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Irish Catholics & Friends Celebrate St. Patrick, As His Church Struggles to Shake Abuse Scandal

posted by Nicole Neroulias

The clergy abuse scandal continues to plague the Catholic Church in Ireland (and Philadelphia, Los Angeles & Mexico, etc.), but the country’s patron saint still gets his due today — green beer, Shamrock Shakes, “Kiss Me I’m Irish” pins and all. Here are some faith-related links:

It’s also worth reading the Boston Globe story about the “Liturgy of Lament and Repentance” that took place with abuse victims in Dublin last month. During the service, Boston Cardinal Sean  P. O’Malley, one of the officials appointed by Pope Benedict last year review the Dublin archdiocese’s response to the abuse, included these remarks about St. Patrick:

The O’Malleys hail from County Mayo, a part of Ireland that was hallowed by St. Patrick’s ministry there. They tell the story of a dramatic conversion of an Irish chieftain by the name of Ossian. A huge crowd assembled in a field to witness his baptism. St. Patrick arrived in his Bishop’s vestments with his miter and staff. St. Patrick stuck his staff in the ground and began to preach a long sermon on the Catholic faith. The people noted that Ossian, who was standing directly in front of St. Patrick, began to sweat profusely, he grew pale and fainted dead away. Some people rushed over to help and they discovered to everyone’s horror that St. Patrick had driven his staff through the man’s foot.

When they were able to revive Ossian they said to him, “Why did you not say something?” And the fierce warrior replied , “I thought that it was part of the ceremony.”

The warrior did not understand too much about liturgy and rituals, but he did understand that discipleship is often difficult. It means carrying the Cross. It is a costly grace and often we fall down on the job.

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Robert C

posted March 17, 2011 at 10:45 am


Beating your old drum again Nicole? How about discussing the latest twist on that old story? One that illustrates the real underlying issues.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110316/ap_on_re_eu/eu_netherlands_pedophile_ring



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Nicole Neroulias

posted March 17, 2011 at 10:56 am


Robert C, you’ve made it clear that coverage of the Catholic Church’s worldwide clergy sex abuse crisis offends you, but this is a major ongoing religion news story, certainly worth a blog post every few weeks or so.
Yes, child rape and other abuses have occurred among other religious groups and secular organizations. That doesn’t make the breadth and scope of what’s happened in the Catholic Church — where abusers were routinely sheltered for decades, their protectors continue to be promoted and their victims demonized — any less damning, or newsworthy.
Feel free to comment further here on any of these related topics: celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, or the abuse crisis, or the Catholic Church in Ireland.



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Robert C

posted March 17, 2011 at 2:34 pm


I am not offended by the religious news coverage as much as I am angered by the slanted perspective given this story by the mainstream media. The New York Times, which has literally mongered over the church abuse scandal for years, hasn’t even mentioned this tidbit. They gave miniscule shrift to the Gosnell case; forget exploring the hideous infractions of Planned Parenthood caught on tape. The Dutch ring, in an ironic twist discovered Belgian police participating in the ring. Ironic in that these were the same police needlessly unearthing a tomb to find nonexistent evidence against the former Belgian primate. They would have been more productive in raiding their boss’s closet. The breadth and scope of what has happened in the church is dwarfed by what has happened elsewhere, but the media won’t go there. It will harp on the RCC because of their innate bigotry which I know exists, is in full bloom, and is a fact. Nor will they discuss the reality that all this stems from a gay subculture that is widespread and quite an embarrassment and that the gay community has swept under the carpet for years, and has done so with more malice aforethought than any bishop could even imagine.



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MH

posted March 17, 2011 at 2:50 pm


Isn’t pointing out faults elsewhere under the expectation that people will ignore discovered faults an example of the “Tu quoque” logical fallacy?



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Robert C

posted March 17, 2011 at 3:03 pm


Tu quoque has never been a fallacy, only a defense left as a recourse against the libellant.



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Nicole Neroulias

posted March 17, 2011 at 3:34 pm


Regardless of whether most of the abusive priests in all these cities and countries could be considered sexually frustrated straight men, cripplingly closeted gay men, a few bad apples, equal-to-or-less-than their counterparts in other religions or secular groups — nothing would make serially raping and terrorizing children any less of a crime. And, it certainly doesn’t excuse the church’s tradition of shielding abusive priests from the law and moving them from parish to parish, at the expense of thousands of young victims and their families.
Like it or not, it’s major religion news, especially as investigations continue to reveal new horrors, church officials continue to plead innocence or ignorance, while objecting to extending the statute of limitations for reporting crimes.
If your argument is that the Catholic Church’s abuse crisis is covered disproportionately, I won’t be able to convince you otherwise. No one ever thinks their community is being covered fairly when the news is bad. (The New York Times gets called both anti-Semitic and Zionist every day — they must be doing something right over there.)



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MH

posted March 17, 2011 at 4:15 pm


It is usually a requirement that a claim be false to be considered libel.



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nnmns

posted March 17, 2011 at 4:57 pm


RC just what are these “hideous infractions of Planned Parenthood caught on tape”?
And do they involve the highest levels of an organization that claims to define morality shuffling child molesters to where they molest again and demanding the authorities not be told? I think not.



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Robert C

posted March 17, 2011 at 6:33 pm


It is indeed all a crime. However, if 70,000 members in one online web club doesn’t give you pause to consider the implications, I don’t know what would. However the use of the words, shielding, sheltering and tradition belies an obvious prejudice on the part of the reporter. Those terms could be equally apt describing a gay sub culture in all those other organizations as it would to the church. Perhaps such slanted terminology be best left to the Inquirer. I have no doubt that there are many more similar pedophilic web clubs out there. Nevertheless, yes, I do think that it is disproportionate. Counter intuitively, ‘my’ community is the gay community and I have remarked that they have remained relatively unscathed by all the brouhaha while the catholics seem to be taking the brunt of the recriminations. Scratch one of these clergy abuse perps and you will reveal first a psychosocial dysfunctionate, then a homosexual psychosocial dysfunctionate, and only then a homosexual psychosocial dysfunctionate who happens to wear a collar. Liberals are usually the first to “shield” liberals, yet there are a few objective journalists out there such as John Dougherty, who have argued that media coverage of the catholic issue has been excessive, given that the same problems plague other institutions, such as the US public school system, with much greater frequency. A source no less sober than the Christian Science Monitor has reported and concluded that “despite headlines focusing on the priest pedophile problem in the Roman Catholic Church, most American churches being hit with child sexual-abuse allegations are Protestant, and most of the alleged abusers are not clergy or staff, but church volunteers.” That problem is dwarfed by the ongoing abuse scandal in public schools. In one recent year alone California newspapers ran more than 2,000 stories related to past accusations in Catholic institutions vis a vis a mere four concerning the public school issue. You do the math. Considering that there are 39 million plus victims of childhood sexual abuse in this country and less than 45,000 American Catholic priests. You do the math. Even if you add the deacons and brothers into the mix they still would number less than that web site, and only two to four percent of those clerics have been accused, let alone proven guilty. No. There are no excuses for abusing a child. But there are also no excuses for manipulating coverage to suit its hidden political agenda something for which the Times is renowned.



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Nicole Neroulias

posted March 17, 2011 at 8:45 pm


Robert C, I’m scratching my head over what words you think would more accurately describe what has gone on here, if not “shielding,” “sheltering,” and “tradition.”
Also, this is a religion news blog, so the focus is on religion news — not similar incidents occurring elsewhere.
Lastly, for decades, coverage of clergy abuse cases was slim to none. Disproportionately less, if you will, than deserved. Nowadays, they get a lot of coverage — some argue a disproportionately high amount. Maybe it’s that we finally hit a tipping point, and a few especially horrible examples caught everyone’s attention. But generally, that’s how news works: there are many crimes and tragedies that merit front page headlines every day/week/month/year, but editors and readers (increasingly the latter, thanks to the Internet) prioritize some over others.
(If it makes you feel any better, perhaps by this time next year, your Mormon counterpart will be complaining about coverage of a newly unveiled LDS clergy abuse scandal, or your Lutheran counterpart will be complaining about ELCA abuse scandal coverage, etc.)



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nnmns

posted March 17, 2011 at 10:08 pm


When protestant clergy and workers are caught molesting children they need to be publicized. When mid-level administrators in a protestant nationwide organization are caught protecting those molesters it absolutely needs to be publicized. And when the top leader of a worldwide protestant church group that tries to tell us all how to lead our lives is involved in directing the protection of those molesters that should be major news. And if those things are discovered I sincerely hope they get appropriate coverage. They haven’t been discovered yet except I suppose some at the local level.
And if similar things actually happened in the public schools, rather than being baseless claims whispered among defensive Catholics, they should be appropriately publicized. Same for Planned Parenthood. But those claims of large numbers of offenses are baseless. Desperate Catholics are grasping at straws, trying to make it look like the institution they revere isn’t shoulder-deep in dung.



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Jester

posted March 18, 2011 at 1:43 pm


I salute you for trying to bring some balance to this blog, Robert; but you’re outnumbered and fighting a losing battle.



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