With child abuse scandals in the catholic church worldwide, a few questions come to mind:
1. Why are there so many?
2. Why did the church not handle the situation?
3. Why has this not been considered organized crime?
4. Why have devout catholics not fled the church in droves over what has happened?
1. Roughly 4% of catholic priests in the US were accused of child abuse between 1950 and 2000. 4% is actually only slightly over other professions dealing with children such as school teachers. Of course we would expect better from representatives of god. Forced celibacy must add kindle to the fire.
2. So, men are men, priests are the same… In any other institution, the abuser would be forcibly removed from the children and turned over to the authorities for judgment. But why did the church put its (short term) reputation before the safety of the children in its care? Is the church so scared of scandal that they choose to knowingly deliver innocent children (are there any other kind?) to recidivist child abusers? What other reason than protecting their reputation could there be?
3. Hiding and protecting serial child abusers from the law and directly delivering more children to be abused in an organized manner with knowledge and responsibility going up to the highest levels of the church. It sounds like human trafficking, right in front of our noses. Why is the church hierarchy not the target of criminal prosecution? How can any organization be above the law? How can we accept lame excuses and promises of reform?
4. So, society is cowardly, the church is too powerful. But individually, how can a devout catholic continue to go to her local church, knowing that they would have delivered her children to child abusers without remorse? How much power does the church have over people’s minds for them to accept such … evil?