Blaming “the culture”

What caused the rampant sexual abuse in the Catholic church? Why, academics, liberals, and “the culture,” of course! That’s according to Sen. Rick Santorum, at least.

It is startling that those in the media and academia appear most disturbed by this aberrant behavior, since they have zealously promoted moral relativism by sanctioning “private” moral matters such as alternative lifestyles. Priests, like all of us, are affected by culture. When the culture is sick, every element in it becomes infected. While it is no excuse for this scandal, it is no surprise that Boston, a seat of academic, political and cultural liberalism in America, lies at the center of the storm.

I love it when those good ole “personal responsibility” conservatives blame “the culture” (read: liberals, feminists, gays, “the media,” and, apparently, people who read books) for the actions of individuals.


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23 comments for “Blaming “the culture”

  1. June 28, 2005 at 7:56 am

    It’s all so clear to me now – living in a progressive area makes priests turn into pedophiles! Of course! How come I didn’t see that before?

  2. piny
    June 28, 2005 at 8:20 am

    Now that they can’t accuse us of actual child rape, they’re accusing us of enabling child rape.

    Center of the storm? Doesn’t he mean the center of the _outcry_? Boston isn’t where the most kids have been molested–apparently, that happens wherever there are parishes. Boston is where people finally started investigating the complaints, where they demanded accountability from their priests.

    So score one for Gomorrah.

  3. June 28, 2005 at 8:48 am

    I actually had an ex-friend who is now a conservative catholic in the gibson bent tell me with a complete straight face that the catholic priest abuse scandal was, at least in part, caused by the infusion of ‘gay culture’ into the priesthood.

    Now, leaving all jokes about the excessively needed intervention of the Fab5 to rework the priestly image aside, the really scary part was that a Catholic Scholar (as opposed to simply a catholic scholar) had advanced this as a solid reason, and it was this that my ex-friend was basing her argument on.

    After I managed to close my mouth, I refused to speak to her for quite a while thereafter. She just couldn’t see the bigotry intrinsic in such a statement. It was incredible.

    It’s really good to know that it’s not the incredible misogyny, intolerance, repression and conspiratorial natures of the catholic church that are at fault, but rather all of us that want an evil tolerant accepting progressive society.

  4. June 28, 2005 at 8:55 am

    As mentioned before, I’m a sort of a liberal in these areas. This sounds a lot like Jerry Falwell (or someone similiar) who claimed that 9/11 was God’s wrath on the sin city for its homosexuality and lack of Christian morals.

    Here’s a link where a priest claims that sex abuse is partially caused by married women planning their families:

    *eyeroll* I love the “connection” to bestiality as well. Because of those darned condoms in my house, I better watch my husband around the neighbor’s dog.

    [ED NOTE: I edited the link to keep the text from extending to the sidebar.]

  5. June 28, 2005 at 9:07 am

    never mind that the scandal (which really started well prior to recent times and the infusion of liberalism) has hit some extremely conservative areas in the US and abroad, and that the church hierarchy (unless you want to say they’re all part of the secret gay agenda) knowingly transferred these guys despite repeated lapses (this happens to be the worst part of the scandal, and yet it gets completely disregarded).

    I point those who insist that it is homosexuality that leads to such depraved behavior to this.

  6. June 28, 2005 at 10:45 am

    Hmm…the only way I can make sense of this if the “culture” he’s referring to is the one theat elected Bush, himself, and a general republican majority to the house/senate. Because I can see how the “relativism” of a party that could imagine itself supporting a “culture of life” while killing thousands in iraq could lead to some religious and social and moral confusion. Just saying.

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  8. piny
    June 28, 2005 at 11:34 am

    I actually had an ex-friend who is now a conservative catholic in the gibson bent tell me with a complete straight face that the catholic priest abuse scandal was, at least in part, caused by the infusion of ‘gay culture’ into the priesthood.

    There has been an unofficial practice of encouraging gay Catholic kids to take holy orders. The reasoning is that you’re gonna be celibate anyway, right? A lot of gay Catholic kids confuse a lack of desire for the opposite sex with a call to celibacy. They also may opt for the priesthood as a kind of atonement, to (over)compensate for what they see as sinful desire, or to prove to themselves that they aren’t really gay.

    So there are and have been plenty of loving, compassionate, entirely celibate, ethical, and well-meaning gay Catholic priests. Some are openly gay. They became priests because they have a genuine commitment to the teachings of the Church. They aren’t pedophiles, and they didn’t shield pedophiles or lie to the parents of raped children. It is outrageous, albeit entirely within character, for the Church to scapegoat them.

  9. June 28, 2005 at 11:43 am

    Piny hon –

    I swear, the more and more I learn about catholic dogma and history, the more I find less and less redeeming about the organisation. The funny and ironic thing is that my ex-friend aside, the most wonderful christian people I know are liberal catholics … I’ve kinda come down to the theory that they have had to do SO much to negotiate their own relationship between their feelings of the world and the dogma from their religion that they couldn’t help but be self-reflective.

    There seems to be this HUGE disconnect between the old twisted white guys running all this, and the laity that negotiate the real world. I’m personally half waiting for the second reformation to occur, even though I doubt it will.

  10. piny
    June 28, 2005 at 11:53 am

    I’m not apologizing for Catholic dogma, and I’m not saying that the priesthood should be encouraged for gay kids–just that there are good Catholics, gay Catholics, and good things about the impulse to serve others in the name of the Eternal.

    None of which seems questioned by the people here.

    There seems to be this HUGE disconnect between the old twisted white guys running all this, and the laity that negotiate the real world. I’m personally half waiting for the second reformation to occur, even though I doubt it will.

    Mm-hm. This dynamic is intensely familiar to me as an American.

  11. June 28, 2005 at 12:14 pm

    The problem the Catholics have is that they sincerely do equate being gay with being a pedophile. It’s not hyperbole, it’s the message that oozes out of Catholic bs such as Santorum keeps laying down. Keep driving that into the heads of little kids and then force them into the clergy (as Piny said, it’s the only respectable life for a queer catholic) and how real the power of suggestion is. It’s self-fulfilling, and I suspect they try to cover it all up because a) they realize the institution is setting these crime up and b) they don’t want to talk openly about the gay people in the clergy (like all of my non-molesting priests as I grew up)

  12. piny
    June 28, 2005 at 12:23 pm

    The problem the Catholics have is that they sincerely do equate being gay with being a pedophile.

    Which is disturbing in a whole other way in context, since a lot of the victims were in fact female: women and girls who came seeking comfort and guidance from the men who were supposed to be taking care of their relationship with God.

    But, women raped, dog bites man, whatever. Amanda at Pandagon pointed out that this kind of power-over isn’t exactly anti-Paul, and there’s no potential for demonizing the groups the Church wants to demonize, so who cares?

  13. June 28, 2005 at 12:47 pm

    Which is disturbing in a whole other way in context, since a lot of the victims were in fact female:

    It’s true, but it’s better PR to spin this as a gay problem: “well of course the gay perverts are molesting kids” That fits within the confines of bigoted dogma just fine. Statistics say that more girls are molested than boys, but still the greater culture believes that gay men tend to be predator pedophiles… part of the “sickness” stereotype.

    Acknowledging that a celebate clergy is a flawed (and pointless) tradition is just too critical for Catholics. They like easy answers.

  14. June 28, 2005 at 1:01 pm

    I don’t typically get into this issue but here I go jumping in feet first. I am a catholic, am I a “good” catholic who believes in all of what my Church states? No, but I am a practicing Catholic. Priests are pedophiles for the same reason other “non-celibate” ministers, teachers, counselors, etc., etc., are pedophiles. The catholic religion doesn’t breed them or encouarge them. They did however try to cover up quite a few of the incidents, which is not uncommon either. School systems and other religions have done the same. Statistics show that you are much more likely to be sexually abused by a teacher than a priest. That said the whole media fascination with the priests I think stems from the celibacy issue and to be honest at times a very anti-catholic bias.

    There seems to be this common thought that if celibacy was eliminated this would end. Which is not true. Pedophiles would still be pedophiles. Is the church doing a better job than they used to do in dealing with this? Yes. Do they still have a long way to go in some parishes? Yes. However if the Catholic Church was eliminated tomorrow would all Pedophiles cease to exist? No.

  15. June 28, 2005 at 1:07 pm

    One thing I forgot to add….There are alot of us that do not equate being gay with being a pedophile. Being gay has nothing do to with it. Being a pedophile means you have some serious psychological issues that makes you want to have sex with children and you should not be a priest, pastor, teacher, counselor anything that puts you into contact with children.

  16. piny
    June 28, 2005 at 2:15 pm

    Statistics show that you are much more likely to be sexually abused by a teacher than a priest.

    That’s probably because there are more non-Catholics than Catholics, and more teachers than priests who have a great deal of direct, unsupervised contact with children. Also, one population is currently operating under an assiduously-maintained zero-tolerance policy, whereas the other has benefited from a decades-long coverup. I’d call that a confounding variable.

    That said the whole media fascination with the priests I think stems from the celibacy issue and to be honest at times a very anti-catholic bias.

    I think it stems from outrage over the refusal of men who claim to represent the moral authority to take any moral responsibility for child rape. And I don’t recall any stories about the NEA scapegoating the gays over allegations of insufficient measures to prevent victimization. I don’t remember any teachers blaming Victoria’s Secret ads for pedophiles in elementary schools.

    We’re not talking about an inability or unwillingness to deal with the problem. Simple lack of concern over child abuse and molestation is indeed common. We’re not even talking about a simple cover-up of past or present abuse and the potential for abuse.

    We’re talking about a Church whose policy was not to remove known serial abusers–let alone discipline, counsel, or report them–but to protect them and enable them. The most common thing that happened was this: Church officials would receive multiple complaints about a rapist priest. Church officials would tell the complaining parents nothing about the abuser’s record, and give them nothing in the way of assurance or redress. They would encourage parents to tell no one. Then those officials would either let the priest stay exactly where he was or–even worse–move that priest to a new, totally unaware parish where he would be free to abuse many more children.

    That isn’t laziness or incompetence. That’s evil, criminal negligence.

  17. Sharon
    June 28, 2005 at 2:22 pm

    LisaRenee:

    The Catholic Church did not create pedophiles, but the practice of not only sweeping the evidence under the rug, but also reassigning these men over and over again to positions in which they would have contact with small children was an encouragement of sorts. It was certainly enabling, anyway.

    Given how long this has gone on in the Church, I have no doubt in my mind that the Church became a place where male pedophiles knew they would be safe and would have unlimited access to children – both male and female children, btw – little girls and teenaged females were abused, too.

    Those of us who think celibacy had something to do with the problem don’t think that celibate men become so desperate they begin to diddle little boys and girls. God knows there are plenty of priests who have adult female companions on the side. They don’t need to resort to pedophilia in order to get around the celibacy thing. Pedophilia is a pathological disorder, not just an alternate sexual taste, anyway.

    What an all-male, insular, unaccountable community did was offer a safe haven for these pedophiles. Women tend to be more intuned to the little warning signs and red flags that go off around sexual predators. Also, women would be less likely to let sexual predators get away with what they did. And, if priests themselves had families at stake – if their own flesh and blood were among the potential victim pool, none of this would have been allowed to continue.

    I don’t know any sane individual who thinks being gay and being a pedophile are remotely related other than that there are gay pedophiles just as their are heterosexual pedophiles. Implying that homosexuality is a “disorder” of the same nature as pedophilia is wrong, and what it is is the continued effort of the Catholic Church to dodge accountability and responsibility on this issue. Their blatant efforts to blame the sexual abuse crisis on the homosexual community in general, or homosexuality in general are just a continuation of the evil that allowed the crisis to occur in the first place.

  18. June 28, 2005 at 3:37 pm

    damned well said Piny.

    It hurts to see my culture (I believed in santa longer than jesus, but you can’t shake your upbringing 100%) cause so much pain. The crimes are bad enough, but the coverup and continued minimizing/denial of an institutionalized problem is an absolute shame.

  19. June 28, 2005 at 4:15 pm

    “the culture” (read: liberals, feminists, gays, “the media,” and, apparently, people who read books)

    Those are the same people who caused the 9/11 attacks according to Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. (Don’t forget the abortionists and the ACLU).

  20. June 28, 2005 at 7:13 pm

    reading is bad. . .being able to read (and comprehend – a mind is a terrible thing, no?) affords one the ability to bust leaders for lying.

  21. June 28, 2005 at 11:45 pm

    If celibacy was the issue then sexual abuse of children by pedophiles would not happen by hertosexual men. Who are by far the majority of pedophiles.

    In New York City Schools just as one example, 2001

    At least one child is sexually abused by a school employee every day in New York City schools, a Post investigation has found.

    Equally as disturbing is that one-third of the employees accused of sexual abuse are repeat offenders who’ve already been cited for inappropriate behavior by school officials.

    So my point is this is not just a Catholic issue and to try to claim pedophiles are somehow more prevalent to the Catholic church or because of celibacy is to me just as wrong as trying to equate liberals or gays as being to blame for it. Celibacy does not create the desire to “diddle” with boys and girls.

    I am not saying they did not cover it up, they did, that’s clear as other religions and organizations still do as well. Nor do I think they dealt with this fast enough or properly for many years. I do however as a Catholic get tired of the constant assumptions.

  22. Sharon
    June 29, 2005 at 6:30 am

    I am a Catholic.

    Celibacay is not the issue in pedophilia cases in general, it’s an issue in this situation in particular. The nature of the system, plus the fact that the entire population of the system are men who are supressing any sexual attractions or desires and therefore are not paying attention to the subtle clues pedophiliac sexual predators give off, plus the fact that there are no women with their naturally intuitive and protective natures thrown into the mix all make celibacy an issue.

    The school systems that have allowed sex offenders in have done so out of mismanagement and inadequate screening procedures. The teachers’ unions have made it nearly impossible to automatically fire a teacher or other school employee without a long series of hearings, and those employees remain in their positions or other positions while the hearings are going on. I’m not condoning this. I think it sucks. But we’re dealing with the NYC public school system here. We expect garbage like this from them – sad, but true. We should be able to expect more from the Catholic Church.

    The first case is incompetence. The second is arrogance and wilfull criminal action. Neither are good, but the second is worse, especially considering who these men were.

    No one said celibacy creates the desire to diddle little kids. AAMOF, I said the exact opposite. It’s an issue, and not because I think supressing sexual desire turns a person pervy. Read what I wrote.

    These are not “assumptions”, LisaRenee. The facts are that untold numbers of children were being sexually violated by preists, and that the hierarchy knew it, allowed it to continue, and aided and abetted these monsters by transferring them to new parishes over and over again. Pointing at the NYC school system, or any other system, and saying, “well, they did it too!” is pretty damned childish, IMO. My kids used to pull that kind of crap when they were about five or six. I didn’t tolerate it from them. I’m hardly going to tolerate it from an adult who claims to be a Catholic and who is using that kind of crap to defend the actions of a bunch of depraved child-rapists and their enablers and procurers.

  23. Harrison
    June 29, 2005 at 7:51 pm

    I hate to break it to Rick “The Twit” Santorum, but I understand that this particular problem has been going on in the Church for many, many years–way before us evil liberals took over the world, or country, or the media, or society, or whatever it is the right-wing nutbar paranoids say. (Not to pick on the Catholic Church–I’m sure most, if not all, hierarchical religious institutions have this problem to some extent–anyplace there’s a power difference between the clergy and the laity…)

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