Now, I was raised as a Catholic child. Personally, I never experienced or witnessed any abuse by Catholic priests or other clergy or laymen. But then, I was never an altar boy – what on earth do they need them for anyway? Unless… oh god – and was never alone with any of them, except the occasional confessional. Nothing happened there, either. So I emerged unscathed from Catholicism, and although the experience has doubtlessly scarred me for life, I live now as a convinced atheist.
Though I disapprove of all religion, I never suspected the extent and horror of the sexual scandals that now beset that church. For many years it’s been no secret that some Catholic clergy have been abusing children, and the church has been covering this up by moving them around and not reporting cases to the police, but the recent report from a grand jury in Pennsylvania was an eye-opener, even for a critic of the church like me.
Here Are the Worst Abuses by Catholic Priests from the PA Grand Jury’s Report
One example at random out of hundreds:
Father George Zirwas was part of a predatory priest “ring” that “shared intelligence” on victims and exchanged them with each other. They “manufactured child pornography” on church property, using “whips, violence and sadism in raping their victims.”
I can’t bear to post more, I must admit I almost threw up, reading the examples. The actual report is here. What happened to these children at the hands of the clergy is an abomination. Just as bad are the archbishops and cardinals who sought to protect the reputation of the church by covering up this obscenity. Not to mention the papacies that oversaw it all.
One allegation made by Catholic apologists in defence of the Catholic church is that this isn’t a clerical scandal, but a gay one, because the large majority of the victims were male, as were the priests. Now I am gay myself, and have never felt any inkling to diddle boys of any young age. Still, it’s a plausible argument that because priesthood is reserved for celibate males, gay men who seek to stay in the closet might be disproportionately attracted to the calling, as they then have a perfect excuse for not being married to a woman. Plausible, but not proven. And let us face it, celibacy is a hard task.
However, that cannot be used as an indictment of gay people in general. The priesthood might very well attract gay male psychopaths with a predeliction for diddling young boys (though that is pure speculation, it could just be that bad priests have more opportunity to diddle young boys than girls), but that says more about the church than about the vast majority of gay men who don’t feel these urges. If church doctrines about sexuality weren’t so restrictive, oppressive, and unreasonable, most likely these abuses wouldn’t have had the opportunity to happen. The fault is that of the church.
Almost as scandalous as the offences is the cover-up. The church leadership – bishops, archbishops, cardinals and popes – have long known this has been going on, and their first priority has been to conceal the problem from the police and prosecutors, and especially the public. This is to protect the church’s alleged reputation as a moral authority, the fount of wisdom and proper behaviour.
The consequence of their actions is the discovery that the Catholic church is morally bankrupt. Not even the priests who haven’t diddled children have a moral leg to stand on. They didn’t stop it, report it, or purge their church of it. They preferred to protect the reputation of the church they served.
I am an ex-Catholic for reasons other than these – religious belief simply became vacuous for me. I became persuaded by reason and evidence rather than by arbitrary doctrine. But the revelation of the extent of this predatory behaviour by clergy makes me even more hostile to the institution. Pennsylvania is not unique. Neither is America. If this was happening there, it was happening in every Catholic diocese all over the world. That’s not just thousands of children who were abused, it’s more likely millions.
The Holy Catholic and Apostolic church is corrupt, an iniquitous den of child molesters and their enablers, probably beyond any human or divine redemption. Sometimes I wish there were a Hell for bad people to go to when they snuff it.