Thursday, 1 October 2009

It is the RAF who now suffer the largest casualties in this area


As Captain B.J. Smethwick wrote:
As a naval officer I abhor the implication that the Royal Navy is a haven for cannibalism. It is well known that we now have the problem relatively under control, and that it is the RAF who now suffer the largest casualties in this area.
Perhaps only 1 in 60 to 1 in 20 in the Royal Navy are cannibals. 1.5% to 5%. Plus those Admirals, Captains and Commanders that cover for them. And the problem is a lot worse in the RAF.

Of course that is the comedy of the absurd.

This isn't though.

From the Grauniad:
The Vatican has lashed out at criticism over its handling of its paedophilia crisis by saying the Catholic church was "busy cleaning its own house" and that the problems with clerical sex abuse in other churches were as big, if not bigger.
...
The statement, read out by Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican's permanent observer to the UN, defended its record by claiming that "available research" showed that only 1.5%-5% of Catholic clergy were involved in child sex abuse.
One in twenty. One in TWENTY??? That they admit to?

I knew there was a problem - who couldn't? But this figure stunned me.

From an earlier article in the Grauniad:
The Vatican instructed Catholic bishops around the world to cover up cases of sexual abuse or risk being thrown out of the Church.

The Observer has obtained a 40-year-old confidential document from the secret Vatican archive which lawyers are calling a 'blueprint for deception and concealment'. One British lawyer acting for Church child abuse victims has described it as 'explosive'.

The 69-page Latin document bearing the seal of Pope John XXIII was sent to every bishop in the world. The instructions outline a policy of 'strictest' secrecy in dealing with allegations of sexual abuse and threatens those who speak out with excommunication.
The original Latin document Crimen Sollicitationis is available online as a PDF. It was originally sent out sub secretum to all bishops.

There are many translations on the web, some of them distressingly imperfect. I believe this apologia issued by Catholic canon lawyers is truthful - as far as it goes.
A 1962 Vatican document ordering secrecy in cases of sexual misconduct by priests is not, according to canon lawyers, a "smoking gun" providing evidence of a cover-up of sex abuse orchestrated by Rome.

Civil attorneys handling lawsuits against the Catholic church have pointed to the document as evidence of obstruction of justice.

For one thing, canon lawyers say, the document was so obscure that few bishops had ever heard of it. For another, they say, secrecy in canonical procedures should not be confused with refusal to cooperate with civil authorities. The 1962 document would not have tied the hands of a bishop, or anyone else, who wanted to report a crime by a priest to the police.

The 39-page document, titled in Latin Crimen Sollicitationis, was issued in March 1962 by the Holy Office (today the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith). It established a procedure for canonical cases in which priests were accused of abusing the confessional to sexually proposition penitents. Four concluding paragraphs extend the procedure to the crimen pessimum, or "worst crime," meaning homosexual acts contrary to a priest's celibate commitment. The document was not designed to address sexual abuse of minors, but would include many such violations.

Paragraph 11 of the document stipulates that such cases are covered by the "secret of the Holy Office," today known as pontifical secrecy, the strictest form of secrecy in church law. Excommunication is prescribed for anyone who violates this secrecy.

The document was itself to be kept secret. Instructions on Page One direct that it be stored in the secret archives of each diocese, and that it not be published or commented upon. Msgr. Thomas Green, canon law expert at The Catholic University of America, told NCR Aug. 4 that unlike most church legislation, Crimen Sollicitationis was never published in the official Vatican bulletin Acta Apostolicae Sedis.

The document recently came to light because it was referenced in a footnote to a May 18, 2002, letter from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Vatican's doctrinal congregation, to the bishops of the world regarding new procedures for sex abuse cases.
The intent appears to be to wash the Church's dirty laundry in private; to protect those found innocent as the result of diligent inquiry; to protect the privacy of the victims; and last but not least, to prevent damage to the Church as an institution from a "few bad apples".
Canon lawyers told NCR that secrecy in canonical cases serves three purposes. First, it is designed to allow witnesses and other parties to speak freely, knowing that their responses will be confidential. Second, it allows the accused party to protect his good name until guilt is established. Third, it allows victims to come forward without exposing themselves to publicity. The high degree of secrecy in Crimen Sollicitationis was also related to the fact that it dealt with the confessional.

Those motives for confidentiality, experts say, must be distinguished from a widespread "mentality" that sought to protect the church from scandal by not reporting sexual abuse by priests to the police. As a matter of canon law, the obligation of secrecy in canonical cases does not prohibit a bishop or other church officials from reporting crimes to the proper authorities.

Conflicts may arise, however, if civil authorities seek access to the secret acts of canonical procedures.

That Crimen Sollicitationis was not designed to "cover up" sex abuse, canonists say, is clear in paragraph 15, which obligates anyone with knowledge of a priest abusing the confessional for that purpose to come forward, under pain of excommunication for failing to do so. This penalty is stipulated, the document says, "lest [the offense] remain occult and unpunished and always with inestimable detriment to souls."
That may have been the intent. I think it genuinely was. The reality though was quite different.
Rev Thomas Doyle, a US Air Force chaplain in Germany and a specialist in Church law, has studied the document. He told The Observer: 'It is certainly an indication of the pathological obsession with secrecy in the Catholic Church, but in itself it is not a smoking gun.

'If, however, this document actually has been the foundation of a continuous policy to cover clergy crimes at all costs, then we have quite another issue. There are too many authenticated reports of victims having been seriously intimidated into silence by Church authorities to assert that such intimidation is the exception and not the norm.

'If this document has been used as a justification for this intimidation then we possibly have what some commentators have alleged, namely, a blueprint for a cover-up. This is obviously a big "if" which requires concrete proof.'
Concrete proof we have aplenty. This document has been (mis)interpreted by many Bishops to silence victims with the threat of Excommunication; to obstruct all investigations by secular authorities; to merely "move on" pedophiles to where they have new opportunities to rape children; and generally to cover-up, conceal, deny, obfuscate, and deny victims justice. All to protect the Church's good name.

And now the defence is that the "problem is far worse in the RAF". Returning to the original article:
He also quoted statistics from the Christian Scientist Monitor newspaper to show that most US churches being hit by child sex abuse allegations were Protestant and that sexual abuse within Jewish communities was common.

He added that sexual abuse was far more likely to be committed by family members, babysitters, friends, relatives or neighbours, and male children were quite often guilty of sexual molestation of other children.

The statement said that rather than paedophilia, it would "be more correct" to speak of ephebophilia, a homosexual attraction to adolescent males.

"Of all priests involved in the abuses, 80 to 90% belong to this sexual orientation minority which is sexually engaged with adolescent boys between the ages of 11 and 17."

The statement concluded: "As the Catholic church has been busy cleaning its own house, it would be good if other institutions and authorities, where the major part of abuses are reported, could do the same and inform the media about it."

The Holy See launched its counter–attack after an international representative of the International Humanist and Ethical Union, Keith Porteous Wood, accused it of covering up child abuse and being in breach of several articles under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Porteous Wood said the Holy See had not contradicted any of his accusations. "The many thousands of victims of abuse deserve the international community to hold the Vatican to account, something it has been unwilling to do, so far. Both states and children's organisations must unite to pressurise the Vatican to open its files, change its procedures worldwide, and report suspected abusers to civil authorities."
It's about homosexuality you see. And sex with an 11 year old boy isn't really pedophilia. And, um, facts are stubborn things. And such conduct was looked at... differently... from the way it is today.
Diocesan attorney Thomas McCormick told the jury that church officials followed the advise of doctors and psychologists when they hired and then retained Paquette despite knowledge he had a history of sexually abused altar boys.

McCormick said the diocese does not deny that Paquette molested the former altar boy whose case against the diocese is the fifth to go to trial, or that then-Bishop John Marshall made a mistake in hiring Paquette.

But McCormick said the decision to employ Paquette was made during a time 35 years ago when conduct like Paquette's was looked at differently than today.

"Facts are stubborn things," McCormick told the jury.

The trial is the fifth priest molestation case to go before the jury in three years at the Burlington court.
With the best will in the world, giving the benefit of the doubt, being charitable to the greatest extent... forgiveness requires acknowledgement of the sin, and true repentance, freely and gladly given. The Church of all organisations should be aware of that.

I see no evidence of repentance, they're just sorry they got caught before they could deal with it internally - by sweeping it under the carpet, as they'd always done before. When such conduct was looked at quite differently from the way it is today.

11 comments:

RadarGrrl said...

The same RC bishop, who made headlines last summer by apologizing to all of the victims of sexual abuse by priests in his Antigonish, Nova Scotia diocese, is now up on charges of possessing and importing child pornography. The more things change...

Laserlight said...

My aging and fuzzy memory says the requirement for absolution was confession, contrition, repentence, and restitution. "Repentence" is "turning away from", i.e. not doing it again.
Just apologizing doesn't cut it.

MgS said...

We should never lose sight of the fact that the Vatican is primarily a political entity that seeks to extend its power and control first and foremost.

Anything that stands in the way of accomplishing that goal will be removed in the most politically expedient manner.

Anonymous said...

There was a famous english court case where the capt. and 2 mates ate the cabin boy in a life boat.
Check it out in this Harvard class.
http://wgbh.org/programs/ProgramDetail.cfm?programID=429

Sara said...

"Of all priests involved in the abuses, 80 to 90% belong to this sexual orientation minority which is sexually engaged with adolescent boys between the ages of 11 and 17."

Due to the magic of math and syllogisms this also means that:

"Of all priests involved in the abuses, 10 to 20% belong to this [other] sexual orientation minority which is sexually engaged with [pre-]adolescent boys between the ages of 1 and 11."

Let's review:

According to the Holy See itself, as many as 5 out of 100 Roman Catholic priests are statutory rapists (assuming age of adulthood is 18).

Of those, as many as 1 of those 5 prefers to rape children under the age of 11. The other 4 prefer their sex toys a little older.

The Church is simultaneously super super sorry *and* states that really, the 4 out of 5 that prefer having sex with adolescents is okay because they are part of a sexual minority and merely misunderstood in modern times.

Of course now, if they were *GAY* that would be another story altogether, because the RCC is officially against that...so all of the victims must have been little girls? No, still doesn't make the Church look any better...

Sara said...

One other thing:

One of their main augments is that 4/5 of the bad priests aren't child molesters, they are gay (w/a preference for adolescents) and therefore it's okay, just a normal variation of sexuality.

The problem being, this is the same organization that has funded and organized the ongoing political opposition to providing equal marriage and equal employment rights to LGBT's here in the U.S.. Because being gay is a sin, you see.

Lloyd Flack said...

Zoe,
when someone gives a range I don't think you should quote the upper bound of the range as if it was the most likely estimate. If it gets pointed out it means you have just handed amunition to the other side. They will then accuse you of cherry picking data and you won't have a comeback.

Even the lower bound is bad enough, you don't need to emphansize things by picking the worst case. I this cas since only a range was given you should have given a range as well.

Sara said...

Lloyd, just my opinion follows. The Catholic Church collected and compiled the statistics from within their own organization and from their own records. Given the resources available I highly doubt that the uncertainty was really as high as they state. It is my belief they used a rather common spin control technique for releasing ugly numbers. If the ugly number is say, five percent you report it as "2-5 percent" so as to minimize the perceived amount. It's not like they were releasing the results of a carefully designed study, after all. This was an bizzare attempt at spin, nothing more. Who's to say that the "honest" number isn't even higher? The point is not the specific figures; in my opinion it is the attempt to justify something that they normally condemn. As does just about everyone else.

Lloyd Flack said...

Sara,
you could be right. My concern was not the exact numbers but the danger of handing ammunition to those who are trying to attack your credibility. If you quote only the upper limit of a range then you can be accused of cherrypicking data and misrepresenting those that you quote. And you won't have a comeback.

Zoe Brain said...

My reading is that of the Diocese surveyed, a minimum of 1 in 60 and a maximum of 1 in 20 priests were child molesters.

What the average, mode, mean, and standard deviation was is not stated.

That even one diocese has 1 in 20 of its members child molesters I consider horrific. That none had less than 1.5% even more so.

Lloyd Flack said...

Zoe,
Why use the 5% figure rather than the 1.5% figure? As you say 1.5% is bad enough. And using it does not leave you open to accusations of misrepresenting what others said.