Matt Taibbi Gives Catholic Church Vampire Squid Treatment Over Child Molestation Defense

This is a bit O/T for the blog, but Matt Taibbi is in full flamethrowing rant mode, always an impressive sight (will “you’ve been vampire squidded” eventually enter the lexicon?)

And the target is plenty deserving. Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, has attempted to defend the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now current Pope, failed to take action on various reports of child molestation. The effort to scapegoat anyone and everyone else is an energetic spectacle, albeit an intellectually and morally bankrupt one.

Some choice extracts from Taibbi:

One expects professional slimeballs like the public relations department of Goldman Sachs to pull out the “Well, we weren’t the only thieves!” argument when accused of financial malfeasance. But I almost couldn’t believe my eyes as I read through Dolan’s retort and it dawned on me that he was actually going to use the “We weren’t the only child molesters!” excuse. Dolan must have very roomy man-robes, because it seems to me you’d need a set of balls like two moons of Jupiter to say such a thing in public and expect it to fly….

We don’t permit countries that harbor terrorists to participate in international society, but the Catholic Church — an organization that has been proven over and over again to systematically enable child molesters, right up now to the level of the Pope — is given a free pass. In fact the Church is not only not sanctioned in any serious way, it gets to retain its outrageous tax-exempt status, which makes its systematic child abuse, in this country at least, a government-subsidized activity.

His post “The Catholic Church is a Criminal Enterprise” (hat tip Ed Harrison) is here.

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  1. gordon

    What implications can we draw from the way it’s easier and safer to criticse the Roman Catholic Church than it is to criticise Israel and Jewry?

    1. charcad

      it’s easier and safer to criticse the Roman Catholic Church

      Soon it won’t be safe to criticize sodomite pederasts, either. It makes one nostalgic for the days of churchmen so old fashioned they actually seduced adult women.

      1. jdmckay

        Reminds of the joke… an italian and greek were arguing over respective contributions, historically, of their cultures. Plato, Rembrandt etc etc etc. Greek finally says:

        Yes, but we invented sex in modern culture

        Italian responds:

        Indeed, but we brought added women to the mix!!!

    2. ip

      What implications can we draw from the fact that certain people must bring up Israel and Jewry in a negative light whatever subject is being discussed? I think I know the answer…

      1. Captain Teeb

        Ooh, ooh, I know. Call on me, teacher!

        Is it because they are both:
        -official religions with theocratic state entities attached?
        -above criticism in the US, no matter what they do?
        -never above attacking the messenger, no matter how valid the criticism?
        -getting a free pass for things that others go to jail for?
        -involved in various ‘black ops’ (think Roberto Calvi, assassinations, etc.)?

        All of the above?
        If I missed anything, can I get partial credit?

      2. jdmckay

        What implications can we draw from the fact that certain people must bring up Israel and Jewry in a negative light whatever subject is being discussed?

        Well I dun’o about implications you’re soliciting, but I sure know a loaded question when I see it… and dude, that is a loaded question!!!

        I think I know the answer…

        Of that, I have no doubt. :)

    3. KFritz

      1)This blog is an arm of AIPAC or something, never criticizes Israel when it errs? Empirically not.

      2) What can be inferred is that you betray underlying prejudice and paranoia when an institution to which you’re attached is attacked.

      3)Taibbi is a ‘lapsed’ Catholic, as recounted in the article.

    4. koshem Bos

      When an internal Catholic disaster causes people to think about Israel and Jews, those people have a major social problem.

  2. i on the ball patriot

    “This is a bit O/T for the blog, but Matt Taibbi is in full flamethrowing rant mode, always an impressive sight (will “you’ve been vampire squidded” eventually enter the lexicon?)”

    I don’t think its a bit off topic at all. Its just another great example of corrupt institutional break down that happens when those corrupt institutions are subject to the scrutiny of the ever growing body of citizens on the internet. What Taibbi says here about the church could just as well be said, with only a bit of a rewrite, about scamerican government as an institution — the government that has not seized any church property and even subsidizes church activities — like child molesting …

    “I was raised Catholic but stopped going to church at the age of 12. I was a complete idiot at that age with regard to almost every other area of human knowledge, but even I knew back then that the church was a scam. There are good and decent people working as individual priests, but the institution as a whole is a gang of cheap charlatans preying on peoples’ guilt feelings (which of course are cultivated intentionally by the church, which teaches children to be ashamed of their natural sexuality) in order to solicit a lifetime of contributions.”

    Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

  3. Skippy

    Now who was it, that told me that all other books on religion were tools of the devil….when I was interested, wished to be informed about the great debate that has gone on, for as long, as humanity has looked up at a night sky…ummm…

    To me, anyone that says WE are the only source of information and only certified members of this establishment may adjudicate on its complexity and inform those that have not passed our tests…is pulling a fast one…eh.

    Skippy…and they laugh at scientology…aliens stuffed in a volcano lit off with an atom splitting bang or immaculate conception producing a fellow that by military terms would be a don’t ask don’t tell sort.

  4. nowhereman

    Child rapists and tortures, let’s call a spade a spade. There is no, I repeat NO, excuse for the Catholic Church’s treatment of these children, and the movement of these priests so that they could continue raping and torturing the children in their care. There is NO justification, heads must roll.

  5. psychohistorian

    Yes this is connected to economic matters Yves.

    It is not by mistake that those in control of our faith based “free market” fascism have aligned themselves with other faith breathers. I say faith breathers because these folk expose doing good as a cover for their evil….bowing to a higher authority so you don’t have to be held accountable for your actions. Their running civilization into the ground is just more of God’s work.

    We tried to have an Enlightenment period where we were going to evolve belief in religions and the aristocracy they supported to the realm of mythology where they belong but its looking more like we are heading back into the dark ages if the oligarchs have their way.

    1. Alexandra Hamilton

      I agree. In fact feudal structures never went away. They just used capitalism to hide themselves just to wait until enlightenment showed some weakness. Their day has come, or so they think.

  6. Vinny

    When I used to work as a shrink at a federal prison, I had the unfortunate opportunity to interview many serial pedophiles. Some of these monsters had hundreds of victims. Not many were priests though, so I imagine few priest pedophiles ever go to prison.

    About 5 years ago Congress passed a law called Adam Walsh Act, meant to enforce lifetime “civil commitment” of serial sex offenders (pedophiles, rapists, etc). The idea was to keep these monsters locked up in federal prison beyond completion of their prison sentence, if deemed to remain a danger. Last I heard, some 4 years ago, the law was working its way up to the Supreme Court, but I have not kept up it, so I don’t know what is its current status. If anybody here knows, please respond.

    And, by the way, pedophilia is incurable. Psychotherapy is useless, and if anything it is dangerous because it helps the criminal learn how to better manipulate the system. Even castration does not work, because sexual offenses in general (pedophilia and rape in particular) are more about power and control than about sex. This is why, with the Adam Walsh Act, the only approach that works was taken: containment.

    By the way, Adam Walsh is the son of John Walsh, host of America’s Most Wanted show. Adam was kidnapped, raped, and then murdered by one of these monsters. That’s what drove John Walsh to start the show.


      1. Skippy

        Usually…it is not unlike a virus, transmitted. Not that it is an exsuse but, hard to kill a man for that what was transgressed upon them as a child. Hence the great need for children that suffer to be attended to post haste that have been infected.

        BTW the way, segways into the problem with religious or other wise social clubs covering up of this tragedy in an attempt to keep their good name.

        Skippy…Vinny wife transferred such an individual from prison to hospital last night…after 4 days into a 12 year sentence (usual reasons)…totally in denial…made a mistake…when he had a good job and made lots of money…already making plans to move to Figi to meet up with fiancee after serving term…sigh.

    1. Swedish Lex


      Sarkozy has made attempts to introduce legislation to keep serial sexual offenders locked up also after the have served their time. As I recall, Sarozy has had to back off on constitutional grounds, as that would amount to keeping people locked up for “nothing”.

      What is in your view reasonable, life sentences? Knowing that these cases are difficult to prove with false accusations being made in connection with divorces, etc. Locking someone up for life on poor evidence obviously has its risks too.

      1. Vinny


        Because once in the civil commitment program the offenders were no longer under the jurisdiction of the courts except when their yearly review came up, a lawyer or judge could not just get them out easily. And, it depended more on mental health workers like psychologists and psychiatrists to determine their eligibility for the legal evaluation. They did get that evaluation once per year from us, but that’s about it. So, if the person was a terrible dude, he could possibly spend the rest of his life in prison, without a formal criminal sentence. Of course, the constitutionality of this whole idea was being debated last I heard, a few years ago.

        But I think that it would be unlikely to mistakenly place somebody falsely accused by an ex-wife, or some 19 year old who slept with a 17 year old. Usually, only the most horrendous of serial sex offenders (pedophiles and rapists) were being considered for civil commitment. There was a pretty lengthy evaluation process prior to us sending our reports to the courts, and there are plenty of psychological and physiological tests we would administer to them to determine how their mind was working. And, at the end of the day, the judge made his or her decision based primarily on their criminal history.

        Once in the program, they would live on the prison grounds, but had a few “perks” such as they could wear street clothes (as opposed to ugly brown inmate uniforms), and we, the employees, could not address them as “inmates”. However, they could not go home, and all the rest of prison rules applied to them.

        Of course, many of the worst sex offenders also murder their victims (to hide the evidence), so if that can be proven in court, then they are tried for murder and then simpler options like the death penalty of straight life in prison without parole would be likely.

        At least during Bush’s reign, the US was determined to deal with this problem, particularly child pornography. I met inmates serving multiple life sentences or 750 years prison plus life, only for a few child pornography pictures found on their computer. A lot of these creeps would travel to nations that don’t protect their children very well and go crazy there. But the FBI has gotten pretty good at tracking these people down, and either get them extradited, or arrest them upon arrival in the US. Right now, I think the problem of child pornography and possibly even pedophilia is worse in the northern European nations now, so personally I am pro Sarkoszy’s approach.


        1. linnen

          Given that the one of the revelations (think Boston, Mass.) were brought up during the Bush reign and pursued by the victims without Federal assistance, excuse me if I do not credit the Bush ‘focus’ to be focused on anything close to child pornography. They might have announced this was so. I have my doubts.

  7. colinc

    I concur that Yves post about Taibbi’s article is most certainly ON TOPIC for this site and thank you, Yves, for posting the info. (Even tho’ I have Matt’s RSS feed.) All the comments up to and including that of psychohistorian (would the “real” Harry Seldon please stand up :D) are excellent and I’m sure all here would agree that those “great and wonderful” bastions on Wall St. are similarly disgusting.

    However, I’m posting this comment to make known that there isn’t a single corporate entity (and many non-corporate ones) in the USA or anywhere else that doesn’t operate/behave/proselytize in like manner. Our “captains of industry” are the same form of non-symbiotic, parasitic organism as the clergy of ANY denomination, the politicians at any level of government and, of course, those jackasses at GS, JPM, BoA, Citi and all the others. When will “we the people” wake-the-fuck-up and free ourselves from the serfdom that has been imposed on us by these flaming morons? Yes, they ARE moronic, they just lie more easily, more frequently and “better” than most.

    “i on the ball patriot”, your incessant proclamation regarding deceit is one of the truest statements ever made and I sincerely hope the sheeple somehow begin to understand that! Keep up the fight!

    1. psychohistorian

      Are you saying that perhaps there cannot be more than one psychohistorian?

      Or even us wannabe types?

      1. colinc

        Of course there can be more than one! After all, I fancy myself another “wannabe” and just trying to add a little more recognition to a great work by a late, great author… my absolute favorite in my youth! Isaac is profoundly missed.

        Alas, given the events of the past decade or 2, I am almost compelled to morph into “the Mule.” :D Someday (soon?) I will have to revisit that series of wonderful prose and intellectual stimulation.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Wasn’t part of the gist of the whole thing that there really is no psyco-historian what with Seldon’s wife really being R. Daneel Olivaw?

          1. colinc

            I feel so deprived!! I did not recall that name from the first 3 books, I had to check wiki for the reference. Alas, that was all the further I read in the series before “life” changed direction and that was too many years ago to think about. Perhaps I’ll have to revisit the series, in its entirety, sooner rather than later. Thanks for the tip.

        2. psychohistorian

          I also originally only read the first three books of the Foundation series and then tried to catch up. I still subscribe to Asimov’s Science Fiction short stories and marvel at his genius.

          In college, early 70’s, I worked with a group using an engineering tool called Field Anomaly Relaxation (FAR)to develop scenarios of alternative societal futures with a 25 year time frame….hence the moniker.

  8. G Willard

    I read this blog every day for its contrarian intelligence. With this post, I fear Yves joins a mass of cliff-bound lemmings.

    Terms such as ‘sexual abuse’ and ‘pedophile’ have become demonic political constructs that are central (twinned with ‘terrorism’) to current Western political theology. There terms are the nodes around which constellates the West’s present shifts in the direction of total-surveillance, totalitarian states.

    (That’s may seem overheated rhetoric, but consider that Americans face life sentences for clicking on a dead link dangled by FBI stingers pointing to what the Feds assert is the wrong sort of sexually suggestive cartoon; the law is now filled with such booby-traps that can snare anyone.)

    The left’s failure to deconstruct these terms (ok, there’s a body of critical work on ‘terrorism’) has been disastrous to civil liberties and the chances for civil society.

    Why, for instance, is it felt adequate to simply talk about ‘pedophiles’ and ‘sexual abuse’ the way white Southerners used to talk about ‘rape’ and sexually insatiable black brutes and ‘rape’ — without actually specifying the context, the character, what specifically was alleged to have happened? In the South, a perceived glance or wink readily became ‘rape’ and a lynching. In Boston, Father Geoghan, poster boy for priest abuse who was later murdered in prison, was convicted of an alleged squeeze at a swimming pool to boy’s rear.

    Any institution or culture that resists this theology is marked for destruction — accounting for much of the attack on the Church, which has, ironically and sub rosa, served to channel to modernity ancient Greek and Roman acceptance of homosexuality (which was largely pederasty). And pederasty — men and adolescent boys — is mostly what’s at issue here; not sex with girls, not children.

    For a radically contrarian take on the church scandals, first published in Boston’s International Gay & Lesbian Review, see here:

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The case that has created the outrage is that of one Lawrence Murphy, who molested over 200 deaf boys. The label pedophile is apt. You seem offended by the use of labels that accurately characterize the phenomenon. There was apparently another pedophile priest (as in a large scale abuser), one Peter Hullermann, who was reported to Ratzinger and ignored.

      Ratzinger failed to investigate or try individuals who were reported numerous times to the church hierarchy. This is a man who has been zealous in other areanas, so his inaction act can hardly be attributed to a hands-off management style.

      1. Togitz

        Yves said:
        “The case that has created the outrage is that of one Lawrence Murphy, who molested over 200 deaf boys. The label pedophile is apt. You seem offended by the use of labels that accurately characterize the phenomenon.”

        This should prove to you, Yves, how warped your thinking is. You are supposedly one well versed in statistics. And yet you cherry-pick a case and claim that it represents the general population on the grounds that it has “created the most outrage”. Why should anyone think “the most outrage” is a reasonable criteria for evaluating and naming a phenomena? It isn’t!

        “There was apparently another pedophile priest (as in a large scale abuser)”

        Yves, pedophile does not mean “large scale abuser.” See how warped your thinking is? You don’t even care about coherent definitions anymore. Somebody toss Yves some bloody entrails.

        Yves said:

        “Ratzinger failed to investigate or try individuals who were reported numerous times to the church hierarchy. This is a man who has been zealous in other areanas, so his inaction act can hardly be attributed to a hands-off management style.”

        Cogent people don’t rely on insinuation, Yves. Mobs do.

        I’ve fucking had it with you.

        1. Yves Smith Post author


          Mob behavior? Insinuation? You are the one engaging in that sort of behavior, by suggesting I said things I never said.

          Even Dolan admits to the abuse by the German priest. Go read his post. This is not “insinuation” as you suggest.

          You seem to forget we had a President resign in this country over a mere burglary. It was the cover-up, not the act, that brought him down. The issue is that the current Pope has in two known instances not been vigilant about pursuing allegations of repeated sexual abuse.

          This is about Ratzinger, and the members of the hierarchy who rally to defend him. Even a persistent critic like Hitchens (and I take Hitchens with a handful of salt) noted in passing that John Paul took a different approach.

          The fact that some other people in this thread have gone off the deep end is no excuse for you attributing their remarks to me.

          1. ROI


            Before you start trotting out links as being representative of Catholic opinion, you might want to make sure they’re not life-long avowed foes of Ratzinger (i.e. the Fr. Daniel C. Maguire post).

            The question re: the 200 abused deaf boys wasn’t whether Ratzinger covered it up or not (indeed, by 1996 the DA had already been alerted to the accusations and refused to address them); the question was what punishment Ratzinger’s office was going to sanction.

            So, this wasn’t a question of cover-up (the case was already known to law enforcement by the time it was in Ratzinger’s hands); it wasn’t even a question of protecting young boys from the possibility of future abuse (Fr. Murphy was retired). It was a question of what level of canonical sanction to employ. (Note that “de-frocking” doesn’t even make one no longer a priest. According to Catholic theology, the sacrament of Holy Orders confers an indelible mark. Thus, de-frocking means only that the person is forbidden from administering the sacraments or engaging in any other priestly functions.)

            I remain amazed that otherwise sensible people somehow lose all ability to engage in critical reasoning functions whenever the words “child abuse” are uttered.

    2. eric anderson

      “Terms such as ’sexual abuse’ and ‘pedophile’ have become demonic political constructs that are central (twinned with ‘terrorism’) to current Western political theology.”

      Not demonic political constructs. Demonic acts. Terrorism on a personal level. It’s evil from the depths of hell. Let’s call it such.

      On the other hand, an atmosphere of insensible fear can result in false convictions.

      So, we have to be careful not to fall into one ditch or the other. We must not accept the unacceptable, nor engage in witch hunts.

      1. nowhereman

        “Terms such as ’sexual abuse’ and ‘pedophile’ have become demonic political constructs that are central (twinned with ‘terrorism’) to current Western political theology.”

        Not demonic political constructs. Demonic acts. Terrorism on a personal level. It’s evil from the depths of hell. Let’s call it such. ”
        No “sexual abuse” and “pedophile” don’t go far enough in describing what is going on here.
        It is Child Rape and Torture. These men have used their “religious authority to take advantage of innocents. Not only that but the “Church” aided and abetted this heinous crime.

    3. mcphilip

      I’m fluent in postmodern philosophy and understand the point you’re making but disagree with applying it to the current situation. You’ve missed the trees for the forest, so to speak. An alleged bum squeeze is a far cry from the molestation of 200 deaf children…

  9. Norman Morley

    Not sure if I have my facts straight, due to dropping out of the Church so long ago, but I seem to recall reading the New English Language Catholic Bible, in which it told of the Pope being the Anti-Christ before the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse descended upon the Earth. The perhaps bright spot in all of that, the U.S.A. will be spared the carnage that ensues. Perhaps the presence of American Military Forces in the Middle East, should be re-thought. Of course, at the rate the U.S. Treasury is being drained, that shouldn’t be too far off.

  10. sam hamster

    Taibbi’s attacks on this issue and how it has been handled may be on point. He then tries to delegitimize the entire church, which is juvenile. The length of his post is surprising, except when you read it as an atheist’s wet dream.

    Like it or not, churches provide a huge volume of services for people in need, especially the elderly.

        1. colinc

          I, too, “accept that other people exist.” However, I do not accept their words and actions predicated on baseless belief. Any and all belief lacking demonstrable evidence is nothing more than the ignorant and crippled stepchild of deceit.

          Do you accept that Blankfein and the “perps” mentioned in the article and this thread are doing “God’s work?”

          1. sam hamster

            Beyond whom you do not accept lies their continued and assured existence. You are engaging in magical thinking if you believe that the world cares a nat’s ass who you accept and who you don’t accept.

            I don’t identify with the Church, but I know that it and its members exist. I’m not going to wish, childishly, that the Church would cease to exist. I argue that the Church fix its problems.

    1. Skippy

      As if a suitable replacement could not be found…ha. Empty bucket argument there and one they use readily I might add.

    2. KFritz

      In SH’s defense, Oliver Sacks works as a pro bono consultant w/ the Little Sisters of the Poor. In spite of its grotesque political deformity, the Church of Rome still contains people of good will.

  11. sylvester mcmonkey mcbean

    When will I see a post on this issue that doesn’t eventually illicit a defense of the church and / or worse, some attempt to demonise it’s accusers. There is something perverse about an organisation that instills this kind of loyalty. Is there a number of good deeds that can make such criminal activity excusable? (And I don’t mean the abuse itself, I mean the cover up and the resulting perpetuation of it.) If not, why even bring it up?

  12. mcphilip

    if you’re interested in a much more thought provoking angle on the catholic church’s role as enabler and denier of abuse, I highly recommend watching Deliver Us from Evil. Father O’Grady, the priest responsible for dozens of rapes in Calfornia, unexpectedly agreed to extensive interviews about his crimes.

    What unfolds is a haunting glimpse into the mind of a serial child molester — a man who understands he is evil but still gets a glimmer in his eyes when talking about the rape of an infant.

  13. Jojo

    What I find really scary is thinking about for how many CENTURIES this crap has been going on, how many people’s lives were ruined, how much has been swept under the rug, never to see the light of day. Talk about grand hypocrisy! Whew…

  14. Darel


    I understand that most of your readers are agnostics/atheists and throwing a little red meat their way can give a pleasant thrill. But I, for one, am not reading “Naked Capitalism” to get your views on every issue under the sun. The web is full of blowhards who need to project their every desire, thought, whim, interest, outrage or urge to the world. Please don’t become one of them.


    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I happen to like how Matt Taibbi writes and I am also taking note of the scandal because it seems to be spinning out of control, not that that will have any practical impact on an institution as impregnable as the Catholic Church.

      What makes this of interest is not simply the scandal (were it that alone, I would relegate it to Links) but how utterly offensive Dolan’s defense was.

      1. Claire

        “What makes this of interest is not simply the scandal (were it that alone, I would relegate it to Links) but how utterly offensive Dolan’s defense was.”

        To be honest, what fascinates me more about this thread is that it has drawn more comments than your prior posts of Greenspan’s “once in a century event”, the EU’s hedge fund stance, and the insurance industry’s outsourcing to Wall Street.

        I mean, all the Greece posts generated more comments, but there was a lot of debate on them. This thread is clearly exposing a very different raw nerve, which I find particularly surprising because it’s got nothing to do with economics or finance, and because the Church’s abuses (and blase attitude to them) are not at all new.

        I don’t mind the post or comments or anything like that–I’m just surprised at the number and intensity of them

          1. charcad

            This is true. Look how defensive true believers in Anthropogenic Global Warming cultists get.

          2. Anonymous Jones

            Wow. Hitting all the talking points today, charcad. Well done. Speak it, and it will be true. Rock on, brother.

      2. charcad

        Politics, sex and religion are – usually – guaranteed reader exciters. N-C is pretty well saturated with politics. This leaves sex and religion to animate the audience.

        Taibbi’s piece is a two-fer. At least until the “Girls of Naked Capitalism 2011 Calendar” is released.

        1. Ina Deaver

          Unfortunately, you won’t be wanting me for that calendar. The term “girl” ceased being applicable around 25 years ago.

          I am a believer, and I belong to a church – although not the Catholic one. I am never offended by a discussion of where religion goes off the rails. It does, with disastrous effects. It never ceases to amaze me how people can take a theology of mercy and love and use it to justify murder and hatred. Being called an idiot doesn’t sting, either – what I do and believe in is not about popularity or even getting into the VIP lounge in heaven.

          What the church has wrought is evil. I’m not sure how anyone can argue against that. The fact that it also does good in the world does not change the fact that humans running the church have failed to conduct it in the image of God. It’s a tall order – but they have set themselves up as infallible, which to me is at root forgetting the proper relationship between humans and God.

          The God I worship does not need me to have his back. He does not need my assistance enforcing his laws. I am concerned about the laws of man, which I am entitled to enforce against those that break them. The church needs to get its act straight, because failing to recognize the difference causes horrible crimes in the name of God. Indeed, I think that we all can agree that what makes the torture and rape of these children especially heinous is that it was done where the children should have been able to expect acceptance, protection, and love. It mixes a crime by men with one by God, which damages worse.

          Just so that the cards are on the table: not everybody on this site is agnostic, and “liberal” is not synonymous with irreligious. Hopefully we can have a discourse on the role of organized religion in this country without devolving into slathering rancor.

        2. KFritz

          Fr/ Wikipedia:

          In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response[1] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

  15. Kat

    Thanks Yves for posting this. I work at one of the few agencies in the United States that primarily focuses on child sexual abuse prevention and helping teen and adult survivors heal. I can personally say its incredibly damaging to go through these experiences and I think the Catholic Church needs to be accountable and should be treating these people as the criminals they are. Its also happening in the Boy Scouts. The truth is it happens much more than people realize. An assistant professor at a Northern CA University just got busted for having sex with a 20 year old and her infant. Talk about disgusting.
    We just had a case with a swim coach locally, molesting dozens of his swim girl students over decades. Every day across the United States, there are people getting busted for these crimes against children. They are crimes against humanity. And frankly, these kinds of articles with the Catholic Church, build awareness of the issue. Most sexual abuse is NOT with a stranger. Something like 90 percent is with soemone the child knows. And its time for us all to end it.

    1. ROI

      One of the things that disturbs me most about all this is that people are lulled into thinking it’s just a Catholic problem, or its just a problem with those loony religious nuts in the Vatican who are covering it up. The sad truth is that the impulse to cover up a sexual abuse scandal is an all-too-human response. I remember a couple of cases of teachers in my high school who were caught abusing children. There were whispers about the stories, but they were most certainly not publicized. They were summarily fired, but neither of them was reported to the authorities, nor were parents notified. At least one of them went on to teach in another school district. And I always got the feeling that this probably wasn’t the first time they had done something like this. Same goes for a scoutmaster in the Boy Scouts who had later been accused. (Since the late 1990s or so, when laws and policies began to change, child abusers tend to get reported more readily these days and its harder to brush such cases under the rug.)

      But, because many of us feel ourselves to be opposed to the Vatican’s stand on birth control, abortion, women priests, etc., we often feel we can point to that fact and say “See, it figures”, and then go on feeling satisfied in our own preferred institutions’ innocence with regard to this issue. Meanwhile, children are abused, and cover-ups abound.

    2. Maggie Knowles

      We need more studies on what causes people to become pedophiles. Is it nature? Is it nurture? Is there a pedophile gene? Could it be that the kids that are sexualized too early become pedophiles themselves? Is it possible it’s like being gay, that you have no choice, you’re born that way?

      For example, the more we learn about addiction, the more we realize that if a child doesn’t get the love and nurture they need, they will get it in other ways, like from eating too much, or from drugs that make them feel good initially.

      Corporations have sexual harassment policies and procedures, where employees attend workshops to learn what sexual harassment is, how to report it, etc. We could have the same for kids, designed specifically for kids to teach them what’s appropriate/inappropriate, best ways to respond, early warning indicators, who to respond to, etc. I’m sure this idea would surely piss off right wing and/or religious extremists (even moderates?), but who cares? We can’t just pretend to be concerned about kids, and then specifically ignore our responsibilities to protect them BY EDUCATING THEM! Kids are capable of make good informed decisions if we give them good information and have laws/policies that support these efforts. Especially kids who are at risk through no fault of their own.

  16. Evelyn Sinclair

    “We are doing God’s work” they said; so sure this is right on topic!

    Rape and arrogance, disingenuousness and contempt for the “little people” victims.

    Different heierarchy, same attitude.

  17. Jesse

    If you read the Taibbi piece through, and then read his comments, his bigotry and anti-religious bias become fully evident.

    It is not subject to an inpretation, he just makes no bones about it. And Hitchens is in a similar camp, but much more sophisticated. His scurrilous attack on Mother Teresa of Calcutta after her death, for instance, was appalling.

    They say that anti-Catholicism ad anti-religion is the anti-semitism of the left. And I think that this is still the case. But if it was an attack on Jews, or blacks, or gays, or muslims, I could not be quiet. Because when we are quiet, we become complicit. I learned this long ago.

    This is seriously ugly, and blatant, and disappointing.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I have put up a grand total of 3 links critical of the Catholic church in the history of this blog, the two from yesterday and this post. I have put up easily 20 times that many critical of Israel in links.

      It is not anti Semitism to criticize Israel for its conduct towards Palestine, nor is it anti Catholic to criticize Ratzinger and his defenders. The Dolan blog post, which is what triggered Taibbi’s post, is utterly indefensible. Ratzinger, who is zealous and controlling on other fronts, failed to investigate two pedophiles.

      I suggest you read Taibbi’s post against any of his attacks on Wall Street. He treats writing as an extreme sport.

      And it is deeply troubling that the Church, which has has a history of problems of sex abuse by priests, is now led by a Pope who has persistently covered it up. Maureen Dowd has devoted her column this week to it. You can hardly accuse her of being anti-Catholic.

      1. IF

        He is shooting fish in a barrel. I am not a friend of the (catholic) church. But he is making the easy money here. I have always admired Sinéad O’Connor for her stance on the polish pope. She got a lot of shit for that, something that Taibbi doesn’t have to fear anymore.

      2. Captain Teeb

        “Maureen Dowd has devoted her column this week to it. You can hardly accuse her of being anti-Catholic.”

        Let me try.

        Dowd represents a peculiarly-American wing of catholics who think that Rome should be like the Anglicans and adopt whatever politically-correct fashion is in vogue. You have only to look at the Church of England to see where that leads.

        My guess, Yves, is that you are not a catholic, and presume that someone like Dowd speaks for catholics worldwide. She write for the NYT, for God’s sake; does that tell you nothing? Dowd is to catholicism what Krugman (her fellow NYT columnist) is to economic truth.

        You do a fantastic job in your area, but you are out of your depth here.

        1. Ray Hauser

          Lame, straw man attack. Saying Dowd isn’t anti-Catholic isn’t the same as saying Dowd is an official spokesman.

          How does criticizing a sustained cover-up of heinous acts amount to being against Catholicism? Your position, taken to its logical conclusion, is that anyone who every says anything bad about the Church, no matter how deserved, is anti Catholic. That’s garbage.

          Out of her depth? Calling someone a bigot to shut them up is cheap shot. I see lotsa posts here against Chinese policy, no one calls the writers anti-Chinese.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          Your “politically correct fashion” looks like a defense of anti-gay and anti-feminist behavior. By your logic, Martin Luther attacking the abuse of indulgences was a bad idea because it also challenged church cohesion and authority.

        3. Captain Teeb

          “And it is deeply troubling that the Church, which has has a history of problems of sex abuse by priests, is now led by a Pope who has persistently covered it up. Maureen Dowd has devoted her column this week to it. You can hardly accuse her of being anti-Catholic.”

          Did I call Yves a bigot, or even imply it? Talk about a straw man. It wasn’t I who chose Maureen Dowd as a non-anti-catholic. Here is the syllogism I extract from Yves’s statement:

          1. Maureen Dowd is a catholic
          2. Dowd criticized the Church.
          3. Therefore, Dowd’s criticism is somehow newsworthy or significant.

          Did I mis-interpret?

          your “politically correct fashion” looks like a defense of anti-gay and anti-feminist behavior. By your logic, Martin Luther attacking the abuse of indulgences was a bad idea because it also challenged church cohesion and authority.

          Thanks for your reply; I am honored.

          “More I think about it, your “politically correct fashion” looks like a defense of anti-gay and anti-feminist behavior. By your logic, Martin Luther attacking the abuse of indulgences was a bad idea because it also challenged church cohesion and authority.”

          Wrong. Sorry, but traditional religion’s views on gays and feminists (terms defined by the American left) have scriptural authority, as did Martin Luther. This is what religion is about. The assumption of any faith is that if it was true in Moses’s or Paul’s time, it’s just as try today. Ask a Baptist preacher, a Moslem priest, an Orthodox priest, or an orthodox Jewish rabbi. Martin Luther was an affirmation of scriptural authority. Does God follow the opinion polls and adjust right and wrong? I told you you were out of your depth.

          I was born as a protestant and am a nothing now. My own view is that the Roman Church’s claimed monopoly on the Christian faith is ludicrous. I think that molesting children is horrible.

          But what I think doesn’t matter, it’s what God thinks. If you don’t believe in God, but rather that we disappear into the void with no accounting, then what does it matter what we do? If you remember the famous scene where Ivan Karamazov tells his brother Alexey: “If there is no God, then all is permitted”.

          My take on what that chapter of Dostoyevsky means is that modern atheists and agnostics appropriate the language of morality while tossing out its logical basis (and worse, we toss out Grace, while keeping the notions of sin and evil). If God doesn’t define it, then who does? A Gallup poll? A majority of your state legislature? Three-quarters of the Senate? The Pope?

          1. Bob Visser

            Mr Teep is obviously in league with Mr Blancfein of GS, he is also doing gods work. He can talk on behalf of whatever god he represents apparently. Yves you have a top-class blog. It is a daily joy to read. Plse carry on. BV

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            Your syllogism is does not even remotely resemble my point.

            The charge was that criticizing Ratzinger and his defenders was a sign of bias against Catholics. The fact that Dowd (and other Catholics in this thread) are also distressed by this incident says that charge is spurious.

            You also bizarrely charge that religion and a fear of being punished in the afterlife is the only basis for morality. So how do you explain Japan, which is a secular culture (yes, they have Shinto and Buddhist traditions, but organized religion is simply not a meaningful part of that culture). They have a much lower crime rate than the US.

            Studies have found that social animals understand fairness and punish cheaters.

        4. sherparick

          This has been a dismaying time for a Christian of the Roman Catholic variety. Some of the defenders of my Church’s leadership who have written in response to this blog entry, like Cardinal Dolan and the Vatican,have applied the Tuo quoque fallacy to defend the indefensible (Tu quoque:
          Literally, you too. This is an attempt to justify wrong action because someone else also does it. What would be a blog entry on Catholic Church without a little Latin.)

          They also “beg the question,” since the issue is not that some Priests and religious are frail human beings who commit vile crimes on children under their authority who they have a duty to protect, but rather the Church’s policy, at least from 1962 to at least 2003, to avoid scandal and move perpetrators to parishes and other institutions with no warning as to the danger the children in the new parish or institution were about to be exposed to. Further, the Church, which goes to such lengths to celebrate and protect children in “abstract” (the famous “unborn”) basically gave, and continues to give, the victims of this abuse the back of their hand, telling them if they were “good” Catholics they would shut up. No therapy, no pastoral care, and no compensation except that drawn from the Church at the point of law suits. Great job at protecting the Church from “scandal” bishops. And now the they react that bringing this stuff is just about damaging the Catholic Church (the argument from spite, another logical fallacy; this story is almost like a test to see how many we can spot).

          For Tabbai and Christopher Hitchens, this is an easy story, since they just don’t think “religion” is anything more than a con. But if you do feel that the religious impulse is about something real, you have remember that there are two Churches, the human everyday Church, whose clergy seems as much a self-protective association as any group of professionals (such as police (the blue wall of silence) and military officers – look the other way on war crimes). and bankers (what is a little fraud),) and the Church transcedent, the vehicle of salvation, the inspiration of civiliaztion, the Body of Christ, (see C.S. Lewis, an Anglican, description of her in the Screwtape Letters, since I am talking of the Church, and not just the Roman Catholic variety).

          People defending the current Pope and hierarchy are not doing the real Church any favors. If they cared about that church, their legacy, and their own souls, the Pope should abidicate, the Bishops and Cardinals, who are essentially Ratzinger’s apprachiks since he controlled the appointments for the last 25 years, should all resign and/or retire, and all get themselves to a monastery and pray for forgiveness.

    2. Swedish Lex


      In order to make society a bit less bad, we do in my view have to continue down the path where the right to believe what you want, and not to believe at all, are equally and forcefully protected. Meanwhile, the laws of the land have to apply equally to all, and I mean everyone, in particular as regards the protection of infants.

      So, if a cult, religion or association has engaged in systematic child abuse (sexual, child labor as in Ireland) over decades, perhaps centuries, and if the rot runs so deep that it touches the core of the organization in question, society has an obligation to investigate and to prosecute.

      The current debate focuses essentially on the flaws of Catholics, but I would like to understand how/why civil society and authorities have failed so miserably in going after the perpetrators and the elements of the catholic organization that has protected them, and therefore constitutes part of the problem. Ultimately, I hope that Catholics bust believe that a thorough purge (with REAL prosecution, not just a slap on the wrist and re-commissioning to another parish) plus an investigation to uncover the root of the problem within Catholicism as an institution (“cultural”?), plus a effort to eliminate the problem under the supervision of outside organizations, only can be beneficial to the church. If that is not the case, then I fear that I can only support an on-going mediatised assault, as you may perceive it, by the likes of Hitchens in order to keep the pressure up and, ultimately, force authorities to take action.

      The catholic church obviously has time on its side, having been around for a while. So spending a few decades to deal with this problem seriously cannot be a bad thing.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Swedish Lex,

        There is a danger, and I think you are at risk in going in that direction, of not differentiating between Catholicism as a faith v. the organizational structure of the church. While the two cannot be separated tidily (the hierarchy does mediate what the faith is supposed to mean, has made some changes in doctrine over time), the religion has been in existence long enough that it has an inertial quality (ie, the organization couldn’t radically change doctrines overnight; believers would rebel).

        The problem is clearly within the authority structure. There are important groups within the church (the nuns and the monastic orders) that are not involved. So I think you need to frame your targets more narrowly.

        1. Swedish Lex

          I am anything but a specialist on the catholic church and faith, so please understand if my choice of words in that area is a bit all over the place.

          What I will not budge on, however, is the obligation of authorities to see through any doctrinal/cultural arguments when assessing cases of for instance, child molestation and sexual mutilation of minors. Many European countries have laws against sexual mutilation, but they are rarely enforced, often because the victims are brought abroad where the mutilations take place during vacations. The reasons for authorities’ relative inertia in prosecuting these cases are many, including a hesitation to confront the “culture and traditions” of the perpetrators. Here is where the equality before the law comes in, which, as I posted, should be made to apply to all, without any exception.

        2. i on the ball patriot

          Yves said; “The problem is clearly within the authority structure. There are important groups within the church (the nuns and the monastic orders) that are not involved. So I think you need to frame your targets more narrowly.”

          Sorry, I can’t buy into the above statement. The nuns and monastic orders are clearly involved. When you give over your morality to a higher authority structure you are just as responsible for that extended morality as if it were your own. The nuns and monastic orders are the troops in the field that gain ground for the institution and its authority structure.

          This is like saying that cops in a community, or troops in combat, are absolved from their actions because they were “just following orders”. The problems in the church, and in scamerica, are systemic, and ALL members of each respective group are responsible.

          Having said that, it is clear that “some pigs are more responsible than others”, and they deserve a greater focus of attention. But let’s not say that the little pigs get a free pass and; “are not Involved”.

          Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

      2. Jojo

        I think perhaps what is needed is an old fashioned Inquisition. The Catholics were pretty good at that if I recall.

    3. Skippy

      Mother Teresa of Calcutta (the penny saint of the catholic church) she is and was the best money printing press of the church since the crusades.

      Your hyperbole (of which you employ on your site) over the subject removes the camouflage.

      Skippy…Eye candy web sites do make a nice romantic back drop, till the food is served cold. Is Matt making a buck..yes…still one should not de-cry tactic of which they employ…backhandedly.

    4. LeeAnne

      Jesse, I love your blog and the way you express yourself on most topics.

      I disagree with you on this one. The more impenetrable the organization by civilized justice and investigation the more ‘scurrilous’ the attacks necessarily. Is their another remedy?

      Why expect people whose hearts and souls pulse against the injustice of powerful institutions snuffing out the healthy in young lives enabled by assets supplied by lawful productive society using those privileges to defy the source of their being namely Christopher Hitchens and Matt Taibbi who have the power to penetrate deceit publicly to just passively take it?

      What other remedies do you suggest to organized criminal activity feeding off the public trough for power rising above the law when they are systematically destroying the lives and minds of the people’s children or extorting 40% and privatizing the commons as US finance is doing?

      Catholic Church, masters of deception and brain washing all-male celibate and demand for belief in the fantastical like virgin birth (indoctrination –if you believe this -and it is required that you do -you will believe anything) is so unnatural for starters, it resembles US drug prohibition in domination of private life the creation of a vastly profitable and powerful underground organization enabled by all other institutions dependent for their livelihood on their power to deceive.

  18. mg

    Jesse says:
    “This is seriously ugly, and blatant, and disappointing.”

    I couldn’t agree more but my disgust is with the centuries of abuse by the Catholic Church against those they are meant to help and protect. Keep your faith but to be an apologist for these actions or to attack those that recognize the depravity of these crimes and cover ups does a great disservice to not just yourself but humanity as well.


  19. sam hamster

    The Catholic Church’s no-contraceptive policy causes many orders of magnitude more suffering than this priest scandal.

    Taibbi’s post only proves that you are easy to manipulate if you cannot see how you are being manipulated.

  20. Norman Morley

    i FIND MYSELF REPLYING AGAIN TO THIS STORY, OR SHOULD i SAY THE COMMENTS? The fact that this reprehensible act[s] have been taking place for many years if not century’s, seems to be lost in discussion. That this has only surfaced to the public at large, perhaps in the last 20 to 30 years, shouldn’t be construed as some new phenomena, yet the comments presented seem to indicate either it’s rather recent, or the individual comments are from people who are devoid of facts. This is not peculiar to just the Catholic Church, but is emblematic to any sect, institution, that has segregated Humans-male/female-incarcerated or institutionalized. The fact that the Strong victimize the naive and weak, has been the normal pattern perhaps from the beginning of history. That it is covered up, or even by those who know better, is a blotch upon those who have the power to stop it. Therefore, to defend the demagogy of the Catholic Church, the pope, the warden of the prison, is very misguided. There is no reason that this practice should be condoned, nor should there be any excuse made for any Human being who does so, regardless of hie/her station in life.

  21. skippy

    Punish someone hard enough, too cleanse the soul, and they will never transgress such upon others.

    Skippy…Rasputin begs to differ from the grave after a life of folly.

  22. Yearning to Learn

    I’ve always been struck by a peculiarity with the Catholic situation.
    In general, most child sexual abuse is adult men with girls. However in the Catholic reports I’ve seen, it is largely adult men with boys. what is the reason for this?

    I suspect that it may be due to a few factors that work in concert
    1) Priests are not allowed to marry.
    2) Women are not allowed to be priests
    3) Homosexuality is so reviled especially in Christianity.

    In my family gay people were told to become priests, because it they acted on their gay tendencies they would go to hell and they were really unable to live the lie of marriage with a woman. Thus their only option was to be a priest, as nobody would question why a priest isn’t getting married or going on dates etc… (My great-uncle refused and was put into an insane asylum for the rest of his life!).

    I know this was not an uncommon line of reasoning in the past.

    So I wonder if part of the problem isn’t just the coverup, but the background that leads to this?

    Would we have this level of child sexual abuse if we allowed
    -women into the clergy?
    -priests to marry?
    -relaxation of the homosexuals going to hell idea?

    I’m not saying the church should or could do any or all of these things. I’m only wondering if you are setting up this situation in the first place.

    Take a bunch of guys who hate themselves and give them tremendous amounts of power over a bunch of vulnerable children.

    Perhaps changing these rules wouldn’t help at all. Perhaps this level of abuse happens just as much in the more liberal Christian sects where ministers can marry and ministers can be gay. (My last minister was both gay and married… perhaps he was abusing children and it was covered up, who knows). My work partner’s rabbi is a married lesbian.

    On a side note:
    I break these abusers into 2 camps
    -the repressed gay man who becomes a priest to hide, and whose only outlet is boys. (still no excuse for him-reprehensible and disgusting to cause pain to others because you are too much of a coward to come out.)
    -the pedophile who searches out the priesthood so that he may have victims. (again, no excuse).

    I think that the prognosis of these 2 types of abusers is different. I agree that little/nothing can be done for the pedophile… However, I am not so sure about the repressed gay man hiding in the Church.

    I use the anology of prison.
    There are MANY men who have sex with men in prison. But they aren’t gay. Their only sexual outlet is with men in prison. Upon discharge, they return to straight life forever.

    But a free man who has sex with men is likely gay, and likely “uncurable”.

    so the question is:
    how many of these priests are simple pedophiles, and how many are hiding gay men?

    if most are hiding gay men, then changing some rules may help. If you allowed women clergy AND priests to marry, then it would make it harder for the gay man to hide in the church. People would EXPECT their priest to marry (a person of the opposite sex of course).

    if you relaxed the hate of gays in the church, you may reduce the numbers of men who have to “hide”. And don’t tell me it can’t be done.
    The church CERTAINLY relaxed the idea of marriage before. Do you think that Christ would have agreed with a second marriage when the prior spouse(s) were still alive?
    and yet the church allows second marriages all the time.

  23. i on the ball patriot

    Obomber ain’t no pedophile,
    But he don’t leave the kids alone,
    He shreds them and he kills them,
    With a pedatory drone …


    “…predator Drones – (Dangerous – Robots in the sky)

    Are for that special someone in your life that you want to bomb the living shit out of and spread their entrails all over the fucking bleeding Christmas tree while watching the blood ooze down off the pine needles onto the neatly wrapped presents below. Sound a bit much? Well unfortunately we don’t have any Youtube videos, or Tweets from the Pakistani and Afghan weddings that were hit by Raytheon’s Remotely Operated Drone technology though I do know that the guys who operate the Predator technology are having psychological problems because taking out innocent people a couple of continents away with a joystick and a couple of beers on the side (no spliffs) before heading home to tuck the kids into bed and kiss their foreheads is not working out.”

    More here …

    Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

  24. prester the molester

    I wonder if cognitive dissonance among Catholics helps fuel the undeniable free-floating hysteria we see. Every loving parent is afraid to let his kid out of the house for fear of the slavering child molesters that lurk behind every tree. Well-funded government witch hunts put hundreds of cops on the web pretending to be baby pimps, ensnaring horny losers with the ‘fuck my daughter too’ entrapment ploy. Then these parents send their kids to church, a serpent’s nest of frotting, groping pervs, to detail their sinful masturbation habits to panting confessors. You must wind up with a lot more fear to channel. The K of C is one of the looniest organizations on the planet, with secret patriotic contingency plans and shit like that. Makes Jesus camp look like the Fabians. If you blow the Church’s baby-fucking ring apart, you’ll smoke out another weapon of the right: the devout enablers.

  25. Blurtman

    Anyone with even a passing history of the Catholic Church should not be surprised. The church is and has always been run by men, not by God.

  26. Stephen A. Meigs

    It’s a mistake to conflate all the various types of intimate behavior of priests with young people. Males tend to have holy feelings when they are very much in love. That’s why an atmosphere of holiness and pederasty can go together. If a priest makes a boy feel holiness by literally putting holiness causing chemical in his hindquarters or down this throat, well, it will feel more to the boy like some sort of awe-inspiring profound religious-holy love phenomenon (that could trick the boy into thinking he greatly loves the priest) if it can be given religious overtones as well. This sort of thing is extremely disgusting, wicked, immoral, reprehensible, etc. Priests guilty of such atrocities very much deserve severe punishment and young people must be protected from them. When girls are in love, they tend to feel a lust rather opposite to male holiness, so I don’t think an atmosphere of holiness is at all well-suited to seducing females with depravity. I suspect most of the sodomizing of children going on in the Catholic church afflicts boys rather than girls.

    That is not to say that holiness isn’t effective at sexually attracting girls. Holiness is very effective at sexually attracting girls because girls are naturally sexually pleased by it in males. But there is a huge difference between making a boy “love” you by forcing him via sodomy to feel (unnatural) holiness toward you and making a girl want you by having the holy feelings that she would greatly need from you if she decided to have sex with you.

    If a male can give his sperm a small chance of being more special at the expense of a large chance of being less special, this is something that can nevertheless have positive benefit to him, because genetic advantages over the generations can have compounding effects over the generations to produce huge rewards, just like a small positive interest rate can produce huge income over the very long run, whereas genetic disadvantages can never be greater than a total loss–the more one has lost, the less it matters–losses matter more in the short-run. But females are displeased by their partners doing that sort of thing, because after a few generations, her genetic material will much more be separated from his than his own genetic material will be separated from (other parts of) his genetic material, so she can’t appreciably share any long term advantages.

    If a male encourages genetic crossover during spermatogenesis, he is more likely to reduce the extent to which his genes harmonize with each other than to create a better harmony (because chromosome regions with good harmony between their genes get selected for). Therefore, one can apply the considerations of the preceding paragraph to see that genetic crossover in sperm is one of those things that is sexually unpleasant to females. It would be quite extraordinary if males weren’t able to some degree to control the amount of crossover in their developing sperm, and so I believe it happens. In fact, I think the real significance of holiness as an emotion in males is that it discourages genetic crossover in their developing sperm, thereby making themselves more pleasant sexually to females. To whatever gene controls crossover rates in the male, mostly what would seem to matter would be that on average (over the generations) genetic crossover rates are about right, so that harmonies can be kept long enough to be a reward yet not so long that genetic regions get stagnant and insufficiently mixed with the other good genetic material that’s out there. It’s no real loss for a male to discourage genetic crossover depending on how much he loves a female, and that is what I think happens–females can sense holiness and more generally the emotions in males that discourage genetic crossover, and I don’t think females really love a male as much if his loving doesn’t make him holy. Similarly, if a male feels like he has been unlucky or if he feels that he is so morally great as to deserve an unusual amount of reproductive success, he is going to feel sad or pious, respectively, emotions whose effects I posit are also to reduce genetic crossover in his developing sperm, thereby making him more sexually pleasant to females (at the expense of his future distant descendants having more need to engage in genetic crossover), as is appropriate.

    Anyway, sex and more particularly sexually pleasing females is what holiness and piety are about. Another (more complicated) theory of mine is that because of intraejaculate sperm selection (and because girls when such competition occurs select for different sperm than older females would), girls are sexually pleased by moral virtue in a male more than older females are. In fact, probably a major impetus for moral virtue to evolve is that females want to have sex with it when they are very young and thus very able to find sex with it pleasant and rewarding. Evolution tends to proceed, all else equal, at a rate inversely proportional to space between generations. But it is more than that. Because what girls feel toward virtuous males is an intraejaculate sperm phenomenon, they especially want the males to produce a sperm selection environment that good males would more tend to produce. In particular, girls are extremely sexually pleased by holiness and piety in males, because those emotions more tend to be in good males, and good, non-deceptive genetic material is what girls most need sex to select for.

    Anyway, to the extent priests really are pious and holy, they are being exactly what is naturally most sexually pleasant to girls. It is bizarre, really, that a priest is expected to devote his life to the holy pious emotions whose main effect and purpose in a male is to give girls having sex with him greatly increased sexual pleasure, and then to make him out to be satanic when he has sex with girls. Part of it I think actually has to do with people misunderstanding why, in a climate where it is considered improper for females to have sex from pleasure, being forward toward girls is especially not right. Girls aren’t made to feel quite as bad if they have sex from love rather than pleasure. In such a climate girls are not going to much explore the physicality of their sexual capacities unless a great deal of love and love alone drives them to it. But girls are sexually pleased by a male basically to the extent they love him, and the pleasure tends to be much more potent than the love. If a girl terrified of her own sexual pleasure gets to the point where love alone makes her explore her sexual feelings, the love must needs be already so extraordinary there is no way that any resistance toward the pleasure such physical self explorations would instantly to her surprise produce would be anything but way beyond futile. Whereas, if the male before that physicalized his emotions toward her by having obvious physical thoughts toward her when around her, she might realize that associated with him there are sexual pleasures not quite irresistible yet that that might become irresistible, which could lead her to fear him before it got to the point she couldn’t resist the pleasure he can give her. So in a way, it almost seems like the whole failure of the sincere and well-meaning (but naive) of the churchy people to admit that holiness, piety, etc., are sexual emotions comes from (consciously or unconsciously) wanting girls to stay naive so the holy and pious can (cleanly and informatively) seduce them before their pointless conformist fear of sexual pleasure can keep them from getting the sexual pleasure the girls themselves and their would-be lovers deserve. Simpler and usually better, in my opinion, would be to not encourage girls to fear their own sexual pleasure. True, girls are very vulnerable to abuse such as sodomy, but at the very least it seems to me that it is stupid and very counterproductive puritanism to prevent adolescent females from having sex if their parents don’t mind. (Actually, much of the disdain for young females having sex probably comes from nasty pedantic males trying to convince fallen women their past youthful indiscretions stemmed purely from their youth rather than from the same nastiness they wish also to inflict upon them, but that would be another matter.)

  27. jeremiah 5:26-31

    This is in-line with (or at least parallel to) our nation’s breakdown in how the rule of law is enforced. It used to be said that we are a nation of laws, not me. But that’s not the case anymore. If I, a low end citizen, were to molest a child, I would be in a lot of trouble, as would anyone who facilitated my escape from justice. But if the church does it? It’s different. If I were to torture someone in my basement, I would be in a lot of trouble. But when our government’s worker bees do it at a military base? It’s covered up, and made to look acceptable. If I were to go broke because of horrible business decisions, I’d be in a lot of trouble trying to make ends meet. When our wealthy bankers do it? They get carte blanc bailouts.

    We are no longer a nation of laws. The rank and file citizenry gets one set of laws, and the elitists get a different, much more lax, set of laws (actually, they’re more like “guidelines” than “laws”.

    More than any other reason, this is what ails our Republic. I feel like a serf.

  28. CJ

    As the chair of a psychology department and someone involved in teacher education for 20 years I am always amused by the hysteria surrounding the Catholic Church and “child molestation’. About 5 years ago I was sitting in my office with a colleague listening the findings of a national study reported on NPR “Talk of the Nation” regarding several thousand school teachers who had been convicted or confessed to having sexual relations with students. All had been sanctioned by school districts or the courts. The study covered the years 2000-2004. My colleague was shocked at the numbers. I was not; in many of my education and psychology classes I had been conducting an unscientific poll since 1990. I would ask: How many of you have personal direct knowledge of someone in your middle school or high school who was sexually involved with a teacher? In both state universities in which I taught as well as my current small Liberal Arts College about half of the hands in the class went up.
    If the Catholic Church is a “criminal organization” the NEA must be a combination of the Gestapo, Al Qaida and the Crips.
    I am not attempting to excuse sexual abuse by the clergy; the former mayor of my town who was a married man and an ordained Methodist minister, plead guilty to sexual relations with an adolescent boy. What always amazed me was the frenzy surrounding the clergy (especially Catholic) while the more frequent abuses committed by teachers never seem to cause nearly as much indignation.

    1. philoTheJackal

      I almost agree.
      But…Yves Smith has a brilliant mind, so I refuse to decamp just yet.

      Yves, I’m quite familiar with search engine optimization techniques. And I think I know very well the pressure that you’re under.
      But don’t sacrifice your blog for another google hit, Yves.
      You’re too good for this.

      And you already are a success!
      Even if your book doesn’t sell one more copy. It just isn’t worth compromising this blog (YOUR blog) for one more sensational OT post.
      This is your blog, Yves. Don’t let anyone jeopardize this blog which is one of the very finest, and rightfully so.

      Stop selling the book, Yves. You are a blogger and this is your blog…and it’s one of the very finest.

  29. Togitz

    Yves, it’s perfectly fine to post something off topic. It is not fine to post something half-baked and politically nasty. Some facts.

    1. Most of the cases involve adolescents, not children. If you want to diagnose these priests like an amateur psychologist, use the DSM. Sexual attraction to adolescents isn’t pedophilia. But it is more emotionally exciting to use the misleading term child, which enables us to effortlessly move into the language of rape. These articles have nothing to do with cogent analysis, and everything to do with beating a primordial drum of hate and outrage. Like the fascists they claim to oppose.

    2. The percentage of sexual abusers in the Catholic Church is lower than that of the general population. The Catholic Church is not an especial hotbed of abusers. But that fact is very boring.

    3. Most of these cases refer to a time before child sexual abuse was understood the way it is now, the development of more child-centered abuse policies. This is effectively retroactive punishment for internal policies that were practically no different from any other institution (a truth you and Tabibi find offensive; suck it up), and which are not even irrational in the many cases of CONSENSUAL ADOLESCENT sexual involvement.

    We used to live in a world when things that were frowned upon were quietly neutralized. Today we live in a zero-tolerance world, and everyone is foaming at the mouth to get their bit of the blood.

    4. Every analysis fails to register the financial incentive. The Catholic Church has vast properties which it can liquidate for cash, and this is what “victims” seek. Read “Whiplash and other Useful Illnesses” for a comprehensive study on the role of financial incentives in insurance payouts. The fact this never occurs to you ought to suggest how brainwashed you are to the reality of what is unfolding here. It is not simply a case of capital-v victims confronting a capital-c corrupt institution.

    5. The Catholic Church’s work with children has been instrumental in the lives of thousands upon thousands of children’s ability to get food, shelter, and and education. What an utterly cavalier attitude you have joining with the mob of the moment to trash this institution. And I speak not only as a non-Catholic, but an avvowed atheist. It doesn’t take a genius to see that the Catholic Church has helped far more children than it has harmed, social good that is now being destroyed, both in its reputation and financially.

    6. Speaking to some of the comments, the anti-pedophile hysteria is leading us down the golden path to a police state. Not only are the laws and institutions directed at pedophiles almost without exception police-state in nature (registries, civil commitment, PATRIOT ACT surveillance, etc), pedophilia is used constantly as an excuse to develop broad censorship, tracking, and surveillance technologies that are placing into the hands of governments, corporations, military, and intelligence agencies, vast powers to control information flow, identify individuals and groups, disrupt them. The callous treatment of pedophiles, the constant opportunity it provides to vent raw violent emotions, provides the perfect cover for the elimination of safeguards. And one day a government will brush aside the “common law” of norms that restrict those powers, and everyone will suffer the consequences.

    The idiots here, your readers, are baying like wolves for the end of the world, and love the symbolism their ignorance provides them of a picture of pure evil. But it is they who are evil, because they wish only to register outrage, and love to hate.

    I am fucking done with nakedcapitalism. Fuck you, Yves.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Yeah, so its okay because some of the kids were 12 and not like 6 or 7?

      I don’t think its even off-topic. In many ways, the fundamental problems with the Catholic Church at the moment are the same as the financial world. Accountability and respect for law have been dismissed. In the financial world through deregulation and regulatory capture have accomplished this, but in the world of the Church, the rise of secular states has created a world where the temporal leader is no longer one of the spiritual leaders. The Pope doesn’t have to worry about the Holy Roman Emperor burning down his palace because the Pope doesn’t have his shit together. As we can see from the above poster, attempts to even hold the religious leaders accountable result in rather insulting tirades. Protecting scum and living a lie is more important than truth.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      This is an attack on the current Pope’s failure to take adequate interest in and action against serial sexual abusers. Did it extend beyond that? No. Your deranged rant is tantamount to saying that critics of Obama are out to destroy America.

      As for police state, you are naive to think that concerns over child abuse have anything to do with that program (although that issue might persuade some people naively to support some aspects of it). The monitoring of phone calls and whatnot started LONG before the public was aware of the reach of surveillance technology. And the public plays straight into it. Look at all the information people provide on Facebook.

      1. ROI


        One last bit: The weird thing is that (and this assertion of mine is actually well documented, in case you or anyone else is interested… I don’t really care to hunt down links atm) Ratzinger was constantly pushing Pope JP II to take all of these abuse stories seriously. JPII, for whatever reason, was convinced that, while there were certainly individual scandals and outrages, most of the moral hysteria was just ginned up and capitalized upon by people who don’t like the Catholic hierarchy. Ratzinger was always the one pressing JPII to acknowledge that far too many bishops had been covering abuse cases up in the 1950s-1980s, and that it was a problem. For example, Ratzinger, upon becoming Pope, almost immediately removed the disgusting serial abuser Fr. Maciel, someone whom JPII, for who knows what reason, had always been convinced was being unjustly accused.

    3. prester the molester

      Actually I think that mackerel-snapping lunatic Toglitz is correct about the role of moral panics and witch hunts in deploying police-state powers. The best way to get rid of a legal or constitutional protection is to justify it with terrorists or child molesters or whatever. Then if anybody objects you just call them terrorists or child molesters.

      But I’m baying like wolves merely for the collapse of the plutocratic American security state and for the public castration of snaggletoothed criminal pederastic vampire Pope Rat in front of the pieta, where, if there was a god, which there isn’t, the mary would crack a big smile at his shriveled nads rolling around like marbles.

  30. Blurtman


    It is the cover-up and reassignment of re-offending pedohpile priests that is causing the outrage, not necessarily the incidence of pedophilia in the clergy.

    1. philoTheJackal

      “The heart of the matter is an institution holding itself above the law.”


      But the law is an institution!

      Tell this atheist, Why are we airing the sordid faults of this, the very last non-secular institution in the world, out to dry?
      Do we stand to gain, as individuals, when Humanism has free and unfettered reign over us?

      Don’t these Humanists have enough pederast skeletons in their own closet?
      Why don’t we ever point the finger at Humanism? Why don’t we ever point out the flaws of this new belief system?
      Are we afraid?..Well, who would blame us? It is so powerful and, unlike the Church, possesses huge prisons.
      And in this new religion, there is no forgiveness.
      Perhaps we should be very afraid of Rousseau’s monster unleashed on us?
      Yes, perhaps we should be more afraid of our new church, with its super-max prisons…with its awesome infallibility and its utter heartlessness.

      Be careful what you wish for.

      1. skippy

        Since neither soul nor aught belonging to soul can really and truly exist, the view which holds that this I who am ‘world,’ who am ‘soul,’ shall hereafter live permanent, persisting, unchanging, yea abide eternally: is not this utterly and entirely a foolish doctrine?

        Sixth-century BCE pantheists Thales of Miletus and Xenophanes of Colophon prepared the way for later Greek humanist thought. Thales is credited with creating the maxim “Know thyself”, and Xenophanes refused to recognize the gods of his time and reserved the divine for the principle of unity in the universe. Later Anaxagoras, often described as the “first freethinker”, contributed to the development of science as a method of understanding the universe. These Ionian Greeks were the first thinkers to recognize that nature is available to be studied separately from any alleged supernatural realm. Pericles, a pupil of Anaxagoras, influenced the development of democracy, freedom of thought, and the exposure of superstitions. Although little of their work survives, Protagoras and Democritus both espoused agnosticism and a spiritual morality not based on the supernatural. The historian Thucydides is noted for his scientific and rational approach to history.[10] In the third century BCE, Epicurus became known for his concise phrasing of the problem of evil, lack of belief in the afterlife, and human-centered approaches to achieving eudaimonia. He was also the first Greek philosopher to admit women to his school as a rule.

        The nineteenth-century historian Jacob Burckhardt, in his classic work, The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy, noted as a “curious fact” that some men of the new culture were “men of the strictest piety, or even ascetics.” If he had meditated more deeply on the meaning of the careers of such humanists as Abrogio Traversari (1386-1439), the General of the Camaldolese Order, perhaps he would not have gone on to describe humanism in unqualified terms as “pagan”, and thus helped precipitate a century of infertile debate about the possible existence of something called “Christian humanism” which ought to be opposed to “pagan humanism”. –Peter Partner, Renaissance Rome, Portrait of a Society 1500-1559 (University of California Press 1979) pp. 14-15.

        The umanisti criticized what they considered the barbarous Latin of the universities, but the revival of the humanities largely did not conflict with the teaching of traditional university subjects, which went on as before.[16]

        Nor did the humanists view themselves as in conflict with Christianity. Some, like Salutati, were the Chancellors of Italian cities, but the majority (including Petrarch) were ordained as priests, and many worked as senior officials of the Papal court. Humanist Renaissance popes Nicholas V, Pius II, Sixtus IV, and Leo X wrote books and amassed huge libraries.[17]

        In the high Renaissance, in fact, there was a hope that more direct knowledge of the wisdom of antiquity, including the writings of the Church fathers, the earliest known Greek texts of the Christian Gospels, and in some cases even the Jewish Kabbala, would initiate an harmonious new era of universal agreement.[18] With this end in view, Renaissance Church authorities afforded humanists what in retrospect appears a remarkable degree of freedom of thought.[19][20] One humanist, the Greek Orthodox Platonist Gemistus Pletho (1355-1452), based in Mystras, Greece (but in contact with humanists in Florence, Venice, and Rome) taught a Christianized version of pagan polytheism.[21]

        From Renaissance to modern humanism
        The progression from the humanism of the renaissance to that of the 19th and 20th centuries came about through two key figures: Galileo and Erasmus. Cultural critic, Os Guinness explains that the word humanist during the renaissance initially only defined a concern for humanity, and many early humanists saw no dichotomy between this and their Christian faith. See Christian Humanism

        “Yet it was from the Renaissance that modern secular humanism grew, with the development of an important split between reason and religion. This occurred as the church’s complacent authority was exposed in two vital areas. In science, Galileo’s support of the Copernican revolution upset the church’s adherence to the theories of Aristotle, exposing them as false. In theology, the Dutch scholar Erasmus with his new Greek text showed that the Roman Catholic adherence to Jerome’s Vulgate was frequently in error. A tiny wedge was thus forced between reason and authority, as both of them were then understood.”[30]

        ctive in the early 1920s, F.C.S. Schiller labeled his work “humanism” but for Schiller the term referred to the pragmatist philosophy he shared with William James. In 1929, Charles Francis Potter founded the First Humanist Society of New York whose advisory board included Julian Huxley, John Dewey, Albert Einstein and Thomas Mann. Potter was a minister from the Unitarian tradition and in 1930 he and his wife, Clara Cook Potter, published Humanism: A New Religion. Throughout the 1930s, Potter was an advocate of such liberal causes as, women’s rights, access to birth control, “civil divorce laws”, and an end to capital punishment.[42]

        Raymond B. Bragg, the associate editor of The New Humanist, sought to consolidate the input of Leon Milton Birkhead, Charles Francis Potter, and several members of the Western Unitarian Conference. Bragg asked Roy Wood Sellars to draft a document based on this information which resulted in the publication of the Humanist Manifesto in 1933. Potter’s book and the Manifesto became the cornerstones of modern humanism, the latter declaring a new religion by saying, “any religion that can hope to be a synthesizing and dynamic force for today must be shaped for the needs of this age. To establish such a religion is a major necessity of the present.” It then presented 15 theses of humanism as foundational principles for this new religion.

        In 1941, the American Humanist Association was organized. Noted members of The AHA included Isaac Asimov, who was the president from 1985 until his death in 1992, and writer Kurt Vonnegut, who followed as honorary president until his death in 2007. Gore Vidal became honorary president in 2009. Robert Buckman was the head of the association in Canada, and is now an honorary president.

        For a brush up on your information see link:

  31. SA

    To me, the situation is simply that an institution failed to report criminal behavior when supervisors were fully aware that criminal behavior had occurred. It doesn’t matter whether that institution is a church or non-religious; the supervisors should be held criminally accountable for the failure to report the crimes to the competent authorities.

    The heart of the matter is an institution holding itself above the law.

  32. Spectral

    Organized religions are important part of the governing (unproductive layers of each society) vertical social structure, and top echelon of organized religions serving to ruling class. It is symbiosis of so called secular and spiritual. There are well known fact that some member of the US Supreme Court and former AG Ashcroft are member of secret Opus Dei society.

    That is why this crime has been so long unprosecuted, (somebody ask that), not to mention that top echelon of either religion is living in own dogmatic world.
    That this behavior has been well known, showing as issuance of Crimen sollicitationis: 1962. Yet, for almost 50 years nothing has been changed, this criminal behavior continued since then.

    I am pretty much suspecting that this “discovery” is in service of obfuscating reality of daily life and uncertainty of the future, along with event such as: Chinese currency, Greek debt, Iran etc.

    Some good news:
    Iceland: the world’s most feminist country

  33. Shaza

    Ratzinger is the Perfect Pope
    “Should Pope Benedict XVI be held responsible for the escalating scandals over clerical sexual abuse in Europe?” Yes he should, and it’s going to escalate a lot further, as more and more victims break through the guilt of their childhood indoctrination and come forward.

    “Should he be investigated for how cases of abuse were handled under his watch as archbishop of Munich or as the Vatican’s chief doctrinal enforcer?” Yes, of course he should. This former head of the Inquisition should be arrested the moment he dares to set foot outside his tinpot fiefdom of the Vatican, and he should be tried in an appropriate civil – not ecclesiastical – court. That’s what should happen. Sadly, we all know our faith-befuddled governments will be too craven to do it.

    “Should the pope resign?” No. As the College of Cardinals must have recognized when they elected him, he is perfectly – ideally – qualified to lead the Roman Catholic Church. A leering old villain in a frock, who spent decades conspiring behind closed doors for the position he now holds; a man who believes he is infallible and acts the part; a man whose preaching of scientific falsehood is responsible for the deaths of countless AIDS victims in Africa; a man whose first instinct when his priests are caught with their pants down is to cover up the scandal and damn the young victims to silence: in short, exactly the right man for the job. He should not resign, moreover, because he is perfectly positioned to accelerate the downfall of the evil, corrupt organization whose character he fits like a glove, and of which he is the absolute and historically appropriate monarch.

    No, Pope Ratzinger should not resign. He should remain in charge of the whole rotten edifice – the whole profiteering, woman-fearing, guilt-gorging, truth-hating, child-raping institution – while it tumbles, amid a stench of incense and a rain of tourist-kitsch sacred hearts and preposterously crowned virgins, about his ears.

  34. skippy

    …The pope did not directly mention the scandal, or his own role in it, but he made apparent references to the attention the crisis has garnered, saying that Jesus “leads us toward the courage not to be intimidated by the gossip of dominant opinion.”… I thought [He] as POPE was the dominant opinion on all things under god eye…intimidated errr…how about excommunication of your soul for not toeing his dogma…shez

  35. Peter T

    > but even I knew back then that the church was a scam

    Tabbi mixes two issues in his rant, critizing the current catholic church for how it handles the child abuses and a fundamental criticism of religion. The latter is performed in a way (church = scam) that I don’t care what he says about the former. As a catholic, I am sad and diosappointed about the abuse that has happened inside the walls of the church and, worse, sometimes even with the cover-up of superiors, but after his rant I don’t think that Matt Taibbi has to tell me much of value in anything concerning the church.

    And yes, I think this off-topic rant hurts the value of the blog, which was about criticizing the economic actors and the economic half-truths they used to shield their schemes from the public. If I want to read about how the church handles the child abuses that happened within, I know where to look; if I want to read fundamental criticism of religion, I have other sources, too. This blog has served me well as a source of information about our economic reality, as our leaders don’t want us to see it, and I was looking forward to read Yves’ book at a more measured pace than the blog, but will it be as shallow as Tabbi’s rant? I hope not.

  36. kat

    The fact remains that 200 deaf children were sexually assaulted, raped, molested, sodomized, call it what it is.
    And nothing was done for these children and the priest was allowed to remain a priest. There is something really wrong there. And I will say it again, most of child sexual abuse happens with a person that the child knows. Its dads brothers uncles, aunts, mothers, babysitters coaches priests etc. The bottom line that children in our society deserve to be safe from pedophiles and child molestors.
    And kids still arent safe. Our prisons and mental health systems are filled with grown up kids that got really hurt.
    The Catholic Church could use this as an opportunity to really get its act together, start a foundation, have groups for its congregation members that are survivors, root out the perps and keep them out. These people shouldnt be allowed to remain in the church. They need to be in prison.

    This situation is very similar to what happens in a family, often the abuse gets covered up, all the persuasion for kids to not tell, that its their fault etc. Or another family member acting in defense of the perpetrator, so that the child never gets helped. Its a very similar dynamic as what the Catholic church has done in trying to cover it up.

    The time has come for this issue on a global basis to be looked at. The number of kids sex trafficked is enormous.
    And its time for our major institutions, whether financial or religious to get their collective acts together.

    1. William C


      The professor says that

      ‘It is now no longer in dispute that he (The Pope) himself is guilty of the same criminal negligence in the Milwaukee case’

      It seems to me the professor overreaches himself here. Discussions on other websites suggest that this sort of allegation is indeed disputed.

  37. stunney

    During the last 100 years avowed atheists in power slaughtered, tortured, enslaved, and oppressed hundreds of millions of people.

    Just thought I’d mention it.

    1. skippy

      umm…thousands of years vs hundreds and the great cleansing of enamys too, the pseudo ideological tyrannical states, just forgot if they would have just said god made me do it…

  38. philoTheJackal

    This business about Catholic priests is a bit much.
    Did you people just discover that a substantial minority of priests diddle the alter boys?
    I think we’ve all known this for some time now.
    In fact, I thought diddling was one of the unwritten rites of passage from alter boy to priest. And I am not the only one to hold this belief.

    Of course, the majority of these despicable priests were all alter boys once. But our illustrious society didn’t give a damn about their welfare, did “we”?
    Now of course, being the enlightened group of free-thinkers that we must be (since we keep telling ourselves) we could take a hard, cold look at this so-called society of “ours.”

    But that, we must not do.
    After all, there are child molested priests who need burning…and so much kindling.

  39. Otto

    “O you, who have never heard the voice of heaven, who think man destined to only live this little life and die in peace; you who can resign in the midst of populist cities your fatal acquisitions, your restless spirits, your corrupt hearts and endless desires; resume, since it depends entirely on yourselves, your ancient and primitive innocence: retire to the woods, there to lose the sight and remembrance of the crimes of your contemporaries; and be not apprehensive of degrading your species, by renouncing its advances in order to renounce its vices.” from “Discourse on the Origin of Inequality” by Rousseau.

  40. prester the molester

    I’m sure our host appreciates the concerned readers who are helping her define the scope of her weblog by telling her to shut up about priests fucking children. The bulletin must have gone out to the Holy Name and K of C and all the other pedophile support groups.

    1. ROI

      Now, you’ve made some good ripostes up until now, but then you have to go and ruin it with outright bigotry.

    2. prester the molester

      If they put money in an envelope every week and gave it to NAMBLA, that would be different… How, exactly? People have to decide whether they’re with the child molesters or against them.

  41. P

    Scoundrel Time(s)
    Mar 29, 2010
    George Weigel

    The sexual and physical abuse of children and young people is a global plague; its manifestations run the gamut from fondling by teachers to rape by uncles to kidnapping-and-sex-trafficking. In the United States alone, there are reportedly some 39 million victims of childhood sexual abuse. Forty to sixty percent were abused by family members, including stepfathers and live-in boyfriends of a child’s mother—thus suggesting that abused children are the principal victims of the sexual revolution, the breakdown of marriage, and the hook-up culture. Hofstra University professor Charol Shakeshaft reports that 6-10 percent of public school students have been molested in recent years—some 290,000 between 1991 and 2000. According to other recent studies, 2 percent of sex abuse offenders were Catholic priests—a phenomenon that spiked between the mid-1960s and the mid-1980s but seems to have virtually disappeared (six credible cases of clerical sexual abuse in 2009 were reported in the U.S. bishops’ annual audit, in a Church of some 65,000,000 members).

    Yet in a pattern exemplifying the dog’s behavior in Proverbs 26:11, the sexual abuse story in the global media is almost entirely a Catholic story, in which the Catholic Church is portrayed as the epicenter of the sexual abuse of the young, with hints of an ecclesiastical criminal conspiracy involving sexual predators whose predations continue today. That the vast majority of the abuse cases in the United States took place decades ago is of no consequence to this story line. For the narrative that has been constructed is often less about the protection of the young (for whom the Catholic Church is, by empirical measure, the safest environment for young people in America today) than it is about taking the Church down—and, eventually, out, both financially and as a credible voice in the public debate over public policy. For if the Church is a global criminal conspiracy of sexual abusers and their protectors, then the Catholic Church has no claim to a place at the table of public moral argument.

    The Church itself is in some measure responsible for this. Reprehensible patterns of clerical sexual abuse and misgovernance by the Church’s bishops came to glaring light in the U.S. in 2002; worse patterns of corruption have been recently revealed in Ireland. Clericalism, cowardice, fideism about psychotherapy’s ability to “fix” sexual predators—all played their roles in the recycling of abusers into ministry and in the failure of bishops to come to grips with a massive breakdown of conviction and discipline in the post-Vatican II years. For the Church’s sexual abuse crisis has always been that: a crisis of fidelity. Priests who live the noble promises of their ordination are not sexual abusers; bishops who take their custody of the Lord’s flock seriously, protect the young and recognize that a man’s acts can so disfigure his priesthood that he must be removed from public ministry or from the clerical state. That the Catholic Church was slow to recognize the scandal of sexual abuse within the household of faith, and the failures of governance that led to the scandal being horribly mishandled, has been frankly admitted—by the bishops of the United States in 2002, and by Pope Benedict XVI in his recent letter to the Catholic Church in Ireland. In recent years, though, no other similarly situated institution has been so transparent about its failures, and none has done as much to clean house. It took too long to get there, to be sure; but we are there.

    These facts have not sunk in, however, for either the attentive public or the mass public. They do not fit the conventional story line. Moreover, they impede the advance of the larger agenda that some are clearly pursuing in these controversies. For the crisis of sexual abuse and episcopal malfeasance has been seized upon by the Church’s enemies to cripple it, morally and financially, and to cripple its leaders. That was the subtext in Boston in 2002 (where the effort was aided by Catholics who want to turn Catholicism into high-church Congregationalism, preferably with themselves in charge). And that is what has happened in recent weeks, as a global media attack has swirled around Pope Benedict XVI, following the revelation of odious abuse cases throughout Europe. In his native Germany, Der Spiegel has called for the pope’s resignation; similar cries for papal blood have been raised in Ireland, a once-Catholic country now home to the most aggressively secularist press in Europe.

    But it was the New York Times’ front page of March 25 that demonstrated just how low those determined to bring the Church down were prepared to go.

    Rembert Weakland is the emeritus archbishop of Milwaukee, notorious for having paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to satisfy the demands of his former male lover. Jeff Anderson is a Minnesota-based attorney who has made a substantial amount of money out of sex abuse “settlements,” and who is party to ongoing litigation intended to bring the resources of the Vatican within the reach of contingency-fee lawyers in the United States. Yet these two utterly implausible—and, in any serious journalistic sense, disqualified—sources were those the Times cited in a story claiming that, as cardinal prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith [CDF], Joseph Ratzinger, later Benedict XVI, had prevented sanctions against Father Lawrence Murphy, a diabolical Milwaukee priest who, decades before, had abused some 200 deaf children in his pastoral care. This was simply not true, as the legal papers from the Murphy case the Times provided on its Web site demonstrated (see here for a demolition of the Times’ case based on the documentary evidence it made available). The facts, alas, seem to be of little interest to those whose primary concern is to nail down the narrative of global Catholic criminality, centered in the Vatican.

    The Times’ descent into tabloid sourcing and innuendo was even more offensive because of recent hard news developments that underscore Pope Benedict’s determination to root out what he once described as the “filth” in the Church. There was, for example, the pope’s March 20 letter to the Catholic Church in Ireland, which was unsparing in its condemnation of clerical sexual offenders (“. . . you betrayed the trust that was placed in you by innocent young people and their parents and you must answer for it before Almighty God and before properly constituted tribunals”) and unprecedented in its critique of malfeasant bishops (“grave errors of judgment were made and failures of leadership occurred . . . [which have] undermined your credibility and effectiveness”). Moreover, the pope mandated an Apostolic Visitation of Irish dioceses, seminaries, and religious congregations—a clear indication that dramatic leadership change in Ireland is coming. In framing his letter to Ireland so vigorously, Benedict XVI succeeded in overcoming the institutional Vatican preference for the subjunctive in dealing with situations like this, and the pleas of Irish bishops that he cut them some slack, given the intense pressures they were under at home. That the pope rejected both curial and Irish opposition to his lowering the boom ought to have made clear that Benedict XVI is determined to deal with the problem of sexual abuse and episcopal misgovernance in the strongest terms. But for those obsessing over whether a pope had finally “apologized” for something (as if John Paul II had not spent a decade and a half “cleansing the Church’s historical conscience,” as he put it), these unmistakable signals were lost.

    Then there was the March 25 letter from the leadership of the Legionaries of Christ to Legionary priests and seminarians and the Legion-affiliated movement, Regnum Christi. The letter disavowed the Legion’s founder, Father Marcial Maciel, as a model for the future, in light of revelations that Maciel had deceived popes, bishops, laity, and his brother Legionaries by living a duplicitous double life that included fathering several children, sexually abusing seminarians, violating the sacrament of penance, and misappropriating funds. It was Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger who, as prefect CDF, was determined to discover the truth about Maciel; it was Pope Benedict XVI who put Maciel under virtual ecclesiastical house arrest during his last years, and who then ordered an Apostolic Visitation of the Legion of Christ that is currently being concluded: hardly the acts of a man at the center of a conspiracy of silence and cover-up.

    While the Vatican has been far quicker in its recent response to irresponsible media reports and attacks, it could still do better. A documented chronology how the archdiocese of Munich-Freising handled the case of an abusing priest who had been brought to Munich for therapy while Ratzinger was archbishop would help buttress the flat denials, by both the Vatican and the archdiocese, that Ratzinger knowingly reassigned a known abuser to pastoral work—another charge on which the Times and others have been chewing. More and clearer explanations of how the canonical procedures put into place at CDF several years ago have accelerated, not impeded, the Church’s disciplining of abusive clergy would also be useful.

    So, of course, would elementary fairness from the global media. That seems unlikely to come from those reporters and editors at the New York Times who have abandoned any pretence of maintaining journalistic standards. But it ought not be beyond the capacity of other media outlets to understand that much of the Times’ recent reporting on the Church has been gravely distorted, and to treat it accordingly.

    George Weigel, Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington’s Ethics and Public Policy Center, is the author of The Courage To Be Catholic: Crisis, Reform, and the Future of the Church (Basic Books).

  42. prester the molester

    Oh boo hoo, nobody lets us fuck kids because they pick on swarthy hairy catholics. With this clockwork apparat of casuistic weasels, this enfame is not gonna ecrasez itself. But the laiety has tremendous power. All it would take is a couple of parishes, get together and say, put that basket away, no more till Pope Rat and the gang testify, here in court, under oath, and open the records. It would be great fun, and there’s no moral choice.

    1. ROI

      Your parading your bigotry only makes Weigel’s case for him, and only makes it easier for people to dismiss the idea that there’s really something the matter in the catholic church. Or maybe that’s your purpose for sounding like a bigot?

    2. prester the molester

      Take the stick out of your butt with the bigotry nonsense already. As an individual who got the cult indoctrination but it did not take, I am perfectly entitled to sneer at the kiddyrapers’ persecution complex. People who stick with the mumbo-jumbo need to come to terms with their complicity in obstruction of justice, and the more devout they are, the harder they fight it.

      1. ROI

        Suggestions (more like assertions in your case) of corporate guilt come straight out of the bigot’s playbook.

        There’s plenty wrong with lots of catholic bishops; they need to get their house in order, to be quite sure. What no one needs are your insane, unhinged, bigoted ramblings.

  43. Evelyn Sinclair

    Priests don’t always prey on the very young, or male. Sometimes it’s nuns.

    Vatican confirms report of sexual abuse and rape of nuns by priests in 23 countries
    By Frances Kennedy in Rome

    Wednesday, 21 March 2001

    The Catholic Church in Rome made the extraordinary admission yesterday that it is aware priests from at least 23 countries have been sexually abusing nuns.

    The Catholic Church in Rome made the extraordinary admission yesterday that it is aware priests from at least 23 countries have been sexually abusing nuns.

    Most of the abuse has occurred in Africa, where priests vowed to celibacy, who previously sought out prostitutes, have preyed on nuns to avoid contracting the Aids virus.

    Confidential Vatican reports obtained by the National Catholic Reporter, a weekly magazine in the US, have revealed that members of the Catholic clergy have been exploiting their financial and spiritual authority to gain sexual favours from nuns, particularly those from the Third World who are more likely to be culturally conditioned to be subservient to men.

    The reports, some of which are recent and some of which have been in circulation for at least seven years, said that such priests had demanded sex in exchange for favours, such as certification to work in a given diocese.

    In extreme instances, the priests had made nuns pregnant and then encouraged them to have abortions.

    The US article was based on five documents, which senior women from religious orders and priests have presented to the Vatican over the past decade. They describe a particularly bad situation in Africa. In a continent devastated by Aids, nuns, along with early adolescent girls, are perceived by some as safe sexual targets. The reports said that the church authorities had done little to tackle the problem.

    The Vatican reports cited countless cases of nuns forced to have sex with priests. Some were obliged to take the pill, others became pregnant and were encouraged to have abortions. In one case in which an African sister was forced to have an abortion, she died during the operation and her aggressor led the funeral mass. Another case involved 29 sisters from the same congregation who all became pregnant to priests in the diocese.

    The reports said that the cultures in some African countries made it almost impossible for a young woman to disobey an older man, especially one seen as spiritually superior. There were cases of novices who applied to their local priest or bishop for certificates of good Catholic practice that were required for them to pursue their vocation. In return they were made to have sex. Some incidents of sexual abuse allegedly took place almost within the Vatican walls.

    Certain unscrupulous clerics took advantage of young nuns who were having trouble finding accommodation, writing their essays and funding their theological studies.

    Forced to acknowledge the problem, the Vatican has tried to play down its gravity. In a statement issued yesterday the Pope’s official spokesman, Joaquin Navarro Valls, said: “The problem is known and involves a restricted geographical area. Certain negative situations must not overshadow the often heroic faith of the overwhelming majority of religious, nuns and priests”.

    One of the most comprehensive documents was compiled by Sister Maura O’Donohue, an Aids co-ordinator for Cafod, the London-based Catholic Fund for Overseas Development.

    She noted that religious sisters had been identified as “safe” targets for sexual activity. She quotes a case in 1991 of a community superior being approached by priests requesting that the nuns be made available to them for sexual favours.

    “When the superior refused the priests explained they would otherwise be obliged to go to the village to find women and might thus get Aids.”Sister O’Donohue said her initial reaction to what she was told by her fellow religious “was one of shock and disbelief at the magnitude of the problem”.

    While most of the abuse happened in African countries, Sister O’Donohue reported incidents in 23 countries including India, Ireland, Italy, the Philippines and the United States.

    She heard cases of priests encouraging the nuns to take the pill telling them it would prevent HIV. Others “actually encouraged abortion for the sisters” and Catholic hospitals and medical staff reported pressure from priests to carry out terminations for nuns and other young women.

    O’Donohue wrote in her report how a vicar in one African diocese had talked “quite openly” about sex, saying that “celibacy in the African context means a priest does not get married, but does not mean he does not have children.”

    The head of the Vatican congregation for Religious Life, Cardinal Martinez Somalo, has set up a committee to look into the problem. But it seems to have done little beyond “awareness raising” among bishops.

    More recently, in 1998, Sister Marie McDonald, mother superior of the Missionaries of Our Lady of Africa, put together a paper entitled The Problem of the Sexual Buse of African Religious in Africa and Rome.

    She tabled the document to the Council of 16, made up of delegates of the international association of women’s and men’s religious communities and the Vatican office responsible for religious life. She noted that a contributing cause was the “conspiracy of silence”.

    When she addressed bishops on the problem, many of them felt it was disloyal of the sisters to send reports.

    “However, the sisters claim they have done so time and time again. Sometimes they were not well received. In some instances they are blamed for what happened. Even when they are listened to sympathetically nothing much seems to be done” One of the most tragic elements that emerges is the fate of the victims. While the offending priests are usually moved or sent away for studies, the women are normally chased out of their religious orders, they are then either to scared to return to their families or are rejected by them. they often finished up as outcasts, or, in a cruel twist of irony, as prostitutes, making a meagre living from an act they had vowed never to do.

    One of the few religious in Rome willing to talk about the report was Father Giulio Albanese, of MISNA, the missionary news agency. “Missionaries are human beings, who are often living under immense psychological pressure in situations of war and ongoing violence. On one hand it’s important to condemn this horror and it’s important tell the truth, but we must not emphasise this at the expense of the work done by the majority, many of whom have laid down lives for witness” said Fr Albanese “The press only talks about missionaries when they are killed, kidnapped or are involved in something scandalous” he added.

    As the Vatican digests the unpalatable evidence of how their own priests are ruining the lives of their sisters, many Catholics hope a strong message may come from on high. With the American bishops, the Pope spoke in clear terms about paedophile priests, telling them this was a scourge that had to be faced. Some now hope that he may be equally courageous in denouncing an evil which has been covered by silence and shame for too long.

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