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Reply #30: a bit of context [View All]

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klebean Donating Member (268 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-11-05 04:12 PM
Response to Reply #1
30. a bit of context
There are several treatment centers for priests who can't control their compulsion
to sexually abuse children, only one of which is not under Roman Catholic administration.
These centers originally sprang up to treat alcoholism, but within a few decades they
came to almost exclusively treat priests with "boundary" problems.

Bishops and cardinals have little control over whether or not to defrock a priest; there's a long-winded, bureaucratic process involving ultimately the Vatican's approval to do so. This contributed to more innocents being subject to preying priests. But, the penultimate cause to the widespread (world wide) pervasiveness of this scandal was a secret decree sent to all bishops and cardinals in 1962 specifying that the greatest sin is "scandal against the Church." Accusations of child abuse were thus not to be reported to any outside the Church, and investigations were to be conducted under the direction of the Vatican - (I'm leaving scads of material out) - Thomas Doyle got his hands on this document and after it was made public (all bishops/cardinals were under a pontifical oath of secrecy - upon pain of excommunication - to never reveal the existence of the decree),
Ratzinger issued in May 2001 a modification of the old decree, which is really no different than the old one as far as keeping the scandal within the Church. I believe the major point of difference is this one did not include the oath of secrecy to the pope, which may have been a legal maneuver - the '62 document is an argument for international obstruction of justice.

My point: Secrecy is the root of this problem and this is the issue that is most important to address with your children (for their protection). Besides "good touching/bad touching" clarifications, they need to understand the difference b/t good secret keeping and bad secret keeping, e.g., keeping a surprise party for mommy secret v. being asked to keep secrets that make you feel bad...needless to say, open lines of communication are number one priority. One of the first steps in grooming a child for abuse is to determine whether or not a child will or will not keep the secret - i.e., how much power can the abuser wield over the child. Most victims come from very devout (= trusting) families, or broken families where the child is vulnerable to the loving attention of another adult. As "men of God," priests were/are seen as God's representative on earth and can do no wrong, hence high levels of trust. The abuser grooms the whole family, not just the child.

"Our Fathers" by David France has been made into a Showtime movie, premiering May 21st. If you want an education, this is an easy place to start. The book is, of course, better. "Vows of Silence" is mind bending, especially in light of the world's new pope.
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