Pope Accused of Covering Up Child Rape in Argentina

Just a reminder that the Catholic Church’s child-abuse coverup scandal isn’t over.

According to Le Monde (in French only; sorry. But here’s a story from last year about this case), lawyers are accusing the Catholic church of covering up child rape and abuse in Italy and Argentina, the current pope’s old stomping grounds. Not only that, but they say that Jorge Bergoglio, now better known as Pope Francis, was personally warned about fifteen abusive priests in 2014, and that he did nothing.
One of the victims claims to have given a copy of the letter to the pope in person, in 2015. So this isn’t ancient history, and it can’t be blamed on the previous administration.
The current case involves children at the Provolo Institute for the Deaf in Mendoza, Argentina. Not only were the victims children, which is bad enough, but they were deaf, meaning that they had additional difficulties making themselves understood, since sometimes even their own parents didn’t know sign.
Although the Catholic church has allegedly conducted its own investigation, it hasn’t shared its results with the Argentine authorities. In other words, the Catholic church was shielding child abusers from justice, as of just a few years ago.
That makes it a criminal organization. If you’re still a Catholic, why?

Holy Mother Church, Repository of Christian Moral Teaching, Incorporates Child Abuse into Orientation-Day Ethics Training Materials

File this under “about goddamn time”:

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis’ sex abuse commission has scored a victory within the Vatican: Members have been invited to address Vatican congregations and a training course for new bishops, suggesting that the Holy See now considers child protection programs to be an important responsibility for church leaders.

Commission members praised the development as a breakthrough given that bishops have long been accused of covering up for abusers by moving pedophile priests from parish to parish rather than reporting them to police. For decades, the Vatican too turned a blind eye and failed to take action against problem priests or their bishop enablers.

It’s nice that an organization that considers itself the authoritative source of morals has finally figured out that hey, maybe raping kids is enough of a bad idea that it’s worth mentioning during orientation.

The article goes on to mention that pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a handful of bishops. But it remains to be seen what the church knows about child-abusers still in its ranks, or within its purview. The Vatican loves its mysteries, after all.

Catholic Church 99 44/100% Pure

BillDo has a post in which he plays down the Catholic priesthood’s image problem:

Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on the findings of the 2011 Annual Report on priestly sexual abuse that was released by the bishops’ conference; the survey was done by a Georgetown institute:

The headlines should read, “Abuse Problem Near Zero Among Priests,” but that is not what is being reported.

According to the 2011 Official Catholic Directory, there are 40,271 priests in the U.S. The report says there were 23 credible accusations of the sexual abuse of a minor made against priests for incidences last year. Of that number, 9 were deemed credible by law enforcement. Which means that 99.98% of priests nationwide had no such accusation made against them last year. Nowhere is this being reported.

If that’s his standard of purity, then I’m sure Bill would have no problem drinking a glass of 99.98% water and only 0.02% urine, right?

The thing is that very few men in general are child abusers. The question (or one question) is, does the Catholic clergy contain more child abusers than the population at large?

I wasn’t able to quickly find child-abuse statistics for the United States, but I did find the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting statistics for violent crime in 2010, which shows an aggregate of 27.8 forcible rapes per 100,000 victims. The FBI defines “forcible rape” as:

The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will. Rapes by force and attempts or assaults to rape, regardless of the age of the victim, are included. Statutory offenses (no force used—victim under age of consent) are excluded.

So the numbers are not directly comparable: the report Donohue is quoting concerns itself only with sexual abuse of minors, while the FBI’s number covers all rape. The FBI’s 2010 number excludes sexual abuse of males, while BillDo emphasizes that in the report he’s quoting, “almost all the offenses involve homosexuality“. And BillDo calculates the rate per offender while the FBI counts the rate per victim, which means that BillDo’s number tends to undercount priests who abused multiple victims, compared to what the FBI counts.

Having said that, BillDo’s figure of 9 credible accusations and 40,271 priests works out to 22.3 per 100,000, compared to the FBI’s 27.8 per 100,000. So the number of pedophile priests seems to be in the same ballpark as the number of rapists in the US as a whole. That seems pretty bad, especially for a group that presents itself as the guardians of morality.

BillDo also ignores, as usual, that the Catholic church’s problem is not so much one of having rapists in its ranks — any large organization is bound to have some — but of covering up its members’ crimes. The abuse itself can be blamed on individual priests, sure. But the coverup is a problem for the organization.

Tim Minchin’s Pope Song — the Clean Version

Benny Johnson at the Blaze really didn’t like Tim Minchin’s Pope Song, which he played at the Reason Rally:

From the article and comments, it looks as though the word commonly referred to as an “eff-bomb” stopped Benny’s and his readers’ mental processes, rendering them incapable of hearing what the song actually had to say.

So for the benefit of all of these delicate flowers on their fainting couches, here’s my cleaned-up version of the lyrics:

Darn the bad person, darn the bad person
Darn the bad person, he’s a really bad person (repeat)
Darn the bad person, darn the pope.

Darn the bad person, and darn you
If you think he’s sacred
If you cover for another person who’s a child molester
You’re no better then the rapist
And if you don’t like this swearing that this person forced from me
And reckon it shows moral or intellectual paucity
Then too bad for you, this is language one employs
When one is cross about people having sex with children.

I don’t care if calling the pope a bad person
Means you unthinkingly brand me an unthinking apostate, and
This has naught to do with other godly people
I’m not interested right now in scriptural debate
There are other songs and there are other ways
I’ll be a religious apologist on other days
And the fact remains that if you protect a single child molester
Then pope or prince or plumber you’re an evil malefactor.

You see I don’t care what any other person
Believes about Jesus and his mother
I’ve no problem with the spiritual beliefs of all these people
While those beliefs don’t impact on the happiness of others
But if you build your church on claims of moral authority
And with threats of hell impose it on others in society
Then you can expect some wrath
When it turn out you’ve been engaging in non-consensual sodomy with us

So darn the bad person and darn you, bad person
If you’re still Catholic
If you covered for a single child molester
Then you’re as evil as the rapist
And if you look into your heart and tell me true
If this stupid song offended you
With its filthy language and its disrespect
If it made you feel angry go ahead and write a letter

But if you find me more offensive than the possibility
The pope protected priests when they were abusing children
Then listen to me, this here is a fact
You are just as morally misguided as that
Power-hungry, self-aggrandised bigot in the stupid hat

Emphasis added to the important bits.

And just so there’s no confusion: curse words are bad because they make some people feel momentarily uncomfortable. Child rape is bad because it causes physical harm and psychological trauma, often for a lifetime, a lifetime that may be cut short because of the aforementioned psychological trauma. Covering up child rape is bad because it allows child rape to continue. And, of course, claiming to be in a position to decide what is and isn’t good, while covering up child rape, is the height of hypocrisy.

There is no way Minchin’s song is in any way comparable to what the Catholic church has done. And if you’re not angry enough at the church to swear, then what’s wrong with you?

Victim Card Fatigue

From yesterday’s WaPo:

BALTIMORE — The Penn State scandal over a former football coach accused of sexually abusing young boys “reopens a wound” for the U.S. Roman Catholic Church, a leading bishop said Monday.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the crisis reminds the bishops of their own failures to protect children.

Well gee, maybe they shouldn’t have covered up chld rape, then. Was I supposed to feel sorry for Dolan? Hang on, let me find my World’s Smallest Violin™…

He Just Doesn’t Get It

In today’s WaPo, we find an account of the pope’s visit to Germany.

He told reporters on the plane that there needs to be an examination of why people have been leaving the church recently, and the part that the abuse scandals played in the phenomenon.

Well, let’s see… How about increasing irrelevance in a world that has largely moved beyond the 13th century? No? What about ridiculous and dogmatic stances on contraception and homosexuality? Perhaps monsieur would like to see something in our “hypocrisy of speaking out against greed while living in a golden palace” line, or view the “spreading AIDS in Africa by pooh-poohing condoms” collection?

Oh, wait. He said something about some scandals:

I can understand that some people have been scandalized by the crimes that have been revealed in recent times,” he said.

What? Seriously? “some people”?

He really doesn’t get it, does he?

What I want to know is, why is anyone not scandalized by the church’s crimes? Why is anyone still a member of an organization that for decades, possibly centuries, covered up child rape as a matter of policy?

Ironic Story Is Ironic

This Is Plymouth (Devon, UK) reports:

A CHURCH worker whose job was to protect young people from abuse had thousands of indecent pictures of children, a court heard.

Married father-of-four Christopher Jarvis, aged 49, advised the Roman Catholic Church in Plymouth how to keep youngsters safe but had more than 4,000 pornographic images of children, Plymouth Magistrates’ Court was told.

At this point, I’m suffering from irony fatigue, so supply your own punchline in the comments. The winner gets… oh, I don’t know. How about if I transubstantiate an item of baked goods into the deity of your choice?

On a more tragic note, the thing preventing me from simply pointing at a bunch of hypocritical fucktards and giggling is the fact that Jarvis appears to be a victim himself:

Jodie Baker, for Jarvis, said he had been the victim of abuse. She said he was abused aged 11 by a family friend through a church social club.

Miss Baker said: “At the age of 16 or 17 he admitted to a priest that he had a homosexual encounter and he was then abused by that priest.”

She said that two suicide attempts which led to Jarvis being arrested and produced in custody were ‘half-hearted’ and a ‘cry for help’.

Is there anyone the Catholic church hasn’t fucked up? (*cough*LouisCK*cough*)

And could someone tell me why anyone still remains a Catholic? It’s not like there aren’t other churches out there. In the US, at least, it’s a buyer’s market and always has been.

Hope for the Catholic Church After All?

So, yet another priest in the Boston area has been accused of child abuse.

So far, it’s bad, but nothing you haven’t heard before.

What surprised me, though, was this bit from Fox’s coverage:

“The Archdiocese immediately notified law enforcement of the allegations and has initiated a preliminary investigation into the complaints,” Cardinal Sean O’Malley said in a statement released over the weekend.

(emphasis added).

Could it be that — mirabile dictu — they’ve figured out that covering up crimes so as to not make the church look bad might not be the best course of action?

Or am I being a naive optimist?

I notice that BillDo hasn’t leapt to the priest’s defense yet. I’m guessing he’s too busy badgering the owners of the Empire State Building to honor Mother “No painkillers for you!” Teresa in lights.

BillDo Doth Protest

Back on February 23, 1997, the Hartford Courant published an article about Father Maciel, accused of abusing nine children:

The men, in interviews in the United States and Mexico, said the Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado, the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, molested them in Spain and Italy during the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s. Several said Maciel told them he had permission from Pope Pius XII to seek them out sexually for relief of physical pain.

(Emphasis added.)

Bill Donohue wrote a letter to the Courant, saying

To think any priest would tell some other priest that the pope gave him the thumbs up to have sex with another priest–all for the purpose of relieving the poor fellow of some malady–is the kind of balderdash that wouldn’t convince the most unscrupulous editor at any of the weekly tabloids. It is a wonder why The Courant found merit enough to print it.”

(I haven’t been able to find this letter in the Courant. The quoted part above comes from BillDo’s article published on Monday.)

As I understand BillDo’s argument, he’s saying “It’s ridiculous to think a priest (including the pope) would give another priest permission to molest boys. Therefore, it didn’t happen. The people who said that Maciel told them that are lying or mistaken, and Father Maciel is innocent.”

At least, that’s all I can make of it. What’s odd is that BillDo is quoting this in a post entitled “DONOHUE NEVER DEFENDED Fr. MACIEL” (shouty title in the original, as befits his character).

Anyone who’s familiar with BillDo knows that he reflexively leaps to defend the Catholic church against any slight, perceived or real. So all I can figure is that he’s now trying to distance himself from his earlier words through Clintonian parsing (“it depends what the meaning of defend is”).