Friday, April 24, 2009

The Catholic Scapegoat

This isn't a topic I rather enjoy writing about, but it is still an important issue.

The Catholic Church has achieved notoriety as an institution which has covered up child abuse, passed around abusive priests, and cared more about protecting its reputation than protecting its children. Supposedly it was caused by the particularly secretive Catholic hierarchy and the fiendish practice of celibacy.

I had to deal with these accusations while I was considering entry into the Church, and I found that with a proper look at the real facts, and not the media hype, we see that this problem isn't what the media makes it out to be.

As Catholics, we need to care most about what we are doing to protect our children, and what we can do to avoid repeating our sins in the future. On the other hand, if we are over-cautious, we can end up killing our ability to interact with our Catholic family, and to act as Christians at all, due to our suffocating paranoia.

But we must also recognize that we are not alone in our sins. Our Church does not face these troubles because she is Catholic (with perverting doctrines). No. She faces them because she is comprised of humans. We can see the truth of this if we look at the stories, few and far between as they may be, that show the truth about other institutions. This truth, which mostly seems to escape the media, also escapes legislators, who even now, are still creating legislation that unfairly targets Catholic schools, while leaving public schools alone.

Though I've read the same thing in many media outlets, I will presently quote a statement by the Catholic League's Bill Donohue:
“In 2007, the AP did a major report on this subject. It concluded that child sexual abuse in the public schools was ‘a widespread problem,’ saying there was ‘a deeply entrenched resistance toward recognizing and fighting abuse.’ Moreover, offending teachers are moved from one school district to another, so often that they are called ‘mobile molesters.’

“Two years earlier, author and educator John Seryak concluded that ‘The problem in education dwarfs the Catholic Church problem.’ And a year earlier, Dr. Charol Shakeshaft, the nation’s leading authority on the issue, estimated that ‘the physical abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse of priests.’ So common is the transfer of offending teachers that it is called ‘passing the trash.’
We can clearly see in these, and other accounts, that school administrators acted exactly the same as Catholic administrators (Bishops) by transferring offenders, except that Catholic Bishops did at least try sending many of the abusers to counseling. Note that this was before we realized how ineffective counseling tends to be in these situations. We also see that school teachers are just as likely as our clergy (supposedly corrupted by celibacy) to commit abuse.

I am happy for the probing into the Church. Fine, tear us open, help us to be free from our dark secrets, but don't ignore the problem everywhere else it appears. Tear open public schools, other churches, and any other organizations which have hidden similar crimes.

While this does not, and never could, excuse us from our own failings, it does raise a serious question about the media. Are they really so interested in saving children, or are they really just out to crush the Catholic Church?

When the Catholic Church is the one group which stands most firmly against the culture of death, and the media is the not-so-subtle propaganda arm of the culture of death, I'm not sure we have to wonder.

1 comment:

Nathan said...

We also have to ask a serious question to the legislators behind such bills.

If Catholic schools really hide more abuse than public schools, wouldn't the public schools be relatively unaffected by equal legislation?

We don't see discriminating legislation like this on other matters. Nobody proposes, "Men steal more than women, so let's make the statute of limitations on men nine years, while only making it two years for women."

Men will get caught for stealing more if they do steal more, so such discriminatory legislation is absurd and unnecessary.