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n-atheist
Dec 20 2010
pope blames us for child abuse by church officials!

This NYT article starts off with "Pope Benedict XVI told Vatican officials Monday that they must reflect on the church's culpability in its child sex-abuse scandal". That sounds good, but then it goes on to say: "but he also blamed a secular society in which he said the mistreatment of children was frighteningly common."

I guess have have to agree that mistreatment of children is frighteningly common. In fact, if there is ANY then it is frighteningly common. But, the inclusion of the phrase "secular society" in there suggests that the secular among us are somehow to blame for this. Can the Pope offer any evidence to back this up? This strikes me as an attempt to deflect the blame to an innocent party. I have previously seen statistics on crime rates by country, and vaguely remember that countries like England and Sweden (ones that are known for being secular) had LOW rates of child abuse. If secularism was to blame for child abuse, you'd think we would have seen rampant child abuse OUTSIDE the Church before seeing it inside, as it is certainly about as far from a secular society as you can get!

The accusations get more specific later in the article.

Benedict also said, however, that the scandal must be seen in a broader social context, in which child pornography is seemingly considered normal by society and drug use and sexual tourism are on the rise.

"The psychological destruction of children, in which human persons are reduced to articles of merchandise, is a terrifying sign of the times," Benedict said.

He said that as recently as as the 1970s, pedophilia wasn't considered an absolute evil but rather part of a spectrum of behaviors that people refused to judge in the name of tolerance and relativism.

...

"In the 1970s, pedophilia was theorized as something fully in conformity with man and even with children," the pope said. "It was maintained even within the realm of Catholic theology that there is no such thing as evil in itself or good in itself. There is only a 'better than' and a 'worse than.' Nothing is good or bad in itself."

In other words, the Church hid the abuse cases from the public and avoided punishing the guilty not to protect their own and their reputations, but because society at large has condoned child abuse and child pornography!

But, is this even true? I am not aware that child pornography is considered "normal". I never see it around, even on the Internet (though maybe I'm not looking in the right places). And, I read in the newspapers about people being arrested and losing their jobs because they had child porn on their computers. Where does the Pope see people treating it as normal?

And is it true that in the 1970's pedophilia was considered acceptable? I know that there were pedophiles trying to convince people to think of it that way (NAMBLA?), but I never saw any acceptance of that view in society at large. As we know, pointing at others and saying "they did it first" when you're caught doing something bad is no kind of excuse, but if you're also lying about others doing it first, then it seems even worse!

Oh, look, there I go with my "moral relativism". I think some things are worse than others. Child abuse is horrible and the people who engage in it should be punished, but I do believe there are worse things. Apparently, the fact that I believe this means (according to the Pope's logic) that it's okay for him to let his people get away with it.

Give me a break!

mccorquodale
Dec 20 2010
Re: pope blames us for child abuse by church officials!

The Pope's explanation for the behavior of the Church in the 1970's is completely unbelievable. If society was condoning child abuse like he said, why would the Church have worked so hard to hide it? If it was just considered fine, the Church would have just said "Our priests made love to those kids...isn't that cool man?" But, no, they moved people around and paid people off to keep it hidden.

Basically, the Pope is looking for someone to blame, and it is not a surprise that he picked us. We had nothing to do with it, but we're already unpopular and so we make great scapegoats.

Rhett_Butler
Dec 21 2010
Re: pope blames us for child abuse by church officials!

I couldn't agree more with you. The Pope's assertion is ludicrous! If the church believed that society at large approved of pedophilia, why did they pay out huge sums in hush money to victims over decades? Clearly the families of the abused made it clear that they didn't think what the priests were doing was acceptable, yet it went on.

Also, since when is "everyone was doing it" an acceptable excuse for committing a crime. Especially for the very people who claim to be moral leaders. So much for personal responsibility!

What's also appalling is the lack of any outrage by anyone in the news that I can find, about this ridiculous casting of blame at secular society.

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