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Pope Benedict and the Church Crisis

Pope Benedict XVI kneels during a service in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, April 2, 2010. (AP)

It was a hard Holy Week at the Vatican. 

The uproar over the sexual abuse of children by priests that swept America in recent years has now reached Europe, and the very doorstep of the Holy See. 

The Pope has expressed shame and remorse for “sinful and criminal acts” in Ireland. But he has a continent and more up in arms, and a spreading crisis. 

Pope Benedict’s own record of oversight is under sharp scrutiny. The Vatican has called it “petty gossip” and a top prelate compared it to anti-Semitism. But the trouble is deep. 

This Hour, On Point:  crisis in the Catholic Church.


Sylvia Poggioli is senior European correspondent for National Public Radio.

Scott Appleby is professor of history – and director of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies – at Notre Dame University. He’s author of The Ambivalence of the Sacred: Religion, Violence, and Reconciliation. He’s also editor, with Martin Marty, of the five-volume “Fundamentalism Project” from the University of Chicago Press.

Ed Wilson is a member of the board of trustees of Voice of the Faithful, and leader and founder – with his wife Anne – of the Brooklyn affiliate of Voice of the Faithful.

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  • http://www.commentbug.com Commentbug here

    we need peace

  • Expanded Consciousness

    We need truth, internal policing, zero tolerance policy and mea culpas.

  • Wake up

    We need religion to just go away, go away, go away. 2000 years. Enough already!

  • Ed Helmrich

    We need truth, internal policing, zero tolerance policy and mea culpas. Agreed, and the Church has taken many steps in this direction. Last year there were six cases, and they are only alleged at this point.

  • Gemli

    Maybe it is not surprising that men who would deny condom use to AIDS victims in Africa would have no trouble keeping child molesters in circulation, all the while knowing, but apparently not caring, that other children were certain to be abused.

    The Church has spent centuries telling children they are born dirty, soiled with sin not of their own making, that they should be ashamed of their developing sexuality, that myths and fairy tales are real, and that there is an invisible man in the sky monitoring and judging their every thought.

    Once poisoned by this nonsense, many children grow up to be apologists and enablers for the very institution that perpetrated this abuse, not to mention abuse of the more earthly sort now being revealed.

    Promoting and tolerating the teaching of irrational, anti-scientific, divisive and misogynistic claptrap has consequences. Children are being robbed of their innocence and their intellect. What a shameful waste.

  • Mary

    I believe that the sexual abuse of young boys by priests has functioned through the ages as a recruiting tool for the priesthood. For a young boy growing up in a repressive society who doubts his sexuality or thinks he might be gay, a sexual experience with a priest might function like an induction into a secret society. Combine this with the high status afforded to priests (prior to the 21st century), and the priesthood might well look like the only reasonable route for a closeted young Catholic man. Then, of course, the victim becomes the victimizer.

  • http://outpatientclinic.blogspot.com/ Skip Shea

    As a survivor myself, I don’t expect any change to come from the church itself. Cardinal Law was calling down the wrath of God on the Boston Globe until he finally left Boston in disgrace. They are doing the same thing in Rome now.

    If we would start to prosecute the hierarchy for the cover-up, then things would change.

  • http://facebook Dale

    For the pope to claim that he knew nothing of what was going on is insulting, he was in charge of the church’s intelligence office prior to becoming pope, it was his job to know!
    It seems to me if his election to pope might have been related to his knowledge of “where all the bodies were buried” and knowing he would keep them there.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Network TV — I forget which channel — had quite a field day with the election of Pope Benedict. A lot of people who spent hours glued to a TV will remember his being elected, and they will remember how the timing of that intersected with the unfolding of the Catholic sex abuse scandals in the Boston area.
    Someone else will know more precisely than I.
    But consider the wisdom of the voting cardinals to choose this particular pope, Ratzinger, if indeed his job was to know about this sort of thing. Consider what his reluctance (as I recall) would mean if he knew what is suggested. What did the cardinals know of what he knew, or what did they know in general — and when did they know it.
    If religion on a broad/orthodox scale is to be a unifying and stabilizing force in the world, then religion has to get their act together, shall we say.

  • Believers are liars

    Religion is evil. It is founded on lies.

    “If religion on a broad/orthodox scale is to be a unifying and stabilizing force in the world…”


    A divisive and destabilizing force in the world.

    Religion needs to be destroyed!

  • Todd

    Well, well…I see we have the usual group of irreligious finger-pointers present. Yup, never miss an opportunity to criticize what you fail to understand! A shame Ashbrook couldn’t have aired this yesterday, huh? It would have been that much more insulting—and satisfying!—to cast aspersions at the Church on Easter Sunday.

  • cory

    Count me among those who are profoundly tired of the Catholic bashing. Humans and their institutions are frought with weakness and frailty, the Catholic church included. Pedophiles and sexual deviants exist in all walks of life. I bet there are even protstant or muslim sexual abusers. It is a feel good easy target for those who don’t much care for Catholics in the first place.

  • Elizabeth

    One of the reasons this story will not go away is that many faith-filled Catholics realize that the current governance structure of the Church is wholly inadequate for the pastoral needs of the 21st century. How often has it been said that if women and married men had been part of the leadership of the Church we would not have had the tragic extent of the abuse and the ensuing crisis?

    Nevertheless, we know that leadership in the Church is tied to ordination to the priesthood, currently limited to celibate men.

    If you consider the history of the Church, roughly for the first millennium priesthood is open to married or celibate men. In the second millennium it’s limited to celibate men. Perhaps the Holy Spirit is calling us to another model of governance in the third millennium.

    Currently one in five parishes in the U.S. is without a resident priest. There are only 42,000 priests in the U.S., one in three of whom are set to retire in the next few years, and there are fewer than 4,000 men in any stage of seminary training. This is not tenable. Bishops are willing to continue to close parishes rather than open the priesthood.

    The justification for excluding women in Jesus’ choice of the Twelve. Chosen to represent continuity with the twelve tribes of Israel and Jesus’ effort to Include all in Israel, it’s ironically used as a justification to Exclude women from leadership.

    Read Romans 16. Paul commends to his readers Phoebe, the deacon of the church at Cenchrae, and goes on to name many women who led local churches. Phoebe is not mentioned in the Lectionary, years A, B or C.

    Do we honestly believe that if Jesus were physically here with us today that he would not call women and married men to the leadership of the Churc?

  • Gary

    I would guess from the denial factory in Rome, that the way forward will be the sanctification of pedophilia as a Christian rite of passage.

  • John

    The Church, not the raped children, is obviously the true victim here.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I am wondering if someone (Elizabeth?) knows whether the second millennium limited priesthood to celibate men had anything to do with creating a safe haven for homosexuals. It seems to me the proportion of the population that might be “called” to priesthood might the same proportion as wouldn’t be getting married anyway (woops, stepped in it there, didn’t I).

  • John

    Ellen, there were plenty of female victims too. Do not equate homosexuality with pedophelia. The problem is abuse of power and secrecy.

  • rocaru

    The Catholic Church’s stock in trade has always been denial and secrecy. Denial of the flesh that makes all guilty of being human at birth (Original Sin). Secrecy worthy of the most notorious authoritarian regimes (think Stalin and Hitler). It should be no surprise that given the light of day afforded by the connectedness of new media that these horrors are revealed. We should all rejoice at these revelations as the beginning of the end of the Catholic Church as we know it. BTW, I’m a product of 12 years of Catholic schooling.


    “Count me among those who are profoundly tired of the Catholic bashing”

    Maybe if the Catholic Church didn’t ACTIVELY assist and hide those priests that abused children instead of punishing and removing them, they might not be under such critism. This problem was known by those right up to the top of the church hierachy and anyone who is willing to release them from blame for their actions is just as guilty. Stop trying to lessen the seriousness of this problem. The Church is run by MEN who should know better. Maybe they shouldn’t try to CYTA and actually look after their the least of their “flocks” (makes me laugh they call people sheep, cause that is apparently what they are after all)

  • Abby

    I was so glad to hear Sylvia Poggioli just mention that the church is likely to hear stories come out of Africa and Central America soon too. The abused need help there, too.

  • Ellen Dibble

    John, good catch. I did not mean that homosexuality is related in any way to pedophilia. In my community there was a heterosexual Protestant minister who had molested boys. But I did mean to at least inquire, what does the Catholic church do with homosexuals (both male and female)? Are they welcome to care for the flock (repressed in their urges, presumably, but after all, out of sight), as priests? And nuns? And we don’t call them homosexuals? We call them celibate? That gets around it, it seems to me — it allows the persistance of church condemnation of homosexuality — or denial of its existence.
    Denial never being a very healthy thing, maybe.

  • John

    Was this really referred to as “petty gossip”?

  • L. M.

    commentator just said…even though it may be just “a minority of priests.” What I have learned from survivors who have learned this the hard way, priests who may not have abused, knew what was going on. This silence and complicity is a crushing reality. No one to help. No one to say, What’s going on here! Stop.

    Tom, please request, on air, that victims call in.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I transcribe many court cases involving child abuse, and it seems to me the perpetrators sometimes tell the children there is something sacrificial, sacred, about what they are doing, whether voodoo or whatever handy religion seems to cover it. Whole families sort of buy into it. What a warping twist. Actually, I can imagine it. Not sure how one would “out-grow” that.

  • Nancy Harris

    Until the Catholic Church allows women to have a full voice it cannot go forward and it is doomed. I truly believe that if women were treated equally and were involved at the highest level, this abuse would not have occurred.

  • John

    Anyone who thinks the Church is going to make meaningful reforms is fooling himself/herself. (I don’t know why I bothered to include “herself” as the Church doesn’t value women’s thoughts any way.)

  • Religion is evil

    “Pedophiles and sexual deviants exist in all walks of life.”

    You defend this corrupt, psychotic group of fairytale worshipers by saying you can go to prisons and see pedophiles and sexual deviants from all walks of life.

    There needs to be arrests!

  • BHA

    Blaming the ‘press’ for this issue is a sign of pure panic. The emperor has no clothes.

    Had the church leaders removed the offending priests as soon as their activities were discovered rather than just shuttling them to a new parish hoping no one would notice, none of this ‘church/pope bashing’ would have happened.

    The church, at all levels, is culpable for the decades (if not centuries) of ignoring and/or hiding an offense that should have resulted in excommunication and jail terms for the offenders.

    To suggest that a way to stop it is to drop the celibacy rule is a joke. How many non church related sexual offenses are caused by non celibate men and women? MOST OF THEM. The offending priests (and Rabbis by the way) are making the most of their position of power over the victims. Who are you going to believe, the ‘almost perfect’ priest/Rabbi or the kid? Until recently, the former would always be assumed to be telling the truth, the kids liars for what ever reason.

  • ce

    Forbidding to Marry in the Catholic Church

    1Ti 4:1 ¶ Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
    1Ti 4:2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
    1Ti 4:3 Forbidding to marry, [and commanding] to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
    1Ti 4:4 For every creature of God [is] good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: (KJV)

  • Joy Ramirez

    I attended Easter mass at my church here in East Nashville yesterday and was so impressed with our priest who openly and humbly acknowledged the crisis and “dark hour” the Catholic church is facing. Instead of ignoring the problem or deflecting blame, he very honestly and sincerely asked for forgiveness saying, “For the first time in my 48 years as a priest I am embarrassed to be a Catholic priest and I know it is hard for you to call yourselves catholic at this difficult time. And for that I apologize.” His candor and contriteness in simply dealing with this issue in this way in front of his parish on Easter was a breath of fresh air and reminded me of what a priest *should* be. If only there were more like him right now.

  • John

    School for the deaf/Ratzinger – Hear no evil.

  • Susan Rittenhouse

    To become contemporary, the Catholic Church should go back to 7th century Ireland’s Christianity. At that time, women were treated equally, and priests could marry and have children. It was a Golden Age, which became overwhelmed by the Dark Ages of Rome. This period is entertainingly described in Peter Tremayne’s “Sister Fidelma” series of mysteries.

  • Gary

    A bewildering aspect of these crimes against children is that they are rarely prosecuted in the civil courts. What is it about being a priest that gets them a free pass on committing sex crimes on the populace?

    And it should be reiterated over and over again that a pedophile is not just a man who isn’t getting sex with a woman. A pedophile is a whole separate aberration of psychosocial deviation that has nothing to do with celibacy, heterosexual, or homosexual behaviors.

  • Religion is evil

    Would you all be defending school teachers who exploited children and were kept on the job by the principle? Or would you be closing schools?

    Religion needs to be closed.

  • rich4321

    When are people going to wake up? All religions are created by a bunch of hypocrites. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Christians, Catholic or s Muslin, or whatever religions, they are all made by groups to manipulate and to over power the weak, the sick and the helpless so they- the “leaders” feel the power and scam money for their own financial gains.

    Religion is poison, why do you think we have people killing abortion doctors in the name of god? Why do you think we have these Jihadists killing innocent people in the the name of Allah?

    These are the same people who hide behind the facade of “God”, who lecture us about moral while they commit the most heinous crimes against humanity behind our backs.

  • Ellen Dibble

    One of the guests spoke of “secrecy and arrogance” being at the heart of the dysfunction in the Catholic Church, and as such pedophilia is a symptom (a bad symptom) of an underlying problem.

  • Steve

    This is not like the holocaust, it is like the reformation. As I recall, that didn’t work out so well for the Catholics; perhaps because they were more interested in retaining power than in truth.

    The truth shall set you free … but only if you recognize it.

    Steve in Nashville

  • Dan Reedy

    Aren’t we talking about potential crimes here? These are not issues for theologians to bat around – these issues deserve the scrutiny of the courts – Possibly the International Criminal Courts since the Vatican is not likely to convene a grand jury and are even talking about the immunity of the pope due to his being a head-of-state.

    The guy who spent time on the New York Times position on the church is tossing a red herring – The New York Times never molested anybody.

  • Ellen Dibble

    It was Edward Wilson who spoke of secrecy and arrogance. Isn’t that hierarchical and medieval? Well, isn’t pedophilia among the perpetrators I’ve watched in criminal court cases year in and year out been characterized by “secrecy and arrogance”? The DSM, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual doesn’t use that exact language. But similar. Secrecy to do with shame and training, not to power and charisma/sanctity. Arrogance to do with dysfunctional interpersonality, lack of resonance.

  • Steve T

    Catholic confession, doesn’t allow, speaking of confessions, or the penance given by the absolver of the sin.

    It’s the rules of the church.
    Yes everyone knew. Could they talk about it NO!

    If you confess to a priest he can only speak of it in his confession to his absolver.

    I don’t have anything against Catholic people, but I question the religion, not their faith in God.

  • L.M.

    Tom, you are not asking for the voices of victim’ survivors! You have not even one survivor speaking. This is a big mistake. Perhaps another show with only survivors?!!

  • Lauren MacCarthy

    The Catholic church leadership needs to be expanded to include more women. Right now the church is launching attacks against women, including investigations designed to bring American religious women (sisters and nuns) into line with the old guard. The Church needs to stop treating priests as holier than thou (in conflict with Jesus’ own teachings) and instead trust women to help lead them. It is shocking to me that the Church supports priests in their retirement and pays for their health care etc, while nuns and sisters are dependent on their own religious orders only for help. This is why I no longer attend church and pray for the leadership who are in clear error.

  • John

    John Paul II and Ratzinger stocked the ranks of the Cardinals with fellow conservatives. Don’t expect any changes. Bernie Law is still honored in the Vatican.

  • Rory

    The problem with the church is the arrogance in the assumption that a human (the pope) is infallible. This is not what Jesus was about. Say what you want about Jesus, he was HUMBLE.

    Anything beyond making the pope accountable to another council is window dressing.

  • Neal Carey

    Circling the wagons cannot possibly help. This ongoing crisis will not just go away. There are likely many of the faithful having a crisis of faith, I know I am. Not a crisis of faith in Christianity, but in the ability to even continue as a member. Sad that after 56 years of being Catholic that I have to be ashamed of my church, and I am. The place the Pope must start is to confront the issue and deal with it, not circle the wagons any longer.

  • Maureen Johnson

    The idea of the Church being able to change is a daunting one. It does not change easily. Hope remains though as I recall the sweeping changes of Vatican II weren’t suppposed to happen either. Most of those were brought about by the hierarchy.

  • Sally

    I agree, there should be a voice representing victims on this show. It’s profoundly unfair to exclude them from the conversation.

    Also, as a non-Catholic, I had always heard that the pope is infallible. Doesn’t this mean he can never be wrong? Can someone please explain how this doesn’t cause a major theological dilemma for Catholics?

  • robert grant

    Why not talk to parish priests about this rather than get other’s perspective on what they’re thinking. I be you’d be surprised.
    to coin a phrase: “all church is local”

  • John

    If you accept the premise that these people have been chosen by a god, then you have to accept that your opinion doesn’t matter.

  • http://onpointradio.org Paul

    The issue is that how can one BELIEVE in God when those who devote their lives to the study of the life of Christ and preach the Good News are so deviant in their behavior; and worse yet, the hierarchy and their sycophants are only concerned with protecting the deviants to protect the ORGANIZATION. It leads one to the conclusion that the Catholic Church and Christianity, in general, is just another myth, not unlike the Roman & Greek gods, perpetuated by a medieval organization only worried about its power and treasure.

    When one looks at history there is no straight line from Jesus to the Catholic Church, or to the now broader Christian Churches.

    The current discussion is all about procedures, rules, politics, and saving the institution; NOT about the Good News, love, Jesus, or history; and certainly not about a future defined by respect and love for each other as human beings and creatures sharing planet Earth.

  • Al

    I’ve always been curious as to how this culture of sexual abuse of minors grew in the Catholic church. It cannot be a coincidence that going back many decades (and who knows how far back these abuses were rampant) we are now aware of many, many cases worldwide of Catholic priests being sexual abusers of minors.

    This then leads me to wonder if there has been some longstanding unwritten “secret knowledge”, for lack of a better term, among sexual abusers that the priesthood was a good gig if that was your predilection.

    The way the church has handled this, going back the 50-60 years we know about, is shameful. This is not the result of celibacy rules, this is simply allowing sexual predators to run rampant on an innocent population in a place that is supposed to represent safety, love & comfort.

    The Vatican now wants to frame parts of this scandal as attacks against the Pope. The Pope is a man and should not be above the law. And instead of protecting their sacred cow they should be treating this seriously and ridding the church of these monsters.

  • Vinny Racaniello

    Wow. “If women were more involved there would be less abuse.” ????
    I suspect the guest never went to Catholic School and suffered under the tyranny of the “good” sisters.

    Sexual and physical abuse is by far the most serious of the Church’s crimes. But the issues of emotional abuse and educative neglect have barely been touched upon.

    The Catholic insitution is about power and the abuse of power and the entire corrupt organization needs to be taken down.

  • John Carlton-Foss

    Scott Appleby’s comment that Bill Keller of the New York Times compared the Pope to Stalin and Hitler is false. There was a comparison to modern Soviet Communism, but that is not a comparison to Stalin or Hitler. Stalin is not mentioned at all in that op ed piece. Hitler is mentioned only in a quotation:”The vast majority of Catholic married couples, that is, stand on the wrong side of the abyss with Hitler and Pol Pot,” as Charles R. Morris observed in his splendid history of American Catholicism.’ The date of the op ed was May 4, 2002. See http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/04/opinion/04KELL.html?pagewanted=1&pagewanted=print

  • John

    Secular criminal charges? What next, expect churches to pay taxes?

  • BHA

    Religion is evil: “were kept on the job by the principal”

    Worse. They are shuttled around the state as well, using the same “non disclosure” concept. The school board and teacher both agree to not speak ill of the other or disclose anything related to the ‘case’. The teacher gets a recommendation and finds another job, with a recommendation. We saw this just last November.
    The now middle school age boys that were abused came forward publicly when they found out the teacher had a new job in a different county. They were brave enough to save future potential victims. He is no longer employed and is facing charges. Don’t see that happen with priests though, do we??

    It is not just related to sexual assaults, it could be pure lack of ability or whatever. We also had a “Hide it all” departure of a superintendent 2 years ago in my county only a year into her 3 year contract. We, the tax payers, are not allowed to know why she left due to the same ‘non disclosure’ thing. There were a lot of school board meetings and publicity before she left (with her contracted ‘parachute’ I might add). Very suspicious and no one will ever believe it was anything but close to criminal in nature. They wouldn’t be hiding it otherwise.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Vinny R posted: “The Catholic institution is about power and the abuse of power and the entire corrupt organization needs to be taken down.”
    Wow. Also wow to the individual way, way up top who posted ha-ha-ha to my idea religion can be a “unifying and stabilizing force.”
    No kidding, both of you.
    Are all religions about “power and the abuse of power” (and thus inevitably corruption, perhaps)?
    I’ve gotta think about that over here. Maybe parenthood is also about “power” if not “the abuse of power.” In religion, in my humble opinion, one can sort of sniff out that fine line between a congregation sharing a sense of its togetherness in the face of an almighty Whatever, a very human bonding. One can sniff out when it is going awry. I am not a Catholic, but I’ve always thought of Catholics as more accepting of what it means to be human, more forgiving (because of the rite of confession?). There’s something cathartic about Catholicism that I don’t see in Protestantism. Or am I thinking of Verdi operas…

  • My Flock

    Children who are over 18. Time to see yourself as not children. Let the children be children.

  • Religion is evil

    Unifying? Religion is about us versus them. Catholics hate and look down upon non-Catholics. Catholics hate their own children, too. Catholics hate life.

    The KKK is a unifying force, too. Huh?

  • anne southwood

    Notre Dame theologian is right in several comments on your live broadcast just now:
    1. every Bishop should have said that abuse is a real horror from the beginning. 2. Holy See comments come from within the closed context of the Vatican and they don’t “get it” 3. Clerical culture, protecting their own “special” ordained is the root of “wagon circling”
    4. Celibacy is a created Church discipline which could be revoked 6. It is a good thing that the Vatican newspaper recently showed some courage in an editorial supporting the idea that the inclusion of women at higher Church levels would have lessened the crisis.
    However, all these things remain in academia or in the realm of shoulda, woulda, coulda until the other 99 percent of the Church assume Baptismal responsibility for our Church and insist on a voice in it. In his interview, Ed Wilson, Voice of the Faithful Board, indicated that VOTF is calling for attentive dialogue
    and collaboration between all Church members. Your Rome correspondent said huge numbers are leaving the Church in Europe. Our ranks are getting thinner here. One in ten people you meet used to be a Catholic. Go to http://www.votf.org and get involved in renewal of your Church.
    Ch, Boston Area Council, VOTF

  • Reality

    What do you all expect? All religious people are liars. They profess to believe in things they do not really believe in. All of religion is a tacit agreement to cover up truth and promote lies. It is their main pleasure. Just a cult of liars. Sex crimes and cover up is just an extension of their very nature.

  • Todd

    “…as a non-Catholic, I had always heard that the pope is infallible. Doesn’t this mean he can never be wrong? Can someone please explain how this doesn’t cause a major theological dilemma for Catholics?”
    Posted by Sally

    @ Sally:
    The dogma of Papal Infallibility only applies when a pope speaks ex cathedra regarding doctrinal matters of faith. It does NOT mean that a pope can never be wrong; and, therefore, it does not create a dilemma.

  • Todd

    “All religious people are liars.”
    Posted by Reality

    @ Reality:
    However, not all liars are religious—and thanks for providing proof.

  • Jim T

    Gary wrote, “A bewildering aspect of these crimes against children is that they are rarely prosecuted in the civil courts. What is it about being a priest that gets them a free pass on committing sex crimes on the populace?”

    Good question, Gary. It is clear that the Catholic Church is not opposed to using the courts. When church funds have been stolen or misapproptiated, the Catholic Church has not hesitated to have those responsible charged. It seems a very different standard applies when children have been sexually abused. This includes the case of the priest in Munich who then Archbishop Ratzinger sent for couseling but not prosecution.

    It makes one wonder which the Church values more … its money or its children.

  • Reality

    @ Reality:
    However, not all liars are religious—and thanks for providing proof.

    Not all sex criminals are religious, but we have a prison cell for religious sex offenders to share with non-religious sex offenders.

  • Mark H.

    “Pray, pay and obey” is, regrettably, a very overly simplistic analysis of the phenomenon of Catholics not talking about this problem. In some regions of the U.S., like where I am in the NW, part of the problem is that for many years the sexual abuse scandal has been a means for some to focus blame on a despised institution. And it is well understood that many lawsuit claims have been bogus. There’s been an unmistakable gravy-train pattern in the filing of claims. As a result I notice that many Catholics are feeling that they, along with the institution, are being unfairly attacked. As a result it is extremely difficult for a free and open discussion to take place. Emotions run far too high for that to happen — in some places. It’s tragic because until Catholics in parishes can openly and honestly engage this issue it will continue to fester.

  • Reality

    No. Bogus lawsuits are not why religious people lie and cover up and twist things around. If there never was a bogus lawsuit filed the church would be doing the same it is now.

    Your argument is as bogus, vacuous and narcissistic as your church.

    ‘If you all were just nice to us we’d do the right thing.’ You love to blame the victim, the press, a bogus lawsuit. It is always someone else, eh?

    Defending a cover-up. Disgusting.

  • Mark H.

    @ Reality: “Bogus lawsuits are not why religious people lie and cover up…”

    Hmmm. Sorry, but clearly you do not know of the goodness and integrity of people in the Catholic community as I do. It appears that your impulse is to simply demonize all Catholics. With all due respect, that’s a remarkably unintelligent response.

    Most Catholics I know understand that the victims of sexual abuse by clergy deserve to be heard and cared for, and want that to happen. Unfortunately the litigious culture and the systemic failures presently enshrined in tort law in the U.S. hinder a right response.

  • Patricia Gordon

    Listening to the program and reading all these comments make me ever more grateful that I am an Episcopalian. I was raised in a strict Roman Catholic family, went to RC schools from kindergarten until I graduated from college and then abandoned the Roman church. Years later I was fortunate to find the Episcopal Church. And I was reminded again of my joy in that discovery on Sunday when we prayed for the granting of “an inquiring and discerning heart” during the Baptismal service. The RC church prefers that its followers fall into line behind the male hierarchy. At least now the powers that be in Rome know that the abuse is pandemic and not restricted to America and “its failed values”. It’s across the whole spectrum, even more to its disgrace.

  • http://www.mylifevantage.com/longerlife jorge riveros

    The Catholic Church since their foundation created their on doctrine in many ways totally against Christ’s Doctrine. Some examples are: Exodus, Chapter 20:3″Thou shalt have no other Gods before me”.4 “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth”: 5 “Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;” 6 “And shewing mercy unto thousands that love me, and keep my commandments.” other “thou shalt not kill.” (6,000 women kill during The INQUISITION in the name of GOD) 14 “thou shalt not commit adultery” Genesis 1:28″And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful,and multiply, and replenish the the earth, and subduit:..” So, like this there hundreds of other changes from the Bible. Let them (catholic priests)marry like Jesus did;don’t change the Doctrine of sacred matrimony.

  • Reality

    “the phenomenon of Catholics not talking about this problem.”

    So, you argue that:
    1. Catholics are silent.
    2. Catholics are good and act with integrity.
    3. Tort law hinders Catholics from demanding its Church radically change.

    I repeat, “If there never was a bogus lawsuit filed the church would be doing the same it is now.”

  • Paula Gonzales Rohrbacher

    Good choice of commentators for this show. However, I believe that it would have been better if you had invited a survivor of clergy sexual abuse to participate in the discussion.

    I was one of the four survivors who addressed the full body of U.S. Bishops at their Dallas 2002 meeting where the Charter for the Protection of Young People was developed (the same meeting where Scott Appleby so eloquently spoke to the bishops).

    I remain a faithful Catholic, am married to a Catholic clergyman (a permanent deacon) and am active in my parish. I chose to try to work with my abuser’s religious superior, however, due to jurisdictional problems, he remains a priest, although not in active ministry.

    The recent surge of news about clergy sexual abuse in Europe and the subsequent media coverage does not surprise me at all. It was only a matter of time until the stories started coming out about abuse in the wider Church. I am reminded of what a bishop said to me recently: “The Church owes a huge debt of gratitude to the Boston Globe for bringing the sexual abuse crisis in the United States to light.” The Globe’s coverage of the U.S. crisis in 2002 was even-handed, factual and thorough. The recent coverage by the media, especially the New York Times is almost gleeful.

    The response of certain church leaders, many U.S. bishops, and most recently, the Holy Father’s own personal preacher comparing the attcks on the Church to the suffering of the Jews has not been helpful at all. This “circle the wagons” mentality creates more suscpicion and is divisive in the extreme. One only has to go to the blogosphere and read the comments left by people about the Church, the victims, the perpetrators and the Bishops to see that a more evenhanded response is required.

    The insistence that the crisis was caused by homosexuality or priestly celibacy does not address the fact that thousands of young girls (myself included) were abused by priests, or that in availability of willing adult sexual partners does not prevent sexual predators from abusing children.

    The reason molestors of children offend is the desire for power over their victims.

    The way out of this crisis is to concentrate on the victims, on what the child molestors did, and what the Bishops did not do.

    The U.S. Church had made great strides with the development of the Charter, which requires education, background checks for all who have contact with children, a National and diocesan review boards to advise bishops, transparency and honesty and repentance for what has occured. It is up to the U.S. Bishops to hold themselves to the requirements that they established in Dallas in 2002. It is up to the Bishops in the wider Church to listen to the lessons that the U.S. Church has learned and institute similar measures.

  • http://outpatientclinic.blogspot.com/ Skip Shea

    The Charter for the Protection of Young People, while looks good on paper, isn’t always followed. Case in point Cardinal George from Chicago and all the was revealed in his deposition, including the continued cover-up for Frs Bennett and McCormack. All after 2002.
    We can no longer allow them to police themselves. They have proven they simply won’t.
    We have to wonder if we want to believe that all of the Bishops worldwide acted individually and independently from each other, yet coincidentally mirrored the same behaviors of transferring the priests without reporting the crimes to civil authorities. Only to allow the abuse to continue.
    I have a difficult time believing this to be coincidental, but that they performed their duties as directed. Which would be why the Vatican can not truly hold them responsible.
    And that is why we must.

  • Mary

    In view of the crisis in the Roman Catholic Church, I am struck by the aptness of these lyrics to “I’m Looking Through You” by the Beatles:


    I’m Looking Through You
    Lennon/McCartney 1965

    I’m looking through you, where did you go
    I thought I knew you, what did I know
    You don’t look different, but you have changed
    I’m looking through you, you’re not the same

    Your lips are moving, I cannot hear
    Your voice is soothing, but the words aren’t clear
    You don’t sound different, I’ve learned the game.
    I’m looking through you, you’re not the same

    Why, tell me why, did you not treat me right?
    Love has a nasty habit of disappearing overnight

    You’re thinking of me, the same old way
    You were above me, but not today
    The only difference is you’re down there
    I’m looking through you, and you’re nowhere

    Why, tell me why, did you not treat me right?
    Love has a nasty habit of disappearing overnight

    I’m looking through you, where did you go
    I thought I knew you, what did I know
    You don’t look different, but you have changed
    I’m looking through you, you’re not the same

    Yeah! Oh baby you changed!
    Aah! I’m looking through you!
    Yeah! I’m looking through you!
    You changed, you changed, you changed!

  • Sam E.

    I’m not a catholic and have no reason in particular to take the pope’s side on this one but that said it really does seem like people are trying to attach their anger to him because they want an individual to galvanize around. It’s much more sexy and interesting(perhaps will sell more paper) if the Pope is accused as opposed to say an arch bishop who most people haven’t heard of.

    Also, as to people complaining that he didn’t say anything on Easter WTF, the pope has lots of other opprotunities and chances to talk about things like sex abuse scandals there is no reason that he should have brought up a scandal on the most sacred day of the year.

    I don’t think the Catholic church is blameless but it seems based on my knowledge that accusing the pope is chasing a red herring and will ultimately do more harm than good.

  • Reality

    “they want an individual to galvanize around.”

    He is their leader. People are correctly looking to see what he has to say.

  • Sam E.


    Individual leaders aren’t always responsible for problems within an organization and only a fool would say otherwise. It’s easy to lash out in anger at a symbol when something goes wrong it’s much harder to actually think about whether or not that symbol is deserving of anger.

  • Reality

    Distinguish between a leader’s past actions and a leader’s present actions. He is being looked at to see what he has to say today, in 2010. Not just what he did or didn’t do, say or didn’t say, in the 1970s.

    Do not pretend this is just about the past. It is mainly about the present.

  • Tom Elpers

    What a great program onthis Monday 4/5/2010 This should get many people thinking and doing something to better the church for this moment on Thanks and God Bless your efforts. Louisville Ky

  • Mark H.

    @ Reality: “So, you argue that:
    1. Catholics are silent.
    2. Catholics are good and act with integrity.
    3. Tort law hinders Catholics from demanding its Church radically change.”

    No, that’s not even close to my argument. You’ve grossly misrepresented what I wrote. It seems that you’ve articulated an argument that you’d like to fight against, but it’s your fantasy.

  • Reality

    You were certain arguing that the possibility of bogus lawsuits existing here and there justifies Catholic silence. As if the Church is just a business entity protecting its financial assets on the advice of their lawyers. Their budgets might shrink. Oh my.

  • Brett

    The Catholic Church is a very large corporation, and like all large corporations it has to maintain its image and bottom line. And, as all large corporations, it has to cover up, obfuscate, deny, and minimize any problems or scandals. The internal structure of the corporation has to have within its culture a way to pretend as if it has/is addressing the problems and that the problems have been exaggerated by those who would be against it.

    And, as has happened so many times in what we consider the business world, there often comes a time when the problems can not be minimized with a good PR campaign or a proclamation that the problems have been fixed. Systemic changes have to be implemented and a corporation has to be reformed and restructured.

    In the example of the Catholic Church, it probably will be a nasty business (as like, to a lesser extent, what is happening within the Episcopal Church). It makes for a kind of curtain-being-pulled-back situation for religions, that they are human constructs, and are “managed,” and have to reconcile incongruence, etc. This makes them seem less a part of a supreme being’s infinite wisdom, and that the institutions’ “chosen” leaders are less than Christ’s surrogates.

    It is kind of sad to hear everyday Catholics have their faith shaken in an institution they have held so close in their belief structure. Perhaps the Church could revisit the idea of allowing priests to marry or to have women ordained. This would go a long way to restore “faith” in the “corporation” and give a sense that their leaders are making structural changes to rectify a problem.

    I don’t know that the Church is that open to such a change, nor do I think a change such as mentioned would completely solve the problem it has as a corporation. I don’t feel as though celibacy alone can explain the widespread problems the Church has had with this systemic scandal.

  • http://www.mylifevantage.com/longerlife jorge riveros

    I was a devoted catholic since birth, my family was too. After the principal of this Catholic School an(italian man called Giorgio del Piano)who tried to abuse me when I was twelve years old, (Then I left the Catholic Church for good) I’m so glad that my dad warned me in case anybody try to touch my private parts, so I run away from this italian priest that continued to abuse other boys and girls, even leaving one of my classmate a girl pregnant, but he continued to teach anb being the School principal for many years until his death. Nobody complained except my parents. The other younger priest in the same parish did the same thing. So, many of my schoolmates never told to anybody of what was going on. They were afraid, and only 16% of abused tell what happened. Those two priets were 100% the total of priests in the school the rest were regular teachers. And Elizabeth women don’t need the priesthood, they have the privelge to be co-creators with God in bringing God’s children to earth. Women were priestesses in the Temples only, like Mary’s mother Ana, and they served in private ordinances only. Christ will never give the priesthood to women, it will be against His doctrine. Women are very closed to God by nature, they are very special and chosen daughters of God.

  • Liz B.

    Abuse of children, women and powerless individuals in general has always been a phenomenon of human societies. It is appalling though that the Catholic church, having such influence in the world, is reluctant to condemn those individuals who participated in abuse of children and others.

    There are (and have been) many so called ‘spiritual organizations’ where sexual violence has always been part of participating in these ‘spiritual’ groups. It would be an interesting program to explore that as well.

    But to the point: One of the callers correctly implied that sexual violence is not a ‘church problem’ per se but a problem of society in general. Unfortunately, priests also participated in these violent behaviors and because of their implied power over people they could get away with it. These men ought to be punished along with those who covered their cases up. There should be zero tolerance of sexual or other violence against children, women and powerless men in the church.

  • Stephanie C

    I can highly recommend a superb novel I just finished a with this topic as its theme. “The Bishop’s Man”, by Linden MacIntyre,is written in the first person by a fictional priest who had served more or less as a fixer for the Bishop, helping to transfer errant priests. The story takes place in Eastern Canada where a lot of this type of scandal surfaced a number of years ago. This great book recently won Canada’s greatest prize for fiction.

  • http://www.beccar.wordpress.com Eugenia Renskoff

    Hello, Tom, Doesn’t the Church know the meaning of the word accountability? If they did it, then they did it. They abused kids and the higher ups looked the other way or did nothing. The best thing the Church can do to protect itself is grow up, change. The Church (and/or the Pope) won’t be able to hide behind excuses forever. It won’t be respected just because it’s been around for centuries. No more comparisons with the Jews and the the persecutions they suffered just because they were Jews. Have sex be a part of a priest’s/nun’s life, allow them to get married, have boyfriends, girlfriends, whatever they want. If priests work for the Church, why doesn’t the Church want happy employees? They’d get more, not less, everything out of them. Eugenia Renskoff, http://www.beccar.wordpress.com

  • david

    The Catholic religion was the first apostates from the original and true Church of our Lord, history records that fact that it started around 606 A.D. Many of their doctrines are mere doctrines of men. Maybe this is the problem with their leaders. The consequence of rebellion against a Holy God.
    Paul, by inspiration, foretold about this in 1 Timothy 4:1-3.

  • Helen Weatherall

    Someone earlier actually said that it is the Clatholic Church that is the victim-

    John said: “The Church, not the raped children, is obviously the true victim here.” Wow. The church, an institution organized, governed and operated by ADULTS is the victim- not innocent, vulnerable, trusting children… If that doesn’t say it all I don’t know what does.

    And to that I’ll add- anyone who needs an organization to tell them right from wrong is not right in the head.

  • Claudette Bedard

    It is the height of hypocrisy for the Catholic clergy to condemn homosexuality on one hand and to condone the despicable actions of their own members. Homosexuality is not a crime in most Western societies, but pedophilia is.
    For the Pope and his acolytes to compare themselves with the Jewish people’s suffering under the holocaust is to look through the wrong end of the binoculars. There have been victims in this episode, thousands of victims – we don’t know how many and may never know – but these victims were not the Catholic hierarchy; they were the children and young people those priests were preying on. The very people who were supposed to protect these young people, educate them, praying for them were actually victimizing them in the most despicable way, and making sure they had no recourse against their victimizers.

  • Jeremiah Smith

    “Thank you” to your guest for making explicit that homosexuality in not related to pedophilia.

  • Michael

    The church should blame it on the Gelgamek


  • gina

    I heard a compelling radio story this weekend on This American Life. It was originally aired in 2003, and is about events that began in 1991. It’s 21 minutes long, and well worth listening to. Description follows:

    Patrick Wall was a special kind of monk. He was a fixer. The Catholic church sent him to problem parishes where priests had been removed because of scandal. His job was to come in, keep events from going public and smooth things over until a permanent replacement priest was found. But after four different churches in four years, after covering up for pedophiles and adulterers and liars and embezzlers he decided to make a change. Carl Marziali tells his story.


  • Gail Hall Howard

    I often hear people say that the Church has only a small number of abusers. no more than other organized religions. However, Bishop Accountability posts on its website that at least two-thirds of American bishops re-assigned sexual abusers and child molesters to new parishes. In so doing, they actively worked to provide abusers with new victims. This is not a small problem; this is most of the church leaders. Lay Catholics are already doing the work of running parishes; they should take the next step and ask all offending bishops to resign.

  • Patty Wyle

    So appropriate that Scott Appleby from Notre Dame was on the show, since he and ND were instrumental in organizing US bishops to confront abuse. I’m a Notre Dame graduate, one of the first classes of ND women. Last spring,when ND invited President Obama to speak at the May Commencement, as it has invited every president since Kennedy,imagine my dismay when the Catholic church organized and attacked Obama, Father Jenkins and anyone else involved.The organizers were relentless in the media and on-line. They even opened an office in South Bend to keep the pressure on.
    I think the commencement was on May 17th, 2009. On May 21th, 2009, an article appeared in the New York Times describing a report released from Ireland detailing decades of physical and sexual by the Christian Brothers and Sisters. The report should have been released around 2002. But the Catholic Church fought the release for the last seven years because it didn’t want the names of the abusers released.They got their way, at that time.
    The church used President Obama as a firestorm to take attention away from this report being released. The catholic church hierarchy is devious, political and secretive and will not change easily, as long as it still has money in the bank.

  • Alan

    I am a practicing Catholic and was sexually abused by a priest, I would say about 15 times over three years. As I started the recovery processn(1992), I noticed in the literature that sexual abuse of children happens in ALL contexts of life. In a support group I recently attended, a woman was abused by an older brother, a man by his grandfather during an annual holiday. I hear of sexual abuse in church camps by a minister and his wife. Once the damage has been done, there’s nothing you can do but start shoveling. The church reimbursed my therapy fees. That’s more than most perpetrators do to make amends, and these “perpetrators” were not the responsible ones! I was touched when Benedict visited at length with Americans abused as children in the church. It showed he cared because care cannot be faked.

  • George Franklin

    I was disturbed by Scott Appleby’s bizarre misrepresentation of Bill Keller’s op-ed in the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/04/opinion/is-the-pope-catholic.html). Sadly, no one could call him out on it because he was talking about an article now 8 years in the past. Mr. Keller deserves an apology from Mr. Appleby and a correction from On Point. John Paul II was not compared to Hitler and Stalin, (e.g. think mass murderer). Keller discussed what kind of authoritarian structure had been created by John Paul II and how that contributed to the way the Church at that time was mis-handling the crisis of sexual abuse. This was not an unfair persecution of a religious leader, just reasonable criticism. I hope On Point will not let this stand unchallenged.

  • ellenb

    I still want to know why these priests are not arrested, tried and jailed. This wasn’t discussed. It seems the authority and prestige of the church is so huge, that it is powerful enough to avoid criminal prosecutions for crimes. This in the 21st century, not the 14th or 15th!
    Also the psychology of priest’s attitude toward sex itself wasn’t discussed much. We hear all politics, yada yada on and on by experts, skirting around the attitude of the church to sex thru the ages and now. The caller who talked about sexual violence and power got closest to the main idea here.

  • wavre

    Must people don’t get it! The Catholic Church as well as others Churches are full of pedophiles and homosexuals.

    There is a culture within the Church that goes back centuries. Sometimes in the past it was seen as a virtue more than a vice( having sexual relation with a woman was considered somewhat unholy, dirty and sinful).

    Paul VI was an known homosexual and he was not the only one. They have been moving those priests from parish to parish all over the World.
    A lot of priest and bishops have children and mistresses(in Africa in particular for sure)and the Vatican is fully aware of it.
    Back to the pedophiles:
    It’s very hard for them to take a hard stand against homosexuality and pedophilia. It’s their dirty little secret. They have never seen it as a crime.The church is not a law enforcement agency, after confession everything is forgiven, there is no deterrance, you have a license to sin!!

    I’ve been in catholic boarding schools most of my youth, I can write a book, It was not all of them of course, most of the priests were the kindest people you’ll meet, but the pedophile ones were “smooth predators” unleashed on the children under their supervision. They were taking advantage of the weak and the sexually confusedin total inpunity.

    It’s about time people start to pay attention. This situation goes way back centuries…

  • joshua

    Why is that the vatican is the only church in the world considered a state with all the benefits of nation-hood? Fishy? Look through another lenses and we would cal it terrorism, but we like christian terrorism, we like the our roots in the roman empire. He is subject to civil society and all offending priests, cardinals, bishops, and popes should go to jail. No one is above th elaw. Not the pope, not fascists like cheny and Bush. Bring them to justice!

  • joshua

    the church is nothing more than a covenent of repressed child molesters. wierd. it’s like a devil’s church.

    Who in their right mind would make a vow to celibacy. its not natural. its mental damaging. Such faith in a god is scary–and fanatical–soo damaging to the mind and hard, to the spirit. Even catholic folowers are known for being one way about thare church and another in life–finding it all quite humorous–for a catholic, or a man–not women–women ar not allowed, hmmm, to become a priest suggests mental disorder, or want to belong among this conclave of molesters–its really scary. The church is a cult–one that destroys people. Like any cult-whether republican, teabag, catholic, Baptist, Church of God, or MOrmon–minds are twisted and dark, but there are some who would do good things–but these people need to understand that they can commit to a life of altruism without joining mind-warping cults.

  • joshua

    the caller who informs us about the women issue, and closed parishes and such is right, but she doesn’t understand that the reason they fight against this idea is that it is a boys club–a chil-molesters club–sanctioned by law–so in effect–it is a nation founded in molestation, and harm. is this a church of god?–who (god) obviously (considering texts and anthropology) is androgynous-minded, and it is ridiculous to say that god–if existing would be a man or a woman. Considering all this–it looks like the Catholic church resembles more a church of the devil, than one of god. Satan is the father oflies-and the church is the greatest lie ever told–as is the american dream.

  • joshua

    basilica, root of basilisk–demonic serpent whose stare turns people to stone. the all see.

  • joshua

    there is no accountability in any authoritarian institution, in any of our institutions, whether congress, executive branch, supreme court, police, or church.

  • joshua

    popes, presidents, authoritarians exist to maintain status quo–not change it, improve it, or foster progress, and definitely not to listen to the people–the caller is misguided.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Joshua, I like your find of the root of basilica, being “basilisk–demonic serpent whose stare turns people to stone. the all see.” Church, the institution that does not let anyone talk back.
    I suppose if someone knows of someone abused by a priest or is abused, the integrity of that institution is forever compromised, to some extent. Holiness itself becomes tainted.
    I am reading suggestions that Catholic members who are not aware of pedophilia and homosexuality secretly occurring in the church are to the church as young children are to the marital unit. They are part of it, but they don’t understand the forces that bind and undergird the marriage (or the church).
    It’s an unforgettable point made in this thread and certainly rearranges my idea of pretty much all religion (whether actually thus girded or not), for a while anyway. It seems like the church is a grand magnet for sexual secrets; it’ll take all you have to give, aspiring priest, and become your holy family, and forgive all your “sins,” which BY THE WAY certainly doesn’t allow anyone to redefine homosexuality as another kind of normalcy. It has to stay a sin. Where would the church draw their priests from if homosexuality were accepted as normal? Gotta make that a sin. But pedophilia?
    How did anyone posting here put homosexuality and pedophilia in the same hopper? Apparently the church has done so. Oh, please wake me up, somebody.

  • gina

    Ellen, the church definitely has put homosexuality and pedophilia in the same “hopper”. Not only are there now guidelines banning homosexuals from becoming priests, there has been a witch hunt among the already-ordained. I know of a priest in a small Maine parish who was outed for having had a relationship with another man many years before he took vows, who was summarily defrocked. He was a caring, dedicated priest quite popular with his congregation, who neither knew nor cared that he was gay – although his removal had the unintended result of liberalizing the homophobic views of some of the older congregants! It was a terrible loss for all. Today he works at a florist’s shop in the same town. I don’t know how he can stand staying there. I don’t know how his former parishioners can stand seeing him behind the florist’s counter, when they know that he belongs behind their altar. What I do know is that he doesn’t attend mass at his former church.

  • Josef Schwabl

    What is the difference bettween catholic church and doctors or unions and brother hoods, they all feal they are above the laws and setle their matters internaly.

  • Anne Greene

    Your caller who said the Church needs to move to “WWMD?” was exactly right. Her statement was more profound than she was given credit for.

    The Church needs to respect and be lead the views of women and families too. This touches on the issues related to the power of the laity, women in the clergy, married priests ….

    “What Would Mary Do?”

  • Ed

    There are a lot of posts by people who don’t know a lot about the Church and who take a position as enemies of the Church. They are taking individual responsibility and placing it on the whole group, which is stereotyping.

    And Pilate asked the crowd: “What has he done?”
    And the crowd responded:
    “Crucify him.”

  • cory

    Oh man.

    I agree with Ed.

  • Janet

    The church needs to comes to terms with this ugly past. They have made a lot of progress but they need to weed out the gay priests once and for all.

  • Brett

    The Piazza in front of St. Peter’s Basilica (St. Peter’s Square) in the Vatican is built directly on an earlier pagan site. The sun wheel pattern and obelisk in the center is almost an exact pattern of the pagan wheel on that site that came before (that was in many respects a similar structure to Stonehenge). People talk of Catholicism as the first religion, but many religions came before (of course, they aren’t considered “Christian” religions), and much of the mythology and ritual of Christian religions comes from earlier pagan religions. I’ve always been intrigued at how Catholicism denounced all earlier paganism, fought hard to stamp it out, and then stole as much of it as they could hold to possess it for their own.

    …Of the more extreme views in these blog comments, they seem to fall into two categories: the ones who would like to see the Church completely dismantled and Church leaders “crucified” as Ed has alluded to, and the other category of extreme views are people like Ed who are quick to intimate feigned martyrdom.

  • Charlie Mc

    This “Code of Silence” has got to end! Any belief that the Church, in conserving its “holiness”, is in any way following the teachings of Jesus Christ is absurd.
    I have been the father of a family victimized by such a protected pedophile and in telling my story to police, church authorities and to ordinary lay-catholics, my recounting has been answered by a shocked silence and a reluctance to hear any more and a bewilderment about what to do.
    That’s over now. It’s time for me and everyone to know that telling the truth about such un-Christlike behavior is NOT an attack on the Catholic Church, but is instead perhaps its last best chance for spreading the real good news which is the news of a spirituality taught by Jesus, that the Kingdom of God is within each and every one of us, and NOT news of a Church built by him.

  • gina

    cory, if I were ever to find myself agreeing with Ed, I would take that as a sign that I might need to re-consider my position!

    It’s NOT about the “individual responsibility” of individual miscreant priests, it’s about the cover-up, the denial, the blame deflected onto the victims and the media, the refusal to yield to criminal law in criminal matters, the shuffling of pedophiles so that they could perpetrate fresh tragedy in new locations. It’s about blaming the “permissive culture” in the USA – until massive revelations surfaced in Ireland. It’s about putting the reputation of the institution above the welfare of the flock.

    From the 2009 Murphy Report (carried out by the Irish government, not the press): “The Commission has no doubt that clerical child sexual abuse was covered up by the Archdiocese of Dublin and other Church authorities. The structures and rules of the Catholic Church facilitated that cover-up.”

    The “structures and rules” came from Rome. Little has changed at the Vatican, other than ratcheting up condemnation of homosexuals. Actually, the Church under the current and previous pope has become more conservative, more reactionary, more clerical. Just this morning, there are news reports that Benedict plans to replace the current Los Angeles Archbishop with an ultra-conservative Opus Dei priest. As reflected in the comments here and calls to this show, most in the pews think that’s going in the wrong direction.

  • Tom Reitano

    By their fruits you shall know them; a bad tree can not bring forth good fruit. Matthew 7;16-17

    Pedophile heaven must end. To Priests, go find a Man, or a Woman to have sex with and stop Raping Children!

  • Tom Reitano


    Two popes have done all they could to protect the church, keep the pedophiles, and sacrifice the children.

    The pope is at the head of the church, so the problem is systemic.

  • Eddie

    I don’t think most priests are pedophiles. But, if I was a member of a parish where there had been a pedophile and the Bishop knew about it and just moved the guy to another job, I’d quit that parish, and maybe the whole church.

    These guys claim to be servants of the lord, shepards of the flock, etc. Vile hypocrites.

  • http://www.beccar.wordpress.com Eugenia Renskoff

    Hello, Tom, Does anybody know how many pedophile priests there are in the rest of the world? We all talk about the US and Europe. What about Latin America, Australia and Africa? Eugenia Renskoff

  • gina

    “I’ve always been intrigued at how Catholicism denounced all earlier paganism, fought hard to stamp it out, and then stole as much of it as they could hold to possess it for their own.”

    Brett, isn’t that co-opting, in old 60′s lefty parlance?

    [Off-topic: it appears that you are having commenting difficulties, too?]

  • Brett

    You caught me, gina! I am old and a ’60′s lefty, but I prefer to think of my words as “patois” rather than “parlance”! ;-)

    Yes, I’ve been having the problem for over a month. Your last comment here also didn’t seem to show up until sometime over night (yet you seemed to send it at 2:40 pm yesterday). If this is the case, you have the same problem I do.

  • gina

    Brett, I wasn’t pointing a finger at you, but I’m happy to call it “patois” if you prefer!

    You are correct about the rest, and it has been about a month. It’s frustrating to have posts inserted in chronological order by submission time, rather than at the end of the stream where they might actually be seen/read. I suspect moderation (why?!) but my email inquiry generated no response.

  • Brett

    I knew you were joking around! …I did find out this morning, from a new comment on one of last week’s blogs (I think it was on 4-2), that conservatives have finally figured out we liberals are all conspiring to falsely promote climate change, this so we can get taxes from conservatives because we are greedy! I know I didn’t initially say anything to prompt the commenter’s knowledge…I wonder, though, um, I thought our monthly liberal meetings were supposed to be kept secret! Anyway, I decided to come clean and tell all..I guess I won’t be invited to the pizza and beer after-party next month!

    ..I called On Point, last month (about the comment problem), and their moderator sent me back an e-mail saying that inexplicably my comments are coming to them through their spam file. So, they are manually posting them when an actual person sees one in the file. I guess this is the reason for the delay in their showing up on the blog. It does mean I can’t have much of a conversation about the topic with anyone! I suppose I could open up another e-mail account, use a different name than my own and send comments from a location in another town every time I wanted to participate. ;-)

  • gina

    OK Brett, I’ll confess – I’m in on the conspiracy too. My dad taught me to “follow the money”, and it’s clear that the environmentalist oligarchy is rolling in dough as a result of its well-orchestrated media campaign. I guess it’s time now to apologize to all the fine multinationals whose corporate reputations have been sullied by liberal smears. (In fact, the Supreme Court may require it!)

    Re the posting issues: “Inexplicably”? That’s not a very satisfactory answer, is it? Surely there’s someone w/ enough technical savvy at the station to remove us from the spam list?!? It certainly does make interaction impossible when a post is not only delayed for hours, but also inserted somewhere in the middle of the thread when it finally does appear. No, the proposed solution to post from another solar system doesn’t really work for me either!

  • Arrest the Pope

    I saw a cartoon the other day of a Catholic priest holding up a sign that read: “Your sex life: our business. Our sex life: none of your business.” That neatly sums up their hypocrisy.

    That the Pope and his entire chain of command would coddle child rapists is beyond the pale. End the church’s tax-exempt status. Arrest the pope and the rest of those responsible for the cover-up.

    What a disgusting religion.

  • Kay Sweeney

    Why did On Point not discuss the testimony of the woman (Heidi?) who herself was a survivor of sexual abuse (not from clergy), and that they were way off point, that it had nothing to do with Cardinals, new people, new structures, that it had everything to do with power, control, and violence, that it was present in institutions of every sort, and that the real thing that needs to be done is that serious study be begun on why people resort to sexual violence to act out power and control.
    Is On Point interested in addressing this problem realistically or only interested in promoting anti-Catholic propaganda?

  • Carole Ser

    The Pope is senile…he is not getting it…petty gossip …most criminals deny their crimes…they will have to handcuff him and take him away like scott peterson and he will still deny…deny…until he dies…meanwhile the protection of children will have to be up to the prosecutors…I was only 30 years old when I sued the priest…I should have sued the local church, diocese and went all the way to the vatican right to the horses mouth! Now I’m 63 and its finally got to the horses mouth and he better suck it up…all they care about is their business…which is money…I say prosecute the POPE and all his horses.

  • McNamara

    This darkness will follow them to the end of their days. To call the commentary about the abuse of helpless little children as gossip or chatter show’s the total lack of empathy for the victim’s and the arrogance of Vatican officials. In an attempt to hid this “rot” from public view, they have lost their moral compass and their ability to call themselves followers of Christ. The Vatican first called this an American problem, then and Irish problem, then an anti catholic problem, when all the time it was despicable crimes and cover up.

  • Tony

    There were priests who tried to seak out and brought their proof to their bishops. They were not just ignored but demoted and marginalised. They were then trapped by their vow of obedience. Why not have them as the new leaders of the church including pope. They are the only ones whose conduct was christian. They were right then. Who better to steer the church in the future?

  • Ruth

    From Canada.

    Perhaps you all need Jesus Christ as your Savior. After all, HE did die for your sins ONCE FOR ALL TIME.

  • Pingback: By Resigning, Pope Benedict XVI Finally Gets It Right | Cognoscenti

  • Ed75

    Christianity takes what is good in earlier religions and builds on it (see letter of St. Peter). From a Christian point of view, earlier religions were a preparation for Christianity (Hinduism, for example, with it’s recognition of the sacredness of life). Of course Judaism as an integral part of Christianity occupies a unique position.

    About the scandal, there’s no doubt there was wrong-doing and at times cover-up, and these are being addressed. But the Church operates, and is what it is, independent of the moral status of some of its members, although they injure it. And the people who did these things should be punished, but only after a fair hearing. Many are punished without trial.

Aug 22, 2014
Attorney General Eric Holder talks with Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol at Drake's Place Restaurant, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, in Florrissant, Mo. (AP)

The National Guard and Eric Holder in Ferguson. ISIS beheads an American journalist. Texas Governor Rick Perry gets a mug shot. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Aug 22, 2014
In this image from video posted on Facebook, courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, former President George W. Bush participates in the ice bucket challenge with the help of his wife, Laura Bush, in Kennebunkport, Maine. (AP)

The Ice Bucket Challenge: ALS, viral fundraising and how we give in the age of social media.

Aug 22, 2014
In this image from video posted on Facebook, courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, former President George W. Bush participates in the ice bucket challenge with the help of his wife, Laura Bush, in Kennebunkport, Maine. (AP)

The Ice Bucket Challenge: ALS, viral fundraising and how we give in the age of social media.

Aug 22, 2014
Attorney General Eric Holder talks with Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol at Drake's Place Restaurant, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, in Florrissant, Mo. (AP)

The National Guard and Eric Holder in Ferguson. ISIS beheads an American journalist. Texas Governor Rick Perry gets a mug shot. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

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