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Belief Beat

Catholic Bishops Plan Seattle Meeting on Clergy Abuse; Global Scandal Spreads

The U.S. Catholic bishops will meet in Seattle June 15-17 to consider revising their policy on clergy sex abuse: the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, passed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in June 2002, as the scandal had broken wide open nationally.

Although the John Jay College of Criminal Justice’s report last month controversially concluded that the American scandal was some kind of 1960s-1970s aberration — blame free love and Woodstock, if you will — I can’t imagine the bishops will be able to ignore the recent headlines out of Philadelphia and Kansas City, in addition to all the victims still coming forward to report older cases.  The Vatican has also issued new guidelines for bishops conferences internationally, as the scandal has spread through Europe and other parts of the world:


Incidentally, I’m a little bitter that major religion news is happening in Seattle while I’ll be on vacation. Oh well. I guess we’ll always have Anthony Weiner’s Weinergate (unveiled due to his crotch-shot Tweet to a college student here), the It Gets Better project (launched by Seattle-based columnist Dan Savage) and Everyone Draw Muhammad Day.


What do you think? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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Patrick O’Malley

posted June 8, 2011 at 6:33 am

Catholics can’t stop the pedophile problem, bishops still ignore it (see Bishop Finn in Kansas City June 2011).

In a February favorite, Bishop Vangheluwe in Belgium had sex with his nephew, starting at age 5, and for 13 years. Then he had sex with the other nephew. He said it was no big deal. The Vatican STILL hasn’t’ decided what to do with him.

This sums up the thought process of the Catholic church toward sex with children.

Parents – get your kids out of there.

report abuse


posted June 8, 2011 at 10:07 am

The abuse scandal will never end because the church has refused to change or even question the leadership dynamics and culture that enabled it to happen. For well over a decade now, they’ve enacted flowery and progressive sounding regulations, but never enforce them when push comes to shove. Every “report” they generate is nothing more than a search for a new scapegoat – gays, popular culture, the shortcomings of the psychological profession in the 1960s, anything to cast the blame anywhere but where it belongs, with the bishops themselves.

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posted June 8, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Patrick said it best: “Parents – get your kids out of there.”

report abuse


posted June 9, 2011 at 8:50 am

I don’t wish to bag Catholics per-se, as some of my best mates are Catholics, even if some of their beliefs are a bit dodgy for my liking. Aside from all that, they are the lovliest people one could ever wish to meet, but that said, the institution itself really is the pits, and my opinion of the Pope is not repeatable. The way the clergy has continued to cover up this continuing saga, really makes me puke!! Someone’s head needs to roll over this. My family’s church has a lovely poster in their kitchen, which says that “children should be hugged, cherished, nurtured, encouraged”,etc, and that the end says, “and not hurt”! Being for sometime now, a proud uncle myself, I couldn’t agree more!!

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Your Name

posted June 10, 2011 at 12:33 pm

I read something different in the John Jay report. The fact that most of the reported cases were in the 60s and 70s told me that a major part of the problem was how these men received seminary training in the 1940s, 1950s and early 1960s. Many seminaries back then operated with very institutionaled techniques: seminarians were typically isolated, followed very strict regimens around how they used their hours during the day, magnum silencian, etc. Under such excessive regimens, modeled on monastic life style, men with deep seated unresolved issues only had to follow the rules and thereby escape detection. My worry now is that some people, including some bishops and laity, with exceesive nastalgia, think that by restoring older approaches to seminary training, they will be able to avoid letting these guys get through the cracks in the system. I think this is courting continued disaster. I myself was in the seminary for two years. My bishop sent me to a “liberal” seminary one year and a “conservative” seminary the next. I think it would have been easier for a seminarian with pedophilia problems to escape detection in the conservative seminary — because in that setting, seminarians had less opportunity to interact with a wide range of adults in normal settings. Bishops need to be careful about the blame game, and take fuller responsibility for their role in assuring that pedophiles don’t get through the system. They also need to take greater stalk of the John Jay report, and take seriously its suggestions that homosexuality is not the issue. Too many bishops have mistakenly focused on that as the root of the problem. Lay people, like Cooper Anderson, also need to stop connecting pedophelia with celibacy. Pedophelia is not caused by celibacy. Celibacy can certainly exacerbate the problem because of loniliness, but marraige isn’t a cure of pedophelia.

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Shan Gill

posted June 12, 2011 at 8:21 am

In the United States, a child is far more likely to be sexually assaulted by a school teacher than a priest. So if you really want to protect children, get them out of the schools.

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Robert C

posted June 12, 2011 at 11:50 am

at this point its all “old” news, all retread, beaten to death by the lamestream media and the eternal haters on the left. ho hum.

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posted June 12, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Sad, but true, Robert. The left isn’t ever going to stop attacking religion until it’s been made illegal worldwide.

report abuse


posted June 15, 2011 at 8:16 pm

Rule # One: Parents, don’t send your kids to church; go with them.

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