If I say "Catholic Church", does the idea of sexual child abuse instinctively form in your mind more often, or more intensely, than if I say "BBC"?
If so, why do you think that is?
Do you instinctively associate the Catholic Church with sexual child abuse? And do you immediately associate the BBC with sexual child abuse?
If you answer yes to the first question and no to the second, why do you think that is?
Because these kinds of associations are created, or not created, as the case may be, in the minds of people by the mainstream media, which are for hours every day talking and showing images inside people's living rooms, being read by commuters on trains or buses, listened to by people in their cars. One of these media, indeed a very prominent one, in fact the world's largest broadcast news organisation, is the BBC itself, which has been found out to be involved in the cover-up of extensive and prolonged children sex abuse in its midst.
I haven't seen Richard Dawkins or Peter Tatchell demanding the arrest of BBC heads. Is it perhaps because they don't give a fig about child abuse half as much as they care about attacking the Church under any pretext (true or false it doesn't matter)?
Peter Hitchens, at the time when these nutcakes who included his own brother Christopher Hitchens, fundamentalist atheists that we call "professor" and militant homosexual activists that declare to be "human-rights advocates" called for the arrest of Pope Benedict XVI, wrote:
But the Vatican doesn’t actually tell its priests to abuse children. The vast majority of them do not so do. And it has tried to stamp out the problem and to offer genuine apologies to the victims.Tatchell defends under-age sex in his own website too, and advocates the removal of age of consent. He claims: "Nevertheless, like any minimum age, it is arbitrary and fails to acknowledge that different people mature sexually at different ages. A few are ready for sex at l2; others not until they're 20. Having a single, inflexible age of consent doesn't take into account these differences. It dogmatically imposes a limit, regardless of individual circumstances".
I (as a non-Roman Catholic) have examined some of the main charges levelled against Benedict XVI by his attackers, and found that several of them are simply untrue, whereas others have been crudely distorted.
I have also examined the record of one of the main critics of the Papal visit. This is Peter Tatchell, prominent in the ‘Protest the Pope’ campaign.
...But this does not cancel out what I believe is the hypocrisy of his attempt – and that of the Left in general – to wage war on the Pope by employing the charge of condoning or failing to act against paedophilia (it is No 5 in the charge-sheet set out by ‘Protest the Pope’).
For on June 26, 1997, Mr Tatchell wrote a startling letter to the Guardian newspaper.
In it, he defended an academic book about ‘Boy-Love’ against what he saw as calls for it to be censored.
In this, he is in good company: his comrades of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) want the same, so much so that Wikipedia is having a discussion about listing the entry for the CPGB in the Pedophile Organizations category.
Why do I say that these are Tatchell's comrades? Because Tatchell has a history of militant Marxism, although he keeps quiet about it.
The Left, with its atheist bent, has consistently been in favour of "free love" for everybody, children included. In France, as an example, the petition for the removal of the age of consent was signed by a veritable group of socio-communists, which comprised Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Louis Althusser, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Roland Barthes, the novelist/gay activist Guy Hocquenghem and many others.
Now, the above leads us to the two main points of this article.
The first is that those who are and have been most vociferous and aggressive in their condemnation of the Catholic Church over the abuse episode, starting from the BBC and finishing with Peter Tatchell, have done so not for the sake of children's welfare but for their own political goals, in which the destruction of the Church, Christianity and indeed the sense of decency and morality are central. This is evident from their hypocrisy on the matter.
The second point, which will now be demonstrated by studies and statistical evidence, is that paedophilia is rampant in this day and age NOT because of the Church and the sexual ethics of self-restraint it believes in, BUT exactly because of the opposite, because Christian and in particular Catholic values in the sexual sphere have been eroded, and children are those who are paying the greatest price, not just due to the increase in the incidence of paedophilia cases, but also due to the breaking-up of families and progressive destruction of the institution of marriage.
From page 12 and following [all emphases added]:
The rates of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church were in the past exactly the same as those in other Christian Churches and within other faith communities, though they may well be lower now. More than this, they were on a par with the abuse rates within any institution involving a power ratio between adult and young person, such as education, sports teams, and so on. All these incidents are deeply tragic. But to single one of these bodies out for particular venom seems strange. Of course, the Church speaks with a moral authority not claimed by a sports club or a school, so in this regard it is right that the Church should be particularly exposed, but the condemnation went much further than justified criticism and became dishonest, libellous, and hysterical. Horrible as it is to contemplate, the most dangerous place for a young person with regard to sexual abuse is the family, often with young women being abused by stepfathers or stepbrothers. Today the Catholic Church is probably the safest place for a young boy or girl because of what the Church has done to make it so. This is in no way to adopt the odious "it's not just us" approach but to show that abuse is not peculiar to the Church and says nothing specific about Catholicism.
If we look at the situation in the United States within other religious groups and various secular bodies, we see a revealing if disturbing picture, and the United States is entirely typical of the international experience. In Protestant circles, for example, a 1984 survey showed that 38.6 per cent of ministers reported some sort of sexual contact with a member of the Church and 76 per cent claimed to know of another minister who had had sexual intercourse with someone who attended the Church. Nor is this confined to one particular branch of the Protestant Church but seems to pervade liberal, mainstream, and orthodox denominations. The highly respected Fuller Seminary conducted an extensive survey of 1,200 ministers and concluded that 20 per cent of conservative pastors admitted to a sexual relationship outside of marriage with a member of the Church, with the figure doubling to an extraordinary 40 per cent for self-identified moderate ministers - the numbers rise to a staggering 50 per cent for so-called liberals. How much of this behaviour concerns minors is uncertain but the number is likely to be relatively low. Professor Philip Jenkins estimates that between 2 and 3 per cent of Protestant clergy have abused minors, but he puts the figure for Catholic priests at less than 2 per cent. Jenkins, remember, is a former Catholic who is now an Anglican and is far from being a Roman Catholic apologist. In 2002, the Christian Science Monitor, not a particular friend or supporter of Catholicism, reported on the results of national surveys conducted by an organization called Christian Ministry Resources and stated that, "despite headlines focusing on the priest paedophile problem in the Roman Catholic Church, most American Churches being hit with child sexual-abuse allegations are Protestant, and most of the alleged abusers are not clergy or staff, but Church volunteers".
Beyond the Christian faith, Rabbi Arthur Gross Schaefer, professor of law and ethics at Loyola Marymount University, believes that sexual abuse among rabbis within organized Judaism is roughly the same as that found within Protestant clergy. "Sadly," says Rabbi Schaefer, "our community's reactions up to this point have been often based on keeping things quiet in an attempt to do damage control. Fear of lawsuits and bad publicity have dictated an atmosphere of hushed voices and outrage against those who dare to break ranks by speaking out." In the field of education, the American Medical Association found in 1986 that one in four girls and one in eight boys were sexually abused in or out of school before the age of 18. In the city of New York alone, at least one child is sexually abused by a school employee every day! in 1994, Hofstra University professor Charol Shakeshaft conducted a study of 225 cases of educator sexual abuse in New York City and found that although every one of the accused admitted to sexual abuse of a student, not one of the abusers was reported to the authorities, and only 1 per cent of the abusers lost their licence to teach.
In 2001, the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System developed by the Children's Bureau in the United States found that approximately 903,000 children were victims of maltreatment, and 10 per cent of them (or a little more than 90,000) were sexually abused. It also found that 59 per cent of the perpetrators of child abuse or neglect were women and 41 per cent were men, statistics that reflect international findings. In the same year, clinical child psychologist Wade F. Horn wrote a report on the work of researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, where it was shown that nearly 20 per cent of low-income women in their study had experienced sexual abuse as children, with family friends constituting the largest group of abusers, followed by uncles and cousins, then stepfathers, and then brothers.
Which is all pretty depressing stuff and, again, must not be used to somehow explain away the Catholic scandal just because evil, exploitation, and abuse is a theme in almost every area of society. What this does show is that those critics who seemed to be so morbidly eager to prove that abuse was all about Catholicism, about Catholic teaching, and about Catholic sexuality were completely wrong and never made a worthy attempt to put the horror in any sort of valuable context. So at its most clinical, we need to describe the abuse crisis that happened within the Church primarily but not exclusively in the 1960s and 1970s. In this period, between 1.5 and 4 per cent of Roman Catholic clergy were involved directly or indirectly in the abuse of young people under their authority. The figure includes those who may not have physically abused anyone but were aware in some way of the abuse and by not stopping it enabled it and allowed the abusers to repeat the offence. Most informed commentators think that the 4 per cent figure is far too high, but we will never know the exact number of victims because not every victim has come forward, for a variety of entirely understandable reasons. Most of the abused were boys between the ages of twelve and sixteen, but younger boys and girls were also molested. Although the term "paedophile priests" was and is commonly used, it is misleading and sometimes appears to be intended to mislead. A crime, of course, is a crime, but if we are to deal with the perpetrators properly and try to stop the crime being repeated, we need to understand its precise nature and stop dealing in tabloid terminology and sensational headlines. Alliteration is no substitution for accuracy.
Photo of Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome: Pixabay