touch ever to get a handle on what is wrong with the Catholic Church and how to fix it. But he won’t resign; he will run out his time, and leave this great big gigantic mess to the next guy.

  • tossnokia

    At least they are not like China, victimizing us with junk from Walmart. The public is zoned out on TV and every other car with a driver yacking on a smart phone about nothing.

  • onofrio

    What happened to Donna Freitas’ new *hier stehe ich* Catholoyalist blog? Seems to have disappeared from OnFaith.

  • FarnazMansouri

    Hi Onofrio,You to Arminius:”What happened to Donna Freitas’ new *hier stehe ich* Catholoyalist blog? Seems to have disappeared from OnFaith.”Ah, yes, a Luther comes to Rome. Donna’s last post, on the same theme, had less of the moi, moi-même, et je about it, more thought, no suggestions of girl on burning deck (whence all but she had fled).Though unreported here, well-known there that Berlusconi, blacked out the media last week, and it remains blacked. People had been watching the evening news when suddenly all went dark and the fascist PM appeared, explaining that he didn’t want the media reporting bad things about him. (Why ever would they?)Also, fourth letter from EU arrived in Italy, warning get your act together or yer out, claims student.One channel not controlled by PM is still broadcasting. Have you heard anything about the foregoing?

  • Schaum

    Berlusconi actually blacked out the media? Sylvia Poggioli said nothing about it…or I wasn’t listening carefully. That is very interesting.

  • onofrio

    Hi Farnaz,”Have you heard anything about the foregoing?”Not deaf myopic I (|^ You are the ear and seer :^)

  • FarnazMansouri

    Schaum,Italians, say student, are more frequently mentioning Il Duce. Berlusconi, no doubt, wears different underwear.

  • FarnazMansouri

    Pope keeps silent over abuse ‘gossip’ANGRY demonstrations and the dismissal of child abuse allegations as “petty gossip” cast a shadow over the Pope’s Easter Sunday Mass yesterday.The Pope himself failed to make mention of the child abuse scandal that is threatening to engulf his Church.While Catholic leaders took the opportunity yesterday to issue mea culpas, with archbishops in Britain admitting the Church’s “guilt” and “shame”, Pope Benedict XVI made no reference to the growing crisis during his address at St Peter’s Square.A service in Ireland was disrupted by protesters demanding an independent international investigation into clerical abuse, while one German bishop was subjected to a physical attack.In Scotland, Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s Easter homily addressed those Catholics who committed or covered up crimes against children, who he said “bring shame on us all”.In an unprecedented break with tradition, the Pope’s most senior adviser delivered a eulogy of the Pontiff, lauding him as the “unfailing rock” of the Church.Speaking before the Pope’s Urbi et Orbi (To the City and the World) address, which touched on a series of world problems, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Dean of the College of Cardinals, defended the 82-year-old Pontiff against the “petty gossip of the moment”.He said: “Holy Father, the people of God are with you and will not let themselves be influenced by the chatter of the moment, by the trials that sometimes assail the community of believers.”Barbara Blaine, president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, hit back. “When we speak up and tell how our childhood innocence was shattered by sexual assaults by priests, it is not ‘petty gossip’,” she said.At an Easter Sunday Mass at Dublin’s Pro-Cathedral, a group of protesters interrupted the service by placing children’s shoes on the altar to represent child victims.In Germany, Bishop Felix Genn had to defend himself with an incense container after a parishioner tried to strike him with a broomstick on the altar of Münster Cathedral.Speaking at St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh, Cardinal O’Brien, head of the Church in Scotland, reiterated his apology to victims of abuse. He said: “Many evils have been committed throughout the world, particularly with regard to the sexual abuse of children and young people.Continues below

  • FarnazMansouri

    Continues”I myself as long ago as 2002 indicated my own personal abhorrence of this terrible crime and said at that time that I apologised to anyone who has suffered any abuse at the hands of anyone representing the Catholic Church.”I restate and reiterate that apology today.”He added: “Crimes against children have indeed been committed and any Catholics who were aware of such crimes and did not act to report them bring shame on us all.”One might say that there has been a great ‘public humiliation’ of the Church, as, in some way or another, we realise that we have not been as alert as we should have been to the evils being perpetrated around us.”Those involved in these crimes must apologise and ask forgiveness from those who have been offended as well as, of course, from Almighty God himself.”The Archbishop of Westminster used his Easter sermon to say the Catholic Church was acknowledging its guilt over the scandal.Vincent Nichols, the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, said “serious sins” had been committed within the Catholic community.During his homily at Westminster Cathedral, Archbishop Nichols said: “Talk of sin is not always popular. In recent weeks the serious sins committed within the Catholic community have been much talked about. We have been reflecting on them deeply, acknowledging our guilt and our need for forgiveness.”In his Easter homily, Irish Primate Cardinal Sean Brady, head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, said the Pope referred to a “misplaced” concern for the Church’s reputation.Cardinal Brady, who has previously apologised for his role in mishandling the case of serial child abuser Father Brendan Smyth, said the desire to avoid scandal had meant proper procedures were not followed and, until recent times, abusers were not brought before the courts.The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, who at the weekend apologised for suggesting the Catholic Church in Ireland had “lost all credibility” over the abuse revelations, chose not to refer to the scandal during his Easter sermon.The wider Catholic Church has been engulfed by sex abuse scandals this year, with victims coming forward in Ireland, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany and the United States.The Pope has yet to make any direct comment on the allegations, although last month he sent a letter to the Irish Church, in which he said he was “truly sorry” for the suffering of victims.More than 11,000 people have signed a petition on Downing Street’s website against the Pope’s four-day visit to Scotland and England in September.April 5, 2010

  • daniel12

    Pretty decent analysis by Jacoby here–with lots fire, wit and sarcasm. Nice.

  • YEAL9

    Why did today’s pope, prelates, preachers and rabbis, so focused on society’s sexual sins, lose sight of clerical sexual sins?Obviously ordination in any religion is not assurance of good behavior !!!!!Neither is coronation!!! e.g. Henry VIII, King David.Neither is marriage as 50% of those men convicted of pedophilia are married.Neither is being elected president of the USA!! e.g. Billy “I did not have sex with that girl” Clinton, John “Marilyn Monroe” Kennedy”Neither is possessing super athletic skill!!! e.g. Tiger “I am so sorry for getting caught” WoodsNeither is being an atheist or pagan since pedophilia is present in all walks of life.

  • Arminius0208

    Farnaz, Shaum, Onofrio,Donna Freitas has posted a remarkable piece calling for a grass-roots revolution, peaceful but noisy, to reform her church. That lady really has guts, and writes well. Contrast this with Bill Donohue’s latest whining, pity-parade defense of the Vatican pederasts.

  • haveaheart

    “In a way, one could almost feel sorry for Benedict, who has reaped the whirlwind sown by a predecessor…”This is the only comment I couldn’t agree with.The “predecessor” was aided and abetted by the current pope, who was in a perfect position to influence the direction that the scandal took. Benedict today is reaping the rewards of his own policies.

  • Athena4

    CCN-Yeal, I think that you are confusing extramarital sex with pedophilia. Pedophilia is defined as having desire for children. Bill Clinton, Tiger Woods, Henry VIII, and even King David were philanderers, but most certainly NOT pedophiles. And, since you brought up Paganism… Let me tell you what my local Pagan group has done when we’ve found pedos within our midst. One is a body paint artist who likes to paint girls under the age of consent. He’s quite charming and (frankly) does good work. He was found out and barred from any future events. Another person was found to have an outstanding warrant for statuatory rape from a neighboring state. We kicked him out of our event and called the police to pick him up. We have it in our bylaws and the rules of all events that, while we often play and joke about sexuality, sexual behavior towards minors is NOT TOLERATED, and will lead to consequences. This has applied to even leaders of our community until the rumor was examined and debunked. Pagans police our own better than the Catholic Church does.

  • Schaum

    ATHENA4:But christers ARE pagans. And CCNL is very confused about sex of any kind. Sister Mary Elephant saw to that.

  • joseph19

    One only has to look at this comments column with its long list of hateful, anti-Catholic comments to understand why some think that anti-Catholicism is a modern ” acceptable anti-semitism”. This does not equate Jews to pederasts, just says hateful, broad and collective comments against the Catholic Church are quite OK with the Post and Times et al. Many columnists and the Jewish commentators seem to have misread this, I will assume by accident rather than on purpose.You would not get such hateful drivel as seen in these comments and column printed if you said it about the Jews, Muslims, blacks, hispanics, but it is ok to imply that there are large numbers of the 400,000 priests involved in this. In reality no orgainzation is full of saints (take a look at the American leadership in Congress, et al.) and the perpetrators should be driven out immediately on finding them. Pope Benedict has been among the most active in setting up such more modern procedures for doing so. This is a typical media frenzy, selling lots of ink and driven by decades old stories that nontheless are repugnant to all Catholics and others(there are some % sickos in any organization). Hate speech by atheists such as this columnist is bad enough, but those of other religions ganging on is truly offensive.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    YEAL9, i don’t know, there must be atheist pedophiles, but from what i see here it appears to be a theist thing…

  • Arminius0208

    Looks like Susan has been kicked off of the main On Faith page by…… Barbie! I kid you not! Barbie got religion! She’s Episcopalian! It’s too funny for words.

  • FarnazMansouri

    Scham,I’m being blocked on Bill Donohue’s thread. JUst to share. (Btw., do you think CCNL1 gets “to wit” from Donohue?”To wit: if there were a monistic fixation on sexual abuse in the Jewish community, or in the public schools, Jews and teachers could be excused if they thought they were being put upon.”Yeah, right. This is the sort of thing Donohue routinely gets away with–antisemitism, anti-Jewish racism.The fact that he does sabotages his own idiotic claims. Not the first time Donohue has been undone by Donohue. Considering his bigotry and overall hatefulness, Catholics, above all, should be grateful that he is a moron.

  • Schaum

    The cancer of catholicism is spreading. Today we learn that a bishop in Norway admitted (after the statue of limitations tolled, of course) that he had been molesting little boys, and resigned a year a go. And 15 priests in Memphis have been shielded, and moved by the bishop there, for molesting boys. This cancer must be excised!

  • Schaum

    Farnaz:Scham,”I’m being blocked on Bill Donohue’s thread. JUst to share. (Btw., do you think CCNL1 gets “to wit” from Donohue?”Well, you know, there IS a blog where you could go and expose Donohue’s tactics and his comments….CCNL? Mr. Unthink? You must be joking.

  • Arminius0208

    Holy Watergate?

  • FarnazMansouri

    Schaum,Perused your blog. Fascinating piece on tabula rasa, but seems oddly familiar. (Porque posteth it thou?)Writing about Donohue is an excellent idea. I’ll have to think about what I could say beyond “moron, moronic, moronitude, moronitudinous, moronitudinistic, moronitis.”MOre on Berlusconi. Media blackout continues. Student brought in three Italian newsblogs. Three men, new anchors, elsewhere continued to rail against Berlusconi and he fired them.Student could find nothing reported in English. Was shocked that Vatican Bank money-laundering investigation has not appeared in Times.Emailed colleague–Italian and Italian lit. scholar. Echoed student’s remarks. Very frightened, says Berlusconi has army’s support. Economy disastrous, dangerously poor….

  • FarnazMansouri

    Arminius,Read Donna’s blog, definitely a step up. The Vatican could start its reformation by firing William CArdinal Levada from his position as Prefect of the CDF, appointing someone more sympathetic to “God’s people” of whom priests are supposed to be the stewards.A full-scale worldwide investigation, procedures for handing over pedophile priests, et al, to the police should then be implemented.Once this is under control, instead of trying again to crush Liberation Theology, canonize Oscar Romero, and apologize to Man and God for what they did to and with him.Tell the truth about the first John Paul.Settle with the surviving victims and their heirs who were tortured, murdered, etc., by Franciscans.Make public Holocaust archives.Stop being the world’s eighth most popular source for mafia money-laundering ahead of the Bahamas, Switzerland, and LIchtenstein. In this way, you’ll stop supporting drug-running, gun-running, genocide, etc.Deal with the 200,000,000 mafia money-laundering charge honestly and stop blaming the Christian Orthodox for the investigation.Stop being antisemitic. Don’t pray for Jews to convert. Convert yourselves first.Ordain nuns as priests and popes. Better yet, end Vatican empire, its special privileges, etc. That might have to come from elsewhere. Europe is quite seriously considering an end to foreign nation status for the Vatican Nation.Here they enjoy the privileges of being a foreign nation, enjoy tax exempt status as a religious institution, and lobby Congress without having to register as foreign lobbyists.Donna maybe could bridle the optimism a bit and get practical (and factual) next time, maybe.Still, I agree. The essay was worth reading.

  • FarnazMansouri

    Schaum,I have an inspiration for a thread of limited duration on your blog.I’m thinking we could call it something likeWhat do you think? I’d write an introduction, of course, and we could include some of Bill’s words of whatever.

  • Schaum

    Farnaz:Re Donohue, excellent idea! Do you want to limit it to Donohue?I posted your Main Page piece on priests raping nuns/nun abortions.

  • emonty

    ArminiusI agree with you about the quality of her writing and gutsy approach, but you have to admit that saying she is better than Donohue is setting the bar pretty low!

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    The problem is, once again, the dysfunctional Catholic hierarchy, which is becoming increasingly, and now even pathologically, out of step with contemporary society. Does this opinion of mine make be a “Catholic baser?” I am only interested in this because I have a number of Catholic friends, aquaintances, and relatives who are Catholic. They are a part of contemporary society, and they suffer because their church is so out of step with what to them is common and ordinary, life as they know it.The Catholic cannot simply wave a magic wand and make everything go back as it was before, to a time before democratic ideals and modern ideas on human psychology and sexuality. The ancient and slow-to-change Catholic Church, by some cruel joke played on it, is now existing in the twenty-first century, not the fifteenth century, and the sooner the Catholic hierarchy realizes this, the better for all concerned.

  • Pamsm

    “(And then let’s dump everything else.)”LOL – hear, hear.

  • Schaum

    Farnaz:” Fascinating piece on tabula rasa, but seems oddly familiar. (Porque posteth it thou?)”The tabula rasa excerpt I quoted on main page is from the piece on the blog, where I posted it as part of a larger piece on knowledge. I post as Blacksun on several other blogs.I need to discuss a couple of things with you in private email. I can imagine that you are leery of giving out your primary email name/address. Can you set up an account on another email service (gmail, hotmail, etc.) with whatever name you prefer, and contact me: [email protected]. I have a couple of things to propose to you.

  • onofrio

    Yeal9,Thee:Yeal/CCNL,In your litany of the suspiciously sexual, you forgot to include FBI agents, US attorneys, phone-answerers at child abuse hotlines, and serial cut-and-paste homophobes at OnFaith. It’s unlike you to be so lax.

  • onofrio

    Who’s watching the detectives, Yeal?Who’s watching you? If you become aware of any suspiciously sexual behaviour on your, um, part, will you report yourself to a possibly paedo FBI agent via an abuse hotline possibly staffed by groomers?

  • rschiwal

    Faranzmansouri illustrated a very interesting observation I’ve made lately. Have you ever noticed that media firestorms usually precede lawyers trying to gather as many clients as they can before filing class-action lawsuits. I first noticed it during the silicon breast-implant scandal. The lawsuit didn’t require one single ounce of proof to win the lawyers a ton of money either.