Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Catholic Church and its Sex Abuse Scandals

You might think, 'oi wei, there he goes again', but seriously, the ever-growing sex scandal in the Roman Catholic Church is surely something to savor by any atheist. Not because we wouldn't feel sorry for the children who have been abused sexually and otherwise by what amounts to thousands of priests who were supposed to look after them in some role or other. One has every reason to feel sorry for them. Equally though, this IS another case of 'we told you so'.

I don't want to dwell too much on the horrific abuse that has (and probably still is) taken place, tempting as it is to recount some of the more salacious details. Here's the real problem for an organization that relies on people buying into lots of bizarre stuff in order exercise power over people's lives directly and indirectly. Just recall how the Catholic bishops in the US tried hard to kill health care reform in the US just a week ago, playing against the 'ethics' and 'morals' card. Remarkably that this bunch of discredited old men still dare to talk to us about morality. It is clear that senior management of the Church the world all over (and including the organization's CEO, its current Pope) have worked day and night to conceal the abuse and have worked day and night to protect its raping and beating staff from being prosecuted by the state. Says British human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell,
"In a 2001 edict to Catholic Bishops worldwide, the Pope ordered a cover-up of child sex abuse by Catholic clergy. He failed to ensure that priests who raped and sexually abused young people were reported to the police. This is why he is not welcome in the UK and why we object to him being honoured with a State Visit in September, especially a State Visit that is being funded by the taxpayer."

Makes you wonder, even if you hold the organization not in as much disdain as I do, why would the Church do this?

The answer, I think, is actually quite simple: Part of the Catholic fairy tale is that the Pope and his staff are representatives of God on earth. You know people us mere mortals are meant to look up to for guidance. Surely an omnipotent, omniscient and good God would not allow his own local reps to engage in such sort of perverted behaviors, especially not in such large numbers. At least that's what most sane people, believers and atheists, would have to wonder. It's one thing for them to say that God ain't interfering with what mere mortals are doing on earth, that he's given us autonomy to live our own lives and so on and so forth. Fair enough, but that surely doesn't explain why God's own reps engage in such reprehensible stuff and God does nothing. If, on the other hand God's reps are in those crucial respects no different to the rest of us, we have every reason to ask why we should trust their advice on matter ethics anymore than the next person in the street. I suspect actually that priests ARE more likely to engage in such aberrant sexual activities due to the celibacy related hypocrisy, but that's another story.

This then is the reason, I think, for why the Church has gone out of its way to keep the abuse under wraps, even if that meant to protect child abusing staff members from prosecution. Of course, this permitted many of the child abusers to continue their abuse for decades. It is clear then that the Church, in order to uphold the fiction of Gods reps on earth, did not hesitate to protect child abusing staff the world all over.

So, my advice to employees of the cult of misery: cease and desist to engage in any further attempts at influencing public policy in areas of reproductive health or any other matter. You are in no situation, credibly, to claim special moral insights and competence.

As to my fellow atheists out there: indeed, there is no God that's omniscient, omnipotent and good. Otherwise, no doubt, today's latest scandal in the ongoing saga would also not have happened. God would not have permitted a Roman Catholic priest to abuse 200 deaf boys sexually and get full cover from the church hierarchy (I do mean the Vatican). It is that simple.


  1. the Pope and his staff are representatives of God on earth.

    It's a sensitive sex scandal, so new rule: no more referring to the Pope's "staff" as God on Earth. For that matter, no references to giving kids "the rod" or speculating if the church is "going down" (as Sam Harris put it). You people need to be serious!

  2. I am serious. They're staff members of the Church, and they're claiming special insight into God's views on lots of things, hence their insistence on telling us mere mortals how we should live our lives. Is this serious? Hell it is.

  3. I was just making a lame, juvenile joke about sexual euphemisms, didn't mean the issue wasn't serious, anything but.

  4. Oops, that one was lost on me. On this issue (aka God) it IS really often difficult to figure out what's meant to be taken seriously and what's a joke. My bad I guess...

  5. We really only have to look as far as the internal scriptural contradictions to question the moral authority of the church. If followers can rationalize Leviticus, I'm sure the actions of the clergy are no stretch. Your argument spoils the bunch with a few rotten apples--why not argue instead that the tree simply produces poison apples?

  6. certainly true. my point was not so much with the teachings of the Church. i agree with your take entirely. my thinking is that even those who - for reasons of their own - buy into those teachings, have been given more reasons to wonder both about God's continuing absence and silence, and also the credibility of the purveyors of this ideology.

  7. Imagine if any other large, rich, powerful organization (Microsoft, IBM, your favorite political party, a country's government, etc.) had a whole bunch of employees who were serial child rapists, and the organization, when learning about it, did not fire the people or send them to the cops, but merely sent them from city to city when they got discovered. Think there would be outrage?

  8. What is outrageous is the cover-up by the pope. How could he do that? If those rapists are God's reps, I wonder just how satan's reps look like..!
    Back in 1997, a 5-year old kindergarten girl was raped in the school premises and died hours later due to trauma. DNA tests proved that one of the priests did it. As usual,there was a cover-up to avoid embarrassing church authorities. So this is the norm. Since they pretend to be God's reps, they get away with it.
    It's a shame.I may seem a bit like a guy from the wild west, but believe me , if this would have happened to my child, I would take matterss into my own hands and rid the world of an ugly beast.


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