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Hullabaloo


Saturday, February 02, 2013

 
A tale of two headlines

by digby


I don't know about you but, in my view, the second story makes the first story seem incomprehensible. Once an institution has shown itself to be so malevolently immoral that it tacitly condones child rape I cannot understand why anyone would listen to their moral instruction again. It's not as though we're just talking about one bad apple. It was system-wide corruption.

I recognize that the objection to the birth control mandate is not confined to the Catholic Church. But it has always been the leading anti-birth control institution in the world and continues to provide much of the legal and religious intellectual foundation for that position.

The church had always been opposed to birth control but it wasn't until the 1930s and the Protestants started loosening up their proscriptions against that it got specific:

On New Year's Eve 1930, the Roman Catholic Church officially banned any "artificial" means of birth control. Condoms, diaphragms and cervical caps were defined as artificial, since they blocked the natural journey of sperm during intercourse. Douches, suppositories and spermicides all killed or impeded sperm, and were banned as well. According to Church doctrine, tampering with the "male seed" was tantamount to murder. A common admonition on the subject at the time was "so many conceptions prevented, so many homicides." To interfere with God's will was a mortal sin and grounds for excommunication.
Yes, it was about "tampering with the male seed" which pretty much tells you what the whole thing was all about, doesn't it? There was optimism that the Church would change its edict in the 1960s with the advent of the pill. No dice:

On the morning of July 25, 1968, the Vatican called a press conference to announce its decision on the Pill. In the papal encyclical entitled Humanae Vitae ("Of Human Life"), Pope Paul VI ended the speculation over oral contraceptives and birth control once and for all. He reaffirmed the Church's traditional teachings and classified the Pill as an artificial method of birth control. To go on the Pill or use any other contraceptive device would constitute nothing less than a mortal sin.

In addition to condemning abortion and sterilization, the Pope singled out the Pill for its role in separating the act of sex from procreation. The Pill, Humanae Vitae declared, "opened up a wide and easy road... toward conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality. Man, growing used to contraceptive practices, may lose respect for the woman and come to the point of considering her as a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment, and no longer as his respected and beloved companion."

Also too, she would have the unilateral power to "tamper with the male seed" which, as we know, was tantamount to murder.

Meanwhile:

The Catholic sex abuse cases are a series of convictions, trials and investigations into allegations of child sexual abuse crimes committed by Catholic priests and members of Roman Catholic orders against children as young as 3 years old with the majority between the ages of 11 and 14.These cases included anal sex, and oral penetration, and there have been criminal prosecutions of the abusers and civil lawsuits against the church's dioceses and parishes. Many of the cases span several decades and are brought forward years after the abuse occurred. Cases have also been brought against members of the Catholic hierarchy who did not report sex abuse allegations to the legal authorities. It has been shown they deliberately moved sexually abusive priests to other parishes where the abuse sometimes continued.This has led to a number of fraud cases where the Church has been accused of misleading victims by deliberately relocating priests accused of abuse instead of removing them from their positions. 
In the 1950s, Gerald Fitzgerald, the founder of a religious order that treats Roman Catholic priests who molest children, concluded "(such) offenders were unlikely to change and should not be returned to ministry," and this was discussed with Pope Paul VI (1897 – 1978) and "in correspondence with several bishops." In 2001, sex abuse cases were first required to be reported to Rome. The Dallas Morning News did a year-long investigation, after the 2002 revelation that cases of abuse were widespread in the Church.

The results made public in 2004 showed that even after the public outcry, priests were moved out of the countries where they had been accused and were still in "settings that bring them into contact with children, despite church claims to the contrary." Among the investigation's findings is that nearly half of 200 cases "involved clergy who tried to elude law enforcement." In July 2010, the Vatican doubled the length of time after the 18th birthday of the victim that clergymen can be tried in a church court and streamlined the processes for removing "pedophile priests.
[...]
In November 2009, the Irish Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse reported its findings in which it concluded that "the Dublin Archdiocese's pre-occupations in dealing with cases of child sexual abuse, at least until the mid 1990s, were the maintenance of secrecy, the avoidance of scandal, the protection of the reputation of the Church, and the preservation of its assets. All other considerations, including the welfare of children and justice for victims, were subordinated to these priorities. The Archdiocese did not implement its own canon law rules and did its best to avoid any application of the law of the State".
If that's not total moral corruption, I don't know what is. Perhaps they can redeem themselves. But they have not yet done it and, frankly, I'm not sure if it's even possible. Until they do I really don't think we need to hear from them.

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