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« Those nitpicking nitwits and their nettlesome facts | Main | Pope invites Muslim scholars to the Vatican »

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Comments

Ed Peters

Mark my words, find out that some of these public school teachers are Catholic, and the stories will run.

Anne Yenny

The Catholic Church still doesn't "get it". Rather than being humbled and humiliated by their own transgressions, they now claim to be unfairly victimized by the media?

Is it not reasonable to expect and demand a higher level of behavior from a priest than a public school teacher? And for everyone, media, victim, Catholic, to be more offended when a sexual assault is committed by a priest?

Don't get me wrong, all school teachers who are guilty of sexual assault should be prosecuted and kept away from children. But when sexual assault is committed by a priest, someone who not only took vows but who can alienate their victim from their faith, the sin and crime is far graver. Souls are in the balance.

And don't even get me started on the coverup ...

Carl Olson

The Catholic Church still doesn't "get it". Rather than being humbled and humiliated by their own transgressions, they now claim to be unfairly victimized by the media?

That's right, Anne: Catholics shouldn't be concerned that thousands of public school children are currently being abused (as reported by the AP) and that very few people seem bothered by it. Give me a break. Or is that only non-Catholics are able to express alarm at such things? And, if that's the case, why is that all Catholics have to be "humbled and humiliated" by the grave sins of certain priests? Doesn't that mean, inversely, that non-Catholics shouldn't be crowing about the actions of those priests since there is evidence that numerous non-Catholic, public school teachers are molesting and abusing children? Doesn't it also mean that everyone who supports public education should be "humbled and humiliated" by what is going on in public schools (again, according to the AP stories)? Or does this only work one way?

Is it not reasonable to expect and demand a higher level of behavior from a priest than a public school teacher? And for everyone, media, victim, Catholic, to be more offended when a sexual assault is committed by a priest?

It should take a person about half a nano-second to realize what an empty and self-serving "argument" this is. Are you suggesting (again, inversely) that we should be willing to turn a blind eye to what is happening in public schools because it doesn't involve priests? This isn't about being "more offended" (a ridiculous way of describing such matters, by the way). It is about the molestation and abuse of children being a serious sin and an evil regardless of who does it: priest, parent, teacher, etc.

Don't get me wrong, all school teachers who are guilty of sexual assault should be prosecuted and kept away from children.

Well, at least we agree on something. I would hope this would be the essential thing in all of this.

But when sexual assault is committed by a priest, someone who not only took vows but who can alienate their victim from their faith, the sin and crime is far graver. Souls are in the balance.

I can appreciate the logic behind this argument, but I think you are missing the point of my post and the Register article, which is that the abuse of children by anyone is a particularly heinous crime. So why, oh why, are the AP reports being ignored by so many media outlets? Is the goal to insist that a molesting priest is worse than a molesting teacher, or to stop anyone and everyone from preying on children?

Finally, I would point out that although public schools are "secular," there is a sort of sacred value assigned to them by many Americans. We take it for granted (unfortunately), that public education is a great thing and the best way (according to many) to educate, mold, and shape young minds and hearts. And since kids spend far, far more time in school than they do one on one with priests (think about it), shouldn't the deafening quiet surrounding the AP stories raise some red flags? Or at least set off some yellow lights, at the very least?

Anne Yenny

You don't have to convince me that that the media cannot be relied upon. Unfortunately, many people do reply upon it. Nothing I can do about that. And I agree that the the sexual abuses committed by teachers should be covered more by the press. Nothing I can do about that, either.

But some sins are greater than others and it not unreasonable to have a higher standard for some people: priests are one group, policemen would be another, members of the military would be another.

A secular teacher committing sexual assualt is criminal and sinful. But a priest who has committed a sexual assault has not only committed the same crime and same sin, he has committed blasphemy. And all Catholics have a perfect right to be offended by that.

And no, I don't hold every priest responsible for the sins of some. But I do hold EVERY bishop responsible for the coverup and putting the welfare of the guilty priests and the Church above that of the victims.

Until the Church stops being so defensive we can't move on. There is no defense for the indefensible. Crying foul about media coverage makes the church look like a petulant child: Yeah, what I did was bad. But what about him? I would have some sympathy for the unfair press coverage if Cardinal Mahoney was more forthcoming and cooperative with the lawsuits.

and lastly, you said:
but I think you are missing the point of my post and the Register article, which is that the abuse of children by anyone is a particularly heinous crime.

You would have a lot more credibility if there was any evidence that the Church thought "the abuse of children was particularly heinous" before the press got their hands on the priest abuse story.

Carl E. Olson

You would have a lot more credibility if there was any evidence that the Church thought "the abuse of children was particularly heinous" before the press got their hands on the priest abuse story.

Okay, you got me there, Anne: I've been working like a dog to cover-up the sins of priests and bishops, but now my cover is blown. Really, your comment is insulting. First, I and many, many Catholics have been upset with how some bishops have handled themselves and how they have, in some cases, facilitated further crimes by certain priests. But how in the world does that somehow make me complicit? Secondly, the Church teaches that sexual abuse is a grave sin. You seem to come awfully close to suggesting that no one in the Church gives a damn about what has happened; you have to know that is not that case. This is not at all to downplay or make light of what has happened. On the contrary. But to suggest, even rhetorically, that I--the father of two young children and someone who thinks the molestation of children to be among the most sickening of sins--am somehow complicit because I am a Catholic is incredibly insulting.

And, again, why can't two play that game? Why can't I say, "Well, you would have a lot more credibility in making your remarks about the Catholic Church if I knew that you were doing something to stop the molestation of children in public schools"?

A secular teacher committing sexual assualt is criminal and sinful. But a priest who has committed a sexual assault has not only committed the same crime and same sin, he has committed blasphemy. And all Catholics have a perfect right to be offended by that.

Blasphemy, strictly speaking, is an utterance of defiance or hatred toward God. But, regardless, I'm confused by your approach. Do you think that I and most other Catholics aren't sickened by the priest scandals? Really, this "holier than thou" act is wearing thin quickly.

Anne Yenny

If you are so sickened by the priest scandal, quit whining about the undercoverage by the press of the teacher scandal in relation to how it handled the priest scandal.

Priests, religious, practicing Catholics will always be held to a higher standard than the secular. And that is entirely appropriate. And to me, someone who has committed a crime by using their religion as a shield, thereby causing their religion to be lose credibility, has committed blasphemy.

How many people left the Church because of the scandal? How many victims, how many relatives of victims, how many potential converts, how many church-going Catholics, have left the Church? And maybe their faith? Souls in the balance. How many lost? Find me a better word than blasphemy and I'll use it.

Carl Olson

If you are so sickened by the priest scandal, quit whining about the undercoverage by the press of the teacher scandal in relation to how it handled the priest scandal.

Unbelievable...

Mark Brumley

Classic example of a false dichotomy. Either you can complain about many in the media's desire to get the Catholic Church or you can complain about the priest scandal, but not both. Well, I'm complaining about both. So deal with it rationally, please.

Didymus

Despite the scandal, which offended and continues to offend many church-going Catholics, the number of those coming in to the Church continues to rise. Witness the hundreds of Episcopal clergy and lay converts, and the recent news that half a million Anglicans requesting membership in the Catholic Church.

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