“Vatican Warned Bishops Not To Report Child Abuse”!

by Jimmy Akin

in Benedict XVI, Canon Law, Current Affairs, Moral Theology

Ireland_map

That’s the sensationalistic headline of this story in the New York Times. As usual, it’s by Laurie Goodstein, and as usual she makes significant errors in her reporting that make the story more sensationalistic in a way that (just coincidentally) paints the Holy See in an unfavorable light. (So . . . what’s up with that, Laurie? You’ve been on the beat long enough that you should be better informed on these matters.)

As with previous stories of the same nature, this one involves a document from back in the 1990s that has now come to the attention of the press. It was a letter written by the Apostolic Nuncio of Ireland (that’s basically the Holy See’s ambassador to Ireland, though he also has a liaising role with the local bishops). In the letter the Nuncio—then Luciano Storero—communicated a message to the Irish bishops from the Congregation for Clergy concerning a document that the Irish bishops had drafted on child sexual abuse.

This letter was immediately hailed by groups like SNAP as the “smoking gun” they’ve been waiting for, showing that the Holy See took part in the cover up of sexual abuse, allowing it to be sued in court, humiliated, and have money extracted from it.

You can read (a tiny, low resolution image of) the letter itself here.

Now let’s walk through it and see how the claims made about it stack up against the document itself . . .

APOSTOLIC NUNCIATURE IN IRELAND
N. 808/97
Dublin, 31 January 1997

Strictly Confidential

To: the Members of the Irish Episcopal conference
—their Dioceses

Your Excellency,

The Congregation for the Clergy has attentively studied the complex question of sexual abuse or minors by clerics and the document entitled “Child Sexual Abuse: Framework for a Church Response”, published by the Irish Catholic Bishops Advisory Committee.

So here is what has happened at the time the letter was written: Priests and religious in Ireland abused children. This came to light and caused an enormous scandal. (In fact, it brought down the Irish government.) In response, the Irish bishops conference (in conjunction with the Conference of Religious in Ireland) created an Advisory Committee to draft a document proposing how to respond to cases of child sexual abuse. The result was the document referenced above, which is online here in .pdf form. At least that’s a version of the document. Whether it was the version referenced in the letter is not 100% clear. In any event, this document came to the attention of the Congregation for Clergy in Rome, and now the Congregation for Clergy has asked the Irish nuncio to convey its impressions to the Irish bishops.

Note well: The Congregation for Clergy is not the same as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict) was the head of the doctrinal body, not the Congregation for Clergy. The head of that in 1997 was Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos. More on him in a bit. For now the important point—given the press’s invariable attempt to read everything Vatican in terms of the pope himself—is that Cardinal Ratzinger/Pope Benedict has no connection with this letter. It wasn’t his department that was involved.

The congregation wishes to emphasize the need for this document to conform to the canonical norms presently in force.

So: The Congregation for Clergy has concerns that provisions in the document did not conform to canon law as it was in 1997. Fair enough. That’s not anything sinister. To give a civil law analogy, it’s a little like warning someone that parts of his proposed law appear to violate the U.S. Constitution. Warning someone that parts of his law appear unconstitutional is not a sinister thing. It’s a way of ensuring justice and avoiding a lot of headaches for everybody.

One might be wrong, and provisions of the law in fact might be fully constitutional (read: canonical), but saying, “Your policy needs to be legal in terms of Church law” is not evidence of evil intent.

The text, however, contains “procedures and dispositions which appear contrary to canonical discipline and which, if applied, could invalidate the actions of the same Bishops who are attempting to put a stop to these problems. If such procedures were to be followed by the Bishops and there were cases of eventual hierarchical recourse lodged at the Holy See, the results could be highly embarrassing and detrimental to those same Diocesan authorities.

So the Congregation for Clergy (who is being quoted in this paragraph; note the open quotation marks) is concerned that some proposals in the Irish Advisory Committee document appear to be contrary to canon law. As a result, bishops acting on those parts of the proposal might take canonical actions against priests that are legally invalid. In other words, there could be miscarriages of justice. So what happens if miscarriages of justice occur? Well, the priests might appeal their case to Rome, and Rome might agree that there was a miscarriage of justice because the law was not applied correctly. In that case the bishop would be put in an embarrassing position.

And that’s quite true. A bishop would be put in an embarrassing and detrimental position if he violated canon law and a miscarriage of justice resulted and his actions had to be undone. There’s nothing sinister about telling a bishop that. People in positions of power need to be reminded regularly that their authority has limits and they must provide justice for those whose cases they handle. The law needs to be followed closely so that we (a) don’t have innocent priests being wrongly convicted and (b) we don’t have predator priests escaping punishment because the law wasn’t followed. The exact same concerns apply in civil courts: We need to follow the law to avoid miscarriages of justice.

Now, you’ll notice something that hasn’t yet been mentioned in this letter: the issue of reporting predators to the police. That hasn’t come up yet. All the discussion so far has been about making sure the Church’s own internal legal system is followed so that we don’t have miscarriages of justice.

How did Laurie Goodstein frame this in her article for the Times? She wrote: “It [the letter] said that for both ‘moral and canonical’ reasons, the bishops must handle all accusations through internal church channels. Bishops who disobeyed, the letter said, may face repercussions when their abuse cases were heard in Rome.”

WHOA! MAJOR MEDIA DISTORTION!

The only “repercussions” mentioned in the letter is the embarrassing situation a bishop would find himself in if he failed to follow the law and a miscarriage of justice resulted and Rome overturns it on appeal.  Yet Goodstein makes it sound as if the letter is threatening bishops with some kind of retaliation if they don’t “obey” the letter. This is wrong on several levels. First, the letter is not an ultimatum. It is not a set of orders. It is an advisory statement cautioning the Irish bishops that they need to make sure they follow canon law so that miscarriages of justice don’t happen and then get overturned on appeal. There is no threat of retaliation here.

Worse, Goodstein makes it appear that the Vatican is threatening bishops with retaliation if they report predators to the police. The subject of reporting pedophiles hasn’t even come up yet. And she is wrong when she says that the letter states that “the bishops must handle all accusations through internal church channels,” as opposed (presumably) to reporting predators to the police. But the document says nothing of the kind. There is nothing in the document saying that a bishop must keep information about predators secret. What the Congregation objected to was mandatory reporting. One can think what one likes about the wisdom of mandatory reporting, but there is a big difference between saying, “You must keep all cases of this from the eyes of the police on pain of Vatican retaliation” and saying, “Hey, maybe there needs to be some discretion exercised and it shouldn’t be automatic reporting.”

Goodstein thus implies that the letter suggests something it doesn’t. The letter doesn’t state that the Congregation for Clergy is opposed to reporting predators to the authorities. Instead, it says . . .

In particular, the situation of ‘mandatory reporting’ gives rise to serious reservations of both a moral and canonical nature”.

This is the end of the quotation from the Congregation for Clergy. Note the closing quotation marks.

So the Congregation for Clergy is saying, “We’ve got reservations about the situation of ‘mandatory reporting’ on moral and canonical grounds.” That’s an expression of concern. It’s a cautionary statement, but it is not an order. It’s telling the Irish bishops about an issue that could come up down the road. And how unreasonable is the concern expressed? An overzealous application of a mandatory reporting policy could result in entirely innocent people being put through the wringer and having their reputations and livelihood destroyed.

Would that be moral? Would you like to be on the receiving end of a policy like that? It is easy to see how one might have moral concerns about automatic reporting policies and want to make sure that there are appropriate safeguards to keep innocent people from having their lives destroyed.

It also is easy to see how such a policy could fall afoul of canon law, which contains provisions protecting an individual’s right to his good reputation. An overzealous application of a mandatory reporting policy could unjustly deprive innocent people of their reputation—and more.

And these moral and canonical concerns don’t just apply to priests. Think about the repercussions of a mandatory reporting policy for the victims!

It has been a common experience in years past for people to come to Church authorities to warn them about the behavior of a particular priest but only on condition of confidentiality. They don’t want to get involved with the authorities. They don’t want to be hauled into court and put on the witness stand and forced to relive horrible things that were done to them under cross examination. They don’t want to come to the attention of the media and have their private sexual trauma exposed for the whole world to see.

But a mandatory reporting policy would prevent Church authorities from giving these people the assurances of confidentiality that they seek. It thus could deter them from reporting predators and result in more sexual predation.

Before we get back to the nuncio’s letter, let’s detour for a moment and look at what the proposed Irish policy actually says about reporting:

2.2. Recommended Reporting Policy

2.2.1 In all instances where it is known or suspected that a child has been, or is being, sexually abused by a priest or religious the matter should be reported to the civil authorities. Where the suspicion or knowledge results from the complaint of an adult of abuse during his or her childhood, this should also be reported to the civil authorities.

2.2.2 The report should be made without delay to the senior ranking police officer for the area in which the abuse is alleged to have occurred. Where the suspected victim is a child, or where a complaint by an adult gives rise to child protection questions, the designated person within the appropriate health board/health and social services board should also be informed. A child protection question arises, in the case of a complaint by an adult, where an accused priest or religious holds or has held a position which has afforded him or her unsupervised access to children.

2.2.3 The Advisory Committee recognises that this recommended reporting policy may cause difficulty in that some people who come to the Church with complaints of current or past child sexual abuse by a priest or religious seek undertakings of confidentiality. They are concerned to protect the privacy of that abuse of which even their immediate family members may not be aware. Their primary reason in coming forward may be to warn Church authorities of a priest or religious who is a risk to children.

2.2.4 The recommended reporting policy may deter such people from coming forward or may be perceived by those who do come forward as an insensitive and heavy-handed response by Church authorities. This is particularly so where the complaint relates to incidents of abuse many years earlier.

2.2.5 Nonetheless, undertakings of absolute confidentiality should not be given but rather the information should be expressly received within the terms of this reporting policy and on the basis that only those who need to know will be told.

WOW!

If this policy means what it says then just on suspicion that abuse may be taking place (suspicion being a subjective state that is very easy to come by) you’ve got to report the priest or religious to the police. No provision is made (at least in this section) for distinguishing between suspicions that are credible or well-founded and those that aren’t. Similarly, no provision is made for doing a preliminary investigation. Instead, Church workers are to make the mandatory report “without delay.”

Furthermore, the Advisory Committee is aware that this policy will put victims on the spot and force them to relive their traumas as the authorities handle the case. It is further aware that the policy of mandatory reporting may seem “insensitive and heavy-handed,” “particularly so where the complaint relates to incidents of abuse many years earlier.” Nevertheless, the policy says, if someone comes to you and says, “I want to report a predator priest but I also want to do so confidentially so that I’m not traumatized and humiliated in public or among my own family members” then Irish Church authorities would be supposed to say, “I’m sorry, but our reporting policy does not admit of exceptions, and I can receive your information only under the terms of our reporting policy, so I cannot promise you confidentiality.”

Can you imagine someone in the office of the Congregation for Clergy having concerns of a moral and canonical nature about how such a policy might be implemented?

I can!

In fact, the Advisory Committee itself can recognize why people would have concerns about this exceptionless policy. Otherwise it wouldn’t have gone out of its way to respond in advance and at length to the concerns victims were sure to have.

HAS LAURIE GOODSTEIN EVEN READ THIS POLICY? DID SHE DO THE TEN SECONDS OF GOOGLING IT TOOK ME TO FIND IT? IF SO, WHY DIDN’T SHE SHARE THE REPORT’S CONCERNS ABOUT THE FEELINGS OF VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ABUSE WITH HER AUDIENCE? THESE ARE QUESTIONS HER BOSSES AS THE NEW YORK TIMES SHOULD ASK HER.

Now, back to the nuncio’s letter:

Since the policies on sexual abuse in the English speaking world exhibit many o[f] the same characteristics and procedures, the Congregation is involved in a global study of them. At the appropriate time, with the collaboration of the interested Episcopal Conferences and in dialogue with them, the Congregation will not be remiss in establishing some concrete directives with regard to these Policies.

So . . . the Congregation for Clergy is hardly coming off as sinister here. To try to find an effective way to deal with these situations, it’s doing a study of how these things are handled in the English-speaking world. It plans to involve the relevant bishops’ conferences in the discussion, so they will have their say. And when this is all done it will issue concrete directives.

This is not the language of coverup. It’s the language of, “We want to find an effective solution to this problem, and we want to work with you to make that happen.”

For these reasons and because the above mentioned text is not an official document of the Episcopal Conference but merely a study document, I am directed to inform the individual Bishops of Ireland of the preoccupations of the Congregation in this regard, underlining that in the sad case of accusations of sexual abuse by clerics, the procedures established by the Code of Canon Law must be meticulously followed under pain of invalidity of the acts involved if the priest so punished were to make hierarchical recourse against his Bishop.

Asking you to kindly let me know of the safe receipt of this letter and with the assurance of my cordial regard, I am

Yours sincerely in Christ,
+Luciano Storero
Apostolic Nuncio

And so the final part of the letter gently reminds the individual Irish bishop that the Advisory Committee’s proposal is just that—a proposal, a study document, not something that has been passed and approved and that the bishop is obliged to follow. Further, it’s a problematic document and if the bishop acts on some of its provisions it could lead to a miscarriage of justice that might blow up in his face on appeal. But the Congregation for Clergy is working on a solution for how to handle this kind of horrible situation. Please don’t implement the flawed document; give us the time to work with the relevant bishops’ conferences to find the needed solution.

That’s the takehome message of this letter.

Contrast that to Laurie Goodstein’s opening paragraph:

A newly disclosed document reveals that Vatican officials instructed the bishops of Ireland in 1997 that they must not adopt a policy of reporting priests suspected of child abuse to the police or civil authorities.

This is highly misleading. The document was of an advisory nature that expressed cautions and concerns. It did not “instruct” the bishops that they “must not adopt a policy of reporting priests suspected of child abuse to the police or civil authorities.” It advised the bishops that there were serious moral and canonical reservations about the specific reporting policy that had been proposed to them.

And it expressed those concerns with good reason!

If I were a priest or a victim, or someone who just knew a priest or a victim, or just a bystander (which is what I am), I’d have concerns about that policy.

Now, please bear in mind that I am not saying that the Congregation for Clergy’s concerns were all well founded. The letter is so brief and is expressed in such general terms that we don’t know what their specific concerns were, either regarding the reporting policy or other aspects of the proposal. They allude in addition to multiple concerns of a canonical nature (apparently concerning the Code of Canon Law’s penal provisions).

Whether they were correct in all their concerns I don’t know. I do know that they were headed at this time by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, who has a particular history on this subject. And I also know that the letter does not come off as the sinister, “under no circumstances tell the authorities” document the press is representing it as.

Of course, that won’t stop the New York Times and other media outlets, and lawyers, from trying to milk this for all it’s worth.

What do you think?

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{ 150 comments }

Terry O'Brien January 19, 2011 at 3:55 am

I am curious: When articles like yours are written, is a copy provided to the people who wrote the erroneous article – in this case, the New York Times – so that they can have an opportunity to correct their errors? That would sure be a good thing to do

John January 19, 2011 at 11:15 am

Is it possible to obtain a high resolution copy of the Vatican’s letter, with an authenticated English translation, so that we can read it ourselves and come to our own conclusions on what it does or does not say?

Joseph D'Hippolito January 19, 2011 at 9:57 pm

Clerical sex-abuse has been a problem in the Church for at least a millenium. In 1049, St. Peter Damian published a work whose title in Latin means “The Book of Gomorrah.” That last word says it all, folks.
St. Peter Damian’s work includes accounts of pederasty.
Whatever the merits of this particular letter to the Irish bishops, the fact is that the Church has never seriously confronted the problem. Given that history, I’m far, far less willing to give the Church the benefit of the doubt.
Moreover, remember that the predators and their episcopal enablers—whether in Ireland or elsewhere—sullied God’s reputation by their behavior! Do you think a holy, righteous God has not noticed? Do you think that such a God will not punish, judge, scourge or whatever you want to call it the leaders of a Church that has constantly rejected its Petrine calling for power, privilege, money, institutional arrogance and a sense of entitlement?
Read Ezekiel 34, Matthew 23 and I Samuel 2: 16-35. The present is not all that removed from the past.

John January 20, 2011 at 9:14 am

Mr. D’Hippolito: I appreciate your well-written comment. You have summed up the problem quite concisely. While I do not approve of King Henry II’s methodology (!), students of history will recall that the primary reason he quarreled with Thomas a Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was on whether priests should be subject to the jurisdiction of the criminal courts of England. As you point out, the problem has been around for at least a millenium, and no amount of apologetics, here or elsewhere, is going to erase that history.

Bill912 January 20, 2011 at 10:06 am

Back to our regularly scheduled post (which was about how the New York Times got a story about the Church completely wrong, as usual):
Yesterday, the Catholic League pointed out that the NYT was against a mandatory-reporting law in NY, because it included public schools and Planned Parenthood, rather than restricting the law to private schools, as another bill, which the NYT (naturally) supported, did.
Perhaps the NYT’s history of getting stories about the Church completely wrong is not accidental?

Shane January 20, 2011 at 10:18 am

John and Mr. D’Hippolito:
What you’re saying is like becoming enraged that teachers have sexually abused children since the very first teachers and it hasn’t yet been stopped, or that parents have beaten their kids since the very first parents. It doesn’t matter whether it’s 1,000 BC, 1,000 AD, 2000 AD, or 10,000 AD: as long as there are priests, teachers, parents, or any other group which has human beings in it, some number of them are going to abuse children, not to mention steal, kill, cheat, and do every other evil thing you can think of.
You’re expecting priests to be universally perfect, and they are never going to be. That attitude doesn’t help anybody. On the other hand, by looking at things from a realistic standpoint and recognizing that yes, no matter how hard anybody or any organization works to prevent abuse, it will always occur, we can actually work to make progress and limit things as far as is possible.

Joseph D'Hippolito January 20, 2011 at 11:28 am

Shane, we’re not expecting priests to be universally perfect. That is a disgusting cop-out. We’re expecting them to live up to the standards they claim to believe in. That’s the minimal expectation anybody should have of any person in Christian ministry, and that’s not unreasonable!
On the other hand, by looking at things from a realistic standpoint and recognizing that yes, no matter how hard anybody or any organization works to prevent abuse, it will always occur, we can actually work to make progress and limit things as far as is possible.
Really? The Church has held that “attitude” for centuries. How has it helped “limit things as far as is possible?”

Shane January 20, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Joseph,
One problem with your reply is that even the tiniest of sins is falling short of the standards that priests (are supposed to) believe in. There are terrible sins, like child abuse and murder, and then there are minor sins, like laziness and small lies, but to do any of these is to fall short of the standard of perfection that Christ calls for.
The more important problem with the reply is easier to explain indirectly. All people in all walks of life have varying degrees of moral discipline. In other words, there are some people who are extraordinarily good (perhaps Mother Theresa, for example), and some who are extraordinarily bad (perhaps Timothy McVeigh), and then there is most everybody else in between. Now, we hold certain “professions” to higher standards, or at least we do in theory. In other words, while we understand that everybody does wrong at some point, we expect that our priests, our teachers, our political leaders, etc., will be closer to the good side of the spectrum than to the bad.
The key is to realize that we expect these people to be better because we see the higher nature of their positions and mentally conflate person and position. To be a teacher is a very noble and selfless calling, and so we expect that every teacher meet a certain noble and selfless standard. To be a priest is a holy calling, and so we expect our priests to be holy.
Yet this isn’t always the case, because the people who serve in these capacities are taken from the greater pool of people which contains good, bad, and in between. Thus, we have some fantastic teachers – both in their morals and in their abilities – and we also have some terrible ones. Then, of course, we have many in between. The same is true of every walk of life, both those which we consider “average” (retail clerks, businessmen, etc.) and those we expect to be better (priests, teachers, leaders, etc.) Even the original 12 apostles included Judas.
There is an old tradition of kissing the ring of a bishop, and this tradition is very illustrative of what’s going on here. One does not kiss a bishop’s ring because the bishop himself is worthy of such an honor. Rather, one kisses the ring because the role or position of bishop is worthy of that honor. The man who is in that role or position might be great, he might be terrible, or, more than likely, he is fairly average.
This is why the Church has saints, and why John Vianney and a relatively scant few others are listed as saints while countless millions of other priests who have lived throughout history are not. Priests, teachers, bishops, leaders, and any other roles which are highly regarded are nonetheless filled by fallen human beings. Only a very few will truly meet the standards that they ought to.
Of course you mention minimum standards, but the problem with this is that no matter what role we’re talking about, it is still filled by human beings, and there will always be some percentage of human beings in any given role who do not meet these “minimum standards.” In some “lower tier” positions, the minimum standard may be simply to show up to work every day – yet some people fall short of this. One of the minimum standards for being a civilized member of society is that you do not murder your neighbor – yet some fall short of this.
However, one does find that amongst those in the Catholic priesthood, the rate of those sexually abusing children is dramatically lower than amongst those in the general population. In fact, it is dramatically lower than that of those serving in Protestant, Jewish, and other religious ministries – which themselves have rates dramatically lower than in the general population.
So the fact is that religious ministries, and the Catholic priesthood in particular – do meet a higher standard – a much higher standard. Nevertheless, you object because there remain some even amongst priests who do commit evil? This is why it is not at all a cop-out to accuse you of demanding universal perfection. Already, Catholic priests are worlds better than everyday people – even than other religions’ ministers – and you are still object that they are not meeting the minimum standard they ought to.
It would seem, then, that the minimum standard is that not a single priest ever does evil. Perhaps you would object and say that it is not that, but simply that far fewer priests do. To this I would reiterate that priests already far and away surpass anybody else in this area – how few must the number be? Further, if already they are better than others, then against what standard are you able to judge that their current rates are falling short?

Clinton Tedin January 20, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Mr. D’Hippolito, as long as the Church has existed, its members (with the exception of Our Lady) have always and every-
where failed to live up to the standards in which they have claimed to believe. It is a fact that the Church has, at times,
failed to confront the problem of clergy and religious sexually abusing minors. It is also a fact that the Church has at
all times deplored such a sin as, well, sin. It is not a fact, however, that the Church has “never seriously confronted the problem”.
In the 1600’s the order of the Piarists was spread throughout southern Europe. The order specialized in the education of
children. Its founder was an elderly man when it came to his attention that one of the order’s priests was preying on
boys in the schools. Unfortunately, that priest was also a member of a wealthy and politically very well-connected
family. Not only was the founder unable to remove the priest, but he found himself outmaneuvered and deposed by
the offender. In the end, to stop the crimes of an otherwise ‘untouchable’ predator, Rome suppressed the entire
order. The entire life’s work of the founder, the schools and foundations of the order, and the good reputation of the
Piarists were all swept away to stop one spoiled, evil priest-predator. Since Rome chose to use the ‘nuclear option’
in that case, I daresay the Church took the clerical sexual abuse of children very seriously indeed.
That some in the Church have failed in their duty some of the time is a far cry from the Church always and everywhere
giving lip service to the seriousness of the evil of sexual abuse of children, which is what you seem to suggest. If that
is your suggestion, I remind you that you would then need to demonstrate that in every instance She has
deliberately failed in Her duty. Shane is right, we will always have sin with us this side of eternity–how do you suggest
the Church may achieve the perfect record you berate Her for not achieving?
Mr. Akin, thank you for your excellent dissection of yet another ‘fail’ from the NYT. I’m not sure why that sad rag
always seems to get it wrong when it comes to the Church–is it vicious ignorance on the part of the writers and editors,
or is it deliberate anti-Catholic bigotry? Either way, the end result is the same… at least we have the crosswords.

Shane January 20, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Trying to fix italics…

Jason January 20, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Shane, I respect your apparent wish to defend the Church against false claims, but your own claims are suspect, especially those you assert to be “fact”. For example, you claimed “that amongst those in the Catholic priesthood, the rate of those sexually abusing children is dramatically lower than amongst those in the general population [etc]”, but such a claim is based on a wide variety of unproven (and biased) assumptions and does not recognize that the full extent of the abuse, whether by Catholic priests or whoever, likely remains largely unknown. Hidden. Covered up. As the voluble Bill Donohue of the Catholic League would say, “sexual misconduct is difficult to measure given its mostly private nature. While crime statistics are helpful, we know from social science research that most crimes go unreported. This is especially true of sexual abuse crimes.” Even with all the clamor in recent years, it remains that we do not know how many priests or people “in the general population” have been or are child molesters. We have only partial reporting with little reliable verification. We have no studies that prove priests are “better”, or that priests have been as likely or less likely to be publicly reported as other offenders, or what percentage of allegations among the groups is true vs false, and that’s especially the case when we consider that measures, attitudes and cultures vary by time and place. It’s a fuzzy subject. If we ignore these and many other important concerns, we do have claims by the John Jay study in 2004 that found that “3% to 6% of priests” have been formally accused of abuse, and claims by the 2001 Royal College of Surgeons study that in Ireland (where over 88% of the population identified themselves as Roman Catholic), “Clerical/religious ministers or clerical/religious teachers constituted 3.2% of [alleged] abusers, and non-religious/clerical teachers 1.2%.” If 6% of priests have been formally accused of child sexual abuse, has 6% of the general population been formally accused of child sexual abuse? It’s apples and oranges to compare John Jay figures, informal telephone surveys, arrest records, charges by grand juries, convictions and laws in different jurisdictions. For all we know, it’s also apples and oranges to compare what Catholics report with what Protestants and other groups report. To the extent they’re different groups with different beliefs, attitudes and cultures, and to the extent their beliefs, attitudes and cultures affect behavior, not only can their rates of offending be different but also their rates and measures of reporting can be quite different. You claim that “Catholic priests are worlds better than everyday people” but you do not make clear by what standard you make such a claim. If it’s better to not sin than to sin, we don’t know whether Catholic priests sin more or less (whether in number, gravely or mortally) than other people, including comparisons with ministers in other religions. We don’t know whether priests go to heaven more or less than other people. THE standard taught by the Church is perfection (“Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”) Who meets it? “No one is good but God alone”. Perhaps that is what you were trying to say before you veered off course.

Bill912 January 20, 2011 at 3:35 pm

From “Sexual Abuse in Social Context: Clergy and Other Professionals” (Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, Special Report, February 2004):
“Conclusion
(The report) also shows that the incidence of the sexual abuse of a minor is slightly higher among the Protestant clergy than among the Catholic clergy, and that it is significantly higher among public school teachers than among ministers and priests”.
The report is well-footnoted and is available at catholicleague.org.

John January 20, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Even if the incidence of sexual abuse can be shown to be greater in other religious denominations, that does not provide an excuse to a church which claims to possess the sole means to eternal salvation and which teaches that outside the Catholic church there is no salvation. Furthermore, the excuse, “everyone else is doing it” is the plea of misbehaving children. No responsible parent credits that excuse in his child, and I will not credit it in the case of the church. Finally, the question is not how often it occurs, but what is done when it is discovered. For the Vatican to bully the Irish bishops who, in good faith, were attempting to rectify an admitted problem, is simply unacceptable.

John January 20, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Just as I do not rely on the Protestant churches to give me information about the Catholic church, I view with suspicion any report prepared by a Catholic group that purports to describe activities by Protestants.

Bill912 January 20, 2011 at 4:24 pm

No one tried to “provide an excuse”. No one offered the excuse “‘everyone else is doing it'”. The Vatican didn’t try “to bully the Irish bishops”, as anyone who read and understood Jimmy’s column could see.

Jason January 20, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Bill912, I wrote my post with that specific Catholic League report in mind. I even quoted from it. Everything I posted applies to it. Their “conclusion” which you quoted is based on a wide varety of unproven (and biased) assumptions and does not recognize the full extent of the abuse. It compares apples and oranges, and cherry picks which ones to compare at that. Notably, the specific claim you cite from the Catholic League report (i.e. “sexual abuse of a minor is slightly higher among the Protestant clergy than among the Catholic clergy”) is not substantiated by the Catholic League report even though it claims it is. Instead, the Catholic League’s report stated: “The data on the Protestant clergy tend to focus on sexual abuse in general, not on sexual abuse of children.” Indeed, the Catholic League’s report went on and on about Protestant clergy having affairs with parishioners, but that’s not the same as sexual abuse of children. It’s apples and oranges. As to “well-footnoted”, the footnotes for those claims aren’t to scholarly or peer-reviewed research journals but to newspaper articles (e.g. Asheville Citizen-Times, Baltimore Sun, etc.) and pamphlets by “Focus on the Family”. The Catholic League report is also dated February 2004, which is before the John Jay study was released later that same year which found the reported allegations against priests to be multitudes higher than what the Catholic League reported. The Catholic League report is a fine example of why not to trust the Catholic League.

Bill912 January 20, 2011 at 4:49 pm

From the Catholic League report:
“Finally, in the authoritative work by Penn State professor Philip Jenkins, ‘Pedophiles and Priests’, it was determined that between .2 and 1.7 percent of priests are pedophiles. The figure among the Protestant clergy ranges between 2 and 3 percent.” Footnote provided.

John January 20, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Bill912, with all due respect, rather than rely on the New York Times article or Jimmy’s analysis, I would rather read the Vatican document myself, as it is the best evidence of its contents, and speaks for itself. All we have, however, is a dim, low-resolution copy that is not legible. Above, I have requested information on whether we can have a high-resolution copy. If you or anyone else can direct me to an appropriate link, I would appreciate it. Thanks.

Jason January 20, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Bill912, yet again, you’re demonstrating another of the Catholic League’s apples and oranges comparisons and distortions. The percentage of a population who are “pedophiles” is not the same as the percentage of a population who have sexually abused a minor. Even if we pretend that a greater percentage of Protestant clergy than Catholic priests are “pedophiles” (and it’s not proven that that is so), it’s still apples and oranges in regard to the Catholic League’s claim that “sexual abuse of a minor is slightly higher among the Protestant clergy than among the Catholic clergy”. The Catholic League itself claims (and without proof) that most of the abuse of children by priests did not involve prepubescent children. Again, sexual abuse of a minor is one thing, and pedophilia is another. There are pedophiles who do not molest children, and there are child molesters who are not pedophiles. That there can be overlap does not make them the same thing. As to Jenkins, the cited 1996 Jenkins publication was based on what was known in 1993, that between 1984 and 1993 “400 Catholic clergy (out of a total of 50,000 American priests) have [as of 1993] been accused of sexual misconduct with minors”, and not what has been discovered before, after and otherwise. Jenkins is a religious history professor and not an expert on pedophilia. His aging book is not “authoritative” on pedophilia nor does it describe what has been learned since 1993. Moreover, Jenkins did not say that “it was determined” or that the very limited information available at the time was reliable. Clinically, it is not possible to diagnose pedophilia based solely on the age of the victims. It remains even today that there are no reliable figures available on the percentage of Catholic priests or Protestant clergy who are “pedophiles”. Even if we were to haul all the priests and clergy at large into the psychiatrist offices, the diagnosis of pedophilia is itself debated among clinicians and has a notably low inter-rater reliability because of its subjective nature. Even if we speak only of “sexual abuse of a minor” rather than “pedophile”, we still don’t have a clear understanding of the extent of the abuse, whether by Catholic priests, Protestant clergy, public school teachers, family members, etc.

John January 20, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Bill912, if you are not trying to provide an excuse, then why are you even talking about what the Protestant clergy do or not do?

Shane January 20, 2011 at 7:00 pm

John and Jason,
There are in fact a variety of studies which show that cases of sexual abuse by Catholic priests falls at less than 1%, those of other religions’ ministers coming in around 2-3%, and those of public school teachers coming in at anywhere from 6 to even (if I recall correctly) 12%. Yes, it’s absolutely correct that it is difficult to determine accurate data due to under and over-reporting, but this problem is consistent across all groups. One has to deal with under-reporting when analyzing public school teachers just as much as one has to deal with it when analyzing Catholic priests, fry cooks, or any other group.
In fact, if we are to believe the documented assertions of the attorney who recently claimed that most accusations against Catholic priests are false, then we need to factor in the possibility of over-reporting as well – and, of course, this is also true when it comes to public school systems.
The point is that the difficulties with getting accurate measurements in no way disprove the overall statistical trend that Catholic priests are far better off than non-Catholic religious leaders and public school teachers.
John, you write:
Even if the incidence of sexual abuse can be shown to be greater in other religious denominations, that does not provide an excuse to a church which claims to possess the sole means to eternal salvation and which teaches that outside the Catholic church there is no salvation.
The Catholic Church also asserts that the act of accepting these means to salvation requires individual assent. People are not made holy simply by being Catholic. Again, Christ Himself taught that the Church was going to be a place full of sinners, not only a place full of great and holy saints.
Further, I suspect that you do not fully understand the Church’s teaching on the necessity of being Catholic for salvation, judging on the context in which you brought it up. I do not wish to derail this discussion and so I will not address it now. However, I would point you to sections 15 and 16 of this document.

Shane January 20, 2011 at 7:21 pm

John and Jason,
It also seems that you have missed several very key items from the Catholic League’s report. So far, it has been asserted that it is apples and oranges, because it deals only with “pedophilia” and “affairs,” rather than child sexual abuse, but this is not correct. Some relevant quotes:
“According to a survey by the Washington Post, over the last four decades, less than 1.5 percent of the estimated 60,000 or more men who have served in the Catholic clergy have been accused of child sexual abuse.[iv] According to a survey by the New York Times, 1.8 percent of all priests ordained from 1950 to 2001 have been accused of child sexual abuse.[v] Thomas Kane, author of Priests are People Too, estimates that between 1 and 1.5 percent of priests have had charges made against them.[vi] Of contemporary priests, the Associated Press found that approximately two-thirds of 1 percent of priests have charges pending against them.[vii]”
These are very significant numbers, all coming from reputable, non-Catholic (sometimes arguably even anti-Catholic) sources, and all taking place after or within the tremendous outpouring of abuse claims in the early 2000s.
Even if we take these numbers and inflate them by an absurd 800% to account for underreporting, they still only begin to touch the numbers about, for example, publics school teachers – and that is not even accounting for the underreporting that goes on there:
“U.S. Department of Education data shows that “10 percent of American students are targets of unwanted sexual attention by public school employees –ranging from sexual comments to rape—at some point during their school-age years” (Hendrie par. 4). 13.5 percent of students said they had sexual intercourse with their teacher (Catholic League par 25), nine times more than the rate with priests. Although little research has been performed on sexual abuse by educators, the problem appears to far exceed the Priest abuse scandal (Hendrie par. 3, “Sexual Abuse by Educators is Scrutinized.”). For example, a study done by U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops found that form 1950-2002 10,667 people accused priests of sexually abusing minors, while a survey from the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation in 2000 estimated that roughly 290,000 students experienced some sort of sexual abuse by a school employee form 1991 to 2000 (Hendrie par. 6 and 7).”
(Hendrie refers to Sexual Abuse by Educators Is Scrutinized: Scope Seen as Exceeding Catholic Priest Scandal, a 2004 journal article by Caroline Hendrie. Google it if you are curious.)
The point: Catholic priests are over and over again found – by religious and non-religious, Catholic and even anti-Catholic sources alike – to be the group with the smallest incidence of child abuse. So again, to what standard are we comparing them and finding that they are falling short? Further, isn’t this smaller incidence what we can expect from an organization which claims to have all of the means to God’s grace?

Jason January 20, 2011 at 9:04 pm

Shane, as I have already said, there are studies all over the place, with high numbers and low numbers. Yet you absurdly claim, “the difficulties with getting accurate measurements in no way disprove the overall statistical trend that Catholic priests are far better off than non-Catholic religious leaders and public school teachers”. You are putting the cart way before the horse. You have not proven that “the overall statistical trend [is] that Catholic priests are far better off than non-Catholic religious leaders and public school teachers”. Rather, that’s your biased hypothesis. No, I did not miss the quotes from the Catholic League report that you mention, and no, you have misread what I posted if you think I claimed the Catholic League report did not make reference to child sexual abuse. What I have pointed out and continue to point out is that those quotes do not prove your (and the Catholic League’s) biased assertion that “amongst those in the Catholic priesthood, the rate of those sexually abusing children is dramatically lower than amongst those in the general population”. Indeed, all those quotes are dated before the John Jay study which found that “3% to 6% of priests” and up to “7.5% of diocesan priests” had formal allegations of abuse against them. Again, you cannot simply compare side by side these numbers or the Washington Post and New York Times numbers, with numbers pulled from studies about public schools. And you cannot just pick and choose where and how you want to adjust them. The studies asked different questions about different people, polled different populations, were done for different purposes, with different criteria, etc. and came up with numbers all over the place, including many numbers you and the Catholic League don’t mention. Of those you do mention, for example, you mentioned “unwanted sexual attention” as measured in the U.S. Department of Education report, but that was based on a survey that included asking students if they recall ever hearing a dirty joke by their classmates or recall another student ever looking at them in a sexual way, which is not the same thing as a formal allegation of sexual abuse against a priest. And in regard to “13.5 percent of students said they had sexual intercourse with their teacher”, the actual study surveyed things much broader than “sexual intercourse”, and even more importantly, the 13.5% figure was not the percentage of teachers alleged to have had sexual contact with students, but was the percentage of students who alleged to have had contact. Indeed, the study author specifically commented, “One or two teachers in a large high school can have a large number of victims.” Likewise, “estimated that roughly 290,000 students” does not identify a percentage of teachers, and even as to students it’s but a guess based on unproven assumptions (by a feminist organization and researcher) and not an actual number. Again, none of these numbers, no matter where they come from, proves your claim that Catholic priests have “the smallest incidence of child abuse”. Your claim is not “fact”. Rather it is your unproven, biased and faulty conclusion. Finally, you asked, “isn’t this smaller incidence what we can expect from an organization which claims to have all of the means to God’s grace?” No, I don’t believe so. One can be granted the means, and one can also reject it, which they do when they sin. Just because someone is “Catholic” doesn’t mean they’re not Adolph Hitler.

Joseph D'Hippolito January 21, 2011 at 10:43 am

“However, one does find that amongst those in the Catholic priesthood, the rate of those sexually abusing children is dramatically lower than amongst those in the general population. In fact, it is dramatically lower than that of those serving in Protestant, Jewish, and other religious ministries – which themselves have rates dramatically lower than in the general population.”
So what? This is nothing but excusing evil by saying, “Well, we’re not as bad as those Protestants and Jews, now, are we?” What Protestants, Jews, other religions and secular institutions do is irrelevant. Members in those groups have a moral responsibility to hold their leaders to the standards to which they claim. Catholics are trying — in vain, it seems — to do the same when it comes to the most basic of evil.
Your post not only offends fundamental human moral sensibilities but also offends a holy, righteous God, Who holds those who claim authority in His name to far higher standards. Read Ezekiel 34, Matthew 23 and 1 Samuel 2:16-35, for starters.
So the fact is that religious ministries, and the Catholic priesthood in particular – do meet a higher standard – a much higher standard. Nevertheless, you object because there remain some even amongst priests who do commit evil? This is why it is not at all a cop-out to accuse you of demanding universal perfection. Already, Catholic priests are worlds better than everyday people – even than other religions’ ministers – and you are still object that they are not meeting the minimum standard they ought to.
I’m not talking about venial sins, here. I’m talking about the sexual molestation of innocent children! You conveniently seem to forget that. Nothing defines hypocrisy as well as a Church that has the audacity to tell married couples when and how to procreate yet refuses to discipline (in any meaningful sense of the word) clergy who deal in the most perverse sexual acts…acts that the average married couple would not think of doing to their own children!

Joseph D'Hippolito January 21, 2011 at 10:49 am

Shane is right, we will always have sin with us this side of eternity–how do you suggest the Church may achieve the perfect record you berate Her for not achieving?
I’m not asking for human perfection. I’m asking (nay, demanding) for a reasonable kind of internal discipline that will put this severe moral problem to rest. For one thing, how about automatically excommunicating those bishops (like Law and Mahony) who deliberately put the faithful in peril by transferring known predators between parishes? How about excommunicating those priests who perform such perversions? At the very least, how about removing such episcopal enablers as Law from the College of Cardinals and eliminating their papal voting privileges? That would make a good start.

Norah January 21, 2011 at 2:22 pm

As any family psychologist will tell you – most sexual abuse is found in families.

Joseph D'Hippolito January 21, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Norah, nobody denies that the evil of sexual abuse exists in families. It shouldn’t. But it shouldn’t exist in the Church, either.

Jason January 21, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Joseph, it’s easy to complain and talk about excommunication of bishops and about what they shouldn’t do (like shuffle them to another parish), but what, in your opinion, should bishops constructively do with a priest who has or might have offended that is not already Church procedure?

John January 21, 2011 at 4:35 pm

Jason, the bishop can defrock the priest, following whatever canonical procedures may be required, just like an employer would fire an employee found to have engaged in illegal conduct. Alternatively, if a priest has fled the United States and is a fugitive from justice in Ireland (see Fr. Patrick Colleary, formerly of Scottsdale, Arizona), the bishop can order the priest to return and stand trial or be defrocked. Under the law, flight is generally admissible as evidence of guilt.
My concern is not that sexual abuse occurs. It always will. Our concern should be what is done when it is discovered and admitted or proved.

Shane January 21, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Jason,
The Catholic League report cites the “John Jay” study you keep pointing to, so it is disingenuous to assert that the information we are presenting is out of date compared to it.
Furthermore, you’re wrenching numbers wildly out of context to try to make your claims. For instance, you say that the report claims that “3% to 6% of priests” had claims against them. This is not true. The 3-6% number is the geographical variation of allegations. The actual number of priests that the study found had been accused of abuse is 4-4.3%. You also quote the 7.5% number, but of course that pertains only to diocesan priests which is only a subset of all Catholic priests. What this number does show us is that diocesan priests were a larger problem than those in religious orders.
Of course, these are the numbers of accused priests, not the number of actually guilty ones, which both common sense and new evidence which comes out every day suggests is far lower. There are false accusations. On the other hand, there are also victims who have not reported abuse. In the end, its hard to say to what degree the false accusations (over-reporting) and reticent victims (under-reporting) balance one another out, so all we can do when it comes down to it is trust the numbers we have and hope they’re as close to accurate as possible. In that vain, we have numbers ranging from 0.7% to 4.3%. You claim there are other studies with numbers “all over the place,” but you have not produced any.
You can try to gloss over the education numbers all you want, but the fact is that they’re there. First, you say that the study was conducted by “a feminist,” which has nothing to do with the numbers it reports. Anybody conducting any kind of research has some personal bias, and we have to trust each of them to work above it’s influence just the same.
In any case, the US Department of Education Study cites a large number of other studies, and so one cannot reject it’s findings as simply being “one study” or because we don’t like the researcher.
Furthermore, you again misrepresent the numbers in this study. For example, you say of the fact that 13.5% of students reported having sexual intercourse with their teachers that “the actual study surveyed things much broader than “sexual intercourse.”” Well, I’m looking at the study right now and it specifically says “sexual intercourse” for the 13.5% number. The number for things “much broader than sexual intercourse” is 17.5%.
Then, you say, “13.5% figure was not the percentage of teachers alleged to have had sexual contact with students, but was the percentage of students who alleged to have had contact.” That type of analysis also applies to the studies of priestly abuse, which often have to deal with numbers of victims rather than numbers of abusers. In any case, when we look at these types of numbers, it supports the idea that Catholic priests are less of a problem than teachers. For example, the US department of education study found that 4.1% had had “physical sexual relations” with a teacher. That makes for a huge number of victims – far more than one could find in the Catholic Church, given the total population sizes in schools versus Catholic institutions – and would require significantly larger numbers of abusers.
In any case, looking over a selection of the studies that the US Dept. Educ. study cites, the percentages of US students reporting physical sexual misconduct (not simply jokes, advances, etc., but actual physical misconduct) range from 4.1%-21.1%. These are some staggering numbers, and again, given relative population sizes, demands a much higher rate of abuse amongst school employees.

Shane January 21, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Jason:
Apologies, the Bishops’ study was not quotes by the Catholic League document. However, it was quoted by me in this discussion, and so my point stands.

Shane January 21, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Mr. D’Hippolito,
The point of citing the rates of Protestant, Jewish, and secular educational individuals who commit sexual abuse is not to say that it’s not evil when a Catholic priest does it, or to excuse it. It is evil. The point is that it is not right to target the Catholic Church as being somehow besmirched and sullied by having abusers in its midst while other groups have far worse problems of abuse. Abuse is a disgrace wherever and whenever it happens, but if we are looking for a group to meet the “bare minimum,” and if Catholic priest have lower – or even comparable – levels of abuse than other religious organizations or those which deal with children, then against what standard are we saying that they do not meet the bare minimum?
In other words, we all know that every group of human beings is going to have some number of those in it who do great evil. If the Catholic Church has an exceptionally large number priests who do great evil, then there is some complaint to be had against it. If, on the other hand, it has a smaller number of priests who do great evil, then what complaint is there to be had?
Remember: the leadership of the Church is composed of human beings just as much as is the priesthood, and so we have to expect some in those ranks who do great evil too, whether as abusers themselves, or by protecting abusers. Yes, some bishops were complacent, and this is a terrible mark against them. Yet the question is, again, were Catholic bishops worse than other groups of leadership in terms of this kind of thing, or were they about the same, or even better? From the data I have seen, they were better. What more, then, can we ask?
I can understand the desire to be angry and to expect more out of them. The problem is that there are limits to what good we are ever going to find on this earth. It’s never going to be perfect. It’s never going to be close
to perfect. We’re all sinners, some of us gravely so. So the question is, are Catholic priests and bishops sinning in these grave ways more, or less than everybody else? It’s just and right to expect it be less: they are, after all, supposed to be dedicated in a deep way to Christ. If it’s not less than everyone else, we have a problem, because we know that better is possible, and they’re falling short. If it is less, then we have to be careful about expecting it be too much less, because the ravages of evil will always smear some.
Finally, it’s important to point out that you’re awfully good at citing Scripture verses about justice, but you don’t seem to be as good at noting those about mercy. Hear it well: there will be more child abusers in Heaven than there will be people who demanded only cold, merciless justice for child abusers.

John January 21, 2011 at 9:35 pm

Shane,
You ask,
“If, on the other hand, it has a smaller number of priests who do great evil, then what complaint is there to be had?”
The complaint that is to be had is that when the bishops discovered the abuse, they merely reassigned the priest to another parish and did nothing to protect the child.

Jason January 22, 2011 at 5:29 am

Shane, thank you for your response. You wrote, “These are some staggering numbers, and again, given relative population sizes, demands a much higher rate of abuse amongst school employees.”
No matter how “staggering” the numbers of public school students may be or how staggering the number or percentage of students who allege to have been mistreated by school employees, it remains that the number or percentage of STUDENTS does not provide the number or percentage of TEACHERS who committed the alleged misconduct. It’s apples and oranges. And without the correct percentage of TEACHERS, we lack the basis to claim as “fact”, as you have done, that a greater (you even said “much” greater) percentage of public school teachers sexually abuse children than Catholic priests.
Even to compare the number of public school students (who with casual anonymity said something about school employees on some school-mandated anonymous survey) with the number of persons (who may be adults or children at the time they speak up and who of their own volition dared to file an actual complaint against a priest) is again apples and oranges.
In regard to the John Jay study, you wrote, “you’re wrenching numbers wildly out of context to try to make your claims. For instance, you say that the report claims that ‘3% to 6% of priests’ had claims against them. This is not true.” Well, you can believe what you want, but it remains that the John Jay study reported that across the regions, from 3% to 6% of priests had accusations against them. I quote from the John Jay study: “the percentage of incardinated priests and deacons accused of child sexual abuse is consistently between 3% and 6% and the overall average is 5%.” In some locations it was 3%. In others, it was 6%. In yet others, it was somewhere in between. The John Jay study also stated that they “do not include priests who have been exonerated, or those who were determined to be ineligible for the study because they did not meet the protocol criteria.” Therefore, the John Jay numbers are already lower than the actual number of priests who were accused.
You wrote, “diocesan priests were a larger problem than those in religious orders”. That a larger percentage of diocesan priests had accusations against them does not directly tell us if they were a “larger problem” in the sense of whether they actually offended at a higher rate or whether they simply tended to be accused at a higher rate. And it begs the question, which ones tend to be around children more?
You wrote, “all we can do when it comes down to it is trust the numbers we have and hope they’re as close to accurate as possible”. Not true. Not only is that not “all we can do”, but the issue is not typically the numbers but the fallible often erroneous (and sometimes deliberately false or deceptive) interpretations given to them. There is a saying, “statistics do not lie but liars use statistics”. Similarly, you wrote, “Anybody conducting any kind of research has some personal bias, and we have to trust each of them to work above it’s influence just the same.” I don’t have to trust that a leopard is going to change his spots. Just because “anybody” may have some bias doesn’t mean we’re to smile and accept without question whatever someone says as if their work and language have not been affected by their bias.
You wrote, “You claim there are other studies with numbers ‘all over the place,’ but you have not produced any.” I have posted other numbers, and make no bones about the fact that there are many more numbers and many more studies, but you have yet to correctly process the ones already brought up, including the ones you’ve posted. You haven’t separated the apples from the oranges and put things into proper perspective.
You wrote, “You can try to gloss over the education numbers all you want, but the fact is that they’re there.” I’m not “glossing over the numbers”. I’m pointing out that the available/posted numbers do not prove what you claimed, that a “dramatically” lower percentage of Catholic priests (than among public school teachers, Protestant clergy, the general public, etc.) molest children. And as to “they’re there”, I’m asking you WHERE, in that the “education numbers” you’ve posted are all about numbers/percentages of students. You haven’t posted ANY study numbers about percentages of teachers. Not one. Where are they? Again, neither numbers of students nor percentages of students is the same as percentages of teachers. We cannot obtain one from the other. We cannot squeeze orange juice from apples, and we cannot squeeze apple juice from oranges.
You wrote that I “misrepresent the numbers” and “For example, […] say […] that ‘the actual study surveyed things much broader than sexual intercourse.” Indeed the study surveyed things much broader than sexual intercourse. You say so yourself when you wrote “The number for things ‘much broader than sexual intercourse’ is 17.5%.” And it still doesn’t give us a percentage of teachers. That’s not misrepresenting the numbers. It’s telling the truth.
You spoke of “study found that 4.1% had had physical sexual relations with a teacher”. No, the study did not find that 4.1% of students actually had physical sexual relations with a teacher. In the 80’s, the questionable Paul Cameron reported in a pay-to-publish “vanity journal” that 4.1% of a non-random set of adults in a selected handful of metropolitan areas who had responded/completed his tedious, “raunchy” and invasive survey (and only a minority who were asked completed the survey, for a variety of reasons such as respondent fatigue, lack of clarity, intrusiveness, offensiveness of the questions, etc.) had reported that they had a physical sexual experience with a teacher, whatever that means. But without clarification and verification, “teacher” might be, for example, a public school teacher, a piano teacher, a private tennis teacher, or even a teacher at the Catholic school, perhaps even a man called “Father”. Because of the nature of the survey, the limited response, the methodological issues, and not to mention the researcher himself, the study number is not considered reliable or representative. And again, 4.1% of some adults talking about teachers is NOT a percentage of teachers. It’s apples and oranges. It’s not even necessarily representative of “a huge number of victims”, because 4.1% was a total of about 80 respondents, and again, it cannot be said that they were representative of people in general. Again, apples and oranges.
You wrote, “[The analysis of percentages of students from anonymous surveys] also applies to the studies of priestly abuse, which often have to deal with numbers of victims rather than numbers of abusers”. You can analyze the reported numbers of victims all you want, but your claim was that a far lower percentage of priests than everyday persons/Protestants clergy/teachers sexually abuse children. That is NOT a comparison or analysis of the reported “numbers of victims”. Instead that is the actual number of child molesting priests divided by the total number of priests compared with, for example, the actual number of child molesting public school teachers divided by the total number of public school teachers.
Perhaps you think we can estimate numbers of abusers based on sketchy numbers of victims dressed up with some unproven (biased) assumptions and then claim it’s “fact”. But the number of child molesting priests and the number of child molesting public school teachers cannot be accurately obtained by counting the number of victims, reported or actual, not within an acceptable margin of error, and especially so in light of your claim of a “dramatic” difference. For example, if there are 50 teachers at a school, and the lone PE teacher has inappropriate “sexual contact” with some students, that is 2% of the teachers no matter whether there is one victim or 200. Put another way, whether there were 20 or 200 victims, we don’t know from the victim count if it involved one teacher or 20, and that’s a very wide range between 2% of the teachers to 40% of the teachers.
Furthermore, there is no reliable count of the actual number of victims, whether we’re talking about the number of victims of priests or the number of victims of school teachers. It’s apples and oranges to compare the number of victims from the John Jay list (who were not passively surveyed but perhaps chose to daringly allege abuse) with the number of public school students who sat in anonymity and said something on a survey administered to all students. Neither is demonstrably the actual number of victims, and with the available and very limited data, we can only speculate rather wildly as to which group or groups might have higher/lower percentages of child molesters.

Jason January 22, 2011 at 8:03 am

Shane, one other thing, in regard to your claim that “it is disingenuous to assert that the information we are presenting is out of date compared to [the John Jay study]”, I’m not sure what you mean or why you’d even say such a thing. You had just finished posting pre-John Jay numbers from the Washington Post, New York Times, etc about percentages of accused priests, and I stated in reference to them that “all those quotes are dated before the John Jay study”. My statement was not “disingenuous”. My statement is fact and a relevant consideration. I did not expressly assert that the pre-John Jay numbers you posted were “out of date” compared to the John Jay study, but your remark begs the question. Do YOU believe, for example, that the 1.5% figure reported by the Washington Post in 2002 is as accurate as the subsequent John Jay study results? Are you aware that the Washington Post survey lacked responses from virtually half of all the dioceses? Mind you, the Catholic League didn’t report that. Are you aware that the New York Times, though it reported in 2003 a figure of 1.8% based on priests who had been accused by name, also said that the real number was likely higher, and that in dioceses providing fuller disclosure that the numbers were “far higher”, such as 7.7% in Manchester, New Hampshire? Again, the Catholic League didn’t report that. Do you believe those early incomplete reportings are as accurate as the subsequent John Jay study?

Joseph D'Hippolito January 22, 2011 at 11:28 am

“…it is not right to target the Catholic Church as being somehow besmirched and sullied by having abusers in its midst while other groups have far worse problems of abuse.”
Shane, you can’t have it both ways. You cannot believe that the Catholic Church contains “the fullness of the Gospel” yet say that “it’s not right to target the Catholic Church as being somehow besmirched and sullied by having abusers in its midst.”
“…but you don’t seem to be as good at noting those about mercy. Hear it well: there will be more child abusers in Heaven than there will be people who demanded only cold, merciless justice for child abusers.”
May I remind you that the Jesus who said, “Forgive them, Father; they know not what they do,” is the same Jesus who when into the Temple, overturned the tables of the moneychangers, and fashioned a whip to drive the out!
Let’s get right to the point: What does God want? The prophet Micah put it best: To do justice, love mercy and walk humbly w/your God. Can you really say that the Church’s hierarchy and leadership have done any of those things concerning this problem?

Johnno January 22, 2011 at 12:30 pm

It’s always amusing to hear people say things like “the Church hasn’t done enough…” But offer no explanations or a standard as to what the Church is supposed to meet other than implied 100% perfection. Reality dictates that achieving this is impossible. Even God Himself reiterates how impossible it is for mankind. Following the history of the Hebrews and Israelites, there are several examples of when theyre at their best and when they’re at their worst. The same will apply to the Church as well. Sometimes its members will be saintly, other times they’ll be devils. Sometimes there’re more saints than devils and other times the devils will outnumber the saints. Theses are things pointed out explicitly in Scripture and prophecy. It is virtually undisputed fact that abuse rates in the Church are drastically lower than any other organization. We don’t point this out to excuse the Church, merely to show the hypocracy of those who love to argue and complain that the Church doesn’t do enough. 90% of the time the people making these complaints don’t really give a damn, nor do anything out of the ordinary in their own lives to prevent child abuse but they love to be armchair critics of a complex problem that is too out of anyone’s control to fully prevent. 99% of the time, they care nothing about the victims or child abuse, it’s simply a good opportunity to slag the Church and ironically prevent the one largest organization that is indeed willing to fight against abuse of all human persons and accept the responsibility of its failings while their secular buddies have been busy actually trying to philosophically justify sexual relationships with adults and young children as being a healthy and progressive ideal to strive towards. And whereas corporations are willing to quickly cut off all responsibility on their part and cast out victims and the accused altogether so it has nothing to do with them. Thankfully the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church has brought about a big wave of public outrage that will push back the pro-pedophilia movement by a couple of years. When the Church outrage dies down once the Church has effectively been hindered from fighting against abuse in all its forms, then pedophilia will be in vogue again amongst the liberal thinkers working for a progressive society. Those discontent of the way the Church has been handling the sex abuse ought to also start doing more other than just complaining. Where were you and why aren’t you doing enough to combat pro pedophile propaganda and abuse in your Church or community? Why aren’t you doing enough? What precisely have you done other than complain on message boards that others aren’t doing enough? Think about it long and hard, and come back when you actually have something to contribute along with some solutions that haven’t already been tried or implemented already. Start within your own Church to come up with reasonable solutions at a grassroots level so that everyone can be cared for and these things can be further prevented from happening. Oh right… that’d take actual time and effort, well carry on then…

John January 22, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Johnno, please go back and read my prior messages. I know that the world is not perfect, and that such incidents can occur in any organization. They cannot be eliminated entirely. The question we must answer, however, is what does the church do when it discovers that an incident has occurred?
When a bishop is confronted with a priest who admits or who is proved to have committed an act of sexual abuse of a minor, there is nothing complex or philosophical about the action that the bishop is required to take. He needs to protect the children from the priest.
Did the bishop do that? No. As we are now discovering, in case after case, the bishop merely transferred the offending priest to another (unsuspecting) parish. In other words, the bishop was concerned only with the feelings of the priest and the image of the church as an institution, but did not give a $@$#% about the welfare of the unsuspecting parents and children at the parish to which the priest was being transferred.
How do the actions of some Protestant minister, or public school teacher, down the street excuse or even relate to the bishop’s decision to cover for the abusing priest?

Press Rolls January 24, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Shane, you can’t have it both ways. You cannot believe that the Catholic Church contains “the fullness of the Gospel” yet say that “it’s not right to target the Catholic Church as being somehow besmirched and sullied by having abusers in its midst.”

Bill912 January 24, 2011 at 2:38 pm

We’ve had bad priests right from the start. On the night our Lord ordained his first 12 priests, one betrayed him, one denied him, one failed to speak up at his trial before the Sanhedrin, and the other 9 ran away. It has never been that bad for the Catholic priesthood since that night. The Church survived that scandal. It has and will survive this (mostly) past scandal.

Joseph D'Hippolito January 27, 2011 at 10:26 am

Bill912, that’s just the kind of mental rationalization and justification that keeps Catholics from expressing legitimate disgust not only with the particular nature of the sin (in this case, the corruption of the innocent) but also with the moral corruption that apparently pervades the entire hierarchy. Besides, this isn’t a “new” scandal; just look up St. Peter Damian and “The Book OF Gomorrah.”
You say that the Church will survive. Will it? Are you familiar with Pope Leo XIII’s vision, in which Christ Himself gave Satan the power and authority to destroy the Church within a century? Are you familiar with Christ’s haunting question in Matthew, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the Earth?”?
Are you actually looking around you and seeing what Catholicism is turning into?
Be not deceived, Bill, God is not mocked. When Church leaders sow corruption, they will reap condemnation….and so will their followers. Just sayin’….

The Sarge January 27, 2011 at 10:58 am

The Church is the Body of Christ. If the Church does not survive, then Christ is not God.

Agnes January 27, 2011 at 12:07 pm

+JMJ+ Spot on, Billy912. :-)
1st Timothy 3:15- “…the Church of the Living God, the PILLAR and the FOUNDATION of the truth.” (the Church is where we will find the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.) Matthew 16:18- “And I say to thee: thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hell will NOT prevail against it.” (Hell will not win the battle, and the Church will remain.) Matthew 28:20- “…and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.” (The Church will not be overcome.)
Yes, we admit that, sadly, there have been some priests who failed. However, it is less than 1% of priests that abused children. When speaking of the Church, we don’t mean the building, and when the building inevitably falls, that’s not the end of the Church. Some priests have failed, but that does not mean all priests will fail.
We do not know all that was said in Pope Leo XIII’s vision, but I have heard that Our Lord said, “… do with them what you will, and I will back My followers.” And of course we all know that Jesus is more powerful than satan. Also, it was back in 1884, and it has been over 75-100 years. Again, we do not know all that happened in that vision.

The Masked Chicken January 28, 2011 at 6:41 am

You say that the Church will survive. Will it? Are you familiar with Pope Leo XIII’s vision, in which Christ Himself gave Satan the power and authority to destroy the Church within a century? Are you familiar with Christ’s haunting question in Matthew, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the Earth?”?
For a minute, there, I thought you were making an argument. Really, have you no faith? Quit cherry-picking quotes to frighten people. Of course, the Church will survive. Do you seriously think that Pope Leo thought otherwise? You insult him, if you do. Do you not realize that Christ did not ask a question, here, since he already knew the answer? He was pushing his followers not to give up on their faith. Quit reading into things what you want to see. Of course, men, even priests, sin. Bishops sometimes do dumb things. Of course things could and should be better. You state the obvious. Remember, even many psychologists, at least for a time, thought that child abusers could be cured. Propose concrete solutions instead of railing at the problem.
The Chicken

Joseph D'Hippolito January 28, 2011 at 1:38 pm

“The Church is the Body of Christ. If the Church does not survive, then Christ is not God.”
Sarge, all who embrace Christ’s atoning, redemptive sacrifice for themselves…Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, whatever…constitute the “body of Christ.” God will protect them. As to those ecclesiastical authorities who drag His name in the mud by their behavior, that’s another story. Read Ezekiel 34, Matthew 23 and 1 Samuel 2: 16-35. God does not tolerate the abuse of the authority He gave people.
Agnes, I also recommend to you Pope Paul VI’s comment, “The smoke of Satan has entered the sanctuary.” This bold, direct comment comes from a man who was a veteran of the Vatican’s diplomatic corps (diplomats are trained to speak with nuance and to consider the public effect of their remarks) and who was known for agonizing over minor decisions.
Remember, also, that when the OT Israelites engaged in idolatry (and the attendant social and moral collapse), God did not sit idly by. He warned His people through the prophets. When they were ignored, he scourged them through the Assyrian and Babylonian exiles. Of course, Christ is more powerful than Satan but we have the responsibility to choose which side we’ll be on.
Masked Chicken, I’m not trying to frighten people but to wake them up to the truth. Catholics like Bill912 seem to place more faith in the ecclesiastical institution than they do in Christ. In fact, many Catholics effectively confuse one for the other. Consequently, they become complacent to the moral rot that permeates the hierarchy; as long as the institutional church survives, they figure, all is well. Well, a holy, righteous God is not amused. He will judge those, both great and small, who abuse the authority He gave them…as well as those who blindly prefer group loyalty to the active protection of the innocent.
You want concrete solutions? O.K., how about these? Demand that such corrupt prelates as Law and Mahony relinquish their seats in the College of Cardinals. Demand the immediate excommunication of all priests who molested the innocent and all bishops who knowingly placed the faithful at risk by transferring pedophile priests w/o the knowledge or consent of pastors and their parishioners.
Do you seriously believe that “orthodox” Catholics have the courage to embrace these “concrete solutions”?

Joseph D'Hippolito January 28, 2011 at 1:45 pm

You know, Masked Chicken, I have another “concrete solution.” The hierarchy must reject now and forever its monarchistic pretensions and institutional arrogance, repent and live as Christ demanded His Apostles to live (see John 13). For centuries, the hierarchy has rejected Christ’s example of servant-hood for its own lusts for power, prestige, wealth and secular influence. This isn’t just a matter of a few individual failures. This, effectively, is apostasy and rebellion against God Himself and it has been going on for centuries!! Just do a Google search for St. Peter Damian and the “Book of Gomorrah,” for starters.
If its leaders do not repent of their collective arrogance and insolence, Catholicism will be judged by a holy, righteous God Who values His reputation jealously.

Bill912 January 28, 2011 at 2:36 pm

“Catholics like Bill912 seem to place more faith in the ecclesiastical institution than they do in Christ.”
Joseph D’Hippolito, you are a liar.

Joseph D'Hippolito. January 29, 2011 at 12:03 pm

No, Bill, you’re the one who’s lying…and you’re lying to yourself! Your own comments reflect more of a concern with the survival of an ecclesiastical institution and less with any concern for God’s integrity and character, let alone fundamental human morality. Your blase, stereotypical response earlier in this thread screams that you really don’t give a damn how many innocent people have had their lives ruined by people who have abused the authority God gave them. All you’re interested in is the “Catholic Lie” that, as long as the institutional Church exists, then God smiles on Catholicism.
Well, Bill, you’re in for a shock. God gave the Israelites an independent kingdom in Canaan on condition of their obedience. When they turned to local idolatry, God sent prophets to warn them. When they ignored the prophets, God allowed the Assyrians and Babylonians to destroy that independence and take them into exile. God allowed the Romans in 70 A.D. to destroy the Temple and the old sacrificial system when Jews rejected Christ as Messiah. Christ Himself warned six of the seven churches of Asia (Revelation 2-3) to repent or have their “lamp stands” removed.
If all this happened then, why couldn’t it happen now, especially to a church that brags of having “the fullness of the Gospel” and the only true apostolic succession? Remember, to whom much has been given, much will be required.
Bill, God doesn’t place two farthings on denominational or theological identity. He values obedience. He values His Son’s atoning, redemptive sacrifice and all those who embrace that as their own. If He won’t get the kind of desired response from Catholics, He’ll go to whomever will give Him that response. Remember, St. Paul went to the Gentiles when the Jewish leaders rebuffed him continually.

David B. January 29, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Joseph D’Hippolito,
Christ promised that the Gates of Hell would not prevail against His Church. You’re calling Christ a liar if you believe He will abandon the Church for the sins committed by her children. You accuse some Catholics of conflating the Church with Christ. I say you set Christ in false opposition to his bride. The Church is the body of Christ. If I as a Catholic choose to deny this truth because I deem that God would not associate with a group of such rotten sinners, I am separating myself from God. The same applies to you, or anyone.

David B. January 29, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Italics Off

Joseph D'Hippolito January 29, 2011 at 1:56 pm

David B., did Christ ever promise that He would not judge or even scourge His Church if its leaders failed to obey Him…or if those, ostensibly in God’s own name, blindly followed those leaders and adopted their self-satisfied, arrogant posture?
The True Bride of Christ does not dismiss her Bridegroom’s legitimate demands for righteousness and holiness as cavalierly as the Church’s leaders (and some of you on this thread) have…and, on the issue of sexually exploiting the innocent, have for a least a millenium, all the way back to St. Peter Damian.
You and those who think like you make Christ the liar, not me.

David B. January 29, 2011 at 6:02 pm

“The True Bride of Christ”
Joseph, do you accept that the Catholic Church is that Bride?
“You and those who think like you make Christ the liar, not me. ”
So, the Church is not the Body of Christ? Christ is at odds with His Church? Because I believe the Church is the Bride of Christ and will never be abandoned to evil, that I am turning a blind eye to sin and scandal? No, it is precisely the opposite. I believe Christ’s promise holds more weight than the sins of men.
If I may say so, you leaped to conclusions about my motives and intentions with no basis of fact, and have made uncharitable accusations against several here. If Christ smites his flock for its errors, I hope you are found to be sturdy ground.

Agnes January 29, 2011 at 8:01 pm

+JMJ+
Joseph,
Those priests who failed to keep their vows of celibacy are not the Church. You are blaming the people, but the Church itself is infallible. As I said before in an earlier post, we admit that there have been priests who failed. I would also like to add that there are unfortunately some Catholics, even bishops, who go right along with the gay marriage, and abortion stuff, nauseating as it is. HOWEVER, if you go right to the heart of the Catholic Church, the Pope in Rome, you will find that the Pope agrees with you that the priests were wrong. ANY clergy who abuses children, and ANY Catholic who supports such clergy who abuse children are NOT in line with Holy Church. I agree with you that the clergy who have done so will not go unpunished by God unless they repent. So where is your problem with the Church?

Joseph D'Hippolito January 29, 2011 at 10:12 pm

David, Christ’s Bride contains *everyone* who has accepted His atoning, redemptive sacrifice and embraced it as their own. That includes Catholics, Protestants, Eastern Orthodox, Pentecostals, non-denominational Christians and any other type of Christian you can think of. The exclusivity you claim for Catholicism is a product of human arrogance, not God’s revelation.
As far as turning a blind eye to scandal goes, I can’t speak for you. I can only say what I’ve seen: For the most part, those who play the “gates-of-Hell-shall-not-prevail” card are more concerned with ecclesiastical identity than with God’s righteousness. If that bothers you, I really don’t care.
Agnes, if the Pope agrees with me, as you say, then why do Law and Mahony still have voting privileges in the College of Cardinals? For that matter, why do they still have the office of archbishop? Yes, I do blame the people because the people, in all too many cases, have ignored the victims. As one woman on another Catholic blog wrote, “I know several devout Catholics who hold the children responsible for what happened to them! Along with the children they hold the parents responsible and say that the victims and lawyers are only interested in the money they can get from the Church.”
I also suggest you read William Lobdell’s book “Losing My Religion.” Lobdell talks about the reaction at a Catholic parish not far from where I live when the pastor had to resign suddenly because he was (correctly) identified as a child abuser. The parishioners blamed Lobdell, who was there to write about their reaction, and blamed him.
I’m sorry but I’m sick and tired of “good Catholics” making excuses for priests and bishops who have dragged God’s name through the mud because of their behavior. If the Catholic Church does not enforce within its own ranks the fundamental standards of morality it claims to uphold, then it’s no better than the Pharisees and Sadducees who conspired to nail Christ to the cross.

Joseph D'Hippolito January 29, 2011 at 10:20 pm

One more thing, this for Masked Chicken:
Here’s another practical thing Catholics can do: Support Leon Podles, a good man who is trying to get to the truth. After all, our God is a God of Truth, is He not? His site is http://www.podles.org. People like Podles, Michael Rose and Stephen Brady need support from self-defined “orthodox Catholics” instead of the anonymity they get and don’t deserve.

Agnes January 30, 2011 at 9:32 am

+JMJ+
“I’m sorry but I’m sick and tired of “good Catholics” making excuses for priests and bishops who have dragged God’s name through the mud because of their behavior.”
What excuses? My last post stated: “ANY clergy who abuses children, and ANY Catholic who supports such clergy who abuse children are NOT in line with Holy Church.”
Any one who is angry with them is rightouessly angry. Christ threw the money changers out of the temple. But did He abolish the temple as a place of evil because of it? No. There will always be sin because of the Fall. We must try our best to instruct the ignorant. Love the sinner and hate the sin.

David B. January 30, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Joseph,
“The exclusivity you claim for Catholicism is a product of human arrogance, not God’s revelation.”
So you do not believe that the Catholic Church is the only Church founded by Christ, that it has received the fullness of Truth, and will not be overcome by the Evil One? If this is the case, do you consider yourself Catholic?

Joseph D'Hippolito January 30, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Agnes, my comment about Catholics making excuses for priests and bishops was not meant for you, personally. Nevertheless, a lot of Catholics have acted and still act that way.
We must do more than instruct the innocent, love the sinner and hate the sin. We also have a divinely mandated moral responsibility to defend the innocent. God’s prophets (under His inspiration) have called Him “a father to the orphan, a husband to the widow.” St. James said that “true religion” is caring for the widows and orphans…not just in a literal sense but as metaphors for the vulnerable. Far too many Catholics have conveniently ignored that imperative on this issue because they don’t want to admit (outside of in a strictly rhetorical sense) that priest and bishops are even capable of such gross sin.
David, Christ did not found the Catholic Church. The Catholic and Orthodox churches effectively began after the Great Schism of 1054; before then, can you really say that Christianity was “Catholic” or “Orthodox”? Neither did Christ found the Orthodox Church. Christ did not intend to found what became the Catholic Church, because the Catholic Church…in its pomposity, monarchistic pretentions and intellectual arrogance…is so unlike Christ that I believe it is effectively apostate. That doesn’t mean that individual Catholics are apostates; each individual is responsible for his or her own spiritual responses. It does mean, however, that Catholicism has wandered far from Christ’s desire for it.
I was baptized as a Catholic, went to a Catholic high school and attended church and CCD. I was more faithful than most of my peers. But, as I said, the Catholic Church has wandered so far from the truth that I question whether I can remain a Catholic and have a clear conscience.
As far as Catholicism not being overcome by “the Evil One,” I argue that it already has been overcome. So has much of mainline Protestantism, btw. “The Evil One” will not overcome any individual or denomination that maintains its link to Christ. But any Christian denomination that severs itself from Christ will be overcome (just look at the Anglicans and the Russian Orthodox).
I suggest you study the prophecy of St. Malachy, which I’m believing more and more. According to that prophecy, the current Pope (“The Glory of the Olive”) is the next-to-last in Catholic history.
God is not interested in confessional correctness. He is interest in faithfulness and obedience. Catholic leadership centuries ago forfeited its calling for secular and temporal benefits.
Do not put your faith in any ecclesiastical institution, Catholic or otherwise. Put your faith in the Triune God, Who is more powerful, wise and compassionate than any institution.

Bill912 January 30, 2011 at 2:22 pm

“As far as Catholicism not being overcome by “the Evil One”, I argue that it already has been overcome.”
Christ: “…and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
To believe the former is to say that Christ was wrong. To say that Christ was wrong is to deny His divinity.

David B. January 30, 2011 at 3:13 pm

“the Catholic Church…[]is so unlike Christ that I believe it is effectively apostate.”
So you have the apostolic authority to declare this to be true? Huh. Learn something every day.

John January 30, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Christ: “…and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
What language was Christ speaking when He said that? Peter and Rock make a good pun in Latin:
“tu es PETRUS [Peter] et super hanc PETRAM [rock] aedificabo ecclesiam meam”
Are the words “Peter” and “Rock” similar in Aramaic, which is the language Jesus spoke?
Also, what meaning would the word “church” [ecclesiam] have to Jesus’ listeners? Had they any idea what a “church” might be?

John January 30, 2011 at 7:28 pm

For a partial answer to my question about languages, see http://catholic.com/library/peter_the_rock.asp

Bill912 January 30, 2011 at 7:35 pm

In Aramaic, the name, “Peter”, and the word “rock” are not a pun; they are the same word, “Kepha”. Here endeth the attempted detour away from my point.

John January 30, 2011 at 9:42 pm

My point is that we need to examine original sources. Jesus did not speak Latin or Greek. Any thoughts on “church” and the meaning it might have had to Jesus’ listeners?

The Masked Chicken January 31, 2011 at 8:10 am

As far as Catholicism not being overcome by “the Evil One,” I argue that it already has been overcome. So has much of mainline Protestantism, btw. “The Evil One” will not overcome any individual or denomination that maintains its link to Christ. But any Christian denomination that severs itself from Christ will be overcome (just look at the Anglicans and the Russian Orthodox).
I suggest you study the prophecy of St. Malachy, which I’m believing more and more. According to that prophecy, the current Pope (“The Glory of the Olive”) is the next-to-last in Catholic history.
God is not interested in confessional correctness. He is interest in faithfulness and obedience. Catholic leadership centuries ago forfeited its calling for secular and temporal benefits.
Do not put your faith in any ecclesiastical institution, Catholic or otherwise. Put your faith in the Triune God, Who is more powerful, wise and compassionate than any institution.

I am sorry, but the ecclesiology is very wrong, here. The Catholic Church is the body of Christ. I am sorry that you have had bad experiences within Her, but you commit the fallacy of composition to draw the conclusion that because some have fallen, all have fallen. As Christ cannot fall, neither can his Church. Individual members might.
By the way, the Catholic Church is not a denomination. When one uses the word denomination, one is speaking of denominations of Protestantism. The Catholic Church is Church, united by true sacraments.

Joseph D'Hippolito January 31, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Masked Chicken, it’s not a matter of saying, “because some have fallen, all have fallen.” It’s a matter of saying…
1. The highest members of Catholic leadership, more often than not throughout history, have rejected their calling for institutional arrogance, groupthink, tyrannical control, wealth, secular prestige and intellectual fashion.
2. By rejecting their calling — and, essentially, any attempt at internal accountability — such leaders have effectively severed themselves from the True Vine of Christ.
3. As such, they are fit only to be collected and burned, as John 15: 1-8 illustrates.
Obviously, this is not solely a Catholic problem. But self-styled orthodox Catholics are among the most blind to it because they have linked their salvation, much less their identity, to adherence to an insitution rather than to faith in Christ.
You can complain about my “ecclesology” all you want but them’s the facts.
Newman said that “to be deep in history is to cease being a Protestant.” Well, I suppose it depends on what kind of history you’re talking about. Much of history does not serve the Catholic Church well. One can also say, “to be deep in Scripture is to cease being a Catholic.’

Gregory Williams February 1, 2011 at 4:43 am

Perhaps Joseph would like to elaborate by providing the scriptural basis for Sola Scriptura.

Joseph D'Hippolito February 1, 2011 at 11:35 am

Gregory, read 2 Timothy 3: 14-17.
Now, provide for me the scriptural basis for Scripture and Tradition as equally valid sources of revelation.

Gregory Williams February 1, 2011 at 11:51 am

Joseph, thank you for your response. I’ve long loved that passage of Scripture. However, 2 Timothy 3:14-17 does not say that ONLY scripture is inspired by God, etc.
To answer your question, I humbly offer 2 Peter 1:20-21. There is also 1 Timothy 3:15, which is commonly cited. Finally, I offer logical question, “How do we know which books are canonical since the Scriptures don’t tell us?”
The question of Authority is one of the major reasons for my conversion from Evangelicanism to Catholicism.
Thanks again for your time.

Bill912 February 1, 2011 at 11:53 am

2 Timothy 3:14-17: “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted from the sacred writings, which are able to instruct you for salvation through Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
“..knowing from whom you learned it…” “Whom” refers to a person.
“…the sacred writings, which are able to instruct you…” Yes, the Old Testament writings (the only ones considered ispired at that time; the New Testament canon would not be codified until the late 4th Century by those evil Catholic popes and bishops) “are able to instuct you”. Nothing there says ONLY (sola) the sacred writings are authoritative.
Nothing in that last sentence about the scriptures being sufficient, or that only the scriptures should be used.
“Now provide for me the scriptural basis for Scripture and Tradition as equally valid sources of revelation.”
This question assumes the validity of Sola Scriptura, which has not been proven. Since the Bible does not teach Sola Scriptura, the question is a logical fallacy. As Marcus Grodi likes to ask: “Show me where it says in the Bible that I have to show you where it says in the Bible.”

Agnes February 1, 2011 at 1:46 pm

+JMJ+
Luke 10:16, there are others we should listen to who will guide us on our journey into Heaven, namely, the successors of the Apostles. Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus told the Apostles to teach, not hand them a Bible and let them decide for themselves. John 21:25, not everything God wants us to believe is plainly spelled out in the Bible. For example, the word “Trinity” isn’t there. But nothing in the Catholic Church contradicts the Bible. Although it may at times seem like it, it is the interpretation that is wrong.

Joseph D'Hippolito February 1, 2011 at 11:28 pm

Let me answer the challenge posed by each verse:
Matthew 28: 19-20: This is so blatantly taken out of context that it’s ridiculous. First, the Bible reflects Jesus teachings! Second, the vast majority of people at that time were illiterate, so verbal preaching was the only effective means of reaching them.
Luke 10:16: What happens when those “successors of the Apostles” have so distorted the faith that they effectively become apostates? (see my later response)
John 21:25: When that passage was written, many of the Church’s “traditions” had not yet been set as doctrine. Besides, that passage talks about what Jesus did, not any of the “traditions”
that developed after His Ascension.
2 Peter 1: 20-21: That doesn’t refer to the revelatory equivalence of Tradition w/Scripture. That supports the idea that Scripture is reliable and inspired; that men didn’t just “make up clever stories,” as St. Peter said. Neither does 1 Timothy 3.
Bill912, nothing in your last post proves that Scripture and Tradition have equivalent revelatory value.
“Nothing in the Catholic Church contradicts the Bible.” Really? Then how do you explain…
1. The Church’s effectively abolitionist view of capital punishment, even for murder, which Gen. 9: 5-6 commands and Jesus never contradicted or contravened?
2. The excessive veneration of Mary as a special intercessor, which contradicts the Letter to the Hebrews’ emphasis on Jesus as *the* intercessor between God and humanity, a role He “earned” (for lack of a better term) because of His crucifixion and which He performs as Heaven’s high priest?
3. The Church’s monarchistic pretensions to power, which John 13: 1-17 not only contradicts but also warns (if you read between the lines) as a sin against God?
4. The “enhancements” that Tradition demands (such as mandatory celibacy for priests and the excessive veneration of saints and Mary), “enhancements” that Jesus’ tirade in Matthew 23 warned against?

Bill912 February 2, 2011 at 6:02 am

Where did Jesus or the Apostles give instructions that the Christian faith should be based exclusively on a book?

Bill912 February 2, 2011 at 6:37 am

The Church honors Mary because Jesus did. Jesus came, not to do away with the Law and the Prophets, but to fulfill them. The heart of the Jewish Law is the Ten Commandments. The first 3 Commandments (or 4, depending on how one divides them up) deal with our relationship with God. The rest deal with our relationship with one another. The first of those Commandments is: “Honor your father and your mother.” The Hebrew word we translate as “honor” literally means “give your glory to”. Jesus obeyed that Commandment perfectly. He gave His glory to His heavenly Father, and to His earthly mother. And we imitate Jesus.

Gregory Williams February 2, 2011 at 7:04 am

So if all you have are the Scriptures, how do you know what Scriptures should be in the Bible?

Bill912 February 2, 2011 at 7:10 am

“Bill912, nothing in your last post proves that Scripture and Tradition have equivalent revelatory value.”
Nor was there any intent on my part to prove such. I was pointing out the illogic of the unbiblical doctrine of Sola Scriptura.

The Masked Chicken February 2, 2011 at 7:23 am

Joseph,
Luke 10:16: What happens when those “successors of the Apostles” have so distorted the faith that they effectively become apostates? (see my later response)
Then you render Christ’s word void, since if all of them become apostate, then Hell would have prevailed over the Church. This cannot happen. Even if 2/3 of the bishops err, as in the days of the Arian heresy, the Church will still survive.
None of the points you raise provide a serious challenge to the Church and all have been answered many times on this and other Internet sites. It is up to you to do due diligence. Celibacy, for instance, is not a part of Church Tradition. It is a discipline that has been in place for a long time, but that does not make it a Tradition. What the Church means by Tradition is totally different. Celibacy is not a part of the Faith and Tradition can only reference aspects of authentic Faith, such as the correct books of Scripture. Tradition refers to those aspects of the Faith constantly taught by the Church from the beginning, if only in embryonic form. Have you read the Catholic Encyclopedia entry under Tradition? Most of the points you raise are answerable from Google.
Veneration of Mary is even implied in Scripture (you do remember the Wedding Feast at Cana?) and has a very long history, even in the Old Testament in the idea of the Queen Mother of the king.
Again, these are points raised by Evangelicals and are easily dismissed. If you are in the Church, why are you not seeking the answers, there? Your questions sound as if they are from an Evangelical. I mean no disrespect, believe me, but I must ask in all seriousness, since I don’t know you except from com boxes: are you a Catholic? How I approach answering your questions will depend, in part, on that.
The Chicken

Agnes February 2, 2011 at 7:33 am

+JMJ+
Have you ever had somebody ask you to pray for them? Or for a loved one? That’s what we do when we ask the saints to intercede for us. Christ is the only mediator between God and man, and as members of Christ’s Body, we share in the privilege of saving souls. In John 14:20-21, Our Lord tells us that He is in the Father, and we are in Him, and He in us. As members of His Body, we share in His sufferings, His Resurrection, and one day His glory in Heaven.

Joseph D'Hippolio February 2, 2011 at 12:35 pm

Agnes, I have asked people to pray for me, and I’ve prayed for people. That’s a far different thing than rendering to that intercessor the kind of inappropriate veneration that the Church encourages toward Mary in such prayers as the “Memorare.” Notice that I said “inappropriate” and, in an earlier post, “excessive.” Those are the key words, not “veneration,” per se.
You’re arguing from the “communion of saints” idea. Well, let’s explore that idea. Let’s say that personal or professional circumstances force you to 500 miles from where you now live, and you find a Catholic parish in your new city. You’re still a member of the Catholic Church but you will certainly lose contact with a vast number (if not a majority) of people from your old parish. That’s the difference between “communion” and “community” and Catholics confuse the two when it comes to the saints. “Communion” is not necessarily “community;” the latter implies something more personal and intimate.
Masked Chicken, you say, “then you render Christ’s word void, since if all of them become apostate, then Hell would have prevailed over the Church. This cannot happen. Even if 2/3 of the bishops err, as in the days of the Arian heresy, the Church will still survive.” You and many other Catholics are stuck on institutional “survival” as opposed to institutional fidelity. The idea that the Church will survive because at least some will remain faithful to Christ doesn’t negate the idea that Church leadership can border on the apostate (if not cross that border entirely). Read Ezekiel 34 and 1 Samuel 23: 16-35. (Agnes, now it’s time for *you* to do some due dilligence). It’s the apostate leaders who render God’s word void, not those who point out that leadership.
Besides, at that same wedding feast at Cana, Christ tells His mother, “Why does this concern you? My time has not yet come.” While that might not be a firm rebuke, it does imply that nobody has the authority to tell Jesus what to do, not even his mother. Remember, out of all the miracles that Jesus performed, this was the only one that had nothing to do with healing the sick, raising the dead or casting out demons. Even if you assume that Mary was trying to “prime Jesus’ pump,” as it were, that assumption doesn’t necessarily mean that she has the same kind of influence now, since Jesus is the Heavenly High Priest of all believers.
Gregory, the fact that a church council canonized the NT doesn’t necessarily mean that the current leaders eminating from that council are faithful to the basic demands and principles that Scripture reveals.
Bill912, you say, “Where did Jesus or the Apostles give instructions that the Christian faith should be based exclusively on a book?” That rhetorical is asinine. Scripture contains God’s revelation of Himself; the fact that it’s written is a secondary consideration, because much of that revelation was communicated orally before it was written down.
Besides, to take your asinine rhetorical to its logical extent, you would have to disown the CCC, wouldn’t you?
I will not answer any more of your questions until you respond to Questions 1, 3 and 4 in my last post.

The Masked Chicken February 2, 2011 at 12:52 pm

I did answer number four about Tradition. You, apparently are not using the term in the Catholic sense, otherwise, you would not put celibacy in that class.
Bill912, you say, “Where did Jesus or the Apostles give instructions that the Christian faith should be based exclusively on a book?” That rhetorical is asinine. Scripture contains God’s revelation of Himself; the fact that it’s written is a secondary consideration, because much of that revelation was communicated orally before it was written down.
That rhetorical is not wrong, since, outside of Scripture, we do not know the content of the oral communications. It is not a secondary consideration, because by what mechanism can you say that the Bible is an authentic presentation of that oral teaching apart from the Church’s approval? You can’t and don’t get me started on historical exegetical methods.
More than that, it has been known since the 1930’s that you cannot prove the Bible is the word of God by its self-authentication. Tarski’s T-theorem guarantees it. You need an outside authority, like the Church, given permission by the author, to make that assertion. As long as one can make the sola Scriptural argument in first-order logic, Tarski’s theorem works.
The Chicken

Leo February 2, 2011 at 1:56 pm

italics off

Joseph D'Hippolito February 2, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Well, Masked Chicken, given all of that, then why view Scripture as a source of revelation at all?
Besides, you just focused your answer concerning Tradition solely on celibacy; you didn’t apply it to other extra-biblical teachings.
I suggest you read John 14:26. That will answer your question regarding Scripture’s inspiration.
Besides, I don’t think the early believers had a problem when Pentecost took place, did they? Nor did Peter, whether immediately afterward or throughout his ministry…and they didn’t have a “church” telling them what to do.

The Masked Chicken February 2, 2011 at 3:56 pm

It was you who used celibacy as an example of Tradition and I showed that this is wrong. I have no idea what other extra-biblical teaching to which you refer.
Why believe in Scripture? As I tried to explain and as St. Augustine also remarked, because the Church says so. The Church is given authority, not Scripture, per se. It is a reference book. Sorry I can’t go into more detail, now. I amj writing on a Kindle.
The Chicken

Agnes February 3, 2011 at 9:58 am

+JMJ+
“1. The Church’s effectively abolitionist view of capital punishment, even for murder, which Gen. 9: 5-6 commands and Jesus never contradicted or contravened?”
I would reccomend this link in answer to this question:
http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2010/1007toc.asp
When it opens, click on preview. The article in question is about halfway down the page. It is by Christopher Kaczor, a professor of Philosophy.
God bless, and may the Holy Spirit guide.

Joseph D'Hippolito February 3, 2011 at 11:37 am

As I tried to explain and as St. Augustine also remarked, because the Church says so.
Masked Chicken, the Holy Spirit pre-existed before Pentecost, the official founding of the “church.” The Holy Spirit inspired those who wrote the Gospels, Epistles and other works of both testaments. This makes Scripture more than a “reference book,” as you put it. Your idea leads to the conclusion that the Church can disregard any parts of Scripture it doesn’t like (such as John 13 when it comes to ecclesiastical organization and attitudes) w/o experiencing the consequences, either from God or history. WRONG-O.
Agnes, I would also recommend you read the following:
http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=1463

St. Bart February 3, 2011 at 11:42 am

Look the Masked Chicken has a hidden agenda. As a professor from St. John’s University with Italian heritage he will spin any data to cover up scandal in the church. It is true the Church Universal defined Scripture. The ‘Old Testament Church’ defined the Torah, but after 1500 years this church rejected the Messiah. Maybe the Catholic Church has also been cut-off from being a custodian of Scripture as a result of all her sins?

Joseph D'Hippolito February 3, 2011 at 5:40 pm

“Maybe the Catholic Church has also been cut-off from being a custodian of Scripture as a result of all her sins?”
St. Bart, that is exactly what I’m beginning to believe. I also think the Catholic Church isn’t the only one with problems. It all goes back to “abiding in the True Vine,” as it were. Remember Christ’s rhetorical question in Matthew’s Gospel: “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the Earth?”

The Sarge February 3, 2011 at 6:03 pm

Hyperbole (n): extravagant exaggeration

The Masked Chicken February 4, 2011 at 6:12 am

As a professor from St. John’s University with Italian heritage he will spin any data to cover up scandal in the church.
St. Bart,
Cite one example where I did so, or apologize.
The ‘Old Testament Church’ defined the Torah, but after 1500 years this church rejected the Messiah. Maybe the Catholic Church has also been cut-off from being a custodian of Scripture as a result of all her sins?
The Old Testament Church: a) labored under Original Sin, b) had imperfect guidance in fragmentary ways (as St. Paul points out), c) did not have the assurance of God, himself, that the Church would never defect.
You and Joseph still labor under the fallacy of composition. Even many bad apples does not nullify Christ’s promise.
Masked Chicken, the Holy Spirit pre-existed before Pentecost, the official founding of the “church.” The Holy Spirit inspired those who wrote the Gospels, Epistles and other works of both testaments. This makes Scripture more than a “reference book,” as you put it. Your idea leads to the conclusion that the Church can disregard any parts of Scripture it doesn’t like (such as John 13 when it comes to ecclesiastical organization and attitudes) w/o experiencing the consequences, either from God or history. WRONG-O.
You really don’t understand. In fact, the Church can and did disregard parts of Scripture. The Gospel of St. Thomas is NOT in Scripture because the Church rejected it. Only when the Church infallibly defines something is the matter settled and then it is settled by God, acting through his Church. God made the Bible for man, not man for the Bible.
As for the Holy Spirit pre-existing before Pentecost, so what? All authentic Scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit, but if the Spirit were given to the Church (and this cannot be denied), then, the same Holy Spirit testifies, through the Church as to which books are, in fact, inspired, since otherwise, the Holy Spirit would contradict himself. There is not one Holy Spirit who inspires and another who judges the inspiration. That being said, a reference book can be inspired. There is no contradiction. The Holy Spirit allowed the bible to come into being to record some of the things done during the period of revelation in history, but not all things and not in exquisite detail. Strictly speaking, it does not need to exist. It is a concession. Even without the Bible, the Church would still exist and stand, undefected. Have you ever heard of Bibliomania?
As for John 13, I have no idea what you are talking about. What does it have to do with Ecclesiastical organizations and attitudes? I see nothing to suggest that there cannot be organizations. Indeed, the fact that Christ choose twelve apostles is a type of organization. It does counsel an attitude of humble service, but if you are saying that the Church, in toto, is no longer concerned with humble service, then you insult every bishop, priest, deacon, and layman, who is striving for holiness. The Church has sinners, even among the hierarchy. Big deal. Christ warned as much. Knowing this would, happen, he still founded his Church.
You seem to be unable to accept any corrections of your points. I have explained, corrected, or countered everyone you have offered and yet you persist in bringing up the same points. You have misused the term Tradition, for example, and when I corrected that, you changed the subject. Clearly, there can be no constructive dialogue, here. I am bowing out of the conversation.
The Chicken

Inocencio February 4, 2011 at 9:52 am

Masked Chicken,
Hello! I hope all is well. You are right to recognize that there can be no constructive dialoge with Joseph D’Hippolito.
Joseph D’Hippolito has been trying to assume the authority of the Magisterium for years especially on the issue of the death penalty. He is the final authority in his own mind and no amount of reasoning or documentation will change his incorrect understanding.
The link above is to one of Jimmy’s posts from April of 2006. You can see by his comments then that Joseph D’Hippolito hasn’t learned anything about the Church’s teaching on the death penalty in the last five years. In his mind he interprets infallibly and the Church does not.
Lord, Have mercy on all of our souls.
Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Joseph D'Hippolito February 4, 2011 at 11:27 am

Inocencio, I suggest you actually read this:
http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=1463
Concerning capital punishment, the Magisterium is not wrong because I am right. The Magisterium is wrong because its revisionist teaching contradicts revealed doctrine. Period. I have nothing to do with this.
As far as “interpreting infallibly” goes, God gave us minds to think with. When something smells, we have the *moral responsibility* to say that it smells, regardless of which “authority” promotes the smelly thing in question.
Why don’t you address my arguments instead of call names?
“As for John 13, I have no idea what you are talking about. What does it have to do with Ecclesiastical organizations and attitudes?”
Masked Chicken, why don’t you read John 13 for yourself. Are you really that dense that I have to explain it to you…especially if you *are* a college professor?
Very well, since you appear to be that dense, I will explain. Christ washed the feet of His disciples to show them what holding authority in His name meant: rejecting personal ambition and careerism for the most humble kind of service. Remember that before He performed this act, the disciples were arguing who among them would be the “greatest” in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Now take a look at much of Catholic history. Murderous internal intrigues in the quest for papal power. Clericalism. The amassing of wealth, power and secular influence (and jealously guarding it, as the clerical sex-abuse crisis exposed). Treating the faithful as if they were inherently inferior, not as the adopted sons and daughters of the Most High, as Christ Himself promised. Titles such as “my lord” (monsignor), “Your Holiness” (which rightly belongs only to Christ Himself) or “Your Excellency/Eminence”, all of which reflect monarchistic pretensions. Behavior tantamount to that of a totalitarian state (the Index was not discarded until 1966!). No internal checks and balances upon the behavior of prelates and priests. No accountability for moral or financial malfeasance (unless the behavior threatens Church power; why do you think the Council of Trent and the Jesuit order came about? Would they have occurred if the Reformation did not gain significant traction? Conversely, why do you think Pope Benedict is confronting clerical sex-abuse now?). The blithe episcopal disregard for Canon Law.
If you believe that *any* of this reflects Christ’s will for His Church, then you truly have a strange understanding of what Christ’s will actually is.
Besides, you really haven’t answered any of my challenges. By claiming that dialogue with me is impossible, you admit to being a coward.

Inocencio February 4, 2011 at 11:50 am

Hello Joseph D’Hippolito,
1. Exactly what name did I call you?
2. Why don’t you follow your own suggestion and the rules of this blog and stop name calling?
3. I have engaged your “arguments” enough in the past to know that you just like to argue even when you are wrong.
You don’t have the authority do declare and define the Catholic Faith and it makes you bitter. What more needs to be said?
Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Joseph D'Hippolito February 4, 2011 at 12:17 pm

“He is the final authority in his own mind and no amount of reasoning or documentation will change his incorrect understanding.”
Inocencio, that constitutes a personal attack and a failure to address my arguments directly.
“You don’t have the authority do declare and define the Catholic Faith and it makes you bitter. What more needs to be said?”
Do you have a prophetic anointing, Inocencio? If so, please describe how God gave it to you.
My “bitterness,” as you call it, is anger with the willingness of Catholic authorities to disregard revealed doctrine for intellectual fashion, especially concerning capital punishment. If that anger bothers you, then you have the problem, not I.

The Masked Chicken February 4, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Dear Joseph,
As I am an academic and I do a great deal of document analysis, let me just say that your are seeing what you want to see in the text. You disregard any evidence in Scripture and theology and history in general contrary to the conclusions you have drawn. You are interpreting John 13 in an idiosyncratic fashion. Do not read into the text what you wish to see. There is nothing in the text to justify the extreme interpretation you give to it. I’m sorry, but even St. Paul had in mind a proto-hierarchy when he set forth the qualifications for teachers and bishops. There is nothing that forbids a hierarchy in the text. I did read through John 13 before responding to you to make sure that I could reasonably answer your points.
I can’t argue with the fact that the Church is a church of sinners, but you cannot, cannot, generalize to say that the Church has gone off the rails because of that fact. That is the very definitions of the fallacies of composition and the converse accident. I am sorry, but you will not, it appears, accept any challenges to your worldview.
Claiming that I can’t dialogue with you does not make me a coward. I am simply being realistic. What would it take to convince you that your view doesn’t cover all of the facts? You have no falisifiability criteria, so, by definition, there is no way to prove you wrong. Scientific investigation, including the science of theology, has to have some way to prove things other than relying on ipse dicit (he said so) arguments.
Hoe much Church history do you know? Even the Corinthians were chastized by St. Paul for going off the rails and the apostles were even alive! Party spirit is nothing new to the Church, but it comes and goes. There are better and worse times. So far, that is not a proof of the failure of the Church, but of the failure of some people within the Church. I am sorry that the church does not live up to your standards (and don’t tell me they are Christ’s standards – Christ, at least, understands that men fail – the apostles fell asleep in the Garden). I am aggrieved by the failures of some of the people within the Church (myself, included) as well, but that does not mean that the Church has failed, only some of the people, unless you claim to have a divine revelation that Christ has disowned his Church.
I have to go. I apologize for my harshness. It is my failure. I should be able to be patient and dialogue and answer your questions, but I would rather part as disagreeing brothers in Christ than have either of us get too upset with the other and be the cause of sin for the other.
The Chicken

Joseph D'Hippolito February 4, 2011 at 12:27 pm

“He is the final authority in his own mind and no amount of reasoning or documentation will change his incorrect understanding.”
Inocencio, that constitutes a personal attack and a failure to address my arguments directly.
“You don’t have the authority do declare and define the Catholic Faith and it makes you bitter. What more needs to be said?”
Do you have a prophetic anointing, Inocencio? If so, please describe how God gave it to you.
My “bitterness,” as you call it, is anger with the willingness of Catholic authorities to disregard revealed doctrine for intellectual fashion, especially concerning capital punishment. If that anger bothers you, then you have the problem, not I.

Agnes February 4, 2011 at 12:30 pm

” (unless the behavior threatens Church power; why do you think the Council of Trent and the Jesuit order came about? Would they have occurred if the Reformation did not gain significant traction? Conversely, why do you think Pope Benedict is confronting clerical sex-abuse now?).”
You are simply determined to see bad in the Church aren’t you? Do you really think that’s all we are interested in? Earthly, temporal power? I can’t believe this. I’m taking The Chicken’s example, and bowing out.
Next topic, Jimmy.
P.S. God bless, and I have enjoyed the discussion with you, Joseph. I hope everyone profited in it somehow. I know I did. Peace.

Agnes February 4, 2011 at 12:54 pm

+JMJ+
One last thing:
http://www.youtube.com/user/RealCatholicTV#p/u
“The Vortex” is a great show. I would reccomend it for everyone.

Joseph D'Hippolito February 4, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Agnes, people cannot deny their history. The United States has been involved in such evils as slavery and racial discrimination but Americans have admitted and confronted those evils and seek improvement. The non-progressive, non-schismatic Catholics like Leon Podles, Michael Rose and Stephen Brady who seek improvement, greater accountability and greater fidelity in the Church have been ignored by self-styled “orthodox” Catholics (including people like Jimmy Akin, Mark Shea and Karl Keating) because those same self-styled “orthodox” are so infatuated with being Catholic that they ignore Christ’s demands for fundamental moral obedience. I don’t enjoy saying that, Agnes, but that’s the truth.

Inocencio February 4, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Joseph D’Hippolito,
1. You were wrong about me calling you a name and instead of admitting that, you pretend that you accused me of personally attacking you? You make it quite obvious that no constructive dialogue is possible with you because you won’t admit when you are wrong.
2. You are a hypocrite, after falsely accusing me of name calling you immediately call the Masked Chicken “dense” and a “coward”.
3. Yes, I do have a prophetic anointing. I received at Baptism. I didn’t need a prophetic anointing to understand what you made clear: your arguments all rest on your own twisting of the Sacred Scriptures and completle disregard Sacred Tradition.
4. Your arguments ignore the authority that Christ gave to His Church to teach all that He commanded and the fact that Christ promised to remain with His Church to the end of time and send the Holy Spirit to guide His Church to all Truth. He promised that to His Church not to you. I accept that authority, you have made it clear you do not.
5. Have a nice weekend!
Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

The Sarge February 4, 2011 at 2:11 pm

What Inocencio said.

X February 5, 2011 at 7:34 am

non-progressive, non-schismatic Catholics like Leon Podles, Michael Rose and Stephen Brady who seek improvement, greater accountability and greater fidelity in the Church have been ignored by self-styled “orthodox” Catholics (including people like Jimmy Akin, Mark Shea and Karl Keating)…

Liar.
Catholic Answers Live (owned by Keating and with Jimmy then as director) did a whole radio show with Michael S. Rose about the release of Good Bye Good Men. Check their archives.
Even now we have “non-progressive, non-schismatic Catholics” like Steve Kellmeyer trying to do some of the dirty laundry internally, but what’s your opinion about it?
Scratch a looney-tunes rad-trad, find a cookie-cutter fundie. We “non-progressive, non-schismatic Catholics” are also to blame for it, because we should never treat a scumbag like yourself seriously.

St. Bart February 5, 2011 at 8:23 am

Chicken,
I am sure that you spent a lifetime studying interpolated Latin documents to support your thesis of circular logic. The church created the Bible and the Bible says the church is the bulwark of truth. Yes, on the day of judgment your works will go up in the fire of smoke for your works were for naught.
The Eastern Orthodox, the Coptic, the Protestants, and Roman Catholics each have different definitions of what constitute canonical Scripture. Thus your circular logic would indicate that only one of the four mentioned groups can be the true church. So instead of reading forged, interpolated, and ancient Roman revisionist documents you may want to reevaluate your thesis while still in the twilight of your career.
My experience is that most academics are really hack-ademics under the constant pressure of publishing. Most of what is published todsay is truly straining at gnats and tends to focus on the minors while ignoring the majors.

Bill912 February 5, 2011 at 8:37 am

Really classy, St Bart. Would you care to offer any facts and/or logic to back up any of your remarks? Sneering and ad hominems reveal more about the person writing them than of the person at whom they are directed.
No “circular logic” was used. The Church is not the bulwark of truth because the Bible says it is. Some people see it that way because they are looking at things through Sola Scriptura lenses. The Church is the bulwark of truth because it is. The Bible reports that fact.
(And I thought his first post was tongue-in-cheek! It seemed to me to read as a parody.)

Bill912 February 5, 2011 at 9:38 am

When I wrote “see it that way”, the “it” referred to seeing the argument that way. Some, looking through Sola Scriptura lenses tend to see any citing of the Bible as an appeal to Sola Scriptura.

The Masked Chicken February 5, 2011 at 10:31 am

St. Bart,
There is no circular reasoning in what I wrote and what you claim of me is not what I wrote. Your use of the word, “created” is equivocal in context. God created Scripture through the cooperation of the Church and God made the claim in Scripture that the Church is the bulwork of Truth. The Church merely wrote the fact down. It did not create it. The Church “created” the Bible in the sense of choosing and ordering the books, again, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, but it did not create Scripture in the sense of making it up, ab initio. You have misreferenced the terms, create and say, in your comment to the Church when they should be referenced to God. Since God is a simple unity, there can be no circular logic and no paradox in him. One of my areas of research is paradox theory, so I am probably much more familiar with the analysis of circular logic than you are. Give it a rest.
As for the four church argument, there is nothing circular there (and I didn’t make the claim – you did). In fact, Protestants do not have a Church, they have denominations, and the Orthodox and Coptic Churches are in Schism, but even they agree broadly, with the Latin Church, which is reasonable, given their histories.
As for works going up in smoke, all knowledge will pass away. If, by your comment you mean tp imply what I have said is in error, the burden is on you to prove it, not just assert it.
Really, St. Bart, are you serious or just trolling? In any case, I do not believe you are proceeding in charity, so, unless you have something to say about th e Irish situation, your comments do not belong in this post.
The Chicken

Joseph D'Hippolito February 5, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Masked Chicken, I brought up John 13 not to argue against the existance of hierarchy per se, but to argue against the monarchistic pretensions of Catholic leadership. For centuries, the prelates have “lorded it over the faithful” as secular rulers have, in direct contravention of Christ’s command *not* to do so. If you read John 14-17, you will see that Christ’s command to the disciples to “love one another” flows *directly* from discouraging the selfish ambition they displayed before Christ washed their feet.
The issue isn’t whether the Church is full of sinners; that will always be the case. The issue is whether the Church (especially its leadership) has the humility to repent of those monarchistic pretentions and to act as if Christ is the True Head of the Church, instead of merely give lip service to that fact. Part of that repentence, I believe, involves developing internal disciplinary controls against the kind of abuse (sexual and otherwise) that we have seen all too often throughout the centuries. At the very least, it means adherence to Canon Law, which many bishops routinely disregard. Most certainly, that repentence involves eschewing the kind of arrogant attitudes of entitlement that have pervaded the hierarchy for centuries.
If the Church fails to do this, then it has effectively severed itself from the True Vine, as Christ described in John 15. Again, that’s not merely a Catholic problem (just look at the states of the Anglican and Russian Orthodox churches, for example). But if the Catholic Church’s claims of having the “fullness of the Gospel” are legitimate, then it has a *greater* obligation. Remember, MC, judgement first comes to the House of God.
It’s one thing for Enron to act like Enron, or for the Soviet Union to act like the Soviet Union. When the Catholic Church acts like both, it becomes a particulalrly offensive stench in the nostrils of a righteous God. Just read how the OT prophets castigated the Israelites and Judeans for idolatry and the attendant social deterioration that followed. Those prophets were speaking to a people whom God designated as His own. If it was true then, why can’t it be true now?

Joseph D'Hippolito February 5, 2011 at 12:28 pm

“Catholic Answers Live (owned by Keating and with Jimmy then as director) did a whole radio show with Michael S. Rose about the release of Good Bye Good Men. Check their archives.”
I’m not talking about one isolated interview, X. I’m talking about, say, links to Web sites (such as http://www.podles.com). I’m talking about making constant demands that the Church resolve this problem (which is at least as old as St. Peter Damian and “The Book of Gomorrah” in 1049!).
As far as Steve Kellmeyer is concerned, how much support does he get from Akin, Keating, Shea, et al. As someone who once patronized Shea’s site, I have *never* seen him mention Kellmeyer.
Catholics should be more concerned about the moral credibility of their church than about the impressions of non-Catholics, the “liberal” news media and ostensible “anti-Catholicism.” So should you, X. You can start by attacking the problem instead of making rash statements about others that you can’t back up.

St. Bart February 5, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Chicken,
You totally insult the Eastern Orthodox and Coptic churches if you believe that they ‘broadly agree’ with the Latin church. Since your hack-academic please tell me how many books compose the Bible for Eastern Orthodox, Protestant, Catholics, Coptics. You will find that the numbers are all different. You only proves my point that you are a revisionist historian. To clarify the word church, Greek – kurios, CAN NOT be found in the Bible. Only the word ‘Assembly’ -Greek ekklesia is in the Bible. Thus Protestants are more faithful to the original definition of ekklesia than any Romanist. It is the clever redefinition of ancient words that has insured that the Catholic church is an impostor pretending to be Christian.
Hence pederasty in the Catholic church traces back over a thousand years. Nothing will change, since homosexual priests are the back bone of the Catholic church.

The Sarge February 5, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Speaking of insulting Christian Churches, St. Bart’s last paragraph isn’t exactly the epitome of Christian charity.

Inocencio February 5, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Joseph D’Hippolito,
1. The entire crux of your problem is authority. Always has been and alwasys will be. You don’t have the authority to set the standard the Church must meet in your eyes. The Church was given the authority to teach and preach all that Christ commanded, not you. The visible Church will faithfully survive to the end of time because Christ is the Head of His Mystical Body. At some point I hope you come to grips with that reality.
2. You can reject the Church, as you appear to have done, but you cannot judge or condemn the Church founded by Christ with His authority.
3. Please understand that the faithful will always be that…faithful. Even if I am not as intellectual as you are, I admit I am not, I remain faithful because Christ is faithful to His Bride, the Church.
4. You need to practice the humility you demand of the Church. You seem to think that when Our Lord returns He will seek your opinion and judgement of the Church, He will not.
Lord, Have Mercy on both our souls.
Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

The Masked Chicken February 5, 2011 at 5:54 pm

St. Bart,
Your conduct seems to be that of a troll – someone who simply makes provacative statements that cause unnecessary dischord in the com boxes. The topic of the post is the Irish bishops. At least Joseph’s comments are tangentially related to that. Click on the link on the left called, Da Rulz. It states the guidelines for dialogue on this blog. The use of the term, Romanist, is out of bounds. Your comments about Protestants being closer ti Biblical reality is ludicrous. Which of the 30,000 assemblies and storefront churches, each with their own doctrines and interpretations of Scripture? If you are serious about conversation instead of throwing insults, then act like it.
Joseph,
A hierarchy, especially in a large group, is inevitable. There certainly have been abuses of power throughout history. As early as St. John Chrysostom, hr said the road to hell was paved with the skulls of bishops. I don’t envy them. Who knows how the Church will evolve in the future. Perhaps as it gets smaller it will get more humble. There have been many laymen and religious who do give the humble service we both want, but then, again, we do have to deal with the problem of weeds among the wheat. There is no easy path to humility. The Modernist impulse has obscured the real heroism of some priests and bishops, such as during the French revolution. The Church hierarchy has not always been despots such as in the days of the de Medici and Borges. The more oppressed the Church, the humbler she becomes. Certain centuries are worse than other. The twentieth century was mostly cosy, except for WWII, so there is no wonder that many people have taken their eyes off of the ball. During WWII people in the Church, including most of the hierachy, had to respond bravely and they did. I suspect there are hard times coming for the Church and I suspect she will be humbled, again, before long.
When the waves were theatening the boat while Christ slept, the only thing the apostles got right was that they stayed in the boat.
You do have some painfully valid points, although I, personally, think you paint with too broad a brush. Let us both pray for a Church which is a light to the world and let God take care of the details.
I did not mean to start into things, again. Your last comment clarifies and focuses your area of anger, so I thought I would let you know that on some things we can agree even though we disagree on others.
With that said, I wish you the blessings of the Sabbath and I will take my leave.

Joseph D'Hippolito February 6, 2011 at 12:03 am

Masked Chicken, thank you for your response. We might not agree on everything but at least we can be civil, once each of us defines our respective opinions more clearly.
Innocencio, let me answer each of your points:
1. As I told Masked Chicken, judgement begins at the House of God. I didn’t make that up. The Catholic Church cannot claim to have the “fullness of the Gospel” and pretend to be exempt from divine judgement when it acts against its calling, especially in fundamental moral behavior.
2. I condemn nobody. I merely point out the truth. The Church effectively condemns itself when it behaves the way it does.
3. The question isn’t whether Christ is faithful to His own; the question is whether those who claim authority in His name are faithful to Him. When it comes to the clerical sex-abuse crisis, that is an open question.
4. Christ does not need my opinion on the Church. He has His own. Believe me, His anger at the corruption w/in the Church will outshine mine exponentially. Read Ezekiel 34 and 1 Samuel 2:12-36. God is not amused when those who hold authority in His name misuse it to exploit others or build personal empires.

St. Bart February 6, 2011 at 4:52 am

Chicken,
Christ’s Kingdom is a spiritual kingdom and must be discerned spiritually. If you can not determine which subset of the 30,000 denominations is an instance of Christ’s local church on earth than you lack spiritual discernment, and thus prove that you are NOT a child born of God. All God’s children can hear His voice. Those that are not His children can not. Thus you are basically saying that you flunked into Catholicism because of your Italian heritage and your inability to discern what constitutes a true church.
Notice how you refuse to answer the number of books of the Bible in each of the four churches ( Protestant, Eastern Orthodox, Coptic, Roman Catholic). Your silence speaks volumes. Using basical logic shows that only on of these groups can be the bulwark of truth, not all four of them. Choose the wrong one and there is a high probability of eternal damnation. You don’t have to be a genius to know that the Catholic church is rotten to its core. How can the Catholic Church make claims that Muslims and Catholics worship the same god? That logic is so perverse that I should add that Arians, Catholics, and Muslims worship the same god. However those blinded by Satan fail to see that the ‘bulwark of truth’ church could NEVER make such a HUGE logical gaff.
So God cut off the 10 Northern Tribes of Israel, then the Southern Tribes, then the Roman Catholics. There is NOTHING new under the sun. The True Assembly of Christians left the Roman Church centuries ago.
You falsely accuse me of being a troll. I am trying to warn you like, John did to the Churches in Revelation to ‘wake up’ and realize that you have been defending a false church and NOT the true church. The Apostle Paul did something very similar, but then he had His Damascus Road experience and repented for his sin. I encourage you to do the same.

Bill912 February 6, 2011 at 6:49 am

“…only one of these groups can be the bulwark of truth…”
Only one of them has ever claimed to be.

Joseph D'Hippolito February 6, 2011 at 2:03 pm

St. Bart, if memory serves, I believe that the OT books making up the Apochrypha, while considered inspired in Catholic and Orthodox traditions (at least), don’t have quite the same status as those 66 OT books that all Christians consider to be inspired. I could be wrong but I don’t think so.

Inocencio February 6, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Joseph D’Hippolito,
“I condemn nobody. I merely point out the truth. The Church effectively condemns itself when it behaves the way it does.
That actually made me laugh out loud. Thank you for the laugh I enjoyed it. I realize you consider yourself the infallible judge of truth but don’t be suprised if nobody else does.
I guess when you declare the Church condemned you feel free to behave in any manner that suits you because you believe there is no moral authority to condemn your behavior.
The Church is inseparable from Christ by His will and His authority. You can pretend that you speak with the authority of Christ but you do not. You can separate yourself from Christ, Joseph, but you cannot separate Christ from His Bride, the Church. The two are one flesh, one mystical body.
Knowingly and willfully attacking the Bride of Christ is not a very wise thing to do. Don’t forget to practice the humility that you demand of others.
Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Joseph D'Hippolito February 6, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Inocencio, when its own leaders feast off the Bride of Christ, it doesn’t take somebody speaking “with the authority of Christ” to point that out. All it takes is somebody who sees what’s going on and isn’t afraid to say something. If people like you want to live with blinders on and noise-cancelling earphones on your head, that’s your business. When the Church’s leadership structure collapses, don’t say you weren’t warned.

Inocencio February 6, 2011 at 10:18 pm

Joseph D’Hippolito,
Christ Himself built the “Church’s leadership structure” upon the rock and when the rain falls, and the floods rise and the wind blows it falls not because it is built upon the rock. The Church will survive long after you because Christ promised to remain with it and He is faithful.
Being faithful to what the Church teaches allows me to see clearly and hear clearly even over the roar of the world or those who pridefully preach themselves.
Take care and God bless,
Inocenico
J+M+J

The Mqsked Chicken February 7, 2011 at 3:07 am

Joseph,
The Church is the sum total of its members, not merely the hieracy. The Church, itself cannot be condemned, as Inocencio points out (hi! – sorry, Joseph, Inocencio and I are old JA.org com box buddies – just catching up). The Hurch is the Bride of Christ and that marriage is indissoluable, otherwise, St. Pauk could not use it as an example. That does not mean that if your wife gets sprayed by a skunk that you don’t have to hold your nose. I think that is a better analogy to the situation. There are still some clean spots, but also some stinky ones. Hopefully, a bath is in the future.
The Chicken

St. Bart February 7, 2011 at 3:28 am

Gentlemen,
The Pharisees, Sadducees, and other Jews looked for a physical Kingdom. Christ said His Church was spiritual. Therefore ALL Catholics fail to recognize that the TRUE church is composed only of the righteous. Hebrews 11 called the “Hall of Faith” chapter shows that the true sons of God lived by faith. Thus all the Catholic Apologists, The Masked Chicken, and others fundamentally do not understand what constitutes a church, Christ’s Kingdom, what it means to be a child of God, or Christ’s character.
In the Old Testament it was the responsibility of the people to stone ALL Homosexual clergy. God is unchanging. However, the Catholic church is filled with pedophiles and homosexual clergy. The loyal Catholics responsibility is therefore to purge the system of these homosexuals or leave! It is utter foolishness to stay in a homosexual infested church and this is why conservative Catholics have very high rates of mental illness and depression. This is also explains why children of faithful Catholics often rebel against their conservative Catholic parents and become total liberals. This is epidemic among nationalities such as Italians. So I am fairly certain that the Chicken’s children are a bunch of liberals.

St. Bart February 7, 2011 at 4:04 am

Let me explain Catholic logic by using an analogy. Catholics would think it logical to allow a bunch of alcoholics to continue working at a bar. They would want to just have more checks and balances. Similarly Catholics think that by having more checks and balances among homosexual clergy will cut down on pedophilia. The problem is that pedophilia is a homosexual problem. Get rid of the homosexuals and you will dramatically reduce pedophila. The easiest way to do this is have married clergy. Homosexuals actively recruit and pray on young men. This is the demon of homosexuality and that is why it is considered in the Bible an abomination. Thus responsible parents will leave the Catholic church to protect their children. While foolish parents will bury their head in denial (a common trait among Catholics) and hope the problem fixes itself and remain in the Catholic church. God does NOT suffer fools. God commands you to flee such sin. Therefore fools will be tormented in the lake of fire for their utter foolishness. This is why I have met a lot of hack-ademic fools, who think they are wise but in reality only tools of Satan. Eternal liquidation will be their lot in life.

Bill912 February 7, 2011 at 4:40 am

“The easiest way to reduce pedophilia is have married clergy.”
Poor St. Bart and his short memory! As I pointed out above, the problem has not been pedophilia, but homosexual predators, is mostly a problem of 25-50 years in the past, and occurs at a higher rate among Protestant clergy (y’know, the ones who have “married clergy”), and even higher among public school teachers (who, as far as I know, are allowed to marry).
As I also pointed out above, “(S)neering and ad hominems reveal more about the person writing them than of the person at whom they are directed”. Thank you for remaining so classy and charitable. I’m sure you will catch many flies with your vinegar.

Jason February 7, 2011 at 7:43 am

Bill, perhaps it is your memory which is short, because the earlier discussion did not, and research of “the problem” has not, established as you have claimed that “the problem has not been pedophilia, but homosexual predators, is mostly a problem of 25-50 years in the past, and occurs at a higher rate among Protestant clergy […] and even higher among public school teachers”. Indeed, historically, even with all the media attention it has received, it is by and large impossible to prove due to the largely hidden nature of child sexual abuse. With regard to pedophilia and homosexuality, the diagnosis cannot be made simply by looking at age and sex information found in historical abuse allegations, for it requires information which is not found in the historical files and relies extensively on subjective clinical assessments which have not been made or released. Pedophilia itself has not had and still does not have a consistent and agreed upon clinical diagnosis over time, and certainly so in the objective sense. It remains a hotly debated subjective diagnosis. Indeed, the available diagnostic choices are not so simple as merely pedophilia vs homosexuality. In many cases, it could well be that it’s neither pedophilia nor homosexuality. And it has been proposed that large numbers, perhaps most victims of child sexual abuse do not come forward until many decades after the offense, which puts a serious damper on the notion that it’s not a recent problem. Also, again, there are no reliable studies which show the rate of child sexual abuse is higher among Protestant clergy and public school teachers than in the Catholic priesthood. Indeed, there has never been any reliable apples-to-apples study of the subject whatsoever.

St. Bart February 7, 2011 at 7:59 am

Bill,
You happen to be the most insulting and uninformed regular poster on this site. You hurl invective all the time. So maybe you should listen to your own advice.

Bill912 February 7, 2011 at 8:07 am

English translation: I point out inconvenient facts and apply logic.
And why am I not surprised that he (again) ignored my points and engaged in (another) ad hominem attack?

The Masked Chicken February 7, 2011 at 8:16 am

St. Bart,
You are not Catholic, at least that is a plausible hypthesis based on what you write. You, therefore, have different suppositions and definitions than Catholics do.
You seem to be talking about feducial faith as opposed to theological faith. I don’t want to start a discussion on the subject in this post, however. Also, there is a difference between the Kingdom and the Church. They are not co-extensive. I refer you to the Catholic Encyclopedia articles
here
and
here
You may not agree with them, but you should at least be familiar with how Catholics define the terms.
In any case, we are way off the subject of this post, which is the Irish bishops.
The Chicken

The Masked Chicken February 7, 2011 at 8:22 am

Indeed, there has never been any reliable apples-to-apples study of the subject whatsoever.
Since we have, apparently, little reliable data, it would appear that no one, here, is qualified to really speak to the issue. Why are we writing so much on a topic we are all, essentially, ignorant about? Serious question, no sarcasm intended.
The Chicken

Inocencio February 7, 2011 at 10:14 am

Just food for thought…
Special Issues Relating to Sexual Orientation
“However, we must call attention to the homosexual behavior that characterized the vast majority of the cases of abuse observed in recent decades. That eighty-one percent of the reported victims of child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy were boys shows that the crisis was characterized by homosexual behavior.
It has been reported to the Review Board that, in some areas, the large number of homosexual priests or candidates had the effect of discouraging heterosex¬ual men from seeking to enter the priesthood. In the 1970s and 1980s, in particular, there developed at certain seminaries a “gay subculture,” and at these seminaries, according to several witnesses, homosexual liaisons occurred among students or between students and teachers.”

A Report on the Crisis in the Catholic Church in the United States

HOMOSEXUALITY AND HOPE:
Statement Of The Catholic Medical Association
November, 2000
Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Joseph D'Hippolito February 7, 2011 at 12:38 pm

St. Bart, on another Catholic blog, I pointed out the incongruity of having an alcholic work at a bar. One of the Catholic respondents said there was nothing wrong with that!
Unfortunately, getting rid of all homosexual priests and bishops or discarding mandatory celibacy will not solve the problem because heterosexuals and married couples also abuse children and teenagers. Right now, controversy is swirling around Fr. Thomas Euteneuer, a vocal figure in the “pro-life” movement and an exorcist who was removed from his position as head of Human Life International because he supposedly engaged in irresponsible sexual behavior with a woman during an exorcism. Regardless of the case’s merits, or whether Fr. Euteneuer is guilty or innocent, this obviously doesn’t involve homosexuality.
OTOH, I believe that most Catholics feel an unspoken sense of entitlement when it comes to the misbehavior of church officials. Because the Church is the “Bride of Christ” or contains “the fullness of the Gospel” or has the only legitimate path of “apostolic succession,” that means that sin in high places can be discounted, if not ignored. The problem, as I mentioned earlier, is that Christ expects more from those who have received more from Him. Again, read Ezekiel 34 and 1 Samuel 2:12-36 to find out God’s opinion of those who abuse the authority He gave them.

Jason February 7, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Inocencio, if the report you cite is asserting that “homosexual behavior […] characterized the vast majority of the cases of abuse” BECAUSE “eighty-one percent of the reported victims of child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy were boys”, and if by “homosexual behavior” it means homosexuality in the conventional modern or Catechismic sense, it needs to be pointed out that it is neither the teaching of the Church nor the view of modern psychiatry and psychology that homosexuality refers to any/every sexual abuse involving persons of the same sex. Indeed, to treat them as if they’re without significant distinction would violate Church teaching that “[Homosexual persons] must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.” The victims’ sex and ages are clinically insufficient (and per the Catechism) to distinguish between homosexuality, pedophilia and other diagnostic options. Second, there remains a lack of study and proof that reported abuses of different kinds parallel the actual incidences of abuse among the various kinds. Some kinds of abuse may be more or less likely to be reported than others, giving a distorted appearance as to which predominates in terms of actual incidence. Also, words such as “it has been reported” do not say “it has been determined to be true”, and words such as “in some areas” do not equate to “in general”. Also, the Catholic Medical Association’s 2000 statement “Homosexuality and Hope” offers little or nothing of relevance to these issues. But I do thank you for offering it.

St. Bart February 7, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Chicken,
Thanks for the link. I agree with about 95% of what is cited in those links. Our disagreement primarily rests on identifying where the church is. You claim that the Roman Catholic Church is the Church created by Christ, while I claim it is an impostor and really the Church of the Anti-Christ. Every wise person is called to test the spirits. And the Catholic spirits have been tested and are easily revealed to be a type of Anti-Christ. Remember Satan means light-bearer. So many Catholics will focus on the Right to Life movement as evidence of Christian organization. However Mormons, Protestants, Jehovah’s Witness, and Muslims are solidly behind Right to Life so this proves nothing. Testing the spirits requires a look at Doctrine. So the test of Orthodoxy is the church that is most faithful to doctrine, and not one than can introduce novel doctrine whenever it sees fit.
I am still waiting on the number of books in each of the four groups mentioned.

Inocencio February 7, 2011 at 3:29 pm

Jason,
The link is to the USCCB report on the abuse scandal.
And here are the thoughts of two Cardinals on subject:
“As you know most of the abuse, at least in the English speaking world, that is most of the clerical abuse, is not in the strictest terms pedophilia, but what’s called ephebophilia, and that is with young fellows as adolescents after puberty. And what is significantly different, which you would also probably be aware, is that 80% of the abuse is with young boys. So I mean it’s obviously connected with the problem of homosexuality. Cardinal George Pell
“Many psychologists and psychiatrists have shown that there is no link between celibacy and pedophilia but many others have shown, I have recently been told, that there is a relationship between homosexuality and pedophilia. That is true,” Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone
Here is the definition of homosexuality the CCC uses:
2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex.
And here are the relevant documents:
PERSONA HUMANA
LETTER TO THE BISHOPS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ON THE PASTORAL CARE OF HOMOSEXUAL PERSONS
CONSIDERATIONS REGARDING PROPOSALS TO GIVE LEGAL RECOGNITION TO UNIONS BETWEEN HOMOSEXUAL PERSONS
It is true that the Church condemns unjust discrimination against anyone and also that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” and can never be approved. If you think I have somehow misunderstood the Church’s teaching or the published report of the US Bishops or public comments of the Cardinals I quoted above please point out what you think I have understood incorrectly.
Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Jason February 7, 2011 at 5:11 pm

Inocencio, the definition of homosexuality you posted from the Catechism is the definition I was referencing in my post. And though “Cardinals” may be learned and respected in matters of faith, what special qualifications do they have in regard to psychiatric diagnosis and statistics? Anyone, including Cardinals, can repeat (or attempt to repeat) what they heard from an unspecified source (e.g. “I have recently been told”). I would not be surprised if he’s also been told many other things that he’s not saying. Cardinal Pell’s statement demonstrates the very problem I was addressing in my post, and his statement, and the fact that he said it, does not satisfy the concerns. I will add that unless he (or someone) was examining the abused boys’ naked bodies way back when, what measure does he have to say which boys were prepubescent (or to what aspects the abuser was attracted, and even if there was any attraction at all)? The information was not part of the abuse reports, and their reported ages are insufficient for clinical diagnosis. And according to what you purport to be his words, he said “80% of the abuse is with YOUNG boys”, not “older” boys. Did he realize what he was saying? Similarly, what significance is there to Secretary of State Cardinal Bertone’s statement “that there is a relationship between homosexuality and pedophilia”? Indeed it is “true” that there is a relationship between them, for there is a “relationship” between everything in the universe, including between priests and pedophilia and homosexuality and what have you, and also between “celibacy and pedophilia”. And as far as correcting or commenting on your understanding of “the Church’s teaching or the published report of the US Bishops or public comments of the Cardinals”, I can always wait until you’ve posted your understanding. And if your understanding is somehow expressed by what you’ve quoted, you are welcome to glean my thoughts on it from what I’ve posted.

J123 February 7, 2011 at 8:18 pm

St. Bart Post 1: February 03, 2011 at 11:42 AM *As a professor from St. John’s University with Italian heritage he will spin any data to cover up scandal in the church.* (Personal attack on Masked Chicken, nothing about Irish Bishops)
Chicken: February 04, 2011 at 06:12 AM *Cite one example where I did so, or apologize.*
St. Bart Post 2: February 05, 2011 at 08:23 AM *The Eastern Orthodox, the Coptic, the Protestants, and Roman Catholics each have different definitions of what constitute canonical Scripture.* (Nothing about Irish Bishops)
Chicken: February 05, 2011 at 10:31 AM *As for the four church argument, there is nothing circular there (and I didn’t make the claim – you did)…….Really, St. Bart, are you serious or just trolling?……unless you have something to say about the Irish situation, your comments do not belong in this post.*
St. Bart Post 3: February 05, 2011 at 01:47 PM *….please tell me how many books compose the Bible for Eastern Orthodox, Protestant, Catholics, Coptics…..* (nothing about the Irish Bishops)
Chicken: February 05, 2011 at 05:54 PM *Your conduct seems to be that of a troll – someone who simply makes provocative statements that cause unnecessary discord in the com boxes. The topic of the post is the Irish bishops.*
St. Bart Post 4: February 06, 2011 at 04:52 AM *….Notice how you refuse to answer the number of books of the Bible in each of the four churches (Protestant, Eastern Orthodox, Coptic, Roman Catholic). Your silence speaks volumes…….You falsely accuse me of being a troll……* (Nothing about the Irish bishops)
St. Bart Post 5: February 07, 2011 at 03:28 AM *…..Thus all the Catholic Apologists, The Masked Chicken, and others fundamentally do not understand what constitutes a church, Christ’s Kingdom, what it means to be a child of God, or Christ’s character. In the Old Testament it was the responsibility of the people to stone ALL Homosexual clergy. God is unchanging. However, the Catholic church is filled with pedophiles and homosexual clergy…..* (Mostly off topic but finally we get mention of pedophiles and clergy in the same sentence)
St. Bart Post 6: February 07, 2011 at 04:04 AM *…..Catholics think that by having more checks and balances among homosexual clergy will cut down on pedophilia……* (Mostly on topic)
Chicken: February 07, 2011 at 08:16 AM *…..I refer you to the Catholic Encyclopedia articles…….. In any case, we are way off the subject of this post, which is the Irish bishops.*
St. Bart Post 7: February 07, 2011 at 12:43 PM *………….I am still waiting on the number of books in each of the four groups mentioned.* (nothing about the Irish Bishops)
Question: If the Irish Bishops were Kevin Beacon, how many degrees away is the topic regarding the number of books in each of the *four churches*? And are we obliged to answer or should we stay on topic?

Joseph D'Hippolito February 7, 2011 at 10:26 pm

J123, I will defend St. Bart’s right to post as he wishes, given basic decorum. I’ve noticed that you haven’t listed posts from others on this thread who haven’t
“stayed on topic” (especially when they criticize others’ posts or the posters themselves).

St. Bart February 7, 2011 at 10:58 pm

J123,
I apologize that your limited intellect fails to see my point. I am trying to show that if the Catholic church is not what it claims to be than there is NO hope for the Holy Spirit, Jesus, or the Father to remove sin from the church. God is not head of the Buddhist faith, He is only head of the TRUE church. So if there is sin in the TRUE church than it easier to remove sinners from the clergy. So I am challenging Chicken to show me proof that the Catholic church is that church which Christ built. If it is not, then I claim that pedophilia, after this scandal dies down, will reappear in the future.
My other point in exposing the Chicken is to show that he has a hidden agenda. Furthermore he knows that the church is filled with homosexual clergy, however as an amicable Italian he just looks the other way. Again that is not a Christian attitude. Christianity is about exposing sin and false doctrine. The Catholic church is replete with both. This man has made his livelihood from an academic career that has defended the Papacy. He is not going to bite the hand that feeds him. Similarly a Catholic Answers apologist is not going to bite the hand that feeds him or her. So they have every incentive to spin the facts to support their platform. The difference between an apologist, a hack-ademic and a litigator are quite small. They will go where the money is.
Your last post shows that you feel threatened by questions you can’t answer. You prefer a simple faith that requires very little reflection and just a blind obedience to the sacraments. Well my friend that is NOT faith, but dead religion. Dead religion will bust Hell wide open, just as the worst sinner.

The Masked Chicken February 8, 2011 at 2:52 am

St. Bart,
You do remember the Golden Rule? Have I ever insulted you or implied you had a hidden agenda? Please, go read Da Rulz (the linj is on this page). Rule one, if memory serves, is that rudeness will get you kicked off this blog. It almost seems as if I am talking to two people: your post about the Catholic Encyclopedia article gave me hope we could have a genuine conversation. but then comes this rant. What am I to do?
As for you comment about the necessity of a “pure” Church: a) the Church as an entity is undefiled, even if some of her members are not because the Church is more than any single member and more than the sum of her parts. The Catholic Encyclopedia made that point, b) re-read the parable of the weeds among the wheat – Christ, in fact, said that this might happen, c) find a church, anywhere throughout history that has had the perfection you require.
I am asking for the sake of discussion that we both behave like Christian. Love is not rude, remember. In your own way you are trying to do your duty to God, but can you do it in such a way that won’t get you kicked off of the blog?
The Chicken

J123 February 8, 2011 at 6:33 am

Joseph
I concede your point about not citing others who have not stayed on topic. Indeed I was aware of that as I did it, and of my own hypocrisy making an off topic post about how one individual was off topic. I respect your desire to defend St. Bart’s right to post as he wishes, but I do question whether he’s demonstrated basic decorum. Also, I respectfully disagree unless you mean that he should be able to post as he wishes within da rulz, which again I believe he has not. I guess you could say that assessment is subjective and ultimately up to Jimmy. Again I concede others also have not done so, but the Masked Chicken is not one of them. I suppose pointing this out was the point of my last post.
St. Bart
I agree I have a limited intellect (as I suppose we all do), and I appreciate you making your direction more plane. I also concede that I do feel threatend by questions I can’t answer (which is one of the reasons I frequent this blog). However your assertion that I prefer a simple faith etc., is an example of the type of generalization you make that I know to be completely false, especially in this case. If I can’t trust the assertions you so freely and confidently make about me, why would I trust your assertions about apologists or the Masked Chicken.
Despite my limited intellect I did have an idea where your point was headed, and in all honesty I am curious where that conversation would lead us. However, that is off topic and as far as I can see the Masked Chicken has encourged you to stay on topic. When faced with such questions (when on topic), I’ve not know him to shy away but to be most convincing yet charitable. In addition to all that you know about me from my last post, allow me to add that my intention was to point out your desire to press your (off topic) point and his consistent request to remain on topic. As he has pointed out, your behavior is out of bounds per da rulz.
Chicken
I believe in the new format da rulz are no longer linked above, though maybe it’s my limited intellect that doesn’t allow me to see them 😉 They can be found on the Permalink Tab, though. I took the liberty of copying the URL here:
http://www.jimmyakin.org/2004/06/da_rulz.html
Everyone
I apologize for my hypocrisy and posting another off topic post about being off topic. Please pray for me, that I can resist doing so a third time, and that I be granted humility that I may resist the desire to defend myself from whatever response comes my way. If no one else has anything to say about the Irish Bishops I humbly suggest we’re done here.

St. Bart February 8, 2011 at 7:07 am

J123,
Let me say a few more things to help you. All Christians believe that God is unchanging. All Christians believe that Old Testament Judaism was non-sacramental. Similarly early New Testament Christianity was also non-Sacramental. Evangelical Protestants claim that modern Christianity should remain non-Sacramental. Therefore, the dividing line is the TRUE church sacramental or non-Sacramental. I argue that if Christ, Judaism, and the Apostles were all non-sacramental then Christianity must be non-sacramental. History records that all pagan religions were sacramental. Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, and Animistic religions are ALL sacramental. Thus my contention is that sacramentalism polluted a strain of Christianity, which later became Catholicism. Therefore Catholicism is a false religion that is incapable of providing salvation, holiness, healing (physical/emotional), or a resurrection from the dead. Catholicism is ruled by men and not Christ and thus always at the cusp of the next major scandal. Give the Catholic church power and you will see all her vices such as indulgences, crusades, inquisitions, torture, and assassinations increase.

St. Bart February 8, 2011 at 10:00 am

J123,
I more than happy to apologize for saying that you ‘prefer a simple faith’. However, I make no apologizes for speaking the truth. Jesus told the disciples that the temple in Jerusalem would be destroyed in the Olivet discourse (Matthew 24, Mark13, Luke 21). Jesus performed many miracles and yet the Jews still did not believe His message. History records that 1,000,000 Jews died in 70 AD because they refused to listen to Jesus words. As a result of hardness of heart many Jews went to Hell because they refused to listen to Jesus message. Similarly I claim there will be multitudes of Catholics in Hell because they rejected the Evangelical Protestant message of the gospel. Remember the true sheep can hear God’s voice. The true sheep knew that they needed to flee to Perea, Jordan to avoid the deluge upon Jerusalem in 70 AD ( read the historian Josephus). In like fashion the sheep that hear God’s voice know that they need to flee the Catholic church to save their souls. Otherwise they will be lumped together with those that can’t hear God’s voice and end up in the lake of fire (Revelation 20).
The Bible shows that the Jews practiced a type of sola scriptura. Jesus and the Apostles also taught sola scriptura. The only difference is that sola scriptura in the days of Christ only meant the Old Testament, while in the 21st century it includes the New Testament. Notice Jesus never appealed to any form of Jewish tradition. He always appealed to Scripture.
Similarly the problem with American politics is that American no longer stick to the sola-scriptura of the American legal system which is called the Constitution. Lawyer now appeal to precedent, which is a type of tradition. And this is why we are in the mess we are in. So regardless if your politician is a Democrat or a Republican he is a lawyer trained to put tradition (precedent) before Constitution (sola-scriptura). So as Solomon says, there is nothing new under the sun. People commit the same errors in different ways. This is why Jesus said the way to eternal life is narrow and FEW find it. Most Catholics have not found it and will NOT find it as long as they remain in the Synagogue of Satan.

Joseph D'Hippolito February 8, 2011 at 10:20 pm

St. Bart, could you please send me your e-mail address?
Inocencio, regardless of whether the action was “pedophilia” or “epibephilia,” it was still an abomination before a holy, righteous God because the innocent were victimized.

St. Bart February 9, 2011 at 5:44 am

Joseph D’Hippolitio,
Why do you need my email? Why not post your email first!

The Masked Chicken February 9, 2011 at 6:12 am

Dear St. Bart,
It appears, more and more, thta you are at this blog merely to proselytize. I don’t think you have anything constructive to offer regarding the Irish bishops. Your comments about the falsehood of the C hurch is undependent of topic, it seems. This consititutes hobby-horsing and is prohibited by Da Rulz. We commenters are nothing but enablers. Should you want to discuss Ireland, I will happily do so. If all you wish to do is make an argument for Evangelicalism, then find a more appropriate thread. You come here and completely hi-jack the thread, insult people, and claim you are acting as a Christian? Please, either stick, even roghly to the topic or leave. If you want to discuss you Evangelical ideas, either find another post on this blog that fits or another forum. Otherwise, am done with responding to you.
The Chicken

The Masked Chicken February 9, 2011 at 7:05 am

J123, I will defend St. Bart’s right to post as he wishes, given basic decorum. I’ve noticed that you haven’t listed posts from others on this thread who haven’t
“stayed on topic” (especially when they criticize others’ posts or the posters themselves).

Joseph,
Most of the time, threads get side-tracked, even for extended times. That is completely different from someone who really doesn’t, even, obliquely care about the topic and is simply proselytizing or thread-jacking. Your comments, above, are related to the good of the Church. St. Bart appears to want to simply destroy the Church. There is a big difference. I think J123 is perfectly within his rights to point this out. I have been a commenter on this blog for many years and so I have a good sense of the difference. In my opinion, J123 owes no apology.
The Chicken

St. Bart February 9, 2011 at 7:42 am

Chicken,
I will make my position clear. I know indigeneous Central European Germans and indigeneous Irish very well. Was there a coverup, ABSOLUTELY. Germans are notorious for detail. Ratzinger is a superior intellect and for him to not know what was going on in Ireland would require him to be dumber Kim Khardashian. So I stick by claim that people who make their livelihood by promoting Catholic causes will do everything in their power to spin the facts to say Ratzinger and others were basically ignorant of what was going on. Ratzinger, a German, knew the church in Europe was in major crisis so he was trying his hardest to save face in Europe so he helped others coverup the scandal. It is that simple. Germans always know what is going on. They are not idiots. American leaders may be idiots, but NOT Germans. Thus Ratzinger and JPII are both guilty, guilty, guilty.
An as the Catholic Encyclopedia says:
“Substitution of false documents and tampering with genuine ones was quite a trade in the Middle Ages.” (Source: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06135b.htm). Well there is nothing new under the sun: Forgery was one of the foundations of the Medieval Catholic and the practice continues up to the present.
As the old story goes. How many Germans does it require to capture a 1000 Italians? One. Why? The Italians immediately surrendered when they saw the German. So Chicken, I am sure your a nice guy. But there are plenty of nice guys in Hell.

David B. February 9, 2011 at 9:48 am

St. Bart,
So, your position is that the Pope must be guilty because *you* can’t believe he innocent. With such damning evidence, what are we waiting for?

St. Bart February 9, 2011 at 9:58 am

David B.,
I don’t bury my head in the sand and live in denial. When you have spent much time in Europe and seen a lot of evidence, you KNOW that JPII and Ratzinger covered it up. Living in America you are insulated from a lot of event in Europe.

St. Bart February 9, 2011 at 1:14 pm

David B,
Your also probably one of those people that thinks OJ is innocent.

Joseph D'Hippolito February 9, 2011 at 4:15 pm

St. Bart, you can contact me at joedhipp@yahoo.com

David B. February 9, 2011 at 4:49 pm

St. Bart,
I am still waiting for your evidence. All you said was related to me and your hypothesis of my background.

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