As I disclosed last week, I recently viewed the notable documentary Secrets of the Vatican (2014), on PBS. But I wanted to look at something else the film discussed that I didn’t get to mention.
What was also interesting about the Secrets of the Vatican is what it says about the difference between Catholic and Protestant clergy in regards to sexual abuse. The documentary disclosed that a scientific meeting was organized at the Vatican to learn more about child and adolescent sexual abuse. A distinguished international group of psychiatrists met, evidently in the spring of 2003, including Dr. Martin Kafka, a psychiatrist from Harvard Medical school. According to the documentary, the Vatican evidently was not interested in the number of Romanist clergy who were child abusers though.
Dr. Martin Kafka stated: “The number of Catholic clergy who are accused of, or prosecuted for, child and adolescent sexual abuse vastly outnumber the number of Protestant clergy. So what is it about the Catholic clergy that makes them distinctly different and one of those factors is this issue of suppressing one’s sexuality to better serve God.”
There have been Roman Catholic apologists that have said that Protestant churches have just as many abusive clergy as the Roman Catholic Church. I have not done an extensive study of this myself so it is quite helpful to have someone of Dr. Kafka’s stature declare what he has on this subject. I do not know what Catholic apologists say in response to his declarations, but when one looks at the vast amount of money that the Church of Rome has had to pay out to settle with victims, what Dr. Kafka says makes sense. And those are the cases we know of, as numerous cases have been settled out of the public eye.
In 2007, Reuters reported that “The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles has agreed to pay $660 million to 500 victims of sexual abuse dating back as far as the 1940s.” That was just one diocese. Can one find a Protestant denomination that has faced the same thing? The Vatican has recently been brought before a UN panel to answer for how it has protected children. Has this happened to any Protestant denomination?
What does the Bible say? What does a Catholic Bible say? The Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition, 1 Timothy 4:1 – 3a reads: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by giving heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, through the pretensions of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and enjoin abstinence from foods.” What omnipresent organization forbids marriage but the Church of Rome? And their own Bible says this doctrine is a doctrine of demons, that it comes through liars, whose conscience is seared. One would think this religious organization might listen to its own Bible, but apparently not.
Recently, I viewed the “Secrets of the Vatican” (2014), on PBS, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/
It was quite good. There wasn’t too much that I hadn’t heard before, but it was still interesting. It discussed the abuse of Catholic children, and others, by priests and other Catholic officials. Vatican scandals, including rampant homosexuality, and Vatican bank wrongdoing, were disclosed.
How the Catholic Church has continued to operate in regards to clergy sexual abuse is revealed in sickening detail.
One disillusioned sexual abuse victim featured was name Peter Isley. He entered a seminary in Wisconsin and was repeatedly homosexually abused by his spiritual director. Peter Isley went on to found the Milwaukee chapter of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Isley said Church intimidation toward victim who want to hold the Church of Rome responsible is the Catholic Church’s whole strategy.
Attorney Jeff Anderson has represented victims of clergy sexual abuse for twenty-nine years. He asserts that in every case they have worked on, the Vatican’s role has been prominent, all actions of bishops, archbishops and cardinal with respect to sexual abuse were orchestrated by the Vatican. The Vatican has claimed the responsibility for sexual abuse cases rests with local bishops and diocese.
Archbishop of Milwaukie, Timothy Dolan, however got express permission from the Vatican to move $57 million of Milwaukie diocesan funds into a cemetery trust. The diocese subsequently declared bankruptcy.
Filmed in a Catholic cemetery, Peter Isley stated, “You don’t need $57 million dollars for this space and seven other cemeteries. The real purpose was to keep money from compensating childhood victims of sexual assault by priests in this archdiocese from court ordered settlements, period. And that is so cynical and so…just unacceptable and it is just a further way of trying to hide, hide things, you are hiding money in a cemetery just like you hide sex offenders in parishes.”
Monica Barrett was raped by a Catholic priest when she was eight years old. The priest was convicted of raping another child and died in prison. Monica Barrett never had her day in court because of the statute of limitations. As part of her ordeal, she was sued by the diocese of Milwaukie to collect $14,000 in legal expenses.
Charles Chiniquy, as a Catholic, related how he fought great injustice, against tyrannical bishops in his day. How little things have changed.
During the documentary, Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor stated that, “The Catholic Church and, in particular, the Pope has the highest moral voice in the world. If that voice is diminished by scandals, that’s a serious matter.” Many of us, including Catholics, vigorously dispute this view of this religious organization and this man.
An upcoming book by David Kertzer looks like it could be an interesting read. Vatican archives covering Pius XI’s papacy have been recently opened, allowing researchers like Kertzer to give a fuller look at Pius’s relationship with Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. According to his site, “ Pius XI played a crucial role in making Mussolini’s dictatorship possible and keeping him in power. In exchange for Vatican support, Mussolini restored many of the privileges the Church had lost and gave in to the pope’s demands that the police enforce Catholic morality.”
Entitled, “The Pope and Mussolini,” if it is well-researched and the facts support what David Kertzer says they do, it is probably not going to enhance the Catholic Church’s tottering reputation worldwide but if the facts fit, they have to be worn, whether by an individual or a religious organization.
I met a man on Sunday who is from a small town, four hours northeast of Montreal, Quebec. He is a French Canadian and was raised Roman Catholic as has been the norm traditionally in Quebec and it was very interesting to listen to him. He went to Toronto for medical training as an adult in the early 1980s and while he was there, he was invited to a Bible study. As he began studying the Word of God, he was struck by the great differences between what he had been taught as a Catholic and what the Bible said. He said that going to the Roman Catholic Church was essentially all ritual. You stand up, you sit down, you kneel, you make the sign of the cross, etc. The priest would read small portions of the Bible. He said he would leave the services empty and spiritually unfulfilled. He declared that now the Church of Rome does have some Bible studies but they are “guided” studies, as the Church doesn’t want people to read the Bible by themselves, and evidently come to the “wrong” conclusions.
This gentleman was very interested in the message of the Bible at the time he began to study and he embraced and received Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour and became a Protestant. He told me that in his opinion, one could not be a real believer in Christ, a Christian, and stay in the Church of Rome.
As a result of what the Catholic Church did in Quebec through its time there, Quebec citizens have, in very large part, rejected the Church of Rome today and are turning to things like eastern religions / mysticism. This gentleman told me residents will generally go to this Church on special occasions like weddings, funerals, which lines up with other accounts I have read. He said such attendance for people in Quebec is like a habit that is not easily broken.
This man had never heard of Charles Chiniquy as a Catholic but became aware of the clergyman, when he became a Protestant. This ignorance of the significant Quebec figure sort of goes along with what I have heard from others. A Canadian Senator from Quebec, a Catholic, I have been in touch with, had heard of Chiniquy. She said it was a legend that she vaguely remembers, adding that it is less a religious phenomenon and more folkloric.
She relayed to me that she was born and raised in a little town in Quebec. The parish priest for a number of years was one of her relatives. Though he was very conservative, she couldn’t remember anything said about Chiniquy from the pulpit. As a child though, she recalls Chiniquy’s name, when mentioned, had a negative connotation. Her impression was that Charles Chiniquy was not a good person but with no reason being given for why this would be.
The Associated Press very recently reported that a “UN human rights panel accused the Vatican of systematically protecting its reputation instead of looking out for the safety of children.” One might be accused of being cynical but it could be said, “so that is news, the Vatican putting itself reputation first before other concerns?”
It is very interesting and something that is undoubtedly thrilling to victims who have had little to cheer to date, despite promises from the Church of Rome. The Associated Press also reported that “the Vatican has yet to sanction any bishops for having covered up for an abusive priest, even though more than a decade has passed since the scandal exploded in the U.S. and countless law enforcement investigations around the world made it clear the role bishops played.”
Barbara Blaine, president of the main U.S. victims group, SNAP, stated, “This report gives hope to the hundreds of thousands of deeply wounded and still suffering clergy sex abuse victims across the world.” She added, “Now it’s up to secular officials to follow the UN’s lead and step in to safeguard the vunerable because Catholic officials are either incapable or unwilling to do so.”
The Associated Press also stated, “The panel essentially held the Vatican responsible for every priest, parish amd Catholic school in the world, calling on it to pay compensation to all victims of sexual abuse worldwide, and also to those who laboured in Ireland’s notorious Magdalene Laundries, the church-run workhouses where young women were subject to slave labour and often had their out-of-wedlock babies taken from them.”
Nicholas Cafardi, a former chairman of the U.S. bishops’ lay review board monitoring clerical abuse, asserted that the pope couldn’t control or be responsible for what happens in the Catholic world. The Associated Press report also stated however, “Benyam Mezmur, a committee member and Ethiopian academic on children’s legal rights, cited among other things a letter from a Vatican cardinal advising Irish bishops to refrain from any policy requiring they report pedophiles to police.” Mezmur stated, “They keep saying they don’t have the authority, but in the meantime we have had instances of the Holy See trying to influence bishops.”
Wow, never mind that they are trying to say it didn’t happen, isn’t it unbelievable that a Church official would tell other officials not to report pedophiles to police? Very interesting days, and one cannot help to feel for honest Roman Catholics like Barbara Blaine and others like her, who are so surprised to find the reaction of the religious organization they belong to, to find the opposition of their Church to them, when they try to do the right thing. It is a place that devout, honest Catholics like Martin Luther and Charles Chiniquy found themselves in also in centuries past.
Christianity Today published an article earlier this month entitled “The Surprising Discovery About Those Colonialist, Proselytizing Missionaries” which I thought was excellent. I was a little surprised this article was produced as many media organizations, even ones professing a Christian point of view, seem to bow to political correctness at all times, no matter what the facts are. The article reported that according to a long-term study by a sociologist named Robert Woodberry, the work of Protestant missionaries is the single largest factor in ensuring the health of nations. According to Christian Smith, who oversaw Woodberry’s dissertation committee, Woodberry “collected really rare, scattered evidence and pulled it together into a coherent data set. In one sense it was way too big for a doctoral student, but he was stubborn, independent, and meticulous.”
The article also stated:
What began to emerge was a consistent and controversial pattern—one that might damage Woodberry’s career, warned Smith. “I thought it was a great, daring project, but I advised [him] that lots of people wouldn’t like it if the story panned out,” Smith says. “For [him] to suggest that the missionary movement had this strong, positive influence on liberal democratization—you couldn’t think of a more unbelievable and offensive story to tell a lot of secular academics.”
This is interesting and something I can relate to - what happens if you find some actually inconvenient truths. Isn’t it sad that in today’s supposedly enlightened world that the truth will damage people’s careers if they tell it?
The article stated that:
“Areas where Protestant missionaries had a significant presence in the past are on average more economically developed today, with comparatively better health, lower infant mortality, lower corruption, greater literacy, higher educational attainment (especially for women), and more robust membership in nongovernmental associations.
In short: Want a blossoming democracy today? The solution is simple—if you have a time machine: Send a 19th-century missionary.”
The historical and statistical work of Woodberry is finally receiving its due. The article also declared: “A summation of his 14 years of research—published in 2012 in the American Political Science Review, the discipline’s top journal—has won four major awards.”
Although the Christianity Today article didn’t come out and say it, unlike Protestantism, Catholicism therefore has not been a force for democracy or against corruption, for example. Not really surprising though when you consider statements like the one emanating from the head of the Catholic Church, Pope Pius IX’s Encyclical Letter, which the New York Times published on January 13, 1865. As I pointed out in Who Killed Abraham Lincoln?
“In the letter, the Roman pontiff showed the Church’s opposition to democracy and freedom by railing against, among other things, the principle that ‘Liberty of conscience and of worship is the right of every man’ and ‘that the will of the people, manifested by what is called public opinion or by other means, constitutes a supreme law superior to all divine and human right’ ”
Kind of adds up with Robert Woodberry’s significant work.
Officials of the Roman Catholic Church were forced to participate in a UN review January 16 and give an account of their compliance with the Convention on Rights of the Child. The Vatican however has reportedly said that they only are responsible for what Catholic officials do in the Vatican city state and what Catholic officials do in other countries is the responsibility of those nations. In response, victims and their families have pointed out how high-ranking Catholic officials have not disclosed to the government of various countries the wrongdoing by priests and other Catholic officials that they knew of.
In step with this, the Chicago Tribune has reported that as part of acourt settlement, (in other words – something the Catholic Church hierarchy found itself forced to do), more than 6,000 pages of church documents of theChicagoarchdiocese detailing child abuse accusations against some 30 priests was released January 21st.
The Tribune also disclosed that a nationally known victim’s rights lawyer declared that he doesn’t believe statements by Chicago’s highest-ranking Catholic prelate.
It was reported by another news source that:
“Cardinal Francis George, who has led the archdiocese since 1997, released a letter to parishioners on Jan. 12 in which he apologized for the abuse and said releasing the records “raises transparency to a new level.” He also stressed that much of the abuse occurred decades ago, before he became archbishop. He said all of the incidents eventually were reported to civil authorities and resulted in settlements with victims.” (http://ca.news.yahoo.com/attorneys-releasing-documents-showing-chicago-archdiocese-handled-priest-060511811.html)
Last Tuesday, victim’s rights lawyer Jeffrey Anderson declared that “Cardinal Francis George and his predecessors were ‘complicit’ in deceiving the public, parishioners and law enforcement about child-molesting priests in the Archdiocese of Chicago,” adding that “conscious choices were made by the archdiocese’s top leadership to protect priests.”
Same old, same old, over and over for many, many years, people have found that this religious organization’s officials have put protecting its reputation above doing what is right.
SNAP which stands for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, US Catholic group, is reporting that an accounting day is actually today, for the Roman Catholic Church. In an email, Barbara Blaine of SNAP states that:
“ January 16th, the Vatican will be questioned about its record on child sexual violence by an international body.”
She says that “SNAP and our attorneys from CCR will be there.” It can be watched live: Watch the UN review via livestream here!
The times will be:
The Vatican will be reviewed on their compliance with the Convention on Rights of the Child:
4am- 7am EST, 3am- 6am CST, 2am- 5am MST, 1am- 4am PST. The broadcast in Europe will occur from 10 am to 1 pm CET.
The Vatican will be reviewed on their compliance with the Optional Protocols on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography: 9am – noon EST, 8am- 11am CST, 7am- 10am MST, 6am- 9am PST. The broadcast in Europe will occur from 3 pm to 6 pm CET. These broadcasts will be in the English.
Ms. Blaine also reports,”Two hours later (2pm EST, 1 pm CST, 12am MST, 11am PST ) we will have the “reportback” by CCR and SNAP. In Europe at 8 pm CET Tune in here”
Blaine further states, “You can follow the conversation on Twitter and ask questions before or during the livestream by tweeting to the hashtag #HolySeeConfess or by emailing questions to askCCR@ccrjustice.org.
SNAP and CCR submitted reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child detailing how the Holy See has violated the core principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.”
It all sounds quite interesting and there must be some gnashing of teeth amongst the Vatican hierarchy but this is what happens when pedophile priest are protected and allowed to continue to victimize children. Good for SNAP for really caring about children and for working to hold the Vatican accountable.
Murder for religious reasons is apparently ok among some “intellectual” and media types in Scotland. Martyr’s Monument in St Andrews has been restored and was re-inaugurated last year. There is family history in St Andrews and so I became aware of the restoration of this monument. Last year, on May 24th, the St Andrews Citizen published an article on the ceremony, under the headline, “Ceremony marks re-inauguration,” which I recently saw. The article reported that two of the martyrs, Patrick Hamilton and Henry Forrest, are annually represented in a procession and at the re-inauguration, “two students came in costume, barefoot and in sackcloth, carrying bundles of sticks, to represent the men who were burned at the stake.”
According to Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, for “his publicly disapproving of pilgrimages, purgatory, prayers to saints, for the dead, etc” Hamilton was condemned and burned at the stake for heresy by the Roman Catholic Archbishop of St. Andrews. Henry Forrest was a Benedictine friar who committed the crime of defending Hamilton and who was put to death by the same Catholic power, for doing this. The Citizen did not mention these inconvenient details though and incredibly, instead stated the following: “An excellent address by Dr. Richard Holloway, broadcaster, historian and commentator, looked at the martyrdoms for a modern perspective, arguing that religious convictions were such that tremendous courage was needed as much to kill someone for their beliefs as it was to be willing to die for one’s beliefs.”
Huh? Tremendous courage? How about tremendous bigotry, tremendous intolerance, tremendous ignorance of what God teaches in his Word? Is Dr. Holloway’s view modern, as opposed to what it was at the time? I bet when these murders were committed, members of the Roman Catholic Church thought something as twisted as this. I would assert that the view that heretics should be killed remains Catholic Church law today.
Holloway argued that religious convictions were such that tremendous courage was needed as much to kill someone for their beliefs as it was to be willing to die for one’s beliefs. How is that? It is not courage but tremendous stupidity in light of what the Word of God says about killers. 1 John 3:15b states: …ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.”
Sentiment this bizarre must give comfort the people like jihadists followers of Islam who are murdering people in places like the middle East, Africa, and Asia.
It is interesting though to see a “newspaper” actually publish something as foolish and intolerant as this. The mainstream media has traditionally not been too eager to publish what is the Church of Rome’s real position on what should be done to “heretics”. I plan to write to this Scottish entity and ask them if they stand by this article.
How the time has flown. We have passed the shortest day of the year a couple of days ago and now we are in the Christmas season is upon us. Many will have gone to Christmas, eve or day, services. There are interesting details about the birth of Christ and often misconceptions. It is often said that there were three wise men but the Bible does not support this. Three gifts were given to Christ, as a child, but I believe there were certainly more wise men than that. Matthew 2:1 – 3 reads, “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.”
Three wise men would not have troubled all of Jerusalem and the king. The Word of God infers that the wise men had been traveling some year and a half to two years before they arrived at Bethlehem. They would have to be prepared for robbers etc and so this would have necessitated an armed escort that would have been big enough to intimidate potential attackers or, if called upon, defend this party. This was no small, inconsequential group. We don’t know exactly what time of year Jesus Christ was born but it is very exciting and wonderful that we do know he was born and many details of this most significant birth of Emmanuel – God with us, and it is not just important in this season.
Matthew 1:23: Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
Matthew 1:21: And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.