Thursday, March 25, 2010

News Flash: The BBC and the New York Times Discover Sexual Sinners in the Roman Catholic Church!

Child sexual abuse is a horrible, grievous crime. Homosexual child abuse by priests is a terrible wrong.

But this non-Catholic (Lutheran) & heterosexual has a few questions:

1. Is it true that the Roman Catholic Church is "Benedict's church"? Is it true that the Roman Catholic Church is "fragile"? See Peter Schneider, Benedict's Fragile Church, New York Times (March 22, 2010).

Hasn't the Roman Catholic Church been around for at least 1,500 years? Doesn't it have more than 1,000,000,000 nominal members (some of whom are possibly more than "nominal")? Has it suffered from scandals before (e.g., the Italian Renaissance; see also "Martin Luther-Indulgences, Reformation")? Is it possible that the Catholic Church will outlast Peter Schneider, the BBC, and other such entities -- and that it will survive the clergy sex abuse scandal and, even thrive (if not necessarily in Western Europe)?
2. Do 60 or so discovered cases of possible child abuse by Catholic priests in Switzerland (during the past five or so decades?) constitute a "wave"? See Deutsche Welle story -- also carried by the New York Times -- reporting that the "wave" of child abuse cases had reached Switzerland.
How many Catholic priests have there been in Switzerland during the last five decades or so? Thousands? How many thousands?
3. Is the Roman Catholic clergy just a den of vipers, consisting of homosexual predators of children? Cf. comment by David Clohessy, National Director, SNAP ("Picture 5 priests in a rectory. One's caught masturbating, another's caught cruising gay bars, another's caught seducing congregants, another's caught viewing porn, and one's caught bringing kids to his bed room. None are apt to tell on the other. So more abuse happens and is concealed in Catholic settings.")
So are teachers in our high schools, junior high schools, and elementary schools nothing more than a collection of vipers & sexual predators?
Isn't it true -- is it true -- that child sexual abuse by secondary & primary school teachers is more common than among the Catholic clergy? Therefore, doesn't it follow that the teachers of our children are nothing more than sexual predators?
4. If a large number of cases of child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy have not been discovered somewhere -- such as Guam --, doesn't it follow that one must look again and look very carefully (and encourage victims to come forward and announce themselves to SNAP [and SNAP's tort lawyers?]) because -- after all -- there must have been large numbers of sex abuse by clergy in such a place. See SNAP Holding Meetings With [Alleged and Apparently Not-Yet-Discovered] Victims of Sexual Abuse In The Catholic Church [in Guam] Pacific News Letter (March 24, 2010).
Of course, there is no risk, is there, that actively encouraging people to come forward with charges of decades-old sexual misconduct -- and perhaps reap substantial financial rewards through civil litigation -- might induce some people to misremember the past? People are never as vile or as self-deceiving as that, are they? What a ridiculous thought!
5. To judge from the silence of the major media organs such as the BBC and the New York Times, there has been no "wave" of child sexual abuse by Protestant clergy.
What else could possibly explain the almost-complete silence of the media, tort lawyers, and some victims' organizations about child sexual abuse by Protestant clergy?
Was Sinclair Lewis wrong in suggesting that Protestant clergy sometimes commit sexual abuse? See his novel Elmer Gantry. See also Daniel Burke, "Study: 3 Percent of Women Victims of Clergy Sexual Advances," (September 11, 2009)
6. It is often suggested that clerical celibacy is the root of the problem among the Catholic clergy. SNAP seems to think that celibacy is the root of the problem. See Comment of David Clohessy, National Director, SNAP ("Sometimes, sexually troubled young Catholic men will turn to the priesthood, hoping and praying that if they promise to be celibate, God will give them the gift of celibacy, and help them overcome the troubling sexual urges they feel. Obviously, often that doesn't happen.") Cf. Clifford J. Levy, A Flock Grows Right at Home for a Priest in Ukraine, New York Times (March 23, 2010).
But question: If celibacy of the Catholic clergy were abolished, would the problem of child sexual abuse go away or diminish? Or would the phenomenon just migrate?
Was I mistaken in believing that the most common instances of child sexual abuse are those committed by parents on their children?
Perhaps the rule should be: sex by clergy: OK; having children: not OK? Is this the idea here?
Is child sexual abuse by married adults less common than child sexual abuse by unmarried adults?

Should celibacy by Tibetan monks also be done away with? Or should we embrace celibacy there on the ground that celibacy in Tibet is quaint & admirable -- and an effective form of birth control in a part of the world that very much needs effective birth control, perhaps even more effective than the PRC's one child policy?

7. Am I missing the boat here? I think I must be missing something. Is the nub of the perceived problem homosexual child abuse? Is this what leads the BBC, Deutsche Welle, and the New York Times to focus on child abuse by Catholic clergy? If that's what they and SNAP think, why don't they say so?
I wonder what would happen to those homosexuals who would presumably no longer be interested (or as interested) in becoming Catholic clergy? What would they do? Stop being homosexuals? Would they become public school teachers? College teachers? Fitness instructors? Newspaper reporters? Members of Congress? Well, then, our children would be safer, yes? Institutions such as Congress can surely be counted on to make sure that their members do not engage in homosexual sexual misconduct; there is surely no sexual predation in Congress and other similarly venerated institutions against minors.
Or do SNAP, the New York Times, the BBC, etc., believe that homosexuals should be barred from being teachers, members of Congress, and so on?

A Modest Proposal

What a dimwit I have been! I apologize. A light has dawned in my foggy noggin. I now realize what the solution to the problem is. (You do know what the problem is, don't you, dear Reader?)

The solution to the problem is this:

All organizations that harbor any sexual predators must be done away with.

This of course includes, not just the Roman Catholic Church, but also Protestant churches, Jewish synagogues, high schools, middle schools, junior high schools (and, of course, elementary schools), universities, research institutes, newspapers, TV and radio stations, courts, police departments, large corporations, all large associations & organizations of any description whatever, any small association or organization in which there has been child abuse (as a prophylactic measure, the institution of the family should be abolished since it is in the family that child abuse happens most often), Congress, and so on.

Yes, I know: the destruction of such organizations & associations is a high price to pay. But at least we could all go to sleep at night knowing that our children are safe. (They would be sleeping safely in schools run by the government. They would be safe there.)

Would hanging or shooting the leaders of such organizations and associations be an even more effective remedy? Perhaps such capital remedial measures should be considered (along with, in the U.S., an amendment to the Constitution). Monetary penalties may not be enough. Prison may not be not enough. Even flogging may not be enough.
In any event, it is clear, isn't it, that if the Catholic Church, Protestant churches, schools, universities, newspapers, etc, were abolished, we would be rid of the pestilence of child sexual abuse, yes?

Well, OK. Perhaps I am getting carried away just a bit: I acknowledge that abolition or destruction of such organizations or institutions might be a bit extreme in some cases. I see a possible alternative:

Organizations should be required to make sure that their members regularly engage in gratifying sexual intercourse or other satisfying sexual activity with other freely-consenting adults.
For example, perhaps organizations should be required to levy fines against any of their members who choose to remain celibate. This way we would know that the people who come into contact with our children are sexually gratified and have no reason to seek further gratification by molesting our children.

Short of this sensible remedy (i.e., the imposition of fines against sexually inactive people for being sexually inactive), organizations & associations of every stripe should be liable in spades (i.e., many dollars) for every sexual misdeed -- known or not, foreseen or not -- of every one of its members. That's clearly necessary. And, of course, such monetary penalties fall far short of lynching or shooting -- even though it must be admitted that in some instances monetary penalties could destroy or severely damage institutions such as schools, churches, and hospitals.

We can & should invert Kant's dictum about the horror of punishing the innocent thus:

It is better for the world to perish than for any institution (particularly a religious one) that harbors & succors -- whether wittingly or unwittingly -- even a single sexual miscreant to escape severe punishment.
This reformulated maxim is a fitting tribute to our modern sense of justice and proportion; it reflects the enlightened temper of our times. See Editorial, The Pope and the Pedophilia Scandal New York Times (March 24, 2010).


The dynamic evidence page

It's here: the law of evidence on Spindle Law. See also this post and this post.

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